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• Hillary builds her liberal firewall
• As pressure mounts, Sebelius stays out of town
• If Obama had to be on ObamaCare
• Phishing for an apology
• Oh, the indignity!
HILLARY BUILDS HER LIBERAL FIREWALL - Hillary Clinton was the star attraction at the ultra-liberal Center for American Progress’ annual gala, what the group calls its “Progressive Party.” Clinton, who was tossed aside by liberal voters in the 2008 Democratic primaries, isn’t taking any chances for 2016. “Progressive ideas have helped make this country the greatest force for human liberty, dignity and opportunity the world has ever known,” she said. She also noted the country’s challenges, which leave it “careening from crisis to crisis” and said she sought a strategy based on “data and evidence, not ideology.” Clinton joked of the group’s 10th anniversary: “When does the cake come out? I was going to jump out of the cake.” Watch video from the group here.
[Soros is REALLY ready for Hillary - Washington Examiner: “George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor, will join the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary as a co-chair … after contributing $25,000 to the group…”]
Insurance policy - To avoid the liberal upset she faced in 2008, Clinton will need help from the group founded by her husband’s former Chief of Staff, John Podesta. Podesta helped steer President Obama’s transition in 2009 and the group has grown immensely in stature on the left during the Obama era. Clinton and CAP’s leaders haven’t always been on the same page. While Clinton indicated she supported building the Keystone Pipeline in 2010, the organization opposes it. (It’s worth noting Clinton later walked back that position, denying a permit for the project as Secretary of State.) During the 2008 campaign, Obama used Clinton’s initial support for attacking Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to drive a wedge between Clinton and liberal voters. Podesta’s group strongly opposed the war.
[The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti sums up the group’s power and influence: “Over the last decade the Center for American Progress…[has established itself] among the most influential policy and activist organizations in America. CAP has revenues of $34 million. Its alumni occupy positions inside the Obama administration, in media, in business, and in the academy…From its headquarters on H Street, in downtown D.C., CAP exerts pull over the Democratic Party like no other liberal institution. The right has no equal.”]
The group is making clear its loyalty to Clinton. Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, formerly a longtime Clinton aide, introduced the Democratic frontrunner warmly at the event, and also penned an essay in Politico, entitled “Hillary Clinton is no quitter.” She wrote, “Believe it or not, none of her longtime friends know whether she’ll run for president in 2016.”
[Time Magazine shares six presidential campaign themes Clinton test drove in her speech before the Center for American Progress]
Bubba goes big for McAuliffe - Former President Bill Clinton will stump for long-time friend and fundraiser, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, in a multi-day campaign swing through Virginia starting Sunday in Hampton Roads. Stops include a Monday visit to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and Roanoke Wednesday.
AS PRESSURE MOUNTS, SEBELIUS STAYS OUT OF TOWN - As calls for her resignation mount, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius continues her sales calls for ObamaCare in Texas today, traveling to Austin and San Antonio to push enrollment in the new entitlement program. After refusing to testify before lawmakers this week, Sebelius has agreed to face questioning on Tuesday. Sebelius was defiant when confronted by reporters with the growing demands for her ouster saying “no one is getting fired” over the crash and that those who want her to resign “are people who I don’t work for.”
[President Obama will host two fundraisers in New York tonight. Daily Caller has more.]
CONTRACTORS BLAME ADMINISTRATION FOR CRASH - Federal contractors called to testify about their roles in ObamaCare’s failed Web site laid the blame on poor government testing. CGI Vice President Cheryl Campbell contended, “It was not our position to tell our client whether they should go live or not go live.” More from Fox News.
[Tech experts warn President Obama’s “Tech Surge” could be a giant bust for taxpayers if the experts from the private and public sector aren’t used correctly. Read more from Fox News Politics]
“Who knows if those services are ever going to be delivered? People have been told they lost their insurance. Millions of Americans have to sign up. They can't figure it out. It's just a mess.” – House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., on “The Kelly File.”
FOX NEWS SUNDAY PREVIEW - Chris Wallace hosts Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., to talk about the ObamaCare rollout beyond the Beltway. Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., look ahead to the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.“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.
IF OBAMA HAD TO BE ON OBAMACARE - Washington Examiner: “Under Obamacare, even President Obama would see a shocking jump in insurance costs by more than 48 percent in some state insurance exchanges such as Wisconsin’s where he could potentially see his total premium and out of pocket costs skyrocket from $21,707 a year to $32,200.”
OBAMACARE CANCELLATIONS OUTWEIGH SIGN-UPS - Daily Caller reports that insurance cancellations under ObamaCare are so far exceeding the number of those signing up for the new entitlement program. Of late, 300,000 cancellation notices have gone out in Florida, 20 percent of plans have been cancelled in Pennsylvania and close to 800,000 New Jersey residents will lose their plans in 2014. According to reports, 476,000 users have created ObamaCare accounts. The administration hasn’t yet provided numbers on how many have gained coverage.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, of the House Energy and Commerce Committee appears in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
PHISHING FOR AN APOLOGY - Sen. Ted Cruz’s joke that it seemed like Nigerian email scammers were running the ObamaCare Web site drew the ire of Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye. Speaking to Politico, Adefuye demanded an apology from Cruz saying, “Nigerians are very law abiding.” Last year, 51 percent of all email scams were found to have originated in Nigeria.
