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• ObamaCare security scare
• Iran spinning up nuke program
• Paging Sgt. Schultz
• HUD heaps on the homework
• French women age very well
OBAMACARE SECURITY SCARE - The ObamaCare Web site crashed again Sunday, with major outages continuing into today. The software for verifying and protecting the personal information of applicants broke down. Government officials blamed the crash on an outside contractor, Verizon, but the failures in the so-called “data hub” are worsening fears about security first raised ahead of the launch. Federal inspectors issued multiple reports before Oct. 1 that found major problems in the plan to merge and protect the most comprehensive profiles of American citizens ever compiled by the government. More from Fox News.
[“How can you expect the government to handle one sixth of the economy when there is this type of staggering in incompetence on a Web site rollout?”—Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace”]
Out of time - The latest crash comes as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius prepares to testify on Wednesday before Congress about the debacle. The Obama administration has promised that the signup portal for the new entitlement program will work properly by the end of next month. But another five weeks may be too long for Congress to wait where questions of constituents’ personal information are concerned. Bipartisan calls for delaying the troubled program will grow amid this data scare.
Boundary issues - “The problem is they may have to redesign the entire system…. Every time one agency goes to another agency with a piece of information, that is called a boundary. That’s the most — that’s the weakest, most vulnerable part of that conversation.” – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., talking to CNN.
[Watch Fox: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., discuses ObamaCare in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
ObamaCare hits higher education - Daily Caller reports that under ObamaCare “Some 48 percent of universities–including 49 percent of public universities–have decided to place limitations on the number of hours adjunct professors can work, according to a survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed.”
[NYT’s Paul Krugman: “Still, the fact remains that Obamacare is an immense kludge — a clumsy, ugly structure that more or less deals with a problem, but in an inefficient way.”]
MISSING IN ACTION: HEALTH INSURANCE QUALITY RATINGS - Americans who want to sign up for ObamaCare can only get evaluations of the insurance companies participating in the new entitlement program in eight states. Fox News Correspondent William La Jeunesse explains why most consumers aren’t getting the data.
BENGHAZI EYEWITNESS: INCIDENT WAS INEVITABLE - The first Western eyewitness to speak publicly about the Islamist raid on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya said Americans knew such an incident was inevitable but that security remained lax. The former British soldier who spent decades helping protect U.S. diplomats and military leaders told “60 Minutes” that the attack was well-executed: “They knew what they were doing.” His account further undermines the claims by the Obama administration that officials initially believed the attacks were “spontaneous.” Fox News has more.
[Watch Fox: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., discusses new reporting on those who attacked the U.S. Consulate at Benghazi, in the 8 a.m. ET hour]
IRAN SPINNING UP NUKE PROGRAM - A report from Institute for Science and International Security shows that Iran has “steadily expanded” the number of advanced centrifuges in its nuclear program. This change has updated the timeline that ISIS believes would be needed produce weapons grade uranium, saying the Islamic regime may only be a month away from building a nuclear bomb. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen has the latest.
FASTER AFGHAN DRAWDOWN FOR NATO - NYT: “After months of tense negotiations over the size and role of a postwar presence in Afghanistan, senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials say they are planning a more minimalist mission… [amid] fears that the United States Congress and European parliaments might cancel their financial commitments — amounting to more than $4 billion a year, the largest single military assistance program in the world — unless American and NATO troops are positioned at Afghan military and police headquarters to oversee how the money is spent in a country known for rampant corruption… NATO has endorsed an enduring presence of 8,000 to 12,000 troops, with two-thirds expected to be American… The postwar plan depends on a security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan.”
EURO SPY MESS GETS MESSIER - Fox News: The German magazine Der Spiegel reports the United States has been monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002 and alleges that the German leader’s mobile phone number had been present on a special surveillance list used by the National Security Agency as late as this past June. If true, the revelations could hamper a trade agreement the U.S. seeks to forge with Europe.
NSA’s massive monitoring in Spain - Fox News: The NSA monitored 60 million phone calls made in Spain over the course of a single month last year, according to a report published by a Spanish newspaper El Mundo Sunday evening.
“'We're not doing this for the fun of it…This is to gather valuable intelligence which helps not just us but also helps the Europeans.” – Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
[Watch Fox: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., discuses the NSA’s surveillance program in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Paging Sgt. Schultz - According to a White House review leaked to the WSJ, President Obama didn’t know his own spy agencies were bugging the phones of world leaders, even after almost five years in office.
[New Today at Fox News Opinion: economist Peter Morici’s Now Eurosclerosis has come to Obama's America]
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - On Friday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” All-Star Panel, Bing Pulse found Republicans, Democrats, independents, men and women disagreed with Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers’ assertion that, “it was understood among countries that we were all spying on each other.” However, all parties and genders agreed when Weekly Standard Senior Writer Stephen Hayes characterized the National Security Administration’s spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “non-scandal.”
