October 26th, 2010
04:50 AM ET
4 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, October 26, 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: Sink, Scott clash in final debate
The two candidates for Florida governor came out swinging in their final debate, which was co-sponsored by CNN, the St. Petersburg Times and the University of South Florida. Accusations from both sides flew fast and early in the debate, moderated by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, as both candidates immediately began leveling their now-familiar lines of attack in one of the most hotly contested races in the country.

CNN: Florida candidates trip up on state's minimum wage
The list of candidates who can't remember their state's minimum wage grew by two Monday. During their final debate, moderated by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Florida's gubernatorial candidates both got the question wrong.

CNN: Haley and Sheheen trade jabs in South Carolina debate
South Carolina gubernatorial candidates Vincent Sheheen and Nikki Haley sparred on the stimulus, the budget and jobs during their second televised debate in Columbia Monday night. Haley, the Republican candidate, said she had a ten year business plan for the state that she would begin implementing on her first day in office. Democrat Sheheen said his first task would be to appoint a strong commerce secretary to help him bring jobs back to South Carolina, where the unemployment rate is 11.5%. Sheheen focused on his long-term plans to improve education in the Palmetto State, including the introduction of universal preschool and a renewed focus on public schools "Public schools can be great and we need a governor who's going to support public schools again," Sheheen said.

Boston Globe: Candidates dig in their heels
In the final televised debate of a long, heated campaign, the four candidates for governor sharpened their messages and political profiles last night, presenting voters clear choices on taxes, spending, immigration, and even lessons learned from the Big Dig.The debate, which set the stage for a weeklong sprint to Election Day next Tuesday, distilled the major themes that have defined the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Although the candidates seemed testier after enduring one another’s charges for 15 months, the overall mood was largely restrained, at times even cordial.

CNN: Kasich rails on 'negative, smearing, lying' Democrats
Ohio Republican gubernatorial nominee John Kasich kicked off a statewide bus tour with his fellow GOP candidates on Monday by unleashing an angry attack on Democrats who, he charged, have run a campaign based on fear, lies and mudslinging. "In my entire political life I have never seen the kind of negative, smearing, lying stuff that these Democrats have done and brought on the people of this state," he told a crowd of Republicans in this Columbus suburb. "Shame on them! Do they have one good positive decent idea in their brain? I don't think so."

CNN: New Mexico candidate for governor says Republicans 'outnumbered'
When CNN interviewed Susana Martinez, New Mexico's Republican candidate for Governor, we got a surprise. Our cameraman John Torigoe was trying to clip the microphone pack to the candidate's belt when she pulled away and said "Be careful, that's a gun back there." Martinez tells CNN she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. She was packing heat when she addressed a gathering in Alamogordo, New Mexico on Monday. She warned them not to get too confident because "as Republicans we're outnumbered."

New York Times: Texas Is Campaign Issue in California Ads
In baseball, the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers will meet in the World Series beginning Wednesday. In politics, California and the Lone Star State have been battling for a while. At stake are both old-fashioned bragging rights and the fate of more specific issues, like California’s landmark 2006 law that set limits on greenhouse gas emissions. A ballot measure next week would effectively suspend the law, if passed. Much of the financial support for the measure, which is on the ballot as Proposition 23, has come from Texas-based oil companies. And those companies have become the target of an in-your-face advertising campaign against the proposition.

CNN: Pawlenty: Eight states in seven days
Tim Pawlenty will be a busy man over the next week. The Minnesota governor will travel to eight states over the next seven days, as he campaigns for fellow Republicans running in the November 2 midterm elections. The outgoing governor and possible 2012 GOP presidential contender kicks off his tour Tuesday in San Antonio, Texas, where he teams up with Gov. Rick Perry, who is facing a competitive challenge from former Houston Mayor Bill White, the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee.

