October 13th, 2010
04:30 AM ET
8 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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

For the latest political news:  www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Obama tries to rally young supporters for November elections
Trying to rally young supporters three weeks before congressional elections, President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that they were the best messengers to persuade voters to choose his agenda instead of Republican policies. "When they hear those things from you directly, that has more credibility than any television ad," Obama told a crowd at George Washington University and people watching online in an event organized by the Democratic National Committee. "You are the most powerful messengers possible. And that's how democracy ultimately should work."

CNN: Gibbs calls for disclosure of campaign funding donors
Groups spending millions on campaign ads against Democrats without having to reveal their donors were supplanting the Republican National Committee and threatening American democracy, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. "They're going to impact this election ... and nobody knows who they are," Gibbs said. "I think that's a threat to the democracy that we have in this country."

CQ Politics: Smaller Blue Dog Pack Will Need New Leaders
The fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition is headed for a major transition after the November elections, with the retirement of key founding member Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and many of the group’s remaining members under siege. “We don’t know what the leadership positions will be like, because we don’t know the outcome of the election,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a senior Blue Dog who said the group could conceivably lose half of its 54 members in a Republican wave.

CNN: Schwarzenegger endorses Crist
Florida's independent Gov. Charlie Crist has received another endorsement in his bid for the state's open Senate seat. This one came from California's Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger endorsed Crist via Twitter, writing "Our country needs someone like him in DC right now." Crist responded in a statement to supporters, acknowledging Schwarzenegger's bipartisan work on environmental issues and thanking him for his support.

CNN: New ads for Fiorina
Carly Fiorina, the Republican Senate nominee in California, released two ads Tuesday with the same message: her Democratic opponent, three-term incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer, represents the failures in Washington and she represents change. Each 30-second spot, intended to target independent voters starts with Californians interviewed by the campaign about the problems they see with Boxer and Washington.

San Jose Mercury: Even in true blue California, Democrats face strong headwinds
Just two years ago, after Barack Obama trounced John McCain in California by more than 3 million votes, all indications were that the Golden State had lunged irreversibly to the left. Democrats controlled the Legislature and most statewide elected offices. The party stormed to a 13-point voter registration lead over the GOP. Even the Republican governor had spent the previous two years governing like a Democrat, with an agenda dominated by health care and anti-global warming legislation. So in next month's election, is California poised to elect Democrats to its top seats, beat back a conservative effort to suspend its landmark climate change legislation (Proposition 23), and legalize pot (Proposition 19) for good measure? Not so fast.

CNN: Tea Party Express says they'll target Barney Frank
Tea Party Express says they'll add Rep. Barney Frank to their list of lawmakers they're targeting in November's midterm elections. The national Tea Party organization Tuesday announced that it will go up with ads against the 15-term Democratic congressman from Massachusetts and will hold a rally in the state near the end of their upcoming cross-country bus tour.

Politics Daily: Under Fire From Democrats, Chamber of Commerce Helps Blue Dogs
Republicans and their allies in business are howling that a Democratic charge that "secret foreign money" is fueling GOP campaigns is a dog that just won't hunt. Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is helping conservative Blue Dog Democrats in a bid to prove it is bipartisan after all. The powerful business lobby quietly began running ads last week in the congressional districts of 10 endangered Democrats who opposed President Obama's health-care bill or have parted ways on taxes and other fiscal issues with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

CNN: Angle reveals eye-popping fundraising haul
Nevada Republican Sharron Angle's Senate campaign announced a massive third quarter fundraising haul on Tuesday, potentially positioning the Tea Party candidate for an ad-heavy push weeks ahead of the midterm elections. Angle's campaign brought in $14 million between July and September, spokesman Jarrod Agen told CNN.

CNN: Palin raises bank
As rumors swirl about whether she will launch a presidential bid, Sarah Palin had a very successful fundraising quarter. According to new Federal Election Commission disclosure forms, the former Alaska governor raised more than $1.2 million, from July through the end of September. Her political action committee, SarahPAC now has almost $1.3 million cash on hand.

St. Paul Star Tribune: Bachmann rakes in unprecedented $5.4 million since July
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign has raised about $5.4 million since July, campaign spokesman Sergio Gor said Tuesday night. That's more than any Minnesota congressional candidate has raised in an entire election - Bachmann took in 3.5 million in 2008. The $5 million boost brings Bachmann's fundraising total this cycle to just about $10 million.

CNN: Dem gov candidate: health care reform could be 'toxic' in 2012
Oregon's Democratic candidate for governor said Tuesday that President Obama's health care reform bill will be a "toxic" issue in 2012 unless states are given the opportunity to address the problem of rising medical costs. Former Gov. John Kitzhaber, a physician and a lead architect Oregon's state run health program, is seeking his old job back this year after serving two terms from 1995 to 2003. He narrowly leads his GOP opponent, former NBA player Chris Dudley, in recent polls – an unexpectedly tight race in a Democratic-leaning state that's become a top target for national Republicans.

McClatchy DC: Dissin' cousins? Obama, Limbaugh and Palin are related
Rush Limbaugh calls President Barack Obama "imam," even though he knows the president isn't a Muslim. Sarah Palin has openly doubted the president's "cojones." Turns out these two conservative firebrands have been dissin' their own cousin. The online genealogy service Ancestry.com now reports that Obama and Palin are 10th cousins, and Obama and Limbaugh are 10th cousins once removed. In both cases, the ties date to the 1600s.

