October 18th, 2010
04:46 AM ET
3 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, October 18, 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.

Compiled by Greg Clary

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

CNN: Obama pleads with Democrats in Ohio, warns against GOP gains
President Obama pleaded with Democratic voters to keep hope alive and warned about Republicans making congressional gains in an Ohio speech Sunday that comes just weeks before the midterm elections. "Everybody said, 'No you can't' and in 2008 you showed them, 'Yes we can,' " Obama told tens of thousands of supporters at Ohio State University in Columbus. "In two weeks, you have the chance to say once again, 'Yes we can.'"

CNN: Can Democrats and Republicans work together after the election?
Bipartisanship is in the eye of the beholder, it seems, as Democrats and Republicans ponder how cooperation between them can improve after the upcoming congressional elections. The voting on November 2 is expected to diminish Democratic majorities in both chambers and perhaps cost them control of the House. Whatever the final tally, widespread voter dissatisfaction with the hostile political climate in Washington is evident.

CNN: Gibbs: Obama to focus on economy, education, already passed reforms
Facing the certainty of fewer Democrats in Congress, President Barack Obama will focus on strengthening the economy and trying to ensure its future stability, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday. Speaking on the NBC program "Meet the Press," Gibbs said Obama also will continue pushing for education reform and making sure that health care and Wall Street reforms are properly implemented.

CNN: Axelrod won't budge
Even though Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod contends that Republicans will win seats in the November elections, he still wasn't willing to budge Sunday on bipartisanship or extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts. "It's up to us to extend our hand (to Republicans) as we have before," Axelrod told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union." "It's up to them to decide whether they're going to take it or whether they're going to do what they've done for the last 2 years."

CNN: Alaskan reporter detained by security at Joe Miller event
A private security guard and a reporter from the Alaska Dispatch offered contradictory accounts of what led to the reporter being handcuffed at a town hall-style event for Senate candidate Joe Miller in Anchorage Sunday night. The reporter, Tony Hopfinger, said he was trying to ask Miller whether the candidate had ever gotten in trouble for politicking while working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008. At that point, private security guards hired by the Miller campaign bumped their chests into him and tried to prevent him for asking any more questions, Hopfinger said.

CNN: Senate debate in Kentucky devolves into a name-calling session
An ugly Senate campaign in Kentucky grew even uglier Sunday as Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul faced off in a debate that devolved into a name-calling session rather than a give-and-take on the issues facing the state's voters. The debate at the University of Louisville came a day after Conway, the state attorney general, released a television ad questioning Paul's values.

New York Times: A Washington Senator Fights to Keep Her Seat
Never mind Nevada. If you are among the party power brokers and political fortunetellers obsessed with America’s most elusive elected position, Senate seat No. 51, head to Washington — the real one. “It is the future of America that’s at stake here,” said Dino Rossi, the man who just might give the Republicans the Senate majority. “It is, as it’s been dubbed, the 51st seat, potentially.”

CNN: Debate displays differences between Colorado Senate candidates
Colorado voters have a clear choice in the state's upcoming Senate election, as demonstrated by a nationally televised debate Sunday. Republican Ken Buck, a conservative backed by the Tea Party movement, said in the debate broadcast on the NBC program "Meet the Press" that homosexuality is a choice and that he favors a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Buck's opponent, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, said the stimulus bill he voted for prevented a second Great Depression, and that some troops must come home from Afghanistan next year.

CNN: Collegians on O'Donnell and Coons: What debate? What witch?
The nation's comedians are following the Delaware Senate race, but are the state's college students doing so as well? …After Barack Obama's campaign famously focused on turning out the youth vote in 2008, political analysts have debated how large a role voters younger than 30 might play. So how much attention are young voters in Delaware paying to a political race that is perhaps one of the most closely followed in the nation? Perhaps not as much as the political parties might hope.

Charleston Post and Courier: Poll: Wilson leads Miller in priciest U.S. House race
Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and Democratic challenger Rob Miller could be headed for a repeat finish of their 2008 race as a new poll shows the congressman up by 7 points over the former Marine Corps captain in the nation's richest race. The 46 percent to 39 percent margin for Wilson in a poll commissioned by the Miller campaign roughly mirrors the 54 percent to 46 percent outcome when the two men faced off two years ago.

