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• Obama’s green energy benefactor plans $100 million midterm push
• Baier Tracks: This is gonna hurt
• ObamaCare increases the cost of your female cousin’s pockets
• First in Fox News First: Osborn locks up air time
• Menacingly adorable
OBAMA’S GREEN ENERGY BENEFACTOR PLANS $100 MILLION MIDTERM PUSH
Want to know why the president and his team are stampeding to talk about global warming despite increasing public disinterest in the topic, a bitterly cold and snowy winter and deepening skepticism about the costs of clamping down on industry as the economy again falters? It turns out that money talks. From the NYT: “A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers. The donor, Tom Steyer, a Democrat who founded one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, burst onto the national political scene during last year’s elections, when he spent $11 million to help elect Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia and millions more intervening in a Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts. Now he is rallying other deep-pocketed donors, seeking to build a war chest that would make his political organization, NextGen Climate Action, among the largest outside groups in the country, similar in scale to the conservative political network overseen by Charles and David Koch.”
[National Journal: “Tom Steyer … may launch an advertising campaign panning [Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.] for supporting the Keystone XL pipeline. The three-term senator seeking reelection in a state much redder than it was six years ago says Steyer’s criticism could actually help her win. ]
You get what you pay for - The seemingly sudden rebirth of anti-global warming evangelism takes on a different tone when set against the backdrop of today’s announcement that the top Democratic benefactor has agreed to spend big to help limit the president’s party’s midterm losses. Whether it is good politics or not to again alarm moderate voters with scare words about man-made climate change and costly measures to combat it, money apparently matters more. Today, for example, President Obama will order the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to crack down on truck emissions by the end of his term. In a campaign appearance at a grocery store distribution center in suburban Maryland, the president will also propose a new $200 million tax credit for companies that make green vehicles, like those subsidized enterprises backed by Steyer and other top Democratic contributors. Voters in Arkansas, North Carolina or Alaska might be unhappy with spending more money on groceries to finance the new Obama-complaint fleets or resentful about subsidizing already rich folks like Steyer, but $100 million in midterm moola will buy you a lot of attention in Obamaland.
We’re going to fight global warming to prevent drought… Now watch this drive - Time: “President Barack Obama traveled to California on Friday to highlight the state’s drought emergency at two events near Fresno, calling for shared sacrifice to help manage the state’s worst water shortage in decades. He then spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the hospitality of some of the state’s top water hogs: desert golf courses… The 124 golf courses in the Coachella Valley consume roughly 17% of all water there, and one-quarter of the water pumped out of the region’s at-risk groundwater aquifer, according to the Coachella Valley Water District. Statewide, roughly 1% of water goes to keep golf courses green. Each of the 124 Coachella Valley courses, on average, uses nearly 1 million gallons (3.8 million L) a day because of the hot and dry climate, three to four times more water per day than the average American golf course.”
Strong letter to follow - Breitbart: “Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are gathering colleagues’ signatures on a letter to networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox expressing their disapproval at the lack of global warming discussion on the channels’ Sunday shows. According to Sanders, “It is beyond my comprehension… that their shows have discussed climate change in 2012, collectively, for all of eight minutes’…Sanders and his colleagues plan to send the letter because, according to Sanders, Sunday TV coverage is not proportional to the gravity of the situation. ‘What [the networks] are saying is, climate change is a non-important issue, it is an irrelevant issue, and yet the scientific community tells us that it is the greatest crisis facing this planet,’ he said.”
