On Friday evening at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia, the Phillies have a chance to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.
There may be just over three weeks left until Election Day but the Obama and McCain campaigns strategists and schedulers wisely noted that if you want to get media attention in the southeastern corner of this key battleground state, you better do it on a day without a home playoff baseball game.
Barack Obama and Sarah Palin hit the ground hard on Saturday – Obama, to shore up support in the Democratic-leaning southeastern corner of the state to drive turnout on Nov. 4; and Palin, to try and improve the Republican ticket's chances in that region in order to tighten the polls statewide.
The voter registration statistics in Pennsylvania show a clear advantage for Democrats, who outnumber Republicans by nearly 1.1 million voters. Last year that advantage was around 600,000. Kerry beat Bush by less than 200,000 votes in 2004.
Philadelphia leans heavily Democratic – there are over 800,000 registered Democrats in Philadelphia, compared to about 140,000 Republicans – but the suburbs are the key for both campaigns. Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the moderate suburban areas of Bucks and Montgomery counties. Campaigns aides acknowledge Obama underperformed in the Philadelphia suburbs in the April Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton. Party officials say he most certainly needs a better showing on Nov. 4 to offset his losses in the "T" zone of the state (central and northern PA) if they want to keep Pennsylvania blue.
Obama is the first to arrive in town, attending two fundraisers on Friday night (with entertainment by rocker and Philadelphia Soul owner Jon Bon Jovi). On Saturday the Democratic nominee barnstorms across the city with four events in five hours, including a stop at the famous Mayfair Diner in the Great Northeast.
ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports that the four "neighborhood rallies" are anticipated to be shorter in length than regular rallies and are intended to "energize supporters and generate volunteers." Per the Obama campaign, the economy will factor heavily into his remarks at each stop (and perhaps a shout out to the current favorite hometown team, a team that Obama is backing now that the White Sox are eliminated from the playoffs?) Palin, the most famous hockey mom in America, attends a fundraiser before her main event – she will be at center ice to drop a ceremonial first puck at the Flyers home opener against the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
What kind of welcome will Palin get, on a scale with Will Smith at one end and Michael Irvin at the other end? (With Santa Claus and Terrell Owens somewhere in the middle.) If the Phillies are holding a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series, perhaps the infamous fans will show restraint and be kind.
Palin spent several days in Philadelphia before her debate against Joe Biden last week and learned quickly that in Philadelphia, you are either with their fans or against them. The Alaska governor donned a Phillies hat at a stop at a Center City Irish pub and a Donovan McNabb Eagles jersey for a jog along the Schuylkill River.
Obama has not been in Philadelphia since June 13 and the natives were getting restless for a visit. The Philadelphia Daily News reported today that PA Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Michael Nutter and other local officials "have repeatedly said the Democratic presidential nominee needed to do a citywide tour before Election Day to pump up local voters."
On Sunday Joe Biden heads to another critical area in the Keystone State, his hometown of Scranton, for a rally with Bill and Hillary Clinton.
John McCain heads back to Iowa for a rally in Davenport on Saturday before heading to Washington DC for a down day on Sunday. Palin holds a rally in St. Clairsville, OH on Sunday afternoon.
On the campaign trail. . .
Saturday Oct. 11
-- 12:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Davenport, IA.
-- 10:00 am ET: Holds Rally in Johnston, PA.
-- 4:45 pm ET: Holds finance event in Philadelphia, PA.
-- 6:50 pm ET: Drops puck at Flyers Hockey Game in Philadelphia, PA.
-- 8:15 am ET: Holds Rally in Philadelphia, PA
-- 9:30 am ET: Holds Rally in Philadelphia, PA
-- 11:15 am ET: Holds Rally in Philadelphia, PA
-- 1:10 pm ET: Holds Rally in Philadelphia, PA
-- No public events.
At the White House. . .
-- 8:05 am ET: Makes a Statement with G7 Finance Ministers and Heads of International Finance Institutions in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Sunday Oct. 12
-- Washington DC, No public events.
-- 3:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in St. Clairsville, OH.
-- Toledo, OH for debate prep
-- 3:15 pm ET: Holds Rally with Jill Biden, former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton in Scranton, PA.
At the White House. . .
-- No public events
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Lisa Chinn, Jon Garcia, and Kate Barrett: President Bush Speaks on Ailing Economy LINK
ABC News' Mark Mooney: Palin Report Due Out Today LINK
ABC News' Gary Langer: The Numbers: Of Markets and Marriages LINK
ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg: Legalities: Rabies LINK
ABC News' Ariana de Vogue: Ballot Battle Popping in Indiana LINK
ABC News' John Berman, Sunlen Miller, and Ursula Fahy: Obama's Divine Meteorology LINK
ABC News' Sunlen Miller, John Berman, and Ursula Fahy: Obama Says McCain is Trying to Fuel Anger and Division LINK
ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: McCain Needs a Plan LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: RNC Hits Obama Campaign for Meeting with Controversial Muslim Leader who Met with Bush LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Does Obama Still Think Ayers Has Been 'Rehabilitated'? No, Says his Campaign LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Informed by ABC News that She Owns Mutual Fund with Sudan Holdings, Palin Says She Will Divest LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Voter Fraud, Voter Suppression LINK
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
The Bottom Line on Campaign Strategies
George Stephanopoulos analyzes the candidates' plans going forward. LINK
'View' Mixes Sex and Politics
The ladies on how couples' relationships are affected by the upcoming election. LINK
This Week All Week
The presidential candidates up the ante with a slew of new campaign ads. LINK
Bush Blames Fear for Market Instability
Bush seeks to assuage Americans' concerns about the economic crisis. LINK
What Is McCain's Economic Plan?
The Republican candidate suggests that the Treasury buy up bad mortgages. LINK
Changing Job Field in Wisconsin
Manufacturing jobs in Racine dwindle, while skilled tech jobs are on the rise. LINK
McCain Becomes Underdog
With a growing lead in the polls Barack Obama's campaign is taking no chances. LINK
Obama Girl Role Plays Palin
BarelyPolitical.com releases "Don't Cry For Me Alaska: The Sarah Palin Story." LINK