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.
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CNN: Boehner to make first major campaign speech on Friday
With a little over three weeks before the midterm elections, House Minority Leader John Boehner will deliver his first major campaign speech from his hometown in Ohio on Friday. The top House Republican, in an address planned at a small manufacturing company in West Chester, will argue that voters should reject the economic policies of Democrats running Washington and elect Republicans, who he says will make Congress more responsive to the American people.
CNN: Obama strategist: 2010 is no 1994
A chief political strategist for President Obama sought Thursday to dispel the idea the upcoming midterms are similar to the 1994 elections when Republicans swept Democrats out of power in Congress. But David Plouffe, who served as Obama's presidential campaign manager, acknowledged his party is up against "some headwinds" in the march towards November 2.
Los Angeles Times: An associate of Jerry Brown calls Meg Whitman a "whore" over pension reform
In a private conversation that was inadvertently taped by a voicemail machine, an associate of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown can be heard referring to his Republican opponent Meg Whitman as a "whore" for cutting a deal protecting law enforcement pensions as the two candidates competed for police endorsements.
Washington Post: Can Democrats spring an upset in Texas governor's race?
Democrats have a dream this year and it goes like this: It is election night. As the cable news networks' electronic maps run red with Republican victories, three of the nation's most populous states – California, Florida and Texas – turn instead to blue. Gubernatorial pickups in those Sunbelt states would bring a measure of satisfaction on what otherwise could be a bleak evening for Democrats. And heading into the final weeks of the campaign, the party has a chance of winning some or all of these races.
CNN: O'Donnell on the Maher tapes: 'I'm not saying that I'm proud...'
Delaware Republican senate candidate Christine O'Donnell says she's "matured" since her now well-known appearances on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher back in the 1990's. But she acknowledged in an exclusive interview with CNN that the resurfaced clips have forced her to reinvent herself in the final weeks of the campaign.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Gov. Ted Strickland and John Kasich keep it edgy in final gubernatorial debate
Charged up by a tightening race, Ohio's gubernatorial candidates tossed insults and caustic remarks at each other Thursday night as they offered dramatically different views on how to confront Ohio's problems in the second and final debate before the Nov. 2 election. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and his Republican rival, John Kasich, appeared eager to blast each other in the increasingly edgy race fueled by negative advertising and campaign attacks.
CNN: Paladino to Cuomo: 'debate like a man'
In a new ad , New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino accused Democratic candidate and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of excluding "the only African- American candidate, the only woman candidate and the Green Party candidate," from the gubernatorial race and challenged Cuomo to "come out and debate like a man."
CQ Politics: Manchin’s Message: I Won’t Be Democratic ‘Rubber Stamp’
Gov. Joe Manchin III ’s odd political dilemma in his bid to succeed the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D) was evident the minute he began speaking to the 55th annual gathering of a local Democratic club. Rather than delivering the standard Democratic campaign boilerplate, Manchin launched into well-rehearsed remarks assuring his audience that if elected on Nov. 2 he will not “rubber-stamp” President Barack Obama ’s agenda, that he opposes cap-and-trade legislation to regulate carbon output, and that he would work to repeal much — although not all — of the new health care law.
CNN: House ethics hearings on Rangel, Waters will be after elections
The House ethics committee will hold trial-like hearings on allegations against two Democratic members - Rep. Charles Rangel of New York and Rep. Maxine Waters of California - after the November 2 congressional elections in which both are running, the panel's chairwoman announced Thursday. A statement by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, who chairs the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, said the adjudication hearing for Rangel would be on November 15, and one for Waters would be on November 29.
CNN: Obama's plan to save Senate majority: Go west
President Barack Obama is planning a major campaign swing out West in the final days leading up to the midterm election because party leaders have privately come to the conclusion that control of the Senate could come down to the fate of three highly vulnerable incumbents in that region, according to senior Democratic officials.
CNN: Obama and Biden to help out Coons
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are heading to Delaware next week to try and keep Biden's old Senate seat in Democratic party hands. Obama and Biden will team up with New Castle County executive Chris Coons, the party's Senate nominee at a fundraiser in Wilmington on Friday, October 15, according to the Coons campaign. Next week's trip will be Biden's third visit to his home state to help Coon's bid.
The Hill: Biden: 'You’re the dullest audience I’ve ever spoken to'
Vice President Joe Biden got a laugh from his audience at a Wisconsin fundraising event Thursday when he tried to rile the crowd about the economic collapse of 2008. “We want to reward people who manufacture things in the United States, in Wisconsin, not to take them overseas to China and to other countries!” he said to a silent room at the event for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett. He continued, saying, “You’re the dullest audience I’ve ever spoken to," at which point he got applause and laughs. "Do you realize how many jobs Wisconsin lost? It’s staggering!"
CNN: Obama urges O'Malley supporters to get involved in Maryland
President Barack Obama on Thursday challenged young Democrats at an election rally for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, saying political pundits were predicting they lacked the enthusiasm of Republicans. "They say their followers are more energized," Obama told the rally at Bowie State University. "They say you might be willing to let the other folks who left the economy in a shambles go back to Annapolis and go back to Washington." Adding that he was betting on the young voters to prove the pundits wrong, Obama told the crowd: "Don't make me look bad."
