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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) celebrates his victory over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in Louisville, Kentucky. McConnell is slated to become the majority leader after a strong GOP   showing Tuesday. Photo by Luke Sharrett for Bloomberg

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) celebrates his victory over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in Louisville, Kentucky. McConnell is slated to become the majority leader after a strong GOP showing Tuesday. Photo by Luke Sharrett for Bloomberg

    WASHINGTON — Republicans claimed the Senate majority Tuesday for the first time in eight years, riding President Barack Obama’s unpopularity to victories in every part of the country.

    Republican challengers ousted Democratic senators in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina, and took seats from retiring Democrats in four other states. Equally important, Republicans held off spirited challengers in Kentucky, Georgia and Kansas, guaranteeing they will control both chambers of Congress for Obama’s final two years in office.

    In every contested race, Republicans tied their opponents to the president, whose fortunes have sagged since his re-election two years ago. Democrats awkwardly tried to distance themselves from Obama without denouncing him.

    Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who won a sixth term Tuesday, was almost assured of being elected by his colleagues as majority leader, a lifelong dream. His party can send piles of legislation to Obama’s desk — for his signature or veto — on topics such as health care, environmental regulations and dozens of other issues.


    McConnell immediately warned Obama of coming confrontations. “For too long, this administration has tried to tell the American people what’s good for them and then blame somebody else when their policies didn’t work out,” he told cheering fans.

    The final Senate partisan breakdown won’t be known until Dec. 6, when Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana will face Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in a runoff. But the GOP’s majority was assured, regardless who wins there.

    A GOP-run Senate will be an obvious aggravation to Obama and congressional Democrats, but it’s unclear how much it will change the government. Obama can veto bills, and Senate Democrats can use the filibuster to thwart scores of GOP initiatives, just as Republicans did to Democrats for years.

    Republicans claimed a huge victory in Colorado, where GOP Rep. Cory Gardner ousted first-term Democrat Mark Udall. The win was notable because Obama had carried Colorado twice, unlike the other states where Republicans made their biggest gains.

    Udall portrayed Gardner as a threat to women’s reproductive rights. But Gardner responded with the tactic used by every Republican in a competitive race: relentlessly linking his opponent to the president.

    In North Carolina, state House speaker Thom Tillis ousted first-term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. She had accused him of leading a conservative revolution that went too far in the centrist state. Obama carried North Carolina in 2008, and lost it in 2012.

    In Arkansas, freshman Rep. Tom Cotton knocked off two-term Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in a state that has veered sharply toward the GOP since native son Bill Clinton left office.

    Cotton, an Iraq combat veteran and Harvard Law School graduate, linked Pryor with Obama in every campaign appearance.

    Pryor, the last Democrat in Arkansas’ congressional delegation, is the son of a popular former governor and senator. But Arkansas and West Virginia have been trending sharply Republican. Obama lost Arkansas by 24 percentage points in 2012.

    As expected, GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia won the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Former Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota won retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s seat. And GOP Rep. Steve Daines will succeed departing Sen. John Walsh in Montana.

    A rare bright spot for Democrats was Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s victory in New Hampshire over Scott Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts.

    In Georgia, where GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring, Republican corporate executive David Perdue held off Democrat Michelle Nunn.

    Kansas’ three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts avoided an embarrassing loss to independent candidate Greg Orman. Orman had persuaded the Democrat to leave the race and help him consolidate anti-Roberts sentiment.

    In Virginia, Republican Ed Gillespie mounted an unexpectedly strong challenge to first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

    Few campaigns were as feisty and close as Iowa’s, where longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring. Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst defeated Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley in a race that featured TV ads about castrating hogs, and a leaked fundraising video from Texas.

    First-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska faced Republican Dan Sullivan in a state Obama lost badly. A late vote count was possible there.

    As Republicans awaited results elsewhere, they celebrated Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina becoming the first black elected to the Senate from a former Confederate state since Reconstruction. He was appointed to the Senate last year, and won a term of his own Tuesday.

    Report by Charles Babington of the Associated Press.

    The post GOP wins control of Senate, ready to confront Obama appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watch PBS NewsHour’s midterm Election Day coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EST and going until the last poll closes at 1 a.m. EST Nov. 5.


    The post See the latest election results with NewsHour’s live blog appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A sign promoting the DC Cannabis Campaign's initiative to legalize marijuana is displayed on a corner in the Adams Morgan neighborhood on Tuesday in Washington D.C. Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images

    A sign promoting the DC Cannabis Campaign’s initiative to legalize marijuana is displayed on a corner in the Adams Morgan neighborhood on Tuesday in Washington D.C. Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images

    NEW YORK — Voters in Oregon and the District of Columbia approved ballot measures Tuesday allowing the use of marijuana by adults, elating legalization activists who hope to extend their winning streak across the country.

    Oregon will join the company of Colorado and Washington state, where voters approved the recreational use of pot two years ago. And the District of Columbia is on the same path unless Congress, which has review power, blocks the move.

    Still to come were results from Alaska, which also had a marijuana-legalization measure on its ballot Tuesday.

    Other volatile issues on state ballots include gambling and abortion. Voters in Washington state, faced with two competing measures on gun sales, approved an expansion of background checks.

    The District of Columbia’s marijuana measure does not provide for the legal sale of marijuana, leaving that matter up to the D.C. Council. That’s different from the measures in Oregon and Alaska, which would follow the example of Colorado and Washington state in setting up systems for regulating and taxing retail sales of marijuana.

    The Drug Policy alliance, one of the leaders of the legalization campaign, said Tuesday’s results would bolster its efforts to push through a ballot measure in California in 2016

    “The pace of reform is accelerating, other states are sure to follow, and even Congress is poised to wake from its slumber,” said Ethan Nadelmann, the alliance’s executive director.

    Oregon’s measure calls for pot legalization by July 1, and requires the state Liquor Control Commission to adopt regulations by Jan. 1, 2016.

    Oregon sheriffs were among the law’s chief opponents, contending that legalization would give children access to marijuana and could lead to more people driving under the influence.

    The campaign in D.C. included a debate about race – the measure’s supporters said blacks in the city had been disproportionately targeted for marijuana arrests.

    Gary Fulwood, a support staffer for the city’s fire and EMS department, voted for the initiative.

    “The criminal justice system is getting bogged down by marijuana use, and a lot of the people who use marijuana aren’t criminals,” Fulwood said. “I don’t see it being any worse than alcohol.”

    In Florida, a measure that would have allowed marijuana use for medical reasons fell short of the 60 percent approval to pass; near-complete returns showed it getting about 57 percent of the vote. Twenty-three states allow medical marijuana.

    Some of the other questions before voters Tuesday:


    In Colorado and North Dakota, voters rejected measures that opponents feared could lead to bans on abortion.

    The Colorado proposal would have added “unborn human beings” to the state’s criminal code. It was the third measure on Colorado ballots in recent years seeking to grant “personhood” to the unborn.

    North Dakota voters rejected an amendment that would have declared in the state constitution “the inalienable right to life of every human being at every stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

    In Tennessee, voters approved a measure that will give state legislators more power to regulate abortion. Opponents fear it will lead to tough new laws that would jeopardize women’s access to abortions.


    In Massachusetts, voters passed up a chance to say “No” to casinos. They rejected a measure that would have repealed a 2011 law authorizing development of a slots parlor and up to three resort casinos. There are none in the state now, but casino plans have been approved for three cities across the state.

    A victory for the anti-casino forces would have marked the first time – at least since the modern era of U.S. gambling began in 1931 – that a state reversed a major legislative decision to expand gambling.


    Voters in Arkansas and Nebraska approved increases in their states’ minimum wages. In Arkansas, it will rise from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 by 2017, in Nebraska from $7.25 to $9. Two other states – Alaska and South Dakota – also were voting on minimum wage increases.


    In Washington state, voters approved a measure to expand background checks on gun sales and transfers; the checks will extended to private transactions and many loans and gifts. The rival measure would have prevented the state from expanding checks in that fashion; it was trailing statewide.

    Like federal law, Washington law currently requires checks for sales or transfers by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers, like those who sell at gun shows or to friends.


    Massachusetts voters approved a measure that supporters say will establish the nation’s strongest requirement for providing paid sick time to workers. Workers will be able to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time in a given year, earning one hour for every 30 hours worked. Companies with 10 or fewer employees would be exempt.


    In Missouri, voters defeated a measure – bitterly opposed by teachers’ unions – that would have tied teachers’ jobs and salaries to the performance of their students.

    Teachers unions were supporting an initiative in Washington state that would reduce class size and increase staffing support in grades K-12. State financial experts believe the measure would eventually cost the state about $2 billion a year to pay for thousands more teachers and other school staff.


    Colorado voters rejected a measure that would have required labeling of certain genetically modified foods. The proposal would have applied to raw and packaged foods produced entirely or partially by genetic engineering, but not apply to food served in restaurants.

