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• ObamaCare benefits breakdown
• Debt soars anyway
• Schweitzer mulls 2016, slams Hillary: ‘Era of royalty’
• Palin setting sights on McConnell?
• Crowdsourcing his bail
OBAMACARE BENEFITS BREAKDOWN - The applicants who manage to make it past the problems with ObamaCare’s online home to sign up for subsidized insurance are finding even bigger problems in actually getting covered. From the WSJ: “Insurers say the federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data... Emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations, say executives at more than a dozen health plans.” Read more, via Fox News.
[BuzzFeed reports Teal Media has removed all references to its design of healthcare.gov from its website]
Error message - Whatever the problems with the site and the benefits, not many people are making it through the door. Internal memos obtained by the Associated Press reveal the administration had “estimated that 494,620 people would sign up for health insurance under the program by Oct. 31. And that was portrayed as a slow start.” The reality though looks to be much worse. In some states, the numbers have been downright miniscule. In South Dakota, only 23 individuals signed up in the past two weeks.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, appears in the 2 p.m. ET hour]
Total overhaul - Tech experts tell USA Today: “The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system.”
Rush job?- Washington Examiner: “Federal officials did not permit testing of the Obamacare healthcare.gov website or issue final system requirements until four to six days before its Oct. 1 launch, according to an individual with direct knowledge of the project. The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the troubled Obamacare website project as suffering from top-level management disarray, changing systems requirements and recurring delays.”
High priced conferences for Health Department - “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spent over $56 million on 135 conferences in one year … for fiscal year 2012, HHS spent an average of $415,784 per event.” The Washington Free Beacon has the details.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY PREVIEW - Chris Wallace talks budget negotiations this Sunday with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox News, check local listings for air times in your area.
DEBT SOARS DESPITE BUDGET DEAL - Fox News: The good news: The national parks are open, furloughed federal workers are back on the job, and the government will not cut off benefit payments because it can’t borrow. The bad news: The national debt is back on course to hit $17 trillion any day now, with no deal in sight to ever reverse the climb. Since President Obama took office, the total national debt has risen by nearly 60 percent. It was $10.6 trillion on the day he took office. It was $16.7 trillion when the nation technically hit the debt ceiling.
Tough slog ahead - WSJ: “…[D]ifferences between the two sides remain stark, and a number of congressional aides said the chances of devising a budget that both parties can live with are low…Republicans are pushing for deep changes and cost reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, and a rollback of Pentagon cuts that are part of the so-called sequester. Democrats have demanded that tax increases and a reduction in other sequester cuts be part of any package…Despite the odds, top Democrats have pointed to the budget conference committee as an opportunity to end the incessant budget battles that have pushed the country up against repeated fiscal deadlines since 2011.”
[WSJ considers the behind the scenes interparty politicking that led up to the budget deal]
#MediaBuzz: Cruz clash and why media still swoons for the cute Beatle - Howard Kurtz examines the clash between conservative commentators slamming Republican leaders and others blasting Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, over the partial government shutdown. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen indulges his Beatlemania by analyzing the media hype surrounding Paul McCartney’s new album. Tune in Sunday 11 a.m. ET.
[Kimberly Strassel: “History is full of brave men who are famous mostly for losing. Republicans will have more shots to cut down ObamaCare, and pry out budget concessions. But to win those fights, they'll have to learn from this one. Brave charges mean little if they aren't followed by victory.”]
SCHWEITZER MULLS 2016, SLAMS HILLARY: ‘ERA OF ROYALTY’ - In an exclusive interview with RealClearPolitics, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he’s considering a 2016 presidential run. The maverick moderate Democrat told reporter Scott Conroy: “There’s a whole lot of America that looks at each other and says, ‘Well, there’s 340 million people living in America. Isn’t there somebody other than a Bush or a Clinton who can be president in these modern times? Isn’t there hope for somebody who’s running a business or who has served overseas or comes from a different occupation to become president? Are we now in the era of royalty again?’ So I think there’s some level of frustration about that.”
CARNEY DODGES ON BENGHAZI - Fox News: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dodged questions about a press release he issued a day before the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans. The four-sentence release stated that on Sept. 10 of last year, President Obama had met with “key national security principals” to discuss “the steps taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities abroad…on the eve of the eleventh anniversary of September 11th.” When pressed Thursday on what those steps were and why they proved so insufficient, Carney said, “I think we’re done here,” and exited the briefing room. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen has more.
OBAMA INSIDER TAPPED TO HEAD HOMELAND SECURITY - President Obama will this afternoon nominate former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson to head the Department of Homeland Security to fill the position left by Janet Napolitano. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., blasted the president’s pick as a “loyalist and fundraiser” adding, “DHS is the most mismanaged department in the federal government.” More from Fox News.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Michael Barone explains why America’s partisan divide is unlikely to shrink anytime soon for the WSJ in Washington is partisan, get used to it: “The Midcentury Moment emerged as the result of three unexpected developments, two of them unwelcome -- depression, war, postwar prosperity -- and was communicated through the language of an unusually vivid and unusually universal popular culture. Absent these things -- and it's hard to see how they could return -- our politicians aren’t likely to all get along.”
FOX LINEUP EXPANDS ON SIRIUSXM - Beginning today (actually, 12:01 a.m. ET), the lineup of Fox products on SiriusXM expands.The audio of the Fox News Channel remains at channel 114, The Fox Business Network makes its debut at channel 113, and the Fox News Talk radio station, with talk shows from Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson, Tom Sullivan and Alan Colmes and live Fox Radio News at the top and bottom of every hour, can be found on the SiriusXM Web site and smart phone apps at siriusxm.com. For the first time, the audio of the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network will be available on the SiriusXM website and apps as well.
