‘This Race Is Far From Decided’: Allen West Wants a Recount

Facing defeat, Florida Rep. Allen West on Wednesday demanded a recount in his bid for re-election against Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.

With all precincts in the south Florida district reporting, Murphy has 160,328 votes, or 50.4 percent, to West’s 157,872 votes and 49.6 percent, according to the Associated Press, which has still not officially declared a winner.

In a statement Wednesday morning, the Republican congressman and Tea Party favorite’s campaign said the race was still far from over.

“This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome,” the campaign said. “Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.”

The campaign went on to voice suspicions about the actions of one county election supervisor and called for a full hand recount.

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Marijuana Legalized in Several States, Colorado Governor Says “Hold On”

Colorado voted to legalize smoking marijuana Tuesday, but the governor warned tokers not to “break out the Cheetos or Goldfish” just yet, since the federal government still takes a dim view of pot.

The Centennial State joined Washington in becoming the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana Tuesday night, setting up a battle between the states and the federal government, which prohibits use of the drug. The historic votes were among a host of decisions on ballot initiatives that will shape state-level policy on everything from recreational drug use to same-sex marriage. But Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed the marijuana measure, said the federal government still considers marijuana taboo, so breaking out the bong could be premature.

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” Hickenlooper said. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

The Colorado measure has sparked a national debate about marijuana policy, with supporters pushing for the federal government to end marijuana prohibition nationwide. The Colorado measure states adults over 21 can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, or six marijuana plants, for personal use. Opponents have said it will make the state a haven for drug tourists.

The measure in Washington State, Initiative 502, will legalize and regulate the production, possession and distribution of marijuana for residents age 21 and older.

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GOP Civil War: Herman Cain, Others Call For Third Party

Right-leaning pundits have been taking turns beating up on Mitt Romney and blaming him for the loss last night. Donald Trump just tweeted, “Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle. Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money.” And GOP leaders are already taking to the barricades on either side of the divide, which basically comes down to this question: Were Romney and the GOP too conservative or not conservative enough?

Steve Schmidt, a top Republican strategist who ran John McCain’s 2008 campaign, invoked the term on MSNBC this morning. “When I talk about a civil war in the Republican Party, what I mean is, it’s time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense [of the extreme right wing], and to repudiate it directly,” he said.

But on the other side of the fight, Herman Cain, the former presidential candidate who still has a robust following via his popular talk radio program and speaking tours, today suggested the most clear step to open civil war: secession. Appearing on Bryan Fischer’s radio program this afternoon, Cain called for a large faction of Republican Party leaders to desert the party and form a third, more conservative party.

“I never thought that I would say this, and this is the first time publicly that I’ve said it: We need a third party to save this country. Not Ron Paul and the Ron Paulites. No. We need a legitimate third party to challenge the current system that we have, because I don’t believe that the Republican Party … has the ability to rebrand itself,” Cain said.

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Reid Moves to Limit GOP Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will try to push through a change to Senate rules that would limit the GOP’s ability to filibuster bills.

Speaking in the wake of Tuesday’s election, which boosted Senate Democrats’ numbers slightly, Mr. Reid said he won’t end filibusters altogether but that the rules need to change so that the minority party cannot use the legislative blocking tool as often.

“I think that the rules have been abused and that we’re going to work to change them,” he told reporters. “We’re not going to do away with the filibuster but we’re going to make the Senate a more meaningful place.”

Republicans, who have 47 of the chamber’s 100 seats in the current Congress, have repeatedly used that strong minority to block parts of President Obama’s agenda on everything from added stimulus spending to his judicial picks. A filibuster takes 60 senators to overcome it.

Leaders of both parties have been reluctant to change the rules because they value it as a tool when they are in the minority.

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Romney Blasted After Loss for Not Campaigning as Conservative

WASHINGTON – Conservative leaders are steaming that Republicans failed to make President Obama a one-term president and are criticizing Mitt Romney for not pursuing a conservative enough agenda in the presidential race.

At a news conference at the National Press Club the day after the election, Richard A. Viguerie, the chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, even called for the removal of Republican leaders like RNC chairman Reince Priebus, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.

“Republican leaders behind the epic election failure of 2012 should be replaced with leaders more in tune to the conservative base of the Republican party,” he said.

Viguerie also argued that Romney aides including Ed Gillespie, Stuart Stevens, Neil Newhouse and even unaffiliated Republican strategist Karl Rove “should never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again.”

As for Romney not campaigning conservatively enough, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, says the Republican nominee should not have shied away from a debate on social issues.

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2012 Turnout Dramatically Lower than 2008

photo credit: KAZVorpalDespite all the talk about voter intensity surrounding the presidential election, 13 million fewer people voted in 2012 than in 2008.

131 million voters cast their ballots in the 2008 election in which Barack Obama defeated John McCain by a 53% to 46% margin. Obama received 69.4 million votes, while McCain received 59.9 million.

