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• Time’s up: Democrats corner Obama
• Baier Tracks: You know it’s bad when…
• WebMD paid to play up ObamaCare
• Contested ballots put Virginia Dem over the top
• Let’s do it (for the health insurance)
TIME’S UP: DEMOCRATS CORNER OBAMA - After six weeks of botches and bungles, Democrats are out of patience with President Obama’s failure to launch his signature health insurance entitlement program. A suggestion by former President Bill Clinton to allow Americans to keep health plans banned by ObamaCare was followed just hours later by a similar call from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. It was one thing when the plea came from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., a red-state Democrat who is fleeing a president deeply unpopular in her home state. But to have an electorally safe, reliably liberal, blue-state senator join the push means that the president is out of time. Even House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is saying he is not closing the door to voting for Rep. Fred Upton’s, R-Mich., proposal that would allow insurers to continue selling insurance plans that would otherwise be banned under the law. Fox News has more.
Oregon Democrat: Obama was “grossly misleading” - In an interview with Portland TV station KGW, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., took a hard line on President Obama’s decision not to honor the “if you like it” pledge. “I think the president saying you could stay with it and not being honest that a lot of these policies were going to get cancelled was grossly misleading to the American public and is causing added stress and added strife as we go through a really difficult time with health care,” he said. Watch here.
What to do? - The administration is still outwardly resisting calls for legislative changes to the sputtering law, but that can’t last. But none of the options on offer look good for ObamaCare. Delaying regulations that ban existing policies could deprive the entitlement program of much-needed enrollees and jeopardize the next phase of implementation when similar rules come down on the largest share of policies in employer-based insurance. Delaying the individual mandate might mean an accelerated “death spiral” for private insurance, too. But the scope of the problems and the depth of the online botch look larger than what can be fixed by executive order or tweaking regulations. If the president wants to bunker this out, he can. But Democrats look likely to make him veto a bipartisan bill if he aims to do that.
‘Tech surge’ or tech stall? - ObamaCare’s online woes are unlikely to be fixed by the end of the month. That’s according to an anonymous official who spoke with WaPo: “the insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time – about half its intended capacity.” An administration official tells Fox News the White House continues to expect the site will work for the vast majority of its users by the end of the month. President Obama said last week that the site would be “working the way that it is supposed to” by the end of the month.
The difference between Bubba and The One - From Power Play: “[President Obama] can’t do what Clinton suggests because if he did, the flaking mortar that holds together the law would start to fall out altogether. If America does not endure the coming crash, health insurance cannot be transformed in a historic, monumental, Obamian way…That’s the difference between politicians and ideologues. One cares about what you think. The other cares about what he thinks.”
Cats and dogs - The House Republican Conference is reminding President Obama about a previous promise he made to fix problems with his health law that could lead to lost coverage for the already insured. The GOPers have released a new Web video for comments Obama made at the 2010 House Republican retreat where he acknowledged his health law “had a few stray cats and dogs” that would prevent people from keeping their current coverage, but he confirmed they were in the process of “scrubbing it” to fix it.
“I’m inclined to agree with Bill Clinton… I think exactly what needs to be done is to repeal ObamaCare. I think it’s a serious, serious foul-up. Major, major problem in terms of the government trying to do more than it’s capable of doing.” –Former Vice President Dick Cheney, “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren.” Watch here.
Not too late? - Health experts are divided over whether proposed congressional measures to allow customers to keep insurance plans banned by ObamaCare will actually stave off the wave of cancellations. Some warn even with the passage of such measures, state insurance commissioners would have to expedite the re-opening of cancelled plans--a process which usually takes months. Others point to California where the insurance commissioner forced one insurer to delay cancellations for over 100,000 people due to a technicality. The Weekly Standard’s John McCormick makes the case for why it’s not too late.
[Fox News Poll Watch: New Polls released on ObamaCare, the economy, foreign policy, immigration, and the potential 2016 matchups during “Special Report with Bret Baier” in the 6 p.m ET hour]
BAIER TRACKS: YOU KNOW IT’S BAD WHEN…“When a New York Times above-the-fold story starts with, ‘Under intense bipartisan pressure to answer mounting consumer complaints about the botched healthcare rollout...’ you may be having a bad day if you work in the Obama White House. With Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., joining red-state Democrats up for re-election next year -calling for legislation to keep President Obama’s original promise (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”) the Democratic stampede away from the president is likely just beginning. The next few days will be interesting to watch. As far as political spectacles or political implosions of a major policy initiative, this is as big and as ugly as many political observers can remember ... Ever.” – Bret Baeir
TOP TWEETS - @laurenashburn’s top tweet pick for this morning, Washington Examiner’s Byron York @byronyork: “Nexis database for NYT goes back to late 70s. Never in that time, until today, did paper use phrase ‘incorrect promise.’’’
