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Punted!

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Buzz Cut:
• Punted!
• Boehner riding the storm out
• One percent success rate for ObamaCare signups
• McAuliffe won’t release taxes
• Aren’t rats supposed to leave a sinking ship?

PUNTED! - President Obama early today signed a short-term bill ending the partial government shutdown and raising the federal debt ceiling. The bill cleared the House late Wednesday with 87 Republicans – 38 percent of the party’s members – on board. The final product does not include any major provisions pertaining to ObamaCare. The only mention of the law is an enhancement of anti-fraud measures for the new entitlement program. The deal, reached just hours ahead of a Treasury deadline on the federal borrowing limit, will fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt cap through Feb. 7. It provides back pay for the federal workers furloughed since the partial shutdown began on Oct. 1.

[See how your representative voted on the budget deal]

New cliff in three months - The plan also calls for House Republicans and Senate Democrats to start intensive talks to reach a broader deal ahead of the next fiscal cliff, now 90 days away. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., head of the House Budget Committee and his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray, D-Wash., are holding a breakfast meeting today with ranking members of each committee to get things started.

[WSJ: “Questioned on what factors will be different next time, [Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio] said, ‘The debt will be bigger and Obamacare will be more unpopular.’”]

My government shut itself down and all I got was this lousy T-shirt - From today’s Power Play column, The Government that Cried Default: “The cliff turned out to be one more speed bump on the highway to fiscal oblivion and political dysfunction. What began with the White House calling its opponents ‘suicide bombers’ turned out to be a dud. In what has become a hallmark of his presidency, Barack Obama yet again walked to the microphones late at night to tell the country that nothing happened. Never mind. Sorry for all the racket. See you in three months.”

[Watch Fox: Sen. Amy Klobuchar,D-Minn., appears in the 2 p.m. ET hour]

“We’ve got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis… and make sure that we’re not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements.” – President Obama, during remarks Wednesday, following the Senate’s budget deal passage, watch Fox for continuing coverage of budget negotiations. Obama is scheduled to deliver additional remarks on the budget deal in the 10 a.m. ET hour.

[Watch Fox: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., discusses the budget deal in the 11 a.m. ET hour]

BOEHNER RIDING THE STORM OUT - One senior House Republican told Fox News that it’s “highly unlikely” a new leader would emerge to challenge Speaker John Boehner who “can raise money, message” and corral the warring factions of the party in the House. Campaign Carl Cameron is considering Boehner’s role in the budget negotiations and what new dynamics are shaping the GOP moving forward.

[“We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.” – House Speaker John Boehner during a Wednesday radio interview with Bill Cunningham.]

EARMARKS AFTER ALL - Washington Examiner considers how two unrelated funding provisions – $3 billion for a dam on the Ohio River and $450 million for roads in Colorado – got slipped into the Senate spending deal.

[Watch: House stenographer Dianne Reidy disrupt Wednesday’s vote with an impassioned rant that included warnings about the influence of Freemasons.]

COSTLY CAN KICKING - Fox Business: The shutdown has cost America’s economy $24 billion and reduced the nation’s economic growth by 0.6 percent according to a Wednesday report from Standard and Poor’s.

[Watch Fox Business: Department of Labor Statistics weekly jobs report, in the 8 a.m. ET hour]  

Just 69 shopping days ‘till Christmas - WaPo: The budget deal “does almost nothing for the country’s existing economic challenges, including automatic spending cuts that are worsening the problem of high unemployment and a long-term debt challenge posed by mounting costs in health-care and retirement programs… economists say, consumers and businesses are likely to hold back on spending and investment during the important holiday season, knowing that a similarly economy-shaking political showdown might be right around the corner.”

THE JUDGE’S RULING - Judge Andrew Napolitano blasts deficit spending and increased reliance on borrowing for Fox News Opinion in Debt and Destruction: “As absurd as it sounds, the federal government borrows money in order to pay the debt service on money it has already borrowed and spent. Is it any wonder that today the government’s debt has reached $17 trillion?”

Well, when you put it that way… - A new study from Harvard University places the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt in perspective. Washington Examiner reports: “The U.S. debt, which has jumped 55 percent under President Obama, is now so high that if working Americans had to pay their full share, the bill would be over $123,000…”

ONE PERCENT SUCCESS RATE FOR OBAMACARE SIGNUPS - Fox News: A review found 1 percent of those who tried to register online for ObamaCare’s exchanges were able to enroll in a health care plan. The research revealed 9.47 million unique visitors to the federal site during the first week, including 3.72 million who tried to register, 1 million successfully registering and 36,000 who completed enrollment. Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest sign-up numbers and is tracking continuing glitches.

Campaign donor behind ObamaCare website -Daily Caller: “George Schindler — President … of CGI Group [the company behind healthcare.gov]…donated $1,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign in Aug. 2012, according to OpenSecrets.org.”

