Election 2014's Freaky Friday
By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
- PRESIDENT OBAMA IS ON THE ROAD highlighting an issue that he thinks will benefit Democrats in next week's elections: The economy, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. As he campaigns for Democratic candidates in these final days, the president is playing up the economic recovery in an effort to shift the public's focus away from his administration's handling of the Ebola crisis and back to their wallets. Today he's in Rhode Island on official business, holding a discussion and delivering remarks in Providence on economic policies to help women succeed and his plan to boost the middle class.
- THE 10 MOST UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS OF THE MIDTERMS: A look back at the good, the bad and the funny from around the country this election cycle, courtesy of ABC's JORDYN PHELPS and the ABC News video team. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1G1Qcuc
- HAPPENING TODAY: Have a question about the midterm elections coming up this Tuesday? Tweet your thoughts using #ABCVote. ABC's Political Director RICK KLEIN (@RickKlein) and Deputy Political Director SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@ShushWalshe) will be standing by to answer your questions between 12 and 4 pm EST.
- THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': With just days until Election Day 2014, the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's midterm politics, with ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and ABC News' Cokie Roberts. See the "This Week" page for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek
ABC's RICK KLEIN: What does it say about Democratic prospects next Tuesday that their highest-profile surrogates can barely get through a speech without being heckled - by people who should be part of their own base? The actions of protesting DREAMers won't cost Democrats the Senate. But they are a lingering embarrassment for President Obama and his allies in the closing days - and hint at the difficulties they'll have in getting the Obama coalition to turn out one more time. Beyond that, would the White House go back in time and just take the executive actions on immigration he's promising for after the election? Did the decision to delay buy red-state Democrats any wiggle room? Or did it just enrage activists on the left?
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
NEW HAMPSHIRE: SCOTT BROWN'S GEOGRAPHY QUIZ. The final New Hampshire brawl happened last night with both Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown battling it out in their race for Senate. The debate hosted by ABC's George Stephanopoulos and WMUR's Josh McElveen was heated while both candidates tried to portray themselves as independent voices for New Hampshire on issues as varied as containing Ebola, immigration, even gun control. But, the moment of the night was when Brown was asked specifically about what is going well and poorly in Sullivan County. Brown answered broadly and Democrats jumped on his answer immediately as proof he did not know where it was located feeding into their carpetbagger attacks. WMUR's James Pindell pressed saying it sounded like he was talking about the North Country saying, "It's not north of Concord." Brown noted the challenges the state faces impact "every county in our state." It's the moment that dominated the debate, but Pindell later apologized saying he was wrong and Brown was right because Sullivan County is actually both west and north of Concord. Both campaigns are headed to Sullivan County today, putting this part of New Hampshire on the map and making sure the state's voters know they both are aware exactly where it is. - Shushannah Walshe
with ABC's KIRSTEN APPLETON
IT'S OFFICIAL: EVERYONE IS EARLY VOTING - HERE'S WHERE THINGS STAND. As of Thursday morning, early voting is happening in every one of the 35 states (plus Washington DC) that offer it. Twelve million voters have so far cast their votes for the 2014 midterm elections, which is almost double the tally from last week, ABC's ALI WEINBERG notes. Why the big jump? A lot of it has to do with more states getting into their in-person early voting periods, which is the preferred early voting method for the majority of Democrats. That also means some earlier Republican gains around the country are diminishing. But with Thursday's total early vote tally representing about 63 percent of the total 19 million early voters in the 2010 midterm cycle, there are still plenty of early vote returns we'll see before November 4. BY THE NUMBERS GRAPHIC: http://abcn.ws/1tZUkan
CHECK OUT THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOUSE AND SENATE RACES. Elections are getting more expensive by the year. The 2014 congressional elections, though seemingly less intense and animated than their recent, wave-election predecessors in 2006 and 2010, are on pace to cost more than any midterm elections ever. The 2014 House and Senate races will cost at least $3.67 billion, more than the $2.9 billion spent on House and Senate races in 2006 and slightly edging the $3.6 billion spent in 2010, but ranking just below the $3.7 billion spent on congressional races in the presidential-election year of 2012, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates. ABC's CHRIS GOOD breaks down where all this money is going. http://abcn.ws/1tkRlIo
HALLOWEEN AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Pint-sized goblins, super-heroes and princesses will take over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue tonight, as the president and first lady host their annual Halloween celebration, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. Local kids and children of military families will show off their spooky costumes as they parade up the south driveway of the decorated White House. The tiny trick-or-treaters will be rewarded with candy and, of course, some first lady-approved healthy snacks.
FEW ARRESTS OF AMERICANS WHO FOUGHT IN SYRIA OR IRAQ, AS FEDS FOCUS ON SMALL GROUP BACK INSIDE U.S. Of the dozens of Americans who traveled to war-torn Syria or Iraq and then returned home, only a "small group" of them fought with a terrorist group and might be inclined to launch an attack back in the U.S., federal counterterrorism officials have determined. Putting potentially dangerous returnees like that behind bars, however, has been a slow and painstaking process. ABC's MIKE LEVINE reports that in the past 16 months, not a single returnee has been arrested - even secretly - on charges of allegedly supporting terrorists or committing any other direct form of terrorism overseas, though "a couple" have been quietly implicated in lesser offenses such as lying on travel forms, a federal source told ABC News. By contrast, in that time, the FBI and Justice Department have arrested at least nine people in the United States who allegedly tried to join terrorists in Syria or Iraq. http://abcn.ws/1wKXiPB
WHAT WE'RE READING
"WEAK WAGES STIR VOTER IRE AT OBAMA AMID GRIDLOCK," by Bloomberg News' Mike Dorning and Lorraine Woellert. The U.S. economy has posted its strongest six months of growth since 2003, news that usually would be a boon to the party in power heading into congressional elections. Yet President Barack Obama and Democrats haven't been able to take credit for the gains. On Election Day, they're at risk of losing control of the Senate, though it is the Republicans who have blocked measures aimed at strengthening growth. That's because Americans say they don't feel the progress in their daily lives and they blame both parties for the political deadlock in Washington. The U.S. government's failure to address the economy's main weakness - stagnant middle-class earnings - damages Democrats the most. 'This wage squeeze on the working and middle class is real, and it is causing an enormous amount of frustration and anger,' said Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report in Washington. 'Voters are looking to send signals, and they're going to blame the party in the White House.'" http://bloom.bg/1paLuW1
@ThePlumLineGS: In interview with me, @dscc exec dir @guycecil declines to predict outright that Ds will hold Senate: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/10/30/architect-of-democratic-strategy-for-keeping-senate-is-hopeful-but-realistic/ …
@ShaneGoldmacher: The NRCC is telling super PACs what ZIP code to send mailers; the DCCC is telling them what cable networks to buy: http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/they-re-not-allowed-to-talk-but-candidates-and-pacs-are-brazenly-communicating-all-the-time-20141030 …