October 27th, 2010
04:31 AM ET
4 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, October 27, 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: Crist and Rubio sideshow.... Meek stands above the fray
It was 'Three's Company' in the final Florida Senate debate as Republican candidate Marco Rubio, Democratic candidate Rep. Kendrick Meek and independent candidate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, met in Orlando one week before the election. The dominant issues in the debate, which was moderated by NBC Meet the Press anchor David Gregory, were the housing crisis and a rousing conversation about the future of Social Security.

Anchorage Daily News: Miller admits to lies about his actions
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Joe Miller admitted in 2008 that he lied after being caught using Fairbanks North Star Borough computers for political purposes while he was working as a part-time borough lawyer. "I lied about accessing all of the computers. I then admitted about accessing the computers, but lied about what I was doing. Finally, I admitted what I did," Miller wrote in a March 17, 2008, e-mail to Fairbanks North Star Borough Attorney Rene Broker.

CNN: Two Miller security team members investigated in Alaska
Commanders at Fort Richardson, Alaska are investigating two soldiers who were involved in a highly publicized altercation with a reporter at an event for Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, a base spokesman said. The soldiers were working as part of Joe Miller's security team when they handcuffed a reporter from the Alaska Dispatch who was trying to ask the candidate questions. The two security members, it turns out, are active duty soldiers based at Fort Richardson, according to Sgt. Maj. Derrick Crawford.

CNN: Poll suggests, Dems pull ahead in California
Tuesday yielded good news for Democrats in California with a new poll that shows the nominees for Governor and Senator leading their Republican opponents. In the Suffolk University poll, attorney general and former Gov. Jerry Brown leads former eBay CEO Meg Whitman by 8 percentage points, 50 percent to 42 percent among likely voters. Five percent supported the third party candidates in the race. Incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer leads former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina by 9 percentage points in the same poll, 52 percent to 43 percent. Four percent supported the third party candidates in the race.

CQ Politics: It’s Looking Like Speaker or Nothing for Pelosi
Democrats on Capitol Hill and K Street are increasingly convinced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have little interest in being Minority Leader — and may start preparing to leave Congress altogether — if Republicans win the House next week. Pelosi and her allies adamantly refuse to entertain questions about a possible Democratic minority. But Democratic sources say they have a hard time imagining the 70-year-old, independently wealthy California Democrat would want to return to the less-powerful post that she held for four years before becoming Speaker in 2007, particularly after having spent the past four years driving the Congressional agenda.

Politico: Mike Pence may leave GOP leadership
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana is considering stepping down from his post in the GOP leadership in preparation for a possible bid for president or governor in 2012. Pence, a darling of the conservative movement, would leave the leadership job with a blunt explanation to colleagues that he can’t commit to a two-year term in House leadership, a source familiar with his deliberations told POLITICO Tuesday.

New York Times: Democrats Retain Edge in Spending on Campaigns
Lost in all of the attention paid to the heavy spending by Republican-oriented independent groups in this year’s midterm elections is that Democratic candidates have generally wielded a significant head-to-head financial advantage over their Republican opponents in individual competitive races. Even with a recent surge in fund-raising for Republican candidates, Democratic candidates have outraised their opponents over all by more than 30 percent in the 109 House races The New York Times has identified as in play. And Democratic candidates have significantly outspent their Republican counterparts over the last few months in those contests, $119 million to $79 million.

CNN: McCain: 'these are harsh times'
As he stumps for a string of Republicans in increasingly bitter races, Sen. John McCain warned candidates against overconfidence and defended recent searing attacks on his Democratic colleagues. "These are harsh times," he said, in response to a reporter's question about his criticism of Sen. Barbara Boxer and a conference call in which he slammed Sen. Patty Murray over the use of earmarks.

CNN: Bye-bye, tax breaks?
Who says there's no bipartisanship? Democrats and Republicans running for Congress are finding every way possible to assure voters they will keep Americans' taxes low forever. But those will be hard promises to keep after the economy recovers. Tax experts almost uniformly say the next Congress should rethink the more than 200 tax breaks in the federal code that cost more than $1 trillion a year. And, yes, that includes even the really, really popular ones.

CNN: WH bristles over top Republicans' remarks
The White House is firing back at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after he told the National Journal that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." With his usual sarcastic tone, spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters "maybe Senator McConnell is interested in running for President."

