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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dominic Lawson: One election player has been overlooked: Osama bin Laden

What could possibly go wrong now for the Democrats? Barack Obama's campaign for the White House has just pulled off a tremendous double whammy: the endorsement of General Colin Powell (formerly George W Bush's Secretary of State) and the rush to the bedside of an ailing grandmother (helpfully demonstrating both Obama's youthfulness and his devotion to family).

Yet even as some bookmakers have begun refusing to take any more bets on an Obama victory, Democratic Party supporters are still all-a-quiver with anxiety. This is not altogether surprising. They had not imagined that dopey George W Bush could ever have beaten Al Gore – but he did. President Bush had also trailed John Kerry in the polls – but again managed to snatch the narrowest of wins in the electoral college.

While Bush's first victory is blamed by Democrats on funny goings-on down in Florida, a different deus ex machina is given as the reason for the Republicans' late rally in 2004: Osama bin Laden. Four days before that election, Al Jazeera broadcast a video tape in which America's most wanted finally took responsibility for the World Trade Centre attacks – and also ridiculed President Bush's response on the day: "It never occurred to us that the Commander-in-Chief of the country would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone because he thought listening to a child discussing her goats was more important."...........


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