August 26th, 2010
04:46 AM ET
4 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Thursday, August 26, 2010

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The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Murkowski: 'It ain't over yet, folks'
Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed Wednesday "it ain't over yet," as she pinned her hopes for a comeback in the Alaska Republican primary on thousands of absentee votes still to be counted. In a political stunner, Murkowski finds herself trailing little known challenger Joe Miller for the GOP nomination by nearly 1500 votes, 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. But the results aren't final, with absentee and mail-in votes still out.

McClatchy: One thing primaries proved: All politics is local
She should have seen this coming. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is on the verge of becoming the seventh member of Congress ousted in a primary this year — caught in a swirl of political forces combining national angst about Washington with local issues and personalities that are defying conventional wisdom.

CNN: Quayle still on the attack in Arizona
Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, doubled down Wednesday on his attack of President Obama. Speaking to reporters a day after capturing the Republican nomination for Congress in Arizona's 3rd district, Quayle declared, "I really have about eight words to share with you, and that is: Barack Obama is the worst president in history." And he warned the Obama administration that the "counterattack starts now."

The Hill: McCain faces choice after victory
Now that Sen. John McCain has won Arizona’s Republican primary, the question is whether the senator will move back toward the political center. McCain shifted positions on a range of issues, including campaign finance reform and immigration, in taking on former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) in a Senate primary. The strategy worked, as McCain on Tuesday won a resounding victory.

Burlington Free Press: Vermont primary voter turnout better than expected
Summer-long fears of a vote without voters proved groundless Tuesday, as more than 100,000 people participated in the state primary. The turnout — about 23 percent of 440,000 registered voters — was almost three times that of two years ago and the most since 122,437 voters participated in 2000.

ABC News: Sarah Palin's Batting Average
If the game of political endorsements was measured in baseball terms, Sarah Palin would be batting almost .580,* although like any player, she’s had her winning streaks and she’s had her slumps.

CNN: Scott: No limit on personal spending
Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott captured the GOP nomination at considerable personal expense, spending $38 million of his own money on his primary bid, and when asked Wednesday if there is any limit to the funds he will invest to win the general election, Scott said "no."

CNN: Obama to make 'back to school' speech next month
President Barack Obama will deliver his second annual "back to school" speech to the nation next month, the White House announced Wednesday. Last year, Obama's plan to address students prompted accusations from conservatives that it was intended to push a partisan agenda. Some school administrators decided to show the president's speech, but others did not. A number left the decision in the hands of individual teachers.

Politico: Democrats privately fear House prospects worsening
Top Democrats are growing markedly more pessimistic about holding the House, privately conceding that the summertime economic and political recovery they were banking on will not likely materialize by Election Day.

New York Times: Shaping Tea Party Passion Into Campaign Force
On a Saturday in August when most of the political class has escaped this city’s swelter, 50 Tea Party leaders have flown in from across the country to jam into a conference room in an office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, apparently unconcerned that the fancy address does not guarantee air-conditioning on weekends. They have come to learn how to take over the country, voter by voter. … This is a three-day “boot camp” at FreedomWorks, the Washington advocacy group that has done more than any other organization to build the Tea Party movement.

U.S. News & World Report: Tea Party Group Hit With Death Threats
One of Washington's principal supporters of the Tea Party movement, former GOP Majority Leader Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, has been receiving death threats and profanity-laced phone calls as it gets involved in the fall elections. The number and intensity have reached such heights that the organization is leaving its downtown location near the FBI and moving to a high-security building near the U.S. Capitol.

Washington Post: Glenn Beck rally will be a measure of the tea party's strength
When Fox News and talk radio host Glenn Beck comes to Washington this weekend to headline a rally intended to "restore honor" to America, he will test the strength – and potentially expose the weaknesses – of a conservative grass-roots movement that remains an unpredictable force in the country's politics.

CNN: Tom DeLay's trial will be in Travis County, Texas
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, accused of money laundering, will get a fair trial in Austin, a Texas judge ruled Wednesday. Senior Judge Pat Priest's ruling did not please DeLay's attorney, who said "heavily Democratic" Travis County has a "strong anti-Tom DeLay feeling." The Travis County prosecutor has charged DeLay with illegally funneling corporate campaign contributions.

The State: Sheheen takes on the issues
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen considers himself pro-life. He says South Carolina’s illegal-immigration law, which he supported, is stronger than Arizona’s. And he supports much of federal health care reform. But Sheheen, a Kershaw County state senator, said if elected governor he would leave the decision to pursue a pending lawsuit over health care reform to the state’s next attorney general.

NATIONAL
For the latest national news: www.CNN.com

CNN: Family members of 9/11 victims support and denounce NYC Islamic center
A coalition of at least 40 religious and civic organizations Wednesday announced the creation of an alliance to show support for the Islamic community center and mosque proposed to be built near New York's ground zero.

CNN: Stabbed cab driver to call for end to anti-Muslim rhetoric
A New York cab driver who was allegedly stabbed after a passenger learned he was Muslim will address the media Thursday afternoon at a news conference on the steps of City Hall….At the news conference, Sharif will call for an end to anti-Muslim rhetoric that has followed the proposed construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque.