CNN: Candidates spar over policy in Kentucky Senate debate
The candidates in Kentucky's final Senate debate wasted no time in getting down to business, parsing through policy differences and touting their respective credentials. It was a contest that almost didn't happen; Republican candidate Rand Paul threatened to pull out after an ad by his opponent, Democratic candidate Jack Conway, attacked his religious views. But with eight days left until election day, Paul decided to participate.

Anchorage Daily News: Parties dispute use of election write-in list
Alaska's Democratic and Republican parties went to court Monday to force the state to stop providing voters with a list of certified write-in candidates at the polls, one of the first salvos in what is expected to be a contentious vote count in the U.S. Senate race. The two political parties may not agree on much, but it was clear Monday in court that they both fear the effect of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign on their own candidates' fortunes in the Nov. 2 election.

CNN: In Toomey versus Sestak it's O'Donnell versus Pelosi
The contrast in Pennsylvania has come down to comparisons. Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey is accusing his Democratic opponent, Congressman Joe Sestak of being a rubber stamp for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sestak responds that Toomey, a former Congressman himself, has also voted with Pelosi in his career. "He's such a San Francisco liberal," Sestak laughed. Toomey has seen his sizable lead in the polls vanish in recent weeks. Now Sestak is trying a comparison of his own, tying Toomey to Republican Christine O'Donnell who's running for the Senate in neighboring Delaware. Sestak points out Toomey and O'Donnell have both spoken at Tea Party rallies.

CNN: Reid ad: Angle would be a disaster
As Nevada's bitter and bruising Senate race nears its end, Sen. Harry Reid is hoping that voters look past the rancor and focus squarely on jobs. A new ad released by Reid's campaign over the weekend combines a series of damning newspaper quotes about his opponent, former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, with a bipartisan line-up of Nevada business leaders to make the case that Angle's positions would make the state's already troubling unemployment problem even worse.

Wall Street Journal: Blue Dogs Face Sharp Losses in Midterms
More than half the members of the Blue Dog Coalition—the organization of moderate to conservative Democrats in the House—are in peril in next week's election, a stark indicator of how the balloting could produce a Congress even more polarized than the current one. The Blue Dogs are often seen as a kind of human bridge, connecting left and right in the House. But that bridge is imperiled by the coming Republican wave in midterm elections, the most stark example of how the midterms are likely to weaken Capitol Hill's political center.

CNN: Voinovich: Congress must find agreement on key issues
Retiring Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said Monday that the upcoming lame duck session of Congress should work together on a handful of key issues to demonstrate a commitment to problem-solving rather than partisan bickering. "When the public sees their elected officials fighting, they know for sure that their interests are not being heard or cared about," Voinovich told reporters after a rally for Ohio Republicans on Monday. "The most important thing that we can do, even in the lame duck, is to see whether we can't coalesce around a couple of things."

Los Angeles Times: Conservatives struggle to unify for voter outreach
With the campaign in its final week, well-funded conservative groups have shifted their focus from the airwaves to voters' phone lines, front doors and mailboxes — part of a get-out-the-vote effort that could tip the scales in tight races across the country. But the push to get the nation's conservative voters to the polls is fractured and untested, with some "tea party" activists refusing to cooperate with more mainstream Republicans, in contrast to the unified and well-organized parallel effort by unions and Democrats, according to key players on both sides.

CNN Money: Fiscal fluff 'n stuff on the campaign trail
Challengers running for Congress and lawmakers trying to hang on to their seats have had plenty to say about federal debt and spending this election season. The ideas sound righteous and, in some cases, may even be the right thing to do: Set caps on federal spending. Find ways to cut the defense budget. Give President Obama's fiscal commission a fair hearing. Unfortunately, the good ideas are the outliers.

CNN: Pelosi teams up with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Dr. Jill Biden introduced first lady Michelle Obama at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) fundraising event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco Monday night. The first lady spoke for 20 minutes before a majority female crowd of about 750 people, urging them to show the same zeal they did in the 2008 campaign.

