June 9th, 2010
05:06 AM ET
10 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, June 9, 2010


The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Battle lines drawn in Tuesday's primaries
Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln won the Democratic primary Tuesday, beating back a challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, whose campaign was fueled by unions and liberal activists. In Nevada, Gov. Jim Gibbons failed to convince Republicans to give him another chance at a four-year term, while a Tea Party-backed candidate won the GOP nod to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Voters in 12 states held primary elections Tuesday night, but the outcomes of two contests in South Carolina will be delayed by another two weeks. A runoff will be held on June 22 for the Republican gubernatorial nomination as well as for a GOP congressional seat in the northern part of the state.

CNN: Angle wins Nevada GOP Senate primary
A conservative Republican candidate, whose critics said was too outside the mainstream to win, won Nevada's Republican Senate primary. Sharron Angle beat Republican establishment favorite Sue Lowden and businessman Danny Tarkanian in a race that had grown increasingly bitter in the final days. Angle will challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Democratic nominee, in November.

CNN: Against liberal opposition, a centrist Democrat wins primary
Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln won the Democratic primary Tuesday night, beating back a challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in this high profile contest that exposed a rift between the liberal and centrist wings of the Democratic Party. Lincoln was targeted by national unions and liberal activists, who accused the Arkansas Democrat of turning her back on them as well as failing to support President Obama's policy goals. The Lincoln critics found their candidate in Halter and poured millions of dollars into Arkansas. Halter officially announced his candidacy in March making the primary a sprint, not a marathon.

CNN: GOP picks two women to head California ticket
California Republicans nominated two women Tuesday to lead their political ticket in November, bringing an end to two bruising GOP primary battles for governor and Senate. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman easily defeated state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. She faces state Attorney General Jerry Brown, a former governor, in the general election.

CNN: Haley and Barrett headed for runoff in South Carolina
The tumultuous and nasty race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in South Carolina will continue for another two weeks after Nikki Haley narrowly avoided winning Tuesday’s four-way GOP primary outright. Haley cruised to a commanding win but fell just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election, scheduled for June 22. Her opponent in the two-week sprint for the nomination will be Rep. Gresham Barrett, who finished in a distant second place and was dogged throughout the race by his vote for the Wall Street bailout in 2008.

CNN: Winner declared in special House election in Georgia
Former Georgia state Rep. Tom Graves is headed to Washington. Graves defeated fellow Republican Lee Hawkins in the special run-off election for Georgia's ninth congressional district, according to the Associated Press. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Graves led Hawkins 58 percent to 42 percent, according to an AP vote count. The race was to fill the seat of former Rep. Nathan Deal, who stepped down earlier this year to run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

CNN: Poll: Voters give Congress thumbs down
According to an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday, only 29 percent of the public says they are inclined to vote for their member of the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections. That level is even lower than in 1994, when voters swept the Democrats out of power in both the House and Senate. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted late last month also indicated that this is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year. Forty-seven percent of registered voters questioned in the survey said they were more likely to vote for a challenger than an incumbent, with only three in ten saying they'd back the incumbent. The anti-incumbent sentiment hurts Democrats more than Republicans, since there are more Democratic than Republican lawmakers fighting for re-election this year.

New York Times: Primaries Test Mood of Voters at Midterm
It was the busiest primary day so far this year, a coast-to-coast series of contests that amplified many of the existing themes that have crystallized as the parties select their nominees for governor, the House and the Senate against a backdrop of high unemployment and a sullen economy. But the results also underscored the individuality of the midterm campaign and the unpredictability of the next five months.

Baltimore Sun: Ehrlich unveils plans for business
In the first major policy rollout of his campaign, Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. promised Monday to explore ways to reduce the tax burden on small businesses, attract corporations and foster entrepreneurship. Ehrlich said he would move immediately to change the "attitude about entrepreneurship," which he said has suffered under the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley, the Democrat who unseated him four years ago. To signal that Maryland is "open for business," Ehrlich said, he would pay commissions to top-level Department of Business and Economic Development employees who persuade corporations to move into the state.

Newark Star-Ledger: Ex-Philadelphia Eagles football player Jon Runyan is nominated as GOP candidate for 3rd District
Primary night was far from over, but Gov. Chris Christie tonight shifted the congressional battle lines to the November general election, taking shots the Republicans top target: U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-3rd District). Christie showed up at former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jon Runyan’s campaign headquarters in Mount Laurel and called Adler a "career politician" who "knows how to con the people of the state of New Jersey." Runyan defeated Justin Murphy, a former Tabernacle Committeeman who ran as the tea party candidate. The race is expected to draw attention and resources from the national political parties. Adler has known he would face a tough reelection battle since he was first elected, and has raised $2.25 million to Runyan’s $225,000.

