Biden, Palin Battle for Tuesday's Elections

November 3, 2009 2:22:42 PM PST
Republicans are cautiously optimistic that three elections could improve their fortunes. They're hoping to win races in states that went to President Obama only a year ago. As an example of just how contentious today's races are: one has even managed to spark a war of words between Vice President Biden and his former rival Sarah Palin

Another election day and Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are at it again.

"Sarah Palin thinks the answer to energy was drill, baby, drill. No it's a lot more complicated, Sarah, then drill baby, drill," said Vice President Joe Biden.

Palin responded to Biden on Facebook by saying, "We're tired of folks in Washington distorting our message and hampering our nation's progress: Hoffman, Baby, Hoffman!"

This time, the debate is over a race in New York's 23rd Congressional District for a House seat. This particular race has drawn attention from a number of political heavyweights.

Over the weekend, the official Republican candidate in upstate New York's house race, Dede Scozzafava, withdrew. Then, she called on her supporters to back Democrat Bill Owens instead of the conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.

"Conservatives were rallying to Doug Hoffman side throughout this campaign and Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, other potential presidential in 2012 really saw it as an opportunity to curry favor with the conservative base," said ABC News Political Director David Chalian.

Many of Tuesday's races will do very little to shift the power balance in Washington, but the Obama Administration has spent a considerable amount of time urging voters to choose Democrats for the congressional seat in Upstate New York and the governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey.

These races may be determined entirely by local factors but if the Republicans manage a sweep it will be interpreted as a loss for the president

Polls indicate it could be a tough night for democrats, but they also suggest voters don't see these contests as a referendum on President Obama's job performance.

In a Washington Post poll last week, 70 percent of likely voters in Virginia said the president wasn't a factor in their vote.

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