(CNN)–It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the Sunday morning headlines to go with your coffee.
On our radar this morning: The aftermath of explosives found in cargo planes, Tuesday's midterm elections, and President Obama's agenda in the next two years.
Check out what we're reading and make sure to watch the show at 9AM and 12PM ET.
It was a call from Mr. bin Nayef, the Saudi intelligence chief, on Thursday evening to John O. Brennan, the White House senior counterterrorism official and former C.I.A. station chief in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, that set off the search, according to American officials. They said Mr. bin Nayef also notified C.I.A. officials in Riyadh...
“We know that Awlaki has taken a very specific interest in plotting against the United States, and we’ve found that he’s usually behind any attempted attack on American targets,” said one official.
As of August, about 38% of cargo coming into the U.S. was not being screened, according to the TSA . The sheer numbers of packages flowing through the $100-billion global air freight industry is daunting. UPS, which was the courier for one of the explosive packages and had three planes inspected at U.S. airports on Friday, ships 15 million parcels a day worldwide. FedEx, which was transporting the other package, ships about 8 million.
But some outside experts said it was risky for a president to come out as quickly as he did before all the facts were known. “You’re trying to look presidential and in command of all the facts and not look impotent,” said James Jay Carafano, a homeland security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “But on the other hand, you don’t want to step in it and do something stupid. Quite honestly, I don’t know why they had a press conference." Moreover, Mr. Carafano said that Mr. Obama failed to use his remarks on Friday to justify the troop escalation in Afghanistan in an effort to keep the country from becoming a haven again for Al Qaeda. “The president missed the opportunity to say, “And this is why we’re in Afghanistan,” Mr. Carafano said.
The small congregation for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual Jews that started with an alternative newspaper ad in 1976 had gotten used to a life of relative obscurity–too small with about 100 members to afford its own building or build much of a profile.
The outcome of five contests considered tossups will help determine if Democrats retain control of the Senate, according to the latest analysis of races by The New York Times, with Republicans trying to capture Democratic-held seats in Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington. Should they sweep those, they would still need to triumph in a state like California or West Virginia, where Democratic chances seemed to be improving.
According to The Post's analysis, 19 Democratic-held seats currently lean toward the Republicans, and Democratic strategists all but concede those contests. An additional 47 Democrat-held districts are considered tossups, while 38 other Democrat-held seats, while leaning toward the Democratic candidate, remain in potential jeopardy. Meanwhile, just four Republican-held seats appear truly competitive – three leaning toward the Democrats and one considered too close to call.
Voters across the country are deeply unhappy with the performance of the Democratic Congress and as dissatisfied with how Washington works as they were in1994, when Republicans took control of both chambers, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
White House officials resist comparisons between the two presidents. If the House falls into Republican hands, they say, Obama will not repeat the Clinton governing script of 1995, when the former president downsized his ambitions and often used the newly Republican Congress to his advantage by finding areas of compromise....Obama advocates argue that he is temperamentally ill suited to such a strategy, both because he is more interested in broad change than small-bore tinkering and because it requires a level of deal-making that he has not appeared comfortable with.
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