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Even conservative pundits are saying the Republicans have lost the House and may lose the Senate. So why are President Bush and Carl Rove optimistic about next months elections? Is it self-confidence or self-delusion?  What about money, organization and the partisan gerrymandering of district boundaries?  Plus, an update on yesterday's massive earthquake near Hawaii, and on this UN World Food Day, a conversation about where people are hungriest--and why.

Making News Hawaii Rocked by 6.7 Earthquake

Hawaii's strongest earthquake in 20 years has officials fanning out across the islands, inspecting bridges and looking for other damage. Power still has not been fully restored since a 6.7 quake hit yesterday morning, followed by one of 5.8 and at least 30 aftershocks. Remarkably, no one has been killed or seriously injured. However, relief and reconstruction efforts will be complicated by the need to bring all supplies in by ship or air.

Malia Zimmerman, Editor of Hawaii Reporter

Main Topic 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?

Mark Halperin, Bloomberg Politics / Showtime's 'The Circus' (@markhalperin)
Chuck Todd, Political Director, NBC News
Bruce Reed, Broad Education Foundation (@BroadFoundation)
Chellie Pingree, President of Common Cause

Reporter's Notebook World Food Day and the Plight of Starving Nations

Armed groups are making a weapon of hunger, cutting off food supplies, destroying crops and hijacking relief aid. It's a grim fact of everyday life, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.  On this UN World Food Day, the world abounds in people who don't have enough to eat.  The International Food Policy Research Institute is an American think-tank that compiles the Hunger Index, using three measurements: child malnutrition, child mortality and the estimated proportion of people without enough food.

Ruth Wiesmann, Post-doctoral Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute

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