Menu

Politics

Fox News First

McConnell shoves back

mcconnell_mitch_091713.jpg

Sept. 17, 2013: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters following a Republican caucus at the Capitol in Washington.AP

**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

Buzz Cut:
• McConnell shoves back
• Obama sells health law, again
• You quit when, Mr. President?
• Tech-rich newbie eyes NY House seat
• Showgirls and a big blue ox for ObamaCare

MCCONNELL SHOVES BACK -Despite facing a conservative challenger in his own primary race, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is defying demands from conservative members of his conference to try to block an emergency spending measure in a bid to defund President Obama’s 2010 health law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has set a key vote for Wednesday on the House passed-legislation that would avoid a partial government shutdown on Oct. 1, while simultaneously canceling funding for ObamaCare. Cruz is calling on his colleagues to block the House bill, even though he supports it as part of a procedural effort to tie up Democrats.

[Senior Capitol Hill Producer Chad Pergram offers a guide to the Capitol Hill stand-off on defunding ObamaCare]

It’s on now - Both McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, both publicly rejected the Cruz-backed strategy and are encouraging colleagues not to block the House bill. A source close to Cruz told Fox News that the junior senator from Texas was “caught off guard” and “very upset” when he got wind of what was going on, adding he felt like he was “stabbed in the back.”

Over to you, Senator Paul - Both McConnell and Cruz want to defund ObamaCare, but McConnell and others in leadership aren’t willing to risk a government shutdown to try to do so. Conservative lawmakers who have kept mum on the tactical dispute will start to make their positions known today. The stakes are huge. Perhaps the most important voice on the topic will be McConnell’s home-state Senate colleague, Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul stands with Cruz on the strategy, but will he join conservative groups in condemning those who fail to filibuster the House-passed plan? His 2016 chances and conservative firebrand, former Sen. Jim DeMint’s hopes for a smashing blow to his former colleagues in Senate leadership slots may hang in the balance.

The takeaway - McConnell needs more backers from the right side of his conference today. Badly. Those auditioning for leadership slots ought to make their support known, ASAP. Those looking to avert primary challenges can hail a cab for DeMint’s Heritage Action HQ.

BACK AND FORTH - “I can’t imagine filibustering the bill that I like… ObamaCare will take a hit but it won’t be defunded. I don't think the government is going to shutdown.”-- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on “America’s Newsroom.”

“To vote ‘no’ on the cloture bill, some might say that would be voting against the bill. They've got it wrong. We would be voting against Harry Reid, trying through manipulation of the senate rules to undo what the House of Representatives did. We have to oppose that.”-- Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

[Washington Examiner’s Byron York: “Cruz shouldn't expect any more help from the House, especially since some House Republicans suspect Cruz plans to blame them if --- or when --- the whole scheme collapses.”]

Plenty of blame to go around - A new Pew Research Center poll shows 39 percent of respondents would blame Republicans for a government shutdown, while 36 percent would blame Democrats.

Really? - “They’re reminiscent of the Cobra Kai team in Karate Kid, yelling, `Sweep the leg! Sweep the leg!’ because they are unwilling to get into a Karate fight of their own.” – An unnamed House GOP aide to WaPo liberal blogger Greg Sargent, mocking Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other Senate conservatives.

OBAMA STILL SELLING - President Obama will join former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual soiree to make a two-man pitch for Obama’s unpopular 2010 health law. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join the effort, offering introductions of the 42nd and 44th presidents. The speech is being treated as the kickoff for a six-month-long sales pitch Obama and his team leading up to the first benefits being handed out under his law.

OBAMACARE’S PAINFUL ‘FAMILY GLITCH’ - USA TODAY – A glitch in ObamaCare “threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage...”

[Watch Fox: Rep. Renne Ellmers, R-N.C., Chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, discusses ObamaCare in the 9 a.m. ET hour]

OBAMA EXAGGERATES SMOKE STOP DATE? - President Obama was caught on a hot mic after attending a Civil Society roundtable in New York Monday, telling U.N. official Maina Kiai, “I haven’t had a cigarette in probably six years,” and saying he uses nicotine gum to fight cravings. Obama joked it was “because I'm scared of my wife.” First lady Michelle Obama had previously told reporters that her husband had quit smoking three years ago, not six.

OBAMA, IRAN LEADER TO ADDRESS UN - President Obama has faced sharp criticism for his policies on the Middle East, particularly Syria and Egypt. Amid complaints that his administration has been zigzagging and unfocused, Obama will highlight the region in an address to the U.N. General Assembly today.

Looking for a deal - Following the speech, the president will meet with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, while Secretary of State John Kerry will meet this evening with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will address the gathering this afternoon.

