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• He lied: Voters say Obama knew about dropped plans
• GOP strategy rift… again
• A Fed head to love or dread?
• Liberals dominate outside spending
• Poultry pal
TRUST DEFICIT LIMITS OBAMA OPTIONS - The White House is trying very hard to pretend that the world isn’t falling to pieces right now – sending President Obama off to Ohio to tout global warming curbs and his economic plan and then on to another fundraiser tonight. But as new enrollment numbers show, the prognosis for Obama’s central policy ambition looks dire. It’s becoming increasingly clear that ObamaCare is headed for some major surgery in Congress. So what does the president want to do? For a chief executive famous for an inability to deal with lawmakers, even of his own party, the weeks ahead look perilous. Democrats, including most moderates and some liberals, are decrying the administration’s botched rollout and decision not to honor Obama’s campaign promise to allow Americans to keep their health plans. And the president has precious little political capital to bring them around to protecting his law.
[One month ago, the Fox New poll showed Democrats leading Republicans by 8 points in the generic congressional ballot. Now, Republicans lead by 3 points.]
A damaged brand - A new Fox News poll finds half of respondents believe the president knowingly lied when he made the notorious “you can keep it” pledge, while 40 percent said Obama didn’t know that the promise wouldn’t be kept. Nearly 60 percent believe the administration knew ahead of time that people would be kicked off their insurance because of the law, and 55 percent think the White House has “tried to deceive” people about it. As for his recent apology to Americans losing their health insurance because of ObamaCare, a majority believe it was “mostly for political reasons.” That trust breach has badly damaged the president. Obama’s job ratings have sunk to an all-time low, with 55 percent disapproving of his performance. Perceptions of his leadership skills are also in trouble. Voters are three times as likely to view his leadership as poor (39 percent) compared to excellent (13 percent). On the issues: a record-high 61 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care, and an even higher 66 percent disapprove of the president’s handling of the deficit.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., appears in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
Can you believe in change? - Over the past two weeks, the White House has been trying to draw a new firewall on changes to ObamaCare. Administrative fixes turned into an openness to talking about legislation to, on Wednesday, praising a bill from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would force President Obama to honor his campaign pledge. Today, Senate Democrats will meet with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to vent and strategize. A similar session on Wednesday with House Democrats got quite heated, with several lawmakers coming out fuming. House members face a painful vote Friday as Republicans bring forward a plan to allow all Americans to enroll in any current policy, even if it is banned by ObamaCare. A senior House Democrat told the administration, “No more excuses, just get it done!” To further complicate matters, officials working on healthcare.gov told a House Panel Wednesday they were unsure of how much it would cost to fix the site, after $600 million has already been spent. Read more from Fox News.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., discusses today’s hearing about ObamaCare’s Web site in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
ObamaCare architect won’t say when “if you like it” pledge expired - One of the chief architects of ObamaCare, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel got into a testy exchange Wednesday with Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.” Pressed on when the president decided to renege on his “if you like it” pledge, Emanuel, brother of former White House Chief of Staff turned Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, refused to say. He suggested that the law is, at most, accelerating the demise of the millions of policies that would have eventually been cancelled anyway. “Look, the insurance industry was not forced to cancel anyone,” Emanuel told Kelly. “They cancelled people before. They see the individual market as going away and they are getting out of it.” Watch the full exchange here.
[“The only way to stop these problems is to admit this idea was fundamentally flawed to begin with…We've got to start over, and you know at this point starting over, stopping ObamaCare, I think it is the essence of pragmatism.”—Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, “On the Kelly File.” Watch here.]
GOP STRATEGY RIFT, AGAIN - ‘De-fund’ proponent says GOP must nix fix - Erick Erickson, proprietor of redstate.com and a Fox News contributor, says voting to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance plans is “a trap.” Erickson argues voting to block the ObamaCare regulations banning millions of individual policies “gives the Democrats the offense back. Republicans will absolutely flub the response and, embarrassed, vote for [a Senate version].” Erickson, a leading proponent of the “de-fund” movement ahead of last month’s government shutdown, writes, “[House Republicans] need to just demand full repeal of Obamacare – not let Democrats like [Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.] save themselves while claiming to fix the unfixable.”
…or is the fix really the nix for ObamaCare - Washington Examiner’s David Drucker has the skinny from the plan to undermine the law: “‘Remember the strategy for stopping Obamacare we laid out to you back in July,’ [Speaker John Boehner] said, according to a source in the room. ‘Aggressive, coordinated oversight; targeted legislative strikes aimed at shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation.’”
