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Murkowski is threatened in close race with Tea Party candidate, but McCain beats back challenger in Arizona.

Politics: Scott And Meek Win In Florida

• "U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is battling for her political life this morning against Republican primary challenger Joe Miller, the Tea Party-backed candidate who had a slim lead as ballots continued to be counted overnight," the Anchorage Daily News reports.

• "The exceedingly expensive, extremely negative" Republican gubernatorial primary in Florida "came to a surprising end Tuesday as businessman Rick Scott (R) edged out FL AG Bill McCollum (R)," Hotline On Call reports. "Self-funder Scott will now face surging FL CFO Alex Sink (D) in what is sure to be a fiercely-fought general election."

 

• "Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) easily beat financier/developer Jeff Greene (D) in the FL SEN Democratic primary" Tuesday, "setting up a three-way general election against ex-state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) and Gov. Charlie Crist (I)," Hotline On Call reports. "Meek had a strong showing in the Miami area, where his House district lies, and also showed impressive strength in the I-4 corridor, the crucial battleground."

• Also in Florida, "despite outspending state Sen. Al Lawson (D) by a 10-1 margin, Rep. Allen Boyd (D) squeaked by his Dem challenger to claim the Dem nod 51-49%," Hotline On Call reports.

• "In the end, Sen. John McCain's prediction earlier this week that former Congressman J.D. Hayworth's campaign was 'deader than Elvis,' wasn't entirely an overstatement," reports the Arizona Daily Star. "The state's highest-profile incumbent handily beat back his two GOP challengers who tried to derail his fifth term, closing in on nearly 58 percent of the vote, to Hayworth's 31 percent and tea-party activist Jim Deakin's 11 percent."

 

• In the race to become Arizona governor, incumbent "Jan Brewer (R) has won the GOP nomination, handily defeating pol. sci./gov't Ph.D Matthew Jette (R). With 11% of the precincts counted, the AP called the race for Brewer, who had a commanding 87% of the vote," Hotline On Call reports.

• "Ben Quayle, the son of the former vice president, overcame a pair of scandals to clinch the GOP nomination for Rep. John Shadegg's (R-Ariz.) seat," The Hill reports.

Congress: Top House Republican Outlines Goals For Spending Cuts

• "House Minority Leader John Boehner," R-Ohio, "declared that GOP proposals to limit federal spending could save taxpayers more than $340 billion, while the White House charged Republicans with clinging to failed economic policies that helped create the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," NationalJournal.com reports. "Boehner also called for President Obama to fire his economic team."

• "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday urged a House committee to approve legislation that would ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba," The Hill reports. "The business group sent a letter to the leaders of the Foreign Affairs Committee to advance the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)."

 

White House: Boehner Plans Dueling Speech On Iraq

• "Boehner will deliver a major address on national security and the Iraq war next week on the same day as" the president, The Hill reports. "A Boehner aide confirmed Tuesday that the Ohio Republican will speak Aug. 31 at the American Legion's national convention in Milwaukee, Wis. According to the White House, the president will speak on the same day -- the official end of combat operations in Iraq -- about the drawdown of troops there and U.S. national security strategy."

• "Barely two weeks after his previous visit to the region," Obama "is heading to New Orleans on Sunday to talk about his administration's efforts to help the region recover after the BP oil spill and in the years since Hurricane Katrina," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "Shirley Sherrod politely declined to return to the federal government weeks after she was forced to resign amid a race-laden political controversy," the Washington Post reports. "Looking weary after a 90-minute meeting with government officials Tuesday morning, Sherrod said that she thought the U.S. Department of Agriculture's leadership would have supported her in the new job but that she questioned whether that was enough for her to be effective in the sprawling agency."

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Economy: Stimulus Boosted Jobs, CBO Finds

• "The Democrats' stimulus raised economic growth by as much as 4.5 percent in the last quarter and may have increased the number of people with jobs by more than 3 million, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released Tuesday," The Hill reports. "The CBO report also provided a new estimate of the stimulus' 10-year cost -- $814 billion, down slightly from its $862 billion estimate from earlier this year but slightly higher than the initial $787 billion projection from early 2009."

• "Housing sales in July plunged 25.5 percent below the level of a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday, as buyers lost the spur of a government tax credit," the New York Times reports. "The steep descent surprised nearly every analyst and put the volume of single-family home sales at the lowest level since 1995."

• Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., "chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said Tuesday that he will hold a hearing this fall to examine whether regulators are being tough enough in curbing pay practices at Wall Street firms that can lead to excessively risky practices," the Washington Post reports. "The overhaul of financial regulations enacted this summer gives federal banking regulators new powers to dictate how Wall Street firms compensate their employees."

Health Care: NIH To Cut Off Stem Cell Research

• "The National Institutes of Health announced Tuesday that it has suspended funding new human embryonic stem cell research and that all federally funded experiments already underway will be cut off when they come up for renewal if a new court order is not overturned," the Washington Post reports. "The announcement -- which confirmed fears among proponents that the ruling would result in a comprehensive freeze in federal support for stem cell research -- came in response to a court order Monday barring the government from funding the research because it involves the destruction of embryos."

• The ruling's opponents "took up the fight on legal and political grounds Tuesday," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "The Justice Department said that it would appeal the preliminary injunction issued by Judge Royce Lamberth.... On Capitol Hill, leading backers of the research said they were exploring ways to maintain government support. Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) called a hearing for Sept. 16, shortly after Congress returns from its summer break, and House leaders discussed strategy."

• "Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), a chief deputy whip who reintroduced a stem cell research bill with Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in March, hopes her bill will come to the floor when Congress reconvenes," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "Doubts persist about whether one of the largest cost-savers in the" health care reform law, "which reduces the annual inflation updates to nonphysician provider payment rates, will ever take full effect, or if it is doomed to repeat the fate of the much-maligned 'doc fix,' an annual reduction to the reimbursement rate for Medicare doctors that Congress habitually overrides," NationalJournal.com reports.

Energy & Environment: Nature Fought Oil Plumes, Report Finds

• "Petroleum-eating bacteria -- which had dined for eons on oil seeping naturally through the seafloor -- proliferated in the cloud of oil that drifted underwater for months after the April 20 accident. They not only outcompeted fellow microbes, they each ramped up their own internal metabolic machinery to digest the oil as efficiently as possible," the Washington Post reports. "The result was a nature-made cleanup crew... that reduced the amount of oil amounts in the undersea 'plume' by half about every three days, according to research published online Tuesday by the journal Science."

• "Oil executives, economists and local officials complained that the six-month moratorium" on offshore oil drilling "would cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost revenue," the New York Times reports. "Yet the worst of those forecasts has failed to materialize, as companies wait to see how long the moratorium will last before making critical decisions on spending cuts and layoffs. Unemployment claims related to the oil industry along the Gulf Coast have been in the hundreds, not the thousands."

Technology: Cybersecurity Breach Confirmed

• "In an article to be published" today in Foreign Affairs "discussing the Pentagon's cyberstrategy, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III says malicious code placed on the drive by a foreign intelligence agency uploaded itself onto a network run by the U.S. Central Command," the Washington Post reports. "Lynn's decision to declassify an incident that Defense officials had kept secret reflects the Pentagon's desire to raise congressional and public concern over the threats facing U.S. computer systems, experts said."

• "WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website that published secret U.S. military files on the war in Afghanistan last month, said it plans to release a document from the Central Intelligence Agency" today, Reuters reports.

• "Paying for a shopping spree by waving a smart phone may be more exciting than swiping a credit card, but according to Consumers Union, it might not be as safe," the Los Angeles Times reports. "The nonprofit testing and information organization, which publishes Consumer Reports, called on regulators Tuesday to implement protective standards on mobile payments."

National Security: Risk In Yemen On The Rise

• "For the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, CIA analysts see one of al-Qaeda's offshoots -- rather than the core group now based in Pakistan -- as the most urgent threat to U.S. security, officials said," the Washington Post reports. "The sober new assessment of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has helped prompt senior Obama administration officials to call for an escalation of U.S. operations there -- including a proposal to add armed CIA drones to a clandestine campaign of U.S. military strikes, the officials said."

• "Arriving on a private jet with little fanfare, former President Jimmy Carter landed" today "in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on a mission to win the release of an American held by Kim Jong Il's isolationist regime," the Los Angeles Times reports.

• "The commandant of the Marine Corps said Tuesday that Taliban leaders may be misleading their own forces into believing that they only have to keep fighting through the middle of next year, when U.S. troops are slated to begin pulling out of Afghanistan," the Washington Post reports.

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