FROM Chellie Pingree
Are the Democrats This Year's October Surprise? "Strategists and consultants of both parties now believe the House is lost and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will become speaker. At best, Republicans will cling to control of the Senate by a single seat, two at most." That's from conservative columnist Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, quoted today in ABC's political website The Note . Democrats are so optimistic that Pelosi is already talking about which office she'll use as House Speaker. But President Bush and Carl Rove are reportedly full of confidence, both publicly and in private. Will the mid-term elections be a referendum on the President himself, Iraq and scandals in Congress? Can Republicans change the subject to local issues? What about money, organization and the partisan gerrymandering of district boundaries?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.