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• Obama not too busy for fundraisers
• Axelrod defends ‘redistribution’
• Will Congress sanction Kerry’s Iran nuke deal?
• GOP could contest Virginia results
• 17 Web sites that work better than ObamaCare’s
OBAMA NOT TOO BUSY FOR FUNDRAISERS - It doesn’t seems like a good time for a half-dozen fundraisers and a West Coast campaign swing, but President Obama is grinding out two days of glad-handing in Seattle, San Francisco and Beverly Hills. Recall that Obama’s top communications aide last week said that the president could not attend the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Gettysburg Address because of the ObamaCare crash. “Oh, I don't know, there's this whole website thing that someone suggested might destroy the Dem Party,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer to questions about Obama’s absence. While he’s on the Left Coast, Obama will rally supporters of his immigration plan, but spend most of his time hoovering up donations from his backers in the tech and entertainment industries, including with “Friends” co-creator Marta Kaufmann and Magic Johnson. Fox News has more.
[Ed. Note: One wonders what the executives from Microsoft and Google think about being asked to pony up again for a politician who is now the author of the most famous technical failure in federal history.]
AXELROD DEFENDS ‘REDISTRIBUTION’ - There has been much murmuring on the left because of President Obama’s apology over having made his “if you like it” pledge. The central concern among the president’s base is that his apology was sincere and that he either did not understand his own law or has lost heart for what is an intentionally redistributive program. Liberals hope the promise and apology were insincerely rendered and that Obama is still committed to the essence of his law: shifting wealth from those who have health insurance to those who do not. John Harwood’s Sunday NYT piece is helping reassure liberals that the president knew what he was doing and that his public comments have been insincere. “‘The reality is, any big thing you take on, any big change, is hard to accomplish,’ said David Axelrod, the president’s longtime strategist. In America, he said, ‘we’ve created a sense that everyone can expect to win — nobody has to sacrifice.’ At the same time, Mr. Axelrod argued that widening income inequality has, to some Americans at least, changed the meaning of redistribution. ‘The whole redistribution argument has shifted in the country because there’s a sense that a lot of redistribution has been to the top and not the bottom,’ Mr. Axelrod said.”
[Iran deal, climate change, immigration reform aside, The Hill’s “For flailing Obama, it’s about fixing healthcare, stupid” details how the ObamaCare mess is like quicksand for the president’s second term agenda]
You ain’t seen nothing yet - While Health Department officials scramble to complete the crash-prone ObamaCare Web site, including the portion that accepts payments and directs subsidies, the IRS is staring down its own deadline for enforcing the law. From the WaPo: “Whether the new law can be enforced will be up to the Internal Revenue Service, an already beleaguered agency charged under the act with carrying out nearly four dozen new tasks…those efforts have been hampered by a one-year delay in applying new insurance regulations to large employers... If healthy citizens think there is little likelihood of credible enforcement of a dubious new law, many may decide to flout the insurance requirement, which could lead to a dangerous concentration of elderly and sick people in the insurance pools.”
[Carolyn Mayle, who led the effort to block a “public option” in ObamaCare for BlueCross and BlueShield is joining K Street’s Bockorny Group. Announcement later today.]
SPEAKER’S STICKER SHOCK - Speaker John Boehner discovered his premiums would nearly double, and his deductible would almost triple when he recently shopped around healthcare.gov. “So here’s the bottom line: before Obamacare, through the program for all federal employees the Boehners’ monthly premiums totaled $433 with a $700 deductible. Now, the Boehners will pay around $800 per month, with deductibles somewhere near $2000,” said a Boehner spokesman in response to a Fox News inquiry about higher costs for Boehner and his wife. “Of course, the speaker and Mrs. Boehner are fortunate enough to be able to afford these higher costs. They’re not asking anyone to feel sorry for them. We stress that. We are only providing this information for the sake of transparency.”
[Watch Fox: Correspondent William La Jeunesse considers how smokers will face 50 percent higher premiums under ObamaCare and are not eligible for subsidies, while treatments for obesity and alcoholism are treated differently.]
NRCC HITS DEMS ON 2014 OBAMACARE DELAY
The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching on online ad barrage today to over the Obama administration move last week to delay the announcement of next year’s rates. The Facebook ads target vulnerable House Dems, including John Tierney, D-Mass., Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H, Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
[Watch Fox: Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., discusses ObamaCare in the noon ET hour]
GQ: OBAMA ‘LEAST INFLUENTIAL’ - President Obama lands at number 17 GQ’s list of the 25 least influential people of 2013 because “nothing gets done.” Obama joins the likes of Miley Cyrus, Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner and Dennis Rodman (who takes the number one spot on the list of “impotent megalomaniacs”).
[Heard on Fox: “The Kelly File” looks at disruptions ahead in hospital care under ObamaCare.]
WILL CONGRESS SANCTION KERRY’S IRAN NUKE DEAL? - Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” the nuclear deal struck between Iran and Western powers is a victory for the Tehran regime. The agreement eases sanctions on Iran and will send billions of dollars to the Islamist government while still allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear program. The architect of the deal, Secretary of State John Kerry, defended the agreement on Sunday, telling ABC News that the deal allows “intrusive” inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and limits the country's ability to enrich uranium. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., both voiced similar concerns about the deal, suggesting Kerry may face challenges in getting Congress to stay out of it. The Kerry plan sets a six-month timetable for Iran to cooperate with international inspectors. He needs Congress to honor his agreement and not try to impose additional or replacement sanctions in the interim. Given President Obama’s weakened political condition, Kerry might not be able to count on his boss to veto a bipartisan bill cracking down on Iran. Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Zarif told NBC News, “If there are new sanctions, then there is no deal.” Kerry warned Congress Saturday the President could veto any such opposition.