Lauren Ashburnof “#MEDIABUZZ” tracks the Twitterverse every day in Top Twitter Talk.]
WHITE HOUSE TECH BOSS HEADS TO HILL - White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park will testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing today on the ObamaCare Web site, after the administration initially refused to make Park available, saying he was too busy to appear. In response, the congressional panel issued a subpoena, a move an administration spokesman called “unfortunate and unnecessary,” adding, “It wasn’t a question of if [Park would testify], it was a question of when.”
[Watch Fox: Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, previews today’s ObamaCare hearing in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Data insecurity - The House Homeland Security Committee looks at the mounting security concerns with healthcare.gov. The Committee’s head, Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, questions how safe personal data is once it is entered into the online portal and why the Department of Homeland Security was not involved with the implementation of the health Web site. Watch Fox – Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel is covering ObamaCare on Capitol Hill.
Minnesota’s mounting security scares - From the Daily Caller: “Months after sending 2,400 Social Security numbers to the wrong person, an audit of the Minnesota Obamacare exchange, MNsure, found that it lacked any proper security and privacy measures.”
[Watch Fox: Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, shares why he is calling for an end to the ObamaCare Navigators program in the 2 p.m. ET hour]
WebMD paid to play up ObamaCare - Web site WebMD is receiving millions of taxpayer dollars to sell ObamaCare. Contracts obtained by the Washington Times reveal the popular health site is being paid as much as $126,826 for a single 5,000-word review, $68,916 for a video from a specialist and over $140,000 for an eight-question online quiz. WebMD has offered favorable pieces on ObamaCare as the administration has heaped high praise on the consumer health site, all while neglecting to mention its cozy financial dealings.
THE OBAMACARE CRASH: REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES - Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., told Megyn Kelly he is one of the Americans who had his insurance plan cancelled because of ObamaCare. Gardner and his wife opted out of the congressional plan when he was elected in order to keep their private insurance. They just learned they are among the 250,000 people in Colorado who lost their health plans because of the law. Gardner also addressed controversial ads seeking to lure young Coloradans to buy ObamaCare to get contraception coverage. A young woman in one ad exclaims, “OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control.” Gardner said it was a distraction ploy. “What they are trying to do is change the subject,” Gardner told Kelly. “I wouldn't want my 9-year-old daughter to see this advertisement and I don't believe the president would want his daughter to see these ads.” Watch Gardner’s story here.
[Watch Fox: Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., discusses today’s ObamaCare hearings in the 1 p.m. ET hour]
OBAMA’S KILL LIST AT ISSUE IN HOMELAND HEARING - President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, is facing backlash from the left during his confirmation hearing today. Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International are asking the Senate to demand answers from Johnson over his influential role in the administration’s program of targeted killings. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge is following the latest developments.
Afghan opium boom - NYT reports a new UN study finds Afghanistan’s production of opium has surged to record levels. Afghanistan’s drug economy has helped fund the Islamist insurgency there. A diplomat told the paper, “We have failed, we have lost – that’s all there is to it.”
[Watch Fox: Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, discusses administration efforts to push a deal to allow Iran to keep its nuclear program in the 2 p.m. ET hour]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...National Review’s Jonah Goldberg considers how social media is providing a new level of accountability against poor character choices in Watch Out, Your Character Is Showing: “We now live in a society in which there’s always someone watching. Text-messaging, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, etc., amount to the new permanent record. In the past, if you embarrassed yourself in some horrendous way, you could often reinvent yourself simply by moving to a new town and starting fresh. Now your permanent record is in the Cloud and your scarlet letter can be found with a Google search.”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.4 percent//Disapprove – 53.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 21.8 percent//Wrong Track – 70.9 percent
@laurenashburn’s top tweet pick for this morning, Washington Examiner’s Byron York @byronyork: “Nexis database for NYT goes back to late 70s. Never in that time, until today, did paper use phrase ‘incorrect promise.’’’
Lauren Ashburnof “#MEDIABUZZ” tracks the Twitterverse every day in Top Twitter Talk.]
PAUL: BEGHAZI DISQUALIFIES HILLARY - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., hit hard against 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a speech in the early-primary state of South Carolina. Paul said the former secretary of state’s response to the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya last year disqualifies her from serving as commander-in-chief. “Her failure to provide our ambassador and his mission with adequate security should preclude Hillary Clinton from ever holding high office again,” Paul said in a speech to cadets at The Citadel. Paul suggested the decision not to send additional troops to Benghazi the night of the attack was made by a politician, not a military commander, adding, “We should never have a commander in chief who is unwilling to send in troops for reinforcement.” Paul also hit back against fellow Republicans, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who have suggested that the Kentucky senator’s libertarian leanings were dangerous on national security. Paul’s attack on Clinton drew applause from the school’s cadets.
