Elections 2012: October Surprise? Who? What? We Only Know the When

You gotta admit: It’s a grabber. A clock is counting down until Monday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Then, supposedly, there will be the reveal, an October Surprise.

“One of your presidential candidates isn’t being honest with you. Stay tuned to find out which one it is,” says the OctSurprise website.

There’s also a Twitter account with little-bitty clues.

“First Hint,” says a Tweet from @OctSurprise. “It will directly, explicitly and irrefutably contradict public statements.”

Then a bit later. Six documents in total. And, a third hint, “mentioned in both the VP debate and second presidential debate. Brief.”

Who’s behind the tease? A lot of guessing. On the same Twitter feed there’s a search for the source of the website, one that’s private. Folks on Twitter have their ideas, too, ranging from funny to dark.

Of course the idea of an October surprise surfaces in every election.

The Atlantic magazine says the original October surprise was in the 1948 presidential race. It says, “In 1948, the 33rd president botched a scheme to end the Cold War – unless that’s exactly how he intended it to work out.”

Conservative talk show host Judge Napolitano tweeted a warning along those lines Thursday: “October surprise? Breaking: SPECIAL OPS ON STANDBY.” The link is to a story on FoxNews about a possible military operation to capture participants in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

The arch-conservative, birther-friendly, World News Daily, has a piece that says Obama has already cut a secret deal with Iran.

Of course we don’t know what we don’t know. This whole count down could be a stupid marketing gimmick. Some brand that one candidate uses. Or doesn’t.



Or, more likely, it’s this joke. The website Fark has a posting from a user that says he tracked down the owner of the website and found a reference to a website: “The Greatest Rickroll Ever” that they refer to is a site they launched in 2007 called ‘radioheadlp7’ which had a countdown timer and promised the latest Radiohead album info when the timer ran out. The band denied all knowledge, but still over 20,000 people signed up and got Rickrolled when the timer finally ran out.”

So is that really the secret? We’ll find out on Monday. And if it’s worth anything, we’ll report it before the debate. And if not? We’ll tweet it. Rickroll clip and all.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. He has been writing about Indian Country for more than three decades. His e-mail is: marktrahant@thecedarsgroup.org.


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Elections 2012: October Surprise? Who? What? We Only Know the When

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