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POLL: More Prefer Public Transit to Road Building


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Americans in an ABC News/Washington Post poll favor expanded public transportation options over road building in government efforts to reduce traffic congestion. But where they live makes a difference.

Overall, 54 percent prefer focusing on public transit, such as trains and buses, while four in 10 say the government should focus on expanding and building roads instead. Preference for public transit, though, ranges from 61 percent of urban residents to 52 percent of suburbanites and 49 percent of people in rural areas.

[See PDF with full results here.]

The results come as Vice President Joe Biden and six mayors from major U.S. cities are scheduled to attend a Washington Post forum Tuesday on relieving traffic congestion.

There are other differences among groups. Preference for a focus on public transit peaks at two in three liberals and six in 10 college graduates, as well as among nonwhites, people under age 40, those in the top income category, $100,000-plus, and political independents.

Other groups have a slight preference for road building: strong conservatives, evangelical white Protestants and white men without a college degree.

METHODOLOGY –
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 4-7, 2014, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell phone-only respondents. Results have a 3.5 point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York.st

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Monica Lewinsky Tears Up During Speech About Life After Bill Clinton


Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Marie Curie(WASHINGTON) -- Monica Lewinsky nearly broke down in tears Monday as she recounted her experience as “patient zero, the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.”

In what she called her “first public talk,” Lewinsky vowed to “give purpose to my past” by speaking publicly about life after her affair with then-President Bill Clinton.

“My name is Monica Lewinsky – though I’ve often been advised to change it,” the president’s former mistress began.

“Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a twenty-two-year-old intern in the White House — and more than averagely romantic — I fell in love with my boss, in a twenty-two-year-old sort of a way. It happens,” she said. “But my boss was the president of the United States. That probably happens less often.”

In the wake of the blue dress, the beret, and the salacious Starr report, Lewinsky says, she “came close to disintegrating.”

“I was threatened in various ways. First, with an FBI sting in a shopping mall....Immediately following, in a nearby hotel room, I was threatened with up to 27 years in jail for denying the affair in an affidavit,” she recalled. “Twenty-seven years. When you’re only 24 yourself that’s a long time.”

Choking back tears, she continued that she was “chillingly told that my mother, too — sorry — that my mother, too, might face prosecution if I didn’t cooperate and wear a wire.”

As her life unraveled in public, Lewinsky says, she heard “a relentless mantra in my head: I want to die.”

“There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then. But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites complete with comment sections and emails could be forwarded,” she said. “Of course it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial-up.”

Paying tribute to Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers University student “humiliated to death” after classmates posted video of him kissing another man online, Lewinsky vowed to share her story despite the backlash.

“Today, I think of myself as someone who – who the hell knows how – survived....Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too.”


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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Suspended with Pay After Pornographic Email Scandal


Vladek/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended one of its members on Monday after he was accused exchanging sexually explicit emails.

The court chose to relieve Seamus McCaffery of his judicial and administrative responsibilities in light of the email scandal. The court also noted allegations that McCaffery may have attempted to use his position to alter a judicial assignment outside of the scope of his duties, authorized his wife to accept referral fees from plaintiffs' firms while she served as his administrative assistant, and improperly contacted a traffic-court official in connection with a citation issued to his wife.

Chief Justice Ronald Castille filed a concurring statement in which he said, "in my two decades of experience on this Court, no other Justice...has done as much to bring the Supreme Court into disrepute. No other Justice has failed to live up to the high ethical demands required of a Justice of this Court, or has been the constant focus of ethical lapses to the degree of Justice McCaffery.

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What President Obama And 2 Million Early Voters Can Tell Us About Election Day


Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama joined almost 2 million voters who have voted before Election Day as he cast his ballot Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Chicago.

“I’m so glad I can early vote. It’s so exciting. I love voting,” Obama said, making a not-so-subtle pitch to voters around the country.

Both parties are hoping voters in the 35 states who have early voting heed Obama’s words and either mail in a ballot or go to a polling station before November 4. Nineteen million voters did so in 2010, the last strictly midterm election, and University of Florida associate professor and elections guru Michael McDonald expects 2014’s early vote total to surpass that. He spoke with ABC News about some of the trends he’s seen so far, and what they could mean for Election Day.

