Four years ago, Osama bin Laden released a tape the Friday before Election Day.
Sen. John Kerry is convinced it stalled his last-minute surge.
Four years before that, the big story on the Friday before the election was that George. W. Bush had been arrested for DUI in Maine as a young man. His supporters are convinced that cost him the popular vote.
Back in 1992, special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh indicted Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for his involvement in Iran-contra the Friday before the election.
President George H.W. Bush and his team thought it cost them the election.
In each of these cases, the impact of the these last-minute surprises was more debatable than that.
But there’s no question they made some difference.
Can it happen again?
Unlikely, because of early voting. What we’re learning this week is that more than 10 percent of voters have already voted. A third will probably have voted by Election Day.
That, combined with the small number of voters who still appear undecided, and the saturation of the airwaves with campaign messages in the final weekend, mean that even a freakier Friday this time around probably won’t matter much.