Palm Beach Post: Meek, Rubio ready to pounce if ‘pro-life’ Crist vetoes ultrasound bill
A bill requiring a woman to pay for an ultrasound before getting an abortion is now headed to Gov. Charlie Crist, who can sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. The expectation among politics-watchers has been that Republican-turned-independent Crist will veto HB 1143 in keeping with his drift from conservative-sounding GOP Senate primary hopeful to Democrat-courting independent candidate. If Crist vetoes the bill, however, he can expect cries of hypocrisy from the right and left.

CNN: McCain launches ads casting Hayworth as Washington insider
Arizona Sen. John McCain launched two ads Tuesday that seek to shine a spotlight on his opponent's past work as a lobbyist. McCain is locked in a re-election battle with former Arizona Rep. J.D. Hayworth. The two ads – one for television and one for radio – paint Hayworth as a Washington insider that was voted out of office in 2006 because of his ties to lobbyists.

CNN: Candidates spend $67 million on TV primary ads
A handful of candidates vying for governorships and Senate seats in four states Tuesday have spent north of $67 million on campaign television commercials with one Republican accounting for nearly half of that total. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman put $31 million of ads on TV to promote her candidacy for California's GOP gubernatorial nomination, according to a new analysis by Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant on political television ads. Whitman's opponent, Silicon Valley multi-millionaire-turned Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, has spent $19 million on TV in an effort to try and convince Republican voters he is the most qualified candidate to compete against Attorney General Jerry Brown in November.

CNN: Alaska senator moves to strip EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed Tuesday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to impose new limits on the emission of greenhouse gases. The Senate on Thursday is expected vote on a "resolution of disapproval" by Murkowski that would prevent the EPA from further regulating air pollution from vehicles and industrial facilities.

Washington Post: Social Security's defenders wary of deficit reduction commission
One of the oddest Web posts making the rounds in Washington is a series of blurry videos from Capitol Hill showing people coming and going from a closed-door meeting of President Obama's new deficit commission. The mundane scenes have a sinister cast for activists who say the commission is at work on a secret plan to gut Social Security. Nancy Altman, whose group, Social Security Works, shot the footage, says the threat to the nation's primary social safety net is greater now than at any time in the program's 75-year history. The heated rhetoric is an ominous sign for Obama's deficit-fighting task force, which is charged with developing a bipartisan plan to stabilize the soaring national debt.

The Hill: Pelosi wants spill bill by August recess
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told committee chairmen on Tuesday that she wants Congress to finish a legislative response to the Gulf oil spill before lawmakers leave for the August recess. The Speaker convened a meeting of nine committee chiefs to coordinate the House’s efforts to address the oil gusher that has consumed the nation’s attention for weeks and threatens to ravage the ecology and economy of the Gulf Coast.

For the latest national news: www.CNN.com

CNN: Rig survivors: BP ordered shortcut on day of blast
The morning the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, a BP executive and a Transocean official argued over how to proceed with the drilling, rig survivors told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview. The survivors' account paints perhaps the most detailed picture yet of what happened on the deepwater rig - and the possible causes of the April 20 explosion. The BP official wanted workers to replace heavy mud, used to keep the well's pressure down, with lighter seawater to help speed a process that was costing an estimated $750,000 a day and was already running five weeks late, rig survivors told CNN.

CNNMoney: File your claims! Or BP won't pay
In response to a growing perception that filing a claim for compensation from BP is more trouble than it's worth, officials in Alabama announced a program Tuesday to help workers affected by the oil spill get the money they're entitled to. The current process, overseen by claims adjusters contracted by BP, has been criticized for being cumbersome and inefficient. But it has also been hampered by a lack of participation by workers who think there is nothing to gain from it, according to Alabama governor Bob Riley. Riley said members of Alabama's Emergency Management Agency will lead "community action teams" made up of specially trained National Guard troops to assist fishermen and other individuals affected by the massive spill file claims for economic damages such as lost wages.

CNN: Terror suspect showed 'radicalized behavior' in school
One of two men arrested over the weekend on terrorism charges was twice put on "home instruction" for exhibiting threatening, "radicalized behavior" during his high school years, a school spokesman said Tuesday. Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, of North Bergen, New Jersey, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, are charged with one count each of conspiracy to kill, maim and murder persons outside of the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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

CNN: Mexico asks for probe into teen's shooting death by U.S. border agent
The Mexican government is requesting a quick and transparent investigation into the fatal shooting by a U.S. Border Patrol agent of a Mexican teen in Ciudad Juarez on Monday night, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The teen was shot during a rock-throwing incident, Mexican and U.S. officials said. The teen's death was the second at the hands of U.S. border authorities in less than two weeks.

