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Reuters: Dems Win Unless An “October Surprise”

From those unbiased journalists at Reuters:


The forged "Killian" memo, the Democrats’ botched October surprise for 2004.

Could an 'October surprise' shape U.S. election?

Tue Oct 17, 2006

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – A last-minute "October surprise" — a dramatic news event that shakes up the U.S. election — could be a wild card in the final three weeks of the fight for control of Congress.

With Democrats threatening to sweep Republicans out of power in Congress in the Nov. 7 elections, a late-breaking foreign crisis, terrorist attack or another Washington scandal could change the debate and shape the ultimate outcome.

The possibilities are numerous, as President George W. Bush juggles multiple foreign threats like North Korea's nuclear tests, Iran's nuclear ambitions and civil war in Iraq, along with mushrooming Republican scandals at home.

"There is a huge potential for some sort of October surprise that changes the dynamic, something that reminds everyone just how unstable the world is," pollster John Zogby said.

The October surprise has a long history in U.S. political campaigns, from the collapse of hostage negotiations with Iran before President Jimmy Carter's 1980 loss to Ronald Reagan to the airing of an Osama bin Laden video before President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004

But the potential for a campaign-shaping event in the final weeks remains a topic of intense speculation on the Internet and elsewhere. While most late-breaking events are beyond the control of politicians, plenty of conspiracy theorists expect the White House to make a late attempt to halt Democratic momentum.

"It should come as no surprise if the Bush administration undertakes a pre-emptive war against Iran sometime before the November election," Gary Hart, a former Democratic senator and presidential candidate, predicted last month on the Huffington Post, an Internet site

Early speculation about a late surprise to benefit Republicans focused on troop pullouts in Iraq, but that has been off the table for months. Another favorite, a plunge in gasoline prices, already happened to little apparent effect.

One Web site ran a contest to pick the most likely October surprise, with the winner being "Iran totally had it coming." The capture or death of bin Laden is another favorite.

Democrats already benefited from a sex scandal involving ex-Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican. News of a federal investigation into Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania will make his re-election more difficult.

The October surprise phenomenon surfaced in 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson halted bombing of North Vietnam a week before the 1968 election. It was not enough to help his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, beat Richard Nixon.

In 2000, Bush's 1976 drunken driving arrest became public days before the election. Bush narrowly lost the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore but won the Electoral College after the U.S. Supreme Court halted a dispute over votes in Florida

So anything that happens now will just be because of the GOP trying to hold onto power.

Indeed, the Republicans have such a long tradition of pulling October surprises that Reuters could not cite a single example.

They allude only to one:

[F]rom the collapse of hostage negotiations with Iran before President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 loss to Ronald Reagan…

Hilariously, it was this paranoid fantasy from the deranged Democrat Gary Sick [sic] that first popularized the term "October Surprise."

Sick claimed that GHW Bush had hopped an SR-71 to Iran to negotiate the delay of the release of the US hostages there until after the 1980 elections. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the ravings of a madman.

Yet Reuters hardly scratched the surface on the Democrats’ real and countless last minute election shenanigans.

Indeed, the author reporter didn’t even mention the Mother Of All October Surprises — CBS News’ attempt to fob off the mentally ill DNC operative Bill Burkett’s forged Killian memo about Bush’s National Guard service in October 2004.

But those tricky Republicans must be up to something.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 17th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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