WILL OBAMACARE CRASH SHUT OUT SHUTDOWN? - Campaign Carl Cameron is looking at whether Democrats will really be able to use shutdown fallout next year against the GOP now that it looks like the ObamaCare launch debacle may take months to fix. Democrats who opposed the GOP’s calls for delays a couple weeks ago are now proposing their own.
[Kimberly Strassel: “The White House's problem is that political cracks like this don’t get patched; they grow. Until this week, the administration could write off the 20-odd House Democrats who voted with Republicans this summer to delay parts of the law as victims of a tough vote orchestrated by the GOP. But now a numerically significant number of Senate Democrats have, on their own, signaled that it is acceptable for members of the president's party to demand consequential ObamaCare changes.”]
DEM DISSATISFACTION SPIKES - A new Fox News poll shows 73 percent of voters dissatisfied with the direction of the country. That’s a substantial jump from this time last year, when 53 percent were dissatisfied. Much of the current overall decline in satisfaction comes from Democrats. Forty-one percent of Democrats are satisfied with the direction of the country today, down from 54 percent in July and 77 percent in October 2012. That’s a 36 percentage-point slide over the past year.
ALLIES ANGERED OVER SURVEILLANCE - The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders according to a classified document provided by leaker Edward Snowden, the Guardian reports. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen is looking at how U.S. surveillance is fraying relationships with America’s allies.
Dems defecting on Iran? - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., may buck President Obama’s call to delay sanctions against Iran, The Hill reports.
SMART TELEVISION - A Fox News special honoring the life and achievements of Charles Krauthammer airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET, hosted by Bret Baier. The Sage of Studio One discussed his new book, “A Life that Matters,” with “The Five.” Watch here.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Jake Brewer, of Change.org, considers the role of the Internet in America’s democracy for Fox News Opinion in After budget battle disaster can Internet save American democracy?: “We are in a digital era where almost everything is a click away, a period of unprecedented openness and accountability. From tweets at the White House to comments on congressional Facebook pages… So why does it still feel like our elected officials are more distant and inscrutable than ever? The Internet has given everyone a voice, but are those voices being heard?”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.1 percent//Disapprove – 50.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 20.1 percent//Wrong Track – 73.0 percent
N.H. 2016 Presidential Primary
Republicans: Rand Paul 17%//Chris Christie 16%// Paul Ryan 9%// Jeb Bush 8%// Scott Brown 7%// Ted Cruz 6%// Marco Rubio 4%// Rick Santorum 4%//Scott Walker 2%//Rick Perry 1%
Democrats: Hillary Clinton 64%// Joe Biden 6 %// Elizabeth Warren 6%// Andrew Cuomo 2%// Deval Patrick 1%
GUN RIGHTS CENTER STAGE IN VA DEBATE - Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe squared off in their final gubernatorial debate Thursday. The pair clashed over gun rights at Virginia Tech, the scene of one of the nation’s most infamous mass shootings which is also located in Southwestern Virginia, one of the most pro-gun rights regions of the Old Dominion. McAuliffe stood strong for gun control saying, “I don't care what grade I got from the NRA... I never want to see another Newtown or Aurora or Virginia Tech ever again.” Cuccinelli trashed his rival as “unserious” on policy, saying “I like education. I like puppies. But I don’t bring a puppy home if I don’t have a plan for how I’m going to deal with that puppy. ... And he’s all puppy and no plan.” Fox News has more
Conservatives pitch for Cuccinelli - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Texas, will appear at two campaign events for Republican Ken Cuccinelli Monday. Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., will visit the commonwealth Tuesday to stump for the attorney general.
GET #MEDIABUZZED - Media maven Howard Kurtz discusses how even the liberal media is souring on ObamaCare with Amy Holmes of Blaze TV and Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers. Plus, Kurtz looks at the firing of White House tweeter Jofi Joseph. WSJ’s Farhad Manjoo and Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik discuss how tech billionaires could save the news industry. Tune in this Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.
OH, THE INDIGNITY! - A Norton, Mass. school was placed on lockdown after an unknown person tried several doors, but could not get in. The Norton Police Department said on its Facebook page that the woman just had to use a bathroom and was not deemed a threat.
REALLY SWEET - A kind gesture for a Navy family by a Publix supermarket in Jacksonville won the Internet this week. When Alicia Jones went to pick up a red velvet cake she had ordered to welcome her husband Jonathan Jones home for two weeks of shore leave, she also found a note from the store manager saying the cake was free of charge. “Please enjoy your time with your family. Thank you so much for your sacrifice.” The Navy wife, brought to tears by the small gesture, posted a photo of the note to Publix’s Facebook page with her thanks. You can guess what happened next. More from WJXT
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.