November 4th, 2010
04:16 AM ET
4 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Thursday, November 4, 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: Boehner says Obama health plan on the block after GOP wins
Voters have given Republicans a mandate to cut government and roll back the Obama administration's health care "monstrosity" in the next Congress, the incoming speaker of the House of Representatives said Wednesday. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is poised to lead the House following the GOP's massive gains in Tuesday's midterm elections. He told reporters that he and President Barack Obama have agreed to work together but called the results a vote for "a smaller, less costly, more accountable government." And the administration's hard-won overhaul of the U.S. health care system ultimately will be on the block.

CNN: Speaker-in-waiting Boehner eager to see 'this institution function again'
It has to be one of the least attractive jobs in the world, given the economy and partisan vitriol, but Rep. John Boehner says he's ready to take the House helm even if he doesn't have all the answers. Boehner, who with Tuesday's political sea change is poised to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker in January, will likely face a White House with veto power and a hostile Democratic Senate.

CNN: Pelosi reflects on time as Speaker
In her first interview since Democrats lost control of the House, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended her leadership and was unapologetic. "[I have] no regrets because we believe we did the right thing and worked very hard to convey that to the American people," Pelosi told ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday. When asked if she feels bruised given the election results, she said, "When I get time for that, I'll call you and let you know."

CNN: Obama sweet pep-talk not sugarcoated
A chastened President Obama tried to cheer up supporters while delivering an honest assessment of the midterm elections. "It was a tough night," he said during an Organizing for America conference call Wednesday. "I don't think we should sugarcoat it." He blamed the election results on a frustrated electorate that still wants change. The challenge Mr. Obama explained is, "we just gotta work harder to deliver the change the American people want."

CNN: Reid is 'begging' for Republican input; criticizes GOP and the media
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted Wednesday he's committed to building consensus with Senate Republicans, telling reporters he is "begging for Republican input." But the man who had to come from behind to retain his Senate seat also criticized his GOP counterparts for obstructing much of the legislative agenda Democrats laid out in the last two years. Reid acknowledged the Republican takeover of the House and gains in the Senate mean there's a new political reality on Capitol Hill and said that collaboration is in order. But, he said, Republicans could have already been cooperating.

Los Angeles Times: Midterm election's big loser is the political center
The political center, where swing voters reside and compromise happens, is suddenly a much smaller part of the Washington landscape. There were the usual kind words and olive branches extended on Wednesday. But nothing could hide the fact that the two parties have deep and abiding differences on nearly every issue facing Congress. The composition of the House and Senate may have changed, but not Washington: The place may be more polarized than ever.

New York Times: Health Care Vote Only a Part of Democrats’ Vulnerability
In the end, it may have mattered less whether vulnerable Democratic incumbents voted for or against the health care law than that they simply had a D by their names. Virtually every House Democrat from a swing district who took a gamble by voting for the health law made a bad political bet. Among 22 who provided crucial yes votes from particularly risky districts, 19 ended up losing on Tuesday. That included all five members who voted against a more expensive House version last November and then changed their votes to support the final legislation in March. But even the Democrats who bucked the White House and their party’s leadership by voting against the measure gained little protection. Of the 30 Democrats who opposed the final bill and then stood for re-election, 17 lost anyway.

CNN: How the Tea Party fared
They were perhaps the most talked about group of the 2010 election season, and with most races now over, the impact of the Tea Party movement in Tuesday's midterm elections can begin to be measured. The decentralized grassroots nature of the Tea Party movement makes it difficult to define how many candidates on Tuesday's ballots were so-called "Tea Party candidates." There is no official entity that determines who is a "Tea Party candidate." However, CNN analyzed races across the country to identify candidates who were either Tea Party activists or whose campaigns were helped significantly by the Tea Party movement.

Boston Globe: Republicans’ revolution fades in Massachusetts
So much for the Scott Brown revolution, at least in his home state. He was a national inspiration and a local hero — an against-the-odds winner from Wrentham — who inspired Republicans up and down the ticket to challenge the state’s powerful Democratic establishment. He campaigned throughout the state last weekend, telling sign-holding Republicans at rallies that he was getting “flashbacks’’ to his own improbable US Senate victory. Yet 10 months after that seismic result, Massachusetts turned decidedly blue again. All statewide elected offices, including a closely fought governor’s race, and the entire 10-member US House delegation remained in Democratic hands, despite a national tide that left Republicans celebrating large gains last night.

CNN: Shift to GOP control in House signals shift in foreign policy matters
Foreign affairs did not play a major role in the election debate this year, but the shift in power in the House means a shift in focus in defense, foreign affairs and intelligence matters. Republicans taking the helm of key committees could reopen debate on Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and interrogations, and put pressure on other foreign policy efforts by the administration. In the wake of the change, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that when it comes to foreign policy, political tensions get put aside to protect U.S. interests.