Men and women strongly agreed with Hayes’ observation that ObamaCare could dramatically affect the 2014 political races. Viewer response spiked to a high of 23,000 viewer votes per minute when National Review Online Editor-at-Large Jonah Goldberg charged President Obama’s “statement about how you can keep your insurance and your premiums won’t go up will go down in history as the biggest single domestic policy lie in presidential history.” Take a deeper dive in the data here. Friday’s discussion drew a total of 154,000 viewer votes. Make your voice heard. Join tonight’s panel.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Tom Rogan shares what lessons President Obama can learn about technology failures and limitations from the popular cartoon “South Park” and video game franchise “Grand Theft Auto” for USA Today: “The overriding lesson is clear -- sell a product based on the merits of what you know it can do, rather than on what you hope it can do. People want results; they don't expect perfection, but they won't accept gratuitous incompetence… By subjugating crisis management to political appearance, the Obama administration is jeopardizing both. President Obama should give Trey Parker a call.”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.0 percent//Disapprove – 50.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 20.1 percent//Wrong Track – 73.0 percent
BUBBA MAKES LIGHT OF MCAULIFFE EXAGGERATIONS - Former President Bill Clinton jabbed old friend and long-time family fundraiser, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s tendency to embellish. During a Sunday night rally in Hampton Roads, Va., Clinton joked about McAuliffe creating a business paving driveways as a teenager saying, “I’m still trying to figure out how he got permission to drive a pick-up truck at 14…You know, everybody’s gotta airbrush their story a little bit,” Politico reports. McAuliffe’s propensity for exaggerations has been a line of attack for Republican Ken Cuccinelli throughout the campaign. Clinton continues his multi-day stump for McAuliffe with stops this morning in Norfolk and this evening in Northern Virginia.
[WaPo traces the close bond between the Clinton family and McAuliffe and the dangers it holds for both sides of the political partnership.]
Rand Paul rallies for Cuccinelli - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will seek to rally conservative support for Republican Ken Cuccinelli when he addresses Liberty University’s Convocation this morning in Lynchburg, Va. The school, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, actively encourages its more than 10,000 Evangelical students to vote locally. Paul will also pitch for Cuccinelli at events in Fairfax and Virginia Beach. With Libertarian Robert Sarvis sitting on a substantial cache of support, the libertarian-leaning senator’s help could make a substantial difference.
SHAQ MAKES FULL-COURT PRESS FOR CHRISTIE - Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., is enjoying the endorsement of former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. In a new ad, the Newark native says, “I don’t endorse many politicians. But Chris Christie is different... He’s a good man. Excuse me, he’s a great man. Please join me in supporting Chris Christie – the governor.” Polls show Christie with a commanding lead over Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono ahead of next week’s election.
Jeb Bush to receive Kemp award - Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., will be awarded the Jack Kemp Leadership Award tonight in Washington. The dinner will feature House Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
[“I don't know yet, and I think it's too early…We got a lot of elections we've got to win before then.” Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., when asked about a potential 2016 run on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace”]
CHENEY ANGLES FOR DAUGHTER’S SENATE BID - Former Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC’s “This Week,” that assertions by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., that the two were “fishing buddies” were “simply not true.” Enzi had expressed shock that Cheney’s daughter, Liz, was seeking to unseat the three-term Republican incumbent in her parents’ native state. The former vice president went on to attack Enzi for being beholden to Washington special interests.
HUD HEAPS ON THE HOMEWORK - The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued just six economically significant rules in the past decade, but its paperwork increased by 104 percent since 2008. That’s the finding of a new study by the conservative American Action Forum. The agency has imposed 17.5 million hours of paperwork and 40 new forms on Americans just in implementing President Obama’s 2009 bank regulations.
HIS DUDENESS - J.J. Gould of The Atlantic checks in on the always-evolving meaning of the word “dude” from cowpokes poking fun, to surfer slang, to “The Big Lebowski” and beyond. The current status: a way for dudes to tell other dudes that they’re close, but not too close. More changes to come, though. As Gould writes: “Dude abides, but it also evolves.” Totally, bro.
FRENCH WOMEN AGE VERY WELL - The Statue of Liberty turns 127 today. The international symbol of freedom was dedicated on this day in 1886. The 151-foot-tall depiction of the Roman Goddess Libertas by sculptor Frederic Bartholdi was planned as a gift from the people of America’s first ally, France, to mark the U.S. centennial. But a lack of funds prevented her journey for a decade. She is meant to symbolize the American ideal of freedom under law – a broken chain lies at her feet and she carries a legal tablet inscribed with the date July 4, 1776. She arrived on what was then Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor just in time to greet the influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe bound for Ellis Island. Learn more fun-facts about Lady Liberty, from the Ellis Island Foundation, including how big her waistline is (Sacrebleu!) and the thickness of her copper coating.
[Liberty Island and Ellis Island were badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy one year ago. The statue remained closed to the public until July 4th, and Ellis Island reopens today. Correspondent Rick Leventhal has a progress report on the restoration.]
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.