    A similar measure was on the ballot in Oregon.

    Opponents of the requirements – including food corporations and biotech firms – said mandatory labels would mislead consumers into thinking engineered ingredients are unsafe, which scientists have not proven.

    Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.

    The post Ballot measures: Oregon, DC voters OK use of pot appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    DENTON, Texas — An energy industry group has responded quickly after voters in a North Texas city approved a ban on new permits for hydraulic fracturing, asking for an injunction to stop the measure from being enforced.

    The vote made Denton, which sits atop a natural gas reserve, the first city in Texas to pass such a ban.

    An attorney for the Texas Oil and Gas Association, Tom Phillips, said Wednesday the courts must “give a prompt and authoritative answer” on whether Denton voters had the authority to do so.

    The gas fields under Denton have produced $1 billion in mineral wealth and pumped more than $30 million into city bank accounts.

    Property rights in Texas are split between the land and the minerals below. Phillips says the ban violates the Texas Constitution.

    The post Texas energy group asks court to stop fracking ban appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The Affordable Care Act wasn’t directly on the ballot in any state, but voters did decide a host of health-related issues in Tuesday’s elections. And there was no clear theme to what won and lost.

    For example, voters in two states — North Dakota and Colorado — rejected so-called “personhood” amendments that would have recognized rights for unborn fetuses.

    health ballot 570It was the third time since 2008 Colorado voters faced – and voted down – language to amend the state constitution to enshrine as a “person” those not yet born, sometimes from the moment of conception. This year’s version was slightly different. It would have written “unborn human beings” into the state’s criminal code and its Wrongful Death Act. As with the past two efforts, voters rejected this version 64 to 36 percent with 73 percent of the vote counted.

    The North Dakota amendment, by contrast, would have added language to the state constitution stating, “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” It failed 64 to 36 percent.

    Efforts to establish rights for the unborn have failed regularly even in very conservative places, as opponents have argued that such “personhood” measures could outlaw not only abortion, but some forms of birth control or in vitro fertilization.

    Abortion opponents did not come away empty-handed, however. In Tennessee voters approved a measure that would effectively overturn a 2000 state Supreme Court decision that found the state’s constitution guaranteed a right to abortion and prohibited most state restrictions.

    The amendment, stating that “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion,” was approved with 53 percent of the vote. It is expected to touch off a round of new restrictions when the Republican-dominated state legislature reconvenes next year.

    In Arizona, voters, as expected, supported a “right to try” ballot measure that would allow, but not require, drug makers to provide not-yet-approved drugs to people with terminal illnesses. Colorado became the first state with a right-to-try law earlier this year.

    The effort has been pushed by the Libertarian Goldwater Institute, based in Arizona. Critics have worried that the laws could give those with terminal illnesses false hope, particularly because drug makers are loathe to provide experimental drugs to those near death, since that could reflect badly on the drug.

    Meanwhile, in California, two highly-publicized, health-related ballot measures went down to defeat.

    One, Proposition 45, would have imposed the same public notice and transparency requirements for health insurance premium rates as voters approved for auto and homeowners insurance in 1988. It would also have given the state’s insurance commissioner the right to reject rate hikes deemed “excessive.”

    This KHN story can be republished for free (details).
    The proposal was fiercely opposed by the health insurance industry, which raised more than $50 million to fight it. Opponents argued, among other things, that the proposal would have given too much power to the state’s elected insurance commissioner. With 95 percent of the votes counted, Proposition 45 was losing 60 to 40 percent.

    California voters also turned back, 67 to 33 percent, an effort to raise the caps on damage awards for non-economic “pain and suffering” in medical malpractice cases. The $250,000 maximum had not been raised since the California malpractice law was originally written in 1975.

    But Proposition 46 would also have made California the first state to require random drug and alcohol testing for physicians. That part of the proposal prompted many newspaper editorial boards to turn against it.

    The post Voters provide mixed messages on health ballot measures appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Stephen Fee.

    More than 75 percent of voters in Berkeley approved Measure D. Photo by Stephen Fee.

    Berkeley residents will now pay more for sodas and drinks with added sugar after voters approved a measure on Tuesday that will tax sugary drinks. Across the bay in San Francisco, a similar measure fell short.

    More than 75 percent of voters in Berkeley approved Measure D, a one-cent tax-per-ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages, such as energy drinks, soda, and juices with added sugar. Exempted drinks include diet soda, baby formula and milk. Berkeley is the first city in the country to tax these beverages.

    Supporters of the tax say the increase in price on sugary drinks will help limit consumption of sugary-sweetened beverages, drinks they believe are contributing to our nation’s obesity and diabetes epidemics.

    Dr. Vicki Alexandra, a co-chair of the “Yes on D campaign” said in a statement that “Berkeley has a proud history of setting nationwide trends, such as nonsmoking sections in restaurants and bars, curb cuts for wheelchairs, curbside recycling and public school food policies.”

    Berkeley now bucks a trend of defeat after dozens of similar soda tax measures across the country failed to become law.

    Opponents of the tax called Berkeley an anomaly. Chris Gindlesperger, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association told Politico, “Berkeley is unlike the rest of the country.” He cited polling data that shows a majority of Americans are against taxing unhealthy drinks and soda.

    The beverage industry spent more than $2 million fighting to defeat Measure D. In San Francisco, approval of Proposition E, its version of a tax on sugary drinks, required a two thirds majority to pass as opposed to Berkeley’s simple majority. While more than half of the voters did approve the proposal, it was not enough to implement the tax. Opponents spent more than $9 million to successfully defeat the measure that would have placed a 2-cent tax per ounce tax on sodas and other sweetened drinks.

    NewsHour Weekend’s William Brangham recently visited San Francisco to explore the debate first hand and speak with the opponents and supporters of Proposition E.

    The post Nation’s first soda tax passed in Berkeley appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    WASHINGTON — One day after sweeping Republican election gains, President Barack Obama and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to try and turn divided government into a force for good rather than gridlock on Wednesday, yet warned of veto showdowns as well.

    Trade legislation loomed as one possibility for quick compromise, and immigration as an early irritant.

    “There is no doubt that Republicans had a good night,” the president said at the White House, referring to big gains that left the GOP in control of the Senate, with an expanded House majority and in possession of a handful of governorships formerly in Democratic hands.

    To voters who handed the GOP control of Congress, he said, “I hear you. … It’s time for us to take care of business.” He cited construction of roads, bridges and other facilities as one area ripe for cooperation, and trade as another.

    At the same time, he noted, “Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I will take some actions that some in Congress will not like.”

    President Barack Obama speaks to the media during a news conference in the East Room a day after Democrats lost the US Senate Majority, November 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    President Barack Obama speaks to the media during a news conference in the East Room a day after Democrats lost the US Senate Majority, November 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    Obama and McConnell presented differing profiles at news conferences a little more than an hour apart.

    The 53-year-old president now faces a Congress under two-house control by Republicans for the first time in his tenure — and a lame duck status that becomes more of a check on his political power with each passing day.

    McConnell, 72 and famously taciturn, smiled and joked with reporters on the day after achieving a lifelong ambition.

    Still, the two said they had had a pleasant telephone conversation earlier in the day.

    “I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell,” said Obama.

    Said McConnell, “In our system the president is the most important player” who can veto legislation or persuade lawmakers of his own party to back compromise.

    Obama said that unless Congress takes action by the end of the year, he will order a reduction in deportations of working immigrants living in the country illegally.

    He made his pledge a short while after McConnell warned him against acting unilaterally.

    “It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say if you guys don’t do what I want I’m going to do it on my own,” McConnell said at a news conference in Kentucky.

    McConnell also cited trade and taxes among areas ripe for compromise.

    “There will be no government shutdown or default on the national debt,” he said, making clear he doesn’t agree with some tea party-backed lawmakers who have supported one or the other in the past — or may want to in the future.

    McConnell will take office in January as Senate majority leader, and he and House Speaker John Boehner will have the authority to set the congressional agenda.

    Boehner ceded the Republican limelight to McConnell for the day. The Ohio Republican is in line for a third term as House leader — and his first with a Republican majority in the Senate.

    At his news conference, McConnell said, “When America chooses divided government, I don’t think it means they don’t want us to do anything. It means they want to do things for the country.”

    Beyond that, he made it clear Congress will vote on legislation to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada through the United States, and work to repeal portions of the health care law that stands as Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment. He said a tax on medical devices and a mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance are also Republican targets.

    Obama ruled out ending the requirement for purchasing of health care. But he pointedly did not reject repeal of the tax, which many Democrats as well as Republicans have already signaled they are ready to jettison.

    Republicans are also expected to mount a major attack on federal deficits.

