Trail Tales: Slashed GOP Tires

Election Day is finally here and now we're at the trail's end.

Slashed Tires in Milwaukee

About 30 rented cars and vans that were to be used in the Wisconsin Republican Party's get-out-the-vote effort had their tires slashed Tuesday morning, FOX News has learned, and the GOP condemned the act.

State Republican Party spokesman Chris Lato said the slashed tires "clearly were targeted sabotage" to hinder the party's work.

Milwaukee police said just after noon on Tuesday that they had a description of the suspect in the case. A private security guard reported a man running from the lot where the tires were slashed, according to Police Sgt. Ken Harris.

The guard reported seeing a white male, 18 to 25 years old, between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-9 tall and about 170 pounds, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans, running from the Republican offices around 6:45 a.m., Harris said.

Milwaukee police detectives typically would not investigate a case of slashed tires, but were investigating this incident given the potential political overtones of the crime, according to Harris.

"Because there is a chance it might have been politically motivated, we are making every effort to bring this case to a swift conclusion," Harris said.

Lato said party volunteers offered their vehicles for party use, but he did not know whether all the damaged rental vehicles had been repaired.

"Does it slow us down? Yeah. It's not going to help," he said.

Lato said the party headquarters in Madison were vandalized overnight with graffiti — specifically with black spray paint reading "Illegitimate Democracy" twice across a large wall.

But Madison Police Department spokeswoman Emily Samson said nothing from the Republican headquarters address had been reported to her office since Oct. 22.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party spokesman Seth Bothelli condemned the actions of "overzealous supporters on both sides" that have gone beyond yard-sign vandalism. He said signs were stolen from a Democratic campaign office in Wausau.

Milwaukee police also reported a problem this morning where two people were blocking the exit of a parking lot, preventing Kerry supporters from leaving the lot and screaming and spitting on cars. Officers removed the disruptive people, but no arrests were made.

FOX News' William La Jeunesse contributed to this report.

Fleece Jackets and Misty Eyes

On the plane ride from La Crosse, Wis., to Bedford, Mass., on Monday, Kerry came over the overhead speaker, saying to the campaign reporters, "This is the candidate. I want to just come back and thank you."

Kerry came back to the cabin and distributed red fleece jackets that read, "Real Deal Express Press Corps."

He handed them out himself and thanked people. As he was giving them out, he took an interest in sizes, advising people to try them on. A few minutes later, he called back about seven journalists who had been with him since the Iowa caucuses and presented them with silver Revere bowls engraved with "champagne lounge" on one side and "Real Deal Express" on the other. The lounge was the spot in the back of the Kerry Iowa bus where media sat. Journalists said he was very warm and there were some misty eyes.

Later, Kerry presented silver picture frames to his staff in the privacy of the front cabin, which ended in some some hugging and crying.

--FOX News' Catherine Loper contributed to this report

McGovern: Divided Country Will Heal

Former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern (search), who was defeated by Richard Nixon in 1972, told FOX News on Tuesday that the polarization of the American electorate seen during this election and the events leading up to it -- including the Iraq war -- may ease after the election but it won't happen overnight.

"It has been a very decisive campaign and the feelings run strongly on both sides. There are a lot of people very strongly against Bush and the same for Kerry, so whoever wins ... will have a difficult job pulling the country together," the former U.S. senator told FOX News' Neil Cavuto. "I think America is such a great big powerful, resilient, wealthy nation with long traditions that go back to the founders that the country will get back together but it's not going to happen the day after the election."

On another note, McGovern forecasted that Bush would easily carry the former candidate's home state of South Dakota.

"We always go for the Republican presidential nominee," with very few exceptions, McGovern said.

On the nail-biter of a Senate race between Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and his Republican challenger, John Thune, McGovern postulated that the incumbent would win by anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 votes.

"It's a nip and tuck race," he said, adding that Daschle is in danger of losing because "they've [Republicans] had a terrific campaign against him," and that both candidates have unlimited campaign funds at their disposal.

"We probably will see a total of $40 million spent on that Senate race ... that is absolutely unprecedented and way out of sight for South Dakota," McGovern said.

Meanwhile, West Virginia is turning out to be a closer race than expected.

"I would have given the state to President Bush by several points a few weeks ago -- I think that's changed," West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, a Democrat, told FOX News on Tuesday, adding that the presidential debates and last few weeks of the campaign may have swung the pendulum less in Bush's favor. "I think you're looking at something that's about dead even right now and my guess is, Senator Kerry may be ahead."

