DAYBREAK DAILY: Cuccinelli, McAuliffe talk education at forum

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the upper 70s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Continuing coverage of the Navy Yard shootings and much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

MORE OF THE SAME: Of going through the motions, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe wove well-worn stump speeches with swipes at each other during a forum on higher education Wednesday. Without much detail, the two candidates for governor spoke to a crowd of business leaders about promoting economic growth by way of education policies to increase college access and enhance workforce training.

“Republican Cuccinelli touted his plan to reduce the top corporate income tax rate from 6 to 4 percent, and the individual rate from 5.75 to 5 percent. He said those reductions would benefit the middle class and small businesses, spurring the economy in the process. To offset the plan's $1.4 billion cost, Cuccinelli wants to eliminate unspecified tax exemptions and cap state spending growth. Democrat McAuliffe spoke before Cuccinelli and questioned the tax plan, claiming it would harm education funding.”

MEANWHILE: Hey, me too!, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “As Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli are locked in a tightening race, the Libertarian nominee for governor has siphoned support of 7 percent of likely Virginia voters.

“Neither McAuliffe nor Cuccinelli have high favorability ratings among likely voters, potentially buoying Robert C. Sarvis, who, despite his support, is still unknown to most voters, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday. Voters are split on McAuliffe — 38 percent view him favorably and 38 percent unfavorably — and Cuccinelli’s rating is upside down, 51 percent unfavorable and 34 percent favorable.” { }

AND THIS: Of a hah-hah, or not, per the Washington Post, “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II on Wednesday condemned an anti-Semitic joke told by a Republican activist who spoke before him at a rally this week. “I wasn’t there, but I heard about it that night, and, obviously, I think it was inappropriate and certainly unfortunate and something, if I’d heard it at the time, I’d have spoken to it right there,” Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for Virginia governor, told reporters after a candidates’ forum in Richmond on Wednesday morning.

“But the incident put a spotlight on a GOP organizer who has close ties to Cuccinelli and who has helped steer the state party to the right this year. John Whitbeck, the chairman of Virginia’s 10th Congressional District Republican Committee, is one of a half-dozen district leaders who pushed for a nominating convention over a primary this year. The move all but assured that Cuccinelli would win the nomination over Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling because conservative activists are more likely to attend a convention.”

REALLY?: Please, per the Baltimore Sun, “After circling each other for days, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Texas Gov. Rick Perry clashed Wednesday in a nationally televised debate that was focused on state economic policy but tied closely to presidential politics. The state leaders — both of whom are feeling out runs for president in 2016 — traded flurries of statistics and jabs as each used the 30-minute appearance on CNN's "Crossfire" to argue his vision for the nation's economy.

“Debating one another for the first time since 2011, the governors shared a national spotlight hours after Perry arrived in Maryland to attack O'Malley's business policies — the latest trip in a years-long effort by the Republican to lure companies away from Democratic states.”

GUNS: And mental health, per the New York Times, “Despite deep divisions that have kept Congress from passing new gun safety laws for almost two decades, there is one aspect of gun control on which many Democrats, Republicans and even the National Rifle Association agree: the need to give mental health providers better resources to treat dangerous people and prevent them from buying weapons.

“Yet efforts to improve the country’s fraying mental health system to help prevent mass shootings have stalled on Capitol Hill, tied up in the broader fight over expanded background checks and limits on weapons sales. Now the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard by a man who authorities say showed telltale signs of psychosis is spurring a push to move ahead with bipartisan mental health policy changes. The new debate over gun control is beginning to turn not on weapons or ammunition, but on the question of whether to spend more money on treating and preventing mental illness.”

IRAN: Just the facts, per the Los Angeles Times, “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed Wednesday in his first U.S. media interview since taking office that Iran would never develop nuclear weapons.

“The statement to NBC News correspondent Ann Curry was the strongest indication to date that the 64-year-old cleric is making good on campaign promises to improve relations with the West. Earlier Wednesday, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and at least 10 other religious and political activists were released from prison, with no explanation for the reprieve by the new government.”

BOEHNER CAVES: And then some, per The Hill, “House Republican leaders bowed to conservative demands and announced plans Wednesday to strip out money for ObamaCare from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Sept. 30.

“The reversal by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) raises the stakes in a fiscal fight that could shutter much of the federal government. The continuing resolution (CR), which the House plans to vote on as soon as Thursday, is likely to be dead on arrival in the Senate, where Democratic leaders have vowed to reject any attempt to unravel President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Wall Street-bashing Democrats are on a hot streak. In a string of late-summer confrontations between the Democratic Party’s progressive base and its finance-friendly establishment, the party’s populist wing has recorded some of its most significant victories since Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s election last November.

“In New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio won his party’s mayoral nomination – and now looks overwhelmingly favored to win City Hall – with a “tale of two cities” message channeling frustration with outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan’s upper crust. In Illinois, former White House chief of staff Bill Daley pulled the plug on a primary challenge to incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn amid a flurry of attacks on his background as a JPMorgan executive and corporate fixer.

“And here in Washington, a small group of liberals in the U.S. Senate – including Warren and Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jeff Merkley of Oregon – effectively blocked Larry Summers from gaining the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, signaling with their early opposition that the former Clinton Treasury secretary would face a tough confirmation process thanks to his past support for market deregulation.”

DREAM HOMES: Literally, per City Paper, “When it comes to housing, D.C. can't expect to be bankrolled by the federal government like it once was. Last month, I reported that the funding from the federal government for the D.C. Housing Authority had declined sharply. The annual Capital Fund grant to the District is $13.7 million this year, down from $20 million each year from 2006 to 2010.

“Now, we learn that the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has taken a similar hit. The city, DHCD announced on Friday, will receive $32.4 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this coming fiscal year. That's a slight reduction from last year's $33.3 million, and a steep decline from the previous year's $39.2 million.”

NEVER MIND: A sigh of relief for several parties, per the Washington Times, “The former chef at the Virginia governor’s mansion pleaded no contest Wednesday to reduced charges that he stole food from the first family’s kitchen and was ordered to repay the state $2,300, ending a politically embarrassing case that was headed to trial weeks before the state’s hotly contested governor’s race.

“Todd Schneider, 52, had been charged with four felony embezzlement counts but they were reduced to two misdemeanor charges under a plea agreement approved by Richmond Circuit Judge Margaret P. Spencer. She suspended 6-month jail sentences for each count and ordered him to repay the state for the taxpayer-paid provisions.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals lose 5-2 against Atlanta.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “8-year-old Ryan Suffern of North Carolina doesn't want a toy for Christmas. He doesn't want a remote controlled car. His mother says that she was shocked when, in his letter to Santa that she asked him to write this week, all he wanted was for the kids at his school to stop bullying his twin sister.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. mayor Vince Gray.

--Skip Wood