October 29th, 2010
04:40 AM ET
12 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Friday, October 29, 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.

For the latest political news:  www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Clinton asked Meek to drop out
Former President Bill Clinton last week tried to persuade Florida Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the three-way contest, according to a report by Politico that was confirmed by CNN. A senior Democratic official told CNN that the White House was aware of Clinton’s negotiations, and that Democrats believed the move would prevent Republican candidate Marco Rubio from winning the Florida Senate seat. As part of the deal, Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist would then caucus with Democrats in the Senate. Meek was considering the option until two days ago, but the deal eventually fell apart, according to the source.

CNN: Crist says White House was involved
In an appearance on Fox news Thursday night Republican-turned-independent Senate candidate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he spoke with Rep. Kendrick Meek and "several people" at the White House about having Meek step out of the race. Crist would not specify to whom he spoke at the White House, but he did say he spoke to Meek about the possible shift and that Meek was "considering it."

CNN: Meek speaks: reports are 'inaccurate at best'
At a press conference Thursday night Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Kendrick Meek called press reports that he was asked to drop out of the race “inaccurate at best.” “Any rumor or any statement that I decided to get out of his race is inaccurate at best,” Meek said. Meek said neither former President Clinton nor the Democratic National Committee called him to say he should get out of the race.

CNN: Clinton to CNN: I spoke with Meek twice
Former President Bill Clinton says he talked to Rep. Kendrick Meek about ending his bid for Senate twice, but that he never discussed the issue with the White House. “He was trying to determine what was the best thing for him to do,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Susan Candiotti Thursday. “I knew it was being discussed, people had discussed it on and off… it was no secret.” Clinton said Meek did not have enough money to break through in the polls.

CQ Politics: Finding Dirt Steps Out of the Shadows
’Tis the season of 20-year-old divorce records, drunken-driving arrests, criminal complaints by ex-lovers and college pranks turned sour. The trickle that started this spring and became a stream this summer is now a flood of dated court records and traffic tickets. No past incident is too small for glaring attention in an environment where an expanse of highly competitive races has both parties clawing for every advantage in every district, and partisan websites offer endless avenues for publishing.

CNN: Nevada Senate candidates trade barbs over Social Security
Nevada's two Senate candidates traded barbs Thursday over Social Security amid a new report about comments Republican nominee Sharron Angle once made about federal social programs. "Isn't it us that should be caring in our community" for those that the Lord believes need help – Angle says in an audiotape posted on the website viddler.com and earlier reported by Politico – those who are "the least among you?"

New York Times: As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings
Senator Charles E. Schumer shipped $500,000 to Nevada in recent weeks to help Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader and Mr. Schumer’s political patron and close friend, as he fights for his political life. …He is doing everything he can to help his friend Mr. Reid fend off a challenge from the Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle and prevent the embarrassing ouster of the party leader. Yet given his own deep political ambitions and drive, Mr. Schumer is also very carefully laying the groundwork to move on a moment’s notice to try to secure the top Democratic job if Mr. Reid is defeated on Tuesday.

CNN: Miller to get another dose of Tea Party assistance
The national Tea Party group that helped Joe Miller win the Republican Senate primary in Alaska now says they're going up with two new commercials in support of the GOP nominee. Tea Party Express tells CNN Thursday that one of the two ads touts Miller's biography while the other criticizes Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was defeated by Miller in the August primary and who is now running as a write-in candidate in next week's general election.

CNN: GOP leader to campaign for O'Donnell
Lamar Alexander, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, will make a campaign appearance Friday in Delaware with GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, CNN has learned. The Tennessee senator is the first member of the Senate Republican leadership to appear with O'Donnell, according to an Alexander aide. O'Donnell stunned and disappointed the GOP establishment when she beat Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican primary. Castle was considered a sure winner in the general election, but O'Donnell now trails her Democratic opponent Chris Coons by double digits.

New York Times: Jon Stewart and His Rally May Shun Politics, but Attendees Are Embracing It
Jon Stewart insists that his “Rally to Restore Sanity” planned for the National Mall on Saturday is not political. But just about everything surrounding the event is. Interviews with some of the tens of thousands of people expected to attend suggest that they want a message, not a simple comedy show. Liberal groups like Media Matters and Naral Pro-Choice America will be out in force to attract new members and even Organizing for America, President Obama’s political organization, wants to draw attendees to phone banks set up near the Mall.

CNN: A shift in Obama's same-sex marriage vow?
There may be some wiggle room in President Obama's unwavering opposition to same-sex marriage. Speaking to a group of liberal bloggers Wednesday the President said that "attitudes evolve, including mine." It appeared to be a departure from his stance of supporting civil unions only but not same-sex marriage. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this evolution in the President's thinking is a result of discussions he's had with "colleagues and co-workers and hears them talking about being treated differently.

CNN: Obama's Asia trip highlights region's growing global importance
President Barack Obama will meet on U.S. Veterans Day with Chinese President Hu Jintao - while both men are in South Korea - as part of a hectic schedule of summit meetings, news conferences and cultural events on his upcoming four-nation trip to Asia, top administration officials said Thursday. The 10-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan encompasses a G-20 summit, an Asia-Pacific Economic Council summit, major holidays in India and Indonesia and bilateral talks with Hu and at least five other leaders, as well as four presidential news conferences, the officials told reporters.

For the latest national news:  www.CNN.com

CNN: Man charged in D.C.-area bomb plot had 'an associate'
A search warrant revealed new details Thursday about an alleged plot by Virginia man to help others he thought were members of al Qaeda in planning multiple bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington area. A warrant included a sworn statement by an FBI agent that said Farooque Ahmed was accompanied by "an associate" as he visited several Metrorail stations to record video he later handed over to undercover agents he thought were al Qaeda members.

