Last Hope Is Osama Bin Laden
With just 31 days left until the presidential election, attention has turned to the widely anticipated "October surprise." There is only one man that can now prevent Barack Obama from becoming the next President of the United States - and it isn't John McCain.
The establishment media is certainly entertaining the probability that a late political development will impact voters, with the Associated Press today reporting, "The specter of an October surprise has already factored into the 2008 campaign."
But with the latest polls now showing Obama ahead by at least 7 points on the back of the financial crisis, and leading McCain by as much as 15 points in key states like Pennsylvania, it's reasonable to speculate that the only beneficiaries from any potential October surprise would be the McCain campaign.
And judging by past history it seems that there's only one man who could help McCain overturn such a significant deficit - Osama Bin Laden.
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Both John Kerry and George W. Bush attributed Bush's 2004 success to a video tape featuring Bin Laden that was released days before voters went to the polls. Veteran news broadcaster Walter Cronkite called the tape a Karl Rove-orchestrated set up.
As we wrote on the eve of the vote four years ago, "Bush's poll numbers have been significantly boosted and this will be enough to win him re-election."
Bin Laden's chastisement of Bush resulted in a 6 point swing, enabling Bush to seal a second term in office.
"It changed the entire dynamic of the last five days," Kerry told the AP this week of the bin Laden tape. "We saw it in the polling. There was no other intervening event. We saw the polls freeze and then we saw them drop a point, because all the security moms, it agitated people over 9/11."
Who will the finger of suspicion point to should we witness the emergence of yet another dubious Bin Laden tape or a catastrophic event linked with Al-Qaeda?
Consider the comments of one of McCain's top advisors, Charlie Black, who in June said that a terror attack on American soil would be a "big advantage" to McCain's election hopes. Black added that last December's assassination of Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had helped McCain to win the New Hampshire primary, a state he had to win to save his candidacy.
According to John Kerry, should either campaign attempt to stage an October surprise, the consequences could backfire.
"I think the media has grown much more suspicious of it because of the recent experiences," he said, "so I suspect there'll be a lot of scrutiny and maybe even some backlash."
But Kerry didn't ask any questions when Bin Laden miraculously popped up in October 2004, and many accused him of taking a dive when clear evidence of vote fraud later surfaced.
The "chatter" surrounding the probable entrance of Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda to impact the election is widespread.
According to a New York Sun report, in August America's military and intelligence agencies intercepted messages indicating that "Al-Qaeda" was planning to launch operations to coincide with the November election.
Earlier this month, the L.A. Times speculated that the recent incursions into Pakistan are aimed at capturing Bin Laden before Bush leaves office.
The report coincided with pulitzer prize winning journalist Bob Woodward's admission to CNN's Larry King that the U.S. had devised a new secret weapon in the war on terror. "We'll see - maybe they can use it on Bin Laden and all of a sudden the September or October surprise is gonna be the apprehension or the death of Bin Laden," Woodward said.
To win the White House, McCain has to make a gargantuan comeback that is unprecedented in at least the last 50 years. He cannot do so without a major event seizing the headlines at the end of the month to knock the financial meltdown to the sidelines.
Perhaps the question to ask is not whether a Bin Laden tape will crop up in the days before the vote, but whether such a tape would be enough to make up the difference - because the scenarios that will produce a guaranteed McCain win or even a cancellation of the election altogether are far scarier than Osama's reappearance on our TV screens.
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