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BEHIND THE NEWS: Leah Walsh murder

October 30, 2008 2:04:19 PM PDT
Maybe it's because the husband is almost always suspect when a woman is killed. Maybe it's because cops questioned William Walsh for nine hours - NINE HOURS! - and then let him go home. Maybe it was Walsh's multiple on-camera appeals for clues to his wife's disappearance - appeals that sounded as if he were crying, but dang if I could see any moisture in his eyes.

For whatever reason, it just didn't seem shocking when William Walsh was arrested last night for the murder of his wife, Leah Walsh, a 29-year-old special ed teacher on Long Island.

Now, police in Nassau County say that Walsh has confessed to choking Leah, and then tried to cover it up by making it appear she may have been carjacked on her way to work Monday morning. (Read more)

I say "tried" because from the start the case seemed fishy: The couple has marital problems, but five minutes before her car with a flat tire is discovered she happens to send a loving text message to her husband; her purse is found nearby; and her body is discovered, naked, more than 10 miles away, dragged into the woods.

That's a lot of work for a carjacker.

And then there were William Walsh's pleas for the public's help. I used to play a game with my kids when they were young. I'd pretend that I was crying and put my hands over my eyes. I'd stop making noises, and then open my fingers, exposing my eyes to see if they were looking - knowing they'd see me peeking - and then start crying. All of it to let them know I was just pretending.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the case, including reaction from Leah Walsh's family. Jen Maxfield has the story for us.

We're also on the campaign trail, where John McCain and Barack Obama are in the last five days of their race for the White House. McCain trotted out Joe the Plumber at his rallies - well, he tried at one, but Joe wasn't there; he did show up at the other. And Obama, fresh from his 30-minute infomercial last night that drew an audience of one out of five households nationwide, launched a new ad featuring a car's rear-view and side-view mirrors. The image in the mirrors is George W. Bush, and McCain signs dot the landscape.

The intent is clear: linking Bush and McCain.

Maybe Obama's peeps watch the polls? Ya think?

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll, out tonight, shows more than 70% of Americans disapprove of the President's job performance - that nearly matches the 70-year record for disapproval that Mr. Bush set earlier this month.

Sen. McCain has tried mightily to distance himself from the President, but the tracking poll shows that 47% of likely voters think McCain would lead in a new direction, and 50% say he'd continue in the President's shadow.

The poll also shows why this is so crucial to the McCain campaign: Of those who say McCain would lead in a new direction, 82% support him. But of those who view McCain as a continuation of Mr. Bush, 90% say they'll vote for Obama.

And just how tight is it for McCain? Consider this: The campaign is reportedly "robo" calling voters in Arizona -- his own state, a state he should be winning by double-digits.

There's another election story we're looking into tonight at 11. If you're going to vote, bring along your patience to the polling booth. There are reports that, with huge turnouts expected, some officials worry volunteers may be swamped. And there are always concerns about New York City's outdated voting machines.

Several important economic developments today, including the largest quarterly profit ever by a U.S. corporation - Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, earned nearly $15 billion in the third quarter. That barely offsets the $14 billion quarterly loss by CBS.

And how's this for chutzpah: GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors, is now talking to government officials about becoming a bank holding company. If it does, GMAC could be eligible for participating in the $700 billion bailout rescue plan.

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

BILL RITTER


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