COMMENTS: Poll, Purges & Prison

Each network filed one other election-related report in the run-up to November. On ABC, it was the publication of the network's own latest national opinion poll, in conjunction with Washington Post. It showed Barack Obama with a 50%-46% lead over John McCain among likely voters. George Stephanopoulos isolated registered independents and white women as the two most changeable blocs of voters, whose allegiances have made "dramatic" shifts back and forth since the Republican Convention.

ABC measures George Bush as the most unfavorably rated President in the 70-year history of opinion polling.

CBS' campaign feature was an Exclusive filed by Armen Keteyian on so called voter purges, the system whereby registration rolls are checked for felons, dead people and former residents. Keteyian covered a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University that denounced the purges as "chaotic, riddled with inaccuracies and vulnerable to manipulation." The report fingered abuses in Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. In addition, rolls have been illegally purged inside the 90-day deadline period before an election in the swing states of Colorado, Ohio and Nevada.

NBC sent Ian Williams to Hanoi to retrace the Vietnam War travails of the USNavy pilot John McCain. Williams showed us the lake where his plane crashed. He interviewed the nurse who set his broken arms and legs. He showed us the Hanoi Hilton, the prison where he was held for two out of his five years in captivity. McCain has described his "beatings and torture" in the prison, Williams reminded us. He introduced us to the Hilton's director who "remembers it differently." After hours, the two would talk as friends while "McCain helped teach him English."


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