1. Bigger turnout within both parties:

Republicans have been stepping up their early-vote mobilization game, meaning they’ve been catching up to Democrats who have been leading that charge the past few cycles, McDonald said. That’s helped Republicans close wide deficits they had at this time in 2010 in Iowa and North Carolina, and they have a 14-point lead in Florida. But it’s not clear whether these are only temporary gains for Republicans; McDonald said he suspects that Republicans are only reaching registered Republicans, which means they might have propelled more GOPers to the polls early, but those voters may be ones that would have gone to the polls on Election Day anyway, meaning fewer total new Republican votes.

2. More first-time voters:

There is a big chunk of voters who have cast early ballots but who did not vote in 2010, McDonald noted, which right now is a trend that seems to favor Democrats. In North Carolina and Georgia, Republicans are pulling strong early-vote numbers among those who also voted in 2010, but Democrats are doing better with voters who don’t have a history of voting in 2010. (Georgia doesn’t track party affiliation, but in that state’s case, race provides a useful proxy.) That’s a point in favor of Democrats reaching out to new voters, not just likely ones – and if that’s true, those numbers could get even higher once early voting starts in a number of states, a method that traditionally favors Democrats.

3. Unaffiliated push:

McDonald points to Iowa as a potentially illustrative example of how many unaffiliated voters are casting early ballots, and with which party they might be more closely affiliated. “The Democrats and the people who have no party registration tend to be tracking together,” McDonald noted. “The Republicans, on the other hand, are completely uncorrelated from the people with no party registration.”

Regardless of the early-voting-tea-leaf reading, McDonald said the bottom line is that both parties believe their marquee races around the country are going to be close – and no one is taking any race for granted. Even McDonald issued a caveat when he said election turnout would continue in an upward trajectory in future cycles: “Trends can always be broken. You never know.”

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Meet 2014's Top Mega-Donors


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The overwhelming number of Americans who will vote in the mid-term elections on Nov. 5 won't have contributed a penny to their candidates' campaigns. But a handful of people will have given a lot more.

More than a quarter of the $6 billion contributed to campaigns in 2012 came from about 31,500 individual donors, according to the Sunlight Foundation, which found that not a single candidate won two years ago without the help of the group dubbed the "one percent of the one percent."

As politics becomes more expensive with every election cycle, these super donors have never been more important.

Here are the top 10 individual donors of the 2014 election cycle, compiled for ABC News by the Center for Responsive Politics from a study of the most recent publicly available campaign financial disclosure reports.

1. Tom and Kathryn Steyer, $42.95 million, Democrat

The San Francisco billionaire made a splash on the political scene when he pledged $100 million to turn climate change into marquee political priority. After spending big in the Massachusetts Senate race and Virginia governor's race in 2013, Steyer, 57, has been active in seven midterm races across the country, opposing candidates skeptical of climate change in North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado. For now, Steyer is focused on helping others, but he’s rumored to be eying a future bid for governor or U.S. Senate in California.

2. Michael Bloomberg, $12.2 million, Independent

The former mayor of New York City is still working to shape the national political agenda. His anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety has endorsed candidates in 28 states, and is supporting a Washington ballot initiative to expand background checks for firearm purchases. Through his Independence USA PAC, Bloomberg, 72, will also spend $25 million in support of centrists in statewide and national races, including Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker, who is running for governor, and Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is running for Senate in Michigan, according to the New York Times.

3. Fred Eychaner, $7.84 million, Democrat

Self-effacing and press-shy, Eychaner is at odds with his outsized footprint in Democratic politics. He's described himself as a "basic social activist with small-business experience," but the Chicago media mogul was the top individual liberal donor in the 2012 election cycle, pumping $14 million into liberal Super PACs. In 2013, he bankrolled successful efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. This cycle, he’s cut checks for the Senate Majority PAC in hopes of protecting Democrats’ control of the Senate, and contributed to the Senate campaigns of Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

4. Paul Singer, $5.3 million, Republican


Singer, a New York hedge fund manager pejoratively called a "vulture capitalist" for his firm's ownership of Argentine debt, is the top individual Republican political donor of the cycle. He was the driving force behind New York's legalization of gay marriage, and has spent millions on legalization efforts in other states, including Maryland and New Hampshire. This cycle, he’s also supporting Republicans opposed to same-sex marriage, such as Rep. Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.

5. Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, $5 million, Republican

Since 2010, the Uihleins, owners of the Wisconsin-based packaging supply company Uline, have given millions to local and national tea party organizations and Republican candidates. In 2012, they supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign to fight a recall and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's Senate bid. This year, they've given to the Senate campaigns of Rep. Tom Cotton in Arkansas and Col. Rob Maness in Louisiana. “I'm a conservative Republican, and I'm trying to help people who believe as I do in limited government and free markets," Richard Uihlein told Crain's Chicago Business. "I'm not one to hide from that."

6. Robert and Diana Mercer, $3.71 million, Republican

Robert Mercer, a New York hedge fund manager, spent millions in 2012 contributing to GOP establishment groups like American Crossroads. This cycle, he's also spent big on tea party Republicans. According to disclosure records, Mercer, 67, and his wife Diana have contributed to the Senate campaigns of Chris McDaniel in Mississippi, Greg Brannon in North Carolina, Joni Ernst in Iowa and Rep. David Vitter in Louisiana.

7. James and Marilyn Simons, $3.41 million, Democrat

At 23, James Simons had earned his PhD in mathematics. Three years later, he was a code breaker for the National Security Agency. In the half century since, Simons, 76, has made billions revolutionizing investment banking -- Robert Mercer, who appears on this list, runs the firm Simons founded -- and establishing himself as a leading political and philanthropic donor. This cycle, he's given $3 million to Democrats' House and Senate Super PACs. His wife, an economist, has contributed to Planned Parenthood’s political arm and Ready for Hillary. The couple has also contributed to the campaigns of New York Reps. Steve Israel and Tim Bishop.

8. John "Joe" and Marlene Ricketts, $3.2 million, Republican

John, the billionaire founder of online brokerage TD Ameritrade and head of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, is best known in political circles for spending millions to defeat and discredit President Obama in 2012, including efforts to design an ad campaign that would have connected Obama to incendiary comments made by former spiritual adviser Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and financing the controversial film 2016: Obama's America. This cycle, his wife Marlene has contributed millions to the Ricketts' Ending Spending Action Fund, and supported the campaigns of Republicans like Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lyn Land, Arizona Congressional candidate Martha McSally and Virginia Congressional candidate Barbara Comstock.

9. Robert and Doylene Perry, $3.12 million, Republican

Robert Perry, the late Houston development magnate and longtime Bush supporter who passed away in April 2013, made headlines for bankrolling Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the conservative veterans' organization that discredited John Kerry's Vietnam War service record during his presidential bid in 2004. In 2013, Perry's wife, Doylene, wrote checks to Senate Conservatives Action and the reelection campaign of Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

10. George Soros, $2.5 million, Democrat

Soros, the dean of liberal mega-donors, famously told the Washington Post that defeating President George W. Bush in 2004 was the "central focus of my life," and backed up his words with $24 million in 2003 and 2004. This cycle, Soros, 84, has given more than $2 million to American Bridge, a Democratic opposition research firm, and Democrats including New York Rep. Tim Bishop, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, and at-risk Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Udall of Colorado and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

This ranking does not take into account unreported donations made to 501(c) 4 nonprofit organizations, which are not required to disclose their donors. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, spending by these “dark money” groups in the midterm elections could hit $1 billion.

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Obama Casts His Vote Early in Chicago


Official White House File Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) -- A day after hitting the campaign trail to get out the vote, President Obama cast his ballot early in Chicago.

"The most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen," the president told reporters at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on Monday, as he took advantage of the first day of early voting in Illinois.

"I'm so glad I can early vote. It's so exciting. I love voting," the president said, in a not-so-subtle sales pitch. "Everybody in Illinois, early vote. It's a wonderful opportunity."

After filling out the necessary paperwork, the president spent several minutes behind the voting booth. He would not say who he voted for, but said Sunday night he planned to cast his vote to re-elect Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn.

Obama often quips that Democrats have a "congenital disease," that they don't vote in midterms. Now, with just two weeks until the critical elections, the president is stepping up his effort to encourage Democrats to vote.

