In what's being called a political "earthquake," the No. 2 Republican in the House, Eric Cantor, lost his primary on Tuesday to a college professor and tea party neophyte.
Cantor conceded the race with 99% of precincts reporting from the Richmond-area district showing him trailing Dave Brat 56% to 44%, according to the Virginia Secretary of State's website. Turnout was low.
"Obviously we came up short," Cantor said in his concession speech.
"It's disappointing sure but I believe in this country. I believe there is opportunity around the next corner for all of us," said Cantor, whose loss is all the more shocking because he's considered very conservative.
In a statement following Cantor's defeat, House Speaker John Boehner called the No. 2 Republican "a good friend and a great leader."
In his victory speech, Brat struck a populist tone.
"Dollars do not vote, you do," he said. "When I go to D.C., every vote I take will move the pendulum in the direction of the people, away from Washington, D.C.; back to the states; back to the localities; and back to you."
Mark Preston, CNN's executive political editor, said the defeat would have national implications since Cantor has been viewed as ambitious and a potential speaker.
"This came out of nowhere," Preston said.
CNN Political Analyst David Gergen called it an "earthquake" that would "send shock waves through the Republican ranks."
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Rep. Trey Radel is due in D.C. superior court Wednesday, charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession after an October 29 arrest, according to court documents, CNN's Athena Jones reports.
The 37 year-old Florida Republican is serving his first term in Congress after winning office last November.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office said Tuesday that the charges come with a maximum 180 day imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine.
“I'm profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida," Radel said in a statement released by his office. "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them.”
“However, this unfortunate event does have a positive side. It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling. I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.”
Radel is a former journalist and TV news anchor.
"Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts," a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. "Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents."
President Barack Obama is ready to talk even on Republicans' terms, he insisted Tuesday, so long as Congress acts first to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling - even for a short period.
At a news conference, Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for budget negotiations, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week.
"I will talk about anything," the president said.
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The federal government may not be hit with a double whammy on top of the ongoing shutdown, as House Speaker John Boehner told a group of fellow GOP legislators that he won't let the nation default on its debt, according to a House Republican. CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.
Boehner said that he'd set aside the "Hastert Rule" - that Republicans would only bring measures up for a vote if they are backed by a majority of their caucus - and rely on Democrats to pass a measure to raise the nation's debt limit, said the House member. This legislator attended a meeting Wednesday involving Boehner, but requested anonymity because that gathering was private.
Congressional Republicans remain divided on how to structure legislation to raise the government's borrowing level. And an aide to the House speaker downplayed the development, saying, "Boehner has always said the United States will not default on its debt, so that's not news."
After weeks of talking past each other, congressional leaders and President Barack Obama talked to each other Wednesday evening - only to emerge evidently no closer to a deal to halt the government's budget stalemate, CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.
The White House meeting, coming a day after the start of the federal government shutdown, served at least one purpose, in that key players in the debate gathered together in the same room for over an hour: Obama called it "useful," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it was "worthwhile," and House Speaker John Boehner cast it as a "polite conversation."
But while the sides talked, there was no indication they agreed on anything or even shifted their views.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, went so far as to call it "unproductive." Neither side discussed any potential compromises, with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden doing most of the talking and Boehner making clear he won't go forward with a "clean" funding bill - with no Obamacare amendments - a GOP congressional source said.
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