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 CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (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 ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.), Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (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 MikulskiBarbara MikulskiGore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Bipartisan friendship is a civil solution to political dysfunction Dems press for paycheck fairness bill on Equal Pay Day MORE (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 BarberRonald (Ron) Sylvester BarberPrinciples and actions mean more than Jeff Flake’s words Giffords to lawmakers avoiding town halls: 'Have some courage' Ten House seats Dems hope Trump will tilt MORE (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 BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraAmerica’s leadership needed in global health Lawmakers eye private moon missions Republicans look for California House wins in 2018 midterms MORE 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 BoustanyCharles William BoustanyControversial House Republican gains national attention after filming Auschwitz video Democrats, Republicans must work together to advance health care Lobbying World MORE 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 BennetMichael Farrand BennetGOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts NFL star claims he was victim of 'abusive conduct' by Las Vegas police Gardner throws support behind DREAM Act MORE (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 RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Trump bets base will stick with him on immigration MORE (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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