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• White House knew ObamaCare claims were false
• Spooks say Obama knew about spying
• Coburn calls out park pork
• Obama takes no chances on Virginia visit
• That’s one way to get a phone upgrade
WHITE HOUSE KNEW OBAMACARE CLAIMS WERE FALSE - Even as President Obama was assuring voters in the 2012 election that “you will keep your health insurance” under ObamaCare, the White House knew that between 40 percent and 67 percent of individual policy holders were going to lose their coverage under the law now moving toward final implementation. An NBC News investigation revealed that Obama officials were already forecasting 7 million people would lose their insurance under the president’s plan, even as Obama was reassuring voters nervous about their coverage under his law. As Megyn Kelly reported on “The Kelly File,” an IRS regulation pushed by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 outlined the massive disruptions.
[Watch Fox: Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the responsible for the new heath-insurance entitlement, will face the House Ways and Means Committee this morning.]
Time to come clean? - With another wave of insurers expected to announce today that they are dumping customers, pressure is growing on the White House to come clean about the president’s misleading claims. Press Secretary Jay Carney was forced to admit for first time under questioning by Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry on Monday that Americans were losing coverage under the law. But the fact that senior officials projected the cancellations even as Obama was claiming otherwise will force the administration to change its talking points yet again. The question now on the dumped insurance is like so many other administration scandals: When did the president find out his claims were untrue?
[Watch Fox: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., discusses ObamaCare in the noon ET hour]
Computer crash consequences - The White House is officially giving Americans six more weeks to sign up for ObamaCare due to the ongoing problems of the program’s Web site and enrollment functions. The White House announced the date for uninsured Americans to sign up before penalties kick in – $95 or 1 percent of taxable income – will move from mid-February to March 31 of next year. Republicans are questioning the administration’s authority to change the law without congressional authorization.
“This is a law that the president continues to figure isn’t the law… If we’re going to make changes in the law, we ought to do it legislatively without the president just deciding that he can do it.”—Sen. John Barasso, Wyo., “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren”
A doctorate in ObamaCare? - Daily Caller reports ObamaCare enrollment is complex enough to warrant its own graduate level course at the University of Texas at Austin: “The university’s LBJ School of Public Affairs will give aspiring PhD students academic credit for examining the Obamacare enrollment process.”
[Watch Fox: Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich, discusses his proposed legislation to allow all Americans to keep their existing health insurance policies in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
SPOOKS REBUFF OBAMA’S CLAIMED IGNORANCE ON SPYING
White House leaks this week have portrayed President Obama as having been kept in the dark about spying on key American allies, particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Today, current and former intelligence officials are making that deniability sound a lot less plausible. From the LAT: “The White House and State Department signed off on surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign leaders … ‘…certainly the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.’”
[Noonan: “Mr Obama has gone from seeming like someone who doesn’t quite know what’s going on in his government to someone who doesn’t really want to. He has perfected a sense of surprise. He’s always finding out at just the moment you are, and feeling your indignation.”]
Obama may ban ally spying - NYT: “President Obama is poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allies, administration and congressional officials said Monday…. The White House said Monday evening that no final decision had been made on the monitoring of friendly foreign leaders. The administration will reserve the right to continue collecting intelligence in friendly countries that pertains to criminal activity, potential terrorist threats and the proliferation of unconventional weapons, according to several officials.”
Testimony today - Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Administration head Gen. Keith Alexander will testify today in a rare open session of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge tracks developments.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., discusses Benghazi in the 1 p.m. ET hour]
COBURN CALLS OUT PARK PORK - Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is unveiling today a report that highlights questionable spending at America’s national parks in the wake of allegations of political motivations in park closures during the recent partial federal shutdown. Among the examples: a $30 million marketing campaign to prepare for the Park Service’s centennial; $731,000 to investigate the cleaning needs of St. Louis’s Gateway Arch that did not result in any cleaning and $79,000 for a climate change survey. Correspondent Doug McKelway has the story. Coburn had some choice words for Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid during an NYC Young Republicans event Monday. “There's no comity with Harry Reid. I think he's an absolute a—hole.” NY Daily News has more.
[A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that government employees miss 50 percent more work for illness or other personal reasons than their private-sector counterparts. Hat tip to CNS News.]
RECORD FINE ON IMMIGRATION AS OBAMA SQUEEZES GOP - The federal government will slap Indian outsourcing giant Infosys with a record $35 million fine today for allegedly placing workers on visitor visas rather than work permits when they come stateside to work for big American corporate clients, WSJ reports. A settlement is expected today with a company spokesman telling the Journal that Infosys has set aside $35 million for the case. The fine sends a strong message to Infosys clients and other large American corporations that a crackdown is coming. That comes as the Obama administration is urging big businesses to ratchet up the pressure on House Republicans to accept a “comprehensive” Senate plan on immigration that loosens restrictions on guest worker visas and would grant permanent legal residency to millions of illegal immigrants. A coalition of about 600 mostly Republican leaders in business and agriculture have all ready begun to actively lobby close to 80 House Republicans this week to bring the legislation to the floor. Fox News has more.
Panel pushes immigration deal - Top conservative faith, law enforcement, and business leaders are in Washington to discuss comprehensive immigration reform. American Conservative Union head Al Cardenas and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist are participating.