[Watch Fox: Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Chairman of the House Foreign Policy Committee, appears in the 11 a.m. ET hour]

FIRST U.S.-IRAN MEET UP SINCE HOSTAGE CRISIS - WSJ: A meeting of diplomats at the U.N. Thursday “… will bring Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif together with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry… the first formal face-to-face session between the top U.S. and Iranian diplomats since 1979.”

Protests greet Iranian leader - Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, along with other politicians will take part in a large demonstration across the street from the U.N. against the Rouhani government, which they accuse of continued human rights abuses and spreading terror.

LERNER DEPARTS, BUT IRS TROUBLES FAR FROM OVER - House Oversight and Government head Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., says Monday’s resignation of Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official at the center of a congressional probe into the targeting of conservative groups, does not “diminish the Committee's interest in hearing her testimony.” WSJ reports: “A Democratic congressional aide said Ms. Lerner's decision came after an IRS review board had informed her that it was set to propose her removal from the agency. The board had found ‘neglect of duties’ … as well as mismanagement consistent with critical findings of an earlier inspector general's report…”

[WSJ: “Ms. Lerner's resignation under duress reflects the IRS's acknowledgment that her actions profoundly discredited the agency.”]

She’s only just begun - Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, considers the legal troubles ahead for Lois Lerner for Fox News Opinion: “The IRS may have decided that Lerner was merely ‘neglectful,’ but the IRS doesn’t have the last word.  The FBI, Congress, and – ultimately – the federal courts will have their say. And their judgment could be harsh indeed.”

U.S. CHAMBER TACKLES ENTITLEMENTS -The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation meets this morning to tackle the issue of entitlement spending in an event called, “Entitlements: Why We Can't Wait.” Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind., and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are slated to speak.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Carl Cannon looks at presidential pets for RealClearPolitics in FDR, Nixon and the Politics of Pooches on the anniversary of two famous speeches about dogs, one by FDR and one by Richard Nixon.

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.9  percent//Disapprove – 50.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 27.8 percent//Wrong Track – 60.8 percent 

E-RICH NEWBIE EYES NY HOUSE SEAT - Sean Eldridge, the spouse of Facebook mogul and New Republic owner Chris Hughes, announced via YouTube that he will run against Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., in 2014. As the NYT details in Young, Rich and Relocating Yet Again in Hunt for Political Office: “…[Eldridge’s] ambitions have puzzled some residents among the farmers, mill workers and small-business owners who populate this district… [who] cannot get over the fact that he has just moved into town and is already planning a run for Congress.” And points out that “Congressional campaigns, especially in upstate New York, can be very personal contests, built on longstanding relationships and local perceptions. And it may be hard to dislodge …Gibson, a well-liked Republican and veteran of the Iraq war who lives in a modest home around the corner from where he grew up.”

Lonegan gains on Booker - A new Quinnipiac poll shows Republican Steve Lonegan gaining ground on Democrat Corey Booker in New Jersey’s special Senate election, set for Oct. 13. Booker leads Lonegan by 12 points, down from 25 points last month. Complications for Newark Mayor Booker have been questions over his personal finances, and his dubious stories of personal heroism and compassion.

New Virginia polling - In Virginia’s gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli: NBC News/Marist poll: McAuliffe 43 percent, Cuccinelli 38 percent.  WaPo: McAuliffe 47 percent, Cuccinelli 39 percent, Libertarian Robert Sarvis 10 percent.

Indy bid could hurt Grimes - Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Ed Marksberry dropped out of his party’s primary Monday to run as an independent because he feels Democratic frontrunner Alison Lundergan Grimes isn’t speaking to liberal voters about their issues. Marksberry, a building contractor, could be a boon to Republicans in 2014. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in a primary fight with businessman Matt Bevin. The GOP survivor would no doubt like to see a split liberal base.

NRCC head may get a challenger - Roll Call: “Klamath County [Ore.] Commissioner Dennis Linthicum, a Republican, announced last week that he is eyeing a primary challenge to longtime Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.” Walden, a moderate Republican, is a top target of the Club for Growth, ranking eighth on its list of GOP members it is seeking to unseat.

SHOWGIRLS AND A BIG BLUE OX FOR OBAMACARE -What have your tax dollars paid for as part of ObamaCare? How about $3 million to show famed woodsman Paul Bunyan waterskiing to encourage Minnesotans to sign up for the new entitlement program, or a Colorado ad that shows ObamCare enrollees at a dance party with Vegas showgirls. As the Oct. 1 opening of ObamaCare approaches, Time Magazine considers state ads for the program.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“[Sen.Ted Cruz, R-Texas] knows it’s not going to succeed. …this is his issue, which reminds me a bit about the filibuster that was conducted by Rand Paul, a brilliant piece of political theater. It didn't change anything. …It had shades of Jimmy Stewart to it, and now he became a contender overnight, so this makes Cruz a contender overnight.” Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here. To catch Chris live online daily at 11:30 a.m. ET, click here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.