October 22nd, 2010
05:05 AM ET
4 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Friday October 22, 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: Campaign swing takes Obama to California, Nevada
President Barack Obama will wake up in San Francisco on Friday amid a five-state, four-day tour aimed at propping up embattled key Senate incumbents. Obama will fly to Los Angeles to attend a fundraiser luncheon at the University of Southern California for Sen. Barbara Boxer and former Gov. Jerry Brown, before delivering remarks at a Democratic National Committee rally at USC's Alumni Park.

CNN: Obama heading to four key states, including Illinois, final weekend
As President Obama stumps here in the West for several Senate incumbents in deep trouble, Democratic officials revealed Thursday he will shift his attention to the Midwest and Northeast in the final weekend of the midterm election. Obama will headline four major rallies for the Democratic National Committee in the final stretch, starting Saturday Oct. 30 in Philadelphia and Bridgeport. Pennsylvania and Connecticut have Senate battles that are simply too close to call, as well as competitive gubernatorial battles.

CNN: Obama ads courts Hispanic vote
Hispanic voters will be hearing President Barack Obama's voice urging them to vote in the final days leading up to the November 2nd election, thanks to new television and radio ads paid for by the Democratic National Committee. The ads, which will air nationally on the Spanish media network Univision, are part of a $1 million campaign by the DNC to reach out to Hispanic voters.

CNN: Obama says he should have advertised policies better
President Barack Obama told a friendly backyard gathering on Thursday that he was so focused on getting the policy right on helping the economy recover that he didn't devote enough energy to advertising the benefits. Asked about the negative perception many Americans have about signature legislation of his first two years in office, Obama said opponents of reform fought hard against it and he could have done more to sell it.

Wall Street Journal: Issa Says GOP Oversight Won't Be Overbearing
Detractors portray him as a Republican pit bull-in-waiting who will lunge for the Democrats' jugular if his party wins the House in next month's election. Rep. Darrell Issa wants to bury that notion. He said he won't pepper the Obama White House with subpoenas and showboat hearings if he becomes chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. "That's not my plan at all," the California Republican said in an interview.

CNN: California governors race to the finish
The latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California has Attorney General Jerry Brown running 8 points ahead of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman among likely voters in the race to be the state's next governor, but a sizable number 16 percent remain undecided. The poll shows Brown with a 15 point lead among women and a 29 point lead among Latinos. Whitman has a one point advantage among independents with 19 percent undecided.

CNN: Republican heavy weights to Ohio
Big Republicans are coming out for Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich next week. Governors Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota will headline a rally on October 29. The three governors are also considered potential 2012 presidential candidates. Another possible 2012 candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, will campaign for Kasich next Tuesday.

The State: New poll shows Haley ahead but race tightening
Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley has lost half her lead over Democratic rival Vincent Sheheen in the past month, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday. Support for Haley is below 50 percent for the first time since a July 29{+t}{+h} Rasmussen survey. But the poll shows Haley still leads Sheheen by nine percentage points, mirroring a Winthrop University poll released last week. Undecided voters comprised 11 percent of those polled.

CNN: Clinton uses sports to get out the vote
Former President Bill Clinton's advice to voters in Maryland? Treat this election like a sports game. "If you look at the facts, if you treat this like it's a report on ESPN instead of the crazy food fight financed by secret special interests," Clinton said. "(If) you look at the facts, the tale of two governors leads you to the inevitable conclusion: I think we ought to keep Martin O'Malley." Clinton, who was in Maryland Thursday at a rally for incumbent Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, said Americans should look at the facts as closely in this election as they do in the World Series.

Politico: Did the tea party bail on Miller?
A Tea Party Express representative denied Thursday evening that they were backing off their endorsed candidate, Alaska Republican Joe Miller, despite only spending $17,685 since the primary. The California-based Tea Party Express spent almost $600,000 ahead of the Aug. 24 GOP primary and is widely credited with giving its endorsed candidate, Miller, a vital boost to defeat Sen. Lisa Murkowski. However, it appears the conservative group’s presence has been minimal in the state since Miller won the primary, even while polls show the GOP nominee in a dead heat with Murkowski, who is running a write-in campaign to keep her seat.

Washington Post: Congressional hopefuls avoid media, events at 11th hour of elections
With less than two weeks before the midterm elections, candidates all across the nation are doing . . . not much of anything? Congressional hopefuls from California to Delaware are shunning the traditional trappings of campaigns, avoiding public events, debates and other venues where they can't control the action. Many are keeping their schedules secret and limiting their in-person appearances and have canceled interviews on national television in favor of smaller, friendlier venues.

CNN: Gay conservatives target gay congressman
A political group of gay conservatives will begin airing ads against a handful of Democratic candidates on Monday, including a spot against openly gay Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts. In a statement, GOProud declares that this is "the first time ever a national gay organization is airing a television advertising campaign going after Democrats."

