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Grounded!

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Oct. 3, 2013: President Obama speaks about the government shutdown and debt ceiling during a visit to to M. Luis Construction in Rockville, Md.AP

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Buzz Cut:
• Grounded!
• Baier tracks: Cruzing on…
• Health premiums spike across the board
• Dem ties shooting to shutdown
• Gee, your phone smells terrific!

GROUNDED! - President Obama has scuttled his scheduled trip to Asia, including stops in Borneo and Bali. A White House statement sniped that the president’s missed trip is “another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government.” Vice President Joe Biden was also made to scrap appearances at two Washington fundraisers, one Saturday for a same-sex marriage group and another on Monday for House Democrats. The nixed trip and donor galas are a direct consequence of Republican efforts to nickel-and-dime their way through the partial shutdown. If you can’t afford to keep the World War II Memorial open, you can’t fly to Borneo. It will cost plenty to have Secretary of State John Kerry island hopping through the South Pacific, but the president can’t take the publicity hit.

[Correspondent Shannon Bream calculates just how much it costs taxpayers to fund national parks]

Fore - The golf course at Ft. Belvoir may still be open, but does the president want to be playing a taxpayer-subsidized round of golf this weekend? Democrats are trying to emphasize what they say is a crisis resulting from the partial shutdown. Obama might be willing to take heat over weekend recreation, but pointing out the wacky funding ironies of the shutdown – a golf course open but essential services closed – would not be ideal. The president often seeks escape from the White House and Washington. So what’s he going to do now that he’s had his private jet grounded and every move he makes is subject to scrutiny? House Speaker John Boehner has some suggestions.  

Obama on the hook - The latest Fox News Poll shows that 58 percent of respondents felt the partial shutdown is a “very serious problem,” even though a similar share does not think it will significantly affect them. Obama and Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner, took an equal share of the blame, with about a quarter of respondents primarily faulting each of them. Seventeen percent blamed tea party Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and 8 percent blamed Democrats in Congress like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Twenty percent of respondents blamed all the players in the spending debacle equally.

Let’s talk – With the president facing blame for the funding gap and no chance to escape to Asia or probably even the back nine, now may be the moment when Obama is ready to head back to the negotiating table. As the more significant deadline of the federal borrowing limit draws nearer – now less than two weeks away – Obama’s “no negotiations” stance won’t stand. The nixed trip is evidence that Republicans have scored their first victory in the back-and-forth over funding with their strategy of launching mini spending bills on desirable services. The road ahead, however, looks rocky.

[Power Play - Obama’s Rhetorical Trap: “…if [President Obama] continues to flinch, he will have hell to pay explaining his reversal to his political supporters.]

Boehner holds his line - House Republicans may be happy to see that Obama is feeling the pinch, but they also know worse times are ahead. On Thursday, Boehner made clear his deadline for the budget battle. Boehner paid calls on several of his members to reiterate his previous position that he would not blockade a Democrat effort to lift the debt ceiling if the clock is running out on the government’s ability to borrow the more than $3 billion a day it needs to operate. The speaker’s message promptly and predictably appeared in the NYT and elsewhere. The message to conservatives: Get what you can now, because the jig will be up on Oct. 17.

BAIER TRACKS: CRUZING ON…“If there was a sense that the House Republican leadership was somehow ‘getting to’ Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and that there would be some backdown from him and his supporters in the House on their demand to defund ObamaCare, take a listen to Cruz ‘On the Record with Greta Van Susteren’ last night:

‘You know, for months, they've been saying there's no chance of stopping Obama Care. If there wasn’t any chance, they wouldn’t be this scared.  They wouldn't be this shrill.  They wouldn't be this nasty and personal.  And I think what they're scared about is the American people are energized right now.  And personally, I find that inspiring.’

Cruz went on to say that Senate Republicans are ‘more and more becoming united.’ That doesn’t sound like someone who is shaken by his colleagues.

I did, however, run into Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in the hallway here at the Fox News Washington Bureau last night as I was leaving the office. He didn’t seem as encouraged. Though he said for the time being that the Republican caucus in the Senate was holding together, Lee predicted it would all likely roll into a deal on the debt ceiling. He also said that what happened next was really up to President Obama. It was a much different tone and tenor than Cruz. Of course, one was on camera and one wasn’t. But, I think there may be other differences in message as well.  For now though, their stand continues.” – Bret Baier

[Charles Krauthammer in his column Who shut down Yellowstone?: “The tea party was created by Obama’s first-term overreach, most specifically Obama­care. Today’s frantic fight against it is the echoing result of the way it was originally enacted.”]

