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• Uninsured shun ObamaCare
• Russia crisis poses challenge for Paul
• Good news for Gardner in straw poll
• Bubba took big bucks from struggling hospital
• San Francisco gives bums a pPod
UNINSURED SHUN OBAMACARE
The goal of ObamaCare is to cover the uninsured. The effect of ObamaCare so far seems to be un-insuring those already covered and then re-enrolling some of them. A pair of new surveys say that the years-long effort to get Americans without health coverage to sign up for ObamaCare has fallen flat. A study by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. says that of the millions of Americans who have signed up for insurance under ObamaCare, only about a quarter were previously uninsured. Why? A study by the left-leaning Urban Institute says that only one in 10 of those without insurance enrolled as of last month and that nearly a quarter of those eligible to enroll had never heard of the program.
[“That's not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.” – Gary Cohen of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services when asked by insurers how many of the enrollees were previously uninsured, via National Journal]
Self-destruct cycle - The McKinsey study found that the main reason uninsured Americans who knew about the program weren’t signing up was that they believed they could not afford the benefits. This is part of a self-destruct cycle for ObamaCare. The more delays the president enacts in a bid to save his law, the more distorted the insurance marketplace is likely to become. The pressure is growing on Obama delay the looming punishment for those fail to comply by the end of this month. He is so far refusing Democratic pleas for mercy, knowing that such a delay would cause insurance costs to soar even higher as the industry tried to accommodate new, expensive ObamaCare beneficiaries without the policy checks from the million or more healthy, less expensive consumers who actuaries say will sign up to avoid the penalties. If Americans are shunning ObamaCare because it is too expensive now, imagine what will happen if that kind of rate spike come into play.
[Pessimism, fear and anger were the most common emotions voters expressed about ObamaCare in the latest Fox News Poll About 38 percent of voters favored the health law, while 57 percent opposed it. Results here.]
President says he won’t delay deadline for ObamaCare fines - Washington Examiner: “Making a direct sales pitch to Hispanic voters on Thursday, President Obama insisted that his administration would not delay the March 31 deadline for consumers to obtain health insurance or pay a fine. ‘We are going to enforce the deadline,’ the president said at a town hall… ‘You have time now to sign up,’ Obama insisted. ‘If everybody waits until the last minute … then in some ways it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy’…When asked whether the latest delay was an admission of a problem with the health law, Obama replied, ‘No, no, no’…”
[“And none of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services. So that’s something we’ve been very clear about.” – President Obamaurging Hispanic consumers to enroll in ObamaCare.]
If only they had this before the ObamaCare vote - Samsung is about to go public with a new wearable app that increases a readers’ word per minute by four times, reports Elite Daily. Boston-based Spritz manipulates the format of the words to line them up with the eye’s natural motion of reading. The app claims to turn the average reader—250 words per minute—to a speed reader at 1,000 words per minute.
POWER PLAY: WINNERS AND LOSERS
In this week’s edition of Political Pros on “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt,” Republican strategist Brad Blakeman and Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha offer their winners and losers for the. Find out here.
“You know, if I had to do it over again, I probably would have sat there for a very long time, let him say a lot of things and then finished, walked away.” –House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., talking to Megyn Kelly. Issa defended the propriety of his decision to turn off the microphone of the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., at the end of a hearing on IRS corruption, but allowed that it was not politically astute.
BOEHNER PUSHES ENERGY POLICY IN UKRAINE RESPONSE
House Speaker John Boehner offers his take on the Crimea crisis in a WSJ OpEd: “In response to Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, President Obama should announce a series of steps that will dramatically expand production of American-made energy, beginning with lifting this de facto ban on exports of U.S.-produced liquefied natural gas. Taking this step would also create American jobs and lower prices for our consumers and small businesses when coupled with other moves that would bolster energy production in North America. These include construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending the Obama administration’s embargo on our supplies of oil and gas from federal lands and waters, and halting the effort to take coal out of America’s electricity generation mix. The president doesn’t need legislation from Congress to make these changes. This is something the commander in chief can do right now in the face of Mr. Putin’s aggression.”
