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The Buzz

Issue: "Bush's moral mandate," Nov. 13, 2004

CANCER CASES Reports last week that Chief Justice William Rehnquist was receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatment indicated that he may have the most serious form of thyroid cancer. "This adds up to something very bleak," David Cooper, director of the Thyroid Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine told The Washington Post. "That's very, very bad news." Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, was diagnosed with breast cancer on Nov. 3, the day after her husband lost in the national election. "Elizabeth is as strong a person as I've ever known," said Sen. Edwards. "Together, our family will beat this."

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION With more grace and less time than it took Al Gore in 2000 to begin a post-election brawl with "You don't have to get snippy about this," Sen. John Kerry conceded the race for president to George W. Bush 11 hours after it became clear the Democratic challenger would not be able to secure enough votes in Ohio to overcome a GOP lead in a state both sides needed to win. "In an American election . . . the next morning, we all wake up as Americans," Mr. Kerry told supporters at Faneuil Hall in Boston, ending an acrimonious two-year campaign. Mr. Bush, armed with the largest vote tally received by one candidate in history, told his supporters in Washington, "We are entering a season of hope." He became the first son of a U.S. president to win a second term and the first incumbent president to increase his majority in Congress since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. He also became the first president to win over 50 percent of the popular vote since 1988. The president took his mandate to begin immediate planning for a second-term agenda that includes tax overhaul and major changes in Social Security to allow workers to own their own retirement accounts. He also pledged to continue promoting emerging democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CONGRESS The House and Senate will reconvene in January with intensified conservative majorities and without old liberal faces. Senate Democrat and Minority Leader Tom Daschle lost his South Dakota race to Republican John Thune. Overall, Senate Republicans picked up four seats and the House Republican majority had a net gain of four.

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MARRIAGE Citizens in 11 states approved amendments to ban same-sex marriages by vote margins as high as 86 percent. Of the 11 states voting on marriage, Mr. Bush carried nine, including Ohio, suggesting a new "moral alignment" of voters that includes evangelical Christians, traditional Catholics, and minorities.

IRAQ If the United States is not "deeply divided," the Middle East is. In a BBC survey conducted on its Arabic website, Iraqis made up 25 percent of the respondents and voiced near-unanimous support for Mr. Bush, while respondents from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt said they would have preferred Mr. Kerry to win the presidency. What coalition? The Czech parliament voted to extend its troop mission in Iraq, while the European Union announced it will open a mission in Baghdad in January. During a European tour by Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi reaffirmed that Italy would keep its 3,000 troops in Iraq for as long as the Iraqi government wanted. U.S. forces began a ground and air offensive on Sunni strongholds in Fallujah, as terrorists continued to target top Iraqi officials with attacks coinciding with voter registration for January's election. Persecution Christians around the world will participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Nov. 14. An estimated 200 million Christians suffer abuse, imprisonment, and even death because of their faith, while a further 200 million to 400 million suffer discrimination. Some of the worst nations include perennial persecutors such as North Korea, Sudan, and Iran. But a growing trend in persecution is the spread of militant Islam, often in Muslim nations beyond the Middle East.

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