A new report says spending for next week’s elections will break the previous record for a midterm vote by around $1 billion. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, total spending could reach as much as $4 billion this year. The report also says right-wing groups are spending more than double on advertisements than liberal organizations.
Facing the prospect of major Democratic losses in both Houses of Congress, President Obama continued a get-out-the-vote campaign with an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Obama defended his administration’s record and appealed for more time to deliver on his campaign pledges of "change."
President Obama: "Over and over again, we have moved forward an agenda that is making a difference in people’s lives each and every day. Now, is it enough? No. And so, I expect, and I think most Democrats out there expect, that people want to see more progress, but certainly, in terms of the folks who voted for me, my expectation and hope is, is that if you look at the track record that we’ve accomplished in very difficult circumstances over the last eighteen months, we have done an awful lot that we talked about during the campaign, and we’re going to do more in the years to come."
Obama’s televised appearance came hours after a question-and-answer session with bloggers from five progressive websites. Obama defended his refusal to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before the Pentagon completes a review, as well as his administration’s response to the financial crisis. Obama also said he continues to oppose federal recognition of gay marriage, but said he is constantly reevaluating his views.
In Nevada, Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle is under criticism for a campaign ad targeting opponent Harry Reid’s stance on immigration. The ad warns of undocumented immigrants threatening US families as it shows Latino-looking men in prison and gang attire juxtaposed with white schoolchildren.
Narrator: "Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear. And what’s Harry Reid doing about it? Voting to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits, tax breaks and college tuition, voting against declaring English our national language twice, and even siding with Obama and the president of Mexico to block Arizona’s tough new immigration law. Harry Reid: it’s clear whose side he’s on, and it’s not yours."
Several immigrant rights groups have aired Spanish-language response ads urging voters to reject Angle.
The banking giant Wells Fargo has announced plans to modify some 55,000 documents that were improperly filed to carry out foreclosures. The move follows weeks of assurances from Wells Fargo that its procedures are accurate as it rejected calls to halt foreclosures.
The Afghan government has delayed enforcement of a decree shutting down private military firms in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai had ordered the companies to disband by the end of the year. But on Wednesday, Karzai extended the deadline an additional two months following heavy US pressure. The Obama administration had warned the security ban would jeopardize aid and development projects in Afghanistan.
President Obama has issued a waiver allowing continued US military aid to four African countries even though they use child soldiers. This week, President Obama waived sections of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act to prevent a cutoff of military assistance to Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Yemen.
A Virginia resident has been indicted in connection with an alleged plot to bomb several Metro stations in Washington, DC. Farooque Ahmed, a US citizen originally from Pakistan, was arrested Wednesday after a six-month undercover sting. But as with other recent cases alleging terrorist plots, questions are being raised over whether Ahmed was subjected to government entrapment. He discussed the alleged plot with agents posing as Islamic militants, and US officials say the public was never in real danger. Defendants in other cases nationwide have accused government informants and agents of devising the plots for which they were accused.
The Pentagon has acknowledged a computer glitch took fifty nuclear missiles offline for about an hour last weekend. Military officials say they lost contact with the missiles but would have still been able to launch them from a separate platform. The fifty missiles comprise one-ninth of the US land-based nuclear arsenal.
A member of a northern Arkansas school board is facing calls to resign after ridiculing the recent suicides of bullied gay and lesbian youths. Posting on his Facebook account, Clint McCance said he would follow a call to wear purple clothing to show solidarity with gay and lesbian teens only "if they all commit suicide." McCance continued: "We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed [themselves] because of their sin."
A group of Chicago-area parents have ended a sit-in at an elementary school field house after forty-three days. The parents declared victory after the Chicago school board agreed to build a library and lease the Whittier Elementary School field house to the parents instead of tearing it down. In a statement, the Whittier Parent Committee said it would continue to negotiate with school board officials to ensure the new library is adequately sized. The group said, "The fight continues so that we can ensure that we have a quality education for all children." (Related coverage: 'Chicago Parents Occupy Elementary School Building to Prevent Demolition')
Arizona has executed a prisoner by lethal injection after the Supreme Court overturned a temporary stay. Jeffrey Landrigan had been on death row for twenty years for a 1989 murder conviction. His lawyers had sought to force Arizona officials to disclose whether the drugs used for his lethal injection were legally obtained. An appeals court sided with the defense, but the Supreme Court overruled the decision earlier this week.
And Argentina has declared three days of national mourning following the death of former President Nestor Kirchner. The sixty-year-old Kirchner died from a heart attack Wednesday after being hospitalized with chest pains. He had been expected to seek another presidential term to replace his wife, Argentine President Cristina Fernández, next year. Tens of thousands of mourners gathered in front of Argentina’s national palace in Buenos Aires after the news broke. Kirchner headed Argentina from 2003 to 2007 as it struggled to recover from a crippling financial meltdown. In an interview with the filmmaker Oliver Stone last year, Kirchner recounted a conversation he had with then-President George W. Bush on war and the economy.
Oliver Stone: "Were there any eye-to-eye moments with President Bush that day, that night?"
Nestor Kirchner: "I say it’s not necessary to kneel before power. Nor do you need to be rude to say the things you have to say to those who oppose our actions. We had a discussion in Monterey. I said that a solution to the problems right now, I told Bush, is a Marshall Plan. And he got angry. He said the Marshall Plan is a crazy idea of the Democrats. He said the best way to revitalize the economy is war and that the United States has grown stronger with war."
Oliver Stone: "War. He said that?"
Nestor Kirchner: "He said that. Those were his exact words."
Oliver Stone: "Was he suggesting that South America go to war?"
Nestor Kirchner: "Well, he was talking about the United States. The Democrats had been wrong. All of the economic growth of the United States has been encouraged by the various wars. He said it very clearly. President Bush is — well, he’s only got six days left, right?"
Oliver Stone: "Yes."
Nestor Kirchner: "Thank God."