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: Obama visits Jon Stewart and 'The Daily Show' in D.C.
President Obama gently sparred with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" in the final run-up to next week's midterm elections, after the comedian called his legislative progress "timid." Playing off the title of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope," Stewart challenged the forcefulness of the president's political agenda during his first two years in office. "Is the difficulty that you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered?" Stewart said. "You ran with such, if I may, audacity ... yet legislatively it has felt timid at times."
CNN: Gingrich at Liberty University: Obama's a secular socialist
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who's mulling a run for the White House, appeared Wednesday at the school founded by Jerry Falwell to address students and to meet with key conservative Christian activists from across the country. In a speech to students at Liberty University on Wednesday morning, Gingrich said that Americans needed to fight back against secular socialists, including President Barack Obama, at home and against Islamic radicals around the world.
CNN: Carter: Obama's reelection prospects could improve after November vote
Former President Jimmy Carter predicted that Republicans' obstructionist ways should change - and President Barack Obama's reelection prospects could improve - after next week's midterm elections. Speaking Wednesday on HLN's "The Joy Behar Show," Carter said the Republican party has been "completely irresponsible" in the past 18 months by opposing most legislative initiatives backed by Obama and his fellow Democrats.
CNN: Cash flows in 2010 cycle
A record four billion dollars will be spent on the midterm elections this year, according to an estimate by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non partisan watchdog group. That new eye popping figure dwarfs the $2.85 billion spent in the last midterm election in 2006, and the $1.61 billion little more than a decade ago in 1998.
CNN/Time Poll: Angle 49, Reid 45 in Nevada
With six days to go until the midterm elections, a new poll in the most high profile Senate battle in the country indicates Republican challenger Sharron Angle holds a four point advantage over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
CNN/Time Poll: Paul leads Kentucky Senate race
The hotly contested race for Kentucky's open Senate seat is nearing an end with Republican nominee Rand Paul holding a seven-point lead, according to a new poll. Fifty percent of likely voters support Paul in the CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey, while 43 percent back Democratic nominee Jack Conway.
CNN/Time Poll: Toomey up 4 points in Pennsylvania Senate battle
Six days before the midterm elections, a new poll indicates that it's too close to call in the fight for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania. According to a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, Republican nominee and former congressman Pat Toomey holds a 49 to 45 percent advantage over Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democrats' nominee, among likely voters in the Keystone State, with six percent undecided or backing another candidate. Toomey's four point margin is within the poll's sampling error.
CNN/Time Poll: Democrats on top in California governor and Senate contests
A new survey indicates that the Democrats have slight advantages in the California battles for senator and governor. According to a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of likely voters in the Golden State say they support Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, with 45 percent backing Republican challenger Carly Fiorina and four percent undecided or backing a different candidate. Boxer's five point margin is within the survey's sampling error and is down from a nine point advantage in CNN/Time polling from last month.
Roll Call: Senate Procures Influx of Millionaires
The Senate’s famed “millionaires club” is becoming a little crowded. According to a Roll Call analysis of Senate financial disclosure forms filed in 2010, more than half of the chamber’s membership, 54 lawmakers, reported a minimum net worth of more than $1 million. Another four Senators fell short of that mark by less than $100,000.
New York Times: Coalition for Obama Split by Drift to G.O.P., Poll Finds
Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to the Republicans in the final phase of the midterm Congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Roman Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents. All of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for Congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls.
Politico: Time's up for Dems' hopes for upturn
Time’s up for Democrats looking for good news on the economy. More bad news this week squelched any hope that President Barack Obama and his party might benefit from a glimmer of an improvement in the economic picture before Election Day. Instead, it is a picture of a stalled recovery, reminding voters of the many promises by Obama and his top aides that better days were just around the corner.
CNN: Mobsters, crooks and bailouts, oh my!
Mobster and crook references aside, the Illinois Senate debate between Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk covered substantive policy issues, from their positions on the bank bailouts to the effectiveness of the stimulus bill. The war in Afghanistan and the events leading up to the Iraq war were also a key issue in the debate, which was held at the Chicago Club in downtown Chicago.
Indianapolis Star: Health-care fight over abortion resurfaces
Anyone driving from South Bend to Kokomo these days can't miss the billboards along U.S. 31 accusing Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly of backing public funding of abortions. "Shame on Joe Donnelly," say the billboards, which are paid for by the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that opposes abortion rights. Such groups have spent more than $313,000 on ads, mailings, bus tours and other expenditures to help elect Hoosier Republicans to Congress, even though their top Democratic targets - Donnelly, Rep. Baron Hill and Rep. Brad Ellsworth, who is running for Senate - say they fought to prevent the new health-care law from allowing federal funding of abortions.
