- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2008

CAMPAIGN

Biden makes fun of protesters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. made fun of a small group of protesters Sunday, then told supporters that the raucous Republicans are the same people they need to embrace once the election is over.

About two dozen supporters of Republican John McCain wailed loudly outside an event next to Florida State University’s football stadium, causing Mr. Biden to stop and say, “I thought it was a siren; it’s just a whine.”

Acknowledging the group, Mr. Biden said he would speak louder so they can hear.

“The economic policies of the last eight years are the cause of the economic crisis we find ourselves in now,” Mr. Biden said, his voice rising. “John - as my mother would say, God love him - continues to cling, cling to those same economic policies.”

The event began a three-city swing through Florida, a must-win state for Mr. McCain.

TELEVISION

McCain gets laughs, ratings on ‘SNL’

NEW YORK | John McCain was a hit on “Saturday Night Live,” just not as big a hit as his running mate.

The Republican, who poked fun at his presidential campaign’s financial shortcomings and his reputation as a political maverick in Saturday’s appearance, led the show to its second-best overnight ratings since a December 1997 holiday episode.

NBC estimated Sunday that when the final national viewer estimate is known later this week, it will be a little less than 12 million people. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s appearance two weeks ago was seen by 15 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The presidential hopeful made a cameo appearance at the beginning of the show, with Tina Fey reprising her memorable impersonation of Mrs. Palin.

Mr. McCain also appeared during the show’s “Weekend Update” newscast to announce he would pursue a new campaign strategy in the closing days of the campaign.

“I thought I might try a strategy called the reverse maverick. That’s where I’d do whatever anybody tells me,” Mr. McCain said.

And if that didn’t work, “I’d go to the double maverick. I’d just go totally berserk and freak everybody out,” the Arizona senator quipped.

Earlier in the show, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Fey, portraying Mrs. Palin, said they couldn’t afford a half-hour campaign commercial on network television like the one rival Sen. Barack Obama aired earlier in the week. They said they’d sell campaign products on the QVC shopping channel instead.

TELEVISION

Networks prepare glitzy election night

NEW YORK | For television news organizations, Election Night is like the Super Bowl - the year’s best chance to show off their talent and technological innovations.

Tuesday will see holograms and virtual reality, a “magic wall” and a “launchpad,” and two New York City landmarks - Rockefeller Center and Times Square - turned into TV studios.

NBC News will imprint a map of the United States on the Rockefeller Center skating rink, turning states blue or red as they are called for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain. Giant banners for each candidate will climb 16 stories up 30 Rockefeller Plaza, marking the progress to 270 electoral votes.

Three giant video screens put in place by ABC News will loom over Times Square, where Bill Weir will be stationed to get the reaction of people watching the vote.

Fox is using the night to debut its “launchpad,” a technology that uses a control pad to allow reporters to quickly customize visual elements like results, maps and live shots.

CNN has its own new technology, following the “magic wall” that allows John King to bend and shape information - and was parodied recently on “Saturday Night Live.” It will have a virtual-reality Capitol to track control of Congress, and a holograph projection device that can make it appear someone being interviewed in a separate city is in CNN’s New York studio.

IMMIGRATION

Obama’s aunt stirs leak probe

The government is investigating whether any laws were broken in the disclosure that Sen. Barack Obama’s aunt was living in the country illegally.

Mr. Obama’s half aunt, who is from Kenya, was ordered to leave the U.S. years ago after an immigration judge denied her request for asylum, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press late Friday. This person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no one was authorized to discuss the case.

The woman, Zeituni Onyango, is living in public housing in Boston and is the half-sister of Mr. Obama’s late father.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked its inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility on Saturday to investigate whether any policies were violated when information about Miss Onyango’s case was publicly disclosed, ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said. The Homeland Security Department, which oversees ICE, cannot disclose details about an individual’s immigration status.

CAMPAIGN

Palin pounds Obama on taxes

CANTON, Ohio | Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin focused on taxes Sunday as she opened two days of campaigning in this must-win swing state.

Mrs. Palin told a crowd of more than 3,000 at a field house that she and Republican presidential candidate John McCain are committed to cutting taxes and limiting the size of government. She said Democratic candidate Barack Obama favors bigger government and that he has lowered the income threshold for those considered middle class and deserving of a tax cut from $250,000 to $120,000.

His votes for higher taxes, she said, show “he chose the side of bigger government and taking more from you.”

Mrs. Palin said Mr. Obama also has proposed $1 trillion in new spending without saying where the money would come from.

“You could either do the math or just go with your gut,” said Mrs. Palin, standing in front of a huge U.S. flag and a blue-and-white “Country First” banner. “Either way, you can draw the same conclusion: Barack Obama, based on his record, is for bigger government and raising taxes.”

FBI

Gibbons cleared in probe

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, whose first term has been marred by an FBI corruption investigation, has been cleared of wrongdoing and will not be charged in the probe, his attorney said Sunday night.

Mr. Gibbons, a former Republican congressman, has been under investigation into whether he improperly received gifts from a software company that received military contracts while he was in Congress. Mr. Gibbons denied any wrongdoing and said the Justice Department could look as hard as it wanted and wouldn’t find anything inappropriate.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell said the Justice Department told him that Mr. Gibbons would not be charged.

“The prosecutors in the case confirmed what the governor has been saying for the past two years - that he did nothing wrong and there was no basis for any allegations against him,” Mr. Lowell said.

The Justice Department had no comment on Mr. Lowell’s assertion Sunday. But a law enforcement official close to the case confirmed the substance of Mr. Lowell’s statement.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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