[WSJ: “…[T] he launch has been worse even than critics predicted…HHS still refuses to disclose how much taxpayers shelled out for this exchange lemon… Apple doesn't ship products that don't work and then force everyone to buy them… A useful act of contrition would be [for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelieus] to resign, or, failing that, to beg Congress for a year delay to clean up their wreckage.”]

YOUR VOICE WAS HEARD - Here’s what you said on last night’s panel, as measured by Bing Pulse: Democrats, Republicans, and independents agreed with Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement that the Washington establishment did little to help address the suffering of the American people during the shutdown. Republicans and independents agreed with The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard when she said partisan differences are “so far apart.” Republicans and independents agreed with National Review’s Jonah Goldberg that President Obama was going after Republicans out of spite. Watch the panel here.

Peak viewer response came when Charles Krauthammer said President Obama’s “priority is to increase entitlements” and he has no interest in decreasing the deficit. Reaction rose to 26,000 votes per minute. Bing Pulse measured a total of 140,000 responses during the panel discussion. Get the full results here. There is always a seat for you on the panel. 

Bing Pulse asked viewers who joined the panel if the fight over the shutdown and debt ceiling accomplished anything: 61 percent of respondents said “no” and 39 percent said “yes.”

NEW EVIDENCE ON BENGHAZI BOTCH - Key Capitol Hill staffers tell Fox News that there are new questions emerging on the deployment of military assets that could have protected the four Americans killed at an American outpost in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. Investigators have zeroed in on a White House document that may shed light on the military maneuvers and are calling for testimony from former top administration officials to explain. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen has the exclusive details. 

Rubio seeks to block Obama’s Iran deal - Washington Examiner: “Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hopes to convert Democratic frustration with President Obama's negotiating position regarding Iran into a congressional resolution that would prevent the White House team from easing sanctions on the Islamic regime.”

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE …TechCrunch’s Gregory Ferenstein considers how the patronage of tech giants like Facebook and Google is changing the Democratic Party in Cory Booker And The Silicon Valley Makeover Of The Democratic Party

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

POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.3 percent//Disapprove – 51.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 18.0 percent//Wrong Track – 74.3 percent 

MCAULIFFE WON’T RELEASE TAXES - Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is not disclosing his full tax return or identifying his sources of income from last year. His campaign did release a summary, revealing the former DNC chairman and Clinton fundraiser earned $9.5 million and paid $2.7 million in taxes in 2012. Republican Ken Cuccinelli has criticized McAuliffe for not releasing his full return to answer questions about his relationship with scandal-plagued electric car company GreenTech. WaPo has the details.

[Ed. Note: Well, it’s not like we’re talking about people hiding money in Caribbean. Wait. What?]

BOOKER WINS SENATE RACE - Newark Democratic Mayor Cory Booker defeated Republican Steve Lonegan by 11 points in his bid to serve out the remaining year of the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. Booker is seeking a full term in the 2014 election cycle.

[A Quinnipiac poll released this morning shows Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., continuing to trounce Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, 62 percent to 33 percent in his re-election campaign.]

JINDAL’S BIG IDEA - Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., will announce the formation of a new non-profit policy focused group today. Jindal’s “America Next” group is aimed at offering conservative alternatives to ObamaCare, education and energy policy. 

AREN’T RATS SUPPOSED TO LEAVE A SINKING SHIP? - Washington, D.C. officials are gathering gather at a downtown hotel for a summit on the city’s growing rat infestation. One neighborhood advisory official member recently told a local TV reporter that the well-fed vermin, “…are sizes as big as squirrels and some of them almost as big as cats.” Read more from WTOP.

RIGHT ON THE MONEY - Iowa State University freshman Wes Monroe lost his wallet. Bummer, right? No way, dude. The missing billfold showed up at his home with a $10 bill and a note of encouragement tucked inside. Laura Diers, a 41-year-old mother of four, spotted the wallet on an interstate entrance ramp. It had blown off of the roof of Monroe’s car, where the student had left it while filling his tank. Her note urged Monroe to stay focused on his dreams and promised that she and the members of her Bible study would pray for him. She also included a passage from motivational author Jack Canfield: “It’s time to quit waiting for… Perfection; Inspiration; Permission; Reassurance; Someone to change; The right person to come along; A more favorable horoscope; The new administration to take over; An absence of risk; Someone to discover you; A clear set of instructions; More self-confidence. Get on with it already!” Read the rest of the story from the Des Moines Register.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“[President Obama] has no interest in reducing the debt and the deficit. That’s never been a priority. The priority is to increase entitlements. He believes he is a leveler. He wants to spread the wealth. He has been open about that… he knows… [what] Republicans won’t give him is a tax hike in return for a cutting of entitlements… That's not going to happen and that’s why we have not had the bargain over the five years, and we aren’t going to have it. – 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.