November 13th, 2010
Cindy McCain has apparently sharply reversed course on her position on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the span of just several days. Having blasted the policy that bars gays from openly serving in the military on Wednesday, the wife of Senator McCain now says she supports her husband's stance on the issue.
On November 10, Cindy McCain appeared in an ad for the NOH8 campaign, an organization formed as a response to California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state. In the video, McCain says that "our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future." Later, she adds that "they can't serve our country openly."
On Friday, however, Cindy McCain clarified her stance, tweeting that she supports her husband's position on DADT. "I fully support the NOH8 campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband's stance on DADT."
In February, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended getting rid of DADT, but McCain has not adhered to his prior position. Less than one month ago he vowed to filibuster any attempt to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that an extensive Pentagon study finds there is minimal risk in allowing gays to serve openly.
Here is the tweet:
I fully support the NOH8 campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband's stance on DADT.
November 13th, 2010
(CNN) -- While winter's start remains more than a month away, much of Minnesota and Wisconsin were under a winter storm warning Saturday, with some areas seeing almost a foot of snow.
As early as 10:30 a.m., 11 inches of snow had fallen in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the National Weather Service reported.
Other Minnesota communities had seen 10 inches by midday, including New Hope, Amboy, Mankato and Montgomery, while parts
of Minneapolis were blanketed by at least nine inches of snow.
In some areas, an inch of snow was falling an hour.
"Even though we get this every single year, for whatever reason, the first snow of the year appears to make everyone forget how to drive in snow," Drew Gordon, of Eagan, Minnesota, told CNN Radio. "So it's always a huge, huge mess."
Shortly after 5 p.m., the Minnesota State Patrol reported on its Twitter page that officers had responded to at least 401 crashes on Saturday, 45 of them with injuries. The agency warned drivers that conditions could worsen in the evening, as roads turned icy.
The storm also affected air travel, with dozens of flights to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport delayed or canceled.
The snow was accompanied by sustained winds blowing as high as 25 mph. The National Weather Service's warning extends through noon Sunday, with just under a foot of snow predicted in the heaviest hit areas, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The storm's weekend timing muted its impact on traffic and the economy. Still, as the first big snow since last spring, it managed to jolt even Minnesota residents familiar with wintry weather.
"The reality hits when you need to dig out the shovels, and the snowsuits and the boots," said Lisa Saline of Bloomington told CNN Radio. "I'm glad I don't have kids in strollers anymore, and I can hand them a shovel and have them go do the driveway."
The snow was forecast to continue into Sunday, and more might come before long, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures were forecast to be below freezing much of next week, with a 30 percent chance of additional snow on Tuesday.
Minnesota and Wisconsin aren't the only U.S. locales experiencing wintry weather in mid-November.
"Near blizzard conditions" are forecast for Wyoming and parts of western Nebraska starting as early as Monday night, with persistent snow combining with sustained winds as high as 45 mph and gusts up to 60 mph. While the National Weather Service is predicting a break Thursday, another winter storm could barrel through that region next weekend.
Other CNN News:
November 13th, 2010
The new head of Britain's armed forces, Gen Sir David Richards, has warned that the West cannot defeat al-Qaeda and militant Islam.
He said defeating Islamist militancy was "unnecessary and would never be achieved".
However, he argued that it could be "contained" to allow Britons to lead secure lives.
Gen Richards, 58, said the threat posed by "al-Qaeda and its affiliates" meant Britain's national security would be at risk for at least 30 years.
The general, who will tomorrow lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in memory of Britain's war dead, said the West's war against what he described as a "pernicious ideology" had parallels with the fight against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the general disclosed that Prince William was unlikely to serve in Afghanistan but suggested that his brother Harry, training to be an Apache helicopter pilot, could return to front-line duty in Helmand province.
He said the British military and the Government had been "guilty of not fully understanding what was at stake" in Afghanistan and admitted that the Afghan people were beginning to "tire" of Nato's inability to deliver on its promises.
However, he said the sacrifice being made by the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, where 343 soldiers have been killed since 2001, "has been worth it". Progress was being made and Nato was "in the right parish". He said: "Don't give up folks, it's all to play for."
The general also dismissed suggestions that troops badly injured fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan would ever be "forced" to leave the Armed Forces, but said most of those seriously wounded wanted to leave to begin new careers.
