Just 15 days remain until the midterm elections on Nov. 8, and the last two weeks are shaping up to be a nail-biter.
While early voting already underway in states such as Georgia, Florida and North Carolina is drawing voters in record numbers and may give an indication of turnout, pollsters and election forecasters still predict tight races up and down the ballots, with no clear sign of victory for either party (The New York Times and The Guardian).
A Sunday NBC News poll shows Democrats with a slim 1-point lead on a generic congressional ballot. According to the poll, 47 percent of Americans back a Democrat-controlled Congress while 46 percent say they would like to see Republicans in charge.
Last week, a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey showed Republicans leading Democrats 53 percent to 47 percent, while other polls show a previously wider lead by Democrats shrinking to just one point (The Hill).
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, on Sunday told ABCs This Week co-anchor Jonathan Karl that people have been writing us off for two years while the party worked to pass gun control legislation, expanded healthcare for veterans and pushed through the historic Inflation Reduction Act.
Weve got a record of progress, and were doing a lot better than people thought we would, Maloney said. And we are in a very competitive election. We know its going to be a challenge.
What Maloney didnt have an answer to is whether he thinks President Biden should run again in 2024, saying, The president will make that decision. The White House has yet to officially confirm if Biden will run for reelection, though Biden has repeated his intention to run (The Hill).
But Democrats are facing the fears that the momentum they saw earlier this year in their bid to keep control of the Senate is beginning to wane, writes The Hills Max Greenwood. Towering inflation and deepening economic unease are overtaking issues such as abortion rights atop the list of voters concerns, and Republicans are speaking to those concerns.
? Politico: More voters trust Republicans on economy as interest in midterms hits high, polls say.
? Roll Call: In 21 House race rating changes, most move toward GOP.
? NBC News: Democrats struggle with message on inflation in final midterm push.
The Hills Al Weaver has rounded up the seven Senate seats most likely to flip this November, from Wisconsin to Nevada and Georgia.
One race thats moving into contention for Democrats is the Senate race in North Carolina, where Democrat Cheri Beasley is looking to close the gap with Rep. Ted Budd (R). Reporting from the campaign trail, The Hills Alexander Bolton writes that Budd is ahead, but polls show a tight race and political strategists in both parties predict victory and defeat will come down to a few percentage points.
North Carolina is a true purple state. Thirty percent of our voters are registered Republicans, 34 [percent] are registered as Democrats, 35 percent are registered as unaffiliated voters, said state Republican Chairman Michael Whatley. Fifty-two to 48 is a landslide in North Carolina.
? WCNC: North Carolina Senate candidates make their pitch to voters.
? ABC News: As early voting begins in North Carolina, abortion and inflation appeals divide the race.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is facing a potential make-or-break moment Tuesday as he squares off with his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz in the candidates first and likely only televised debate.
Fetterman has faced repeated questions about his health since suffering a stroke in May, write The Hills Julia Manchester and Al Weaver. And recent polls show a tightening race, as Oz has criticized Fetterman about his health, months-long absence from the campaign trail and handling of crime.
A Tuesday AARP Pennsylvania poll showed Fetterman leading Oz 48 percent to 46 percent, putting him within the margin of error, while a Fox 29-InsiderAdvantage poll showed the two tied at 46 percent.
In the sincere hope that John can really hold himself up to the scrutiny that comes with a high-profile debate, and I think he can, T.J. Rooney, a former Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman, told The Hill. Through video and things hes done going back to July, hes in such a much better place today than he was then that I hope that strength is able to be better depicted during the course of the debate.
Polls suggest to some Democratic analysts that the partys campaign messages about GOP extremism, abortion laws and fears about the future of American democracy have missed the mark with voters who are deeply worried about rising prices and predictions of hard times just over the horizon for their families and communities.
Democrats elation this summer that their majorities might defy midterm history, a backdrop that initially warned them of House and Senate losses for the party in power in the White House, has deflated. Bidens low job approval and voters hand-wringing about record high inflation paint divided government as an attractive choice.
The closing argument has to be about what matters to the electorate, said Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of the liberal activist network Our Revolution. In this moment in particular, voters are looking for the candidates who will fight to raise their standards of living (The Hill).
Progressives want the party to internalize the Its the economy, stupid lesson in the final two weeks before Election Day, pleading with candidates to narrow their focus, in part because Republican contenders have made gains while blasting Democrats over high gasoline and food prices, crime and immigration.
