AP Top News at 11:15 p.m. EDT

Associated Press
President Barack Obama waves as he arrives for a rally for Washington Gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber, left, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct.  20, 2010. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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President Barack Obama urged Oregon Democrats on Wednesday night to "defy the conventional wisdom" and vote to send John Kitzhaber back to the governor's office on Nov. 2. Obama tried to rally the troops on the West Coast less than two weeks before an election that will determine control of Congress for the next two years. But his message was meant for Democrats around the country too.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican says President Barack Obama and a more-Republican Congress could join to pass laws on trade and spending policy and make changes to the health care overhaul if the administration listens to voters on Election Day. "I can't believe he's going to continue to ignore the wishes of the American people if his party has a very bad day Nov. 2," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "If he pivots and wants to work with us, obviously I'd be happy to talk to him."

WASHINGTON (AP) — All signs point to huge Republican victories in two weeks, with the GOP now leading Democrats on virtually every measure in an Associated Press-GfK poll of people likely to vote in the first major elections of Barack Obama's presidency. In the final survey before Election Day, likely voters say the GOP would do a better job than Democrats on handling the economy, creating jobs and running the government.

KARMEI TZUR, West Bank (AP) — Israeli settlers have begun building new homes at an extraordinary pace since the government lifted its moratorium on West Bank housing starts — almost 550 in three weeks, more than four times faster than the last two years. And many homes are going up in areas that under practically any peace scenario would become part of a Palestinian state, a trend that could doom U.S.-brokered peace talks.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily granted the U.S. government's request for a freeze on a judge's order requiring the military to allow openly gay troops. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals instructed lawyers for the gay rights group that brought the lawsuit successfully challenging the "don't ask, don't tell" policy to file arguments in response by Monday.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship on Wednesday, saying they are united in efforts to establish a "new world order" that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and visiting Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, watched as officials from both countries signed 11 agreements promoting cooperation in areas including oil, natural gas, textiles, trade and public housing.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — Capitalizing on the emerging car culture of Southern California in the 1950s, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller started a drive-in church and built it into an international televangelist empire, symbolized by the soaring glass Crystal Cathedral and its weekly "Hour of Power" show. Now Schuller's life's work is crumbling.

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware Senate candidates Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons on Wednesday offered sharply different views on what's bogging down the economy and how to fix it. In a mostly civil debate to be aired Wednesday night on television station WHYY, O'Donnell said unsustainable federal spending and a heavy tax burden were the main causes of the downturn.

DALLAS (AP) — Bob Guccione had tried the seminary and spent years trying to make it as an artist before he found the niche that Hugh Hefner left for him in the late 1960s. Where Hefner's Playboy magazine strove to surround its pinups with an upscale image, Guccione aimed for something a little more direct with Penthouse. More explicit nudes. Sensational stories. Even more sensational letters that began, "Dear Penthouse, I never thought I'd be writing you..."

NEW YORK (AP) — They were facing the end of their season and a miserable winter after that. Not to worry, Joe Girardi said. Speaking in the wee hours before his players went home for a few hours sleep ahead of Game 5, the New York Yankees manager implored them not to give up.

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