Financial Times: Republicans seek to frustrate health reform
It is no secret in Washington that Republicans’ campaign pledge to “repeal and replace” the Obama administration’s landmark healthcare law will be impossible to execute… .However, if Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives in November, as many polls suggest, they will have other options to try to delay implementation of the healthcare law and chip away at controversial provisions.

USA Today: Hundreds of tax issues on ballots this year
Voter anger about the size of government will be tested directly Nov. 2 in a series of sweeping statewide ballot measures that would dramatically slash taxes or, in a few cases, raise them. Nearly 100 statewide ballot measures on taxing and spending will dominate the list of ballot initiatives next month, reports the National Taxpayers Union, which advocates lower taxes. More than 450 local tax issues will be considered in 33 states, too.

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

CNN: Former surgeon general calls for marijuana legalization
Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders told CNN Sunday she supports legalizing marijuana. The trend-setting state of California is voting next month on a ballot initiative to legalize pot, also known as Proposition 19. The measure would legalize recreational use in the state, though federal officials have said they would continue to enforce drug laws in California if the initiative is approved.

Washington Post: New Post poll finds negativity toward federal workers
More than half of Americans say they think that federal workers are overpaid for the work they do, and more than a third think they are less qualified than those working in the private sector, according to a Washington Post poll. Half also say the men and women who keep the government running do not work as hard as employees at private companies.

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

CNN: NATO official: Bin Laden, deputy hiding in northwest Pakistan
Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said. "Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave," said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.

CNN: Official: New al Qaeda threat targets Europe, 'notably France'
Saudi Arabian intelligence services are warning of a new terrorist threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula targeting Europe, especially France, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in a radio interview Sunday. "Several days ago the Saudi services alerted their European counterparts that there was a terrorist threat on the continent, notably in France, coming from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," Hortefeux told RTL Radio. The message indicated the branch of al Qaeda was active or about to become active in Europe.

BBC: Pentagon braces for new Iraq war Wikileaks publication
The US military has assembled a 120-member team to prepare for the expected publication of some 400,000 Iraq war documents on the Wikileaks website. The documents are thought to concern battle activity, Iraqi security forces and civilian casualties. The Pentagon said it wants the documents back to avoid potentially damaging information being released.

CNN: Chavez heads to Iran on diplomatic tour
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is set to arrive in Iran Monday night to discuss the expansion of relations between the two countries, according to Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency. His visit comes on the heels of stops in the Russian Federation and Belarus, where the Venezuelan leader signed economic cooperation deals, which included an agreement with Moscow to build Venezuela's first nuclear power plant.

CNN: Death toll rises to 30 from China coal mine leak
The death toll from a coal mine gas leak in central China rose to 30 Monday after rescue workers discovered four more bodies, state media said Monday. Seven others remain trapped underground, but their chances of survival are slim, rescue crews fear. More than 2,500 metric tons of coal dust smothered the pit after the gas leak, hampering efforts to reach the miners, said Du Bo, deputy chief of the rescue headquarters.

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

Bloomberg: U.S. Bank Earnings Face Mortgage Scrutiny as $49 Billion in Value Vanishes
Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., set to report earnings this week, face investors groping for answers after evidence of flawed foreclosure documents triggered a selloff of U.S. bank stocks. The banks plus JPMorgan Chase & Co. saw $49.3 billion in market value shaved off in the three days ended Oct. 15 amid concern that rising costs of faulty foreclosures will eat into profits. JPMorgan set aside $2.3 billion of reserves to cover mortgage repurchases or litigation expenses, including some for “mortgage-related matters,” the lender said Oct. 13.

In Case You Missed It

Candy's wrap up of State of the Union's look at money and politics with David Axelrod, Gary Bauer, Evan Tracey and Michael Duff.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/10/17/sotu.post.game.10.17.cnn

CNN's Candy Crowley and her team watch the other Sunday morning shows so you don't have to.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/10/17/sotu.sound.of.sunday.10.17.cnn

Subscribe to the CNN=Politics DAILY podcast at http://www.cnn.com/politicalpodcast

And now stay posted on the latest from the campaign trail by downloading the CNN=Politics SCREENSAVER at http://www.CNN.com/situationroom


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