BAIER TRACKS: THIS IS GONNA HURT
“It seems to be sinking in across the media – today in the New York Times – that Democratic control of the Senate is in real jeopardy. Democrats quoted both on the record and anonymously are waiting for Republicans to implode from within. While nasty Republican primary fights may produce the Democrats’ desired outcome, so far it seems the GOP has its eyes on the prize: the majority. With it, the equation in Washington would change dramatically and a president who began in office with his party in control of both chambers of Congress would leave with control of neither. We'll see. But clearly the concern in Democratic circles is growing. And how about this? Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry points out this nuance from David Axelrod, longtime top strategist to President Obama, talking to the NYT about Republicans and the debt limit: ‘This is a serious threat. And it would behoove Democratic activists and donors who are whipped up about 2016 to shift their focus, or they may be sitting here in November, looking at a Republican Senate to go along with the House.’ Is there a note of some preemptive finger pointing here? Time will tell.” – Bret Baier
OBAMACARE INCREASES THE COST OF YOUR FEMALE COUSIN’S POCKETS
WFTV: “U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was full of excuses Monday when… asked her about mistranslations on the HealthCare.gov [Spanish] website… ‘My understanding, it’s a much better user experience now,’ Sebelius said. But Mike Nieves, the head of a local marketing firm that specializes in cutting through cultural barriers, said the government failed to do just that… For ‘monthly payment,’ the website uses the word ‘prima,’ but to Nieves, it means ‘female cousin’… In one instance, the site reads, ‘Costo de bolsillo.’ ‘They're trying to say, ‘Out of pocket cost,” but they're actually saying, ‘Cost of my pocket.’… On Monday, Sebelius told Channel 9 the translations weren’t done by a computer but by a team of experts.”
Wait. What? - “And every economist will tell you this: That there isn’t any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act.” – Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reporters in Orlando Monday.
[Watch Fox: Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., appears in the noon ET hour]
Web woes worsen for Oregon ObamaCare - Daily Caller: “Five months, hundreds of millions of dollars and two top exchange officials later, Oregon’s Obamacare exchange was scheduled to finally launch a partial version of its website last week — and then delayed it again. Despite $340 million in federal funding and another $160 million from state taxpayers, Cover Oregon’s site was unable to enroll any customers online on day one in October and officials quickly gave up on having online enrollment ready anytime soon…”
[The Hill: “Republicans are launching investigations into three state-run ObamaCare exchanges that are failing disastrously. Lawmakers are setting their sights on exchanges in Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts where Democratic governors embraced the healthcare law, and are demanding to know why their expensive online portals remain useless more than four months after launch. … ‘The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable, and taxpayers deserve accountability,” wrote the group of lawmakers led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)’… Walden and the other lawmakers are laying the groundwork to claw-back some of the state’s $304 million in grants if Oregon decides to abandon its state-run exchange and join the federal system.”]
OBAMA STARTS OVER ON SYRIA BUT WITH A WEAKENED HAND
Secretary of State John Kerry complains that Syria’s Assad regime, aided and abetted by Russia and other supporters, is to blame for stalled peace talks in Geneva. But the Obama administration continues to be plagued by its own uncertain Syria policy. As NYT reports, Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s forces, have stepped up attacks “… emptying whole neighborhoods and creating what aid workers say is one of the largest refugee flows of the entire civil war…While the United States explores potential new strategies, analysts say, Mr. Assad is forging ahead with his own: pounding civilians out of rebel-held districts or using military means to make life miserable for those left inside.” Kerry told reporters that President Obama has asked his cabinet to come up with a plan. “Indeed, [the president] asked all of us to think about various options that may or may not exist,” Kerry said during a press conference in Beijing. As Assad presses on in what has been the deadliest phase of his campaign against the his country’s sectarian majority and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin basks in the reflected glow of a so-far successful Olympics, the U.S. is back to the drawing board.
[Ed. note: Maybe the rebels should try telling Obama and Kerry that Assad is sitting on huge stockpiles of coal, which is apparently to Kerry “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”]
Hitting them from the left - Richard Cohen writes in WaPo: “One can only imagine the profound effect this has had in Damascus, where Assad’s inner circle must be spending sleepless nights wondering about options that “may not exist.” Is this like the tooth fairy or maybe a new type of ray gun? Whatever it is, all over the Middle East, the toughest men imaginable — guys in sunglasses and Brioni suits — must be giggling. Options that “may not exist” has the sound of Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in the “Wizard of Oz”: “Put ’em up. Put ’ em up.”
Hitting them from the right - Michael Gerson points out: “[Assad’s] goal was to enter the Geneva 2 negotiations from a position of military strength in order to deflate hopes of a political transition. His sponsors and allies — Russia, Iran, Hezbollah — have shown no ambivalence, unlike some of the sponsors and allies of his opponents. These developments should mean something to Mr. Obama, the author of an executive directive (Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities ) declaring the prevention of mass atrocities a “core national security interest and a core moral responsibility.” At the moment, he stands judged by his own standard.”
