Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WHILE AMERICA WAS SLEEPING, I fixed a 'news breakfast' for you -- ready each weekday morning at 6am Eastern to satisfy your media craving [feature permalink here]. These must-reads will help you kick start the day:

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 04: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attends the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.)

Democrats Getting Outspent? Not So Fast: "It’s true that conservative third-party groups are outspending their Democratic rivals. But the Democrats still have a sizable cash advantage in their party committees – making this year’s elections a lot more of a fair fight than Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi let on. So far, the latest figures show that the Democratic Party machinery has outraised its Republican counterpart in this campaign cycle by almost $270 million. And even when outside spending on television advertising and direct mail is added to the mix, Republicans still haven’t closed the gap." (Politico)

Campaign Spending Is Bluer: " Lost in all of the attention paid to the heavy spending by Republican-oriented independent groups in this year’s midterm elections is that Democratic candidates have generally wielded a significant head-to-head financial advantage over their Republican opponents in individual competitive races." (NY Times)

Parties Pull Out the Stops: "For many candidates now — particularly struggling Democrats — their political future hinges on getting voters to the polls on Nov. 2. . . . A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that 63% of registered Republicans and those leaning Republican say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year. That compares with 37% Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters." (USA Today)

Manchin Investigation Worries Democrats: "A federal investigation into West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s administration has taken a disturbing turn for his Democratic supporters: agents reportedly have subpoenaed the director of the state Aviation Division, along with flight logs and records for official government aircraft. . . .  It’s highly unlikely the federal investigation will be resolved before Election Day, and the exact details of the probe, which apparently stem from state contracts, are still unclear. But the headlines about possible wrongdoing in the governor’s office – and rumors swirling around his former top aide – threaten to hamstring Manchin in his tight Senate race with millionaire businessman John Raese, with the Democrats’ control of the Senate at stake." (Politico)

House Forecast -- 52-Seat Gain For G.O.P.: "If Democrats were hoping for a late surge to improve their chances of retaining control of the House, there isn’t any evidence of it yet. Instead, Republicans have generally had the better of the polls in individual House districts released in the past 24 hours." (Nate Silver @ NY Times)

But It's a Tougher Road Ahead for the Senate: "We have been noting for several weeks that, with Republican chances having dwindled from slim to virtually none in a few East Coast Senate contests like Connecticut, Delaware, and the New York special election, their prospects of the party winning a 51st Senate seat on Nov. 2 instead boiled down to winning either California or Washington (while sweeping the other competitive contests). Today, they have gotten bad news in one of those races. That is the race in California, where several polls released within the past 24 hours show leads of 4 to 9 points for the Democrat, Barbara Boxer. Trendlines in these polls show little indication that Ms. Boxer’s lead has eroded; instead, it appears to have at least held steady and perhaps expanded by a point or so." (Nate Silver @ NY Times)

Midterm Blowout -- 50 House Seats for Republicans: "Republicans are headed for a blowout election win that seems certain to seize more than enough seats to knock out the Democrats and take control of the House. The Hill 2010 Midterm Election poll, surveying nearly 17,000 likely voters in 42 toss-up districts over four weeks, points to a massive Republican wave that, barring an extraordinary turnaround, will deliver crushing nationwide defeats for President Obama’s party. The data suggest a GOP pickup that could easily top 50 seats (the party needs 39 for control of the House)." (The Hill)

Fiorina Staying Overnight at Hospital: "It wasn't clear how soon she would return to the campaign trail, but Bowker told NBC Fiorina expected to return later this week." (MSNBC)

Jockeying Starts: "Senior Republicans in the House, pressed by the party's base to hew to conservative principles and rein in spending, are homing in on that message as they jockey to become chairmen of the chamber's most powerful committees." (WSJ)

Divide and Conquer: "With just six days left until Election Day, a key component of the Democratic strategy to hold the House is becoming clear: In more than a dozen close races, Democrats are encouraging and advancing little-known, conservative third-party candidates in an attempt to fracture the Republican vote enough to eke out narrow victories." (Politico)

Michelle Obama On Going On the Campaign Trail Alone: "I was scared. I was worried that I'd say that wrong thing. I was nervous that someone might ask a question that I didn't know the answer to. I have a tendency to do that thing that a lot of women do, where you get 99 things right, but spend all your time beating yourself up about the one thing you messed up." (CNN's Political Ticker)
WASHINGTON - JULY 26:  U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) (L) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, joined other House Democrats for a press conference to promote the 'Amerisave' plan at the Capitol July 26, 2005 in Washington, DC. According to the Democrats, the plan is intended to help middle-class families to save for retirement.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

‘I Know I’ve Disappointed You’: "Here’s a tactic that one of the most at-risk House Democrats -- North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy -- is hoping will resonate with voters: just apologize." (ABC)

Lobbyists Courting Potential House Stars: " Across Washington, lobbyists have been working behind the scenes now for months to prepare for this possible power shift. Former aides to Mr. Camp, who now work as lobbyists, are checking in with their onetime boss, chatting with him and his aides about staff appointments he might make when he takes over the Ways and Means Committee, and what tax or health care issues will be at the top of his agenda. Other lobbyists have gone to his staff to try to get to the head of the line in presenting proposed tax changes that will benefit their clients." (NY Times)

