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October 30th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Henry in the House: Meek story shows Dem fears of Senate wipeout

Rep. Kendrick Meek, left, is still running for the Senate in Florida, despite reports former President Clinton asked him to quit.

Rep. Kendrick Meek, left, is still running for the Senate in Florida, despite reports former President Clinton asked him to quit.

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - The point that many people seem to be missing in the Florida Senate saga is that this whole mess actually has very little to do with Rep. Kendrick Meek or the Sunshine State - it's all about a much broader fear among senior Democrats that they may be about to lose control of the chamber.

There are some fascinating inside details I've been able to piece together about how and why this Meek story exploded into the public.

In the words of one senior Democratic Party official, the Meek story came to a head because former President Bill Clinton "flew into a purple rage" about the Democratic candidate breaking a private pledge to him to get out of the Senate race and endorse independent candidate Charlie Crist.

But a source close to Clinton said he "never saw anything close" to rage from the former president, who is at peace with how this wound up.

"He always believed this was Meek's decision,' said the source close to Clinton.

As for the Obama adminstiration's role in this, I'm told by senior Democratic officials that while White House aides were in the loop on the Clinton-Meek talks, they were not driving the conversation and were not lobbying Meek to go.

I'm also told that senior officials deliberately kept President Obama out of the loop on these behind-the-scenes conversations because they did not want to get him personally tainted by the Meek story. That came no doubt in part because they didn't want it to blow up in his face like the botched attempt to get Joe Sestak out of the Democratic primary in the Pennsylvania Senate race so many months ago. (Clinton was the intermediary then, too).

But all the jockeying and horse-trading is really just a sideshow. The real story is how bad the broader electoral map has gotten for Democrats heading into the final weekend of this midterm election: Top Democratic officials privately say they believe they are going to lose the House, but as they survey the country they are getting increasingly worried they will also lose the Senate.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ed Henry • Raw Politics
October 30th, 2010
09:28 AM ET

Letters to the President: #649 'Scary days'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Reports of an attempted terror attack have Washington buzzing; that’s the subject of today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

One day, we’re not going to catch them. I don’t think that’s a likelihood. I think it is a mathematical fact. Despite all we’ve done to carry out the so-called “war on terror” and despite all our successes (and there have been many), there are still an awful lot of people on the planet who would love to attack us if they could. And they’ll keep trying. And one day they will succeed.

While I appreciate that, at times like this, any president must reassure the public and calm our fears, that is the message I hope to hear more when the immediate threat has passed –from you and many other political leaders.

I think we, the people of America, need to be reminded that our country is vast, filled with more than 300 million people who, while united, also all have their own views. Our country is open; we benefit from a great and extraordinary 24-7 flow of ideas, goods, services, and people from all over the globe. Without that openness and freedom, we would not be the success story that we are - economically, politically, or culturally.

And some day, someone is going to be able to circumvent all of our safeguards and hurt us. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. It will be a terrible day. But what happens immediately afterward will determine just how terrible.
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