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: Democrats see hope, Republicans temper expectations for Tuesday vote
In what are either last-minute head games or reflections on a shifting electorate, Democrats are predicting better-than-expected results for their side while Republicans are downplaying the extent of their expected victory in Tuesday's congressional elections. With less than 48 hours before polling booths open, the comments on Sunday talk shows stayed true to the anticipated Republican gains in both chambers of Congress but continued to differ widely on exact totals.
CNN: Top Democrats stump for candidates as crucial election looms
President Obama is off the campaign trail ahead of midterm elections, but plenty of other top Democrats will be making a last-minute push for party candidates around the country Monday. Vice President Joe Biden plans to stump for Vermont gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin and speak at a rally for Delaware Democratic candidates. First lady Michelle Obama will hit the campaign trail at a get-out-the vote rally with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. And President Bill Clinton has scheduled stops in West Virginia, Kentucky and Florida.
CNN Money: New Congress, old problems
Republicans might wake up Wednesday morning in control of one - or maybe even both - chambers of Congress. And they will finally have the platform they've wanted to revive the economy and reduce the country's burgeoning debt. They also may have a very new set of colleagues. The Tea Party has been catapulted to the fore this year amidst an anti-spending, anti-tax fervor. So it's out with the old, in with the new. Except for one thing: Making big strides on taxes, spending and debt will be just as hard, if not harder, for the next Congress as it has been for the current one.
Wall Street Journal: Revival of Volatility Signals Historic Era in U.S. Politics
Voters this week look set to do something not seen since the early 1950s: Oust a substantial number of sitting House lawmakers for the third election in a row. The apparent Republican resurgence suggests the country is caught in a cycle of political volatility witnessed only four times in the past century, almost all during war or economic unease. The see-saw nature of the nation's politics raises a question: How can the country solve its long-term problems—deficit spending, an underfunded Social Security system, spiraling health-care costs—when voters seem so uncertain which party should lead the charge?
Politico: Democrats can’t ride Jon Stewart’s wave
Democrats hoped Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity Saturday would provide the kick in the pants needed to fire up unenthusiastic young voters just three days before the midterms. It didn’t. The event, with the Capitol as the backdrop, was a comedic success. A gargantuan crowd loved the live music and lapped up the satirical repartee between Stewart and sidekick Stephen Colbert. But Stewart’s decision to avoid explicit partisan politicking denied the left a kind of galvanizing moment that might have driven to the polls his Democratic fans who weren’t already planning to vote or motivated previously apathetic liberals to grass-roots activities.
CNN: Obama rallies in Ohio
President Barack Obama on Sunday implored Democrats to get out and vote this week in his final campaign speech for the upcoming congressional elections. With his party expected to lose seats in both chambers, and perhaps its House majority, Obama told a rally at Cleveland State University that the only way to ensure continued policies intended to help working-class Americans was to keep Democrats in power.
CNN: Congress is ‘not a lost cause,’ says top Dem
History and recent polling suggest Democrats will most likely lose their majority in the House in Tuesday's election. But according to the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the chamber “is not a lost cause.” “I think all these Washington pundits are going to be surprised,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I believe Democrats are going to hold onto the House.”
CNN: Steele’s election expectations
The man in charge of electing Republicans across the country tried to lower expectations Sunday, saying if Republicans win 37 seats in the House and remain in the minority, it will still be a success for the party. Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and said he would also consider a 39-seat pick-up, where Republicans would become the majority, a victory. “If we get 39 seats and take the majority, that’s a success. If we get 37, that’s success,” Steele said. “We were the party out of power ... we were going to be regionalized, marginalized to the lower portions of the political spectrum. We have battled our way back.”
CNN: Campaign committees rake it in
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has announced its biggest fundraising month on record. In a statement released by the NRCC, spokesman Ken Spain said, "By the end of today, the committee is expected to have raised $16 million for the month of October."…The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) responded with their own jaw-dropping figure. In an email to CNN, DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer said the organization raised $17.6 million in October.
CNN: Senate candidate leads with her gut
A defiant Alaska senator was on the campaign trail this weekend. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is facing a tough three-way race in the state, said her gut is telling her she's leading her opponents. "My gut tells me we are winning this campaign and we are doing so in a big way," Murkowski told CNN's Drew Griffin on Saturday. "I'm feeling extraordinarily good about where we are right now."
Anchorage Daily News: Accidental phone call sparks criticism of KTVA's coverage of Miller
A garbled conversation captured by chance on the voice mail of a staff member for U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller is being played up by the campaign as evidence of a local television station’s attempt to create anti-Miller stories, but the station says that’s absurd. The brouhaha over the errant message, which included a reference to the possibility of child molesters appearing at a Miller rally, was getting national attention Sunday. Sarah Palin said on Fox News that “the CBS reporters, the affiliate in Alaska, conspired to make up stories about Joe Miller. We have the tape.”