CNN: Gingrich to Obama: Get advice from Bill Clinton
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered a piece of advice Tuesday to President Obama, urging him to seek counsel from former President Bill Clinton in the increasingly likely event that Democrats lose control of the House next Tuesday. Gingrich, asked if he thinks this president can re-calibrate after a midterm drubbing in the way Clinton was able to after Democratic losses in 1994, said "it's up to Obama."

Las Vegas Sun: Reid, Sandoval clash over state budget in lively governor’s debate
In the most lively governor’s debate yet, Democrat Rory Reid aggressively attacked Republican Brian Sandoval for not presenting a budget plan, as the GOP frontrunner defended himself as being responsible and deliberate before telling voters what he’d cut. Sandoval said he wanted to roll back spending to 2007 levels. Since then, he said, the state has lost population and caseload growth in many areas have been flat. He did not go into specifics on how he’d balance the state’s budget, other than to say he couldn’t promise higher education, K-12 and health and human services would be spared without raising taxes.

CNN: First lady gets candid out West
A surprisingly candid first lady Michelle Obama discussed her initial fears about going out on the campaign trail alone to promote her husband's 2008 presidential bid in remarks before a women's conference in Long Beach Tuesday. "I was scared. I was worried that I'd say that wrong thing. I was nervous that someone might ask a question that I didn't know the answer to. I have a tendency to do that thing that a lot of women do, where you get 99 things right, but spend all your time beating yourself up about the one thing you messed up."

NATIONAL
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CNN: Alaska's untapped oil reserves estimate lowered by about 90 percent
The U.S. Geological Survey says a revised estimate for the amount of conventional, undiscovered oil in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is a fraction of a previous estimate. The group estimates about 896 million barrels of such oil are in the reserve, about 90 percent less than a 2002 estimate of 10.6 billion barrels. The new estimate is mainly due to the incorporation of new data from recent exploration drilling revealing gas occurrence rather than oil in much of the area, the geological survey said.

CNN: Air Force lost some communication with nuclear missiles
The Air Force lost partial communications with 50 nuclear missiles for almost an hour last weekend, an Air Force spokesman said Tuesday. The problem, characterized as a "single hardware issue," affected more than 10 percent of the country's ICBM arsenal on Saturday morning, according to Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley Miller IV. Because of redundant systems, at no time was the Air Force unable to monitor, communicate with or, if need be, launch the intercontinental ballistic missiles on the president's command, several military officials said.

CNN: NY man charged with planning to kill former President George W. Bush
A suburban Rochester, New York, man described as potentially "the next Oklahoma City bomber" has been arrested and charged with planning to kill former President George W. Bush, according to federal authorities. The suspect, 23-year-old Ian Rotunno of Greece, New York, repeatedly told Secret Service agents he was intent on killing the former president, and had planned to go to Washington or Texas to carry out that mission. However, Rotunno, after loading his truck with assorted weapons, turned himself in to Owego, New York, police on October 7.

CNN: FBI looks into third shooting at a military facility in two weeks
The FBI is investigating shots fired Monday night or early morning Tuesday at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia, the bureau announced. The overnight shooting is the third such incident at a military-related building in the past two weeks, according to an FBI news release. Last week, a gunman fired several shots at the Pentagon, just two days after shots were fired at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. Ballistics tests revealed both shootings involved a single weapon, the FBI said.

CNN: Massive storm system marches eastward
The eastern third of the United States can expect a second blustery day Wednesday as severe storms stretch from Canada to Mississippi, the National Weather said. Windy advisories are posted across the Upper Midwest and sections of the Ohio Valley and could affect air traffic for a second day. Wednesday will be a day of cleanup for communities in North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois after the system unleashed its wrath by spawning at least 24 possible tornadoes. At one time, the powerful low pressure system stretched a staggering 1,200 miles from north to south.

CNN: Federal court makes decision on Arizona immigration law
A federal appeals court has ruled against an Arizona law that requires residents to prove their U.S. citizenship to register to vote, but upheld a part of the same law that mandates residents to show identification before voting. The decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Tuesday was part of an ongoing court battle surrounding Arizona's Proposition 200. Arizona passed the law in 2004, prompting legal challenges.