In 2012, Obama defeated Romney by a 50% to 48% margin. Obama received 59.8 million votes, and Romney received 57.1 million votes — 2.7 million fewer than Obama in 2012, but also 2.8 million fewer than McCain in 2008.

Surprisingly, President Obama’s 2012 vote total — 59.8 million — was 100,000 less than the 59.9 million John McCain received in 2008.

Even though President Obama received 10 million fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008, the Democrats were able to win where it mattered. Once again, they mounted a better ground game to turn out the vote on election day than Republicans managed to, especially in a dozen key swing states. A look at the final 2012 electoral college map shows that very little changed between 2008 and 2012. Only two states “switched” from one candidate to another: traditionally Republican Indiana, which Obama won in 2008, went for Romney in 2012, and North Carolina, a surprise win for Obama in 2008, also went to Romney in 2012. All the other key swing states — Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado, Nevada — went to Obama by narrow margins in 2012.

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Stock Market Repudiates Obama: Suffers its Worst Day in a Year

photo credit: kastiko2012Investors cast their own vote on the presidential race Wednesday, and the result was a landslide rout that could have lasting repercussions beyond Tuesday’s results.

A day after President Barack Obama stormed past Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the stock market sent a clear message: There’s still a lot more to do than win a campaign.

Market experts said a confluence of factors are poised to make for a difficult environment that could last well into 2013, which traditionally would be a slow year outside of all the present headwinds.

Theories abounded on why the market tumbled. They ranged from worries over the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts, as well as troubles in Europe, a slowdown in the U.S. and questions over the efficiency and effects of Federal Reserve policy.

More broadly, the aggressive sell-off came as little surprise considering the array of challenges Obama faces in his second term and the record of infighting between the White House and Congress.

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“Extraordinary Measures” Necessary Before End of 2012 as Debt Limit is Reached Again

The U.S. Treasury quietly warned at the end of a statement issued last Wednesday that it expects the federal government to hit its legal debt limit before the end of this year–which means before the new Congress is seated–and that “extraordinary measures” will be needed before then to keep the government fully funded into the early part of 2013.

On Aug. 2, 2011, President Obama signed a deal he had negotiated with congressional leaders to increase the debt limit of the federal government by $2.4 trillion. But, now, after only 15 months, almost all of that additional borrowing authority has been exhausted.

Although Treasury revealed in its statement on Wednesday that it was likely to hit the debt limit by the end of the year, Treasury Secretary Geithner failed to respond to a letter that Senate Finance Ranking Member Orrin Hatch and Senate Budget Ranking Member Jeff Sessions sent to him on Oct. 15 demanding that he notify them by Nov. 1 what he believes to be the exact date Treasury will hit the debt limit and the date he expects to begin using “extraordinary measures” to avoid it.

“Treasury continues to expect the debt limit to be reached near the end of 2012,” says the tenth paragraph of the “Quarterly Refunding Statement” put out by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Markets Matthew Rutherford.

“However, Treasury has the authority to take certain extraordinary measures to give Congress more time to act to ensure we are able to meet the legal obligations of the United States of America,” said the statement. “We continue to expect that these extraordinary measures would provide sufficient ‘headroom’ under the debt limit to allow the government to continue to meet its obligations until early in 2013.”

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Yesterday’s Vote: Both Sides Lost

Though Obama failed to win a majority in the popular vote–and may even have lost the popular vote outright–he won enough votes in the Electoral College to claim victory. The same constitutional peculiarity that brought George W. Bush into office in 2000 may have returned Obama to the White House.

The voters also re-affirmed the results of the historic Tea Party election of 2010, returning Republicans to power in the House of Representatives. And yet the voters also retained Democrats in control of the Senate, preserving the results of the anti-war wave election of 2006.

The U.S. Congress is now divided between two parties whose members were elected on platforms of protest, each determined to stop the other from pursuing its policies.

In the days that follow, great efforts will be spent on explaining the results as consequences of many factors, big and small.

Perhaps Obama would have lost if not for Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps Romney would have won if he had fought harder over Benghazi or pushed back against personal attacks. Perhaps the GOP is out of touch with the country’s changing mores and demographics. Perhaps Democrats have not yet reckoned with fiscal reality.

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Gay Marriage Approved by Voters, First Time in US History

Americans for the first time approved gay marriage at the ballot box on Tuesday, pointing to changing attitudes on the divisive issue.

In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. Those wins mark a first for a cause that had previously been rejected by voters in more than 30 states, including as recently as 2009 in Maine.

And in Minnesota, where gay marriage is already not allowed, voters declined to back an initiative that would enshrine in the state’s constitution a definition of marriage permitting only a union between a man and woman.

In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch on for days. With half of the vote counted as of 3 a.m. Eastern time, nearly 52% supported the idea.

In Maine, campaigners for same-sex marriage said the win marked a turning point for their cause. “We made history here tonight and showed that voters can change their minds,” said Matt McTighe, the campaign director of Mainers United for Marriage. “That will serve as something of a signal to other states who have lost marriage fights before at ballot boxes. You can change those minds.”

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