The Hill: Democrats democracy-in-peril argument fizzles as a midterm election issue.
Biden has scattered his campaign messages across issues such as domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips, infrastructure, future lower-cost prescription drugs negotiated under Medicare, reproductive rights, threats posed by extremists and white supremacists, and climate change. He will be in Syracuse, N.Y., on Thursday to talk about computer chip manufacturing investments by Micron.
The president has said inflation is a global problem and the No. 1 concern within his administration and that he does not expect a recession.
A lot of what weve done, and weve passed, has not kicked in yet, Biden told journalist Jonathan Capehart during an interview broadcast Friday on MSNBC. It doesnt kick in until next year.
If theres anything Biden should have internalized from the pandemic, its Americans impatience. It takes years to implement massive pieces of legislation and while many voters know that Democrats enacted the Inflation Reduction Act during the summer, they also know inflation remains high. Bidens argument is accurate and also a hard sell.
The president is expected to headline larger campaign rallies in the final week before Nov. 8, hoping that his closing arguments, backed by campaign ads, candidate events and celebrity messaging, including from former President Obama, will prove persuasive in the nick of time.
In addition to a visit to New York state, Biden this week will participate in virtual campaign receptions for House candidates in Nevada, Iowa and Pennsylvania, and return to Philadelphia on Friday for a Pennsylvania Democratic Party event with Vice President Harris.
? Times of Israel: Biden to MSNBC, during an interview segment broadcast on Sunday: I could drop dead tomorrow. The president, who says his good health supports his intention to seek a second term, will be 80 on Nov. 20.
? Axios: Red tsunami: Strategists suggest it’s now very possible House Republicans win back the majority on Nov. 8 with more than 20 House seats.
? The Washington Post: Inside the successes, missteps and failures of Bidens presidency now nearing its two-year mark.
? The Hill and The New York Times: If former President Trump opts to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee on Jan. 6, he wil not be permitted to turn any testimony into a circus, Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Sunday. Trump and his legal team have not said how he will respond to the House subpoena.
? The Hill: Voting systems company Dominion: Fox News knew the truth that voter fraud claims made by Trump and his associates were untrue, CEO says.
LEADING THE DAY
Elections have consequences, leaders of both parties are fond of saying. If Republicans control the House, the new majority next year wants to pursue its own policies to tame inflation. The Hill describes GOP legislative ideas focused on spending reductions and tax cuts, energy independence, improving the supply chain and turning the nations borrowing authority into a force multiplier in combat with Democrats.
We will make sure the federal government pays its debts, but we will use the debt ceiling as it was intended a lever to address our deficit and debt, said Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.).
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) once again declined to say if she would run in her caucus to remain as Speaker if Democrats hold the House majority in 2023 (The Hill).
Questioned on CBS Newss Face the Nation on Sunday, she repeated, Im not talking about that. Im here to talk about how we win the election.
The Biden administrations student debt forgiveness program was temporarily blocked by a federal appeals court on Friday, but the White House urged borrowers to keep applying for relief that could total up to $20,000 for some individuals.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued a stay on the program Friday after an appeal from six Republican attorneys general representing GOP-led states. The ruling came just days after the administration launched the application at StudentAid.gov (The Hill).
Twenty-two million people had already applied for debt forgiveness as of Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced, emphasizing that the courts decision does not prevent us from reviewing these applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona pledged Saturday to keep moving full speed ahead on plans to implement the program (CNN).
Amid some Republicans trying every which way to block the Biden administrations debt relief program, the department is moving full speed ahead to deliver relief to borrowers who need the help, Cardona wrote in a USA Today op-ed.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
Russia fired missiles and drones into Ukrainian-held territory over the weekend, continuing an intense campaign to damage Ukraines energy supplies as Russian forces attacked targets along the length of the front line.
Winter weather is closing in as the two countries remain locked in heavy exchanges of fire and both sides make urgent attempts at gains. Experts see Russias increasing attacks as part of an attempt to stretch Ukraines defense abilities and resources (The New York Times).
Russias defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, on Sunday warned his French counterpart that the war is rapidly deteriorating and heading toward uncontrolled escalation (Reuters).
The foreign ministers in France, the United Kingdom and the United States on Sunday issued a collective statement reiterating steadfast support for Ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russias ongoing aggression for as long as it takes. The three allied nations rejected Russias transparently false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use a dirty bomb on its own territory (The Hill).