Cul de sac - NYT reports that a quiet discussion of shipping more arms to Syrian rebels has been renewed: “A secret meeting in Washington last week among the intelligence chiefs from almost all of the countries attempting to oust the Assad government included extensive discussion about how to best provide that new lethal aid to rebel groups, the officials said. The gathering of the top intelligence officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France and the United Arab Emirates, and several others from the 11-nation group known as the Friends of Syria, reflected a belief that the diplomatic track has been exhausted unless Mr. Assad sustains significant military setbacks.”
EMAILS RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT TOP HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL
Questionable tactics by Christian Marrone, the Obama administration’s chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, are raising questions about how he got clearance for such a sensitive job. The Washington Times reports emails and documents show Marrone, an aide in the Pennsylvania state legislature in 2001, proposed questionable tactics, including a plan to hire a private eye to dig up information on then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Rendell. Such shady moves “captured prosecutors’ interest and led to the downfall of [Marrone’s] former boss, [Democratic] state Sen. Vincent Fumo [who was then backing a rival Democrat for governor].” The paper says the emails “contrast with Mr. Marrone’s portrayal that he was an unwitting ‘victim of Vince’ who simply carried out orders without knowing what he was doing was wrong… This month, [Marrone] began overseeing a department with billions of dollars in grant money and access to some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets…”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
In Fox News Opinion, columnist John Lott, breaks down the flaws in a recent report on school gun violence from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control groups: “[T]heir statistics are not what they seem. Included in the numbers are suicides. Also included are late night shootings taking place in school parking lots, on their grounds or even off school property, often involving gangs. As ‘shootings,’ they also include any incident where shots were fired, even when nobody was injured.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.0 percent//Disapprove – 52.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.6 percent//Wrong Track – 63.6 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41.7 percent// Republicans 41.7 percent
HE DREAMS OF HILLARY: UNIVISION BOSS FIRED UP
Daily Caller: “The billionaire Univision owner [Haim Saban] whose company is promoting Hillary Clinton on Spanish-language media platforms is a Clinton friend who said that seeing Clinton in the White House is his ‘big dream’ and that ‘Hillary is [President Obama’s] natural successor’… ‘Too Small to Fail,’ a joint initiative of the childhood development research group Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, launched in June 2013 with the stated aim of promoting research about brain development, nutrition, and health for children aged 0 to 5. Now the project, and its spokesperson Hillary Clinton, will get a lot of face time on the largest Spanish-language media network in the United States. Clinton and Univision announced a multi-year partnership between ‘Too Small To Fail’ and the top-rated Spanish media platform that gives Clinton a direct line to the Hispanic population that both major parties are desperate to win in 2016. Saban has close ties to the Clintons, and routinely hosts the former Democratic First Couple at his 23,000 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion. Saban and his Saban Family Foundation had donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation by May 2012…”
This will really send them into orbit - Byron York argues Why Hillary Clinton’s past is fair game in presidential race: “[Hillary Clinton’s] recent experiences are relevant to a presidential run. But so are her actions in the 90s, the 80s and even the 70s. It's not ancient history; it reveals something about who Clinton was and still is. And re-examining her past is entirely consistent with practices in recent campaigns… New voters also need to learn about Mrs. Clinton's checkered history as a lawyer… New voters also need to learn about Mrs. Clinton's purge of the White House travel office, which was done to steer business to another Clinton crony… Even in a national contest, a focus on Mrs. Clinton's past likely won’t decide the outcome any more than [Mitt Romney’s] time at Bain Capital decided the 2012 race. But it will help define Mrs. Clinton for millions of voters who weren't around or weren't paying attention in the 1990s. They need to know. And that’s what campaigns are for.”
CHRISTIE CONTINUES CASH CULL
Washington Examiner: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will… will kick off the [National Republican Senatorial Committee’s winter meeting in New York today] with remarks at the Harvard Club.”
