October 31st, 2008
02:44 PM ET

Next 72 hours are crunch time for McCain, Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/22/art.undecided.gi.jpg]
Donna Brazille
CNN Political Contributor

Have your friends voted yet? What about members of your family? And how about you? How are you going to feel November 5, and for the next four years, if you don't?

What if your candidate loses? You're not allowed to complain if you don't vote, and if you're anything like me, it would be impossible to stay silent for four years.

Regardless of which campaign you're working for or merely supporting, the next 72 hours are the most critical period in this, the home stretch. Campaigns are now focused on one thing and one thing only: getting out their voters. And you registered voters are their targets.

Over the next few days, Barack Obama's and John McCain's campaign teams will begin their "dry run" up to Election Day. Dry runs are held to work out any kinks, test the field operations, and recruit last-minute volunteers to fill in the gaps.

There's also the "fire drill" with key campaign staff members gathering in the "boiler room" and testing everything, including the databases with lists of supporters and undecided voters and the auto dialers used to make last-minute calls to voters who need reassurance. iReport.com: Share your early voting experience

The street operation, sometimes called Operation Sweep, involves teams of volunteers who will be deployed to major intersections, football games, shopping malls or anywhere they can reach people where they work, play, shop, and eat out on weekends


Editor's Note: Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist, serves as a political contributor for CNN. She also serves as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and founder of Brazile & Associates, a Washington-based political consulting firm. Brazile, who served as the campaign manager for the Al Gore-Joe Lieberman ticket in 2000, wrote "Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics," a memoir about her life in politics.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Donna Brazile • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Joanne, Syracuse, NY

    Nothing is more infuriating than robo calls! At the very least a passionate campaign worker should make that call. We would hope that the multitude still recognizes the individual.

    October 31, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    I hate the negative ads and attacks also but this election isn't near as dirty as some in the past. If you want to read a fun book look at the book my friend recommended – "Anything for a Vote" by Joseph Cummings. It tells of the dirty politics in each and every election going back to Washington. It helps put this election in perspective and its fun.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 31, 2008 at 6:54 pm |
  3. Edna Allen

    A person a long time ago said , "It's not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." We all know that was John Kennedy.
    The message now seems to be, Lets work together to bring about the change we need for our country and regain the respect we once had world wide. Barack Obama is the man to bring this about. I think he sees himself as part of the team and not just an egoistical head of government. Change is good. Lets all get out there and vote and make it happen for ourselves and the future of our country. Edna A. Seattle,Wa.

    October 31, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  4. Linda from Chicago

    I voted early because I think the polls will be overwhelmed on Tuesday. I'm finding that I can't force myself to listen to any more of the McCain/Palin drivel. Obama continues to reinforce my decision to vote for him.

    October 31, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  5. gyro

    Anderson, I do not understand the logic behind stopping Obama's speech last night in order to have "equal coverage" for the campaigns. You showed old news aired earlier yesterday afternoon.

    If Obama and his supporters are risking sleep and fatigue in order to get their vote out, I see no reason why McCain/Palin should benefit. If he's tired and Palin has to mother her kids, Obama should not suffer for his sacrifice. The McCain/Palin ticket should understand the concept: NO spreading the air time!!!

    October 31, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  6. Tay

    Undecided Register Voters

    While campaigning for my candidate of choice, I've had the opportunity to talk to people of all ages. I am finding that the young first time voters and the older voters are finding it hard to decide (even this close to election day). The middle age group have seen where the young people are going and saw what the older generations have gone through. This is the first time we've had an election like this. I believe sticking to the issues, and explaining them with clarity may help the undecided to choose the candidate that will work for them.

    October 31, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  7. Kathy

    I'm so tired of the hate robo calls for McCain, I actually called the Replublican party today and told them, they should be ashamed. My late husband way a stanch Republican and I usually followed him with his political choice, but they have reached a "real Low" in their quest for the white house. It's pretty sad to see this happening in a country as great as ours.

    October 31, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  8. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    @ Dan WHITE: don't feel too badly, we are FORMER Republicans, now registered Independents. We voted for Bush in 2000, and lived to regret it. We even....... donated to McCain's 2000 campaign during the primary!

    This year we have supported Sen. OBAMA, with donations and our vote. Yes, he will raise our taxes, we earn $250K....... but as Jesus says ...

    "To whom much is given, much is asked."

    October 31, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  9. ken

    I have never been as opposed to the opposing candidate as I am in this election. My decision and those around my part of the country have been decided for literally months. There is hardly a policy that I could support Senator Obama for...I would hate to know that I voted for Obama because I hated Bush. All of this "failed Bush policy" rhetoric is just empty suit propaganda. The majority of American's wouldn't be able to name a failed policy. They might respond with the economy, however it is the Pelosi Congress that did nothing for two years. New polls indicate that most Americans trust McCain in economic issues over Obama. "Failed Bush Policy" is a talking point by the liberal elite. I am excited to have Senator McCain as our next president of the United States!

    October 31, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  10. auldgranny LasVegas

    voted early as did my husband, son, daughter-in-law and step daughter...the signs in my neighborhood are for Obama, except for the mormon enclave..go figure, lol.

