BEHIND THE NEWS: Campaign fatigue

October 24, 2008 1:50:05 PM PDT
Raise your hand if you wish the election were next Tuesday instead of a week from Tuesday? Doesn't matter who you're voting for in this raise-your-hand straw poll. I ask not to seek partisan response, but to make the point that I sense many if not most Americans have: IT'S TIME TO END THIS CAMPAIGN!

Maybe it's just fatigue from Joe the Plumber, or how much John McCain's campaign spent on Sarah Palin's traveling makeup artist ($22,800 for the first two weeks of October), or TV ads that blast opponents rather than tout the candidate, or -- fill in the blank.

I know I'll get grief for saying this, but if I really give it more than a second thought, I just don't understand how so many people can still say they are undecided about whether to vote for John McCain or Barack Obama.

Doesn't matter to me where you stand politically, mind you. But it seems to me that if you thought the war in Iraq was a good or bad idea, then the choice seems obvious. If you're against abortion or for a woman's right to choose, then, again, the choice seems obvious. If you are for or against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest earners, the choice is obvious. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

On the issues -- THE ISSUES -- the choices Americans face seem pretty clear. Which is why so many people say "Basta! Enough!" We're not hearing about issues - except in the debates - but we're hearing a lot of, as we used to call it on the basketball court, trash talk. Bad-mouthing the opponent. Negative ads. Hate-filled responses from crowds at speeches.

This is the beginning of the second-to-last weekend of campaigning before the election. McCain is hitting the so-called swing states; Obama, when he returns from visiting his dying grandmother in Hawaii, will do the same.

If you're of a mind, I urge you to take a close look at the New York Times tracking poll on its website, which breaks down support for the candidates by constituency. It's a telling commentary on the uphill battle McCain faces in the next 11 days. He gets a majority of support mainly from white evangelicals and whites who go to church every week.

How Sen. McCain tries to fight back and win the election between now and Nov. 4 will solidify his reputation for the rest of his career -- one way or the other.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest from the campaign trail.

Also at 11, we're trying to get the facts over a horrific allegation of police abuse. A young man, claiming he was sodomized by several New York cops at a subway station in the Prospect Park section of Brooklyn. We reported the gist of this story last night at 11-- but we didn't have all the details. We had the allegation by the victim's lawyers - and his intent to file suit against the NYPD - and a source confirmed that the D.A.'s office was investigating the case.

Tonight, we're learning more, including that the D.A. became aware of the alleged attack from the hospital where the young man spent several days. N.J. Burkett is on the story for us.

We're also on the Isiah Thomas story. The former head coach of the Knicks, taken to the hospital overnight, after overdosing on sleeping pills. Jen Maxfield is covering the story for us at 11.

And Tappy Phillips tonight has the story of a woman from Long Island who tried for a year to get a refund, worth thousands of dollars, from a limo company that had overcharged her. She got nowhere, until she called Tappy and got 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER


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