The Rise, Fall and Rise of John Boehner: " Twelve years later, Boehner, 60, is on the verge of completing a remarkable political comeback. He is now the minority leader, and if Republicans win control of the House in next week's midterm elections, he will almost certainly become speaker." (WaPo)

Rand Paul Supporter Apologizes: "Tim Profitt, a volunteer with the Republican’s U.S. Senate campaign, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was. He criticized police for not stepping in and says other supporters warned authorities about the activist. Paul has cut ties with Profitt, of Paris, Ky., who allegedly assaulted a liberal activist during a rally Monday night in Lexington, his campaign announced Tuesday afternoon." (McClatchy)

Ed Koch -- Republicans Will Sweep House and Senate: "Koch is blaming voters' profound disappointment in the leadership of President Barack Obama for the looming debacle facing Democrats." (Newsmax)

Records -- Miller Admits to Computer use, Lying: "Alaska GOP Senate hopeful Joe Miller was suspended for three days and referred to an employee assistance program after admitting to improperly using three government computers, then cleaning the caches to cover up the activities, according to personnel records released Tuesday under court order." (WaPo)


NPR Receives Bomb Threat: " Sources at the news organization said the threat was received via U.S. mail and was immediately turned over to local police and the FBI. The organization did not publicly disclose the threat or release details, on the advice of law enforcement officials. The letter didn't reference the Williams firing specifically, but people at NPR, who spoke about it on the condition of anonymity, said the timing and tone suggested it was sent after Williams's widely publicized termination. " (WaPo)

FBI Links 2 Military Shootings, Probes 3rd: "In the early morning hours of October 19 police and FBI investigators responded in force when six shots were fired into the south side of the Pentagon, leaving bullets embedded in two different windows. Just two days earlier, police in Quantico, Virginia responded to a similar attack on the Marine Corps Museum, where bullets were also fired at windows in the early morning hours. The FBI announced Tuesday it determined those shootings were carried out with the same weapon, which police said at the time of the Pentagon shooting was believed to be a high-powered rifle. Ballistic testing is now also underway for a third shooting that occurred sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia." (Fox News)


Fed Set For New Round of Monetary Easing? "The Federal Reserve looks set to embark on a hotly debated second round of monetary easing next week, but much uncertainty surrounds the scope and pace of bond purchases by the U.S. central bank." (Reuters)

Detroit Revving Up the Engine: " Ford Motor Company's plan to add more than 1,000 jobs at seven Michigan plants is proof that the Motor City, so hammered by this economy, is finally seeing early glimmers of a comeback. Ford, the only U.S. automaker not to take federal bailout money, is leading the way. This morning, the company announced their record third quarter profits." (ABC)

U.S. Seeks to Shield Goldman Secrets: " Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has always closely guarded the secrets of its lucrative high-speed trading system. Now the securities firm is getting a help from an unusual source: federal prosecutors." (WSJ)


Arab-Israelis, Police Clash Ahead of Rightwing March: "Violent clashes have broken out between Palestinian-Israelis and Israeli police ahead of a planned demonstration by members of a right-wing Jewish group in the town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel." (Al Jazeera)
An Afghan policeman searches a compound with U.S. Marines during a search for bomb-making materials on a patrol that came under fire from Taliban insurgents in the town of Nabuk in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST)

Russia Steps In to Help NATO in Afghanistan: "Russia has agreed to return to the war in Afghanistan at the request of the Western states which helped the mujahedin to drive its forces out of the country 21 years ago. . . . In return for help in Afghanistan Moscow is seeking what it terms as more co-operation from Nato. President Barack Obama has already scrapped missile-defence shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, proposals for which had led to prolonged protests from Moscow, and Nato has agreed that Russia will be consulted on the replacement system. Moscow would also like Nato to accept a fait accompli over Georgia, where Russian troops remain in South Ossetia and Abkhazia after the war of two years ago." (The Independent)

Taliban Unscathed: " An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of the war in Afghanistan." (WaPo)

Obama Tries to Restart Talks With Iran: "The Obama administration is pushing to revive a failed deal for Iran to send some of its nuclear stockpile overseas in exchange for assistance with peaceful nuclear technology, according to senior U.S. officials. The aim is to try to reduce Tehran's ability to quickly produce an atomic weapon." (WSJ)

India Fears Terror Attacks During Obama Visit: "Home Secretary Gopal Pillai on Wednesday told CNN-IBN television on Wednesday that the country was on alert to prevent attacks, such as the killing of 35 Sikhs in Kashmir by militants in 2000, when then U.S. President Bill Clinton visited India." (Reuters)

British Airways Chairman Attacks US Airport Security Checks: "Practices such as forcing passengers to take off their shoes should be abandoned, Martin Broughton said. And he questioned why laptop computers needed to be screened separately." (BBC)

French Retirement Age Reform Goes Ahead: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy moves a step closer to raising his country's retirement age today, amid signs resistance against the measure is fading. The bill to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 goes before France's lower house after being given final approval by the Senate." (Sky News)