    In the second midterm elections of Obama’s presidency, Republicans were assured of a gain of seven Senate seats. They bid for another in Alaska, where challenger Dan Sullivan led Sen. Mark Begich. Also uncalled was a race in Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Mark Warner faced challenger Ed Gillespie.

    In Louisiana, Rep. Bill Cassidy led Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu into a Dec. 6 runoff.

    Despite the reverses, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada announced he intended to remain as the Democratic leader. There was no sign of opposition.

    House Republicans were within hailing distance of their largest majority since World War II, 246 seats in 1946, when Harry Truman sat in the White House.

    Even so, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she would seek another term as Democratic leader.

    Only one governor’s race remained uncalled, in Alaska, where independent Bill Walker led Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.

    Associated Press writers Philip Elliott, Nancy Benac and Donna Cassata in Washington and Adam Beam in Kentucky contributed to this report.

    The post Obama says it’s time to ‘take care of business’ with GOP Congress appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    The average potency of pot has more than tripled in the past two decades, studies show. Photo by Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor.

    District of Columbia voters approved the legalization of marijuana Tuesday, but Congress holds the right to shoot down the bill if they choose. Photo by Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor.

    WASHINGTON — The national marijuana legalization debate is moving into the backyard of a Republican-controlled Congress, now that the District of Columbia has voted to legalize growing, possessing and sharing small amounts of pot.

    Voters in Oregon and Alaska also approved legalization initiatives, joining Colorado and Washington state, where pot is already legally available.

    But while states out West enjoy both autonomy and distance, federal lawmakers have the power to quash any District law they don’t like. And with legalization getting a foothold on the East Coast for the first time, the District’s initiative could force Congress to make decisions affecting the future of legal pot nationwide.

    “Members of Congress are literally going to be witness to these changes,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which spent heavily to push all three ballot initiatives. “It’s a form of educating the members of Congress in a way that some members would not get educated, depending on the states that they’re from.”

    All laws in the nation’s capital are sent to Capitol Hill for review. Congress rarely invokes that power, but when members do want to block District policies, they can attach amendments to unrelated, omnibus legislation too critical to be vetoed. Congress routinely bars the spending of local tax dollars on abortions for poor women using this strategy, and delayed medical marijuana in the District for more than a decade.

    The District voted 69-31 percent Tuesday to approve the growing, possessing or sharing of up to two ounces of pot and up to three mature marijuana plants for personal use. Months earlier, a decriminalization law took effect, limiting the penalty for possession of a personal-use amount to a $25 ticket.

    But it could take months at least before pot-smoking is totally OK in the District. Elected officials and advocates can’t even agree whether the Congressional review period lasts 30 days while the House and Senate are both in session, or 60. Also, the initiative doesn’t provide for the legal sale or taxation of marijuana. Democratic mayor-elect Muriel Bowser said Wednesday that she would not allow it to take effect unless the D.C. Council first implements a tax-and-regulation program.

    Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, tried to block the decriminalization law, and said Wednesday that he’ll try to block legalization as well, arguing that drug use among teenagers will rise if they fail to stop it.

    But polls have shown a majority of Americans favor legalization, and Republicans are far from united in opposition.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the ranking Republican on the subcommittee that oversees the District, said Tuesday that the city’s pot laws should be left to local officials. Paul also has sought to block the federal government from interfering with states’ medical marijuana programs.

    If the Republican-led Congress does try to quash the initiative by amending some bill President Barack Obama won’t veto, it could force him antagonize his base after advocates pointed to the huge racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the nation’s capital.

    In Florida, 58 percent of voters were for legalization of medical marijuana on Tuesday, narrowly missing the 60 percent needed to amend the state’s constitution.

    “This is just the first battle, and I plan to win the war,” said Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, who vowed Wednesday to begin working on another try in 2016.

    Other legalization advocates plan a big push for similar initiatives on 2016 ballots in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, Nadelmann said.

    Legalization opponent Kevin Sabet, the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said his side would need to respond in kind. Tuesday’s votes were “a bit of a wake-up call before 2016,” he said, noting that legalization advocates had vastly outspent opponents this time.


    Associated Press writers Gene Johnson in Seattle and Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach, Florida contributed to this report.

    The post Legal pot in D.C. could rest in the hands of the Republican-led Congress appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Treating someone with Ebola involves a painstaking process of suiting up and peeling off protective gear, or in hospital speak, “donning and doffing.” Last month, after two Dallas nurses became infected after caring for an Ebola patient, the CDC revised its guidelines. Suiting up properly is key to protecting against the fluids that transmit Ebola. Correctly taking off a suit that could be hot with the virus is critical.


    In New York State, eight hospitals were recently designated as Ebola care centers. We wanted to know just how long it took and how many steps were involved. Here’s an inside look at preparing to treat Ebola from a training at The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

    And here are the 14 steps from the CDC. Note: we don’t show every step in the video.

    1. Engage Trained Observer: The donning process is conducted under the guidance and supervision of a trained observer who confirms visually that all personal protective equipment, or PPE, is serviceable and has been donned successfully. The trained observer will use a written checklist to confirm each step in donning PPE and can assist with ensuring and verifying the integrity of the ensemble. No exposed skin or hair of the healthcare worker should be visible at the conclusion of the donning process.

    2. Remove Personal Clothing and Items: Change into surgical scrubs (or disposable garments) and dedicated washable (plastic or rubber) footwear in a suitable, clean area. No personal items (e.g., jewelry, watches, cell phones, pagers, pens) should be brought into patient room.

    3. Inspect PPE Prior to Donning: Visually inspect the PPE ensemble to be worn to ensure it is in serviceable condition, all required PPE and supplies are available, and that the sizes selected are correct for the healthcare worker. The trained observer reviews the donning sequence with the healthcare worker before the healthcare worker begins and reads it to the healthcare worker in a step-by-step fashion.

    4. Perform Hand Hygiene: Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub, or ABHR. When using ABHR, allow hands to dry before moving to next step.

    5. Put on Inner Gloves: Put on first pair of gloves.

    6. Put on Boot or Shoe Covers.

    7. Put on Gown or Coverall: Put on gown or coverall. Ensure gown or coverall is large enough to allow unrestricted freedom of movement. Ensure cuffs of inner gloves are tucked under the sleeve of the gown or coverall.

    8. Put on N95 Respirator: Put on N95 respirator. Complete a user seal check.

    9. Put on Surgical Hood: Over the N95 respirator, place a surgical hood that covers all of the hair and the ears, and ensure that it extends past the neck to the shoulders. Be certain that hood completely covers the ears and neck.

    10. Put on Outer Apron (if used): Put on full-body apron to provide additional protection to the front of the body against exposure to body fluids or excrement from the patient.

    11. Put on Outer Gloves: Put on second pair of gloves (with extended cuffs). Ensure the cuffs are pulled over the sleeves of the gown or coverall.

    12. Put on Face Shield: Put on full face shield over the N95 respirator and surgical hood to provide additional protection to the front and sides of the face, including skin and eyes.

    13. Verify: After completing the donning process, the integrity of the ensemble is verified by the trained observer. The healthcare worker should be comfortable and able to extend the arms, bend at the waist and go through a range of motions to ensure there is sufficient range of movement while all areas of the body remain covered. A mirror in the room can be useful for the healthcare worker while donning PPE.

    14. Disinfect Outer Gloves: Disinfect outer-gloved hands with ABHR. Allow to dry prior to patient contact.

    The post The 14-step process to putting on an Ebola protective suit appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: As we wrap up our show tonight, we decided to take a big-picture look at the election. What do the results tell us about the ideas and the groups that voters like and which ideas they reject?

    Political reporter and editor Lisa Desjardins reports — presents a few of the winners and the losers.

    LISA DESJARDINS: One of the biggest winners last night wasn’t a political party, but an industry.

    Energy. For oil and gas producers, a Republican-controlled Senate means much better odds for the Keystone pipeline. For coal, it means greater pushback against the EPA.

    Now, in some ways, yesterday went to pot.

    MAN: Legalize marijuana on Tuesday.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., passed initiatives legalizing the private sale or possession of marijuana.

    One hit for the legalization movement, medical marijuana failed to gain enough support last night in Florida.

    Winner number three, minimum wage workers. Five states, Arkansas, Alaska, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota, all passed measures approving or endorsing raises for their lowest-paid workers, so a good night for them, a terrible night for Southern Democrats with the title senator.

    SEN. MARK PRYOR, (D) Arkansas: I must confess that I have some sadness tonight.

    SEN. KAY HAGAN, (D) North Carolina: I will always be grateful for the trust that you placed in me.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Incumbents Kay Hagan and Mark Pryor went down in North Carolina and Arkansas. And, in Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner is in front, but barely. It’s too close to call. That leaves a small handful of Democratic senators across the South, with the one in Louisiana still very much in danger.