INTERNATIONAL
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CNN: At least 112 dead, more than 500 missing after Indonesia quake
Relief organizations struggled to reach those in need Tuesday, one day after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck off Sumatra, Indonesia, triggering a tsunami and killing at least 112 people, officials said. Another 502 were reported missing. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake generated a "significant" tsunami. Some of the missing may include people who are unaccounted for after fleeing to higher ground, said Henri Dori Satoko, head of the Mentawai Islands parliament.

CNN: UN: 70,000 people in Myanmar are homeless in wake of cyclone
Some 70,000 people in Myanmar remained homeless Tuesday in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Giri, the United Nations said, citing local authorities. Giri slammed into the country Friday with wind speeds of up to 155 mph, tearing up roads and knocking out telephone lines. More than 175,000 people were impacted by Giri and 70,795 people remained homeless, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.

Washington Post: U.S. military campaign to topple resilient Taliban hasn't succeeded
An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of the war in Afghanistan. Escalated airstrikes and special operations raids have disrupted Taliban movements and damaged local cells. But officials said that insurgents have been adept at absorbing the blows and that they appear confident that they can outlast an American troop buildup set to subside beginning next July.

Daily Telegraph: Russia and Nato plan joint initiative in Afghanistan
A Nato summit next month will be attended by Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss the plans. Nato officials said Russia had agreed to sell helicopters to Afghanistan and provide training. Moscow will allow Nato forces to withdraw equipment from Afghanistan overland for the first time, in proposals expected to be agreed in Lisbon. "The summit can mark a new start in the relationship between Nato and Russia," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general.

CNN: Khadr statement says he was happy U.S. soldier died in attack
Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr tossed a grenade "with the specific intent of killing or injuring as many Americans as he could" at the end of a July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, according to a stipulation of facts document Khadr signed as part of his guilty plea. The document says that when Khadr was interviewed three months later he said, "He felt happy when he heard that he had killed an American," a reference to Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, a member of a U.S. Army Special Forces unit, who died as the result of his wounds from a grenade.

CNN: Controversial French reform bill one step away from passage
After weeks of protests that brought millions of demonstrators to the streets, a controversial French pension reform bill could become law Wednesday. The French Senate gave its final approval to the bill Tuesday, passing it 177-151 despite the nationwide protests. The lower house of parliament is due to vote on the bill Wednesday, the last legislative hurdle before the package becomes law.

Jerusalem Post: Israel to get its own ‘Tea Party’ movement
Move over America. Israel is joining the tea party. A new grassroots effort is beginning that is modeled after the American conservative social movement. The Israeli version promises to be just as patriotic, just as provocative and just as antagonistic to US President Barack Obama. The movement will hold its opening rally on Sunday night at the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv under the banner “Saying no to Obama.”

New York Times: Gorbachev Says Putin Obstructs Democracy
Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who once supported Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, is voicing growing frustration with Mr. Putin’s leadership, saying that he had undermined Russia’s fledgling democracy by crippling the opposition forces. “He thinks that democracy stands in his way,” Mr. Gorbachev said. “I am afraid that they have been saddled with this idea that this unmanageable country needs authoritarianism,” Mr. Gorbachev said, referring to Mr. Putin and his close ally, President Dmitri A. Medvedev. “They think they cannot do without it.”

CNN: Corruption survey: Somalia is the worst
Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are seen as having the least corruption in the world, according to a just-published global survey. Somalia is viewed as the most corrupt country. The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is published annually by Transparency International, a corruption monitoring organization based in Berlin, Germany.

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

Wall Street Journal: Fed Gears Up for Stimulus
The Federal Reserve is close to embarking on another round of monetary stimulus next week, against the backdrop of a weak economy and low inflation—and despite doubts about the wisdom and efficacy of the policy among economists and some of the Fed's own decision makers. The central bank is likely to unveil a program of U.S. Treasury bond purchases worth a few hundred billion dollars over several months, a measured approach in contrast to purchases of nearly $2 trillion it unveiled during the financial crisis. The announcement is expected to be made at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee next Wednesday.

In Case You Missed It

John King and a panel discuss Alex Sink's rule breach in the debate Monday, and whether it could spell doom for her.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/10/27/jk.sinks.debate.rule.breach.cnn

Texas congressional candidate Stephen Broden is under criticism for some inflammatory remarks made last week.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/10/26/ac.candidates.enc.violence.cnn

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