…And the World:
We begin today in Great Britain, Scotland to be precise, where Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond signed an agreement to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. The two “nations” have been in union for over three hundred years and independence is favored by Salmond’s party, which controls the semi-independent Scottish government. The vote will be held in 2014. However, opinion polls in Scotland suggest skepticism among ordinary Scots, especially those whose true opinion on referendum day will be “none of the above”.
Returning to Israel this week, the Knesset has passed its dissolution legislation, which, when passed, will set elections in January. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely favored to win reelection as the center and left of the country remains scattered, disorganized and fractious. However, the New York Times is reporting that Ehud Olmert, the former Prime Minister and Kadima leader may return to politics, despite a recent corruption trial, to unify Israel’s disparate political figures that are otherwise opposed to Netanyahu. The Times also looks into how polling and Israel’s complex electoral system could also shape the outcome. Meanwhile, Haaretz, a respected, but left-leaning paper rejected an Olmert resurgence in an editorial.
Tunisia, the country to set off the Arab Spring has set its date for Presidential elections.
First up, condolences to the family of former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. Specter, a longtime moderate Republican, and then Democrat, died on Sunday due to complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 82. Specter switched parties in 2009 only to be defeated in a Democratic primary the following year. Still, he left a huge impact on history and legislation during his thirty years in the US Senate. Of Specter, Senator John Kerry said, “He was guts and grit personified, and he just didn’t want to stop working or let illness interrupt a life of public service. I mourn the loss of a great American and extend my deepest sympathy to his family.”
President Barack Obama has been hunkered down in Williamsburg, VA prepping for tomorrow’s debate, which could either make or break his reelection or mean the end of the universe. We won’t really know until November 7th. The article shows a far more rigorous effort, but one Washington Post Op-Ed warns Team Obama to be prepared for the unexpected or even the impossible from Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is facing criticism over Paul Ryan’s recent stop at a soup kitchen…from the charity’s director.
A look at some Senate races across the country. In Connecticut, which have focused on in this space many times before, both Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon sat down with the Hartford Courant editorial board. McMahon reiterated her support for the Blunt Amendment and opposed, clearly, the requirement that hospitals regardless affiliation offer the morning after pill to rape victims. In Ohio, Democrat Sherrod Brown faced off against Republican Josh Mandel, who is running for senate two years into a four year term as Treasurer.
The State of Things:
VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE IN MASSACHUSETTS IS WEDNESDAY!
The Massachusetts US Senate race is officially the most expensive this cycle and both candidates have broken their own records once again. However, Elizabeth Warren is by far the bigger winner hauling in over $12 million in donations between July and September alone. Scott Brown had $7 million. Warren has a $3 million cash-on-hand disadvantage to Brown, but the campaign attributed that to an early reservation of ad time to save money. The Globe also has an article on the source of the candidates’ money written before the morning announcements.
The Globe does seem a bit slow in catching up on this one, however.
Meanwhile, Warren has bagged her first major newspaper endorsement from the New Bedford Standard-Times, which eloquently lays out a case for her election and dismisses Brown as having boilerplate Republican ideas. For his part, Brown is touting a new study showing him to be bipartisan. Key point missing, however. The votes that Brown took with Republicans were likely on more important issues, while the Democratic votes were not or the issue had no hope of passage due to filibuster. Also unmentioned, since the study goes back to 2011 is how bipartisan Brown was before Warren emerged as his challenger.
Van Jones, a former Obama aide and progressive speaker will be in Springfield for an event on Friday 6:30 at CityStage. Former Springfield City Councilor Amaad Rivera is coordinating the event and can reached for tickets at Amaad.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger is backing Springfield lawyer Michael Kogut effort to stop a casino in the city. Kogut worked as an assistant attorney general for Harshbarger according to the article.
Meanwhile all of the bids are in from three potential casino developers in Springfield.
Finally, Maureen Turner provides an update on an aborted eviction of a family in Springfield made possible in part due to help from Senator Kerry and Ward 7 City Councilor Tim Allen.
During today’s debate, Mandel doubled down on his opp. to the auto rescue & failed to distract from record of cronyism: j.mp/WpMHqU
— Sherrod Brown (@SherrodBrown) October 15, 2012
Today’s lunchtime Ohio Senate vote was defined by two things. Its rapid fire and minimal response time that begged for staccato answers and the boisterous crowd that made the Springfield’s Massachusetts Senate debate look mute by comparison. However, a few themes emerged, many indicative of the race. Although Republican challenger Josh Mandel finally made his position known on the auto bailout (against), he remained evasive on a host of issues including special interests groups and hiring unqualified friends in the Treasurer’s office. Today we award today’s tweet prize to Sherrod Brown, namely his campaign Twitter handle. In pointing out Mandel’s opposition to the auto bailout, a fairly toxic position in Ohio, and Mandel’s inability to explain his cronyism, he summed up two critical, but hardly the only themes in the debate. Indeed, we highly recommend reading through his twitter feed from this afternoon, which include numerous quotes by the Senator, whose race has become possibly the second most important in the country…after Massachusetts.