As The Campaigns Draw To A Close Al Gore emerges, Obama's aunt is reportedly living in the U.S. illegally — what more can we expect in the final days of the campaigns?
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As The Campaigns Draw To A Close

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As The Campaigns Draw To A Close

As The Campaigns Draw To A Close

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ALISON STEWART, host:

Well, as long we're talking about turf, let's take a look at an event in Florida with NPR news analyst Juan Williams who's here in our studios in D.C. We should point out that on the stump yesterday, Juan, a voice from campaigns past.

(Soundbite of Democratic campaign rally, Florida)

Mr. AL GORE (Former Vice President): Florida once again can decide the outcome of a national election.

(Soundbite of applause)

STEWART: That's former vice president and Oscar-winner Al Gore who made his first political appearance in Florida since losing the 2000 election. He was there, obviously, on behalf of Senator Obama. What other big guns are coming out this weekend?

JUAN WILLIAMS: Well, Bill Clinton's out there. Hillary Clinton's out there. Al Gore is out there. Arnold Schwarzenegger is out there for Senator McCain. And of course you have Rudy Giuliani out there for Senator McCain, as you heard. So the guns are out there. The surrogates are delivering the message.

STEWART: What about Sarah Palin and Joe Biden? What will we expect from them this weekend?

WILLIAMS: Well, again for Sarah Palin, this is all about rallying the base. And that's her purpose here. She's had some difficulty with the independent voters, the undecided voters. They've been moving away from her. So right now the campaign's putting her in place to stir the base, get the turnout in action.

STEWART: There's a little bit of news this morning. The Associated Press is reporting that Obama's Kenyan aunt has been living in the U.S. illegally since an immigration judge turned down her asylum request four years ago. In the final days of a campaign, do stories like these make a difference?

WILLIAMS: Well, it could make a difference for people, especially on the immigration issue. There is some concern about whether or not people in the federal government leaked this to the A.P. The Bush administration and others are very sensitive to this. They're saying they've had nothing to do with it.

STEWART: All right. Let's offer some advice for our listeners. It's Tuesday night. You're tuned in to NPR, of course. You're keeping track of the results on npr.org, of course. What states should we be paying particular attention too?

WILLIAMS: Alison, I'd suggest you look at Pennsylvania. No Republicans carried the state in 20 years. If you see Pennsylvania going towards John McCain, that's a big indicator right there. Also, to keep an eye on Virginia. No Democrats carried Virginia since 1964 and Lyndon Johnson. So if you see Virginia going towards Obama, that's a real indication of good things to come for Senator Obama.

STEWART: All right. There's about a minute left. And we're at the end of this election cycle, if you can believe it. I want to strip away all the polls, all the analysis, forget all the rhetoric. I want a gut check from you about each campaign in this last weekend.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that the task for Senator McCain was to drive up Senator Obama's risk factor in the minds of voters. And if you look at the direction of the undecided voters so far, they've been breaking towards the Democrat - early voting, strong turnout of Democrats. So my gut tells me if that continues, Senator Obama is in the favorable position. For Senator McCain it's got to be about really saying, you know what? This election's up to you.

He's looking to rustbelt people in Ohio and Pennsylvania, typically older, white voters who aren't comfortable with Obama. And he's got to deliver the message that there's a threat out there from some unknown force that would come in and challenge Obama. He's used Joe Biden's voice to deliver that message. And he's got to say that this young man is inexperienced and not up to the task to those voters who are still there to be his if he can somehow make the case. But it's getting late. It's getting late.

STEWART: NPR news analyst Juan Williams, thanks for coming in the studio this morning.

WILLIAMS: You're welcome, Alison.

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