January 4, 1995 – Big day on Capitol Hill. First day of a new Congress – this time it was the GOP in charge, the first time in 40 years. Newly minted House Speaker Newt Gingrich stood poised to take the reigns and offered an extensive laundry list of objectives his “Contract With America” was promising. So enthusiastic about this sea change in politics, Gingrich invited several noted Conservative Talkshow pundits to broadcast live from the chamber while the swearing-in sessions took place. Amid admonitions of “Business unusual”, the new GOP Congress tossed out olive branches like confetti in a demonstration of “come brother, let us reason together”. How long that was going to last was the stuff of Las Vegas bets.
The age-old controversy of election tampering was rearing its head again. This time in California where it was discovered the potential for mass voter fraud, including names of registered voters who had been dead for many years was being uncovered. The potential was so great that it was speculated to have influenced the outcome in several local elections. An investigation was pending.
There was other news this day – a growing anti-Yeltsin sentiment was creeping across Russia. The source of this backlash was coming in the form of Chechnya, where Russian troops were preparing for a new assault on Grozny. An assault a week earlier was a stunning defeat for the Russians, where hundreds of troops were killed by Chechen rebels. Blame for this disaster was placed squarely at the feet of Boris Yeltsin, where many said this war was Yeltsin’s undoing as some predicted a coup would be likely to take place sometime “in the future”.
And funeral services were being held in Brookline Massachusetts for two women killed in an abortion clinic shooting earlier in the week. Because of a resumption of threats, the reopening of the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Brookline was cancelled.
And that’s a small slice of what happened, this January 4, 1995 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.