[Roll Call: “Some Senate Republicans said the upcoming aid package for Ukraine could draw an amendment adding sanctions on Iran, although others cautioned against that approach.]
Dr. K’s Prescription: Check your history - Charles Krauthamer examines the revival of the Great Game in Crimea: “[President Obama] says [Russian ruler Vladimir Putin] is on the wrong side of history, and Secretary of State John Kerry says Putin’s is ‘really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century.’ This must mean that seeking national power, territory, dominion – the driving impulse of nations since Thucydides – is obsolete. As if a calendar change caused a revolution in human nature that transformed the international arena from a Hobbesian struggle for power into a gentleman’s club where violations of territorial integrity just don’t happen. ‘That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior,’ says Kerry. Makes invasion sound like a breach of etiquette – like using the wrong fork at a Beacon Hill dinner party.”
[Secretary of State John Kerry may not be in a mirthful mood given his so-far unsuccessful efforts to get Russia to loosen its grip on the Crimea, but he will still try to leave them laughing at the Gridiron Club’s white-tie charity dinner on Saturday. The annual event is the most prestigious of the Washington press parties. This year’s program will also feature Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.]
#mediabuzz: COSTAS TALKS SPORTS, POLITICS
Host Howard Kurtz sits down with NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas to talk about not just the business of sports broadcasting, but Costas’ comments on gun control and his personal political views. Plus panel discussions on coverage of the Ukraine crisis and this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference with panelists Judy Miller, John Aravosis and Lauren Ashburn.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Peggy Noonan considers the fate of charter schools in The Ideologue vs. the Children: “…[T]he people who run the public-school system that doesn’t work—the one where you can’t fire teachers who sexually prey on students and principals who don’t even show up for work, which is to say the public schools run by the…huge and powerful teachers union—don’t like the charter schools. And they are [New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s] supporters, a significant part of his base. The very existence of charter schools is an implicit rebuke to the public schools… It means they are not succeeding, and something new must be tried. … When a school exists for the students, you can tell. When it exists for the unions, you can tell that too…”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.3 percent//Disapprove – 53.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29 percent//Wrong Track – 63.9 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42 percent// Republicans 41 percent
RUSSIA CRISIS POSES CHALLENGE FOR PAUL
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a top-tier 2016 contender, is on friendly turf today as he addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington. He won the straw poll at last year’s conclave and his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, won twice. But the younger Paul will take the podium today amid a national discussion on foreign policy as Russia plays aggressor in Eastern Europe. Will Paul’s embrace of a libertarian, non-interventionist foreign policy play will with GOPers frustrated with what they say is President Obama’s weak posture on the world stage. Paul previewed his message in a Thursday appearance on “Hannity,” emphasizing the need for an aggressive reform message at home. “We need to be the party that is not for revenue-neutral tax reform; we need to have be the party who wants to stimulate the economy and be proud of that.” Paul said. Paul has staked out a foreign policy posture on Russia, which he outlined in an opinion piece for Breitbart arguing that there is little America can do to push Russia out of the Crimean Peninsula.
Different tone - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., who headlined at CPAC Thursday, urged action from the administration and said Russian ruler Vladimir Putin “is trying to reconstitute the power and the influence of the former Soviet Union.” Potential 2016 contenders Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., both also took time to denounce Putin’s aggression and call for a more muscular American position. Paul has a winning message with his party on domestic issues, but his potential rivals will make the most over his foreign policy. Can he elude the snare that hurt his father’s presidential chances?
Fox News Sunday: Rand’s readying? - Host Chris Wallace welcomes Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “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.
[Watch Fox: Campaign Carl Cameron reports on the top news at CPAC today. Today’s line-up includes: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Gov. Rick Perry R-Texas and Fox News Host and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.]
He’s back - “I won’t have major back surgery six weeks before the announcement… ...This was a very humbling experience for me. The fact is we go through humbling events in our lives. And that one certainly was. Anyone who watched that campaign knows it was a very humbling time for me. But that’s not necessarily bad. I judge people on how do you react after a failure.” – Texas Gov. Rick Perry on CNN.