CNN: Tom DeLay's money laundering trial to begin
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday in the trial of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is charged with illegally funneling corporate money to help elect GOP candidates to the Texas legislature. The Republican was indicted in 2005 on charges he illegally sent $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee to help elect GOP Texas legislative candidates in 2002. DeLay, who resigned in 2006, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy. He has said the trial will clear him.

CNN: Graphic anti-abortion ads air on Washington stations
A disturbingly graphic political ad is airing on local stations in Washington D.C. this week – and stations are telling viewers there's nothing they can do to prevent it. The ad, calling for an end to abortion, apparently shows bloody and dismembered fetuses, and has been airing over the past few days in the nation's capital, including during afternoon and early-evening time slots, when children are likely to be watching.

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

CNN: Hawaii man arrested on terrorism-related charge
Authorities have charged a 21-year-old Hawaii man with "making false statements in a matter involving international terrorism," the U.S. Justice Department said. The charge centers around a one-way ticket that authorities allege Abdel Hameed Shehadeh purchased from Queens, New York, to Islamabad, Pakistan. Shehadeh originally told investigators that the purpose of his trip was to visit an Islamic university and attend a friend's engagement party. But he later admitted to FBI agents in Hawaii that he bought the ticket in order to join a fighting group such as the Taliban, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in New York Monday.

CNN: Former girlfriend says Clarence Thomas was a binge drinker, porn user
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was a binge drinker who had a pornography habit or fetish in the 1980s, then changed radically when he stopped drinking alcohol, his former girlfriend told CNN on Monday. Lillian McEwen, who dated Thomas for several years before he was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991, provided CNN's "Larry King Live" program with a harsh depiction of Thomas. She said when they first met, he might have been a "raving alcoholic" who used pornography to help fulfill sexual fantasies, but then gave up drinking and transformed into an angry, obsessive man who bullied his son.

USA Today: BP to fund Fla. seafood inspections
Oil giant BP has agreed to pay Florida $20 million over the next three years to cover the cost of seafood inspections and a marketing campaign, Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson will announce Monday. "We think the plan is sound, we believe that it will protect the consumers across the nation," Bronson said. The agreement splits the money: $10 million for inspection programs and $10 million for marketing, Bronson said.

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

CNN: Iran set to inject fuel into core of its first nuclear plant
Iran will begin to load fuel into the core of its first nuclear energy plant in the southern city of Bushehr on Tuesday, the state news agency reported. "We are to proceed with our programs on time despite pressure being exerted by the U.S. and a number of western countries by imposing sanctions on Iran," said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, as reported by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

CNN: Afghan president got cash from Iran; U.S. questions motives
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan acknowledged Monday he has received cash from Iran and said the United States knows about it and does the same thing in doling out cash. In response, the U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States does not question Iran's right to give financial assistance to Afghanistan, nor does it question Afghanistan's right to accept it. "But we remain skeptical of Iran's motives, given its history of playing a destabilizing role with its neighbors," said spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Daily Telegraph: Iraq war protester hurls shoes at former Australian prime minister
Peter Gray flung his shoes at John Howard, a key Bush ally on the Iraq war, after demanding the former leader defend his decision to send 2,000 troops to support the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. "That's for the Iraqi dead!" Mr Gray shouted as he flung the shoes during the Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s live "Q&A" programme. The shoes missed their target and Mr Gray was escorted from the studio.

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

CNN Money: Ford to bring 1,200 jobs to Michigan
Ford Motor company said it will create up to 1,200 jobs in the distressed state of Michigan as it ramps up its engineering and manufacturing operations to produce more fuel-efficient cars. Lured by state tax incentives, the automotive company announced Monday it plans to invest $850 million in new fuel-saving technologies between 2011 and 2013.

In Case You Missed It

Alex Sink is caught on camera reading a mobile device during the CNN Florida governor's debate.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/10/25/jk.fl.debate.foul.cnn

CNN's Tom Foreman reports on allegations of secret donors and foreign money going to both parties in this election.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/10/26/ac.foreman.dirty.politics.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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