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Politics Today: Huey Edges Past Bowen In CA Congressional Race, Patriot Act Extension Deal Reached, And More

Tracy Bloom |
May 19, 2011 | 4:25 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Republican businessman Craig Huey has finished ahead of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, securing a place in a runoff against Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in the race for the vacant congressional seat last held by Democrat Jane Harman. Bowen, who conceded the race on Thursday, was expected to be among the top two vote getters in Tuesday's special election.

Harman resigned her seat in California's 36th congressional district back in February to head the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank located in Washington, D.C.

Top congressional lawmakers on Thursday reached an agreement to extend the Patriot Act for another four years. The deal was reached one week before key provisions of the controversial Bush-era surveillance law were set to expire.

According to Politico: "The pieces of the law that allow the federal government to compel businesses to release records, issue roving wiretaps, and monitor so-called “lone wolf” terror suspects were set to run out on May 27. The outline of the deal between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still needs to pass both chambers in the next seven days to avoid a lapse in the law." 

Officials said the legislation would extend the expiring provisions until June 1, 2015. A vote could happen on Monday night. 

Newt Gingrich's first official presidential campaign visit to Iowa can already be considered somewhat of a success.

Gingrich, who's campaign has gotten off to somewhat of a rocky start since he formally announced his candidacy last week, was greeted by a sizeable number of supporters in his stop in Waterloo Thursday. Politico reported that the crowd was so large the event had to be moved inside the convention center.

Gingrich told the crowd: “This campaign is very alive and very well with lots of grass-roots support."

The former House Speaker is scheduled to attend a Republican fundraiser Friday morning in Ida County. Organizers there say they are expecting record crowds.

Michele Obama is hitting the campaign trail in support of her husband's 2012 reelection bid, giving her first formal speech of the reelection campaign on Thursday. ABC News reported: "First lady Mrs. Obama, speaking from a podium decorated with 2012 signage, in her first formal speech of the reelection campaign, said her husband needs supporters to stick with him and “be in this with him for the long haul.”

“Even in the toughest moments, when it seems like all is lost, and everybody is wringing their hands, and calling, worrying and calling -- what's going on, what's he doing, what's going on -- I’m one of those people -- Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal,” she said at the annual Women’s Leadership Forum National Issues Conference in Washington, D.C. "Now more than ever before, we need to finish what we’ve started and we need your help.  We need all of you to be with us for the next phase of our journey."

A new poll conducted by Fox News shows that the vast majority of Americans do not believe Osama bin Laden was greeted by 72 virgins in heaven.

The poll asked respondents: "Do you believe Usama bin Laden was greeted by 72 virgins in heaven or did he meet a more negative end?"

An overwhelming 80 percent of those polled said they believed he met a "negative end", while just 3 percent of said he was greeted by virgins after he was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan on May 1. Seventeen percent said they were not sure.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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