    Conservatives loved that, but they had a mixed night on one of their big issues. Tennessee gave lawmakers more power to implement restrictions on abortion, but the anti-abortion movement lost big on measures in Colorado and North Dakota, which would have defined life at an early stage of development.

    Finally, the left also lost on a significant issue. The push to label genetically modified foods failed in Colorado and Oregon.

    So, you can see a glaring theme here. Economic issues had a big night with voters, but some more social or societal issues, except for marijuana, went nowhere.


    The post Economic issues prove popular at the polls, while many social issues slump appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Brooklyn Bids To Host The Democratic National Convention

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: One thing’s true in politics:  It’s never too early to start thinking about the next election. So what do last night’s results mean for both parties as they plan for the race for the White House?

    We’re joined now by two veterans of political campaigns.

    Jeff Link is a longtime Democratic strategist who worked most recently on Bruce Braley’s Senate campaign in Iowa. He also worked on both of President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. And Doug Heye is a veteran campaign consultant and a former communications director for the Republican National Committee.

    Welcome to both of you.

    DOUG HEYE, Republican Strategist: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Doug Heye, to you first.

    What is the message for your party, for both parties coming out of this election, not just for 2016, but for right now, before we talk about the presidential?

    DOUG HEYE: Yes.

    First and foremost, I think we saw from Mitch McConnell what our message is going to be today and then in the coming weeks, as we go from the lame-duck session into the new Congress. And that’s one of Republicans need to be able to demonstrate governance.

    We have seen so much — and I can tell you, the past two-and-a-half working in the House of Representatives for Eric Cantor, we saw a lot of dysfunction in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. I think it’s important for Republicans to be able to show that they can do not just some of the big things that we pay attention to and that make headlines every week, like immigration or tax reform, but the day-to-day governance that just hasn’t happened in Washington.

    You can pass appropriation bills that passed the House on a bipartisan basis so far this year, but have been stuck in the Senate. We can pass trade deals that the president supports, but that haven’t gotten to his desk. Those kinds of things can show Republicans and Democrats and independents that we’re serious about governing and we’re trying to do what is best for the country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jeff Link, what would you say the message to Democrats is?

    JEFF LINK, Democratic Strategist: Well, I think the message to Democrats from yesterday’s election was, when you’re the party in control of the White House, midterms are tough.

    And I think that’s what we saw. It’s similar to 2006. President Bush faced a midterm in 2006 where he lost 30 seats in the Congress. And so it’s just difficult in these midterm elections for the party that controls the White House.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Does the Democratic Party, Jeff Link, need to think differently about how it approaches the next presidential election, because were the voters saying something to Democrats about, we don’t like what you stand for, do you think?

    JEFF LINK: No. I don’t think it was as much about the message that the Democrats delivered in these races.

    I think it’s a lot about who made up the electorate. Here in Iowa, for instance, we had slightly lower turnout yesterday than we did in 2010. For Democrats to win, we have to have a bigger electorate. We have to have more people participating in the process.

    We have to have a message that drives people out to the polls. But it’s really the makeup of these midterm electorates is a real advantage for the Republicans.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and you can talk about that, Doug Heye.

    But I also want to ask you about what many people perceive right now as two parts of the Republican Party, the mainstream part and then the part of the party — the part that is what Mitch McConnell said today, we want to work with the president, and other Republicans who are saying, wait a minute, we’re going to Washington to hold our ground.

    DOUG HEYE: Yes. That’s something I dealt with pretty personally for the past two-and-a-half years, as we sometimes pulled votes that were being voted on in the House of Representatives because we couldn’t get some things forward.

    And it’s going to be a challenge for Republicans to figure out exactly how we’re all going to march together in lockstep, especially when there’s a complication of — and we’re already seeing this with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — starting to stake out their position for 2016.

    But that’s why I think it’s important that we start doing some of things that are the day-to-day governance. Again, appropriations bill, they are not terribly sexy. They’re not what people talk about, but we can get those things done and move forward legislatively.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But do you think — you mentioned Rand Paul. Do you think he — he campaigned in I believe 34 different states for candidates in this midterm election. Does he come out of this with a leg up for 2016?

    DOUG HEYE: I think he certainly is showing already that he’s aggressively moving towards 2016 and that he’s preparing to run against Hillary Clinton, not necessarily any Republican voters.

    He put on his Facebook page told what he called Hillary’s losers. And it’s everybody who Hillary Clinton has campaigned for in the past months and who has lost. And in his remarks last night on multiple networks, he’s gunning for Hillary Clinton. And that’s a way that he’s trying to stake out his claim for 2016.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and, Jeff Link, Hillary Clinton was one of the Democrats who was in your state of Iowa campaigning for Congressman Braley.

    She was in I think I saw 15, 20 different states. Many of the candidates she campaigned for didn’t win. Does that weaken her as she considers a run for the presidency?

    JEFF LINK: No, I don’t think so.

    I mean, I think many people here in the state were happy to see her, not only once, but twice this fall. And I think she was a big help to Congressman Braley. He didn’t get over the line, but that’s not because she wasn’t a help or because Bill Clinton wasn’t a help.

    Again, it’s just a tough year to run as a Democrat. And she was traveling around the country for Democratic candidates, and they weren’t all successful.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you think there was a message in this campaign then for her and for the kind of campaign she needs to think about if she decides to run? And most people assume she will.

    JEFF LINK: Well, yes.

    I think her message shouldn’t be just a generic Democratic message. I think it has to relate to her experience and her background and what shaped her and where she wants to take the country. I think you have to pick issues that really demonstrate who you are and not just the laundry list of Democratic issues.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that brings me back to you, Doug Heye.

    For Republicans, are they — do they come out of this election with some sort of signal that they can run farther to the right, that they need hew to the center? What message do they…

    DOUG HEYE: I think they need to show that they can get things done, they can post results.

    And that is where it will be interesting to see what governors run. I think they could be emboldened by this, a Rob Portman, who clearly wants to get things done. And if Jeb Bush runs, he’s somebody who has always shown himself to be one of the adults in the room. That would be a real strength for them as they move forward. They’re about legislating. They’re about getting things done, because voters want to see things get done.

    And they obviously repudiated the president’s message today, which I do think is a complication for Hillary Clinton. What’s her legacy now that she runs on? And how does she run in an Elizabeth Warren Democratic Party that has turned its back right now, with candidates literally turning their back on President Obama?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All questions that we will have a chance to think about in the months to come.

    Doug Heye, Jeff Link, we thank you both.

    DOUG HEYE: Thank you.

    JEFF LINK: Great. Thanks.


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    GWEN IFILL: One recurring theme in speeches, debates and campaign ads this election season, how the White House has tackled foreign policy from ISIS to Iran to Ebola. But was that just political talk or could last night’s results affect U.S. foreign policy and the way we are perceived abroad?

    For that, we turn to chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner.

    Margaret, one of the first things the president mentioned today in his news conference, and which other people have mentioned too in ads and everything, is this question about ISIS and ISIL and whether the U.S. can be pressured to be more about that.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, Gwen, the Republicans were very critical of President Obama for not funding the so-called moderate Free Syrian Army earlier, so they could build a credible fighting force and the extremists couldn’t come in and fill the vacuum.

    GWEN IFILL: Right.

    MARGARET WARNER: So, when the president finally ordered bombing attacks both in Iraq and Syria, the Republicans were supportive. At the same time, they didn’t want to vote, nobody wanted to vote before the election. So you really didn’t have a debate here.

    As you said, the president’s said today that’s one of the top items on his agenda on Friday. He wants a new sort of updated authorization of military force, because the current law really applies to al-Qaida and its allies. But there’s a new sticking point, which is that Senator John McCain is expected to be chairman of the House Armed Services — Senate Armed Services Committees.

    He’s arguing — and many others — that this bombing-only campaign isn’t enough, that you got to get U.S. special forces on the ground, you have got to get field advisers with the Iraqi and Kurdish troops. And you can expect that he will use his platform, as chairman of that committee, to hold some high-profile hearings really questioning the effectiveness of this bombing-only campaign.

    GWEN IFILL: OK, second area, hot spot, Iran, where there’s been long ongoing discussion about sanctions and that coming to a head as well.

    MARGARET WARNER: Absolutely, November 24.

    Secretary Kerry and his Iranian counterpart have been working for nearly a year now. November 24 is the deadline to come up with a deal that would restrict Iran’s nuclear program, persuade the world it wasn’t going to get weapons, in return for lifting sanctions.

    Now, during this lame-duck session, the Republicans and many hawkish Democrats have wanted to pass already a bill that has sort of a triggered sanctions mechanism, sort of saying to Iran if you don’t get serious and do a deal by X-date, Y will happen.

    Harry Reid, the majority leader, held off because the White House said that will completely blow everything up with the hard-liners back in Iran. OK, I think that Secretary Kerry and even Republicans say he’s got still this two-month window during the lame-duck. They don’t expect Harry Reid to flip on that.

