Washington Extra – The elections are over, time to start campaigning

November 11, 2010

The final result of the mid-term elections is not even in yet, but it’s never too early to start the campaign for the White House in 2012. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan invited Republican candidates to take part in the first presidential debate, to be held next spring at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California.debate

There are plenty of potential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Then there’s Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and South Dakota Senator  John Thune. And of course, if no one suitable throws their hat in the ring, Sarah Palin has offered to step up to the plate. Honestly, spring seems such a long time to wait.

Finally, a nod to the latest twist in the post-Cold War spy drama, with the unmasking of a Russian double agent who betrayed a Russian spy ring in the United States in June before defecting. The Russian paper which broke the story quoted a Kremlin official as saying a hit squad was probably already planning to kill him.  “We know who he is and where he is,” the unidentified official said. “Do not doubt that a Mercader has been sent after him already.”

In case you need reminding, Ramon Mercader was the Soviet agent who murdered exiled Bolshevik Leon Trotsky with an ice pick in Mexico in 1940, although these days radioactive polonium seems to be a more popular weapon.

Here are our top stories from Washington today…

Deficit plan could lay long-term groundwork

A bold new plan to slash the budget deficit may not get far in Congress, but it could be a starting point in coming years if Washington decides to get serious about controlling the federal budget. It could force politicians to confront the choices they will have to make in coming years in order to avoid a debt crisis along the lines of Greece or Ireland, analysts said.

For more of this story by Andy Sullivan, read here.

For a factbox on potential areas of consensus in the report, read here.

Defense faces more pressure from US deficit panel

Defense companies, already under pressure to cut costs and find new revenue streams, could face even more pressure should draft proposals of the deficit reduction panel become reality. Defense Secretary Gates already has a plan to trim $100 billion over five years from overhead and low priority programs as a way to pay for personnel costs and keep major weapons programs on track. But under the new proposal, those savings could go to deficit reduction instead, saving $28 billion in 2015.

For more on the deficit panel from Reuters Insider televsion, click here.

White House reiterates Obama open to compromise on tax

The White House sent more signals of the potential for a tax cut compromise with Republicans. “The president has been clear that extending tax cuts for middle-class families is his top priority and he is open to compromise to get that done,” said a White House spokesman. “He has also expressed concern about the cost of making the highest income tax cuts permanent and is looking forward to discussing this and other issues with bipartisan congressional leaders next week.”

For more of this story, read here.

CFTC sets sweeping rule timelines as clock ticks

The CFTC expects to unveil a series of draft rules within a month, including real-time reporting of swaps trades next week and possibly the long-awaited commodities market position limits on December 1. Gary Gensler said the agency would consider a host of major rules at a November 19 meeting, the CFTC’s fifth so far as it races to craft a series of 50-60 regulations to implement its share of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

For more of this story, read here.

Netanyahu tells Clinton he is serious about peace
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “quite serious” about talks with the Palestinians as he met with Hillary Clinton amid an impasse which threatens to scuttle the U.S.-backed peace negotiations. “We’ll be talking about how to resume and continue this process to get a historic agreement with peace and security between us and the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said.

For more of this story, read here.

Top Russian spy defects after betraying ring in US

The head of Russia‘s deep cover U.S. spying operations has betrayed the network and defected, a Russian paper said. The newspaper identified said the man was responsible for unmasking a Russian spy ring in June whose arrests humiliated Moscow and clouded a “reset” in ties with Washington. The betrayal would involve one of the most senior turncoats since the fall of the Soviet Union.

For more of this story, read here.

Popular Build America Bond program fate uncertain
An extension of the popular Build America Bonds program, considered a sure bet just a year ago, is now dangling in uncertainty after the Republican midterm election victory. Taxable BABs were created in last year’s stimulus and are set to expire when the plan ends next month. Intended to finance infrastructure projects and restart stalled credit markets for states and local governments, the bonds caught on like wildfire. Despite their popularity, the bonds are endangered.

For a related graphic, click here.

What we are blogging…

First Republican presidential debate planned for next spring

Okay, here we go again. Time to start looking ahead to 2012. The first republican presidential candidate debate will be next spring at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. Setting up the debate could force some would-be candidates to make a decision on whether they will run. We’re talking about you, Sarah Palin.

For Steve Holland’s full post, click here.

Bachmann steps aside, avoids House Republican-Tea Party tussle

There will be no showdown at the GOP corral. (For now anyway). Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party potentate, decided to step out of the ring . And so evaporated the potential for a high-profile internal duel for House Republican Conference chair, the fourth highest position.

For Tabassum Zakaria’s full post, click here.

From elsewhere…

First Starbucks at sea steams into Florida port

Coffee lovers looking for a bit of sea air flavor in their espresso or Frappuccino might want to sample the first Starbucks at sea, which steamed into a Florida port on board the world’s largest cruise liner. Starbucks already has a nautical link — its founders took the name from the first mate on the whaler that hunted Moby Dick in Herman Melville’s novel.

For more of this story, read here.

For more stories from our Washington correspondents visit www.reuters.com and stay informed.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (2008 Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, John McCain, and Mitt Romney debate at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library )

One comment

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yep–time to DUMP more money down the DRAIN..nice going CAREER politicians…>google >taxes we pay< GET iT yet PEOPLE

Posted by rgw | Report as abusive