Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi “will remain” hospitalized “at least another two nights” after he was “hit in the face with a heavy figurine” of Milan’s Duomo over the weekend (see 12/14 Hotline), and is “unlikely to leave” before 12/16. Berlusconi “was suffering from a severe headache and has difficulty eating,” he lost “half a litre” of blood and he suffered a “broken nose.”
Italian media reported that Berlusconi’s attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, released a letter through his atty apologizing for his “superficial, cowardly and inconsiderate act.” Tartaglia added that he “acted alone (with no) form of military or political affiliation” (London Telegraph, 12/15).
Still a “debate raged” in Italy over “whether a new climate of hate was dominating” the country (Dinmore/Boland, Washington Post, 12/15). “Dozens of groups supporting” the figurine-thrower’s actions “have sprung up on Facebook,” and officials said the gov’t “would discuss measures to block those sites” (Povoledo, New York Times, 12/15).
It is “unclear” how Berlusconi “will emerge from the attack.” His personal doctor reported on his first night in the hospital, “He is subdued, very gloomy. He is reacting ina way that is not like him.” And “photographs of Berlusconi’s slashed and bruised visage will now forever be part of the way we see the perma-tanned and image-conscious billionaire.”
But “this was not the first time an onlooker had launched a dangerous object” at Berlusconi. Five years ago, a man “threw his tripod” at Berlusconi, who “suffered minor shoulder injuries” and “publicly forgave his attacker” after getting a letter of apology (Israely, Time, 12/14).
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Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."