Obama hit the campaign trail Sunday for the first time this cycle, appearing at rallies for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in Maryland and Quinn in Illinois. While the president is ramping up his campaign appearances in the run-up to the elections, he is stumping mostly for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in deep blue states.

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Monica Lewinsky's on Twitter: '#HereWeGo'


David M. Benett/Getty Images for Marie Curie(NEW YORK) -- In May, Monica Lewinsky vowed to speak out in order "to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past."

Now she seems to be doing just that -- on Twitter.

Just months after Lewinsky’s personal revelations were made public in a Vanity Fair interview, she sent her first tweet Monday morning:

#HereWeGo

— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) October 20, 2014

About an hour later, Lewinsky, who describes herself in her Twitter profile as a "social activist. public speaker. contributor to vanity fair. knitter of things without sleeves," tweeted again:

excited (and nervous) to speak to #Under30Summit

— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) October 20, 2014

According to Forbes' "Under 30 Summit" event agenda, Lewinsky is slated to speak about the "scourge of harassment in the digital age" later Monday morning.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan: 'This Synod Was Not to Make Any Decisions'


Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said on Sunday that the new report regarding family life out from the Catholic Church this weekend does not signify a monumental change in doctrine or teaching.

The much-debated document, which included language regarding the church's stance towards gays and lesbians as well as divorced Catholics, was the final work product of a historic meeting -- or synod--— of bishops this month, which Dolan said is intended to set the agenda for further discussions this year and a second synod next fall.

"This synod was not to make any decisions," Dolan told This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos. "We weren't supposed to give any propositions. This was to set the table for a year from now."

The meeting of bishops made headlines this week after a preliminary version of their report included unprecedented, inclusive language towards towards gays and lesbians. The earlier draft read, "homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community."

However, the later version released Saturday stripped that language, and instead included a watered-down version, which read, "men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy."

Even this more tempered paragraph did not receive a two-thirds majority vote from the bishops required for approval. In a show of transparency, the Vatican released all sections of the final document with corresponding vote counts.

At the start of the meeting, Pope Francis encouraged all bishops to speak openly, and, according to Dolan, "There was pretty good, vivid conversation, especially with the African bishops."

"There was a good debate. There was a good conversation that went on," he said.

On these hot-button issues Dolan argued that Francis is walking the "middle of the road" and is inspirational.

"Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us," he said. "And so just when you think you might have him figured out, he offers another fresh innovative way of looking."

"Keep in mind that the church's major goal is not to change teaching…but for us to change, to conform ourselves to what God has told us," the cardinal said.

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Obama on the Trail: Delivers Stump Speeches in Maryland, Illinois


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama made his first public campaign appearances of 2014 Sunday night, appearing at rallies with Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, where he made impassioned pitches for his economic policies, reprised his 2008 campaign theme of “hope,” and grew animated at times.

“You know who they’re for, and it ain’t you,” Obama said of Republicans, at his Maryland appearance.

“It’s two different visions of America, and it comes down to a simple question: who’s going to fight for your future?” Obama said in Illinois, suggesting GOP politicians “belong in a Mad Men episode.”

Counting various references in both speeches, the president touted more Americans with health care, smaller increases in health-care costs, reduced dependence on foreign oil, a rebounded auto industry, improved reading and math scores, higher graduation rates, less crime and a smaller prison population.

In both speeches, he cited same-sex marriage as a sign of progress and blasted GOP opposition to gender-fair-pay legislation.

The White House has not mentioned any more scheduled campaign stops for the president between now and Election Day. These were two relatively easy states for him to visit: The last time Gallup rated Obama’s state-by-state approval, Maryland ranked third at 57 percent approval, behind only D.C. and Hawaii. His home state of Illinois ranked 12th at 53.7 percent.

The president was briefly heckled in the Maryland appearance by an immigration protestor, who was shouted down by “Obama” chants.

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White House’s Ebola Liaison Arrives in Dallas


iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — The White House has quietly dispatched Adrian Saenz, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, to be the administration’s eyes and ears on the ground in Dallas, coordinating Ebola efforts with state and local officials.

A Texas native, Saenz arrived in Dallas late Sunday, a senior administration official told ABC News. He will work closely with the Texas state coordinator Gov. Rick Perry appointed Friday and FEMA coordinator Kevin Hannes, who was dispatched Saturday.