    October 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  11. Christian

    Donna, didn't you say you would step down if it came to the super delegate vote? Also what is on that tape that the LaTimes won't show? I don't believe there is a source. That tape would show what Obama truly feels about Israel and the Jewish people. Also the book that Ayers wrote in 1974 and the comment that he made about Robert Kennedy was horrible. And Obama is his friend. I don't vote for someone who is friends with ayers, dohrn, auchi rezko, khaldi, and on and on. Promises , promises he will never make good.

    October 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  12. Bruce

    I am proud of Mr. & Mrs. White. I think it is horrible what the republician machine as sunk to. I know there are a lot of republicians out there that are not like the crazy base. I'm an independent and am ashame I voted for bush last time. I have had enough and I don't want four more years of the same. I believe Obama will unite this country and bring both parties together to make us proud of our country again. The current republician campaign only wants to divide us to win an election. I can't see why anyone would ever conside voting for McCain or at least the McCain who has sold his soul and heaven help us if Palin takes over. Can you honestly see her sitting down with world leaders? if McCain had chosen wisely instead of politicialy he might be ahead in the polls, but I doubt it because he has yet to have a message from day to day and is just another Bush only grumpier.

    October 31, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  13. Dan White

    My wife and I are embarrassed to admit that we are registered Republicans. We are sick and tired of the Republicans trying to mislead the public and skew this election with out and out lies that they have to know are just plane wrong. Obama has made us proud Americans again with a solid game plan for the future while presenting a dignified campaign. Obama has resin to the challenge of the Presidency demonstrating the presence the office commands!

    October 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  14. Susan Andrews

    I am an American living in Canada. I voted by absentee ballot a month ago. It took the New York board of elections a month to send my daughters absentee voting ballot. I made several phone calls in the past month. We finally received it yesterday. To assure that our vote for Obama is counted, I send the ballot in by courier today.

    As much as I respect John McCain, I am disappointed in the way he is running his campaign and the dirty politics he is utilizing. Shame on him. I was listening to CNN newsroom this afternoon. They are accusing Obama of being anti-Jewish for his associations. What about McCain contributions. The new president should be partial to everyone. We need to end racism. The president should be tolerate of Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, everyone!

    For the past few years we have had a president that does what he wants, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. He does not know how to answer questions or speak proper English.
    Palin reminds me of Bush......what was McCain thinking when he chose her as a running mate. I shiver to think of what will happen to the U.S. if she were to become President.

    October 31, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  15. Barb, Des Plaines

    Hi Donna,
    I always love your comments. Agree and drove down as a family to vote this time. We were all too excited to wait.
    Wow. We need a whole team of super power presidents at this point in time. So, when are you going announce?

    October 31, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  16. jay

    The last couple days of this election is going to get really nasty. Especially by McCain and Palin. They have obviously proven the only way they can gain any ground at all is by slaming and fabricating untruths about Senator Obama. Just listen to them. They no longer talk about the issues or what they can do, but rather only bash their opponent. On the other hand listen to Senator Obama. He is truly concerned about the economy and the US . His last few days of the campaign are spent about talking about how he can lead this country from the continuous Bush/McCain Politics of the last 8 years. We don't need 4 more years of that.

    McCain/Palin continuously talk about Joe the Plumber. What I want to know is how Ol' Joe is making a living these days since all his time is spent on the campaing trail. Is he being paid by the Campaign or is he just another prop being paid for from RNC funds, like, you know, lighting and clothing....
    I'm so excited about a new day for America which begins Wednesday, November 5th, 2008.
    Obama/Biden 08.
    Jay from Arkansas

    October 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  17. Kajri

    Electionitis! I feel like now just saying "Are weeee doooneee yet???"

    Since I couldn't early vote, I'm planning to be in line at 6am in the morning on my birthday! Clearly I'm looking a grand bday present by the country itself in terms of election. 😉

    Hint: His initials are BO.

    October 31, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  18. Cindy

    It's really going to be interesting to see who really goes to vote this go round. Last time there was a higher turn out across the board and I expect it to be way more this time. I'm just wondering if everyone who actually signed up will really vote. I somehow doubt it.

    McCain needs to do a real big push to get as many reps to the polls as possible and then hope that the independents and undecideds vote his sway.

    Oh and yes..I voted early to miss the huge lines that they are predicting here.


    October 31, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  19. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Thank you, Donna! YES, our family, friends and even neighbors have voted! Utah a red state will turn a lovely color of purple!

    I am hoping and praying that the college students will vote!

    Come on, college students! Your future depends on your VOTE!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08 & 12

    YES WE CAN.............YES..............WE.................WILL!

    October 31, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  20. Susan

    I hope they don't over do it. I remember getting 3 phone calls a day leading up to the primary from Hillary, and it really annoyed me and I liked her and Obama and was undecided, and the calls did not help her cause for most learn what they can from TV, newspapers, news magazines and the internet and don't need a please vote for me annoying calls 3 times during one night's supper. So I vote for Obama instead of Hillary... so please no nagging calls, but nothing can sway me voting for Obama! I was for him from the start but now its a matter of principle to not let McCain and Palin et al's McCarthy like witch hunts and unfair false and exaggerated smears and guilt by association and bigotry of anyone with an opinion different than theirs... so I HAVE to vote so THEY don't win!

    October 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  21. Dino Simmons

    Real Talk: Mr. Obama was born from a white woman so, Why do you and the rest of the Media keep asking , Is the country ready for a Black president? He's Mixed. Why is no one's speaking about the five planes Mr. Mcain crashed during his military career and his military records are sealed? the media coverage is so obvious.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm |