TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Virginia attorney general's race will be decided by a ballot recount, with the Republican candidate holding a 481-vote lead—out of 2.2 million ballots cast—over the Democrat. Elsewhere, it's all over but the spinning, including speculation over Chris Christie's presidential chances and GOP infighting over what lessons to draw from Ken Cuccinelli's loss. Leaving the land of the thinkpiece, Kathleen Sebelius testified before the Senate today, ENDA continued on its path to passage, and a new study claimed video games make your brain bigger.
SEBELIUS TESTIFIES AGAIN ON ACA SITE FAILURES: The HHS chief put herself before the wolves again today, this time in the upper chamber. The fireworks weren't as grand as they were during her testimony last week before the House, but Sebelius, who admitted enrollment numbers on the Obamacare site thus far have been disappointingly low, drew scrutiny from a number of Democrats. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus called the problems "unacceptable," and Sen. Bill Nelson added that he wanted to make the contractors who built the site "burn their fingers and make them pay for not being responsible." (Haberkorn/Millman, Politico)
LAST NIGHT'S KEY ELECTION RESULTS ON ONE MAP: Click away. (Politico)
READING OF THE TEA LEAVES, PART I: WAY OFF-YEAR 2013 ELECTIONS: Pundits were out in full force today with their instant analysis of Tuesday's election results. A primer:
-- Chris Christie is the clear, indisputable answer for the GOP in 2016. (Cillizza/Blake, WaPo)
-- Except he definitely won't win. (Isaac Chotiner, TNR)
-- McAuliffe's victory-by-default happened because he, like Christie, is a big blowhard with a loud personality. (Molly Ball, The Atlantic)
-- But Cuccinelli doomed his own campaign beyond any possible repair. (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)
-- Who cares about premature forecasts? Hillary and Christie are going toe-to-toe in 2016! And Clinton could even win New Jersey! End of story! (Domenico Montanaro, NBC News)
-- Nonsense. Nothing in politics is ever a sure thing, even Hillary in 2016. Case in point: Hillary in 2008. (Frank Bruni, NYT)
RECOUNT! RECOUNT! VIRGINIA AG RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL: Republican Mark Obenshain clung to a 481-vote lead over Democrat Mark Herring as of noon today. If history is any indication, this might not be settled until December. (Bill Turque, WaPo)
NJ'S EARLY BIRD TAKES FLIGHT: Did you know the Navy just christened the most advanced submarine in the world? Or what Chuck Hagel really meant in his CSIS speech about "tiered readiness"? You would have known that—and a lot more—at 5:27 a.m. this morning if you subscribed to NJ's Early Bird, a new morning assembly of the best national security, defense, and foreign-policy coverage from around the Web. Sign up here, and view today's issue here.
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Senate is in session, the House is out. The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a full hearing to discuss the impact of sequestration on national defense at 9:30 a.m. in G-50 Dirksen. John Kerry is in Jordan.
OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT: Why the sign-up figures are pretty useless this early in the game. (Sam Baker, NJ)
JON RUNYAN: The congressman from New Jersey will not seek reelection in 2014. (Alex Isenstadt, Politico)
COLORADO GOT FRACKED: Voters Tuesday in three cities passed anti-fracking measures, which could indicate the way the national conversation on the drilling technique might go. (Amy Harder, NJ)
VIDEO GAMES: They make your brain bigger. New research shows daily gamers showed "significant gray matter increase" in both the hippocampus and parts of the prefrontal cortex. All those "wasted" childhood hours, vindicated. (Philip Stephenson, Quartz)
IRAN NUKES: The possibility of any "grand bargain" is distant and remote, but it exists. And Washington should try to make it happen. (Michael Hirsh, NJ)
YASSER ARAFAT: His widow said he was poisoned with radioactive polonium in 2004. (Paul Taylor, Reuters)
SIX DAYS ON THE NOTHING-BUT-WATER DIET: A day-by-day journal explores the ups and downs of living on only water, replete with Gandhi references: "Gandhi said to chew your water, but mine keeps sliding out of my mouth. I guzzle it instead." (Ben Marcus, GQ)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Jon Stewart regales us with tales from the Affordable Horror Story, but reminds us of the "Shangri La" of the health-care system before Obamacare. And crack-smoking Rob Ford is still more popular than Obama. (Reena Flores, NJ)