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US presidential election campaign revisited -

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US presidential election campaign revisited

The World Today - Wednesday, 5 November , 2008 12:42:00

Reporter: Brendan Trembath

ELEANOR HALL: Let's now have a look back at what has been one of the longest and most tightly
contested election campaigns in US history, and one that hasn't all been an easy run for the
Democrats.

Brendan Trembath prepared this report.

BARACK OBAMA: Look at all of you. Goodness!

BRENDAN TREMBATH: One by one, the presidential hopefuls came forward.

The Democrat Barack Obama declared his intention to run in February last year in Abraham Lincoln's
hometown of Springfield, Illinois.

At times the candidate sounded more like a preacher than a would-be president.

BARACK OBAMA: Oh praise and honour to god for bringing us here together today. Thank you so much.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: A large crowd had braved the cold to see him.

The following month in New York the Republican John McCain declared his intention to run.

He chose a less formal setting, David Letterman's late night talk show.

DAVID LETTERMAN: Are you going to announce that you're running?

JOHN MCCAIN: The last time we were on this program, I'm sure you remember everything very clearly,
but you asked me if I would come back on the show, if I was going to announce. I am announcing that
I will be a candidate for president of the United States.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: So, John McCain was in the race.

Though not officially.

JOHN MCCAIN: By the way I'll be making a formal announcement in April.

DAVID LETTERMAN: So this was not the formal announcement?

JOHN MCCAIN: This is the announcement, and you drag this out as long as you can, you just don't
just have one rendition, you know.

DAVID LETTERMAN: So you're saying this was not the formal announcement?

JOHN MCCAIN: This was the announcement preceding the formal announcement.

DAVID LETTERMAN: Well how do you think that makes me feel?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: This election provided many comic moments, especially when John McCain picked his
running mate.

SARAH BERNARD: You know fortunately he picked a vice presidential candidate who has been a perfect
storyline for everybody.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Sarah Bernard is the President of the satirical website 236.com and she says
Sarah Palin's an intriguing character.

SARAH BERNARD: She's from a very small town, she totes a gun, she's a hockey mum, she wanted to
charge Americans for their rape kits I mean it's the story that keeps on giving.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Sarah Palin made several appearances on the comedy show Saturday Night Live.

Of course it wasn't really her but the impersonation was pitch perfect.

TINA FEY: You know John McCain and I we're a couple of mavericks, and gosh darn it, we're going to
take that maverick energy right to Washington and we're going to use it to fix this financial
crisis and everything else that's plaguing this great country of ours.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: When the Vice Presidential candidate did appear in person it was hard to tell the
difference.

SARAH PALIN: Thank you, now I'm not going to take any of your questions, but I do want to take this
opportunity to say live from New York it's Saturday night.

SARAH BERNARD: I think these days coming on a comedy broadcast shows makes these candidates more
approachable, more real, more lifelike to people and they think that it'll improve their image.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Before the presidential race tightened there were contenders like the New York
senator Hillary Clinton, one time North Carolina senator John Edwards and the former New York Mayor
Rudy Giuliani.

Senator Clinton would bow out but only after a sustained campaign to get her party's nomination.

Democrat took on Democrat.

HILLARY CLINTON: I have a great deal of respect for Senator Obama, but we have differences.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The campaign of Democrat John Edwards fizzled out with less of a fight.

His higher profile opponents raised more money and had a lot more media time.

John Edwards was still a possible vice president until he was named in a sex scandal.

The Republican Ruddy Giuliani dropped out too and endorsed John McCain.

This campaign has been widely watched in America but also around the world.

George W. Bush, wallowing in the opinion polls, is leaving the White House after two terms.

236.com president Sarah Bernard again.

SARAH BERNARD: Well we've got some time to give him a very nice send off, so there's times for
jokes there, and I think that we'll fine some good humour in whoever's the next new president. As
long as there's human screw ups, there's room for comedy.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The departing president kept a relatively low profile during the campaign.

So did his Vice President Dick Cheney.

But the television satirist John Stewart still hunted the VP down.

JOHN STEWART: In the final days of the presidential campaign, you know who had to weigh in, the
evil mastermind has resurfaced to release another grainy disturbing videotape featuring his sickly
visage.

DICK CHENEY: I believe the right leader for this moment in history is Senator John McCain.

JOHN STEWART: Why can't we capture that guy?

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Generally the Republicans have been lampooned more than the Democrats.

Sarah Bernard from 236.com says the gap is getting attention.

SARAH BERNARD: Often times you're hearing American comics being criticised right now that they
haven't found the perfect line for Obama, but I think time will change that, should he become the
president, he's promised a lot of change and let's see if that change happens.

ELEANOR HALL: Sarah Bernard, the President of the satirical website 236.com, ending that report by
Brendan Trembath.