WALKER DETAILS THREATS FROM UNION FIGHT - In his forthcoming book, Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., says protestors angered by his budget law curbing collective bargaining powers of government worker unions at one point blocked his exit from a manufacturing plant, then surrounded his police cruiser while “beating on the windows and rocking the vehicle.” Read excerpts from “Uninitiated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge.”
[The Supreme Court will consider whether unions can pressure employers into so-called “neutrality agreements,” in which an employer agrees not to fight a unionization attempt. Correspondent Shannon Bream has the latest in today’s arguments.]
WARREN’S BANK BASHING STOKES 2016 SPECULATION - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said, “I am confident that David can beat Goliath” during a Tuesday address to liberal activists. While her comments were in the context of pushing further banking regulations, they could preview a potential match up between the first-term Massachusetts senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Washington Examiner has more.
CONTESTED BALLOTS PUT VIRGINIA DEM OVER THE TOP - Republican Mark Obenshain led the race for Virginia attorney general by 1,262 votes after Election Day, but as Democrat-heavy Fairfax County sifted through contested ballots, Democrat Mark Herring surged ahead, and now leads by 163 votes in the final tally submitted to state elections officials. The final count has to be certified by Nov. 25 and the losing candidate has 10 days after that to petition for a re-count. GOPers are fuming because of a controversial executive order from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose own personal scandals hobbled gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli. McDonnell overrode Republican lawmakers to give Virginia felons the right to vote, perhaps tipping the scales against Obenshain. McDonnell last month touted having given some 6,800 felons the right to vote in this year’s contest. Read the latest from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
AND THAT WAS JUST JIM’S WARMUP! - WaPo’s Dana Milbank details how Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., fumbled and bumbled when asked about reports of ObamaCare’s low enrollment numbers. When pressed by Fox News Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle during a Tuesday conference call, Hagan replied, “You know... I know the – I believe this coming Friday, those numbers are going to be published and uh, you know, as soon as I see them, you know, obviously it’s, it’s m-much fewer than the administration expected.”
BIDEN BASHES RIVAL’S PRACTICE OF CHRISTIANITY - Vice President Joe Biden attacked Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for his opposition to the administration’s push for an overhaul to immigration laws saying, “[King] may be a good Christian, but his comments sure the hell aren’t, excuse my language.” Biden made the remarks on a conference call with liberal Catholic activists. Politico has details.
LEFT ISSUES GAG ORDER FOR WAPO’S COHEN - Liberals are fuming over a column by one of their own, WaPo’s Richard Cohen. Cohen attacked the views of “cultural conservatives” in his Tuesday column saying conservative Republicans were too unsophisticated to nominate Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. Cohen explained what he thinks Tea Partiers think by describing New York’s newly elected Democratic Mayor, Bill de Blasio: “People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York – a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts – but not all – of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.”
Attack! - Cohen meant to congratulate himself and others on the left for not holding“conventional views,” but writing these words, even in the context of putting them in the mouths of conservatives was too much for liberals. HuffPo wrote, “Dear Washington Post: Please Fire This Man.” Esquire offered “Stop this Man Before He Writes Something Again.” Salon said “Richard Cohen: Please Fire Me.” Cohen defended his comments to WaPo saying, “What I was doing was expressing not my own views but those of extreme right-wing Republican tea party people… I don’t have a problem with interracial marriage or same-sex marriage. In fact, I exult in them. It’s a slander”
LET’S DO IT (FOR THE HEALTH INSURANCE) - The city council in Chattanooga, Tenn. has approved benefits for same-sex partners of city employees as well as those who are part of live-in heterosexual relationships, but there is a catch. You’ve got to get it on. From The Chattanoogan: “The ordinance… allows benefits to the partners of same-sex city employees as well as partners of unmarried opposite-sex partners in a ‘non-platonic’ relationship.” Council Vice Chairman Chip Henderson challenged the qualification that relationships must be sexual in order to be considered partnerships saying, “There may be some husbands and wives out there who do not qualify.”
[Ed. note: The trouble will really be if the HR department wants proof.]
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…“We have not just ObamaCare unraveling, not just the Obama administration unraveling, not just the Democrat majority in the Senate, but we could be looking at the collapse of American liberalism. ObamaCare is the big thing for them. The biggest in 100 years. ” – Charles Krauthammer, on “The O’Reilly Factor”
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.