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Tuesday, October 10, 2006
CNN Political Ticker AM
For the latest, breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day on the CNN Political Ticker. All politics, all the time.

Compiled by Stephen Bach
CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...


  • 52 percent think House Speaker Dennis Hastert should step aside after his handling of the Foley situation, a new CNN poll conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp finds. The same number said they believe the GOP leadership didn't investigate the charges earlier because they were deliberately covering the scandal up.

    Check out complete results from the CNN poll and new numbers from the latest Washington Post/ABC News, New York Times/CBS News, and USA Today/Gallup polls in Hot Topics below.

  • Republican campaign officials "expect to lose at least seven House seats and as many as 30" in the November 7 election, reports the Washington Post.

  • And of the sanctions proposed against North Korea, which, according to the New York Post, would "hit Kim [Jong Il] the hardest?" Hint: "He is said to spend an astounding $650,000 a year just for Hennessy cognac." Find out more in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

    President Bush meets with Peruvian President Alan Garcia at 9:10 am ET in the Oval Office, then travels to Chevy Chase, MD, where at 1:15 pm ET he'll participate in a school safety summit at the National 4-H Conference Center.

    First Lady Laura Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings are also scheduled to attend the event.

    This afternoon, Bush takes a quick trip south to campaign for Congressional candidate Mac Collins at the Macon Centreplex in Macon, GA.

    POTUS returns to the White House at 8:40 pm ET.

    Also on the Political Radar today:

  • TN Senate candidates Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) and Republican Bob Corker square off at their second televised debate tonight at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

  • MN Senate candidates Rep. Mark Kennedy (R), Amy Klobuchar (D), and Robert Fitzgerald (I) debate tonight at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

  • Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) faces Republican challenger Len Munsil and Libertarian Barry Hess at a debate tonight at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

    =================================================================
    Political Hot Topics

    (Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)

    BUSH CALLS NK TEST "A PROVACTIVE ACT," U.S. PROPOSES SANCTIONS: The United States proposed tough new United Nations sanctions on North Korea on Monday after its reported test of a nuclear device, and President Bush warned the North that he considered its activity a potential threat to American national security. At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the United States pressed for international inspections of all cargo moving into and out of North Korea to detect weapons-related material, and a ban on all trading in military goods and services with the country. At the White House, President Bush called the North Korean test "a threat to international peace and security" and condemned it as a "provocative act." New York Times: Bush Rebukes North Korea; U.S. Seeks New U.N. Sanctions

    EXPERTS SAY BLAST WAS "SHY OF A TYPICAL NUCLEAR DETONATION": U.S. intelligence agencies say, based on preliminary indications, that North Korea did not produce its first nuclear blast yesterday. U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that seismic readings show that the conventional high explosives used to create a chain reaction in a plutonium-based device went off, but that the blast's readings were shy of a typical nuclear detonation. "We're still evaluating the data, and as more data comes in, we hope to develop a clearer picture," said one official familiar with intelligence reports. Washington Times: U.S. doubts Korean test was nuclear

    DEMS ATTACK BUSH'S NK POLICY: Democrats seized on North Korea's brazen act to criticize President Bush's record in confronting the communist regime, contending the administration's focus on Iraq ignored legitimate threats. Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the president's rival in 2004 and a potential 2008 candidate, assailed Bush's policy as a "shocking failure," and said, "While we've been bogged down in Iraq where there were no weapons of mass destruction, a madman has apparently tested the ultimate weapon of mass destruction." AP via Yahoo! News: Democrats assail Bush's N. Korea policy

    $650,000 A YEAR ON HENNESSY?!!! The United States moved quickly yesterday to seek tough U.N. sanctions against North Korea - including an export ban that would cut off alcohol-guzzling Kim Jong Il's flow of his beloved top-shelf booze... The Bush administration urged the United Nations to take urgent steps, including: Banning sales of military hardware to North Korea, Inspecting all cargo entering or leaving the country, and Freezing assets connected with its weapons programs. But it was a ban on countries exporting "luxury" items to North Korea that would hit Kim the hardest - right in his prodigious liquor cabinet, stocked with the world's best libations. The often-drunk Pyongyang dictator is known for his huge consumption of pricey French wines, Johnnie Walker scotch and the finest cognac. He is said to spend an astounding $650,000 a year just for Hennessy cognac, and the basement of his official residence is a wine cellar with nearly 10,000 bottles of one of France's most famous exports. New York Post: Kooky Korean to Lose Booze