The Hill: Close, bitter Senate races could have significant down-ballot effects
The close and bitter Senate races around the country may be capturing the headlines, but buried in the fine print are some significant down-ballot effects on Tuesday in several states. The Senate battle in Delaware is likely to hurt turnout by Republican voters, given the relative unpopularity of GOP nominee Christine O’Donnell — just a year before state lawmakers tackle redistricting after down-ballot state House races.
New York Times: Less Involved, Young Voters Say They Feel Abandoned
Two years ago, the University of Miami could not get enough Barack Obama. The campaign rally he held here felt like a rock concert, his face appeared on T-shirts all over campus, and pro-Obama volunteers registered 2,000 new voters. Meetings of the College Democrats that attracted 200 people in 2008 now pull in a dozen. New voter registration is way down, too, and free posters of President Obama — once “the Michael Jordan” of politics, as one freshman put it — are now refused by students.
Politico: Next for GOP leaders: Stopping Sarah Palin
Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin. Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns. There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting.
CNN: Theodore Sorensen, JFK's speechwriter, has died
Theodore C. Sorensen, a close adviser and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy, has died, the White House said Sunday. Though he wore a number of hats in his relationship with Kennedy and later in life, he is best known as the wordsmith who helped put Kennedy's ideas to paper in what remain some of the most recognizable speeches in American political history..
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Washington Post: Federal Reserve's, Bernanke's credibility on line with new move to boost economy
The Federal Reserve is preparing to put its credibility on the line as it rarely has before by taking dramatic new action this week to try jolting the economy out of its slumber. If the efforts succeed, they could finally help bring down the stubbornly high jobless rate. But should the Fed overshoot in its plan to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy, it could produce the same kind of bubbles in the housing and stock markets that caused the slowdown. Or the efforts could fall short and fail to energize the economy, leaving a clear impression that the mighty Fed is out of bullets – thus adding even more anxiety to an already dire situation.
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CNN: Tighter security in place at Yemen airports after bomb plot
Yemen's National Civil Aviation Security Committee said Monday it has implemented "tight security" at all of its airports in the aftermath of a plot to send bombs from Yemen to the United States. "Every piece of cargo and luggage will go through extensive searching," the committee said in a statement. In addition, carriers DHL, FedEx and UPS will be required to make more stringent checks before accepting any package, according to the committee.
CNN: Bomb may have flown on passenger planes
The explosive found hidden in a package on a plane in the United Arab Emirates on Friday may have traveled on passenger planes to get there, airline officials said Sunday. The explosive, along with a similar device found in the United Kingdom, appear to have been designed to detonate on their own, without someone having to set them off, the top White House counterterrorism official told CNN.
CNN: One of Saudi Arabia's most wanted believed linked to bomb plot
The man suspected to be at the center of the plot to send bombs from Yemen to the United States is a Saudi national who authorities believe has been living in Yemen for the past three years. Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, according to a list published by the government last year. The Saudi government described al-Asiri as an explosives and poison expert.
CNN: Iraqi forces storm church to end standoff; 37 killed
Iraqi security forces stormed a Catholic church Sunday where gunmen suspected of having ties to al Qaeda were holding worshippers hostage, ending an hours-long standoff, police officials said Sunday. Thirty-seven people were killed in the operation, including hostages, kidnappers and security workers, they said. At least seven of the victims were hostages, police officials said, while another 57 were wounded. Eight suspects were arrested.
CNN: China starts counting its 1 billion+ people
Census takers are fanning out across China, aiming to visit 400 million households over 10 days. At last count in 2000, the country had 1.29 billion people. About 6.5 million census takers are knocking on doors, often being ignored or turned away, state media says. Many people are reticent about answering government questions when their incomes are rising and some families have exceeded the country's one-child policy, China Daily said.
CNN: Dilma Rousseff: From fugitive guerrilla to Brazil's new president
Dilma Rousseff, who was elected as Brazil's first female president on Sunday, once told reporters that as a typical Brazilian girl in the 1950s she dreamed of becoming a ballerina. But as the 1960s saw the emergence of a brutal military regime in her country, she had to make some hard choices. "I quickly discovered that the world had no place for debutantes," Rousseff told reporters.
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Daily Finance: Upcoming Elections Could Cause Stocks to Rally
The connection between politics and stock market gains could become more evident to investors as the midterm elections take place next month and as Barack Obama heads into his third year as president of the United States. If historical trends hold true to form, the U.S. stock market could experience a rally that extends at least 90 days after the midterm elections, and next year during the third year of a presidential term, the stock market could rally match gains that have averaged more than 10% dating back to 1871.
In Case You Missed It
President Obama says the Democrats can capture Ohio if they get out the vote.
Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell rallies supporters along with the Tea Party Express.
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