[Republican rump shakers - National Journal shares the playlist that CPAC is using to energize the crowd. Included are oldies “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” as well as some Top 40 hits like “Titanium” and “Wake Me Up.”]
A missed chance for Christie? - Washington Examiner’s Byron York argues Christie missed a key opportunity with his address at CPAC: “It’s not a surprise that Christie didn’t venture far beyond Republican orthodoxy at CPAC. After all, he wasn’t even invited last year. Now, he’s most likely running for president and doesn’t need to alienate some of his party’s most loyal voters. But there are a lot of Republicans who believe the GOP continues to need a serious talking-to, and that Christie could be the man to do it. If he is, he didn’t show it at CPAC.”
[Christie canoodles with CEOs - Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., will address global business and finance CEOs as well as top analysts from the worlds of politics, economics, and defense at the Conservative American Enterprise Institute’s World Forum, Saturday in Sea Island, Ga.]
Grimes unimpressed by McConnell’s bearing of arms - NY Daily News: “The Senate’s top Republican — under the gun in his bid for a sixth term — brandished some cold steel of his own Thursday at a top conservative conference. [Sen. Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell, [R-Ky] …took the stage brandishing an antique-style muzzle-loading rifle and hoisted it above his head. The minority leader was paying tribute to retiring GOP [Senate] colleague Dr. Tom Coburn [R-Okla.,]… Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, in a statistical dead heat with McConnell according to recent polls, took to Twitter and quipped: ‘Someone tell (McConnell) that’s not the way to hold a gun. KY women do it better.’”
[Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to a Lexington, Ky. fundraiser Thursday in support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. WLEX has the deets.]
GOOD NEWS FOR GARDNER IN STRAW POLL
Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who is looking to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, got a double-barreled dose of good news out of a straw poll of GOP caucus-goers. Republican activists gathered this week to pick delegates for the party’s June nominating convention and participated in a straw poll of their preferences for statewide offices. Gardner not only coasted to victory in the Senate straw poll, but got encouraging signs about the state’s gubernatorial contest. Illegal immigration hardliner Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who played spoiler in 2010 with a third-party gubernatorial bid, saw little support among the party faithful for his second try. State GOP elders have worried that having the bombastic Tancredo running for governor could harm Gardner’s chances as Democrats would be expected to paint the state party as “extreme.” Tancredo finished behind both Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former Rep. Bob Beauprez. Tancredo sounded conciliatory about his poor showing, according to The Denver Post. “This is a tribute to Gessler,” Tancredo said. “He worked it really hard and it shows.”
[Throw the bums out - A new Fox News poll shows 67 percent of voters would oust every lawmaker on Capitol Hill - House and Senate alike - and replace them with new people. Not surprising since 78 percent of voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing.]
Shaheen holds double digit lead - A new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll finds former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. trails Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., by 13 points if he were to jump into the Granite State Senate race.
PICK SIX: NORTH TO THE FUTURE, MINUS BEGICH?
Republicans can capture the Senate with a net gain of six seats this cycle. Which six Democrat-held Senate seats are the most vulnerable in November? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia. With incumbent Sen. Mark Begich on the list of vulnerable Dems in red states, reader Robert Scott asks why FNF doesn’t list “Alaska as a possible win for the GOP?”
[Ed Note: Any of the 21 races for Democrat-held seats are possible wins for the GOP, our game is to see which six seats our readers think are the MOST vulnerable. Alaska had been part of the Pick 6 pack for weeks, but West Virginia recently nudged it out. But remember, it’s early yet. Fox New First will keep tallying your votes to see if The Last Frontier makes it back into the top tier. All you Yukon Cornelius types, get your votes in.]
RAUNER GETS BOOST IN ILLINOIS
The Chicago Tribune is backing Republican businessman Bruce Rauner for Illinois governor. In an editorial, the newspaper said, “With hope that independence and urgency will achieve what collegiality and timidity profoundly have not, the Tribune Editorial Board today endorses businessman Bruce Rauner as the Republican candidate who is best equipped to be governor of Illinois. We urge voters to nominate him in the March 18 Illinois primary election.” Rauner is the GOP frontrunner to take on Illinois’ embattled incumbent Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn.