ObamaCare Web site shields immigration status? - The Weekly Standard reports, “Under ‘Disclosure of immigration status,’ the site goes to great lengths to explain that Marketplaces, whether federal or state, are not permitted to ask for the immigration status of family members who are not applying for coverage or benefits.”
EPA DRAWS BIPARTISAN OUTRAGE - A bill from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to limit emissions from new power plants and require the agency to set rules for coal-fired power plants that incorporate “commercially feasible” technologies. Leaders and thousands from coal states will converge on Capitol Hill today to protest Obama administration policies. More from Fox News.
PERRY PRESSES ABORTION RESTRICTIONS - Fox News - Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, said Monday's court ruling won't stop his ongoing efforts to limit access to abortion. Perry issued a statement after a federal court in Austin struck down a key provision of the Texas law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. He said the restrictions reflect the “will and values” of Texas citizens.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Jason Karian looks at why support is waning for Socialist French President Francois Hollande’s calls for higher taxes on the wealthy for Quartz in Believe it or not, France may be losing its appetite for taxes. The reason may have to do with a too-cozy government relationship with the financial sector.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
[Listen to Fox: Vice President Dick Cheney joins Kilmeade and Friends in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.0 percent//Disapprove – 50.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 20.1 percent//Wrong Track – 73.0 percent
OBAMA TAKES NO CHANCES ON VIRGINIA VISIT - With a new poll from WaPo showing Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a 12-point advantage heading into next week’s Virginia gubernatorial election, the conditions are right for President Obama to make his first foray into the battleground contest. Obama kept his distance from trailing Democrat Creigh Deeds four years ago, but with the president in trouble on multiple fronts, especially his foundering new health-insurance program, Obama could benefit from being associated with a winning effort. There’s a downside for McAuliffe in Obama’s Sunday visit, though: McAuliffe will see an increasingly popular campaign surrogate replaced by an increasingly unpopular one. Former President Bill Clinton continues his multi-day pitch for McAuliffe with visits to James Madison University in Harrisonburg and later in Charlottesville.
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - And so do top candidates… Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli took the Center Seat on “Special report with Bret Baier” to face questions from the host and the members of the All-Star Panel.
Cuccinelli’s tax plan was a winner with male and female viewers, as tracked by Bing Pulse. Of note: Democrats agreed when Cuccinelli said Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s agenda would result in higher taxes and lower economic output. Cuccinelli’s quip, “I have never won a race without Republican, Independent and Democrat and Libertarian and vegetarian support,” saw viewer response spike to a high of 16,000 votes per minute.
Republicans, Democrats, and independents strongly agreed when Weekly Standard Senior Writer Stephen Hayes said ongoing concerns about the ObamaCare rollout debacle will mean pushback from blue-state senators in 2014 races. Democrats also agreed with Hayes when he described ObamaCare as “obnoxious paternalism.” Columnist Charles Krauthammer drew strong agreement from both genders when he said ObamaCare was part of the “liberal ideology Obama is imposing on the country” drawing comparisons to the president’s push for a green economy. A surge in viewer response came when Krauthammer said, “centrally planned economies don’t work.” Monday’s discussion drew 200,000 viewer votes. Take a deeper dive in the data here.
CONTRADICTORY ADS AGAINST MCCONNELL - Kentucky Democratic hopeful Allison Lundergran Grimes and Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin are both taking to the airwaves to attack Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his part in brokering the deal that ended the most recent partial government shutdown. But the two messages may be cancelling each other out. Bevin’s ad excoriates McConnell for working with Democrats on a deal to help end the government shutdown while Grimes assails the Senate Republican for being the cause of gridlock. McConnell’s campaign response: They’re both kind of right. A new ad from Team Mitch says McConnell has blocked Obama’s agenda while still “negotiating bipartisan deals to avert the fiscal disasters created by this administration.”
OBJECTIFYING HISTORY - A new book by Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian Institution’s undersecretary for history art and culture, puts America’s history into tangible form. Kurin’s new book, “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects,” is out today. It takes readers from prehistory to the digital age through the institution’s holdings with objects serious (Abraham Lincoln’s hat), silly (the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz”) and sublime (Julia Child’s kitchen). Buy it here.
JFK’S FLAME STILL BURNING - The temporary flame near President Kennedy’s gravesite will be transferred back to original the “eternal flame” location in Arlington National Cemetery today. The temporary flame was lit from the original eternal flame, and moved to a nearby location during construction on the gas and air lines that fuel the eternal flame site.
THAT’S ONE WAY TO GET A PHONE UPGRADE - A convenience store clerk in Winter Garden, Fla. was spared a potentially life-threatening injury during a robbery by his iPhone. More (including a photo of the life-saving device) from Bay News 9: “They were there for a while before they even realized that he had been shot. He had complained about having some chest pains and when they started looking in deeper, they realized his phone had a bullet lodged in it and it was damaged from it,” a police spokesman said. It’s just more proof that technology really is making life easier. In October of 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt had to write a 50-page speech and stuff it in his breast pocket to stop an assassin’s bullet.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…“You want a catastrophic plan which is very rational, but Jay Carney is saying, you know, 'you're too stupid to understand what you want.' Once you eliminate the market response… that's why it's not going to work.” --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.