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: No surprise: Democrats and Republicans differ on election predictions
Will an anti-incumbent wave return Republicans to power in the House and Senate, or can Democrats engineer a late rush to hold on to their congressional majorities? The 2010 mid-term elections comes down to campaign basics in the final nine days until vote-counting begins. For now, the two parties agree that Republicans will win more seats than they currently hold, but they differ sharply on how many and whether a major power shift will occur.
CNN: Candidates gang up in Senate debate
The three-way Florida Senate race seemed more of a two-sided contest Sunday as Republican front-runner Marco Rubio's opponents both targeted him in a debate on CNN's "State of the Union." Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek and Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist both tried to portray Rubio as too rigidly conservative for Florida in the spirited hour-long debate.
Politics Daily: Joe Manchin Not Endorsing Harry Reid for Leader, Obama for President
Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, declined over the weekend to endorse Barack Obama for a second term for president or Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as Senate majority leader in interviews with Politics Daily. "That's such a hypothetical thing, but basically I think there's two more years that have to play out," Manchin said when I asked him if he expects to endorse Obama for a second term. "Things have got to change. People will have time to evaluate and make a decision over the next two years and four years. I just think there's a lot of correction, a lot of changes, a lot of things that need to be fixed before I would say anything about anybody running for office."
CQ Politics: Black GOP Candidates Accuse Part of Ignoring Them
Three long-shot African-American Republican House candidates are fuming at national party leaders for not doing enough to help get them elected. Campaign managers for Chuck Smith in Virginia, Charlotte Bergmann in Tennessee and Marvin Scott in Indiana all said the support they’ve received from GOP leaders this cycle has been dismal. They added that there could be consequences for the party if they are elected to Congress next year.
CNN: California Dem widens lead
In the race for the governor's mansion in California, Democrat Jerry Brown has now extended his lead to double digits, according to a new poll. A USC College/Los Angeles Times Poll of likely voters released Sunday shows Brown 13 points ahead of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed supported Brown, 39 percent supported Whitman, 3 percent planned to vote for another candidate and 4 percent remained undecided. The poll carried a sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.
CNN: Candidate to voters: 'an unhappy choice'
The Republican nominee for California governor is leveling with voters. Over the weekend Meg Whitman released a minute-long ad reintroducing herself to California voters. "I know many of you see this election as an unhappy choice between a longtime politician with no plan for the future and a billionaire with no government experience," Whitman says in the spot.
New York Times: Pro- Republican Groups Prepare Big Push at End of Races
The anonymously financed conservative groups that have played such a crucial role this campaign year are starting a carefully coordinated final push to deliver control of Congress to Republicans, shifting money among some 80 House races they are monitoring day by day. Officials involved in the effort over the midterm elections’ final week say it is being spearheaded by a core subset of the largest outside conservative groups, which have millions of dollars left to spend on television advertisements, mailings and phone calls for five potentially decisive Senate races, as well as the scores of House races.
Washington Post: Companies that received bailout money giving generously to candidates
Companies that received federal bailout money, including some that still owe money to the government, are giving to political candidates with vigor. Among companies with PACs, the 23 that received $1 billion or more in federal money through the Troubled Assets Relief Program gave a total of $1.4 million to candidates in September, up from $466,000 the month before.
Politico: GOP mega-donors look toward 2012
As the 2010 campaign draws to its raucous close, the Republican Party's biggest donors are slowly beginning to choose sides, with some still looking for a strong alternative to a populist conservative movement that makes them uneasy. The big New York, Texas, California and Florida donors who traditionally play a key role in choosing the GOP nominee lined up behind George W. Bush in 2000 and, largely, John McCain in 2008. This year’s early favorite appears to be Mitt Romney, donor sources confirmed to POLITICO, who has already lined up quiet commitments from more than a dozen top names, among them billionaire David Koch and his wife, Julia, financier and former Goldman Sachs partner Lewis Eisenberg, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Ogilvy Government Relations Chairman Wayne Berman.
CNN; Rove: President Palin?
“The architect” says Republicans have a long way to go until there’s a Republican presidential nominee in 2012. “There are going to be several geological ages that are going to come and go before the 2012 presidential nomination gels,” Karl Rove, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Every one of these prospective candidates, if they decide to enter the race, has strengths that they need to work on magnifying and weaknesses that they need to endeavor to overcome.” And what about a President Palin? “I don’t know whether she’s going to run or not, and if she runs she would be a formidable candidate,” Rove said.
Arizona Republic: Arizona elections influenced by national groups, outside donors
National groups and out-of-state donors are playing a major role this year in trying to woo voters in the campaigns for or against four of Arizona's 10 propositions on the Nov. 2 ballot, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of state campaign-finance records. With those propositions, anywhere from two-thirds to all of the large donations come from advocacy groups based outside the state. The heavy presence of national groups and outside donors trying to influence state elections has become a regular, if little watched, feature of the political landscape in Arizona and elsewhere in recent decades.