    But Senator McConnell said over and over he’s going to hold such a vote. And so, Secretary Kerry, the negotiations aren’t done yet. He’s meeting with Zarif this week, later this week or weekend.

    GWEN IFILL: The Iranian foreign minister.

    MARGARET WARNER: The Iranian foreign minister.

    But he’s got a little wiggle room for two months, but otherwise he’s going to face a Republican Congress that’s more hawkish, more suspicious and also more sensitive to Israel’s opposition to any deal.

    GWEN IFILL: While in Ukraine, this Congress is also more hawkish when it comes to Russia.

    MARGARET WARNER: Absolutely. Absolutely.

    What you have among the Russians is really I think a Cold War kind of distrust the Russians and of Putin, what he’s up to in Ukraine and where it could lead. And they have argued over and over, one, that the Obama administration should have given lethal aid, lethal military assistance to the Kiev government, not just MREs and night-vision goggles, and, secondly, that should have imposed much tougher sanctions on Russia than these targeted on individuals and subsectors.

    I think, come January, if the Kiev government continues to request it, there will be a push to give them so-called lethal assistance and, secondly, that there will be a real push to impose sanctions on Russia. If Russia — Russian troops and its separatists stay in Eastern Ukraine, as they are now, there will be a real push~ to impose tough sanctions, sector-wide, that do not wait for Europeans to coordinate, as the president has.

    GWEN IFILL: Briefly, are there any areas of agreement? The president mentioned — or I should say Mitch McConnell today mentioned international trade agreements.

    MARGARET WARNER: And so did President Obama indirectly.

    Yes, the president and the Republican leadership share the goal of actually concluding this Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    GWEN IFILL: And the president is off…

    MARGARET WARNER: And the president is off to Asia to look at that. And I think you may see some cooperation on that.

    GWEN IFILL: Margaret Warner, as always, thank you.

    MARGARET WARNER: My pleasure, as always.


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    Republican Thom Tillis reacts after the results of the U.S. midterm elections in Charlotte, North Carolina

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And let’s zero in now on a couple of states where voters spoke up loud and clear.

    Hari Sreenivasan has that.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: North Carolina and Georgia are two Southern states that are changing demographically. But both went Republican last night.

    Let’s turn to two people who were closely following the races in their home states.

    Mac McCorkle teaches at the Duke-Sanford School of Public Policy in Durham. And Merle Black is a professor of politics and government at Emory University in Atlanta.

    So, Mac McCorkle, let me start with you first.

    The defeat — the Kay Hagan race there, was it a surprise, the defeat, how strong it was?

    MAC MCCORKLE, Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy: I don’t know if it was a surprise, but it was a heartbreaker for Democrats.

    I think that a lot of Democrats felt like that Kay Hagan had run such a skillful campaign, turning the tables on Speaker Tillis and his leadership at the state level, that she might be able to break free from the national mood that was so sour against Democrats, especially in the South. She came close, but in the end, the national mood prevailed in North Carolina.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Merle Black, the Senate race in your state, people were preparing last night for the possibility of a runoff. What happened there to deliver such a strong victory for David Perdue?

    MERLE BLACK, Emory University: Well, I think a couple of weeks ago, it really looked like the race was heading toward a runoff.

    Michelle Nunn had done a very skillful job of portraying David Perdue as a selfish businessman who really didn’t care about common people. And I think that was working fairly well. Then, a couple of weeks out, President Obama intervened. He did an interview with a black radio station in Atlanta in which he explicitly tied Michelle Nunn to the success of his program in Congress.

    Now, this contradicted one of themes of the Nunn campaign. At the general level, for all Georgians, Nunn was running really as a process candidate. She really wasn’t running so much as a Democrat. She called herself an independent who would go back and forth depending on the ideas. She mentioned George Herbert Walker Bush far more than she did President Barack Obama.

    And so to appeal to white voters and get the white vote up to a level where Democrats could be elected, the target was 30 percent. The biggest Democratic problem in Georgia is that, in the past elections, they have only been able to get in the low 20s among white voters. Barack Obama got 23 percent in 2008. Michelle Nunn wound up last night with 23 percent.

    What happened?  I think when the president interviewed, then the Republicans immediately created a commercial on radio and television that went all over the state of Georgia. They nationalized the race, took it away from the emphasis on Perdue.

    And then in Perdue in his closing remarks did everything to tie to Michelle Nunn to Barack Obama. I think, in the end, that really shrunk her support among whites back to Obama-type levels in 2008. And that’s not enough to win in a state like Georgia.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mac McCorkle, I want to ask you, are the demographics of North Carolina changing in a way that the Democrats thought that they had possibilities last night and even two years from now?

    MAC MCCORKLE: Yes, the demographics are changing, but this was a midterm election.

    It was a little bigger of a midterm election than in the past, but it still was a midterm election, so it was older, whiter. I think over 70 percent of the voters were 40 years old or older. And so this wasn’t the electorate that Obama thrived in, in 2008.

    People knew that. And so that was why it wasn’t that surprising. But they did feel like that Kay Hagan had a chance to break that. And it’s just simply the national mood was too strong.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Merle Black, John Barrow’s race in your state, in Georgia, when he lost, he became the last white Democrat in the Deep South. So are we looking at not just a population that might be divided, but also their leadership?

    MERLE BLACK: Well, yes.

    The Democrats really have a problem among white voters in the Deep South. It’s been a situation for some time right now. And they really need to have candidates who can solve that problem for them. Now, there is an out for the Democrats. Edwin Edwards made the runoff in Louisiana.

    If he were actually elected in a runoff, he would become, like John Barrow was, the last white Democrat in the Deep South.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mac McCorkle, you have watched this for a generation now. How have you seen the demographics in the South change?

    MAC MCCORKLE: Well, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida have certainly changed, to the extent that there’s hope in presidential years.

    But I would agree with Merle Black that, in the rest of the South, whether it’s a midterm or whether it’s the presidential election year, the problem for the Democrats with white voters is getting so severe that the talk about demography changing the South and liberalizing the South I think is very questionable, especially in the Deep South states.

    North Carolina, the pockets of strength in North Carolina for the Democrats are the metropolitan and urban areas. But the Republicans remain strong in the suburbs and strong in the rural areas, even in a place like North Carolina.

    Now, that is going to be different in 2016. North Carolina will be in play in 2016.


    MAC MCCORKLE: Virginia will be in play. But the rest of the South, it’s very unclear.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mac McCorkle and Merle Black, thanks so much for your time.

    MERLE BLACK: Thank you.


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    A supporter walks past signs for Democrat Senatorial candidate Nunn before the results of the midterm elections race in Atlanta

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    GWEN IFILL: So, let’s dig a little deeper to see how what the candidates did and didn’t do, to influence the voters they were trying to persuade.

    For that, we turn again to our friends Stu Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

    We had a late night together last night.

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: We did.

    STUART ROTHENBERG, The Rothenberg Political Report: Yes.


    GWEN IFILL: I want to start by asking you guys, as you look through all the detritus of last night and try to sort out what actually happened, one of the things that we saw in a couple of different states was Democrats playing by a playbook that worked for them before.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    GWEN IFILL: And that was appealing to women voters. How did that work for them this time?

    AMY WALTER: Well, you know, we still saw a gender gap, so Republicans winning over men by double digits, Democrats winning over women by single digits. So it still exists.

    The problem for Democrats among women voters was that they made up a smaller percent of the electorate than they do in a presidential year. And in some of those states, like Colorado, where they made the issue of women’s health, women’s productive health really the main focus, they weren’t able to actually change the makeup of the electorate.

    In fact, in Colorado, less than half of the electorate was made up of women. I think it was 48 percent, which was down from even 2010.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Yes. In 2012, women constituted 53 percent of the electorate, and this time, it was only 51 percent. I looked at Iowa and North Carolina. The drop-off was actually a little bigger, three points. So…

    GWEN IFILL: There were women involved in the Senate races.

    AMY WALTER: That’s right.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Yes. So, you know, it really — just what we were saying, Gwen, it matters who votes. And that’s the single most important thing.

    There was some — there is some evidence in a couple places Republicans improved among certain subcategories, some single women. But, generally, absolutely, there’s still a gender gap.

    GWEN IFILL: Another thing Democrats were missing was part of their base, which is people who make less than $50,000 a year. We can take a look at that.

    In 2012, that was 41 percent of the vote. In 2014, it was 36 percent of the vote. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it made a lot of difference in lot of places.

    AMY WALTER: Well, you know, when you talked to Democrats early in this election, they knew two things. One, they needed to change the makeup of the electorate. If it looked like a midterm electorate, they were going to lose. They needed to expand the electorate.

    And they also wanted to make the issue about the economy and talking about — to those sorts of voters about the same things that President Obama did in 2012, making those contrasts between what Republicans stood for, what Democrat stood for.