CNN: Soldier at Miller campaign incident didn't have permission to be there
An active-duty soldier involved in a highly publicized altercation with a reporter had not requested permission from his superiors to be part of a security team at an event for an Alaska Senate candidate where the incident took place, a base spokesman said Wednesday. Fort Richardson spokesman Sgt. Maj. Derrick Crawford said that Spc. Tyler Ellingboe, 22, had not had not requested permission from any chain of command to work outside his regular Army duties. A second soldier involved in the incident, Sgt. Alexander Valdez, 31, had gotten permission from his previous chain of command, Crawford said, but not from his current chain of command.
Washington Post: Tea party antics could end up burning Republicans
The tea party's volatile influence on this election year appears to be doing more harm than good for Republicans' chances in some of the closest races in the nation, in which little-known candidates who upset the establishment with primary wins are now stumbling in the campaign's final days. In Kentucky, a volunteer for tea-party-backed Senate candidate Rand Paul was videotaped stepping on the head of a liberal protester. In Delaware and Colorado, Senate hopefuls Christine O'Donnell and Ken Buck, respectively, are under fire for denying that the First Amendment's establishment clause dictates a separation of church and state. In Nevada, GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle is drawing rebuke for running TV ads that portray Latino immigrants as criminals and gang members.
Washington Times: Justice Department vows to stop voter intimidation
The Justice Department on Wednesday vowed to thwart any efforts to intimidate voters at the polls on Tuesday and to ensure that the ballots of military voters are counted, as activists on both sides of the political aisle reignite their regular election-time tango over the dangers of voter fraud versus voter suppression. Facing separate investigations in its handling of a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and questions over the failure of absentee ballots to be sent to military personnel and their families by the legally required date, the Justice Department moved to assure voters that they will have access to the polls and their votes will be counted in the midterm elections.
CNN: Preston on Politics: Steele eyes second term as RNC chair
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is taking steps to run for another two-year term and outlined his plan in a conference call last week to a handful of state GOP officials, three Republicans familiar with call tell CNN. Steele, who wraps up a 48 state bus tour this week, already has picked two current RNC staffers to help run his re-election campaign and the chairman told people on the call that the reception he has received during the bus tour is tremendous, according to one of the Republicans. The Republicans spoke about the call only on the condition of anonymity.
CNN: Strickland: Kasich 'sees victory slipping through his fingers'
At a crowded rally inside a Canton union hall Wednesday, a fired-up Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) said his Republican challenger John Kasich is flailing wildly as his once solid lead in the governor's race has collapsed. Kasich has taken a particularly harsh tone toward Democrats during a three-day statewide bus tour with other members of the GOP ticket, accusing unnamed opponents of attacking him with "negative, lying smearing stuff" and plotting to steal the election.
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CNN: Man charged with plotting to bomb D.C.-area Metrorail stations
A Virginia man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly attempting to help others he thought were members of al Qaeda in planning multiple bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington area, the Department of Justice said. Farooque Ahmed, 34, appeared briefly Wednesday before federal Magistrate John Anderson at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. The court will appoint an attorney for Ahmed, and he was ordered to remain in custody until a detention hearing Friday, said Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria.
CNN Money: Rise in college costs hits public schools hardest
While heading to a private college is still more expensive than going to a state school, the price gap is narrowing: Tuition and fees are climbing at a faster pace at public schools than their private brethren. For the school year 2010-11, in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities rose to $7,605, up 7.9% from a year ago, the College Board reported Thursday. At private four-year institutions, the average cost rose 4.5% to $27,293.
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CNN: Suspected drone strike kills five in Pakistan
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed five people in Pakistan's volatile tribal region Thursday, intelligence officials said. The five are suspected militants, officials said. Intelligence officials said the drone fired two missiles at a militant hideout in the Data Khel area of North Waziristan, one of the seven districts bordering Afghanistan. The two officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the media. Thursday's drone strike was the 83rd this year, compared with 52 in all of 2009, according to a CNN count.
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com
New York Times: Stores Push Black Friday Into October
Attention bargain shoppers! It is October — and Black Friday specials are here. The year’s most popular discount shopping event, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving, is arriving ahead of Halloween this year, with some promotions beginning this week and others throughout November.
In Case You Missed It
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