WASHINGTON (CNN) – In the face of an economy in crisis and a deeply unpopular president, some analysts believe the situation is ripe to give Democrats a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in November.
It's "the perfect storm" said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. "You've got Republican voters angry at Republicans, many Americans just petrified about the future...wanting change. And right now change appears to be coming in the form of Democrats."
Of the 35 Senate seats on the line this year, 23 are held by Republicans. Five Republican senators are retiring: Pete Domenici of New Mexico, Wayne Allard of Colorado, John Warner of Virginia, Larry Craig of Idaho and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
Democrats control the Senate. Although it's split evenly with 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans, two independents - Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut - caucus with the Democrats.
Winning a filibuster-proof majority of 60 Senate seats, commonly called the "magic 60," would virtually prevent Republicans from blocking legislation on the Senate floor.
(CNN) - John McCain and Sarah Palin held campaign rally in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania earlier Wednesday.
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN)– West End Avenue is clear again today. Traffic is flowing.
The candidates are gone. The second presidential debate is some kind of history; one more to go.
For 24 hours or so– from the night before the debate until deep into the night the debate was held– West End Avenue looked intermittently like the scene of an action-adventure movie with a predictable and frenzied plot:
Police cars screaming up and down the boulevard, dome lights flaring, sirens wailing. Helicopters whirring overhead. State and local officers on the corners, giving the cold eye to passersby. People pouring out of buildings, to see what the emergency might be.
We in this nation all know that it has been many years since political motorcades have had anything in common with John F. Kennedy waving from an open-top convertible as he and his wife roll merrily down the street. But it is still startling, every time you see it, to encounter what a modern-day motorcade has become.
Watch Wednesday's episode of CNN=Politics Daily, The Best Political Podcast from The Best Political Team.
(CNN) – With less than a month until Election Day, all eyes were on Tuesday night’s town-hall style debate between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports on the highlights of the Obama-McCain town hall tussle, and fellow White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has reaction from Republicans — along with the inside story about what the Obama camp is planning in the last month of the race.
Plus: American Morning’s John Roberts has the results of a survey measuring the immediate reaction by debate watchers. Find out who viewers thought won the critical face-off.
Roberts also speaks with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, about the foreign policy issues that came up Tuesday night, and what both candidates had to say about the global financial crisis.
While McCain and Obama were squaring off, die-hard Democrats and Republicans gathered together at debate parties across the country. Jason Carroll reports on what loyalists from both political parties thought about the rivals second face-off.
Finally, check out Jeanne Moos’ unique take on the second presidential debate.
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TAMPA, Florida (CNN) – Joe Biden said in Tampa Wednesday that the McCain camp has “chosen to appeal to fear” in the wake of the economic downturn and called recent comments by Sarah Palin about Barack Obama “outrageous inferences.”
Holding his first campaign rally in a week and a half, Biden said the McCain camp is trying “to take the low road to the highest office in the land,” and that they chose to ignore the “intellectually honest” options of dealing with the economic crisis.
“The one they have chosen is to appeal to fear with a veiled question, who is the real Barack Obama?” said Biden in the University of South Flordia’s Sun Dome arena. “To have a Vice Presidential candidate raise the most outrageous inferences – the ones that John McCain’s campaign is condoning – is simply wrong.”
Palin this week has repeatedly attacked Obama’s character, accusing him of “palling around with terrorists,” referring to Obama’s connection with the Weather Underground’s William Ayers.
“Folks, don’t be distracted, those attacks don’t hurt Barack Obama or me, they hurt you,” said Biden. “Every single false charge and baseless accusation is an attempt to get you to stop paying attention to what’s going on in this country. Beyond the attacks, what is John McCain really offering?”
The Delaware senator called McCain “an angry man lurching from one position to another” and applauded questioners at Tuesday night’s town hall debate for ignoring recent attacks by Republicans on Obama.
(CNN) – Barack Obama is holding a campaign event in Indiana this hour.
"Here in Indianapolis and all across America, you’re seeing your hours get cut or realizing that you can’t pay every bill that’s sitting on the kitchen counter," he will say according to prepared remarks. "It’s harder to make the mortgage or fill up your gas tank and some people don’t even know whether they’ll be able to keep the electricity on at the end of the month."
Watch the event CNN.com/live
Read Obama's full prepared remarks
(CNN) – John McCain launched a new television ad Wednesday morning that calls Barack Obama flat-out 'not presidential,' hours after the two men squared off in a presidential debate that notably lacked few pointed jabs from either candidate.
The 30-second spot also continues the McCain campaigns newest line of attack against the Democratic presidential candidate, asking "Who is Barack Obama?"
Watch: New Mccain aide calls Obama unpresidential
“The National Journal says he’s the Senate’s most liberal," the ad's narrator says. "How extreme. But when pressed, how does he defend himself?"
Fact check: Is Obama the most liberal senator?
"They’re not telling the truth," Obama is shown saying in a television interview. "I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a situation where folks are lying."
"Mr. Obama, we all know the truth…Not presidential," the ad's narrator responds.
The campaign says the ad will air nationally, though the extent of the buy remains unclear.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Under a mortgage rescue plan announced at the debate Tuesday night by Senator John McCain, much of the burden of paying to keep troubled borrowers in their homes will shift to taxpayers.
McCain's original plan called for lenders to write down the value of these mortgages, and take those losses. McCain unveiled the new $300 billion plan in response to the first question of the debate.
He said, "I would order the Secretary of Treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes, at the diminished values of those homes, and let people make those – be able to make those payments and stay in their homes."
(CNN) – Joe Biden held a campaign rally in Tampa earlier Wednesday, during which he stepped up his attacks on John McCain.
Americans aren't looking for an "angry man lurching from one position to another," he said.
(CNN) – Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said the so-called Bradley effect could cost Barack Obama several battleground states— and possibly the presidency.
Watch: Willie Brown on the Bradley effect
The political phenomenon that has afflicted some African-American politicians is mostly closely associated with the failed gubernatorial hopes of Tom Bradley, who was mayor of Los Angeles in 1982 when he ran for California’s highest political office. In the 1980s and early 1990s, polls in statewide or other high-profile races in which a white candidate was running against a black candidate typically overestimated the share of the vote that the black candidate ultimately received.
Because this affected black candidates like Tom Bradley in California, Douglas Wilder in Virginia, and David Dinkins in New York City, this has variously been known as the "Bradley effect," the "Wilder effect," or the "Dinkins effect." In the past 15 years or so, there is no indication that this phenomenon has been a factor in statewide races — but no national test, since Obama is the first African-American candidate with a legitimate chance at the White House.
Race “is still a problem in this country,” Brown told American Morning’s John Roberts. “It goes away when there are other troubles that are more challenging and right now, whether or not we survive in the economy is more challenging. But race could rear its ugly head. I just hope it doesn’t before November 4.”
Brown also said there’s “absolutely” a possibility that support for Obama is being overestimated in polls - and that race may cost Obama 4 or 5 percentage points in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia.