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• Consumers stuck with ObamaCare errors
• Obama: ‘Not even a smidgen’ of corruption
• Hillary’s gravity pulls dollars away from 2014 Dems
• Ultimate agenda driving machine?
• Stop your twitterpation
CONSUMERS STUCK WITH OBAMACARE ERRORS
Wrongly dumped into the Medicaid welfare program? Income listed incorrectly so you lose a subsidy? Premium costing you more than promised? Wrongly denied coverage? ObamaCare has an answer for you. Print out a seven-page form and mail it to a government contractor in Kentucky where… nothing will happen. The Washington Post reveals the nightmarish journey for ObamaCare enrollees who find the federal program has failed them, including some of the 22,000 people desperate enough to send their pleas off to Kentucky in hope of help.
From WaPo’s Amy Goldstein - “For now, the appeals are sitting, untouched, inside a government computer. And an unknown number of consumers who are trying to get help through less formal means — by calling the health-care marketplace directly — are told that HealthCare.gov’s computer system is not yet allowing federal workers to go into enrollment records and change them, according to individuals inside and outside the government who are familiar with the situation.”
Tough luck - “…Addie Wilson, 27, who lives in Fairmont, W.Va., and earns $22,000 a year working with at-risk families… said that she is paying $100 a month more than she should for her insurance and that her deductible is $4,000 too high…. When Wilson logged on to HealthCare.gov in late December, she needed coverage right away. Her old insurance was ending, and she was to have gallbladder surgery in January. But the Web site would not calculate the federal subsidy to which she knew she was entitled. Terrified to go without coverage, Wilson phoned a federal call center and took the advice she was given: Pay the full price now and appeal later. Now she is stuck.”
[Minneapolis Star Tribune: “As of last week… just 475 Minnesota workers are covered on small business plans purchased through [the state’s ObamaCare Web site] according to the latest figures. The state had hoped to enroll nearly 9,000 employees by March 31 and 13,000 by year’s end.”]
Who knew? - Demography maestro Michael Barone considers how ObamaCare Misreads America: “The trouble that has resulted – from the architects' apparent failures to anticipate the behavior of fellow citizens who don't share their approach to the world, and the architects' determination to impose their mores, such as contraception coverage, on a multicultural nation – is a lesson to national policy makers, conservative as well as liberal. Govern lightly if you want to govern this culturally diverse nation well.”
[“The president’s State of the Union address last week was notable for one thing: the almost total absence of the president’s signature health care law…The worst possible thing we could do…is saddle businesses with new taxes and regulations that discourage hiring and expansion and encourage cutting jobs and hours. Yet that is precisely what the president’s health care law does. The health care law has been a disaster from the start, devastating both family budgets and the economy as a whole. Every Democrat who voted for this law owes the American people an explanation. And Americans will demand one at the ballot box.” –Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., in a Breitbart OpEd.]
OBAMA: ‘NOT EVEN A SMIDGEN’ OF CORRUPTION
President Obama dismissed most of the scandals and lapses that have dogged his second term as either creations of Fox News or trivialities. Obama spent his pre-Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly scrambling like Peyton Manning. Pressed by O’Reilly on the administration’s handling of Benghazi, the launch of HealthCare.gov and the IRS, the president appeared at times like a quarterback on a broken play, trying to minimize his losses.
[Stay tuned for more tonight - Don’t miss part two of the Obama-O’Reilly interview tonight at 8 p.m. ET during “The O’Reilly Factor”]
Error message - “I think we all anticipated there would be glitches, because any time you've got technology, a new program rolling out, there are going to be some glitches. I don't think I anticipated or anybody anticipated the degree of the problems with the Web site,” the president said, “We're about a month behind of where we anticipated we wanted to be.”
On the ‘you can keep it’ lie - “This is one that I regret and I've said I regretted, in part because we put in a grandfather clause in the original law saying that, in fact, you were supposed to be able to keep it. It obviously didn’t cover everybody that we needed to and that's why we changed it, so that we further grandfathered in folks and many people who thought originally, when they got that cancellation notice, they couldn't keep it or not.”