Two people were killed Sunday when a Russian military plane crashed into a two-story apartment block in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, according to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. It marks the second time in a week that a military plane has hit a Russian residential building (The Washington Post).
The New York Times: With an intense, hastily assembled effort, the Ukrainian military is pioneering successful techniques in the difficult art of anti-drone warfare.
Cyberattacks are increasingly a key part of modern warfare, but NATOs treaty that says an act of war against a NATO member will prompt a response from the full alliance had conventional warfare in mind, writes The Hills Ines Kagubare. While several NATO members have recently been hit with cyberattacks, there has been no signal from the organization about when such attacks might ever trigger Article 5.
Article 5 was written in the days when things were much clearer, said James Lewis, a senior vice president and director with the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. We dont have that clarity with cyberattacks.
In Italy, Giorgia Meloni was sworn in over the weekend as the countrys new prime minister. Melonis government is the first far-right government the country has seen since World War II (The Guardian) and she has been compared by her critics to Benito Mussolini. Biden on Saturday used a brief White House statement to extend congratulations, saying, Italy is a vital NATO ally and close partner as our nations together address shared global challenges.
As leaders in the G7 [Group of Seven nations], I look forward to continuing to advance our support for Ukraine, hold Russia accountable for its aggression, ensure respect for human rights and democratic values, and build sustainable economic growth, he wrote.
France 24: European Union chiefs congratulate far-right Meloni as Italy’s prime minister.
Chinas Communist Party congress ended over the weekend and as expected President Xi Jinping secured a historic third term in power. Here are the six loyalist leaders hand-picked by Xi to help him run what many in the West now see as a more totalitarian China (The New York Times). A rare senior female delegate who oversaw Chinas zero-COVID policy is expected to retire at age 72 (The New York Times).
China has entered a new era of maximum Xi, Neil Thomas, an analyst of Chinese politics for the Eurasia Group, told the Times. The outcome, Thomas added, means more support for Xis policies, which means a stronger focus on political control, economic statism, and assertive diplomacy.
During Saturdays closing ceremony, Hu Jintao, Chinas former leader, was unexpectedly led out of the great hall, marking a moment of drama during a typically highly regimented event. On his way out, Hu appeared to pause and say something to Xi (CNN).
? The New York Times: China hangs on Xis every word. His silence also speaks volumes.
? The Washington Post: Chinas Communist Party hands Xi an endless rule for flexing power.
? The New York Times: China, after a delay, unexpectedly releases economic data.
In the United Kingdom, Brits will have a new prime minister to replace Liz Truss by the end of the week, or perhaps today. Candidate Rishi Sunak, 42, is ahead in the nose-counting this morning for Conservative Party votes with at least 178 backers who have declared their support. Candidate Penny Mordaunt, 49, has 26 as of this writing (BBC). Sunak, a former chancellor of the exchequer, is seen as the likely victor (The New York Times). Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gained some modest early support to make a return engagement in the top job after Trusss six weeks at No. 10, announced Sunday that he is not a candidate (CNN).
If Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, fails to reach a threshold of 100 members of Parliament in her corner, Sunak could become the prime minister today. If there are two candidates with at least 100 nominations, a vote happens on Friday (Reuters).
? The Trump Tapes: 20 interviews that show why he is an unparalleled danger, by Bob Woodward, associate editor, The Washington Post (ahead of Woodwards Simon & Schuster publication of the Trump interviews on Tuesday). https://wapo.st/3Spsu4p
? How Cold War II could turn into World War III, by Niall Ferguson, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3Do6ty
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at 11 a.m. Tuesday for a pro forma session. Members are scheduled to return to the Capitol on Nov. 14. ??
The Senate convenes at 1:45 p.m. for a pro forma session. Senators make their way back to Washington on Nov. 14.
The president will visit Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington for remarks at 1 p.m. Biden and first lady Jill Biden will plant a tree on the South Lawn. They will host an East Room reception to celebrate Indias Diwali holiday.
The vice president will attend a reception in the East Room for Diwali, Indias festival of lights and biggest holiday of the year.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak at 12:40 p.m. at a Department of State luncheon commemorating the 10th anniversary of TechWomen. He will meet at 5 p.m. with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi, who has recently traveled to Ukraine and has spoken with President Vladimir Putin about Russias military seizure in Ukraine of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will deliver a keynote address at 11 a.m. at the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in New York City.