Denver Post: Amendment 63 looks to capitalize on health care controversy
Backers of Amendment 63, which would change Colorado's constitution to make health care choice a right, hope voters in an anti-big-government mood will see the initiative that way and vote "yes." Opponents are counting on amendment-weary voters' taking a closer look and rejecting an amendment that they view as so murky in its wording that it would set off a flurry of lawsuits and would ultimately increase costs for all Coloradans.

For the latest national news:  www.CNN.com

CNN: Judge orders military to stop enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell'
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the U.S. military to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, putting an end to the ban on openly gay troops. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' permanent worldwide injunction - praised by gay rights organizations - orders the military "immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced" under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

CNN: Justice Department to appeal same-sex marriage ruling
The Obama Justice Department filed a notice of appeal Tuesday declaring its intention to appeal a U.S. District Court ruling that a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act also allows states to ignore same-sex marriages performed in other states.

CNN: Obama administration lifts deep-water drilling moratorium
The Obama administration is lifting the moratorium on deep-water oil drilling - put in place after the Gulf oil spill disaster - for operators who comply with tough new rules and regulations, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday. "There will always be risks associated with deep-water drilling," Salazar said. "We have reached a point where we have significantly reduced those risks."

Politico: USS Cole attack survivors angry at Obama
The 10th anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole on Tuesday conjured up painful memories for the families of the 17 Navy sailors who died in the terrorist attack, but it also revealed simmering anger at the Obama administration over the lack of concrete progress in bringing an alleged perpetrator to justice. In February 2009, less than three weeks after his inauguration, President Barack Obama held an emotional meeting with family members of victims of the Cole bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Families said the new president promised swift action yet pleaded for their patience so his aides and Congress could overhaul the military commission system – which federal courts twice invalidated during the Bush administration.

New York Times: Rhee, Washington Schools Chancellor, to Resign
Michelle A. Rhee, the Washington schools chancellor whose confrontations with the teachers’ union made her a polarizing symbol in school reform battles nationwide, is stepping down, a city official said. Her position had been in doubt since last month’s Democratic primary, in which her approach was an issue that divided the city largely on racial lines. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s strong support of the chancellor was a factor in his loss to Vincent C. Gray, the chairman of the City Council.

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CNN: Rescue of miners under way in Chile
Their return heralded by a siren's blare and the relieved cries of a happy nation, the first of 33 miners began emerging into a cool desert night early Wednesday after being trapped underground for 69 harrowing days. Florencio Avalos was the first to make the bumpy 16-minute ride to the surface as eager family members and anxious strangers watched from around the world the developments at the San Jose mine. He emerged wearing green coveralls, blinking in the bright lights and to the cheers and applause of the rescue team.

CNN: China has one of world's deadliest records for miners
As much of the world watched the dramatic rescue of trapped miners in Chile, some in China wondered whether their country would have gone to such lengths. …China, one of the world's largest producers and consumers of coal, has one of the world's deadliest records for miners as well. News of the injury and deaths of miners appears regularly in state media. Other reports include tainted air and water, and weakened dams because of questionable mining tactics.

CNN: China: We're no threat to our neighbors
China isn't a military threat to its neighbors, the nation's defense minister told his counterparts at a security forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates tread lightly at the same gathering Tuesday in Vietnam, referring to territorial disputes and aggressiveness, but avoiding direct criticism of China.

CNN: Air Force chief: Airstrikes still very much restricted
The marked increase in airstrikes in Afghanistan does not mean the more restrictive airstrike policy put in place by ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been rolled back by the new commander, the U.S. Air Force chief of staff said Tuesday. "The truth of the matter is we have 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. And additional operations suggest that there will be additional air operations as well." Gen. Norton Schwartz said at the National Press Club.

USA Today: Civilian casualties in Afghanistan fall sharply
The number of civilians killed or injured by coalition airstrikes has dropped dramatically over the past several years, despite an increase in fighting in Afghanistan. Coalition airstrikes caused 88 civilian casualties this year, down from 169 during the same period in 2008, according to coalition statistics. The numbers include both killed and injured. U.S. and allied commanders have made a reduction of civilian casualties a centerpiece of their strategy in Afghanistan, where an accidental death or injury often creates more enemies.

CNN: Mexican investigator in Falcon Lake case is beheaded, officials say
The lead Mexican investigator in the Falcon Lake case, Rolando Armando Flores Villegas, has been killed, his severed head delivered Tuesday in a suitcase to the Mexican military, officials told CNN. "His head was delivered to the army garrison this morning in a suitcase after he failed to report back home last night," Zapata County, Texas, Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr. said.

For the latest business news:  www.CNNMoney.com

CNN Money: Fed signals next move could come soon
The Federal Reserve appears ready to take additional steps soon to try to jump start the economy, but there is sharp disagreement among policymakers on the best course of action. Minutes of its Sept. 21 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee appeared to lay the groundwork to take action, possibly as soon as its next meeting on Nov. 2 and 3. "Several members noted that unless the pace of economic recovery strengthened or underlying inflation [rose] ....they would consider it appropriate to take action soon," according to the minutes.

New York Times: Rising Corn Prices Bring Fears of an Upswing in Food Costs
First it was heat and drought in Russia. Then it was heat and too much rain in parts of the American Corn Belt. Extreme weather this year has sent grain prices soaring, jolting commodities markets and setting off fears of tight supplies that could eventually hit consumers’ wallets. In the latest market lurch, corn prices dropped in early October, then soared anew, in response to changing assessments by the federal government of grain supplies and coming harvests.

In Case You Missed It

Robert Gibbs talks about lifting of a moratorium on offshore drilling and the anniversary of the USS Cole bombing.

31-year-old Florencio Avalos is the first of 33 trapped miners to surface after 68 days trapped underground.

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