White House: Detention Policy Official Resigns
• "A key official in the Obama administration's effort to remake detention policy and close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has resigned," the Washington Post reports. "Phillip Carter, who was appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy in April, said in a brief telephone interview that he was leaving for 'personal and family reasons' and not because of any policy differences with the administration."
• "It is an old tradition, a White House dinner governed by ritual and protocol that happens to be this city's hottest social event," the New York Times reports. "But at their first state dinner on Tuesday night, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, made sure to infuse the glittering gala with distinctive touches."
Economy: Jobs, Not Deficit, Key, Pelosi Says
• "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that the need to spend more money on job creation should outweigh concerns about adding to the exploding deficit," Roll Call (subscription) reports.
• "The White House is considering a bipartisan commission to tackle the nation's swelling deficit, as it seeks to show resolve on a problem that threatens its broader agenda," the Wall Street Journal reports.
• "The unemployment rate will remain elevated for years to come, according to a forecast released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve that addresses for the first time economic conditions at the time of the next presidential election," the Washington Post reports.
Politics: Lou Dobbs Woos Latinos
• "Former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, pondering a future in politics, is trying to wipe away his image as an enemy of Latino immigrants by positioning himself as a champion of that fast-growing ethnic bloc," the Wall Street Journal reports.
• "Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has 'reconceded' in New York's special House election," The Hill reports. "Hoffman 'unconceded' earlier this month after a report showed Rep. Bill Owens's (D-N.Y.) margin of victory was lesser than previously thought."
World: Body Count Rises In Philippines
• "The death toll in Monday's election violence rose to 57 on Wednesday, the Philippine authorities said, as 11 more bodies were recovered," the New York Times reports.
• "Pakistani prosecutors charged seven men on Wednesday with planning and helping execute last year's Mumbai terror attacks," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The indictments came on the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks on India's financial center that killed 166 people."
National Security: WH Wants To 'Finish The Job'
• "In declaring Tuesday that he would 'finish the job' in Afghanistan, President Obama used a phrase clearly meant to imply that even as he deploys an additional 30,000 or so troops, he has finally figured out how to bring the eight-year-long conflict to an end," the New York Times reports.
• "President George W. Bush once boasted, 'I'm not a textbook player, I'm a gut player,'" the Washington Post reports. "The new tenant of the Oval Office takes a strikingly different approach. President Obama is almost defiantly deliberative, methodical and measured, even when critics accuse him of dithering.... Obama's handling of the Afghanistan conundrum has been a spectacle of deliberation unlike anything seen in the White House in recent memory."
Health Care: Poll Finds Opposition To Reform
• "As the debate over a health care bill enters a critical stage, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds Americans inclined to oppose congressional passage of the legislation this year," USA Today reports. "The survey, taken Friday through Sunday, finds 42% against a bill, 35% in support of it. Despite nearly a year of presidential speeches, congressional hearings and TV ad campaigns by interest groups, more than one in five still doesn't have a strong opinion."
• "A U.S. Senate committee revealed last year that public health insurer Medicare had paid as much as $92 million from 2000 to 2007 for medical services or equipment ordered or prescribed by doctors who were dead at the time," Reuters reports. "Healthcare fraud said to cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year has garnered increased attention amid the congressional debate about overhauling the U.S. healthcare system -- especially since" Obama "wants to cover some of the cost of reforms by fighting abuse."
• "A bipartisan group of 22 Senators is urging the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to look into the widely controversial breast cancer screening recommendations recently offered by a federally funded task force," Roll Call (subscription) reports.
Energy & Environment: Fewer Believe In Global Warming
• "The percentage of Americans who believe global warming is happening has dipped from 80 to 72 percent in the past year, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, even as a majority still support a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions," the Washington Post reports. "The poll's findings -- which also show that 55 percent of respondents think the United States should curb its carbon output even if major developing nations such as China and India do less -- suggest increasing political polarization around the issue, just as the Obama administration and congressional Democrats are intensifying efforts to pass climate legislation and broker an international global warming pact."
• "Senior Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are looking to a closed federal wire fraud conviction in California to bolster their argument against climate legislation," The Hill reports. "Rep. Joe Barton (Texas), the senior Republican on the committee, and Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), the top Republican on the committee's oversight panel, have asked a federal court to unseal documents in the 2005 conviction surrounding a California pollution credit trading program. Barton calls the case a cautionary tale about setting up a massive nationwide carbon emissions trading market."
• "The Obama administration's push to solve the nation's energy problems, a massive federal program that rivals the Manhattan Project, is spurring a once-in-a-generation shift in U.S. science," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The government's multibillion-dollar push into energy research is reinvigorating 17 giant U.S.-funded research facilities.... After many years of flat budgets, these labs are ramping up to develop new electricity sources, trying to build more-efficient cars and addressing climate change."
Lobbying: No Jail For Defendant In Abramoff Scandal
• "A former Department of Justice official was sentenced" Tuesday "to a month in a halfway house, three years probation, a $2,000 fine and 200 hours of community service, but no jail time, after he pleaded guilty in April 2008 on one count of conflict of interest for taking tickets and meals from former Jack Abramoff lobbying associate Kevin Ring while Ring lobbied him on issues that would benefit his clients," National Journal.com reports. "Robert Coughlin, a former liaison in the Department of Justice's Office of Legislative Affairs, is the only DOJ official who has been charged in relation to the Abramoff scandal."
• "Health Care for America Now has launched new television ads praising the two Democratic senators from Arkansas and giving quiet support to Ben Nelson, the centrist Democrat from Nebraska," The Hill reports. "The spot airing in Arkansas gives political cover to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), who is facing a tough re-election next year, and Sen. Mark Pryor (D)."
Transportation: Government Fines Airlines
• "The government is imposing fines for the first time against airlines for stranding passengers on an airport tarmac, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday," AP reports. "The DOT said it has levied a precedent-setting $175,000 in fines against three airlines in connection with the overnight stranding of passengers in a plane at Rochester, Minn., on Aug. 8."
• "Airports big and small will be packed on Wednesday, just as they are every year on the day before Thanksgiving," the New York Times reports. "But the long lines and frayed nerves actually started last week, as many penny-pinching travelers booked earlier, and less expensive, flights."
Commentary: Health Care's Heavy Issues
In Earlybird's Pundits & Editorials section, Margaret Carlson identifies obesity as a key problem for health care, and Ruth Marcus makes the legal case for mandates.