He rejected claims by former senior Royal Navy chiefs who said scrapping the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and the Harrier force would jeopardise the security of the Falkland Islands. But it is the general's assertion that victory against militant Islam cannot be achieved that is likely to prove most contentious.
The general said: "In conventional war, defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolised by troops marching into another nation's capital. First of all you have to ask: do we need to defeat it [Islamist militancy] in the sense of a clear cut victory? I would argue that it is unnecessary and would never be achieved.
"But can we contain it to the point that our lives and our children's lives are led securely? I think we can."
He also said the real weapon in the war against al-Qaeda was the use of "upstream prevention" as well as "education and democracy". The problems that gave rise to militant Islamism were unlikely to be solved soon, he added.
On the issue of future wars, the general said he could see no case for military intervention in other countries "at the moment" but added that he would be "barmy to say that one day we wouldn't be back in that position".
November 13th, 2010
WASHINGTON – Near the midpoint of his presidency, Barack Obama's diverse voter coalition reveals giant cracks and he faces major work repairing his standing among independents in states crucial to his re-election chances. Catholics. Older people. Women. Young adults. They shifted toward Republicans in this month's elections and failed to support Obama's Democratic Party as they did in 2008.
Two years before voters render judgment on his tenure, Obama's most critical task may be winning back those who aren't affiliated with a party but who hold enormous sway in close contests. National exit polls from the midterm elections show these voters broke heavily for Republicans after helping elect Obama and Democrats in the two previous elections.
The trouble with this constituency appears even deeper for Obama in places expected to be closely contested in the next White House race, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of exit polls in 26 states. It shows just how much ground Obama must make up with independents between now and November 2012.
"Over the last two years, we've made progress. But clearly too many Americans haven't felt that progress yet," the president said after the election. "As president, I take responsibility for that."
It's impossible to predict a presidential election based on midterm results. That's even truer considering that 131.2 million people voted in 2008, when Obama was elected, compared with 87 million this month, based on an AP tally of official and unofficial results. The slow-moving economic recovery could speed up, lifting Obama and the Democrats.
November's exit-poll responses provide enough hints that Obama could be in serious trouble if he doesn't shore up his support in crucial areas.
"I'm not going to lie to you, I'm frustrated and I blamed him for some of the bad shape this country's in. We're struggling," said Earlene Durham, 32, of St. Louis, sounding like other independents who backed Obama in 2008. "But then I thought, 'Well, he's trying the best he can.' The only thing we can do is wait and see what he does in the next two years. Gotta give the man a chance."
Exit-poll questionnaires vary state to state, but on several issues that dominated the campaign this year, cross-state analyses are possible.
His job performance rating was more negative than positive among voters in states such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Obama won them all in 2008. In Indiana, where Obama was the first Democrat to win the state since 1964, just 37 percent approved.
_More said their vote in a Senate race was to express opposition to Obama rather than to show support. This was true in every state where exit polls asked the question, and by margins of 2-to-1 or better in states such as Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
_Majorities disapprove of Obama in all states but California, Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont, which traditionally lean Democratic during a presidential election. Obama's job performance rating is lowest in West Virginia, where 76 percent disapprove. In Indiana, 69 percent of independents disapprove, and in perennially contested Ohio, 65 percent disapprove.
_Most express broad dissatisfaction with how the federal government is working. Roughly four in 10 are angry in Colorado and Missouri, while about one-third feel that way in Indiana, Ohio, Washington state, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania.
_A chunk said they want the government to do less after two years of Democratic domination in the nation's capital. That's almost a direct reversal of how this voting group behaved in 2008. Majorities of independents in each state surveyed except Democratic-leaning Hawaii said the government is doing too many things better left to the private sector and individuals.
_Supporters outnumber opponents of the tea party coalition in all but Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont. In Missouri, half of independents call themselves tea party backers, compared with 18 percent who oppose it. Nearly half of independents support the movement in 2008 swing states Colorado, Indiana and Ohio.
_More than half say their financial situations got worse in the past two years in Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. One in seven or less across the states said their financial fortunes have improved during Obama's time in office.
