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Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Weekend Word: Fallout

Today's Times

  • The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is threatening to create Election Day chaos in some places, but the expected disruptions are considered unlikely to change the outcome of the presidential election, Michael Cooper reports. The biggest impact is likely to be on state and local races.
  • Campaigns are now using a strategy that targets a little-scrutinized variable of election results: the influence that spouses can have on each other's voting decisions, John Harwood writes. In a skin-tight presidential race, pillow talk and kitchen-table discussions could make a difference to each party's bid to close its gender gap in battleground states.
  • The commander in chief who was comforting the nation a few days ago has been replaced by a political warrior, accusing Mitt Romney at every stop of dishonesty for claiming that the president's auto industry bailout resulted in jobs moving to China, Mark Landler reports.
    Mr. Romney gave a speech in Wisconsin on Friday that was a departure from his usual stinging attacks on President Obama, choosing instead to name specific pieces of legislation that he would introduce in office and making an explicit case for his own lengthy résumé, Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker report.
  • Presidential campaigns overshadow Congressional contests, often leaving Senate and House candidates largely to their own devices, Jonathan Weisman writes. Since neither presidential candidate is focusing on the down-ballot races, the winning Congressional candidates may not feel the need to repay the man who wins the White House with the sort of loyalty and gratitude that can smooth a legislative agenda once the new terms begin.
  • Jackie Calmes has cataloged a snapshot of Mr. Romney's reactions to the economic crisis to provide a sense of how he might have responded had he been president and how he might approach policy should he be ele cted.
  • A last-minute burst of below-the-radar cash has begun flooding the national elections in the last days of the race, advertising in contests that could determine control of the Senate and exploiting a loophole that keeps their donors anonymous until long after the votes are counted, Nicholas Confessore and Derek Willis report.
  •  The Federal Emergency Management Office has distributed $40 million in Hurricane Sandy relief aid since Friday afternoon, but lawmakers are expecting a multibillion-dollar bill for the federal government at a time of fiscal restraint, Eric Lipton and Jennifer Steinhauer report.

Weekly Address

  • President Obama used his weekly address to offer words of comfort to those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and to ask that the nation pray for the storm's victims. “And as president, I promise them this: your country will be there for you for as long as it takes to recover and rebuil d,” he said. “Our number-one concern has been making sure that affected states and communities have everything they need to respond to and recover from this storm.” He vowed not to let “red tape and bureaucracy” get in the way of the recovery and thanked a number of citizens for their heroism when the storm was darkest. “We're Americans. When times are tough, we're tougher. We put others first. We go that extra mile,” he said. “We recover, we rebuild, we come back stronger â€" and together we will do that once more.”

Happenings in Washington

  • Supporters of financing for public broadcasting will hold a Million Puppet March on the National Mall on Saturday.
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum will let children cast their own ballots while learning about the election process Saturday morning.
  • Ralph Nader will moderate the Alternative Parties Debate with candidates from the Libertarian, Green, Constitution an d Justice Parties on Sunday night.