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• Dems in a ‘fix’
• Moderates triangulate against Obama
• Liberals in foul fury
• Obama huddles with insurance partners
• And no, you can’t keep the cannon…
DEMS IN A ‘FIX’ - How many House Democrats will vote for a bill today that would enforce President Obama’s infamous “if you like it” pledge on health insurance? That’s the question as the White House watches a growing revolt against the president among both moderate and liberal Democrats. Rather than a “fix,” the president’s offer to not enforce his own regulation banning millions of insurance plans seems to have deepened Democratic despair over the troubled law. The White House has already said the president will veto a bill from Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. But Obama threatened a veto in July of another measure delaying a tax penalty for uninsured Americans and still saw 35 Democrats revolt. The law and Obama’s presidency were in much better shape back then. The stage is set for a stinging rebuke.
[“We want certainty to this. Who’s to say [President Obama] doesn’t change his mind a week or two or maybe even a few months down the road, that’s why our bill is a better answer – because who knows how his executive order is going to be tested.” –Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.,“On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” Upton, appears on the Fox News Channel in the 10 a.m. ET hour today.]
MODERATES TRIANGULATE AGAINST OBAMA - Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., offered tepid praise for the president’s proposal while maintaining that she isn’t opposed to bipartisan legislative fixes. With the latest Gallup poll now showing 55 percent of Americans souring on the bill, Democrats want to undo the damage. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told the New York Times “When you start losing the trust and confidence, not only of Congress, but the American people, that makes it even more difficult.” All signs indicate that Clintonite Senate Democrats will be pushing to cement Obama’s administrative move and likely expand it.
Campaign Carl Cameron is watching: “Can Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and one or two other Senate Democrats facing tough reelections can combine for a grandstand stink big enough to force Harry Reid to bring their Obamacare fix bills to the Senate floor for votes? For the right senator, it could be a huge and politically profitable gamble.
On the GOP side, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have shown there is little hesitation to shut down the Senate to make a point on behalf of the folks back home. It would be amazing to discover that Senate Democrats have the stomach and mindset for such a move.”
[Watch Fox: Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., appears in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Quack, quack - Democrats, having found that they can make their lame-duck president quack, will keep shoving. If Bill Clinton can make Obama do this – abandon a central tenet of the law – with a few lines on an Internet TV show, what depredations are to come? Get out your duck calls, Senate Democrats. It’s going to be open season. Read more in the Power Play column.
[Hagan knew cancellations were coming - A spokeswoman for Sen. Kay Hagan’s, D-N.C., told a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record that Hagan knew policies would be cancelled under ObamaCare. “Once insurance companies began disingenuously offering plans that they knew they would be canceling it became clear that more people would be getting cancellation letters,” spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said. She later admitted, “Yeah, I could have phrased that better.” Breitbart has details.]
LIBERALS IN FOUL FURY - “I don’t know how he f—-ed this up so badly.” That’s what one House Democrat told Politico of President Obama’s health-law launch, and that seems to be the pervading sentiment among Democrats in Washington today. The president’s repeated apologies and another round of confusing administrative changes are doing nothing to reassure lawmakers that the news is bound to get better. If anything, expectations are for more pain to come. With moderates jumping ship, liberals, like House Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., are upset that the president is chasing after the law’s halfhearted supporters. He told the Hill he feels the change undermines ObamaCare and that the president should just plunge ahead. “I think (Obama) should do everything humanly imaginable to get (the website) fixed as fast as possible and press on.”
Rebellion roundup - WaPo Opinion Writer Ruth Marcus: Obama’s political malpractice//WaPo Editorial Board: A troubling ‘fix’ for Obamacare//New York Times Editorial Board: “[The president’s ‘fix’] raises a few troubling questions, most of which cannot be answered quickly.”//The Hill: Liberal Dem: Obama undermined law//USA Today Editorial Board: Obama prescribes ugly fix for Obamacare: Our View//Los Angeles Times Editorial: “Allowing people to keep their current policies…is a desperate attempt to fulfill a promise Obama never should have made.”
[Noonan: “People are wondering if we are seeing the end of liberalism. We are not. Liberalism, a great and storied American political tradition, will survive this. But progressivism—liberalism without blood—has been badly, deeply damaged. We are seeing the end of its first major emanation, ObamaCare.”]
Constitutional questions - It’s not often that Charles Krauthammer and former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., agree. But both are asking questions over the constitutionality of President Obama’s proposal, with many legal experts saying he has already violated his own law by pushing delays through executive decree. –Watch Fox: Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen talks with legal experts about the president’s broad enforcement discretion.