    But they weren’t ever really able to make that. The president sort of tried to do that, talking about the minimum wage, talking about pay equity. Nothing got through Congress. And then national issues got in the way as well. We talked a lot more about Ebola and ISIS and Ferguson than we did about the economy. And it showed in those numbers.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Let me just add that when you look in the exits in terms of how people felt about the economy, they thought that it is worse than they did a couple years ago and that it is getting worse, it will be worse in the future.

    GWEN IFILL: Which isn’t objectively so, but…

    STUART ROTHENBERG: It doesn’t matter.

    GWEN IFILL: It doesn’t matter.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: What matters is how they think.

    So kind of the Democrats had two problems. They had a falloff in their lower socioeconomic voters, but they also had this perception that the economy is getting worse.

    AMY WALTER: Right.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, there was another playbook, a piece of the playbook which Democrats tried to use against Republicans, and it was kind of going after the rich guys, like they did with Mitt Romney.


    AMY WALTER: Right.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s take a look at a piece of an ad that aired in Georgia against David Perdue, who eventually won in his race, Republican.

    BRENDA MILLER, North Carolina: When Pillowtex closed down, it was pretty much devastating. I don’t think David Perdue understands what happens to the people. They were running as fast as they could with as much money as they could get out of the company, and just pretty much left us there hanging.

    GWEN IFILL: Not only did David Perdue win in Georgia, but Rick Scott won in Florida, another rich guy who put I think $13 million into his own campaign. And Rauner also won in…

    AMY WALTER: Illinois.

    GWEN IFILL: … in Illinois.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    GWEN IFILL: He put $26 million into his campaign.


    AMY WALTER: Right.

    GWEN IFILL: So, that didn’t really stick, that kind of…


    And, I mean, they were the same attacks against all three of those from the Democrats. These guys are looking for the rich guys. They are outsourcing jobs. Part of the reason it didn’t work goes right back to what Stu was saying, which was voters just don’t believe that Democrats are doing a better job on the economy either.

    And so when you’re saying to contrast between what these guys have done and then what you’re going to get for having a Democrat in that job, there wasn’t the belief that Democrats were going to make it better.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: Two other points.

    First of all, the Romney example was in a presidential campaign with a presidential nominee, all eyes on him.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: And this is a very different kind of campaign. This is kind of large — part of the larger mix of the midterm election.

    The other thing is, this is a classic case of Democrats attempting localize. Had they been able to localize, they would have been able to make the election about these guys, their wealth and their behavior as businessmen. They couldn’t localize. The national mood was too strong.

    GWEN IFILL: One more point we want to make about the Democratic base. We talked a lot last night about the Obama coalition and how it seemed to shrink.

    Last night, single women and minorities, who we always expect to see part of that coalition, didn’t show up in the same kinds of numbers they did in 2012, did they, Amy?


    And when I looked at just the approval ratings among those voters in those states we talked about so much last night, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, you saw that it wasn’t just a drop-off in their interest in the race, but the drop-off in their approval rating of the president significantly from 2012. They just — not only did they not turn out because they didn’t feel good about their current situation, but they didn’t feel good about the president.

    GWEN IFILL: And they didn’t show up.

    STUART ROTHENBERG: No, they didn’t.

    I made a quick list, Gwen, of the groups and how this election was different. This electorate was more male, it was older, it was less liberal, it was more Republican, it was wealthier. And they thought the country was headed more off on the wrong track and the wrong direction than a couple years ago, and that explains the votes.

    GWEN IFILL: And in the end, voters do get to be the ones who make the decision.

    AMY WALTER: That’s right.


    GWEN IFILL: Stu Rothenberg, Amy Walter, thank you both very much.



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    U.S. President Obama answers questions during news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, one of the questions facing President Obama after this midterm loss, will he make changes to his priorities and his leadership style?

    When the president met with reporters today at the White House, he was asked why he didn’t sit down and socialize more with Senator McConnell and other Republicans over the past six years. The president said he would work harder on that front, but he also made it clear there is a limit on how far he would go.

    Here are part of his remarks.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Obviously, Republicans had a good night. And they deserve credit for running good campaigns. Beyond that, I will leave it to all of you and the professional pundits to pick through yesterday’s results.

    What stands out to me, though, is that the American people sent a message, one that they’ve sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done. All of us in both parties have a responsibility to address that sentiment.

    I’m eager to work with the new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible. I’m committed to making sure that I measure ideas not by whether they are from Democrats or Republicans, but whether they work for the American people.

    And that’s not to say that we won’t disagree over some issues that we’re passionate about. We will. Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I will take some actions that some in Congress will not like. That’s natural. That’s how our democracy works.

    QUESTION: Despite the optimism that you’re expressing here, last night was a devastating night for your party. Given that, do you feel any responsibility to recalibrate your agenda for the next two years?

    And what changes do you need to make in your White House and in your dealings with Republicans in order to address the concerns that voters expressed with your administration?

    BARACK OBAMA: The American people overwhelmingly believe that this town doesn’t work well and that it is not attentive to their needs.

    And, as president, they rightly hold me accountable to do more to make it work properly. I’m the guy who’s elected by everybody, not just from a particular state or a particular district. And they want me to push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of the gridlock and get stuff done.

    I do think there are going to be areas where we do agree, on infrastructure, on making sure that we’re boosting American exports. And, you know, part of my task then is to reach out to Republicans, make sure that I’m listening to them.

    QUESTION: Are you going to have that drink with Mitch McConnell now you joked about at the White House Correspondents Dinner?

    BARACK OBAMA: You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell.


    BARACK OBAMA: I don’t know what his preferred drink is.

    But, you know, my interactions with Mitch McConnell, he’s always been very straightforward with me. To his credit, he has never made a promise that he couldn’t deliver. And, you know, he knows the legislative process well. He obviously knows his caucus well.

    QUESTION: Moments before you walked out here, sir, Mitch McConnell said, and I quote, that if you, in fact, use your executive authority to legalize a certain number of millions of undocumented workers, it would poison the well, direct quote, and it would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

    Do you not believe that is the considered opinion of the new Republican majority in the House and the Senate?

    BARACK OBAMA: I have no doubt that there will be some Republicans who are angered or frustrated by any executive action that I may take. Those are folks, I just have to say, who are also deeply opposed to immigration reform in any form.

    So, I just want to re-emphasize this, Major. If, in fact, there is a great eagerness on the part of Republicans to tackle a broken immigration system, then they have every opportunity to do it.

    My executive actions not only do not prevent them from passing a law that supersedes those actions, but should be a spur for them to actually try to get something done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans won as many seats as they did last night in part by criticizing President Obama’s policies.

    But he still has two years left in office. Can the two sides bridge the gap and work together on anything?

    We get the perspective of two lawmakers, Representative David Schweikert. He’s a Republican from Arizona. And Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, he’s a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Both men were reelected last night.

    And congratulations to both of you, Congressman Schweikert and Congressman Van Hollen.

    REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D) Maryland: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Welcome.

    So, to you first, Congressman Schweikert.

    You know, we — the voters spoke loud and clear. They’re sick of gridlock. Is there going to be any less gridlock now?

    REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT (R) Arizona: I do hope so, because I think many of the voters actually were able to understand that much of the gridlock may have been at the Senate majority leader’s desk.

    What will happen now if we actually go back to sort of normal ways of doing business, conference committees going back and forth, and actually on — occasionally, actually putting legislation on the president’s desk for him sign or veto or kick back and say, here’s what he would be willing to do.

    I may be pathologically optimistic, but I’m hoping for actually some normal movement of legislation, at least an attempt of it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Van Hollen, are you as optimistic?

    REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, I’m an optimist. And I hope certainly that we’re able to move forward on these things.

    But Dave mentioned the fact that there are all these bills in the Senate, for example, that Harry Reid hadn’t had a vote on. But if you look at the House, there are a whole pile of bills that we have never voted on, some of which, interestingly, last night saw strong public support for.

    So, for example, raising the minimum wage passed on referenda in very Republican states. It passed in Arkansas. It passed in South Dakota, passed in Nebraska, passed in Alaska. We haven’t even had a chance in the House to vote on that, and it was blocked in the Senate. So there’s some initiatives that we’d love to see votes on, as Dave said, that we have not had a chance to.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, before I ask you about some specific pieces of legislation, Congressman Schweikert, do you see Congress coming together on minimum wage?

    REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT: I don’t. I could actually see a discussion if the left is willing to work with us on concepts of training wage, what actually really affects urban unemployment, because some of the data’s actually a little dodgy in this debate.

    There’s also some fascinating numbers. If you also look at what states went from blue to red, take a look at also in sort of the energy patch states around the country, and there may be public policy which we’re hoping both the right and left might be able to find a way to hold hands and move forward on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I do want to turn to some other potential areas of agreement, Congressman Van Hollen, that were raised today both by Senator McConnell, who one — we assume Is going to be the new Senate majority leader. One of them is trade. Another one has to do with tax reform. The president at his news conference this afternoon mentioned both.