CNN: Interpol: Van der Sloot tried to extort Holloway's mother
Joran van der Sloot, who authorities say has confessed to the murder of a Peruvian woman, faces criminal charges in Alabama because he tried to extort $250,000 from Natalee Holloway's mother, according to an Interpol document. U.S. authorities last week announced an arrest warrant for van der Sloot on charges of extortion and wire fraud, but they did not name the victim. In an Interpol document obtained by CNN Wednesday, American authorities ask Peruvian police to arrest van der Sloot and begin a process of extradition to the United States. The document states that Peruvian authorities can hold him if he is facing charges there.

CNN: U.N. Security Council to vote on tougher Iran sanctions
Diplomats hoping to slap tougher sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program will vote on a new draft resolution on Wednesday. The United Nations Security Council resolution - which could change before it comes to a vote - would put restrictions on Iranian entities and individuals, including members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. CNN obtained a copy of the circulating draft from a Western diplomat. A closed-door meeting was scheduled for later Wednesday to give Brazil and Turkey a chance to air their views on a nuclear fuel swap, said Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, the current Security Council president.

Washington Post: Greece is tapping China's deep pockets to help rebuild its economy
Nearly bankrupt and sullied in the eyes of foreign investors, Greece is moving to rebuild its economy by tapping the deep pockets of another ancient civilization: China. Spurred on by government incentives and bargain-basement prices, the Chinese are planning to pump hundreds of millions - perhaps billions - of euros into Greece even as other investors run the other way. The cornerstone of those plans is the transformation of the Mediterranean port of Piraeus into the Rotterdam of the south, creating a modern gateway linking Chinese factories with consumers across Europe and North Africa.

Wall Street Journal: Putin Supports Gaza Raid Probe
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his country will raise the issue of an investigation into last week's Israeli boarding of an aid ship off Gaza at the United Nations, calling the Israeli action "a crude violation of international law." Speaking at security summit of Eurasian leaders in Istanbul, Mr. Putin also called for an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. Israel, which is a member of the Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia group, blocked a joint statement on the Gaza issue. The other 21 members issued a text expressing their "grave concern and condemnation" of Israel's actions.

CNN: Russian soldiers 'took credit cards' from Polish crash site
A criminal case has been launched against four Russian soldiers on charges they illegally used credit cards belonging to a Polish official who died in the presidential plane crash in Russia in April, Russian authorities said Tuesday. "The criminal case has been started against four conscript soldiers on charges of theft by an organized group. The four were in the cordon at the scene of the crash," the Investigation Committee of the Russian Prosecutor's Office said. The soldiers took several cards but only used one of them to withdraw cash, stealing about 60,345 rubles (about $1,900) in several transactions, the committee said.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Hits China With Steel Penalty
In a move that could escalate trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the Department of Commerce found that Chinese drill-pipe makers were selling roughly $200 million of pipes in the U.S. for less than their market value. The ruling, while preliminary, places a 15.7% subsidy on finished and unfinished drill pipe, mainly used for oil and natural gas extraction, coming into U.S. ports beginning Wednesday. The subsidy is applied to the selling price of the pipe. The ruling marks another win for the domestic steel industry against Chinese-made industrial imports. In the last six months, the U.S. has ruled that China illegally dumped $2.8 billion of tubular steel, one of the largest cases ever, in the country. In another case this year, the U.S. found that the Chinese dumped seamless pipe steel.

BBC News: English rules tightened for immigrant partners
Ministers are bringing forward to the autumn measures requiring many immigrants marrying UK citizens to prove they have a command of English. The measures, which Labour had planned to introduce in July 2011, will apply to partners coming to the UK from areas outside the EU, such as South Asia. Campaigners said they supported efforts to help immigrants learn English, but the plans were discriminatory. Under the new rules, anyone from outside the EU applying for a visa to join their spouse or partner will have to prove they have a basic command of English, to help them get by in daily life, before their application is approved.

Washington Post: China, lodging protest, says North Korean border guards killed 3 of its citizens
North Korean border guards shot and killed three Chinese civilians and wounded another in a Friday incident at the two countries' border, China's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The shooting - which prompted an unusual public diplomatic protest by Beijing to its longtime ally Pyongyang - comes amid intense pressure on China from the United States and the United Nations to join the international condemnation of North Korea in the sinking of a South Korean naval warship March 26. China is hermetic North Korea's main ally and has been loath to criticize its leader, Kim Jong Il.

