On the eve of a presidential contest, late-breaking events can have an outsize impact. While nothing has risen to the level of a blockbuster "October surprise" - the term coined from the 1980 race, when Democrats feared Ronald Reagan was secretly arranging to free the US hostages in Iran - this has been an October of mini-surprises.
Four days of charges and countercharges over the disappearance of 380 tons of explosives in Iraq have given Sen. John &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/14242_Kerry.html ' target=_blank>John Kerry the kind of final-week run every challenger craves. Even if it's impossible to pinpoint whether Senator Kerry is winning votes over the issue, President Bush is on the defensive, knocked off-message, reports Christian Science Monitor.
According to Reuters, with most polls showing the race for the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2002/12/20/41079.html ' target=_blank>White House in a dead heat five days before Tuesday's election, the candidates focused on a handful of key battleground states crucial to accumulating the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
Appearing with rock legend Bruce Springsteen at a mammoth rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Kerry said the disappearance of 380 tons of explosives from a storage facility in Iraq was the latest example of the president's misjudgments and attempts to dodge blame in Iraq.
"&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/368/13596_Bush.html ' target=_blank>George Bush's shifting explanations and effort to blame everybody but themselves is evidence that he believes the buck stops anywhere but with the president," Kerry told an estimated 80,000 supporters in front of the Madison state capitol.
"We need a president who takes responsibility and understands what being commander in chief is all about," he said.