OBAMACARE PREMIUM SPIKES HIT ALL AGES - Fox News: During the first week of ObamaCare’s exchanges, many are finding sticker shock. Tom Gialanella of Seattle, who is self-employed, told Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle, he recently received a letter from his insurance company stating his premium “would increase approximately 61 percent. I went from $891 a month to $1,437 dollars a month. And also my deductibles all doubled.” Gialanella is on ObamaCare’s least expensive Bronze Plan, but is seeing his deductible jump from $4,000 to $8,000.  According to the conservative American Action Forum, young men could be hardest hit, with an increase of up to 260 percent increase. Young people making $20,000 will find paying ObamaCare’s penalty more advantageous, as coverage could cost them several thousand dollars a year.  

ObamaCare still unpopular - Fox News Poll: Fifty-four percent of respondents would like to see all or part of the president’s health law repealed, but 64 percent of voters believe it will remain the law of the land. Voters oppose efforts to defund ObamaCare, 53 percent to 41 percent. But 57 percent agreed with House Republicans that the implementation of the law should be delayed, including some 39 percent of Democrats.

Sebelius’ home state not on board - Breitbart: “Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) was informed by an insurance provider in his home state that none of the 365,000 uninsured people living there successfully signed up for insurance on the ObamaCare exchange on the first day.” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009, and made one of her final pleas for citizens’ voluntary enrollment there last week.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY WITH CHRIS WALLACE’ - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will discuss the looming Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline and how it is factoring into the shutdown debate. Reps. Pete King, R-N.Y., and Tom Graves, R-Ga., tackle the diverging views in the GOP solutions to the shutdown. Conservative columnist George Will makes his debut on the panel this weekend as well. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for other air times in your area.

DEM LINKS SHOOTING TO SHUTDOWN - Hours after a deadly car chase that ended with the shooting of the driver on Capitol Hill Thursday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, linked the incident to the government shutdown saying, “rather than respond in a way that leaves federal employees unemployed, the House should pass a short-term resolution with nothing attached to it in order to open the government. Jackson Lee added, “And God knows, the tragedy of this poor person who came on the Hill in a black car. No one knows what drive [sic] this person to do this… But what I would say to you is let's get our wheels back on”

Unpaid officers involved in Cap Hill car chase - The Capitol Hill police officers involved in Thursday's car chase and shooting outside the Capitol are not receiving a paycheck or hazard pay due to the government’s partial suspension of services, because they are not deemed part of “essential” services.  They will be paid once government funding is restored.

[Fox News has the details on the Capitol Hill car chase here, with further reporting on the suspect here.]

DUFFY UNHURT IN ALTERCATION OUTSIDE CAPITOL - “Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., was involved in a minor altercation Wednesday night with an individual while he was walking to the Capitol,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.  Duffy’s office said in a statement: “A random individual, unknown to the congressman, began screaming at him and grabbed his arm. Mr. Duffy was unharmed.”

NETANYAHU TALKS IRAN NUKES WITH GRETA - During an interview “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Iranian people must stop their country’s nuclear program. “You’ll never regain your freedom. You’ll be slaves to this tyranny forever.” Netanyahu repeated his claim that Iran is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles to target the United Sates.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE ON THE DOCKET - Sen. Minority leader Mitch McConnell’s attorney Bobby Birchfield,  is slated to testify before the High Court Tuesday. He will argue that contribution caps should be treated with the same level of scrutiny as restrictions on campaign spending, according to McConnell’s amicus brief.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Kimberly Strassel blasts conservatives groups for raising money off fellow Republicans over ObamaCare defunding in her WSJ column, The Defunding Way of Fundraising : “The result is campaigns that would cast the most effective reformers in the GOP – Sen. Tom Coburn, House Rep.Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – as little more than RINOs. This is the polar opposite of the Reagan philosophy to expand the party's appeal…”  

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 – 50.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.7 percent//Wrong Track – 64.1 percent 

MCAULIFFE HONES IN ON CRUZ - Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is airing new attack ads denouncing Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s scheduled Saturday appearance with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix shot back, criticizing McAuliffe for not joining Cuccinelli’s calls for the president, his cabinet and all members of Congress to decline their pay checks during the government shutdown telling the Hill, “His silence might have something to do with his fear of upsetting his many friends inside the Beltway.”

[WaPo analyzes how the shutdown could affect GOP 2014 Senate prospects]

GEE, YOUR PHONE SMELLS TERRIFIC! - Smell-o-Vision has gone mobile. A Japanese company called Scentee is marketing a new app to dieters and those trying to stretch their food budgets. The idea: Eat a bowl of plain rice or a plate of lettuce while a cartridge inserted in an iPhone’s headphone jack pumps out the aroma of something more delicious as images of food, like beef sizzling on a grill flash onto your screen. The company’s very unusual ad even shows the scent shooter leading to romance. Food Beast has details on the lunch, er, launch.

[Ed. note: Some sites should implement this technology as soon as possible.]

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.