It's Sunday night and I'm ready to stop furiously reading the Internets for a bit and actually like, pay attention to people I know outside the computer. So today's pre-election countdown news is short; these two items are so huge and wonderful, nothing else could really compete anyways. So here we go…
1) Remember we were hoping Obama would raise $100 million in September? He didn't.
He raised $150 million.
And that money didn't come in large chunks from super rich lobbyist; it came from each of us, giving what we could. Here are the stats, according to the campaign:
- 632,000 new donors last month alone.
- 3.1 million donors thus far.
- Average contribution for the month is still under $100 (for the year, the average is $86).
- Retirees and students are the two groups which have given the most contributions
Amazing, heartening, and completely heartening!
2) Colin Powell endorses Obama!
This is huge news, of course, because Powell is a well-respected Republican who has crossed party lines to unequivoqually support Obama, which rocks. What made it even better was the eloquence Powell used in explaining the reasons for his endorsement:
So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.
I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world–onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.
Whatever you might think of what Powell did regarding the Iraq war while serving in the Bush administration, you gotta admit he's done the right thing here. So much for the whole"he's not experienced enough" argument. Hell, even Newt Gingrich agrees with me on that (and I never thought I'd type those words…):
"What that just did in one sound bite… is it eliminated the experience argument."
Powell also had some harsh and well-deserved criticism of the McCain campaign, especially regarding his choice of running mate (I'm borrowing the transcript quotes from HuffPo):
"Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president," Powell said. "And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made."
He also harshly criticized some of McCain's campaign tactics, such as the robocall campaign linking Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.
"Mr. McCain says that he's a washed up terrorist, but then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have the robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate. Now, I understand what politics is all about, I know how you can go after one another and that's good. But I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for."
Powell also spoke passionately against the insinuations by some Republicans that Obama is a Muslim.
"Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian," he said. "But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."
Here's the full transcript if you want to read it, and here's a video of his appearance on Meet the Press:
I'm sure there will be loads more news tomorrow. Till then!