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ThinkFast: November 4, 2010

After securing historic state level victories on Nov. 2, Republicans will have control of about 190 congressional districts and “will dominate the redrawing of congressional districts that begins next year.” Because of this “commanding advantage in the redistricting process,” 15 to 25 seats in the House are more likely to remain or switch to Republican.

Bloomberg reports that Republican-leaning outside groups — like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the Chamber — spent $167 million on the U.S. midterm elections and came out on the winning side of almost twice as many races as they lost. The New York Times notes that these outside groups helped offset cash advantages held by Democratic incumbents.

In his post-election news conference yesterday, President Obama outlined his commitment to some issues and a willingness to compromise on others. He said he is “absolutely” ready to negotiate with the GOP on the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, but also signaled he will push ahead on reducing greenhouse gases even if Congress refuses to act.

Voters in Iowa chose not to retain three Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of the unanimous decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the state last year. “I think it will send a message across the country that the power resides with the people,” said Bob Vander Plaats, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor who led the campaign to oust the justices.

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In a post-defeat email to supporters yesterday, Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) said that “real change does not happen with one election night victory or end with one loss. We shouldn’t have expected nirvana after our win in 2008 and we shouldn’t expect armageddon now.” Outlining the 111th Congress successes, he said he was proud to stand “with the problem solvers over the political game players any day.”

In his new memoir, former President Bush “makes clear that he personally approved” the use of waterboarding against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission “human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.” When asked by the CIA if they could proceed with waterboarding Mohammed, Bush writes that his reply was “Damn right.”

“Under pressure from American and British officials, YouTube on Wednesday removed from its site some of the hundreds of videos featuring calls to jihad by Anwar al-Awlaki,” an American-born cleric under fire for inspiring violence against the West. Just last week, British government officials and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) lodged formal protests with YouTube.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Senate to move quickly on a lame-duck vote to ratify the START treaty, an arms control deal with Russia. Speaking in the capital of New Zealand early today, Clinton said the votes for passage existed and it was her “preference” that a vote take place this year.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) “pledged on Wednesday to investigate both Barack Obama and George W. Bush with his newfound subpoena power,” focusing on the two administration’s policies with respect to the mortgage market. “I’m hoping to bridge the multiple administrations in as many places as possible,” he said. “The enemy is the bureaucracy, not necessarily the current occupant of the White House.”

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The Federal Reserve “moved Wednesday to jolt the economy into recovery with a bold but risky plan to pump $600 billion into the banking system.” The Fed plans to buy government bonds to increase demand for them and push long-term interest rates down. “Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth,” Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said.

And finally: Among the fallout from Tuesday’s elections, voters in Pittsfield, MA rejected a ballot measure that would have pushed for women to be allowed to “walk around town topless.” The nonbinding question would have urged that area’s state representative to “introduce legislation amending the state’s nudity definition,” but the measure failed by a large majority.

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