BOEHNER BACKS OFF IMMIGRATION - House Speaker John Boehner, signaled Wednesday that he would not bring the Senate’s sweeping immigration overhaul up for a vote. Boehner told reporters that House lawmakers wouldn't vote on any immigration measure as Republicans sought to clarify “principles” behind the legislation. WSJ has the details.
[George Will: “[T]he majority leader is a Democrat… whose party has one overriding interest: turning as many of the 11 million into voters as fast as possible. They are holding all immigration reforms hostage to this objective. Which shall be the case unless and until [Mitch McConnell] is majority leader.”]
A FED HEAD TO LOVE OR DREAD? - Senate Republicans have vowed to hold up President Obama’s nominee to lead the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. The complaints about Yellen, who favors continuing aggressive measures to prop up the economy through lax monetary policy, cover a wide gamut of issues. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is joining Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in his vow to block Yellen until there is a vote on Paul’s measure to audit the secretive central bank. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have pledged to block all of the president’s nominees until more answers are provided over the Benghazi attacks. Yellen’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee starts today.
What Yellen will say - Yellen, currently the Fed’s vice chairman, will testify that while unemployment is down, the economy and labor market are still performing short of their potential, and must improve before the Fed ends its massive monetary stimulus – some $85 billion each month. In her prepared remarks, she wrote, “A strong recovery will ultimately enable the Fed to reduce its monetary accommodation and reliance on unconventional tools such as asset purchases.”
Background briefing: Hawks say: The secretive bankers are gambling with your future. That’s the take from Fox Business’John Stossel writing for the magazine Reason. For readers who think the Federal Reserve is boring, Stossel says, “The Fed can destroy your savings and your future. The current crew of Fed bureaucrats has raised the Fed’s balance sheet to a stunning 4 trillion dollars.” He describes it as a “tiny handful of powerful people [who are attempting] to fine-tune the entire economy…continually goosing economic activity through infusions of new cash to maintain the illusion that good times will never falter.” But Stossel says the reality is the Federal Reserve is too powerful, and risks dragging down the economy with its policies of propping up too-big-to-fail banks.
But doves cry, ‘Wait!’: America’s financial sector needs a cushion, even an imperfect one, in order to keep lending and investing going on Main Street. That’s the view from American Action Forum boss Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, in a Reuters opinion piece:“While the Fed’s actions in response to the 2008 financial crisis are certainly open to criticism, the creation and expansion of various credit and lending programs were aimed at calming the financial markets and maintaining the liquidity of specific financial instruments. It was not about befriending winners and giving the cold shoulder to losers.”
REGULATION NATION: EPA OVERREACH? - Environmental Protection Agency Director Gina McCarthy will be questioned by a House panel today about the agency’s 6,000 proposals for new regulations. This comes as a new AP investigation has revealed the EPA’s proposed regulations are not only overreaching but its push for ethanol production may be harming the environment as well. Watch Fox – Correspondent Shannon Bream is tracking the developments.
TSA BOSS GETS HOUSE PAT DOWN - Transportation Security Administration boss John Pistole faces questions from House investigators today over a new Government Accountability Office report that shows the agency wasted up to $1 billion on a failed behavioral profiling initiative.
HOSTILE HOTEL SCENE PUTS HEAT BACK ON SECRET SERVICE - Two Secret Service agents have been removed from President Obama’s detail after reports of misconduct, according to WaPo. One incident involves allegations a Secret Service agent tried to force his way into a woman’s room at Washington’s Hay-Adams hotel this past spring. In another instance, agency officials found the accused man, a senior supervisor who oversaw about two dozen agents in the president’s security detail, and another supervisor sent “sexually suggestive” e-mails to a female subordinate. An internal investigation is ongoing. This comes as the Secret Service is trying to restore its reputation after a prostitution scandal during a presidential trip in Cartagena, Colombia last year. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan defended the agency in a statement, saying, “We have always maintained that the Secret Service has a professional and dedicated workforce…Periodically we have isolated incidents of misconduct, just like every organization does.”
HOUSE MEMBERS PROCEED WITH HOLDER IMPEACHMENT - A handful of House Republicans intend to introduce articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder today. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, drafted the articles which charge Holder with lying to Congress and failing to uphold the law in the wake of the deadly Fast and Furious gunrunning operation. Ten other House Republicans, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., have joined the effort. Olson told Breitbart, “If [Holder] won’t resign, we will force him to resign through impeachment. Plain and simple.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...WSJ’s Daniel Henninger considers how President Obama’s understanding of individual liberty differs from the president he sought to emulate, Abraham Lincoln in Obama’s Gettysburg Bypass: “Lincoln, the Illinois frontier lawyer who spoke of a nation ‘conceived in liberty,’ would be aghast to see the piling up of laws, rules, must-dos and must-not-dos that pervade the American workplace, judicial code, commerce, health care, education, and even, of all things, common speech… We will wait for some future president to renew the full meaning of Lincoln's ideas at that Gettysburg battlefield.”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.7 percent//Disapprove – 53.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 22.0 percent//Wrong Track – 71.1 percent
TOP TWEETS - @laurenashburn’s top tweet pick for this morning from the Heritage Foundation’s @JimDeMint: “RT @Heritage_Action: MORE PEOPLE HAVE _______ THAN HAVE SIGNED UP FOR OBAMACARE --> heritageaction.com/2013/11/people… #haction #MoreThanAGlitch”
Lauren Ashburnof “#MEDIABUZZ” tracks the Twitterverse every day in Top Twitter Talk.]