Saenz was named to the role on Friday and will report directly to newly-named Ebola “czar” Ron Klain, who doesn’t officially start his new role until later this week.

An administration official said the appointment of Saenz is meant to ensure the government “is able to leverage effective coordination between the federal, state, and local levels in Dallas -- as well as with frontline healthcare workers.”

Saenz will work in close coordination with senior White House officials, including Klain, and ensure that “state and local authorities are able to call upon any and all necessary federal resources,” the official said.

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Top Health Official Defends Choice for Ebola Czar


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, defended President Obama's choice of Ron Klain to be the administration's Ebola "czar" despite his lack of medical background, calling him an "excellent manager."

"I think that's a misplaced criticism," Fauci told ABC's This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "What we're talking about now is an Ebola response coordinator, somebody who has extraordinary, as he does, managerial experience...leadership experience, which he has plenty of."

"He's going to rely on medical experts, like myself and Dr. Frieden and others, to do the medical things," Fauci said, referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Tom Frieden.

Meanwhile, Fauci also defended the administration's decision to not ban travel from those countries in West Africa that have been hardest hit by Ebola.

"When people come in from a country it's much easier to track them if you know where they're coming from," Fauci said. "But what you do if you then completely ban travel, there's the feasibility of going to other countries where we don't have a travel ban and have people come in."

As for the situation at home, Fauci maintained that the new CDC protocols for the proper treatment of Ebola patients "will be finalized soon," admitting that certain aspects of the current guidelines fell short in critical ways.

Fauci also gave an update on the condition of Nina Pham, one of the nurses who contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, saying her condition is "fair" and "stable," and she is in "very good spirits."

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Romney Leads Scattered 2016 GOP Field, Clinton Still Dominates the Democratic Race


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead in the potential Democratic field for president in 2016, while the GOP frontrunner in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is a familiar figure – but one not favored by eight in 10 potential Republican voters.

That would be Mitt Romney, supported for the GOP nomination by 21 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. That's double the support of his closest potential rival, but it also leaves 79 percent who prefer one of 13 other possible candidates tested, or none of them.

See PDF with full results and tables here.

When Romney is excluded from the race, his supporters scatter, adding no clarity to the GOP free-for-all. In that scenario former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have 12 or 13 percent support from leaned Republicans who are registered to vote. All others have support in the single digits.

Were Romney to run again, he'd likely face some of the same challenges that dragged out the 2012 GOP contest. He's supported by only half as many "strong" conservatives as those who are "somewhat" conservative, 15 vs. 30 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Huckabee, for his part, does somewhat better with Republican-leaning independents than with mainline Republicans, a potential problem in closed primaries. He also does better with women than with men; that’s reversed for Paul.

Clinton continues to dominate on the Democratic side, with 64 percent support. Still, there are some gaps in her support: It's 54 percent among men vs. 70 percent of women and 55 percent among those younger than 50 vs. 72 percent among those 50 and older. And she gets less support from Democratic-leaning independents, 53 percent, than from mainline Democrats, 69 percent.

Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have 13 and 11 percent support, respectively. Biden does better among those under 50, those with less education and nonwhites; Warren, among college graduates and whites.

It's early days for all this, of course; the 2016 election is two years away. But after the midterms just two weeks off, it’ll be the next item on the dance card.

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GA Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn to Get More Help From EMILY's List


Lester Cohen/Getty Images for WIRED(WASHINGTON) -- While national Democrats have scaled back their support for Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, another Southern Democratic candidate for the Senate is attracting renewed help from a major Democratic group.

Georgia's Michelle Nunn will see a boost from EMILY's List, the group that supports pro-abortion-rights Democratic women, in her bid against Republican opponent David Perdue, the group said.

"We see a race that's incredibly close," EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock said on Sunday on ABC's This Week roundtable. "EMILY's List is so excited we're going to double down and put more TV up."

EMILY's List says its new ad will attack Perdue's business record, a cornerstone of the former Dollar General CEO’s campaign, highlighting a gender-pay-discrimination suit against that company. After Perdue left the company, it settled for $19 million in a suit brought by female store managers alleging pay discrimination from 2004 to 2007, while Perdue led the company.