CNN: Shootings at Pentagon, Marine museum, recruiting station linked
The same weapon was used in three recent incidents of shots fired at military buildings, including the Pentagon, the FBI said Thursday. Tests at the FBI Laboratory showed that the Tuesday night shooting at a vacant Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Chantilly, Virginia, involved the same weapon as earlier similar incidents at the Pentagon and the National Museum of the Marine Corps, an FBI statement said.

CNN: TSA to phase in new pat-down procedures at airports nationwide
Airline passengers can expect to see as well as feel new pat-down procedures at U.S. airports over the coming weeks in an effort to provide another layer of security for travelers, the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday. "Pat-downs are one important tool to help TSA detect hidden and dangerous items such as explosives," according to a TSA statement sent to CNN. The TSA said passengers should continue to expect "an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, among others."

CNN: US spy spending revealed for first time, tops $80 billion
The United States spent $80 billion on spy activities in 2010, the first time the government has officially announced the total tab for intelligence spending. The amount included $53.1 billion on non-military intelligence programs, a 6 percent boost from the previous year, according to a statement released Thursday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The military spent an additional $27 billion on its intelligence apparatus, said Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan.

CNN: Letter: BP, Halliburton knew of flaws in cement in Gulf oil spill well
Oil giant BP and contractor Halliburton knew of potential flaws in the cement slurry used to reinforce the oil well below the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded in April, according to a letter Thursday from the lead investigator for a federal probe of the Gulf oil disaster. The letter from Fred Bartlit Jr. to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling said that tests in February on a cement slurry similar to what was used on the Macondo well showed instability - and that both companies had the data.

CNN: Foreclosure wave costs some federal workers their jobs
For federal workers with security clearances, losing a house to foreclosure can cost them their jobs as well, because financial distress can be a security vulnerability, a recent study says. Attorney Sheldon Cohen says he has several clients who face losing their jobs - or being rejected for a new job - because they have gotten into debt and cannot pass the required background check. "The government needs to take into account the current financial crisis in the country," he said. "Not everybody who loses their house due to a mortgage or a short sale is necessarily a security risk."

Albany Times Union: State work force down 5,000, layoffs still reality
How much has the state work force shrunk over the past year? As of mid-September, New York had at least 1,920 fewer people getting a state paycheck than a year ago, according to a review of data from the state comptroller. Some of those workers may be included in the total of 3,617 who have taken Gov. David Paterson's early retirement incentives. So it's likely that the total drop ranges between 4,000 and 5,000 - with more retirements on the way: Employees at the state university system, the Legislature and judiciary have until the end of the year to take the incentive.

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CNN: Death toll climbs to 394 in Indonesian tsunami
The toll climbed to 394 dead and 312 missing four days after a magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck off Indonesia's coast, triggering a tsunami, officials said Friday. Nearly 370 people were severely injured and about 145 had minor injuries, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the Indonesian national board for disaster management. An estimated 4,000 people were affected by the tsunami, which swept up many villagers and their homes without warning, said Nugroho, director of disaster risk reduction for the agency.

CNN: Abbas, Netanyahu still in standoff over settlements, peace talks
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday renewed his call for an end to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank as a prerequisite to resume stalled peace talks, and said appealing to the United States or United Nations was among the Palestinian options to end the standoff. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated earlier statements that appealing to international organizations wouldn't be in the best interests of the peace effort.

CNN: DEA: Drug raids in Afghanistan net $56 million worth of heroin
Almost $56 million worth of high-quality heroin has been seized in a series of drug busts in Afghanistan, according to senior Drug Enforcement Administration officials. The operation in Nangarhar Province was jointly conducted by the DEA, the Department of Defense, NATO, the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior and the Russian drug control agency. Raids Thursday morning disrupted four clandestine laboratories associated with a significant narcotics trafficker in the province. Approximately one metric ton of heroin was seized, along with a smaller quantity of opium and items used in drug production, authorities said.

CNN: Ugandan anti-gay measure will be law soon, lawmaker says
The member of the Ugandan Parliament behind a controversial "anti-gay" bill that would call for stiff penalties against homosexuality - including life imprisonment and the death penalty - says that the bill will become law "soon." "We are very confident," David Bahati told CNN, "because this is a piece of legislation that is needed in this country to protect the traditional family here in Africa, and also protect the future of our children."

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CNN Money: Microsoft sales rise 25% to $16 billion
Microsoft's first-quarter sales of $16.2 billion rose 25% from last year, thanks to strong showings from Office 2010, Windows 7 and Xbox 360. Microsoft's net income jumped 51% from last year, to $5.41 billion, or 62 cents per share. The company easily topped analyst estimates for both sales and earnings.

New York Times: Bernanke’s Reluctance to Speak Out Rankles Some
The Federal Reserve is all but certain next week to begin a multibillion-dollar effort to coax the recovery along, but privately, Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman, worries that more is needed to turn the sluggish economy around and revive employment. He believes that without the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus program, the nation would have been worse off, and that Congress needs to continue to prop up the economy in the short run. He agrees that fiscal measures to support the recovery would probably make the Fed’s unconventional monetary policy more potent. But Mr. Bernanke has been reluctant to prominently voice those views, which were gleaned from testimony, speeches and interviews with people close to him over the last several months. His predecessor, Alan Greenspan, did not display such hesitation, advocating for the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

In Case You Missed It

Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek says he is not dropping out of the Florida race.

Jon Stewart addresses President Obama as "dude" on "The Daily Show." Was it appropriate?

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