November 5th, 2010
04:42 AM ET
12 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Friday, November 5, 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:

CNN: Obama vows to 'move American people's agenda forward'
President Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders from both parties to join him in a meeting to discuss what to do in the waning days of the current Congress, vowing Thursday that it will "not be just a photo-op." "I want us to talk substantively about how to move the American people's agenda forward," Obama said. The meeting is set for November 18, Obama said, following elections Tuesday in which his Democratic Party lost control of the House of Representatives and saw its Senate majority reduced. Current members of Congress keep their jobs until the end of the year in what's known as the "lame-duck" session.

CNN: Election result ends talk of further sweeping reforms
One wish of many Republicans and conservative voters seems certain to come true in the aftermath of the midterm congressional elections. There won't be any more sweeping reform legislation like the 2,000-plus page health care bill for a while. President Obama has conceded as much since Democrats lost majority control of the House and had their Senate majority narrowed this week, telling reporters that a piecemeal approach to major issues is the best way forward.

CNN: Pelosi says she's getting positive response about staying on
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is being encouraged to stay on by colleagues, but insists she hasn't made a final decision about whether to make a run for House Minority Leader when Republicans take control in January. "I've gotten a positive response, but I haven't gone to a place where I've made a decision about that," said Pelosi in an interview with the Huffington Post.

CNN: Boehner welcomes new members
House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner made the case for why he should be the new House Speaker in a letter to new members Thursday. In the letter posted on his website, Boehner stressed his "humble beginnings" and said only in America would he have the opportunity to serve as Speaker. "It's the American Dream that brought me here. Defending and restoring that Dream for our children and grandchildren will be my mission as Speaker, if I am fortunate enough to serve," Boehner wrote. "I humbly ask for your vote to serve as Speaker of the House in the 112th Congress."

CNN: House GOP transition team busy planning for new Congress
In a sign that big changes are coming soon in the House of Representatives, there's literally a new sign in the Capitol basement that reads "Office of GOP Transition." In smaller type is the name of Oregon Republican Greg Walden, who was tapped by Minority Leader John Boehner the day after the election to head up the transition. Boehner and Walden aren't wasting any time planning a Republican-led House of Representatives. Walden is busy recruiting members for a 22-person panel that will meet for the first time on Monday night.

CNN: Senate Republican leader is feeling good
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell might not have gotten the majority he was hoping for on Election day– but he is still found the results "satisfying." "I'm going to be the leader of a much larger army and that's a much better problem to have," McConnell, of Kentucky, said in an interview on CNN's John King, USA. Prior to the midterms, Republicans held a scant 41 seats in the Senate – not much power, but still enough to maintain a filibuster that takes 60 votes to block. But with a gain of six seats and one race still undecided, Republicans have at least 47 seats in the Senate, not to mention the enormous 60 seat gain that gives the GOP a majority in the House.

New York Times: For G.O.P., Big Ambitions Face Daunting Obstacles
Republican leaders in Congress are preparing to take power in two months with ambitious and sometimes contradictory goals for economic and fiscal policies, leaving little common ground with President Obama and much uncertainty about the potential impact on the nation’s problems. Republicans are standing by their campaign vows to slash spending for domestic programs immediately by at least one-fifth — $100 billion in a single year — even as many mainstream economists say such deep cuts could further strain the economy and should await its full recovery.

New York Daily News: With GOP House takeover, it's 'now or never' to pass 9/11 bill
The Democrats' election slaughter in the House will doom the 9/11 health bill if the Senate can't pass it in the last few weeks of a lame-duck session, legislators told the Daily News. "Right now, it's now or never for the 9/11 bill," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), who soon will head the House Homeland Security Committee. "If we're not able to pass the 9/11 bill in the lame duck, I think the reasonable conclusion is it's dead," added Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens).

CNN: So long 2010, hello 2012
If every end results in a new beginning, then the start of the next race for the White House begins now. With the midterm elections barely behind them, the dozen or more possible contenders for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination no longer have to keep up the charade that all of their activity on the campaign trail over the past couple of months was solely about helping fellow Republicans this year and had nothing to do with the next race for the White House.

St. Paul Star Tribune: And the winner is ... Pawlenty?
An unfolding recount of votes in the governor's election could give Gov. Tim Pawlenty a rare political gift: The chance, for the first time, to make pivotal decisions backed by a new, GOP-controlled Legislature. By early next year, those could include whether to allow a federal expansion of Medicaid in Minnesota, and an opportunity to shape the next state budget. That would keep him in the public spotlight as he considers a possible run for president.

CNN: Republican Sen. candidate concedes
Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray will serve a fourth term in the Senate after challenger Dino Rossi conceded Thursday, two days after Election Day. Murray held a 2 point lead with 82 percent of the vote counted Thursday night. "This evening, I called Sen. Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the U.S. Senate," Rossi said in a statement.