    Do you expect tangible progress on these?

    REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, they both mentioned those things, as you said.

    And I think there’s a possibility of moving forward on the infrastructure issue. There’s widespread agreement, I believe, that our infrastructure in this country has become badly degraded, that we need to modernize it.

    Then the question is, how do you pay for it? And there are a number of proposals that the president has put forward, some others have put forward where you can close some of the tax breaks that actually encourage American jobs to move overseas, and by shutting down those tax breaks generate some revenue that you can then invest here at home in infrastructure and jobs.

    So, it would be great if there were meeting of the minds on that issue. On trade, I think people are going to look at it on its individual merits. What does any proposed agreement do to help American workers and the American economy?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Schweikert, what about those two? Do you see potential agreement in any of those areas?

    REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT: Trade will be fascinating.

    The votes, I believe, are already in the House for the trade promotion authority. I know that’s difficult, particularly for many Democrats that have large union bases that may oppose those. On things such as transportation, infrastructure financing, many of us have been working on trying to be much more creative in the funding of it, because, right now, even those tax breaks, they help, but they don’t do, create enough capital, enough revenue. So, we have had discussions of, could you use energy leases across the country and bond at revenue, so you get a real kick of infrastructure capital in a short period of time?

    So there’s ideas out there. Will we now do what’s supposed to happen, which is you battle through the ideas and hopefully come together and move legislation?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me also ask both of you about immigration.

    We heard Senator McConnell say to the president it would be a big mistake — in fact, he said for the president to do executive action on immigration would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. The president himself a few minutes later said that’s exactly what he intends to do.

    Congressman Van Hollen, what do you expect on immigration?

    REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Well, let’s start with the fact that the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Again, we kept hearing about how Harry Reid is bottling things up.

    They had a bipartisan vote in the Senate on that. In the House, we never had a vote. I’m confident that, if we had a vote in the House, it would pass. So, what the president is saying is, the clock is now running out on that bipartisan bill. By the end of this year, with the new Congress, it goes away.

    So, he’s invited the speaker of the House and the new leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, to come to the table and say, how can we work this out? But the president has been clear we have to work something out. The president knows that he cannot enact a comprehensive immigration bill through executive authority.

    The question is whether he could take some limited steps within his executive authority, as previous presidents have done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you see grounds for agreement on immigration, Congressman Schweikert?

    REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT: Well, I hope the key words there were work something out limited.

    Being from a border state, where the transfer costs of illegal undocumented immigration really hits but hard, I must share with you, if the president takes unilateral action, I believe he will turn the immigration issue toxic for the next decade.

    So, this needs to be dealt with disciplined and actually following the law. And, actually, I think many of us in the House, even being from a border state, are willing to look at the incremental mechanics, because immigration is actually a very complex issue with lots and lots of moving parts to it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just in the final seconds that we have left, I want to ask both of you, do you feel that the American people are going to see a Congress that is functioning better after this election?

    Congressman Van Hollen?

    REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: The answer is, it depends on whether the people who are coming to Washington ran on a platform of trying to work with the president and trying to engage in compromise for the common good.

    My fear is that too many of the candidates, especially a lot of the Tea Party candidates, continued to run on a platform of no compromise. And, therefore, to deliver on their promise to their constituents, they have to continue to be obstructionists.

    If people want to reach out and find common ground, that’s what the American people. That would be great. I’m an optimist. Like Dave, I hope that is what happens.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Schweikert, what do you expect?

    REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT: Judy, I don’t want to be rhetorical on this.

    I genuinely believe we have some huge issues. The votes are there with some mechanics, some compromise, and negotiations. But it’s going to take the president to do something, both communicating with his left, with those of us on the right, actually showing up, returning phone calls.


    He needs to basically do a Bill Clinton or George Bush. And that is engage in the process, not just from the bully pulpit, but also on the human relations, because those human relationships, I believe, will help move legislation.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Dave Schweikert, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and, again, congratulations to both.

    REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Thank you, Judy.

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    GWEN IFILL: With resounding victories coast to coast at every level of government, our next guest had reason to celebrate last night.

    Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee. And he joins us now.


    REINCE PRIEBUS, Chairman, Republican National Committee: Hey. Thank you for having me.

    GWEN IFILL: And congratulations.

    Was last night’s victory due to the weakness of Democrats and their message and the candidates, or was it due to the strength of Republican candidates and their message?

    REINCE PRIEBUS: I think it was a little of both.

    For number — number one, I think we did put great candidates out in the field. And that’s first and foremost what you have to do. But I think what really happened last night was pretty stunning. And you hit on it very well. On one hand, President Obama and his policies were totally repudiated, and so was anybody connected to those policies. So, that’s the first piece.

    The second piece was, is that the governors, the Republican governors that were advancing conservative governing principles were all embraced, whether it was in Maryland, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, you name it. So not only was the president rejected. Republican principals were embraced.

    The last thing I would tell you that is important is that we beat the Democrats on the ground. I mean, the vaunted Democrat ground game, while they did a good job, we did a little bit better and we beat them at their own game. And I think that’s a big story coming out of last night.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, I want to ask you about that night, because after the last elections, you embarked on what you yourself termed as an autopsy of why the Republicans didn’t do well. Is what we saw last night the fruit of that autopsy?

    REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, right.

    And what we got out of that report was that we needed to be a party that wasn’t just an organization that showed up once every four years a few months before the election, or we didn’t want to be a party that is just a U-Haul trailer of cash for a presidential nominee.

    We had to be a party that was obsessed with the mechanics, the data, the ground game, all the boring stuff that most people never want to talk about. But that really is the way that you have to win these elections. And we just did a much better job. And we either beat the Democrats on the ground or we at least brought them to parity in places that they were used to — they used to steamroll us in some of these states, but they didn’t yesterday.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, that’s certainly true.

    There are a lot of mechanics which obviously go into politics, but for a lot of Americans, this frustration was about Washington and about what Washington was or wasn’t doing. How much of that do you take to heart as you take over the majority, not only in the Senate, but broaden your majority in the House, in state legislatures, in governor’s mansions?

    This is going to go pretty deep.

    REINCE PRIEBUS: Yes, I think that’s true.

    I think that people are tired of a lot of things in politics and maybe all of it. But I think that’s why one of the things that the president should do is say, OK, I’m going to go to Harry Reid’s office, soon to be McConnell’s office, and I’m going to go through these 260 bills that are there, and I’m going to tell these Republicans, here are the bills that I’m willing to work with you on and start that way, because there’s clearly got to be something the president would be willing to work with us on out of 260 — 360 bills sitting there.

    So we can pass a budget. As you know, you do not need — you don’t need the president’s signature to pass a budget. We can work on the Keystone pipeline and a lot of other things that I think would help get the economy back on track.

    GWEN IFILL: It’s interesting that — first of all, I wonder if you think last night was a mandate.

    REINCE PRIEBUS: Yes. It was an — it was absolutely a mandate. It was a mandate really opposing the principles and the policies of Barack Obama, because he himself made it about his principles.

    It would be one thing if I — Gwen, if I was just spinning some political spin. But the president actually went out of his way multiple times — and he was irritated with these Democrats that were running for Senate. And he went out of his way to say, no, no, no, my policies are on the ballot. You all supported these policies.

    GWEN IFILL: But I guess my question is whether it’s a mandate for you to do something or for you to just wait for the president to do something.


    Well, I think it’s incumbent on everyone to try and work together. I mean, there’s no question. I think it’s a mandate for everybody. And I guess that goes back to your question a couple of questions ago, which is, do people expect Republicans and Democrats to work together? And I think the answer to that question is yes.

    But what I’m suggesting to you is that we can’t erase the fact that the election yesterday was a repudiation of the president’s policy. So we’re not going to work to advance the president’s policies, but we are going to work with the president to see where we can find common ground to get the country back on track.

    GWEN IFILL: Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, I think you could use some sleep right now. Thank you.


    REINCE PRIEBUS: Yes. Thank you.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: On this day after the elections of 2014, the nation’s capital city was beginning to take stock of the changes wrought by what the voters said who showed up at the polls yesterday.

    Sunrise found the U.S. Capitol looking much the same in its scaffolding, but many of the people who will fill the building changed overnight.

    GWEN IFILL: The big story of the night:  Republicans are closing in on their goal of taking control of the U.S. Senate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A Republican wave rolled across the land, handing the GOP control of the Senate and a beefed-up majority in the House. Iowa’s Joni Ernst was one of seven Republicans to win a Democratic Senate seat.

    SEN.-ELECT JONI ERNST, (R) Iowa: People ask me all the time what my favorite part of the campaign has been. Well, I think tonight.