_About four in 10 in six states — Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas — said the $814 billion economic stimulus package hurt the economy. At least half want the health care bill repealed in 20 of 24 states where the question was asked. The exceptions were California, Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont.
"I'm very disappointed," said independent Kris Rickert, 36, of Dousman, Wis., pointing to the skyrocketing national debt. "I understand his philosophy was trying to get the economy going, but I just don't think that's the right way of going about it."
After the election, Obama acknowledged that he's "paying a political price" for failing to make good on his promises to change the way Washington works and slipping in his pledge to "maintain the kind of tone that says we can disagree without being disagreeable."
Over the next two years, a divided government — with Republicans in control of the House and Democrats with a slim majority in the Senate — may give Obama more of an opportunity to shift his policies to the center and again woo independents, by compromising with the GOP. Yet, there's no certainty that will happen; both Obama and House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, R-Ohio, have suggested they're willing to compromise but only to a point.
Still, making an effort to change the ways of Washington could score him points with some independents.
"He is a progressive president, but he just doesn't have the chance to put his policies into effect because of the old ways that government works," said Sheree Sifferath, 67, an independent from Gold Canyon, Ariz.
She backed Obama in 2008 but voted for Republican John McCain for the Senate and GOP Rep. Jeff Flake in the midterm elections. She's open to supporting Obama in two years but hopes that he and Republicans can figure out a way to compromise.
"They can make it better if they just work together. They've got to change with the times," she added.
Research Coordinator Cliff Maceda with AP Election Research contributed to this report.
November 13th, 2010
Pelosi Faces Likely Leadership Challenge From Moderate Democrat
Published November 13, 2010
North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler, who has been sending signals since last month that he would run against the San Francisco liberal if she didn't step aside, is expected to launch his leadership bid on Sunday when he appears on CNN's "State of the Union." He's also appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday.
"At this point, no one has come forward, no one in leadership for a long time," Shuler told the North Carolina weekly newspaper. "It will be very tough. It is probably a race we can't win. But we need a moderate voice in the Democratic Party."
Shuler's spokeswoman did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Neither did Pelosi's office.
The challenge comes as House Democrats just avoided a messy leadership struggle between Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and James Clyburn of South Carolina for the No. 2 post of their new minority. Pelosi brokered a deal that will allow Hoyer to become second in command while Clyburn receives a new position that will be labeled the third-ranking post in leadership.
But several Democrats, most of them moderates from conservative districts, have made clear that they won't support Pelosi's leadership bid after their party suffered historic losses to Republicans last week.
Democrats lost more than 60 seats, with a few races still up in the air. Many of the defeats came in conservative or swing districts and many of her critics are lawmakers who barely survived.
Party elections, which occurs behind closed doors, are scheduled for Wednesday.
Pelosi's quick postelection announcement that she would run for minority leader startled many Democrats.
Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma told Fox News last week that voters sent a message that they want the Democratic Party to move in a new direction.
"They want someone to lead the party who is going to be bipartisan," he said. "This is very disappointing for a lot of us in the center."
Pelosi told NPR on Friday that she decided to run so she can finish what she started.
"My motivation for running is to be in the strongest possible position to create jobs, to continue the work we did in the previous administration, to preserve Social Security, to protect what we did for health care reform and Wall Street reform," she told the network.
She also blamed the high unemployment rate for last week's election results.
"We didn't lose the election because of me," she said, adding that she believes she has been widely attacked because of her effectiveness as speaker.
"The reason they had to try to take me down is because I've been effective in fighting the special interests in Washington, D.C.," she said.
On Friday, 31 female House Democrats, including two members-elect, endorsed Pelosi for minority leader in an open letter.
"As the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has borne the brunt of unfair criticism and attacks, but her record of accomplishment speaks for itself – particularly to women," the letter reads, citing her record-high promotions of women into committee chairmanships, among other things.
"At a time when the incoming Majority is expected to threaten the progress we have made for women and families, we need Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Leader to help us stay unified and fight back," the letter says.
But even some longtime supporters of Pelosi have said she needs to step aside as the party leader.
"I voted for everything she asked me to vote for," said Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J. "You know, sometimes in this business it's difficult to know when to move on."
"With all the losses that we had with governors and all the redistricting that's going to be done, we don't need the target," Sires said, referring to the once-a-decade House redistricting process about to begin nationwide.