    52 PERCENT THINK HASTERT SHOULD QUIT IN NEW CNN POLL: About half of Americans believe the scandal over former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's contacts with teenage congressional pages should cost House Speaker Dennis Hastert his leadership post, according to a CNN poll released Monday. The poll, conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp., found that 52 percent of the 1,028 adults interviewed think Hastert should step aside. Thirty-one percent said they think he should keep his post, and 17 percent had no opinion... Fifty-eight percent of likely voters say they plan to vote for Democrats in November, compared with 37 percent who say they'll vote GOP. The 21-point gap is five points wider than it was in a CNN poll conducted last week. Among registered voters, the gap is narrower, as 54 percent said they plan to vote for Democrats and 38 percent say they're casting ballots for Republicans... President Bush's approval rating is 39 percent. CNN: Poll: About half think Hastert should resign

    FULL POLL RESULTS (pdf via CNN.com)

    RVS PREFER DEMS IN MIDTERMS 54-41 IN WASHPOST/ABC NEWS POLL: Democrats have regained a commanding position going into the final weeks of the midterm-election campaigns, with support eroding for Republicans on Iraq, ethics and presidential leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll... Approval of Congress has plunged to its lowest level in more than a decade (32 percent), and Americans, by a margin of 54 percent to 35 percent, say they trust Democrats more than Republicans to deal with the biggest problems the nation is confronting... By a margin of 54 percent to 41 percent, registered voters said they plan to vote for the Democrat over the Republican in congressional elections next month. President Bush's approval rating, which rose to 42 percent in September after an anti-terrorism offensive marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, registered 39 percent in the latest poll. Washington Post: Poll Shows Strong Shift Of Support to Democrats

    FULL POLL RESULTS (via WashingtonPost.com)

    BUSH APPROVAL SLIPS TO 34 PERCENT IN CBS/NYT POLL: Seventy-nine percent of respondents said House Republican leaders were more concerned about their political standing than about the safety of teenage Congressional pages. About half of respondents said that the House Republican leadership had improperly handled the Foley case, compared with 27 percent who said they approved of how it was handled; 46 percent of respondents said Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois should step down... There has been no change since mid-September in the gap between Americans who said they planned to vote for a Democrat over a Republican in their district this November: 49 percent to 35 percent... Mr. Bush's job approval rating has slipped to 34 percent, from 37 percent in September. That is one of the lowest levels of his presidency and poses a complication for the White House as it seeks to send him out on the road to rally base voters. New York Times: Poll Shows Foley Case Is Hurting Congress's Image

    FULL POLL RESULTS (pdf via NYTimes.com)

    MORE BAD NEWS FOR GOP IN USAT/GALLUP: Democrats had a 23-point lead over Republicans in every group of people questioned - likely voters, registered voters and adults - on which party's House candidate would get their vote. That's double the lead Republicans had a month before they seized control of Congress in 1994 and the Democrats' largest advantage among registered voters since 1978... President Bush's approval rating was 37% in the new poll, down from 44% in a Sept. 15-17 poll. And for the first time since the question was asked in 2002, Democrats did better than Republicans on who would best handle terrorism, 46%-41%. USA Today: Dems gain big lead

    FULL POLL RESULTS (via USAToday.com)

    GOP EXPECTS TO LOSE BETWEEN 7 AND 30 (!) HOUSE SEATS: Republican campaign officials said yesterday that they expect to lose at least seven House seats and as many as 30 in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, as a result of sustained violence in Iraq and the page scandal involving former GOP representative Mark Foley. Democrats need to pick up 15 seats in the election to take back control of the House after more than a decade of GOP leadership.... In a sign that the political environment is getting worse for Republicans, political handicapper Charlie Cook now lists 25 GOP-held seats as a tossup -- seven more than before the Foley scandal broke Sept. 29. Washington Post: GOP Officials Brace for Loss Of Seven to 30 House Seats

    HASTERT'S OPPONENT, ONCE "LONGEST OF LONG SHOTS," NOW RAKING IT IN: The scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) has trickled down to help the longest of long shots, including Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-Ill.) opponent. In the days since Foley resigned, Democrat John Laesch raked in $40,000 from online contributions. He has had to reorder yard signs and install new phone lines in his campaign headquarters in Yorkville, Ill. "Over the weekend, there were 20 to 30 people in the office that I'd never seen before," Laesch told The Hill. "People were coming in with a $100 check and asking for a yard sign." The Hill: Foley scandal a boon for Hastert's opponent

    HASTERT CANCELS SHERWOOD EVENT: House Speaker Dennis Hastert and another Republican leader criticized for his role in the congressional page scandal will not be appearing at fundraisers on behalf of a Pennsylvania congressman who has admitted to an extramarital affair... Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Pa., had been considered to have a safe seat for re-election until a woman filed suit against him and alleged that he had choked her during an altercation at his Capitol Hill apartment. Sherwood admitted to having an affair with the woman but denied hurting her. They settled the case out of court. Jake O'Donnell, a spokesman for Sherwood, said Monday that an Oct. 18 event with Hastert was only tentatively scheduled and was canceled mostly because Sherwood had another major event the next day. AP via Yahoo! News: Hastert backs out of Pa. fundraiser