Wisconsin Dem touts business background - Milwaukee Journal Sentential: “Responding to a barrage of ads by a Republican group, Democratic candidate for [Wisconsin] governor Mary Burke unveiled her first ad of the campaign. The spot, which will start running Friday, shows Burke at a plant for Trek Bicycle Corp., the company her father founded and where she long worked. It notes she is a former state commerce secretary and says the state had 72,000 more jobs when she held that role than it does today.”
HILLARY HEDGES ON KEYSTONE
BuzzFeed: “Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton declined twice to comment on the Keystone XL project, the controversial crude oil pipeline still under review by the State Department, during consecutive speeches in Canada this week… In Vancouver on Wednesday night, Clinton … told [Canada’s former ambassador to the United States Frank McKenna] it would be ‘wrong for her to comment on a topic that is currently under consideration by her successor John Kerry.’ At a speech the following day in Calgary, Clinton sat for another conversation with McKenna, where he asked again about the Keystone pipeline. ‘Which pipeline,’ Clinton reportedly said, according to an article by the Calgary Sun. The former secretary also told the audience she hoped it wouldn’t be the case ‘that one decision would color collaboration’ between the United States and Canada.’” This is a tricky one for Clinton. The corporate and union interest that have funded her career and are ready to underwrite her presidential run want the pipeline built. But the liberal Democratic base, which is highly alarmed about what its members believe to be global warming, dislike the idea of making gasoline cheaper and easier to get for Americans. Plus, many Democratic patrons are now making big money in businesses that rely on the government making energy more expensive. Clinton was able to escape from her administration post without rendering a verdict.
[65 percent of respondents in a WaPo/ABC news poll support constructing the Keystone Pipeline XL]
BUBBA TOOK BIG BUCKS FROM STRUGGLING HOSPITAL
Washington Times: “[Former President] Bill Clinton accepted a $225,000 speaking fee from the nonprofit Washington Hospital Center smack in the middle of two big rounds of layoffs in 2012 — one of a number of tax-exempt organizations that have paid big money to hear the former president talk. The $225,000 payment wasn’t made public by the hospital on its annual Internal Revenue Service forms, but rather appeared among dozens of lucrative speeches by Mr. Clinton reported on his wife’s final ethics filing as secretary of state. ‘No disrespect to Bill Clinton, but that money could’ve gone a long way and been put to better use,’ said Dan Fields Jr., president of the Service Employees International Union Local 722 representing hospital workers.”
SANDERS SAYS HILLARY IS ‘SAME OLD’
Washington Examiner: “Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders [I-Vt.,] is readying a potential 2016 presidential primary challenge to [Former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton, claiming that the ‘same old same old ... Clinton type of politics’ won’t solve the problems of the nation. ‘I am prepared to run for president of the United States. I don’t believe that I am the only person out there who can fight this fight, but I am certainly prepared to look seriously at that race,’ he told The Nation…”
MAGNA CARTA COMES TO WASHINGTON
The 800 year-old Magna Carta, the charter of rights and limited government that stands at the heart of English and American law, will be on exhibit in Washington this November, the Library of Congress just announced.
SAN FRANCISCO GIVES BUMS A pPOD
What do you do about public peeing in a city park? Arrest the derelicts? Post security cameras? Not if you’re in San Francisco. As KTVU reports, Dolores Park is getting a $12.5 million renovation, part of which will be used to offer a welcoming space for outdoor urination enthusiasts. “Thirty-one new bathroom stalls in two buildings will be built, but there will also be one ‘pissoir’ or open-air urinal. ‘There’s a big issue right now with people urinating on the Muni tracks,’ said renovation project manager Jake Gilchrist. He said that with 5,000 people visiting the park every weekend day, the porta-potties were being vandalized and overused. Gilchrist described the pissoir, or pPod. ‘[It] is essentially a 7-foot screen with some plants on it and an area drain that empties into the sewer system,’ Gilchrist said. He also said the semi-cylindrical mesh screen will be open in the back and wheelchair-accessible.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up 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.