ISSA SEEKS TO SHAPE 2016 DEBATE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Manchester Union Leader: “California Republican Darrell Issa opened his speech at Monday night’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner saying he was not there as a candidate. ‘I came here to hopefully shape the debate for 2016 — not join it — but shape it,’ the congressman told the audience… “I’m a proud Republican because I believe that the Democratic Party is incapable of reining in the executive branch. They are incapable of the reforms that are necessary. But the Republican Party as it stands today is also unprepared to do so,” he said.”
FIRST IN FOX NEWS FIRST: OSBORN LOCKS UP AIR TIME
Nebraska Republican Senate frontrunner Shane Osborn is looking to maximize his resources by locking up airtime ahead of the state’s hotly contested primary. The campaign is touting a “strong six-figure” ad buy in the final four weeks before the May 13 nominating contest. The campaign will announce today hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent in the Omaha, Lincoln and North Platte media markets. The move is more consequential since the Cornhusker State has not only five Republican Senate candidates vying for air time, but also six candidates in the GOP race for governor.
The most recent campaign finance reports show Osborn trailing Midland University President Ben Sasse in the cash race. Sasse, whom a recent polls shows surging into a tie with former state treasurer Osborn, boasted a $1 million war chest compared to Osborn’s $582,000 cash-on-hand.
From Osborn Campaign Manager Bill Novotny: “Shane is the only candidate in the U.S. Senate race running on a proven record of fiscal conservatism and leadership in our nation’s military. We look forward to sharing with Nebraskans his message and his accomplishments as state treasurer and in the U.S. Navy.”
HAGAN HIT AGAIN AND AGAIN ON OBAMACARE
The conservative group Americans for Prosperity is once again hitting Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a new ad reminding voters of her support for ObamaCare. From the spot: “Kay Hagan thinks ObamaCare’s time has come…tell her ObamaCare is not the answer.” Meanwhile, the Daily Tar Heel reports that Hagan has drawn a primary challenger, a 31-year-old IT specialist.
Pick Six - Republicans need to flip six seats from blue to red to gain control of the Senate. Which seats are most likely to change hands this year? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and Alaska.
POLL: DEM GOV TRAILS IN HAWAII
A new poll conducted for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and local TV stations finds Gov. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, trailing Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, R-Hawaii, 48 percent to 40 percent in their prospective November matchup. Abercrombie beat Aiona in 2010, 57 percent to 40 percent to take the governorship. However, according to the poll 45 percent of voters view Abercrombie unfavorably while Aiona enjoys a 58 percent approval rating.
[The same poll finds Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa leads incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz 48 percent to 40 percent ahead of the state’s Aug. 9 Senate primary.]
RGA WHACKS WALKER OPPONENT
USA Today: “…[T]he Republican Governors Association is on the air in Wisconsin with an ad slapping down Mary Burke, Democratic challenger to incumbent Gov. Scott Walker. The ad hits Burke for her tenure as Commerce secretary under Walker’s predecessor, Gov. Jim Doyle, holding her responsible for job losses during his 2006-2010 term. It also criticizes her family business, Trek bicycles, for manufacturing most of its bikes in China instead of the USA. Burke ‘would take Wisconsin backwards,’ the ad says.”
TANCREDO LAUNCHES SPANISH LANGUAGE AD
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., is best known for his hard-line stances on illegal immigration, but the 2012 presidential contender is hitting the airwaves with Spanish-language ads aimed at Hispanic voters in his Colorado gubernatorial bid. The campaign has launched vivatancredo.com and is airing radio spots that acknowledge a broken immigration system.
One neighborhood in Phoenix has apparently been overrun by the tiniest of menaces – a pack of stray Chihuahuas. Distraught animal control officials told KNXV that they have received “thousands” of calls about the lap dogs running lose in the community of Maryvale, many times more than in other parts of Maricopa County. Does the link have unintentionally hilarious video of tiny dogs acting all tough? You bet it does.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“So the arrogance of [President Obama’s agenda on global warming] is rather appalling, but worse is the application of it to our economy: shutting the coal industry, herding us into mass transit, getting us out of our larger cars. All of this is driven by this ideology, which in and of itself is almost a matter of theology.”—Charles Krauthammer, “On Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.