News Wrap: Pelosi, Boehner Re-Elected to Lead Parties in House
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KWAME HOLMAN: Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives reelected their leaders today.
On the Democratic side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be minority leader come January. She easily turned back a challenge by Congressman Heath Shuler, a moderate from North Carolina. Pelosi was a target for Republican criticism in the midterm elections, but she said Democrats looked beyond her low poll ratings.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), Speaker of the House: They know that I am the person that can attract the resources, both intellectual and otherwise, to take us to victory, because I have done it before. And, so, again, you take 9.5 percent unemployment, you earn a dollar bill, $75 million spent against one person, and I would like to see what your ratings would be.
KWAME HOLMAN: House Democrats also kept Steny Hoyer of Maryland in the number-two party post. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina kept the number-three position, with the new title of assistant leader.
On the Republican side, John Boehner of Ohio was reelected as leader. He will become speaker in the new Congress.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was declared the winner today in her reelection bid. She ran as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican nomination in a primary. A two-week count of write-in ballots gave her a lead of more than 10,000 votes. Murkowski is the first Senate candidate to win a write-in campaign in more than 50 years.
Ireland has agreed to work with European officials on a plan to stabilize its banks. The agreement came amid worries the ongoing Irish financial crisis could undermine confidence in the euro currency. In addition, Britain offered direct assistance of its own.
We have more on the story from Daisy McAndrew of Independent Television News.
DAISY MCANDREW: They had their borrowing binge, and now Ireland is suffering the mother of all financial hangovers, so much so that their banks are teetering on the brink.
GEORGE OSBORNE, chancellor, British Exchequer: It is in Britain’s national interest that the Irish economy is successful, and we have a stable banking system. So, Britain stands ready to support Ireland in the steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability.
DAISY MCANDREW: So, as Europe puts pressure on the Irish to take a bailout, the Irish Europe minister was on the radio trying to convince listeners the country doesn’t need one, although the banks might.
MAN: Surely, bailing out the banks and bailing out the country is exactly the same now, considering that we own the banks.
DAISY MCANDREW: But what the Irish government really doesn’t want is a bailout that comes with conditions that would strip it of its powers.
DICK ROCHE, Irish Minister of State for European Affairs: If a mechanism can be found over the next 24, 48 hours that doesn’t trespass on our capacity to make our own decisions, well, that’s fine. I don’t have a problem
with that. But what we have said and we’re continuing to say is that we have made decisions to deal with our national debt. We have made decisions to deal with our public finances and our taxation system.
DAISY MCANDREW: But with the European delegation arriving in Dublin to start to pore over the Irish books, they may find resisting a handout is about to get harder.
KWAME HOLMAN: The Irish bailout aims to prevent a loss of investor confidence that could damage other struggling European countries.
On Wall Street, stocks were mixed, after four days of losses. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 15 points to close near 11008. The Nasdaq rose six points to close at 2476.
Airports and train stations in Germany went on high alert today for — after warnings that terror attacks are in the works. Hundreds of police officers were deployed in a highly visible show of force. Officials said they would stay in place until further notice.
The interior minister said there’s strong evidence militants may try to attack soon. Still, he urged calm.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE, German Interior Minister (through translator): Ladies and gentlemen, there is reason for worry, but there is no reason for hysteria. We will not allow the international terror to limit us in our way of life and our freedom of culture.
KWAME HOLMAN: Germany thus far has escaped any major terror attacks, like those in Madrid and London in recent years.
A federal jury in New York today acquitted Ahmed Ghailani on all but one count in the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa in 1998. The jury found him not guilty on terrorism charges, but convicted him on a single count of conspiracy. Ghailani was the first Guantanamo detainee to face a civilian trial. The embassy attacks killed 222 people, including a dozen Americans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning four makers of alcoholic energy drinks to get the caffeine out. The beverages are especially popular among college students and contain about 12 percent alcohol, plus caffeine. The FDA said the result is that people can keep drinking longer. One company, Phusion Projects, announced yesterday it would remove caffeine and other stimulants from its drinks.
Those are some of the day’s main stories.