On Benghazi - “All of the security precautions that needed to be taken didn’t happen…we revealed to the American people exactly what we understood at the time. The notion that we would hide the ball for political purposes when, a week later, we all said, in fact, there was a terrorist attack taking place the day after, I said it was an act of terror, that wouldn't be a very good cover-up.”
On IRS targeting of conservatives - “That's not what happened…These kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part because you and your TV station will promote them.…There were some bone-headed decisions…[There wasn’t] mass corruption, not even a smidgen of corruption, I would say.”
Watch the full interview here.
She feels your pain - Perhaps 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton enjoyed watching her former rival get some tough questions for a change. After the president’s frustrated outing, Clinton tweeted “It’s so much more fun to watch FOX when it’s someone else being blitzed & sacked! #SuperBowl.”
HILLARY’S GRAVITY PULLS DOLLARS AWAY FROM 2014 DEMS
WSJ: “The formidable campaign apparatus that has sprung up to support a possible 2016 presidential bid by Hillary Clinton is rattling some Democrats, sparking concerns that it could suppress competition for the party nomination and siphon money from candidates running in the midterm elections this fall… Aware of the anxiety… officials are considering tailoring their requests so that donors would be asked to write their biggest checks after the midterm elections are over, people close to the super PAC said. For example, [a pro-Hillary political action committee] might ask a donor to pledge $1 million to the Clinton effort over the next few years, but write a check for only $100,000 this year, a person familiar with the discussion said…”
Moooo! - Alice Walton, George Soros and Marc Benioff headline the list of billionaires making contributions to the political action committee supporting Hillary Clinton. The Washington Free Beacon has more on the cash cows that are part of Planet Hillary’s fauna.
She’s on the record - In a letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton it made clear that she supports the administration’s deal to allow Iran to have a nuclear program in exchange for safeguards that it will not be used to make weapons. She encouraged her former Senate colleagues to drop a bid to restore tougher sanctions: “We should give anyone watching from Tehran no reason to doubt America’s unity and resolve.”
BORDER SECURITY COULD PUT BREAKS ON IMMIGRATION DEAL
Washington Examiner: “Republicans can move immigration reform forward, Rep. Paul Ryan [R-Wis.] said Sunday, but only if it puts border security before amnesty for immigrants in the U.S. illegally. ‘This is not a trust-but-verify; this is a verify- then-trust approach,’ said Ryan on ABC. The Wisconsin Republican added that ‘we don't trust the president to enforce the law,’ necessitating strong commitments from Democrats to border security measures in any immigration reform deal. Ryan specifically mentioned border security and interior security that includes a worker verification system and a visa tracking system. Those items have to be in law and independently verified before legalization can move forward, Ryan said.”
TICK, TICK, TICK: DEBT DEADLINE NEARS
Start your countdown clocks. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the debt limit must be raised by Friday, but that “extraordinary measures” will buy some time after that. How long? Depends on how much money they find in the couch cushions (and when sounding the debt air-raid siren will be most advantageous for Democrats). Read David Drucker’s dispatch from the House policy retreat to understand. – Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel to know the very latest.
ABORTIONS ON DECLINE
“The U.S. abortion rate declined to its lowest level since 1973, and the number of abortions fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, according the latest national survey of abortion providers conducted by a prominent research institute. The Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access to abortion, said in a report being issued Monday that there were about 1.06 million abortions in 2011 — down from about 1.2 million in 2008. Guttmacher’s figures are of interest on both sides of the abortion debate because they are more up-to-date and in some ways more comprehensive than abortion statistics compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the report, the abortion rate dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2011, well below the peak of 29.3 in 1981 and the lowest since a rate of 16.3 in 1973.” More
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Forbes’ John Tamny looks at lessons from the career of the coach of the newly crowned world champions in Congratulations To Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll, The NFL's Greatest Failure:“At one time he was very much seen as unsuited to the head coach role; so much so that he was unemployed. Carroll’s path to football’s elite was a checkered one, and it speaks to the wondrous, life enhancing value of failure as the driver of future success. Put plainly, when we shield individuals and businesses (think the bailed out banks and carmakers) from their errors, we perpetuate what makes them mediocre while robbing them of the knowledge that would make them successful.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.3 percent//Disapprove – 51.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.5 percent//Wrong Track – 63.0 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41.0 percent// Republicans 41.5 percent
N.J. DEM: NO EVIDENCE CHRISTIE KNEW OF DIRTY TRICK
Reuters: “A New Jersey Democrat leading a probe of a bridge traffic scandal that has engulfed Governor Chris Christie [R-N.J.] said on Sunday he had seen no evidence to support claims that the governor had been aware of the politically motivated traffic jams as they happened. If such evidence does exist, a state panel investigating the closures has not yet seen it, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who co-leads the probe, said on Sunday… On Friday, David Wildstein, the Christie appointee at the agency overseeing the bridge who personally oversaw the lane closures, said ‘evidence exists’ Christie had knowledge of the blockage when it happened. ‘We don't really know what the evidence is,’ Wisniewski told NBC's ‘Meet the Press.’ [Wildstein] submitted over 900 pages of documents in response to the subpoena. Apparently what he’s talking about must be something other than what he submitted.’’’