CNN: Obama requests help for people who collapsed during speech
President Barack Obama interrupted a campaign speech twice on Thursday to seek help for people in the audience who collapsed. "I think we might have had somebody faint down here, so if we got the paramedics," Obama said about halfway through his remarks under bright afternoon sunshine at Bowie State University. "They'll be all right. Just make sure you give them some space. And if somebody has a bottle of water, you might want to give it to them."
CNN: White House: All Gulf oil spill information on hand was made public
The Obama administration made public all information available throughout the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday in response to a preliminary report that criticized how it handled the disaster. "This was an unprecedented environmental disaster met with an unprecedented federal response which prevented any of the worst-case scenarios from coming to fruition," Gibbs told reporters when asked about the report made public the previous day. "When we had information, we gave it to the public."
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CNN: Judge upholds provision in health care law requiring insurance
A federal judge in Michigan ruled Thursday that a controversial penalty provision in the Obama administration's health care law is constitutional. he issue, which is also before courts in Florida and Virginia, challenges the authority of Congress under the Commerce Clause to pass the requirement to purchase health insurance. “The minimum coverage provision, which addresses economic decisions regarding health care services that everyone eventually and inevitably will need, is a reasonable means of effectuating Congress's goal," Judge George Caram Steeh said in the ruling.
CNN Money: 1 million workers lose out on better coverage
Close to a million insured workers will lose out on a significant bump in insurance coverage promised by health reform next year. McDonald's (MCD, Fortune 500), Jack in the Box (JACK) and other companies won a one-year exemption from a new rule requiring them to raise the maximum amount of coverage they offer employees.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Top medical Groups circumvent Pawlenty
Frustrated by what they see as stonewalling by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office over preparations for federal health reform, three of Minnesota's most influential medical groups took matters into their own hands Thursday. After Pawlenty declined to send Washington a letter with several state agencies' recommendations for a key piece of the reform package, the medical groups got hold of a copy and sent it themselves.
CNN Money: 2010 deficit near $1.3 trillion
The federal government ran a deficit of nearly $1.3 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office. The Treasury Department will deliver the official deficit numbers later this month. According to CBO, the fiscal year 2010 deficit came in $125 billion below last year - the worst on record since World War II.
CNN: Senate report blasts Pentagon for handling of security contractors
A Senate report released Thursday rips into the Pentagon for failing to keep track of tens of thousands of private security contractors in Afghanistan, a failure that places both the mission and U.S. troops at grave risk. "The report describes a number of private security contractors funneling U.S. taxpayer dollars to Afghan warlords and strongmen who are linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery, pro-Talilban and anti-coalition activities," Armed Services Committee Carl Levin said at a briefing.
CNN: Proposed federal rules aimed at reducing commercial helicopter deaths
The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday proposed broad new rules for medical evacuation helicopters and more modest changes for other commercial choppers. The rules hope to turn a deadly tide that has marred the industry in recent years. In the air ambulance world - one devoted to saving lives by evacuating injured people or ferrying patients between hospitals - 28 crashes have resulted in 57 deaths since January 2008.
CNN: 23 arrested in human smuggling bust in NYC
Federal officers on Thursday arrested 23 people suspected of smuggling up to 70 men from China to work in Chinese restaurants in and around New York City. "We allege that this was a for-profit smuggling scheme," said Jim Hayes, Immigration and Custom Enforcement special agent in charge of the investigation. He told CNN that the men were brought into the United States by business owners and illegal recruiters, who would get families to pay a fee of up to $75,000 each.
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CNN: US officials say Pakistan agency backs terror fight, despite rogues
U.S. officials concede some members of Pakistan's spy service may be encouraging the Taliban to continue fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, but insisted there is no suggestion that the agency's leadership is behind the effort. The officials were reacting Thursday to a Wall Street Journal story, published a day earlier, that said officers from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency are pushing Taliban field commanders to fight against the United States and other NATO troops in Afghanistan.
CNN: Rescuers expect to reach Chilean miners by Saturday
Rescuers in Chile have just another 89 meters (292 feet) left to drill and are expected to break through into the area where 33 miners are trapped by Saturday, Chilean Mines Minister Laurence Golborne said Thursday. Depending on whether engineers decide to encase the rescue shaft with steel casing, the 33 miners could be extracted from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine within two to 10 days after breakthrough, Golborne added.
CNN: Zimbabwe prime minster rejects president's appointees
Zimbabwe's prime minister said Thursday he will not recognize President Robert Mugabe's appointments for attorney general and other positions, setting off a potential constitutional crisis. The appointments rejected by Morgan Tsvangirai include 10 ministers, six diplomats, five judges, the police chief and the governor of the central bank.
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New York Post: Bloomberg blasts idea of forcing businesses to offer paid sick days
Mayor Bloomberg today called a controversial proposal requiring all private businesses to offer paid sick days “disastrous to New York City.” Asked about a possible compromise being discussed among City Council members, Bloomberg said, “It would be a disaster if the government tries to get in to run small businesses.” “If they run the bars and restaurants, they'll try to run everything else. This is going down a path which is a terrible, terrible idea and would be disastrous to New York City.
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