October 7th, 2010
04:16 AM ET
4 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Thursday, October 7, 2010

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

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

CNN: Subpoenas issued in John Edwards' investigation
A "sizable" number of subpoenas have been issued in the investigation of former Sen. John Edwards, his attorney said. Wade Smith, the attorney, said Wednesday he did not know who asked for the subpoenas or who was summoned. However, Smith said he maintained Edwards is innocent and said they welcome the government scrutiny. A North Carolina federal grand jury has been investigating payments the former senator's campaign and supporters made to Rielle Hunter, his mistress who also worked as a videographer for his campaign.

CNN: O'Donnell meets with Cornyn in DC
CNN has learned that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell came to Washington on Wednesday to meet with National Republican Senatorial Chairman John Cornyn. It was their first face-to-face meeting since her upset victory 22 days ago. A senior NRSC official told CNN that O'Donnell met with Cornyn at NRSC headquarters, and agreed that a top NRSC aide would go to Delaware on Thursday to sit down with her campaign advisers to help with budgetary and other items.

Los Angeles Times: Obama reshapes administration for a fresh strategy
As President Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term: to advance his agenda through executive actions he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile Congress. A flurry of staff departures and promotions is playing out as the White House ends a nearly two-year period of intense legislative activity. Where the original staff was built to give Obama maximum clout in Congress, the new White House team won't need the same leverage with lawmakers.

Wall Street Journal: Democrats Face Pivotal Test in Midwest
The Midwest is increasingly looking like a troubled region for Democrats, a place where the battle for the House and Senate could be won or lost. Democrats are running into trouble in a cluster of states around Lake Michigan, plus Pennsylvania, which is demographically similar. Unlike other parts of the U.S. more closely identified with particular parties, the Midwest has emerged as a true swing area. And the Democratic tide that rolled in there during the past two elections looks set to roll back out.

CNN: Pelosi fires back at Gingrich over food stamps
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday strongly defended her party's support of the federal food stamp program – a day after former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich argued that GOP candidates should use the growing number of people on food stamps against Democrats on the campaign trail. At a press conference in her home town of San Francisco, Pelosi explained that the program's multiplier effect –the amount of money generated in the local economy as the result of the subsidy– far exceeds the nearly $60 billion spent this year by the federal government and is a sure-fire way to stimulate the economy. For every dollar a person receives in food stamps, Pelosi said that $1.79 is put back into the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites an even higher figure of $1.84.

CNN: McMahon on minimum wage
Accusations are flying over what Republican Senate nominee Linda McMahon meant when she said "we ought to look at those issues" in response to a question about reducing the minimum wage during a press conference last week. In an interview with CNN, Linda McMahon says she did not hear the question correctly. McMahon tells CNN, "I thought I was answering a question that I had heard that was about increasing the minimum wage – would I consider that. So let me just go on record and say this: I am not for decreasing the minimum wage. I did not say that and that is not something I would consider." When asked if she "misunderstood the question and misspoke" she replied, "yes."

CNN/Time Poll: 1 in 10 in Nevada say 'none of the above'
Nevada voters get to do what most Americans don't: They can vote for "none of the above." And a new survey in the deadlocked battle between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle indicates that one in ten Nevada voters are planning to do just that.

Kansas City Star: Low-key Senate race in Kansas stays outside the spotlight
A little more than a month before Election Day, U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Johnston, a Democrat, sits quietly in a Lenexa coffeehouse sipping iced tea and talking politics. No press aide or consultant is nearby. There are no campaign signs planted along the roadside or brightly colored bumper stickers in the parking lot. Johnston doesn’t even have a press release to distribute, or a rally to announce, or a TV commercial to defend.

Wall Street Journal: Tea Party Wants to Ambush More GOP Senators in 2012
Tea-party activists, keen to build on their success toppling GOP incumbents in primaries this year, are already targeting more Republican veterans in the 2012 election. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress, already has a conservative GOP primary opponent. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Indiana) have all drawn fire from the right wing of their party. Tea-party activists have put these and other incumbents on notice that the anti-establishment sentiment defining this year's politics will not end on Election Day 2010.

Politico: Hillary Clinton's world eyes 2016, not vice president
The new round of speculation that Hillary Clinton could replace Joe Biden as President Barack Obama’s running mate in 2012 misses the point. Clinton doesn’t want to be vice president. But, her old advisers say, she may still want to be president. And all the denials of author Bob Woodward’s hint at a Clinton-Obama ticket in 2012, the latest in a string of similar notions floated by pundits, miss another point: that speculation about Clinton’s future is likely to be an on-going cross to bear for the Obama administration, fanned by a retinue of former Clinton aides and friends who may not be happy until another Clinton is in the White House.