Washington Post: Majority of Marines oppose sharing sleeping quarters with gays, commandant says
The overwhelming majority of Marines oppose sharing sleeping quarters with openly serving gays and lesbians, an obstacle if Congress lifts the ban on gays in the military, the top Marine said Tuesday.

CNN: Cyberattack in 2008 prompted new Pentagon cyberdefense plan
An infected flash drive put in a U.S. military laptop in 2008 set off the most significant cyberattack ever against the military and brought a turning point in cyberdefense strategy, a top defense official wrote in an article published Wednesday.

USA Today: Food-safety experts: Finding an outbreak's source not easy
Government food-safety experts say they are in a tough spot when it comes to publicly fingering a product or company in an outbreak such as the one currently linked to a half-billion eggs distributed across the USA.

CNN: Military loses control of helicopter drone near Washington
A military test facility in southern Maryland lost control of an unmanned helicopter for about 20 minutes this month before reestablishing its communications and returning it to the airfield it took off from, a U.S. navy spokesman said. …The aircraft traveled about 23 miles and entered National Capitol Region restricted air space, but never got closer than 40 miles to Washington.

Washington Post: Lawyers taking center stage in oil-spill investigation
They go wall to wall in a Hilton hotel conference room, sitting at long tables that face the outnumbered investigators assigned to find the cause of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster. …The investigation, a joint operation by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, is supposed to help the government determine what went wrong and recommend reforms. But the hearings have largely been taken over by lawyers for the major players in the disaster – including BP, rig owner Transocean and the contractor for the cement job, Halliburton – who are trying to prepare for what are sure to be many civil trials to come.

The Arizona Republic: Feds demand Arpaio cooperate with investigation
The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday demanded that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office agree to cooperate by the end of the week with its civil-rights probe, according to a letter obtained by The Republic.

INTERNATIONAL
For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com

CNN: 72 bodies found in Mexico were immigrants, officials say
Seventy-two bodies discovered at a ranch in northeast Mexico belonged to migrants who were making their way toward the United States, Mexican officials said Wednesday.

New York Times: Coordinated Attacks Strike 13 Iraqi Cities
Insurgents unleashed a wave of coordinated attacks across Iraq on Wednesday in a demonstration of their ability to strike at will, offering their counterpoint to American aspirations of bringing the war in Iraq “to a responsible end.”

CNN: Schoolgirls and teachers sick from poison gas in Afghanistan
Dozens of schoolgirls and teachers were sickened Wednesday by poison gas in Afghanistan, medical and government officials said. The latest incident, this one at a high school, is the ninth such case involving the poisoning of schoolgirls, said Asif Nang, spokesman for the nation's education ministry.

New York Times: Key Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A.
The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials. Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington.

Washington Times: U.S.-India nuclear pact clears first legislative hurdle
The lower house of the Indian Parliament brought the U.S.-India nuclear deal close to operational status Wednesday by passing the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, laying down how much damages foreign nuclear-equipment suppliers could have to pay in the event of an accident.

CNN: North Korean leader reported to be in China
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is visiting China, the South Korean JoongAng Daily reported Thursday, citing a South Korean government official. …The official said Seoul did not understand the purpose of the visit nor did the government know whom Kim planned to contact.

CNN: U.N. peacekeepers cite delay in learning of mass rape in Congo
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo did not know about a rebel attack and mass rape in that region until more than a week after the events took place, a U.N. peacekeeping mission official said Wednesday.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com

CNN Money: New home sales drop 12.4% to record low
New home sales unexpectedly fell in July to the lowest level on record as the housing market continued to suffer from the end of the homebuyer tax credit boost. … Commerce started tracking new home sales in 1963.

New York Times: Despite Reform, Banks Have Room for Risky Deals
When Congress passed a new financial regulation bill last month, it sought to prevent federally insured banks from making speculative bets using their own money. But that will not stop banks from making bets that some critics deem risky, even as the rules go into effect over the next few years.

Bloomberg: China Shuns U.S. for Foreign Investment, Heritage Foundation Report Shows
China’s direct investment in the U.S. plunged in the first half even as its overall foreign acquisitions rose to a record, underscoring the nation’s efforts to diversify its portfolio, according to the Heritage Foundation. China’s non-bond investments in the U.S. slumped 47 percent to $1.6 billion, while those in the rest of the world surged 34 percent to $29 billion, Derek Scissors, a Washington-based senior fellow for the group, said in a telephone interview Aug. 25.

USA Today: Wal-Mart wants women's pay class-action suit thrown out
Wal-Mart asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to throw out a class-action lawsuit against it that the retailer says is the largest employment suit ever. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April that Wal-Mart should face charges in court that it pays women less than men for the same jobs. The lawsuit, which covers all female workers at Wal-Mart since 1998, could cost the company billions if it loses.

In Case You Missed It

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on the increasing political might of Sarah Palin.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/08/26/pkg.tuchman.palin.popular.ak.cnn

CNN's Rick Sanchez talks to Jeff Greene about his primary defeat in Florida. Is he a sore loser?
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/08/25/ricks.jeff.greene.intv.cnn

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