Officials forecast crash early on - HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao in July feared that problems with ObamaCare’s online home could “crash the plane at take-off.” Emails obtained by Reuters show top officials involved in the development of the beleaguered Web site suffering a midsummer confidence crash.
[National Journal: Thanks to Obamacare, Now Republicans Are the Ones Who Feel our Pain]
AN IMPOSSIBLE ‘FIX’ FOR OBAMA’S INSURANCE PARTNERS? - President Obama will sit down with insurance industry executives today in the wake of an outraged response from the industry over his surprise changes to his law. Industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans warned in a statement that the president’s move “could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers.” The group was the key ally for Obama in winning passage for the law in 2010. Insurers will now scramble to renew millions of policies in the coming days; if they can. Remember, the Obama administration took three years to build a Web site that didn’t work. Daily Caller hasmore. – Watch Fox: Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle talks to insurance industry experts to find the impact of President Obama’s administrative fix.
BENGHAZI ATTACKERS KNEW AMBASSADOR’S LOCATION - Islamist militants knew the location of a safe room where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and his security team sought shelter during the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. That’s what a congressman who spoke for 90 minutes with the diplomatic security agent badly injured in the assault told Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge last summer. The widow of Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., who died last month, has given the Fox News Channel permission to make public the comments her husband made in a background briefing. “They knew where the gasoline was, they knew where the generators were, they knew where the safe room was,” Young told Herridge. “They knew more than they should have about that compound.” Read more.
You ain’t going nowhere - Syria’s rebels are increasingly fragmented and power has tilted toward Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad in the wake of a deal brokered by the U.S. and Russia. Reuters reports that the Putin pact has “wrong-footed the rebels, now under intense U.S. and European pressure to attend talks in Geneva with a vague agenda.” Some analysts worry the negotiations could turn long and meandering, and Middle East expert Fawaz Gerges dubs them “a process without peace.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar considers the predicament for environmentalists ahead of next year’s elections in What Do Green Groups Want More: Saving the Planet or Saving the Senate?: “With President Obama’s chaotic health care rollout panicking many vulnerable Senate Democrats, control of the Senate is looking like it will be within the GOP’s grasp in 2014. But despite their bullishness about the public’s receptivity to their issues, environmental groups could end up sidelined from next year’s biggest political battleground.”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.3 percent//Disapprove – 54.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 22.0 percent//Wrong Track – 71.1 percent
HILLARY STAYS HAWKISH - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear with Secretary of State John Kerry and former first lady Laura Bush at Georgetown University for a symposium on the plight of Afghan women. The event is hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. Alliance in Support of the Afghan People, and the U.S. Afghan Women's Council, of which Clinton and Bush are both co-chairwomen.
KENTUCKY GOP GROWING A FRONTRUNNER? - Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will return $1.65 million to commonwealth taxpayers after eliminating a failed fuel lab that was costing over $600,000 a year. The lab was purchased by the previous administration and has since been privatized. Comer will be joined by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. to make the announcement. Comer is considered a rising star in the commonwealth’s GOP and an early frontrunner should he make a gubernatorial bid. So far, Republicans have been struggling to find a candidate to replace Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, prevented by term limits from running a third time in 2015.
LOUISIANA SATURDAY NIGHT - The winner of Saturday’s runoff election in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District will be a Republican, that’s for sure. Conservative state Sen. Neil Riser is sparring with moderate businessman Vance McAllister for the chance to serve out the term of Rep. Rodney Alexander, who retired in August to become the state’s secretary of Veteran’s Affairs. AP has details.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY PREVIEW: DYNASTIES - Liz Cheney, who hopes to unseat Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., will join Chris Wallace to talk about her primary bid. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., will reflect on the legacy of their uncle, President John F. Kennedy, fifty years after his assassination. “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.
MORE WINE, MADAM? - Free wine and cheese while you ride the train? Amtrak provides the complimentary service on some of its long-distance routes. And while it may sound nice, it cost the company a whopping $428,000 last year. That’s according to Amtrak Inspector General Ted Alves, who told a congressional panel Thursday that the troubled rail company lost $72 million on its food and beverage service in 2012. Amtrak also spent $260,000 on complimentary meals for passengers traveling free on employee benefits. Alves said the company should consider “fundamental changes” to its concessions service in order to meet its financial challenges. Fox News has more.
AND NO, YOU CAN’T KEEP THE CANNON…Brian Malta, 52, of Kiantone, N.Y., has been charged with harassment for repeatedly firing his Civil War cannon at neighbors during an ongoing dispute. Deputies have seized the antique field artillery. They say the cannon was fired with only a powder charge and wadding. AP reports.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…“This is all about preventing an open rebellion among Democrats, which was provoked by the Clinton remarks.” –Charles Krauthammer on “The Kelly File”
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.