CNN: FBI investigates toxic powder sent to Arizona congressman
The FBI is investigating a toxic substance found inside a package that was sent to the office of Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, a spokesman for the congressman said. Staffers checking mail in the congressman's Tucson, Arizona, office Thursday found a white powdery substance and drawings of two swastikas inside an envelope, Grijalva campaign spokesman Adam Sarvana told CNN. The Tucson Fire Department confirmed the substance inside the envelope was toxic, he said.

Huffington Post: RUINING CHRISTMAS: 1.2 Million Will Lose Benefits By Year's End Unless Congress Acts
If Congress fails to reauthorize extended unemployment benefits by the end of November, it will spoil the holidays for 1.2 million people, according to the National Employment Law Project. "The program deadline falls in the midst of the holiday season, when unemployed families do their best to put food on the table and hold on to their family traditions," said NELP in a release. "It's also a time when the economy, especially the retail sector, is counting on consumer spending - supported in part by unemployment benefits - to maintain the recovery."

NATIONAL
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Gates narrows who can OK discharges under 'don't ask, don't tell'
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has raised the level at which gay and lesbian troops can be discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, ordering that it only be done by the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force, a senior Defense Department attorney said Thursday. In addition, the senior defense attorney hinted that the Pentagon is preparing for the possibility that the policy banning openly homosexual soldiers could change through the U.S. courts.

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

CNN: UN: 138 dead after cholera outbreak in Haiti
Haitian Health Ministry officials have informed the World Health Organization that 138 deaths are a part of a fast-moving cholera outbreak north of Port-au-Prince, a U.N. official said. Imogen Wall, the U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman in Haiti, said that in addition to the deaths, 1,526 cases are also part of the outbreak. All the cases have been reported in the Lower Artibonite region, north of Port-au-Prince, she said. "This is a situation that's developed very quickly. It's only been 48 hours and we've already got 138 deaths confirmed," Wall told CNN.

CNN: French police end refinery blockade as pension bill protests continue
French police ended the blockade of an oil refinery near Paris early Friday morning as protests against government plans to raise the retirement age continued. Members of the Gendarmerie Nationale instructed strikers to free the refinery at 3:15 a.m. (9:15 p.m. ET Thursday) and encountered no resistance, a police spokesman said. Strikers continue to protest in front of the refinery, the spokesman said. More than a million people have turned out nationwide to protest the proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, a move the French government says is necessary to save money.

CNN: American freed by Iran arrives home
Reza Taghavi, an Iranian-American detained for more than two years in Iran, returned to the United States Thursday evening. The retired businessman from Orange County, California, was released Saturday. He had been held in Iran's notorious Evin prison since May 2008 on suspicion of supporting an anti-regime group. Taghavi's lawyer, Pierre-Richard Prosper, had been negotiating Taghavi's release since September 2009.

CNN: Singapore might cane American who overstayed visa
An American businessman could face three strokes with a cane for overstaying his visa in Singapore, his legal defense team said Friday. Kamari Charlton, 37, also could face a six-month jail sentence if convicted. Charlton was about to leave Singapore with his pregnant wife when he was arrested at the airport on September 1, said Arun Maaran of Charlton's defense team. He's been in jail since.

CNN: China confirms president's visit to the U.S.
China's Foreign Ministry has confirmed for the first time that President Hu Jintao will visit the United States early next year. The trip will be "profound and far-reaching for bilateral ties," state-run media reported, saying that preparations have begun for the visit. "China and the United States have maintained close communications about the visit, which will be very important and will bring far-reaching influence for bilateral relations in new era," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Thursday, according to China Daily.

CNN: Two U.S. air marshals flee Brazil after being charged with assault
Two U.S. air marshals who arrested the wife of a Brazilian judge on a flight to Rio de Janeiro - and were themselves arrested and had their passports confiscated by Brazilian authorities - fled the country using alternate travel documents rather than face what they believed to be trumped-up charges, sources said. The incident has impacted air marshal operations on flights to Brazil, officials said, and air marshals contacted by CNN said the case raises questions about Brazil's willingness to support future law enforcement actions by U.S. officials on international flights.

BBC: G20 finance ministers meet in South Korea
Finance ministers from the G20 leading economies are meeting in Gyeongju, South Korea, ahead of a summit by heads of state and government next month. Continuing tensions over exchange rates are likely to dominate proceedings. China is resisting pressure to allow the yuan to appreciate significantly, and many developing countries also fear a currency rise could hit exports.

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

Wall Street Journal: Employer Credit Checks on Job Seekers Draw Scrutiny
Checking the credit histories of job applicants—a common practice among employers—is coming under fire. Four states have passed laws in the past three years that limit the practice, and similar bills have been introduced in 20 other states and Congress. The issue has surfaced in the wake of the recession, which has left many unemployed workers with tattered credit. The underlying concern is that poor credit could become a barrier to landing a job. Employers contend credit checks help them evaluate candidates and protect against fraud.

In Case You Missed It

Valerie Jarrett responds to the latest change in "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/21/tsr.dadt.repeal.jarrett.cnn

Nicolle Wallace, author of "Eighteen Acres" talks about her new book with CNN's John King.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/10/21/jk.gop.insider.novel.approach.cnn

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