[Republican leaders Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered their support to Christie during their appearances on Sunday talk shows. Fox News has more.]
Due date - All documents subpoenaed by the New Jersey Legislature's Special Investigative committee are due by 5:00 PM today. Testimony from the 18 Christie officials subpoenaed is expected to begin in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, another Christie staffer, Christina Genovese Renna, has resigned after receiving a subpoena. –Watch Fox: Correspondent Eric Shawn has the latest on the investigation.
Christie comes a-courtin’ for conservatives - “After being denied a speaking slot last year at the largest annual gathering of conservatives, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has accepted an invitation to speak at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference next month, Yahoo News has learned…”
SHOOT ‘EM UP: GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE RAFFLES AR-15
Senate hopeful Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., in an email to supporters Sunday: “Barack Obama would like nothing more than to ban the AR-15 rifle - and that's exactly why I've decided to give away a free AR-15 to one of my fellow 2nd Amendment supporters… I am running for the US Senate because we need true conservative voices who will not only vote right but will also fight tooth and nail for our values and our rights.”
POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN OPPONENT OUTRAISES BEGICH
Alaska Dispatch: “U.S. [Republican] Senate candidate Dan Sullivan had $1.1 million in campaign cash on hand at the end of 2013, according to the summary of his year-end report to the Federal Election Commission. He spent about $147,000 in the last quarter of 2013… The information available so far shows that [Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska] ended the year with the most cash on hand, $2.8 million. Sullivan, however, raised the most money in the final months of the year.”
TILLIS TRIES TO STAY ABOVE THE FRAY
North Carolina’s GOP Senate frontrunner is state House Speaker Thom Tillis, a top recruit with good fundraising and no well-known primary opponents. Tillis looks to have the best shot to tackle embattled incumbent Democrat, Sen. Kay Hagan, but conservative activists are growing skeptical. Tillis needs to get 40 percent of the vote on a six-way race to avoid a runoff election. So far, he has been trying to stay above the fray. The Charlotte News and Observer checks in on that effort: “It’s a careful balancing act, one that risks alienating tea party activists as he courts a GOP establishment … The strategy also allows Tillis to avoid the glare of attention, as well as tea party video cameras waiting for a gaffe or embarrassing moment. With targeted appearances and TV ads, he’s been able to define himself on his own terms… When first elected, Tillis was widely regarded as a political moderate, more interested in pragmatism than political ideology. As speaker, however, he has presided over sweeping changes in state policies from abortion and gun rights to taxes and voting. As a candidate he’s left little room between himself and his rivals on issues, and often taken positions at odds with his establishment supporters.”
KENTUCKY RAIN: OUTSIDE CASH POURS INTO RACE
USA Today: “Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC aiding Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election, raised nearly $1.2 million during the last half of 2013. None of it came from the Republican’s home state of Kentucky. … The flood of out-of-state money underscores the high stakes of the Kentucky Senate race, which pits McConnell against [The PAC supporting Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes]… has raised $260,500. The lion’s share of the money -- $200,000 -- came from out-of-state labor groups…”
“GROUNDHOG DAY USED TO MEAN SOMETHING IN THIS TOWN. THEY USED TO PULL THE HOG OUT, AND THEY USED TO EAT IT. YOU’RE HYPOCRITES, ALL OF YOU!”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is using the 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day,” in which Bill Murray plays a Pittsburgh weatherman who has a rodent-based spiritual awakening, to take a bite out of Senate Democrats. From the committee’s Tumblr-style swat at Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska,: “If it feels like you're living a scene out of Groundhog Day listening to Mark Begich campaign, it's because you pretty much are. Begich, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership team, makes a habit out of repeating he is an ‘independent voice’ for Alaska… Mark Begich would love for Alaskans to wake up again in 2008 when his repeated false promises wouldn’t have been known yet.”
PICK SIX: ALMOST HEAVEN FOR THE GOP?
If Republicans are able to gain a total of six Senate seats this fall, the GOP can take control of the upper chamber for the first time in eight years. Which six seats are likely to move from the blue to red column? The current consensus among Fox News First readers, based on your Tweets and emails: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and Alaska. But reader Henry Jernigan takes up our call to consider West Virginia. “People keep overlooking WV where Senator [Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va.] elected to retire rather than face a strong challenge from Representative Shelley Moore Capito [R-W.Va.] With his retirement…[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] and Democrat strategists were forced to search long and hard in order to find someone to challenge Representative Capito. Despite having convinced the incumbent Secretary of State [Democrat Natalie Tennant] to carry their banner, Representative Capito remains the strong frontrunner in a state that has not voted Democrat in any presidential election since 1996.”
[Ed. Note: Hear, hear! I’d say West Virginia looks like tougher terrain for Democrats than three of the current top six – North Carolina, Louisiana and Alaska all have incumbent Democrats with cash on hand who can expect help from their national party. Thanks, Henry.]
ULTIMATE AGENDA DRIVING MACHINE?
Daily Caller: “The Center for American Progress … used its influence and position as a progressive think tank to promote BMW’s green credentials…. CAP has greatly benefited from its partnership with BMW – getting donations from the company since 2009.”
TAXPAYERS COVER DUES FOR UNION LEADERS
Washington Examiner: “…based on the available disclosures, [the magazine] identified more than 700 federal employees who spent at least half of their time working for unions rather than performing their government jobs in 2012. That figure includes 558 who spent more than 1,500 hours annually on official time, which means they did little, if any, work for their agencies, and 150 who spent at least 1,000 hours annually on union release. Another 232 federal employees spent at least 500 hours — about a fourth of the year — doing union duties instead of government work.”
FILE IT UNDER ‘CONSTITUENT SERVICES’
LAT: “Two days after a jury found him guilty on eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury, state Sen. Roderick Wright [D-Inglewood] introduced a bill that would allow some nonviolent felony convictions to be converted to misdemeanors… A spokeswoman for Wright said the bill, SB 929, was not intended to benefit him.”
IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE INDIGESTION AFTER THE SUPER BOWL…
Des Moines Register: “Molly Schuyler shaved more than two minutes off her world record time of finishing the… five-pound sandwich in four minutes, 50 seconds at the Jethro’s Pork Chop Grill in Johnston. [The 33-year-old waitress and mother of four from Bellevue, Neb.]set a record Friday in Philadelphia by consuming 363 wings in 30 minutes. [Schuyler] traveled to Iowa Saturday to compete in a Pancake Bowl at IHOP in Urbandale, eating 59 pancakes in twenty minutes. She then defended her championship at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, winning the bacon eating contest for a second year in a row.”
WHAT BECAME OF THE SELFIES OF YORE?
Had a snootful of popular culture’s hotsy-totsy twitterpation over technology-driven new words like “selfie” or the verbification of “friend?” The “Oxford English Dictionary” makes headlines each year when editors announce which bits of slang will be memorialized in the big book, eliciting lots of Twitter titters and semi-ironic gusts of generational pride. But how about the slang that time left behind? Flovorwire knows. But you’d have to be blotto in a blind tiger not to see that the old words are tickety-boo and that the new, antiseptic neologisms look like foozles.
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.