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Struggling to survive

January 19, 2010 2:02:02 PM PST
The scenes are still hard to watch - people struggling to survive, and sometimes fighting with each other over food and supplies.

But the hard truth is that there is less violence post-earthquake than there was before.

Gangs roamed freely in Haiti; now, not so much.

We have seen remarkable stories from this poorest of poor countries. The latest one today: An elderly woman pulled out alive from the rubble. And there are, at this writing, two more rescues ongoing. All are at the National Cathedral building.

But there are, alas, fewer rescues. Time has simply evaporated for most of the victims, and at anytime now the operations there will make the transformation from rescue to recovery.

It's a heartbreaking situation for those families still waiting, and hoping, that their loved ones have survived. Two sets of parents are in our area; their daughters are students at Lynn University in Florida, who were in Haiti helping poor people. They were at the Montana Hotel, which was crushed. They have not been heard from.

We'll have the latest from Haiti tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're in Boston tonight for what figures to be a huge election, with huge consequences for Pres. Obama.

The last time a Republican was elected to the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs tonight was 1946. Henry Cabot Lodge was elected to represent Massachusetts. He was defeated six years later by a guy named Kennedy, as in John. When he later became President, another guy named Kennedy, as in Ted, was elected to take his brother's seat. He held that seat until this year, when he died.

Tonight, it might be 1946 again.

Scott Brown, a relatively unknown Republican state lawmaker, tonight could be elected U.S. Senator, replacing Ted Kennedy. His opponent was supposed to be a shoo-in - state Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat who was endorsed by the Kennedy family and by the White House, has run a less-than-effective campaign. But her drop in the polls is more than that; this has, in the most liberal of states, become a political canary in the coalmine for Mr. Obama and his policies.

In Massachusetts? The only state to vote for McGovern against Nixon in 1972? (Remember the post-Watergate bumper sticker? "Don't Blame Me, I'm From Massachusetts.")

If Mr. Brown wins, then the political fun and games begin. Kennedy's seat represents the 60th Democratic seat in the Senate; the party's super-majority would evaporate, as would, perhaps, any chance of passing health care reform.

That's either good or bad, depending on how you view the current state of health care reform, and depending on how you view the President.

Interesting that Wall Street saw this as a reason to rally. The market was up more than 115 points today - with drug stocks leading the way. Either way, the thinking goes, drug companies win - if health care reform passes, they have 30 million more customers. If it fails, even better, because they make more unrestricted money under the current system.

Charming.

Our political reporter Dave Evans is in Boston tonight at 11, with the results.

And we're at the rather toned down inaugural celebrations tonight for Chris Christie, the new Governor of New Jersey and the first Republican in the job in eight years.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports.

I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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