OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Return of presidential politics

McCain also was criticized for missing a hearing on the attacks and said he would attend both of the Senate Intelligence panels' classified hearings on the Libya attacks.

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His absence from a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday raised eyebrows among some of his colleagues — including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the panel’s ranking member — and the White House. The former GOP presidential candidate has been a strong critic of the administration’s handling of the attack, which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

McCain told The Hill that missing the Wednesday hearing was accidental. "It was a scheduling mistake," McCain said as he walked into the Senate Intelligence hearing.


TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama meets with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at 10:15 a.m. at the White House.


TWEET OF THE DAY: “I was the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right. The 16th women to serve in the Senate in all of American history.” — Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

Kelly Ward, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee veteran, will serve as the committee's chairwoman for the 2014 cycle, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced on Thursday. Two other DCCC staffers are receiving promotions for the 2014 cycle: Jesse Ferguson, communications director for the 2012 cycle, will remain in that role but has also been named deputy executive director. And the committee's current national finance director, Missy Kurek, will be deputy executive director for finance for the 2014 cycle.


ARIZONA: Rep. Ron Barber (D) is up 709 votes over Republican rival Martha McSally, the Phoenix New Times reports. There are about 1,550 early ballots to be counted in Pima County, where Barber is expected to have an advantage.

CALIFORNIA: Democrat Ami Bera has expanded his lead over Rep. Dan Lungren (R) by more than 3,800 votes, the Elk Grove Citizen News reports, with another vote tally update expected late Thursday evening.

FLORIDA
: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) shot down an invitation to run for office in Georgia.

LOUISIANA: Conservative radio host Mark Levin has endorsed Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) in his runoff election against Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), a boost to the Tea Party favorite ahead of their early December election.

NORTH CAROLINA: Rep. Mike McIntyre's (D) lead has grown to 438 votes over Republican David Rouzer, the Fayetteville Star News reports. Results are expected to be certified on Friday and a recount is possible.

TENNESSEE
: Records released from Rep. Scott DesJarlais's (R-Tenn.) 2001 divorce appear to confirm previous reports that DesJarlais had sexual relationships with patients while a practicing physician in Tennessee. The Chattanooga Times Free Press obtained the documents, which reveal that DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, supported his ex-wife in obtaining two abortions before their marriage.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said he had not yet decided whether he'll be taking the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairmanship offered to him earlier this week by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Republican Party needs to improve its message on illegal immigration in order to appeal to more Hispanic voters. "It's really hard to get people to listen to you ... if they think you want to deport their grandmother," he said. "You can be for legal immigration. You don't have to be for amnesty, but you also have to realize that these people are human beings."


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