Wall Street Journal: Biden Visit Seeks Better Kenya Ties
Vice President Joe Biden held out the potential for more investment in Kenya, a critical ally whose help has been sought stabilizing a troubled East African region that includes neighboring Somalia. The vice president's remarks Tuesday during a brief trip to the region represent a softening of U.S. criticism. American officials have chided Kenya in the past for what has been perceived as a halting anticorruption drive and the slow pace of promised constitutional change. Washington has imposed a travel ban on Kenya's attorney general, who is seen as blocking changes. Mr. Biden offered more carrot than stick, vowing more business and a robust partnership between the two countries.

BBC News: South Korean rocket ready for launch
South Korea is set to loft a satellite into space for the first time, after an attempt last year failed. Ground controllers plan to launch the Korea Space Launch Vehicle 1 on Wednesday between 1630 and 1840 from the Naro Space Center in Goheung. The launch will up the ante in what some observers have described as an "Asian space race". China, India and Japan have developed a launch capability; China has also sent three manned missions into space.

For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com

CNNMoney: Dow in triple-digit comeback
Stocks staged a comeback late Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 rallying near the end of a choppy session, following a surge in commodity and financial shares. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 123 points, or 1.3%, and the S&P 500 index rallied 11 points, or 1.1%. Both ended the previous session at the lowest point since Nov. 4.

Business Week: Asian Stocks Decline for Third Time in Four Days on Europe, Yen
Asian stocks fell for the third time in four days as the stronger yen dragged down Japanese exporters and on concern Europe’s debt crisis will worsen after Fitch Ratings called the U.K.’s fiscal challenge “formidable.”

CNNMoney: Gold hits new record high
Gold prices climbed to a new record high Tuesday as Europe's debt troubles sparked demand for perceived safe havens, like the precious metal, and investors hedged against inflation. Gold for August delivery rose $5.70 to settle at a record $1,246.50 an ounce. Earlier in the day, it reached an intraday trading record of $1,254.50 an ounce. Investors remained wary about the global economic recovery amid Europe's ongoing sovereign debt problems. In turn, they look to gold and other low-risk investments, which are attractive during times of economic uncertainty, as safe bets. The precious metal's price has jumped 13% this year.

CNNMoney: GM recalling 1.4 million vehicles for fire hazard
General Motors is recalling 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. to fix a problem in which fires can be caused by a heated windshield washer fluid system. GM recalled 944,000 vehicles for this same problem in 2008, but now says the fixes it made aren't stopping new fires. Now GM dealers will simply disable the system altogether. The system is designed to heat windshield washer fluid in order to better clear the vehicles' windshield on cold days.

New York Times: McDonald’s Offers Cash in Recall of Shrek Glasses
McDonald’s is taking the unusual step of paying customers a premium to return Shrek drinking glasses that it has recalled because of concerns that cadmium used in the paint on the glasses could come off on children’s hands. The company will pay customers $3 for every glass they return. The company had been selling the glasses for $1.99 with a food purchase and $2.49 without food. It announced on Friday that it was recalling millions of the glasses, which are painted with characters from the movie “Shrek Forever After.”

CNNMoney: Bernanke: Recovery continues but 'won't feel terrific'
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says he expects a continuing economic recovery – "but it won't feel terrific." In an interview at a forum late Monday in Washington, Bernanke dodged a question about whether he fears a double-dip recession, saying "nobody knows with any certainty." In an unusually wide-ranging interview with Donaldson at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, the Fed chairman spoke with a little more candor than usual, Bernanke said he couldn't predict when the Fed would raise interest rates next. But he said it depends on the state of the economy, unemployment rates and inflation trends.

Business Week: Dell Targets State Health Services
An expected 30 million Americans will join Medicaid and private insurance plans as a result of health-care reform signed into law by President Obama on Mar. 23. When they do, they will have to register through "health information exchanges" that the federal government requires states to set up by 2014. Dell, the world's third-largest computer maker, has assembled a team of consultants to help U.S. states meet those mandates. On June 9, the Round Rock (Tex.) company said it has formed a state health services group to provide consulting to states as they work to comply with the legislation.

CNNMoney: Beware of falling prices
Lumber prices are sinking. And while that might make a trip to Home Depot cheaper, it's also a sign that the global economic recovery and the U.S. housing rebound are in danger of stalling. Only a few months ago, inflation was the main worry of many economists. But falling prices for the raw materials of many industries, including lumber, have set off deflation warning bells for some economists, who worry that they could signal another global economic downturn. While consumers love falling prices, deflation can cause far more damage to growth than inflation can. Lower prices cause businesses to cut back production, which can lead to layoffs, which can then cause further declines in demand due to falling incomes and consumer spending, creating a downward spiral.

In Case You Missed It

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln thanks her supporters after winning the Democratic Senate primary.

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman wins the Republican nomination for governor in California.

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