This year is only the second time the state has experimented with early voting and 12 percent of the electorate voted in the two weeks before Election Day, Wise said. Bush won the state four years ago.

Bush: Stand by Me

President Bush (search) raced around the country Monday in an effort to piece together a patchwork quilt of battleground victories, hitting seven cities in six states beginning with the biggest prize in the Midwest.

At a 7:30 a.m. Ohio rally, Bush told voters these are historic times with much at stake in the election.

"The future safety and prosperity of this country are on the ballot," Bush said. "Ultimately, though, this election comes down to, who do you trust. Who do you trust to make the tough decisions?"

The Republican incumbent issued a series of appeals, telling voters at every stop that if they're for low taxes, or strong schools, or think the nation should honor marriage and the family, they should come stand with him.

"And if you are a voter — if you are a voter who believes that the President of the United States should say what he means and do what he says and keep his word, I ask you to come stand with me," Bush said in Pennsylvania. Then he said it again in Milwaukee, where he also appealed for Democratic votes.

By the time he got to Iowa, the president was kissing babies as fast as he could find them. But at this point, strategists say the deciding factor will be turnout — a point Bush never fails to mention, thanking people for all they're doing.

"With your help, with your hard work, by turning out this vote there is no doubt in my mind we will carry Iowa and win a great victory on Tuesday," he said.

On Tuesday, the White House agreed to let the television networks broadcast Marine One's return to the White House. This was the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that this was allowed to happen.

— FOX News’ Jim Angle contributed to this report

Kerry: Think Globally

On the last day of this campaign, instead of a raucous rally, Sen. John Kerry (search), a practicing Catholic, began his morning with an All Saints' Day mass.

He was in the battleground state of Florida — ground zero of the 2000 recount debacle, where in the past he has emphasized alleged minority voter disenfranchisement. But Monday, in a rally that lasted a mere 10 minutes — the shortest of his campaign — Kerry urged voters to think globally as they vote locally Tuesday.

"This is the moment of accountability for America. It's the moment where the world is watching what you're going to do. All of the hopes and dreams of our country are on the line today," Kerry said in Orlando.

From Florida, it was on to Wisconsin, as Kerry hit as many battlegrounds as possible. His aides predicted a national voter turnout of up to 120 million — more than half of all voting-age Americans — and a 14 percent voter turnout increase from 2000.

Aides say early voting in Florida shows Kerry with a 6 percent edge, although precise turnout and early voting statistics may not be known for two days.

Kerry's final campaign day provided a snapshot of his last-minute strategy: successfully defend all the blue states Al Gore won in 2000. That's why the Democrat was in Michigan and Wisconsin Monday even though Bush is running strong there. Kerry is also looking to win one or more of the so-called red states Bush won in 2000. And that helps explain Monday’s stops in Florida and Ohio.

— FOX News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report

Final 2004 Poll Watch

The latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll gives the pre-election edge to Kerry, 48 percent to Bush’s 46 percent, which is within the margin of error. The tracking poll for Oct. 30-31 shows a reversal of the poll taken two days before, which had Bush up 50 percent to Kerry’s 45 percent.

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics also did tracking polls from Oct. 30-31 in four battleground states:

Florida: Kerry 49 percent, Bush 44 percent, Ralph Nader 1 percent. Bush job approval: 44 percent.

Iowa: Bush 48 percent, Kerry 44 percent, Nader 1 percent. Bush job approval: 51 percent.

Ohio: Bush 50 percent, Kerry 47 percent. Bush job approval: 49 percent.

Wisconsin: Bush 48 percent, Kerry 45 percent. Bush job approval: 49 percent.

Funny Files

Jay Leno poked fun at presidential politics with a few choice lines on "The Tonight Show":

"Let me tell you something — if you thought Halloween was scary, wait until next Halloween when we still won't know who won the election."

"Of course tomorrow is Election Day — how many are voting first thing in the morning? How many are voting later in the day? How many are going to wait until everyone else is in line to vote and then sneak in and get a flu shot?"

"Remember it's not who wins tomorrow that's important it's the fact that this campaign has finally ended. It's hard to believe, just one more day until the Vietnam War is over."

"In the last few days it's really gotten vicious. Like today, the Bush campaign accused the Kerry campaign of distorting their deceptions."

"You know what's interesting — first Usama said he wanted to kill all Americans. Remember that? Then on the tape he said he just wants to talk to us. You know what I think? This guy's a flip-flopper."

FOX News' Corbett Riner contributed to this report.

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