POLITICS

Clarke: Al Qaeda May Try To Tilt Election To McCain

11/02/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

John Kerry believes that the so-called al Qaeda Halloween videotape released days before the last presidential election in the United States affected enough undecided voters that it may have made the difference in the outcome. Remember that a swing of only 60,000 voters in Ohio would have resulted in a President Kerry.

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What would be the purpose of any attempted manipulation of the U.S. election? It could just be to use the election to magnify the media coverage of their terrorist activities, make al Qaeda look even more capable than it is, and remind everyone they are still around. Such a media-amplified attack might help them with recruitment and fundraising. Even more likely is the possibility that al Qaeda would hope the attack would benefit John McCain. Opinion polls, which, as noted above, al Qaeda reads closely, suggest that an attack would help McCain. Polls in Europe and the Middle East also suggest an overwhelming popular support there for Barack Obama. Al Qaeda would not like it if there were a popular American president again.

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