    AT FINAL DEBATE, ALLEN CALLS M-WORD "CARELESS," N-WORD RUMORS "BASELESS": Republican U.S. Sen. George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb clashed over economic policy and the Iraq war last night in the fourth and final debate of the Senate campaign. Before a potentially huge statewide television audience and with polls showing their race even, Allen said Webb would raise taxes almost $1,000 a year on the average Virginia family, while he would vote to keep taxes low... Moderator Russ Mitchell, Sunday-night anchor of "CBS Evening News," asked Allen about the "macaca" controversy that has dogged him for months. At a campaign appearance in Southwest Virginia, Allen called a young Indian-American volunteer working for Webb "macaca," a genus of monkey and, in some countries, a racial slur. Last night, Allen said: "I made a mistake; those were careless words." Asked about recent allegations that he used the n-word in referring to blacks when he was in college, Allen said those allegations were "baseless." Richmond Times-Dispatch: Candidates' final face-off

    LAMONT DIGS UP '88 LIEBERMAN ADS: Ned Lamont is trying to coax the ghost of campaigns past to haunt the present campaign of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman. In a new Lamont ad scheduled to air today, challenger Joe Lieberman of 1988 seems to be making a case to reject the 18-year incumbent Lieberman of 2006. "After 18 years, it's time for somebody new," Lieberman says in the Lamont ad. "It's time for a change." The video is from 1988, when Lieberman's hair was longer and darker - and he was challenging Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., then an 18-year incumbent under fire for missed Senate votes. Hartford Courant: Lamont Uses Joe's Old Ads

    FORD, CORKER PREPARE FOR BATTLE IN CHATTANOOGA: The U.S. Senate debate in Chattanooga doesn't start until tonight, but that didn't stop Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Harold Ford Jr. from lobbing charges at each other throughout Monday. The Corker campaign and its recently changed leadership team continued to press themes related to U.S. Rep. Ford's sometimes controversial politically involved family. The Corker camp provided video footage in which Rep. Ford talks about his family and says he may "take the gloves off" in the Chattanooga debate... With independent polls showing Tennessee's U.S. Senate contest nip and tuck, the candidates meet at 7 p.m. today in Chattanooga for their second televised debate. In advance of what could be a lively encounter, the Corker campaign made available video footage of a Sunday rally in Jackson, Tenn., at which Rep. Ford alluded to Mr. Corker's comments about his family's "political machine" at their Saturday night debate in Memphis. "I told him when we got off the air, I said, 'I ain't gonna be as nice on Tuesday in Chattanooga,'" Rep. Ford says in the footage. Chattanooga Times Free Press: Ford, Corker face off at UTC tonight

    BLAGOJEVICH, TOPINKA, CAN'T AGREE ON FINAL TV DEBATE: After spending months bickering over the details of holding as many as a dozen debates, the two major candidates for governor called off negotiations Monday and said they would have no more public face-to-face meetings before the Nov. 7 election. Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka criticized each other for failing to resolve what had been an ambitious schedule of forums. Instead, after debates last week in Decatur and five months ago in a Chicago TV studio, their last joint forum before the election will be in a meeting Tuesday with the Chicago Tribune editorial board. "For seven months, [there has been] nothing but delays, excuses, complaining and then refusing to accept our offers," Blagojevich said before stepping off Chicago's annual Columbus Day parade at Columbus and Balbo Drives. But Topinka contended the governor's team repeatedly sought to change debate dates and times, which made the forums impractical to schedule. Chicago Tribune: Blagojevich, Topinka: No TV debate

    ROMNEY'S HURDLE: In seeking a presidential candidate for 2008, why would Republicans look further than the governor of Massachusetts? Tall and urbane, Mitt Romney has a prime political pedigree, an unblemished personal life and the cool confidence of a CEO. He is a conservative Republican who won easy election in a fiercely liberal state - then streamlined Massachusetts' government and enacted the country's most sweeping healthcare overhaul. He is a passionate defender of states' rights and recently has embraced strong views against stem cell research and abortion - a reversal of earlier positions. He never swears, and his sole vice is Diet Coke. Not incidentally, the 59-year-old governor boasts Ivy League credentials and movie-star looks. But Romney faces a potential obstacle that has not confronted a presidential hopeful for almost 50 years. As a devout Mormon - and a onetime bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Romney adheres to a faith that makes many Americans uncomfortable. Los Angeles Times: Romney's 2008 Bid Faces Issue of Faith
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