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CNN: Fired NPR analyst slams former employer
Fired NPR news analyst Juan Williams slammed his former employer Sunday, saying it had engaged in "character assassination" against him and calling comments from the company's president about him "despicable." "To get fired obviously is no pleasure," Williams said Sunday on Fox News. "But then to be called a bigot and the innuendo that I'm somehow unstable was, I thought, despicable."
CNN: U.S. congressman calls for YouTube to remove videos featuring militant
A New York congressman sent a letter to the chief executive of YouTube Sunday, asking that the company remove all videos featuring Anwar al-Awlaki - a man the congressman called the "bin Laden of the internet." Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, made the request one day after the online appearance of a new al-Awlaki video. The Yemeni-American cleric and militant has been linked to al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, where he is believed to be in hiding.
USA Today: Research teams find oil on bottom of Gulf
Scientists who were aboard two research vessels studying the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's impact on sea life have found substantial amounts of oil on the seafloor, contradicting statements by federal officials that the oil had largely disappeared. Scientists on the research ship Cape Hatteras found oil in samples dug up from the seafloor in a 140-mile radius around the site of the Macondo well, said Kevin Yeager, a University of Southern Mississippi assistant professor of marine sciences. He was the chief scientist on the research trip, which ended last week.
New York Times: Public Housing Repairs Can’t Keep Pace With Need
Public housing is falling apart around the country, as federal money has been unable to keep up with the repair needs of buildings more than half a century old. Over the last 15 years, 150,000 of the nation’s public housing units have been lost, officials said, as agencies have sold or torn down decrepit properties. An additional 5,700 units are pending removal from federal public housing programs.
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CNN: UN: Cholera cases in Haiti's capital are a 'worrying development'
The confirmation of five cholera cases in Haiti's capital is a "very worrying development," a U.N. spokeswoman told CNN. Public health officials are working to keep the country's cholera outbreak from spreading in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where tens of thousands of people are still living in sprawling tent cities after January's devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake. The fast-moving outbreak has claimed at least 253 lives on the impoverished island nation, and another 3,015 cases have been reported, according to Haiti's health ministry.
CNN: 2010 coalition death toll in Afghanistan hits 600
A NATO solider was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force said Monday, raising the total number of coalition troops killed in that country this year to 600. This year was already the deadliest year for coalition and U.S. forces since the battle against the Taliban started some nine years ago. Last year, 516 coalition troops were killed in Afghanistan. As of Sunday, 600 have died so far in 2010 according to a CNN tally - with more than two months left in the year.
CNN: Karzai stands by ban on private security firms
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday stoody by a decree to disband private security firms operating in his country, despite objections from the United States and other countries that the move would leave international development organizations without adequate protection to do their work. Karzai said that he has wanted to disband the organizations for some time and had warned about security for development organizations before, but that his words went unheeded.
CNN: Security forces say they thwarted a bomb attack in southern Yemen
Yemeni security forces have thwarted a plan to bomb a sports stadium in the southern city of Aden, scheduled to host the Gulf Cup soccer tournament next month, officials said Sunday. Aden Security Chief, Brigadier-General Abdullah Giran said a suspected member of a separatist movement was caught placing a bag that contained about 1,800 grams of dynamite in the vicinity of Al-Wahdah stadium.
CNN Money: Major changes in store for IMF
Officials at the Group of 20 nations summit in South Korea have agreed on substantial changes for the International Monetary Fund, according to IMF Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. If approved, the historic reforms would give developing nations a stronger voice within the institution. Strauss-Kahn detailed the proposed changes at a news conference in Gyeongjiu Saturday. He said G-20 ministers want to see changes in the way member-countries for the IMF board are chosen. That means using a more realistic formula to assess the economic size of member countries.
CNN: Hurricane Richard makes landfall in Belize
Hurricane Richard made landfall just south of Belize City Sunday night, said CNN Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. She said the eye of the hurricane hit land around 7:45 p.m. CT (8:45 p.m. ET), some 20 miles (35 kilometers) south-southwest of Belize City. The storm known as Richard intensified in the Caribbean from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane as maximum sustained winds increased to 90 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported.
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CNN: U.S., China discuss economic ties amid tension
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met China's Vice-Premier Wang Qishan on Sunday and "exchanged views" about economic relations between their countries, both sides said. The meeting came shortly after Geithner publicly hammered China over its currency, which Washington says Beijing keeps at artificially low levels to boost exports.
CNN Money: Gas prices inch up as oil prices rise
U.S. gas prices rose by a little more than a nickel over the past two weeks, as recent increases in crude prices made their way to the pump, according to a new survey of filling stations. The latest Lundberg Survey, conducted Friday, found the average price of self-serve regular gasoline was $2.82 per gallon. That's 5.23 cents higher than from the last survey two weeks ago, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said.
In Case You Missed It
Fewer women are fired up about this election cycle, which could be bad news for Democrats. CNN's Samantha Hayes reports.
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