CNN: Lifeline at risk for 2 million jobless
Two million people will run out of unemployment benefits next month if Congress fails to act in the coming weeks. The deadline to file for federal unemployment benefits expires on Nov. 30. If it is not pushed back, 800,000 people will stop getting checks within four days, according to the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. Federal jobless payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

Washington Post: Thousands of Democrats to be jobless in Washington
The Great Shellacking of 2010 will throw more than 2,000 Democratic congressional staffers out of their jobs. And it will send thousands of gleeful Republican staffer wannabes into overdrive to get those resumes up to the Hill to fill those vacancies. Here's a back-of-the-envelope look at the numbers: On the House side, 60 victorious GOP candidates are expected to hire more than 1,000 new aides in their personal offices. The staff allocations on the House committees have yet to be worked out, but they often run 2 to 1 for the majority party, so that could add up to a shift of maybe 800 or so jobs. Then there are the new House leadership staffs and so on. On the Senate side, the six new GOP senators are likely to hire around 150 personal office aides, and more Republican committee staff members will be sitting behind the senators at hearings.

CNN: After election bruising, Obama sets off on extensive Asian trip
Fresh off an electoral shellacking for his Democratic Party, President Barack Obama heads to India on Friday to launch a 10-day Asian trip intended to expand export markets and strengthen security cooperation in what he considers a region vital to U.S. interests. The 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 Chinese President Hu Jintao and at least five other leaders, as well as four presidential news conferences.

New York Times: For Obama, Foreign Policy May Offer Avenues for Success
The elections on Tuesday gutted the Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee, paved the way for a pro-Israel Cuban-American to preside over the House Foreign Affairs Committee and removed the most antiwar Democrat from the leading Senate foreign policy committee. But for President Obama, a truism holds: While his domestic agenda may end up being stalled for the next two years, national security remains his domain, no matter how unfriendly Congress may be. And the United States’ relations abroad, political and foreign policy observers say, may be the broadest avenue left for Mr. Obama to accomplish anything during the remainder of his current term.

Wall Street Journal: Obama Faces Chillier Reception Abroad
President Barack Obama steps back onto the world stage Friday, when he leaves for two economic summits in Asia after a big electoral rebuke. But his troubles will not ease overseas. The U.S. and nations abroad are at odds over economic policy. Among the issues, conservative governments in Britain and Germany are pressing for fiscal austerity measures in Europe that Mr. Obama's administration is resisting implementing in the U.S. "The rest of the world is looking more like the tea party," which wants to rein in government spending, according to Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

CNN: Palin’s Twitter controversy
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin caused a bit of a stir Thursday when a tweet from conservative commentator Ann Coulter appeared on a list of her account’s favorite tweets. The tweet showed a picture of a sign outside “The Blood of Jesus ATLAH World Missionary Church” in New York. The sign read: “The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA:Hussein.” The tweet has since been removed from Palin’s Twitter account.

For the latest national news:

Los Angeles Times: Consumers' right to file class actions is in danger
It hasn't gotten a lot of press, but a case involving AT&T that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court next week has sweeping ramifications for potentially millions of consumers. If a majority of the nine justices vote the telecom giant's way, any business that issues a contract to customers — such as for credit cards, cellphones or cable TV — would be able to prevent them from joining class-action lawsuits.

For the latest international news:

CNN: Death toll rises from Indonesia volcano eruption
The latest eruption of Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano on Friday, killed at least 54 people and severely burned 78, hospital officials said. Bodies recovered from a village about 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) from the volcano were badly burned, Commissioner Tjiptono of the Yogyakarta police told a local station, TV One. Mount Merapi began its latest eruptions on October 26. Friday's victims bring the total to 93 killed.

CNN: State media: Plane crashes in central Cuba, 68 dead
A domestic passenger plane with 61 passengers and 7 crew members onboard crashed in central Cuba Thursday, state media reported. State-run Radio Reloj said there were no survivors. The Aerocaribbean plane was carrying 28 foreign passengers and 40 Cubans, state media said.

Los Angeles Times: Plane crash kills 22 in Pakistan
A small plane carrying 22 people crashed near the airport in Pakistan's largest city on Friday after the pilot warned of engine troubles, an aviation official said. The two pilots and all 20 passengers were killed. The crash near the southern city of Karachi was the second in less than four months in Pakistan. On July 28, Pakistani carrier Airblue crashed outside the capital, Islamabad, killing 152 people. It was the worst crash on Pakistani soil.

CNN: Tomas approaches Haiti; landfall expected in Cuba
Rain associated with Tropical Storm Tomas began falling on Haiti on Thursday afternoon as aid agencies scrambled to move as many people as possible into storm shelters. The storm - even if it does not regain hurricane strength - could deal a disastrous blow to a nation still struggling to its feet after a devastating January earthquake. It showed signs Thursday night of becoming better organized, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said.

For the latest business news:

Wall Street Journal: Central Bank Treads Into Once-Taboo Realm
The Federal Reserve will print money to buy nearly as much U.S. Treasury debt in the next eight months as the U.S. government will issue. The Fed's decision this week to buy $600 billion more of U.S. Treasury debt is setting off a debate about the risks of a central bank entwining its policies so tightly with the government's fiscal fortunes. The Fed is essentially lending enough money to the government to fund its operations for several months, something called "monetizing the debt."

In Case You Missed It

The "um factor" makes Obama look glum, while the Speaker-to-be is a serial weeper. Jeanne Moos reports.

Jim VandeHei of Politico discusses an article he wrote regarding GOP leaders and a possible Sarah Palin White House bid.

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