CNN: Administration criticized over oil spill estimates
The Obama administration vastly underestimated the tens of thousands of barrels of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, despite contrary information from scientists using better methodologies, a report from a national panel investigating the response said Wednesday. And, the report said, the White House Office of Management and Budget squelched higher worst-case estimates once government officials accepted them, preventing the public from hearing them.

The Hill: Lawmakers: Expand the Joint Chiefs
Lawmakers are renewing their push to put the head of the National Guard at the same table with the top military advisers to the president and secretary of Defense. Just before they left Washington, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation to elevate the chief of the National Guard Bureau to a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is made up of the military heads of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

NATIONAL
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CNN: Fewer than half of Americans oppose gay marriage, poll finds
Fewer than half of Americans oppose legalized same-sex marriage, according to a new poll on the issue released Wednesday, with significant shifts in public opinion on the issue just since last year. More Americans continue to oppose gay marriage than support it, according to the poll, which was released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. But for the first time since Pew starting asking about same sex marriage 15 years ago, fewer than half of those polled said they oppose legalizing the institution.

Washington Post: Panel close to deciding which costs health insurers can define as beneficial to patients
At first blush, the mandate in the new health-care law sounds simple: Starting next year, health insurers must use at least 80 to 85 percent of the premium dollars they collect to pay medical bills or otherwise improve their customers' health. But deciding which expenses insurers can include has been proving a monumental and controversial task for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an independent body made up of state insurance commissioners that the law tasked with advising the federal government on the issue.

CNN: Veterans group to protest deployment of wounded soldiers
A group of war veterans angry about what they call the unacceptable practice of deploying wounded soldiers back into war zones will hold a rally Thursday. The group, called Iraq Veterans Against the War, says it will gather in Washington D.C. outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Thursday morning, the ninth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The group will then march six miles to Capitol Hill.

INTERNATIONAL
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CNN: China and U.S. defense chiefs will meet, resume military ties
China and the United States will resume high-level defense talks next week, signaling a warming of relations since Beijing broke off military ties early this year. Chinese Defense Minister General Liang Guanglie and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will talk in Hanoi, Vietnam, while they attend a security forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Los Angeles Times: U.S. giving away too much, too early in Mideast peace talks, some say
Only a month into a new round of peace talks, the Obama administration is drawing criticism from allies and veteran diplomats that it is giving away too much just to keep negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians from collapsing. Administration officials have offered an assortment of inducements to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend a freeze on Jewish construction in the West Bank for two months. Palestinian officials have threatened to break off the talks unless Israel extends the freeze that expired Sept. 26.

Washington Times: Pakistan roadblock cuts off Taliban funds
The Pakistani government's decision to shut a key supply route for coalition convoys in Afghanistan also has cut off a source of income for Taliban militants and a trucking racket that reap big profits from a cross-border "protection." A subsequent spike in attacks on NATO fuel tankers is seen by some analysts as an attempt by this predominantly Pashtun trucking racket to collect more protection money for the convoys.

New York Times: Judge Bars Major Witness From Terrorism Trial
A federal judge barred prosecutors on Wednesday from using a crucial witness in the first trial of a former Guantánamo detainee, adding to the fierce debate over whether the government can successfully prosecute terrorist detainees in civilian court. The trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who faces charges in the 1998 bombings of two United States Embassies in East Africa, has been seen as a test of President Obama’s goal of moving many other detainees, like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, into federal court and, ultimately, closing Guantánamo.

CNN: Death toll rises to 91 in Indonesia flooding
The death toll has climbed to at least 91 dead and 68 missing in Indonesia, after flash floods that struck following torrential rains, officials said Thursday. At least 91 people have been injured, and more than 900 people have been displaced.

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

CNN: Ohio accuses Ally of 'fraudulent' foreclosures
Ally Financial and its subsidiary GMAC Mortgage are being sued by the Ohio Attorney General for allegedly submitting fraudulent documents in hundreds of foreclosure cases across the state. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Lucas County, comes after Ally halted foreclosures last week in Ohio and the 22 other U.S. states that require judicial approval of the process.

In Case You Missed It

Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions in Afghanistan on Jan. 25, 2008.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/06/natpkg.medal.honor.miller.cnn

Hillary Clinton denies President Obama is considering her as a running mate in 2012
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/06/borger.no.clinton.in.2012.cnn

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