Christian Science Monitor: Did Americans reject clean energy by voting Republican?
US environmentalists, assessing the Republican tsunami that washed over the country, chose Wednesday to tout a key Election Day victory in beating back California's Proposition 23, a ballot initiative that would have reversed clean-energy requirements statewide – and led quite possibly to similar initiatives in other states.It was a sign, they said, that voters were not rejecting clean energy or the environment, but were responding to concerns about jobs and housing.

Newsweek: Manchin's Win Complicates Energy Legislation
The big win by West Virginia Democratic Governor Joe Manchin for a Senate seat was being seen as a saving grace for Democrats amid the big Republican mid-term election victory, but what it means for green energy policy is less certain. Manchin's win poses a clean energy dilemma of another order. Manchin's win was firmly in the Democratic column, at least on paper, and will keep President Obama's party from losing control of the Senate. Yet Manchin is far from a lock 'vote' for the Democrats by any stretch of the imagination, on any issue and in particular as it related to clean energy. Energy legislation with a focus on clean energy has already stalled in the Senate several times this year.

Politico: Arne Duncan: Education can be bipartisan
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is upbeat Despite waking up to a political landscape now dominated by Republicans, Duncan – one of a handful of Obama administration cabinet members who actively campaigned for several Democrats – believes that education reform can be the great bipartisan issue, uniting the two feuding parties.

CNN: Bachmann sounds off on spending, won't identify specific cuts
Fresh off a victory Tuesday in her hotly contested and closely watched re-election bid, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, refused to identify specific cuts to the federal budget while, at the same time, criticized what she called "over-the-top" spending for an upcoming presidential trip. When asked in an interview that airs Wednesday on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° whether she would support cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Bachmann slammed the White House for the costs of President Obama's forthcoming trip to India.

CNN: DeMint on GOP future
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has spent this election season weighing in on races across the country but now acknowledges he may be doing some making nice in the Republican Party. If Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski wins another term and beats Tea Party-backed Joe Miller, DeMint said they’ll “have some making up to do.” “But I’m still hopeful Joe Miller will pull off a miracle there in Alaska,” DeMint said on CNN’s John King, USA Wednesday.

Politico: GOP senators fight over failure
Long-simmering tensions within the Republican Party spilled into public view Wednesday as the pragmatic and conservative wings of the GOP blamed each other in blunt terms for the party’s failure to capture the Senate. With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.

CNN: Black Republicans to serve in same Congress
For the first time since 1997, two black Republicans will serve concurrent terms in the House of Representatives. Of the 14 black GOP candidates on the ballot last night, only two – Allen West, Florida-22, and Tim Scott, South Carolina-01 – defeated their Democratic opponents. West defeated two-term incumbent Rep. Ron Klein in south Florida, while Scott fills an open seat vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Henry Brown Jr.

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

CNN: Discovery launch planned, but weather still a concern
NASA gave space shuttle Discovery a go for a Thursday afternoon launch to the International Space Station after repeated delays. The launch, scheduled for 3:29 p.m. ET, comes after two delays. It will be the 39th and final voyage for Discovery, the agency's oldest shuttle. Discovery's six crew members will deliver a pressurized logistics module that will help provide more storage to the space station.

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

CNN: Authorities discover 30 tons of marijuana, border tunnel
U.S. authorities have discovered about 30 tons of marijuana that were part of a smuggling operation using a tunnel under the California-Mexico border, officials said Wednesday. The 600-yard tunnel - which features a rail system, lighting and ventilation - connects a warehouse in Tijuana with one in the Otay Mesa industrial area of San Diego, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack.

CNN: Tomas regains strength as it heads toward Haiti
Tropical Storm Tomas churned in the southern Caribbean on its way toward a possible early Friday morning landfall on the western edge of earthquake-devastated Haiti, forecasters said. Haiti is under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch, while Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas have issued tropical storm watches. A tropical storm watch is also in effect for Jamaica.

BBC: Liberian President sacks all but one cabinet ministers
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has asked all but one of her cabinet ministers to stand down with immediate effect. The president told ministers she wanted to restructure the cabinet and start with a clean slate, her office said. Deputies are to lead ministries until replacements have been appointed and some ministers might be asked to return to the cabinet, the statement added.

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

CNN Money: GM IPO to raise about $13 billion
General Motors plans to sell about $13 billion in common and preferred shares as part of its initial public offering, one of the largest in U.S. history. GM said it intends to sell almost a quarter of its 1.5 billion shares of common stock, at a price between $26 to $29 a share. It also intends to sell 60 million shares of preferred stock with a liquidation value of $50 a share. That price range would suggest that the Treasury Department's 60.8% stake in the company would be worth between $23.7 billion to $26.5 billion once the stock starts trading. That value would be well below the $40 billion in taxpayer money GM received from the government and has yet to repay.

In Case You Missed It

CNN's Brian Todd looks at how the Tea Party fared in the election and how it may perform in the future.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/11/03/tsr.todd.tea.paty.tidal.cnn

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey compares President Clinton and Obama following their midterm defeats.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/11/03/ps.armey.obama.disinterested.cnn

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