MESSINA GETS READY FOR HILLARY - President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina and leading liberal activist John Podesta are in discussions to join the board of the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA as it prepares to shift to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 effort, BuzzFeed reports. Messina serves as chairman for the president’s ongoing campaign arm, Organizing for Action, and regularly consults for the Democratic National Committee.
[Hillary Clinton will be awarded the “American Patriot Award” from the National Defense University at a ceremony tonight at Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building. The distinction goes to those who have “our nation’s strategic interests and advanced global security.”]
LIBERALS DOMINATE OUTSIDE POLITICAL SPENDING - A study by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit partly funded by billionaire George Soros, found liberal groups spent far more on state elections in 2012 than their conservative counterparts – 23 times more, by one measure. From the Daily Caller: “…outside nonprofits and super PACs spent at least $209 million on state elections, but pro-Democratic Party groups outspent their Republican counterpoints by about $8 million.”
PAUL SAYS CHRISTIE BOUGHT LANDSLIDE WITH FEDERAL FUNDS - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is why Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., was reelected in a landslide. “Well, his victory was, in large form, based on that he got a lot of federal money for his state,” Paul told Philadelphia talk radio host Dom Giordano. “The problem is…unlimited spending is sort of – you could call it moderate, or even Liberal, to think that there’s an unlimited amount of money, even for good causes.”
[Watch Fox: Correspondent John Roberts followed Paul during his recent two day swing through S.C. and looks at how he may be setting the stage for a 2016 run]
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - If Americans are allowed to keep their current insurance, ObamaCare would be doomed. That was the consensus among viewer voters via Bing Pulse during Wednesday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” All-Star Panel. Voters from all parties widely agreed with George Will’s charge “there’s no need to repeal ObamaCare” if Republicans pass a bill allowing Americans to keep their current policies because it would make the health law “disappear.” Juan Williams saw disagreement across the spectrum when he claimed everyone knew there would be a “churn in the insurance market as a result of ObamaCare.”
Discussion of changes to the president’s faltering health law saw some of the highest levels of viewer engagement. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg saw a surge in viewer interaction when stated cancelled insurance policies were not a “bug” but a “feature” of ObamaCare. Intensity spiked to 40,000 votes per minute when Will discussed the president’s precarious position of supporting changes to ObamaCare, saying, “I do not see how the president on the one hand can endorse it on the other hand I don't see how he can stop Democrats voting to save their career.” Bing Pulse saw 299,000 viewers weigh in, view the full results here.
THE JUDGE’S RULING - Judge Andrew Napolitano considers what the case of FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter means for a free press for Fox News opinion in Freedom and federalism: “Jana voted with her feet and chose to live and work in the most First Amendment-friendly state in the union. She should be protected by New York law. If she is not, then all reporters will lose their confidential sources, and all Americans will be in the dark when whistleblowers know awful truths but are unwilling to pay the price of public revelation.”
SECRETS SURFACE - Its missions still remain top secret, but the Navy is pulling back the veil on NR-1, a deep-diving submarine previously said to have been a research craft. AP has the details on the secret sub, parts of which are being put on display in Groton, Conn.: “Toby Warson, who served as commander from 1970-73, said he once led the sub on a hazardous military operation in the Mediterranean. The mission, code-named ‘Raccoon Hook,’ earned him a distinguished service medal, he said, but he has had to keep the details to himself. ‘I finally had to quit wearing the ribbon because when I walked into the officers' club, everyone asked how I got it, and I couldn't tell them,’ said Warson…”
POULTRY PAL - Carla Thomas, of Merton, Wis., is fighting to keep her service animal. The problem is it’s a goose. Thomas says that in the wake of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, her goose, Mable, helps reduce her owner’s anger levels and blood pressure. That’s why Thomas drives with Mable and is often seen walking the goose on a leash. Neighbors in the Milwaukee suburb, though, say the goose doesn’t make them more tranquil. Mabel’s nocturnal honking is keeping them up at night. WISN has the story.
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.