TPM News

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was on CNN last night, and host Anderson Cooper pressed her to get specific about what programs she would cut to reduce the deficit.

"Republican Paul Ryan has suggested sharp cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Are you willing to make cuts there?" Cooper asked. But Bachmann wasn't initially interested in discussing Medicare and Social Security. Instead, she responded to Cooper by arguing about a much more pressing matter: the cost of President Obama's upcoming trip to India.

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A newly-released CNN poll, conducted a few days before this past midterm election, shows President Obama in for a competitive race in 2012, with him trailing two potential Republican candidates and leading two others among registered voters.

The numbers:

• Mike Huckabee leads Obama by 52%-44%. In the previous CNN poll from April, Obama led Huckabee by 54%-45%.

• Mitt Romney leads Obama by 50%-45%. In the previous CNN poll from April, Obama led Romney by 53%-45%.

• Obama edges out Newt Gingrich by 49%-47%. In the previous CNN poll from April, Obama led Gingrich by 55%-43%.

• Obama leads Sarah Palin by 52%-44%. In the previous CNN poll from April, Obama led Palin by 55%-42%.

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Soon after the next Congress is sworn in, members will face their first major test: can they agree to increase the nation's debt ceiling, or will they refuse to do it and force either a government shut-down or a government default on our existing debt.

Republicans are already threatening to attach major strings to that legislation -- but more on that later. Suffice it to say: the consequences of a default or a shut-down would be dramatic.

Today, though, one of Tuesday night's big Republican winners wouldn't commit to forcing a showdown with President Obama on the debt ceiling -- at least not with the fierceness conservatives would like to see.

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Stephen Colbert said he is "devastated" about Republican Sharron Angle's loss in Nevada. She was "so close to giving us all the answers," he said. And "now we'll never find out what her positions were."

Angle told a reporter last week that she'd be happy to answer questions "when I'm the senator."

"That was her whole allure," he added. "The mystery, the suspense. She was like a Dan Brown novel, but with even more historical inaccuracies."

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Jon Stewart had Fox News host Chris Wallace on his show last night, and offered him his congratulations. "You mean that we had the highest ratings?" Wallace asked. "No," Stewart replied. "Retaking control of the House of Representatives." Later on in the interview, Stewart asked Wallace if he thinks MSNBC is making a mistake by trying to become the left-wing "equivalent to Fox, rather than becoming a brand new journalistic organization."

"They're making a mistake cause they're wrong," Wallace replied.

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The Oregon gubernatorial race, one of the tightest in the country, came to an end last night with Democratic former Gov. John Kitzhaber narrowly defeating former pro basketball player Chris Dudley.

Dudley led for most of the vote count, but many uncounted ballots remained in the Democratic stronghold of Multnomah County (Portland and its surrounding area). The Oregonian, the state's largest newspaper and home to some of the top experts at interpreting returns under the state's mail-in voting system, called the race for Kitzhaber as those votes came in. Kitzhaber eventually did in fact take the lead, and Dudley conceded.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet Your New Governors]

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President Obama announced today that he has invited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-OH) to meet with him at the White House on November 18, in the first week of the lame duck session.

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1||America just picked a lot of new governors. The races in Minnesota and Connecticut are still too close too call, but here are the 25 new Governors elected on November 2, 2010.

Above, Republican Nikki Haley beat out Vincent Sheheen for South Carolina Governor. ||Newscom/KRT&&

2||Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who won in New York.||Newscom/lrphotos&&

3||Jerry Brown (D-CA).||Newscom/KRT&&

4||Gov.-elect Rick Scott (R-FL).||Newscom/Zuma&&

5||Republican John Kasich was elected in Ohio.||Newscom/Harry E. Walker/MCT&&

6||Nathan Deal (R-GA).||Newscom/Zuma&&

7||Gov.-elect in Kansas, Sam Brownback (R)||

8||Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper.||

9||Nevada Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval (R).||flickr: Brian Sandoval&&

10||Republican Terry Branstad of Iowa.||

11||Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie, now Gov.-elect of Hawaii. ||Newscom/SPN&&

12||Republican Paul LePage of Maine.||

13||Independent Lincoln Chafee won in Rhode Island.||Wikimedia&&

14||Tom Corbett (R-PA).||Newscom/KRT&&

15||Oklahoma Gov.-elect Mary Fallin (R).||Newscom/KRT&&

16||Robert Bentley (R-AL).||Facebook: Robert Bentley&&

17||John Kitzhaber (D-OR)||

18||Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder (R)||Flickr:RickForMI&&

19||Susana Martinez (R) won in New Mexico.||Facebook:Susana Martinez&&

20||In South Dakota, Republican Dennis Daugaard won.||Flickr: Dennis Daugaard&&

21||Bill Haslam (R-TN).||Bill Haslam&&

22||Gov.-elect Scott Walker (R-WI).||Flickr:

23||Republican Matt Mead won in Wyoming.||Matt Mead for Governor&&

24||Democrat Peter Shumlin won in Vermont.||flickr: Shumlin for Governor&&

For the next two years, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to make Barack Obama a one-term president, he and his counterparts in the House will force repeated votes on repealing and starving the White House's signature accomplishments.

At a Heritage Foundation speech later this morning, McConnell will reiterate his desire to see Obama unseated in 2012, and will pull back the veil on the next two years, which are poised to be mired in political theatrics and policy gridlock.

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