EMILY's List pointed to the suit in a previous Georgia Senate ad, which it ran in August.

The spending is a vote of confidence in Nunn, who has been seen as running a surprisingly competitive race against Perdue in a solidly red state, where no Democrat has won a statewide election since 2000.

Polls have offered little reliable information to quantify how close the race is, or who actually leads. Since April, pollsters have only conducted automated surveys of Georgia, and ABC News does not consider them to be reliable.

Georgia has attracted $25.7 million in outside spending this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures, ninth most among all states. In terms of negative advertising, each candidate has seen a little more than $6 million in attack ads from outside groups until now.

Those totals include "independent expenditure" ads that are reported to the Federal Election Commission. Groups can air "issue ads," which do not explicitly urge voters to support or oppose candidates, further from Election Day without disclosing them.

EMILY's List spent nearly $980,000 to air that previous ad in August. The largest spenders on this race have been the Republican super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund, which spent $5.7 million, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which spent $2.9 million.

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Infectious Disease Expert Calls Criticism of Ebola Czar 'Misplaced'


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, defended President Obama's choice of Ron Klain to be the administration's Ebola "czar" despite his lack of medical background, calling him an "excellent manager."

"I think that's a misplaced criticism," Fauci told This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "What we're talking about now is an Ebola response coordinator, somebody who has extraordinary, as he does, managerial experience ... leadership experience, which he has plenty of."

"He's going to rely on medical experts, like myself and Dr. Frieden and others, to do the medical things," Fauci said, referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Tom Frieden.

Fauci praised White House homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who had helped lead the administration's Ebola response efforts before Klain's appointment on Friday.

"Lisa Monaco and Susan Rice have been doing that. But they have other big jobs to do. They've been doing a terrific job, but they have other responsibilities We're talking about one designated person who's an excellent manager," Fauci said of Klain.

During the interview on This Week, Fauci also defended the administration's decision to not ban travel from those countries in West Africa that have been hardest hit by Ebola.

"When people come in from a country it's much easier to track them if you know where they're coming from," Fauci said. "But what you do if you then completely ban travel, there's the feasibility of going to other countries where we don't have a travel ban and have people come in."

"The most important thing we want to do is to protect the American public. And we'll discuss any way – and the president has said that," Fauci added.

Fauci also said the new CDC protocols "will be finalized soon," saying that certain aspects of the current guidelines fell short in critical ways.

"The previous protocols were really based on a WHO [World Health Organization] model in which people were taking care of people in a different environment, essentially in the bush, as they say, in remote places almost sometimes outdoors," Fauci said.

"Those people did not have to do the tertiary care, intensive type of training that we do," he said. "So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open.

"Very clearly, when you go into a hospital, have to intubate somebody, have all of the body fluids, you've got to be completely covered. So that's going to be one of the things. The protocol will be finalized soon. But one of the things is going to be complete covering with no skin showing whatsoever," he said.

Fauci also gave an update on the condition of Nina Pham, one of the nurses who contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, saying her condition is "fair" and "stable," and she is in "very good spirits."

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Answers to Five Simple Questions About the Midterm Elections


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With the midterm elections less than three weeks away, Shushannah Walshe, deputy political director for ABC News, answers five simple questions.

1. So, let's start with the basics. For those who don't know or have been too busy watching the new season of Homeland or reading Gone Girl think pieces: what are the midterm elections and when are they? Sometime next month, right?

SW: Yes, on Tuesday, November 4. But, are you too busy? Aren't we all? In many states there is no need to wait to vote. You can vote early–in many states you can even go today. We are less than three weeks away and according to early voting expert Michael McDonald with the United States Election Project over 1.6 million Americans have already voted. In every district, wherever you live, you can find that information easily accessible online. So, what are you waiting for? Ah maybe you like the excitement of waiting until Election Day.

Now to the big question: what are the midterm elections? Midterm elections happen halfway through the presiden's four-year term and if you are wondering if you can vote or should, well that answer is yes, if you are registered. That’s because every member of the House of Representatives is up for re-election, yes yours! That's not all. There are important Senate and gubernatorial races as well. What's the most important? Well, it’s all important, but we are closely watching whether the Democrats hold on to the Senate or not (more on that below). Republicans need to gain six states in order to do that and there are several tight races–some that may not even be decided until after Election Day--making it impossible to know right now what will happen.