Obama tries to soothe Israelis - President Obama sought to allay Israeli anxieties over the Kerry nuke deal in a half-hour talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. Netanyahu called the deal with Iran an “historic mistake.” AP has more.
[Watch Fox: Elliot Abrams, Deputy National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush, discusses Iran in the 11 a.m. ET hour]
Arms race - Fox News Security Analyst K.T. McFarland considers the potential for a Middle Eastern arms race for Fox News Opinion: “If we were independent of Middle East energy we would not be drawn into the internecine wars that have plagued the region for millennia. And, if the region is headed for a nuclear arms race, the last place we want to be is in the middle of it, still dependent on Arab oil.” – Watch Fox: McFarland appears to discuss her column in the 10 a.m. ET hour.
CAN RICE MAKE NICE? - National Security Adviser Susan Rice will meet today with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today in a bid to get the mercurial leader to accept a 10-year deal for the final U.S. troop withdrawal and aid guarantees. With analysts expecting Karzai’s corruption-plagued government to fall to powerful Taliban Islamists, the current president is not as keen on the deal as those who may hope to replace him. LAT has details: “In a dramatic face-to-face rebuke to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a grand council of Afghan dignitaries voted Sunday to approve a proposed 10-year security agreement with the United States by the end of the year, agreeing to an American-imposed deadline…Karzai remained adamant that he will not sign the accord until after the Afghan presidential election in April. That stubborn stance has infuriated U.S. officials, who Friday imposed a Dec. 31 deadline.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...J.T. McCormack applies the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement to the culture, vis-à-vis Thanksgiving shopping: “…remember when there was ONE place in town open for a few hours on Thanksgiving morning where you could grab an emergency carton of milk? Remember, how even that little store would be closed by 11am? Remember how the ride to grandma’s felt like a post-apocalyptic journey through a ghost town? Remember when someone told you that the big drugstore chain down the road was open til 3 on Thanksgiving? Remember when the supermarket stuck with its normal hours? Broken windows.” Read it all at Fox News Opinion.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 40.6 percent//Disapprove – 55.0 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 23.5 percent//Wrong Track – 67.9 percent
GOP COULD CONTEST VIRGINIA RESULTS - Democrat Mark Herring’s 164-vote victory in the race for Virginia attorney general is set to be certified by state election officials today. But the story may be far from over. Republican Mark Obenshain, who led the race by 1,262 votes after Election Day, but fell behind when Democrat-heavy Fairfax County sifted through contested ballots, has 10 days to petition for a recount. If the recount goes against the Republican, Obenshain still has the option to initiate a “contest” in which the 140-member Virginia legislature decides the attorney generalship by a majority vote. The Richmond Times Dispatch’s Jeff Schapiro explains: “That would be a minimum of 71. They shouldn’t be too difficult for Obenshain to round up. There are 87 Republican legislators. Many of them don’t like one bit that their party could be completely shut out of statewide office.” GOPers are already alarmed to see Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe’s pick of a controversial political aide for a top ethics post, adding urgency to calls to have a Republican as the state’s top law enforcement officer.
JERRY BROWN COY ON FOURTH TERM - Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., is considering re-election prospects in 2014, telling reporters last week, “I am aware that in November of next year there will be an election… I will make some decisions regarding that.” Just days later Brown was cozying up to Hollywood cash, including attending a fundraiser at Disney Studio head, Alan Horn. Brown has a nearly $17 million war chest and enjoys high approval ratings, positioning him well for an unprecedented fourth term. LAT has more.
OBAMA SUPER PAC GAVE MOST TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD - Priorities USA, the Super PAC President Obama endorsed for his re-election bid took in $8.4 million in 2012, $5.4 million of which came from unnamed donors. The Center for Public Integrity reports, the funds were primarily used to provide support for liberal groups. Planned Parenthood was the largest beneficiary, receiving $2.25 million from the Obama PAC.
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - The nuclear option did not have to be used -- that was the consensus of viewers during Friday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” All-Star Panel. As measured by Bing Pulse, all parties and genders agreed with columnist Charles Krauthammer’s charge that the change in Senate rules means, “there are no rules now.” All parties also agreed with Krauthammer that changes to filibuster rules should have been made in a bipartisan way. Viewer intensity surged when Krauthammer pointed out how the battle over the filibuster was, “a festival of hypocrisy on all sides.”
Viewers agreed with Kirsten Powers that the administration’s decision to delay ObamaCare’s 2015 enrollment a “political decision.” There was disagreement among viewers when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Web site problems have slowed enrollment. Krauthammer found widespread agreement when he noted Carney’s brazenness, saying, “they don’t pay him enough.” Bing Pulse measured 215,000 votes, take a deeper data dive here and don’t forget to make your voice heard.
BUT WHO’S THAT SCOTTISH GUY IN ENGINEERING? - AP: “Captain Kirk's futuristic-looking vessel sports cutting-edge technology, new propulsion and powerful armaments, but this ship isn't the Starship Enterprise. The skipper of the stealthy [USS] Zumwalt is Navy Capt. James Kirk, and yes, he’s used to the jokes about the name he shares with the TV starship commander played by actor William Shatner.”
17 WEB SITES THAT WORK BETTER THAN OBAMACARE’S - Mentalfloss catalogues 17 Internet fossils you can’t believe are still functioning. On the list: Dole/Kemp ’96 (It’s not too late to “Download official Dole for President computer ‘wallpaper.’”); “Space Jam” (“A starry background, cheesy graphics, and Michael Jordan? It’s like 1996 left us a time capsule of awesome…”); and Three Rivers Stadium, which was demolished 13 years ago, but its 1998 Web site “remains in denial.” See the full list, and sites, 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.