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.4 percent//Disapprove – 51.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 17.4 percent//Wrong Track – 74.9 percent
PALIN SETTING SIGHTS ON MCCONNELL? - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told her Facebook friends to take heart after Republican Steve Lonegan, the candidate she backed in New Jersey’s special Senate election, was defeated by Democrat Cory Booker. There are new targets for her team, potentially including Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
‘RINO’ hunting? - In a post bashing “replete with more back-room deals, billion dollar corrupt earmark kickbacks, and weak leadership unwilling to stand up for the people who sent them to Washington. Whatreplete with more back-room deals, billion dollar corrupt earmark kickbacks, and weak leadership unwilling to stand up for the people who sent them to Washington. Whatreplete with more back-room deals, billion dollar corrupt earmark kickbacks, and weak leadership unwilling to stand up for the people who sent them to Washington. What weak leadership” and “back-room deals” in the quick fix McConnell brokered to end the partial government shutdown and extend the federal credit limit until February, Palin said: “Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let’s start with Kentucky —which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi — from sea to shining sea we will not give up. We’ve only just begun to fight.” Those are all states home to more moderate Senate Republican incumbents up for re-election next year, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss. But first on the list is the home state of McConnell, who is tangling with Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin in the GOP primary.
Bevin mum - What does Bevin say about Palin, who is a Fox News contributor, possibly playing in his race? He told Sam Youngman, formerly of National Journal and newly of the Lexington Herald-Leader, that Palin may or may not be among the national figures who have contacted him about his effort. “They are all watching,” Bevin said. “Many of them will come on board.”
REID HEADS SOUTH FOR CASH HAUL - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will dine with top donors tonight in Florida. The event will be at the home of big time Democratic backer and plaintiffs’ lawyer John Morgan. Ticket prices run as high as $35,000, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
SURROGATES SPAR IN VIRGINIA RACE - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will campaign for her longtime fundraiser, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe Saturday at a rally in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., will lead a rally for Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli in Lynchburg on the same day. Huckabee is a Fox News contributor.
[The latest NBC News/Marist poll shows support for McAuliffe relatively unchanged, leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 46 percent to 38 percent. Libertarian Robert Sarvis garnered 9 percent.]
BREITBART SHAKES UP EDITORIAL TEAM - Breitbart News, the feisty conservative outlet founded by the late Andrew Breitbart, will announce today “a fundamental restructuring” of its editorial team. Alexander Marlow, who was the company’s first employee and the longtime editorial assistant to its founder, will be named editor-in-chief. Wynton Hall will be the new managing editor and Ezra Dulis will become deputy managing editor. The former editorial management team, led by Joel Pollack and including Ben Shapiro and Peter Schweizer, are staying aboard and will focus on writing and reporting as senior editors at large. Kurt Bardella, the former aide to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will become senior communications adviser. In a soon-to-be released statement, Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News, said “Having a 24/7 editorial team focused on the site coupled with senior editors generating content allows us to continue Andrew’s legacy of waging ‘fights that matter.’”
DR. K’S PRESCRIPTION FOR THE REDSKINS - Charles Krauthammer offers his pick for a new name for Washington’s NFL franchise: The Skins. But he says folks ought to calm down, whatever new name they prefer, or if they want no new name at all. Redskins and reason: “Choose whatever name you like. But let’s go easy on the other side. We’re not talking Brown v. Board of Education here. There’s no demand that Native Americans man the team’s offensive line. This is a matter of usage — and usage changes. If you shot a remake of 1934’s ‘The Gay Divorcee,’ you’d have to change that title too. Not because the lady changed but because the word did.”
STILL CLEANING UP FROM THE LAST SHUTDOWN? - An e-mail welcoming back furloughed Environmental Protection Agency employees shows the cleanup after a shutdown takes some time. From the memo, via WaPo: “During the shutdown…the refrigerators were emptied of all perishable foodstuffs last week. The oldest food found? A can of Campbell’s soup dated 1997! So, please remember it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the refrigerators clean.”
CROWDSOURCING HIS BAIL - What happens when you can’t reach anyone by phone to bail you out of jail? Turn to Facebook. That’s exactly what David White, 19, of Beverly, Mass. did after he was arrested for disturbing the peace. Salem News reports that a friend saw White’s online plea and offered the $40 to bail him out. “Beverly police said earlier this week that they agreed to let White use his phone to access his Facebook page and post a plea for bail money because he had been cooperative and respectful with them… Could it ever reach a point where a defendant is offered a choice between a call or, say, sending a text message, [White’s attorney Paul Moraski] was asked. ‘Maybe,’ said Moraski.”
EXPENSIVE BOURBON ESCAPES KY DISTILLERY - Fox News: Nearly $25,000 worth of one of America’s rarest bourbons is missing in what investigators believe was an inside job. About 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon were reportedly swiped from a secure area at Buffalo Trace Distillery's Frankfort, Ky. operations. ‘Pappy’ is one of the nation’s most sought-after bourbons, with a reported production of only about 7,000 cases a year.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“Structural reform which is what you need…But [President Obama] does not see himself as a man who came here to restrain, to restrict and to diminish the welfare state. He came to be the one who would complete it…Republicans are simply never going to agree to sponsorship. I see an impasse looming.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch Here
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.