2. Ok, so – as much as everyone is talking about Hillary Clinton – the White House is not actually in play this year. How many seats in the Senate and House of Representatives are up for grabs? A number of governors' races are happening as well right?


SW: Correct, the president has two more years and the next POTUS will be elected in 2016. When will that race start? Oh about a day after the midterms are over. But, let's concentrate on this election. All 435 members in the House of Representatives are up because they are up for re-election every two years (what a grind!) and there are 36 gubernatorial and 36 Senate races. Sixteen of those Senate races are deemed competitive by ABC News ratings and of those 16, five are toss-ups. Of the governor's races our ratings show 21 are competitive with seven toss-ups. Go to ABCNews.com's 14 for 14 coverage to see if any of these hot races are in your state.

3. So the House is currently controlled by the Republicans AKA the GOP. The Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Any clue if either body will change hands?

SW: We don't believe the House will change hands, meaning Republicans will stay in control of the lower chamber. Republicans are actually hoping to gain even more seats next month, while Democrats are aggressively trying to prevent that from happening. There aren't really that many toss-ups despite every seat being up and just a relatively small number that the campaign committees pour money into and watch closely because they tend to flip back and forth between the parties.

But, the real fight to watch on November 4 is whether the Senate changes hands from the Democrats to the Republicans. You may be seeing all those nasty ads at home on your TV and this is likely why, because we are in the last weeks of a death match and Democrats are trying to hold control and the GOP wants to wrest it from them, knowing it's only six seats that could make a difference. It all depends on just a handful of critical races; see below for more on that.

If you are interested in paying attention these final weeks those are the exciting races to watch, with all of them it could be that one race that determines control. What happens if there is a tie? A tie means that the Democrats win because Vice President Joe Biden is actually the tie breaker. Currently Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight give Republicans a 60.8 percent chance of taking control of the Senate and give Democrats a 39.2 percent chance of keeping the majority.

4. OK, so let's say the Republicans win the Senate. What does that actually **mean** in real terms? What will change in Washington?


SW: There's so much gridlock now, how could there be more? But, yes expect more gridlock because the president, a Democrat, will still be in the White House while Republicans will hold Congress. It’s quite likely even less could get done. It would shift, though. Instead of Congress not getting anything done, the president will likely veto more of what Congress passes.

Of course, Republicans could worry again about more primary challenges so any lawmaking may come to a grinding halt. Many Republicans and Democrats running now are promising to work across the aisle, trying to sell themselves to a public that is sick of congressional fighting. If those promises are true then maybe all these predictions will be wrong, but don’t bet on it. It’s not just voters that are sick of the inaction; there are plenty of senior legislators who are sick of it too. Maybe they will get their way and come to a truce of sorts. Again, unlikely. One other possibility is that President Obama moves toward the Republicans to try and get something–anything–done. We'll be watching.

5. So, we established there are a lot of races happening. Can you name three races you find most compelling and why?

SW: There are a lot of races and narrowing it down to three is difficult, but let’s give it a try. The Georgia Senate race has just recently become a toss-up and it’s all because of an outsourcing controversy that has hit the Republican in the race, businessman David Perdue, pretty hard. He’s running against Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, and for months it looked impossible for a Democrat in red Georgia to win, but now it’s likely to stay tight until Election Day.

Another exciting, and also somewhat unexpected battle, is the Kansas Senate race. In that fight, three-term incumbent Pat Roberts is battling it out against independent Greg Orman. Kansas is also a bright red state, a place not really accustomed to competitive elections never mind this brawl. Orman says he’s an independent choice, while Roberts and his allies are trying to label with him with the L word, liberal. Kansas also has an exciting gubernatorial race, but I won’t count that as my number three.

For my final one, let’s go with a governor’s race. The Florida governor’s race is a fascinating one pitting the Republican incumbent against the former GOP governor of the Sunshine State, Charlie Crist. Crist is back, but this time he’s a Democrat, and everywhere he goes he’s accompanied by a fan. Yes, a fan. As a Floridian, I can attest that it gets hot at home, but this fan has even impacted the race with Scott refusing to come out to their debate Wednesday because of the fan. Yes, fangate.

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