Osama Surprise?

Is there time left for an October Surprise?

Senior government officials tell ABC's Pierre Thomas that the intelligence community is anticipating a message from Osama Bin Laden before -- or just after -- Tuesday's election.

At this point, there is no hard evidence that a message is coming. But a number of intelligence analysts are expecting a message because they think it is critical for al Qaeda's top leader to be seen, or heard from, if only for P.R. purposes.

Those analysts believe that if bin Laden is not heard from, he runs the risk of being considered irrelevant or impotent. Read more here: LINK

If Bin Laden is heard from before Tuesday, it would be the second post-9/11 presidential election in which he has reared his head.

In 2004, bin Laden released a message in the days just before the election.

Following his defeat, John Kerry said the tape's release effectively erased any hope he had of victory against Bush.

"It was that Osama tape -- it scared them [the American people]," Kerry told Geraldo Rivera.

During an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" in January of 2005, Kerry elaborated.

"I believe that 9/11 was the central deciding issue in this race," said Kerry. "And the tape -- we were rising in the polls up until the last day when the tape appeared. We flat-lined the day the tape appeared and went down on Monday."

While Kerry thinks the tape did him in, ABC News polling director Gary Langer says that exit poll data do not support his view.

Among voters who called the tape "very important" in their vote, Kerry won, 53-47 percent. Among those who called it either very or somewhat important, the vote was 50-50. It was among those who called it unimportant that Bush won, by 56-43 percent.

The Kicker: "It's like the captain of the Titanic holding a seminar on how to navigate the Atlantic shipping lanes." --Former Bush adviser and ABC News consultant Matt Dowd to US News & World Report on the president's plans to convene a meeting of world leaders on the financial crisis next month.

On the campaign front. . .

JOHN McCAIN
-- 10:00 am ET: Holds Rally in Hanoverton, OH.
-- 11:45 am ET: Holds Rally in Steubenville, OH.
-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in New Philadelphia, OH.
-- 5:50 pm ET: Holds Rally with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Columbus, OH.

SARAH PALIN
-- 9:00 am ET: Holds Rally in Latrobe, PA.
-- 4:00 pm ET: Holds Rally in York, PA.

BARACK OBAMA
-- 12:25 am ET: Holds Rally in Des Moines, IA.
-- 9:20 pm ET: Holds Rally in Highland, IN.

JOE BIDEN
-- 10:30 am ET: Holds Rally in Newark, DE.
-- 2:30 pm ET: Holds Rally in Kettering, OH.
-- 6:15 pm ET: Holds Rally in Lima, OH.
-- 10:10 pm ET: Holds Event in Evansville, IN.

At the White House. . .

PRESIDENT BUSH
-- No Public Events.

POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: Obama Infomercial a Virtuoso Performance LINK

ABC News' Mark Mooney: Sarah Palin 'Not Going to Let Women Down' LINK

ABC News' Dennis Powell, Tahman Bradley and Theresa Cook: Voters to Decide Hot-Button Ballot Issues LINK

ABC News' Sam Donaldson: L.A. Times Should Protect Source on Obama Video LINK

ABC News' Ariane de Vogue: Can the System Handle Huge Voter Turnout? LINK

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: Freaky Friday Redux? LINK

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe: Biden Cites Slumping GDP and Soaring Exxon in Assailing 'Upside-Down' GOP Tax Plan LINK

ABC News' Bret Hovell: Showless Joe? McCain's Everyman Plumber Misses Morning Event LINK

ABC News' Matt Jaffe: Biden Misses Phils Fall Classic Victory LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe: Oh, That Joe! (No. 36 in a Series) -- Muzzled Joe Biden Jokes About Getting Off-Message LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Poll Cats: 5 Days Out LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Woman Claiming to Be Obama's 'Aunt Zeituni' Living in South Boston Public Housing LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller: Kissimmee, Kate! -- Bill Clinton Heralds's Obama's "Do" List; How Obama Called the Clintons to "Understand" the Financial Crisis LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: The Goldberg Variation LINK

ABC News' Dan Harris: Reno's Economic Slump Sways Nevada Voters LINK

POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM

Pulling Out All the Stops
With only five days left, Sen. Obama takes his star power and spending to a new level. LINK

Sam: LAT Must Protect Obama Video Source
McCain Camp demands LA Times release tape of Obama at dinner for Rashid Khalid. LINK

'View' Gets Mad Over Campaign Money
The ladies argue about the way Obama and McCain have financed their campaigns. LINK

Hasselbeck: Obama Ad Was Boring
"View" co-host says she expected more from the senator's airtime. LINK

Jessica Biel's Election Night
The actress says she'll be at home and rooting for Obama on Nov. 4. LINK

Obama, McCain Are Up for Auction
Dolls of presidential and VP candidates are being auctioned online for charity. LINK

McCain's No Show Joe?
McCain's call for 'Joe the Plumber' at rally in Defiance, Ohio goes unanswered LINK

Streisand Urges Women to Vote
In a new PSA, Streisand says women "can make the difference in this election." LINK

Obama: We've Raised 'Extraordinary' Money
Democratic candidate defends buying network television time for a 30 minute ad. LINK

Palin: 'Not Callin' Out' Obama
GOP VP candidate says she is not questioning Obama's level of patriotism. LINK

Obama: 'Tired of Packing'
Charles Gibson asks the candidate what he won't miss after Election Day. LINK

John Mellencamp Gets Political
The singer voices his opinion on this year's election. LINK

The Generational Voter Gap
Florida's electoral votes may come down to older versus younger voters. LINK

Kimmel: Obama Gets Sweet on TV
Jimmy puts a spin on what Obama was selling during his 30-minute TV ad. LINK

The Real Cindy McCain
A profile of the potential next first lady of the United States. LINK

Palin: 'There's... Been Double Standards'
The GOP vice presidential candidate addresses the media's perception of her. LINK

Florida Voters Key to Victory
27 electoral votes make this state vital to capturing the presidency. LINK

Why Is Ohio Important?
Both campaigns are pulling out all the stops for this battleground state. LINK

Clinton: 'Obama Will Bring Us Together'
The former president talks about the upcoming election. LINK

Jake Tapper Reacts to Obama Ad
The senator hopes his multimillion dollar infomercial will put him over the top. LINK

Palin on Obama's Patriotism
The GOP vice presidential candidate addresses attacks made on the senator. LINK

Making the Grade
George Stephanopoulos scores Obama's big TV buy. LINK

High Stakes Fight Over Proposition 8
California's ballot sparks heated debate over gay marriage. LINK