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff today will join Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison for political events in North Carolinas Kannapolis at 10 a.m. at the David M. Murdock Research Institute and in Charlotte at 1 p.m. at the North Carolina Democratic Party coordinated campaign headquarters.
The first lady will host an event at 11 a.m. with the American Cancer Society and singer Mary J. Blige to launch the American Cancer Societys National Roundtables on Breast and Cervical Cancer. The first lady will join the president for his scheduled events on the South Lawn at 2:15 p.m. and in the East Room at 5 p.m.
The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 3 p.m.
? PANDEMIC & HEALTH
Theres a respiratory disease surging among children. Heres what you need to know about respiratory syncytial virus, which is extremely common (The Hill).
COVID-19 and waning immunity changed the typical cycle of respiratory infections among children, explained Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, speaking Sunday on CBSs Face the Nation (The Hill).
The New York Times: A tripledemic? Flu and other infections return as COVID-19 cases rise.
The president will receive his updated COVID-19 shot on Tuesday and deliver remarks at the White House (The Hill). Biden recovered from COVID-19 in July. He suffered a rebound case after taking Paxlovid after initially testing positive, but his symptoms were mild.
Next year, with an end to currently available federal funding for COVID-19, the cost of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses will rise to between $110 and $130, compared with the approximately $30 the company charges the government now. The new price tag should be covered for most people who have health insurance (CNN). For now, COVID-19 vaccines are still available for free.
Omicron subvariants pose a new threat to people with immune deficiencies, research shows, as new strains of the virus show resistance to the antibody drugs many need for extra protection against COVID-19.
NBC News reports that these subvariants evade AstraZenecas Evusheld, the antibody drug authorized to prevent COVID-19 infection, and the sole antibody drug that has retained effectiveness as treatment for the virus, Eli Lillys bebtelovimab.
It scares the hell out of us, Minneapolis area resident Mimi Razim-FitzSimons told NBC News.
Reuters: Cases of BQ.1, BQ.1.1 COVID-19 variants double in the United States. as Europe warns of a rise.
? School vaccine requirements: Some GOP leaders, conservative media figures and Republican political candidates spread false information in recent days about vaccination guidance for school children and their parents released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with expert backing. Not one of the 50 states mandates that children be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend school. None. Zero. The choice is up to parents and pediatricians. The CDC added COVID-19 vaccinations to its schedule of childhood inoculations that are recommended by the government as safe and effective under emergency approval during the pandemic (Politico). Many states use the schedules as guidance for requirements. But the recommendations last week from the CDCs expert panel do not trigger mandates, and 21 states have passed laws prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students.
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,067,686. Current U.S. COVID-19 deaths are 2,566 for the week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The CDC altered its tally of available data from daily to weekly, reported on Fridays.)
A new U.S. labor movement may be forming. Petitions for union elections rose by half nationwide in the fiscal year that ended in September, with high-profile labor campaigns unfolding at Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Apple and Chipotle. Union support stands at a generational high: For the first time in years, even Republicans now generally support organized labor (The Hill).
The Guardian: Lowes faces organization effort as US unionization movement spreads.
? Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper delivered one of the biggest home runs in franchise history on Sunday and gave the team a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, sending Philadelphia to its first World Series since 2009 (ESPN).
I didn’t want to get back on that flight back to San Diego. I just didn’t want to get on a 5-hour flight, Harper said. I wanted to hang out at home and enjoy this at home with these fans and this organization and this fan base.
Also on Sunday, the Houston Astros became the American League champions for the fourth time in the last six years, winning 6-5 against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Houston outscored the Yankees 18-9 in the four games (CBS Sports).
And finally Today, the late actress Anna May Wong breaks a barrier for Asian Americans as the first to appear on U.S. currency, now in circulation as part of a special series. The U.S. Mint is now shipping its fifth in a collection of notable women depicted on quarters.
Born in Los Angeles as Wong Liu Tsong, Wong began her career in the entertainment industry in the 1920s and worked in movies, TV and theater and forged a path for Chinese Americans, appearing in more than 60 movies, including silent films and one of the first films in Technicolor. Wong also appeared in stage productions in New York and London and later received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. She died at age 56 the next year (CNN). Woodward: Trump continues to lead seditious conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election Bob Evans sausage recalled over possible thin blue rubber contamination
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