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The campaign trail…and other stories on our radar:
ON THE TRAIL: Sen. Obama is in Roanoke, VA where he’ll have a rally in the afternoon. Sen. McCain starts the day in New York City before heading to Florida. He’ll attend a rally in Melbourne, FL in the evening. Sen. Biden has rallies in Mesilla, NM and Henderson, NV. Gov. Palin will be at rallies in West Chester, OH and Noblesville, IN.
CULPRITS OF THE COLLAPSE: We’ll have the latest culprit of the collapse. This guy makes the top ten most wanted list for giving mortgages to people who couldn’t pay them.
BUSH TALKS ECONOMY: President Bush will speak about the economy to the US Chamber of Commerce.
TED STEVENS TRIAL: Sen. Ted Stevens, who is fighting a seven-count indictment accusing him of filing false financial forms with the Senate, took the stand in his own defense Thursday afternoon. We’ll be watching what happens Friday.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS: The United Nations General Assembly will select five non-permanent members to join the Security Council for a two year term.
Talking Points Memo
We've obtained yet another McCain campaign robocall, and this one levels perhaps the nastiest charge yet: It claims that Barack Obama callously denied newborns needed medical attention by opposing a measure to force doctors to preserve their lives when they survive botched abortions.
The call, which was sent in by a North Carolina reader, labels Obama "extreme" and to the left of Hillary, and charges Obama doesn't "share our values."
The call concerns the now-notorious Illinois legislation - opposed by Obama - that would have required doctors to provide life-saving care to such newborns. Give it a listen here.
I'm calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions - a position at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama and his liberal Democrats are too extreme for America. Please vote - vote for the candidates who share our values. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202 863 8500.
There's been a lot of discussion here in our newsroom about "Joe the plumber."
For starters, we're asking who is Joe? Well, his real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. The 34 year old single father lives near Toledo, Ohio. He got thrust into the spotlight during last night's presidential debate when McCain brought him up. By the end of the debate both candidates mentioned "Joe the Plumber" more than 10 times.
"I was just really surprised that my name was mentioned," he told reporters after the debate. "I think it helped them get their points across, so I was happy about that," he added.
"Joe the Plumber" met Senator Obama at a campaign event on Sunday and told him he was a plumber trying to buy a business and feared his taxes would increase under Obama's economic proposals.
We discovered today he's not a licensed plumber. He admits he's not likely to make close to $250,000, so he'd likely get a tax break under Obama's plan. He also owes back taxes, according to court documents.
On the campaign trail today, "Joe the plumber" was mentioned several times by both camps.
"The real winner last night was Joe the plumber. Joe's the man. He won and small businesses won across America because the American people are not going to let Sen. Obama raise their taxes in a tough economy," said Sen. McCain in Downingtown, Pa.
His opponent shot back at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
"He's trying to suggest a plumber is a guy he's fighting for. How many plumbers do you know making a quarter million dollars a year?," asked Sen. Obama.
Do you think this "battle" over "Joe the plumber" is valid? Does it even matter? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Tonight on 360, we'll have all the raw politics.
Plus, we're unveiling another culprit of the collapse. And, we'll have the day's other headlines.
Join us at 10pm ET.
Ahmed M. Rehab
Executive Director, Chicago Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
“I don't trust Obama… he's an Arab!" This was the charge leveled by a supporter at a recent McCain rally.
A visibly perturbed McCain took the microphone and gave an almost admirable response:
"No, ma'am, he's a decent, family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with. He’s not [an Arab].”
I say almost because McCain not only failed to challenge the racism inherent in the woman’s charge but effectively engaged in the same when he suggested that being a decent family man is the moral opposite of being an Arab.
I would have loved to hear McCain say: “No, ma’am, he is not an Arab or is he Muslim – and let’s not use ethnic or religious identity to determine who is American – that’s un-American.”
This would have exhibited the courageous moral leadership and remind all Americans that bigotry and identity politics have no place in our democracy.
CNN Senior Political Correspondent
The GOP confirms it's making robocalls in a "half dozen" states accusing Barack Obama of having "worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayres." And a source says the Republican National Committee will pump $70 million into the ground game in these final weeks of the presidential campaign.
Here's the text of the robocall on Ayres:
"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayres, whose organization bombed the U.S. capital, the Pentagon, a judge's home and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202-863-8500."
I am told "hundreds of thousands of contacts are being made" in half a dozen states including Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. And the source says robocalls will also be made on other subjects, including abortion.
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.
The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps - instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" - a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."
The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.
The group's president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club's meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
"It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don't want to go into it any further," Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt."
NHIOP Political Director & Harvard IOP Fellow
The opportunity Anderson Cooper and his producers have given me to discuss my views, from my vantage point, during the Primary and General Election cycle is top notch. I speak in a lot of venues, both in lectures at Harvard and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, on all the broadcast networks, and in print in publications all over the world.
The ingredients I look for in choosing these opportunities are: will I have a fair chance to make a point, especially when it does not conform to conventional wisdom, and will the host allow for a neutral point of view and accept that I am a non-partisan analyst.
Anderson gets it. Big time. But you know who gets it a lot better than I do? It's not Papa Bear. That's right. Its Stephen Colbert.
Of all the false intimacies of modern life, the promise of a presidential campaign may be the most misleading. We think we know these men well enough to judge them. They come into our living rooms every night, plying us with insight and confession; we know the prayers they say and the beer they drink, their tics, their tastes, their talismans.
But both John McCain and Barack Obama insist that there are things a campaign can't tell you about the temperament of an aspiring President. "Who is the real Barack Obama?" McCain asks, as he runs ads attacking his opponent's "bad instincts" and dangerous lack of judgment. Obama argues the reverse: You can't trust McCain because the one thing you know is that you never know what he'll do next. He's an impulsive hothead who is "erratic in a crisis." Is that really the guy you want steering through a storm?
That Obama's fortunes rose as the markets sank shows how central temperament has become in the homestretch of the presidential race. Only weeks ago, you might have expected that McCain's greater experience and his courage in the clutch would lift him as a leader in a moment of crisis. Yet the turn of the polls suggests the reverse; without taking a dramatically different approach on substance, Obama won this round on style and disposition.
Both candidates supported the bailout, and both call for tax cuts and policing of markets, but in tenor, they were polar opposites. Temperament is in the eye of the voter. Is one response evidence of composure and self-possession — or of being too laid-back and unassertive? Is the other response a sign of urgency and decisiveness or a frantic lack of control?
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US Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R) and Democrat Barack Obama (C) leave the table after the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
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