    JONI ERNST:  Nothing is going to beat tonight.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thom Tillis scored another takeaway in North Carolina. And, today, he said he’d make good on his pledge about Obamacare.

    Sen.-Elect THOM TILLIS, (R) North Carolina: I suspect that there will be a repeal bill that will be sent to the president. I also suspect he will veto it. So then what we will need to do is take a look at things that we can delay, like the employer mandates, a number of the things. If we can delay them and replace them with something more sustainable, that’s — that’s what we will ultimately need to focus on.

    But I made a promise that I would vote for a repeal bill. I intend to follow up on that promise.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Louisville today, the man who is likely to be the new Senate majority leader, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, focused more on possible cooperation with the White House.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Minority Leader: The American people have spoken. They have given us divided government. The question for both the president and for the speaker and myself and our members is, what are you going to do with it?  And I have already said, I want to first look for areas that we can agree on. And there probably are some. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about in the next — in the next few weeks.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: McConnell said he had just spoken by phone with President Obama. He warned against unilateral action on immigration, but vowed there will be no government shutdowns or default on the national debt and raised trade and tax reform as areas of potential agreement.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: We’re going to pass legislation. Some of it, he may not like, but we’re going to function. This — this gridlock and dysfunction can be ended. It can be ended by having a Senate that actually — excuse me — that actually works.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: To that end, there will be at least 52 Republicans to work with, a net gain of seven. Democrats will have at least 43. There are two independents, and three seats are still up in the air.

    In Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu was forced into a December runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy. In Virginia, Democratic incumbent Mark Warner has declared victory over Ed Gillespie, but may yet face a recount. And in Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan leads incumbent Mark Begich, but votes are still being counted.

    As for the House, not since the days of President Harry Truman has it been so Republican as it will be come January, with nearly 250 seats in GOP hands.

    Voters also delivered stunning verdicts in a number of governor’s races. Maryland Republican Larry Hogan claimed a surprise victory in the heavily Democratic state and recapped his win today.

    GOV.-ELECT LARRY HOGAN, (R) Maryland: Even though we were hopeful and optimistic and confident last night, it still — it still was kind of a shock when state troopers showed up at our hotel room and said, we’re here to protect you, Governor.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans reclaimed the governor’s mansion in Illinois as well, as Bruce Rauner ousted incumbent Pat Quinn. Combined, the two campaigns spent close to $100 million.

    And Republican governors in Wisconsin, Florida and Kansas fended off stiff challenges, giving the party at least 32 statehouses. Along with electing more governors, Republicans made headway in state legislatures. They picked up at least three chambers, the Nevada Senate, the Minnesota House and the West Virginia House.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama today chalked up Democrats’ big election losses to voters’ frustration with Washington gridlock. He told reporters he will try to cooperate with Republicans, who now control both the House and the Senate.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As president, I have a unique responsibility to try and make this town work.

    So to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: At the same time, the president said he will take action of his own on immigration by year’s end, unless the lame-duck Congress acts first.

    We will have full coverage of the election, including more of the president’s remarks, right after the news summary.

    GWEN IFILL: Advocates of legalizing marijuana scored new victories Tuesday. Alaska and Oregon voted to allow use and sales, and Washington, D.C., decriminalized possessions of small amounts.

    Elsewhere, Alaska joined Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota in voting to increase the minimum wage in their states.

    And Washington State approved expanded background checks for private gun sales.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Violence flared in Jerusalem again today, with two incidents of Palestinian vehicles slamming into pedestrians. The first came early in the day, when a Palestinian militant drove his minivan into a crowd killing one person.

    Geraint Vincent of Independent Television News reports.

    GERAINT VINCENT: Across the tram line that runs between Jerusalem’s Arab and Jewish areas, the ambulances are parked to collect the injured in what was a deadly lunchtime attack.

    On this CCTV footage, you can see a group of people waiting at the tram stop on the left of your screen. From the right-hand side, a white van appears and goes on to smash through the crowd at high speed. A few moments later, the same vehicle is stuck in traffic. The driver has got out and runs around the junction, before being confronted by police.

    MICKY ROSENFELD, Israeli Police Spokesman: He had nowhere else to flee. He got out of the vehicle, took an iron bar and attempted to attack a number of innocent people. Border police officers that arrived at the scene shot and killed the suspect.

    GERAINT VINCENT: That suspect has been identified as 38-year-old Ibrahim al-Akri. The Palestinian militant group Hamas says he is a martyr and has called the attack, in which an Israeli policeman was killed, a glorious operation.

    This is the second incident of its kind to take place in Jerusalem in as many weeks. This city has long been the religious focus for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But, right now, it’s the main venue for the violence itself.

    These streets are used to violence. But towards the Jewish parts of the city, it’s becoming ever more dangerous to stand by the road.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hours later, police said a large commercial vehicle with Palestinian license plates struck and injured three pedestrians. A search was under way for the driver.

    GWEN IFILL: In Yemen, a drone strike overnight killed a senior al-Qaida official. Reports reported the man was identified as Shawki al-Badani, a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. He’s wanted by the U.S., and Yemen has offered a $100,000 reward for his capture.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the election outcome and higher oil prices pushed Wall Street mostly higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 100 points to close at 17,484; the S&P 500 added 11 to finish at 2,023; but the Nasdaq fell about three points to close at 4,620.

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    The ex-Navy SEAL who fired the killing shot on al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden confirmed his identity to the Washington Post. Photo by AP

    The ex-Navy SEAL who fired the killing shot on al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden confirmed his identity to the Washington Post. Photo by AP

    The Navy SEAL who said he shot and killed Osama bin Laden has revealed his identity.

    The Washington Post reported today that Robert O’Neill, a 38-year-old Montana native and ex-SEAL, confirmed his involvement in SEAL Team Six’s May 2, 2011, raid on bin Laden in Pakistan. O’Neill, a 15-year SEAL veteran at the time of the operation, says he fired the shot that took down the al-Qaida founder.

    O’Neill originally intended to reveal himself publicly next week through interviews with The Washington Post and Fox News. The Post reported that the ex-SEAL came to the decision after repeated meetings with the paper, where he claimed his identity was at risk of being leaked. “What once was a closely guarded secret had spread widely through military circles, he said, and was known by members of Congress and at least two news organizations,” the Post described.

    The reveal was pushed forward due to Special Operations Forces Situation Report, a website run by ex-SEALS, publishing his identity in protest to O’Neill’s upcoming disclosure.

    In a letter signed by both the senior commander and enlisted man of Naval Special Warfare Command, the SEAL leadership emphasized that the majority of SEALs spend each day living up to the label “quiet professionals.” Unspoken is the implication that the former SEAL, who is in fact, former Red Squadron SEAL Robert O’Neill, is seeking notoriety for his own story.

    O’Neill previously talked to Esquire magazine anonymously about the fateful night, identified only in the published article as “the shooter.”

    The post Navy SEAL who says he killed bin Laden reveals his identity appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Two African elephants roam the flowery grassland in Tanzania. A new report says that Chinese gangs were able to smuggle elephant ivory out of Tanzania with the help of corrupt country officials. Photo copyright: © Steve Morello / WWF-Canon

    Two African elephants roam the flowery grassland in Tanzania. A new report says that Chinese gangs were able to smuggle elephant ivory out of Tanzania with the help of corrupt country officials. Photo copyright: © Steve Morello / WWF-Canon

    A new report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency revealed incidents of corruption that involved Chinese criminal gangs smuggling ivory out of Tanzania with the help of corrupt Tanzanian officials.

    The U.K.-based environmental watchdog published the detailed report on Wednesday, providing detail on how a large number of elephants in Tanzania are slaughtered to meet the demands of the booming ivory trade in China.

    Tanzania is the largest supplier of poached ivory in the world, and the illegal trade has resulted in the poaching of half of the country’s elephants in just five years.

    Research also shows that the population of elephants in the Tanzania’s Selous Reserve — home to one of the largest faunal reserves in the world — dropped from 38,975 to 13,084 in just four years’ time. And in 2013 alone Tanzania lost 10,000 of its elephants to poaching, meaning the East African country lost more elephants than any other country in the world.

    The Chinese-led gangs mentioned in the report have managed to use diplomatic visits made by President Xi Jinping and others senior Chinese officials to traffic large amounts of ivory out the country. These visits are said to have “created a boom in illegal ivory sales and caused local prices to double.”

    A spokesman for China’s ministry of foreign affairs denied the report, telling the Associated Press that China has been consistent in its efforts to crack down on the smuggling of poached ivory.

    In 2008, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species granted China permission to buy 62 tons of ivory in an effort to preserve the country’s traditional ivory carving industry. The decision caused an increase in the demand for legal and especially illegal ivory.

    The post Corruption in Tanzania leading to downfall of elephant population appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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