Today in the MPR News Update, we're keeping a weather eye on Hurricane Sandy, supporters and opponents of the marriage amendment are conducting get-out-the vote efforts, Bill Clinton is planning stops in Minnesota to campaign for fellow Democrats, and the Twin Cities housing market continues to show signs of improvement.
HURRICANE SANDY: The storm has the potential to impact something like 50 million people over the next few days, including residents of the nation's capital and its financial nerve center. We've had a live blog running on Hurricane Sandy since Saturday, pulling in the best stories, photos and video from all over. Our meteorologist, Paul Huttner, is updating the Updraft blog on a regular basis. We also have a tracking map in place, as well as related stories.
CAMPAIGN GROUNDED: One of those stories is the way the hurricane has stymied the 2012 presidential race at a time when the two major candidates are supposed to be flying around the country making their last-minute sales pitches to voters. President Obama has returned to Washington to lead the federal response to the storm's expected damage and Mitt Romney has been forced to cancel appearances.
CLINTON HERE: At the same time, the Obama campaign has confirmed that former President Bill Clinton will campaign for him in Minnesota on Tuesday. And it's calling hints from Republicans that Romney may campaign here - effectively putting the state in play - a lot of bluster.
KLEIN vs. OBERMUELLER DEBATE: Did you miss the debate this morning in our studios between 2nd Congressional District GOP congressman John Klein and DFL challenger Mike Obermueller? We have an archived live blog at this link right now. Audio from the debate will be available later.
KLOBUCHAR vs. BILLS: The conventional wisdom is that DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar's re-election is mostly a formality. Along with her double-digit lead in the polls she has raised millions more for her campaign than GOP opponent Kurt Bills. But Klobuchar is still campaigning hard across the state. Earlier this week, she made a campaign swing through southeastern Minnesota.
'VOTE NO TWICE': Maybe you've seen some of the lawn signs around the Twin Cities and elsewhere urging people to "Vote No Twice" on the state constitutional amendments on the ballot next week. It turns out those signs aren't part of the organized effort to defeat the amendments. They're part of a grass-roots campaign, and the groups that are organized to defeat the amendments say they have no plan to adopt a similar ad campaign.
FINAL PUSH: The race to decide whether Minnesota would add an affirmation of marriage as between a man and woman to the state constitution began more than a year ago. This past weekend, the groups leading the campaigns for and against the amendment began their sprints to the finish. They're using very different methods to get there. The coalition opposing the amendment, led by Minnesotans United for All Families, is still seeking to sway undecided voters. Minnesota for Marriage's goal is to call 100,000 people every day until the election. The group has phone banks set up throughout the state.
EXCEPTIONALISM OR EXCEPTIONAL PROBLEM? Why can't politicians give Americans the facts? Why can't the presidential candidates tell it like it is? These are the questions New York Times reporter Scott Shane asks in his recent opinion piece, "The Opiate of Exceptionalism." We had him on The Daily Circuit and took your calls.
PIPELINE: Four years after federal authorities in the Twin Cities began investigating homegrown recruitment for the terrorist group al-Shabab, at least two additional men slipped away to Somalia as recently as July. The FBI's confirmation this week that a terrorist conduit continues to flow from Minnesota to Somalia perplexes members of Minnesota's Somali community, who have watched with dismay as young men have disappeared.
HIT AND RUN: The Minneapolis police are looking for help finding a suspect in a deadly hit-and-run accident over the weekend. The police said they were called to the Warehouse District about 2:40 a.m. Saturday after a hit-and-run crash. They found a 20-year-old man had been gravely injured by a vehicle that left the scene at Third Street North and First Avenue.
ROAD RAGE: A woman was shot early Sunday in an apparent road rage incident on a metro area highway. Eagan police say the 26-year-old woman was one of eight people in a Volkswagen Jetta that was being tailgated by a dark sport utility vehicle on an Interstate 35E entrance ramp in Eagan shortly before 2:30 a.m.
HOUSING TICKS UP: The presidential race is said to be hinging on the economy. The national S&P/Case-Shiller index for home prices in the Twin Cities has been on the rise since March. According to the Twin Cities' Realtors group, the overall median sales price was $174,000 in September, 12 percent higher than a year ago. But Cari Linn, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, said some sellers are still waiting to put their homes on the market.
WOLF HUNT: When it comes to wolves, Minnesota and Wisconsin have a lot in common -- in fact, Wisconsin's wolves probably migrated from Minnesota. But differences in the hunts point up divergent approaches to wolf management. And some observers worry about whether both hunts will disrupt wolf packs enough to cause more problems than before. The big question is: How many wolves can people kill before they start to put the overall population at risk?
PRAIRIE SEEDS: Remember the on-field soccer brawl between members of Prairie Seeds Academy and Totino-Grace? A Hennepin County judge ruled Friday afternoon that Prairie Seeds Academy will not be allowed to compete in the state soccer tournament - but not because of the brawl. It turns out that Prairie Seeds had played the entire season with an ineligible player.