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• ObamaCare: Americans not fond of this 4 year old
• Putin done playing, so he says
• Planet Hillary to orbit Illinois race
• Alaska GOP Senate hopeful shakes up staff
• ‘I took thee for thy better’
OBAMACARE: AMERICANS NOT FOND OF THIS 4 YEAR OLD
Like party-goers who wish they weren’t invited, as ObamaCare hits its fourth birthday this Sunday a new poll shows Americans don’t much like the birthday boy. And who can blame them? Born of highly-partisan passage in 2010 by a then Democratic-controlled Congress without a single favorable Republican vote, the president’s signature health law has unleashed a cascade of confusion via a disastrous rollout, millions of policy cancellations and sticker shock. Results of the latest Pew Research survey show 53 percent of respondents disapprove of the entitlement program, while 41 percent approve. Opposition to the health law is just one point shy of the poll’s all-time high. This can’t be a welcome gift as team Obama continues its feverish enrollment push to reach a scaled-down goal of six million ObamaCare sign ups by March 31.
The breakdown - Equally damaging to the White House: its effort to boost enrollment among Hispanics is falling flat. Pew finds a dramatic drop in Hispanic support for the health law from September when 61 percent approved of ObamaCare. Now, despite a flurry of appearances on Spanish television by President Obama, only 47 percent approve of the program. While young people, another critical group remain split, some 32 percent say they disapprove very strongly of the president’s signature healthcare law. If the administration can’t convince enough of these young invincibles to enroll the impact on insurance risk pools could result in even higher premium costs for all.
Say What? - Though many in her party are feeling vulnerable come the midterm elections due to the unpopularity of the heath law, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., claimed ObamaCare is a “winner.” “We don't weigh its value as to what it means politically. We weigh its value as to what it means to the health, well-being, economic and health security of America's families, Pelosi gushed adding, “We just couldn't be prouder.”
[Big bucks as the clock runs down – So how much is the White Houses’ all-out push for ObamaCare costing? From January to the end of March the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will have spent upwards of $52 million on advertisements for the president’s health law. Daily Caller has the deets.]
PUTIN DONE PLAYING, SO HE SAYS
A day after a tit for tat exchange of sanctions, with Russia targeting U.S. officials, and President Obama adding more Russian oligarchs and a bank to his “bad” list, Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Kremlin has no further need to keep playing. AP reports: “Putin said in televised remarks at Friday's session of the presidential Security Council that he sees no immediate need for further Russian retaliation and said sardonically that he would open an account in the targeted bank.” Putin’s decision comes as the Russian parliament voted to seal the deal annexing Crimea. Next up Ukraine? Only Vlad knows.
Not a lot of sting - Despite calls from Republicans to step up military aid to Ukraine, President Obama continued his go small, go slow approach Thursday, stressing “Diplomacy between the United States and Russia continues.” Though he alluded to more punishing sanctions that would hit Russia’s economy, the president held back. If Russia pursues further incursion in Ukraine, the president warned his latest executive order would allow him to impose the more stringent sanctions. More.
Dr. K’s prescription: time to get serious - Dr. Charles Krauthammer argues why President Obama needs to toughen up in his faceoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine. From A catered invasion: “Why did we deny Ukraine weapons? Because in the Barack Obama-John Kerry worldview, arming the victim might be taken as a provocation. This kind of mind-bending illogic has marked the administration's response to the whole Crimea affair. Why, after all, did Obama delay responding to Putin's infiltration, military occupation and seizure of Crimea in the first place? In order to provide Putin with a path to de-escalation, ‘an offramp,’ the preferred White House phrase… What's our excuse? We import no Russian gas and have minimal trade with that Russia. Yet our president appears strangely disengaged. The post-Cold War order of Europe has been brazenly violated - and Obama is nowhere to be seen… As we speak, Putin is deciding whether to go beyond Crimea and take eastern Ukraine. Show him some seriousness, Mr. President.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
The Week’s Jordan Gaines Lewis considers The science behind our insatiable need to binge-watch TV. “A new type of consumer has evolved in recent years — the love child of the Couch Potato and the Channel Surfer — who has been raised on streaming devices and nurtured by entire seasons of shows available at the click of a remote… British psychologist Edward B Titchener, active at the turn of the 20th century, might argue that we become glued to complex, emotionally-charged stories because of our ability to recognize the feelings of others. A newly identified phenomenon at the time, Titchener coined the term ‘empathy’ in 1909… despite our hectic, digitally driven lifestyles and 140-character social interactions, …[researchers] conclude… that we’re actually craving the long narratives that today's good television can provide. Instead of dealing with the day's stresses by zoning out, we'd rather become engrossed in an entirely different (and fictional) world.”
#mediabuzz: COOL FACTOR
Howard Kurtz welcomes political satirist and host of “The Five” Greg Gutfeld, to talk about his new book, “Not Cool,” which fittingly explores exactly who is and who is not “cool.” NYT’s Michael Schmidt, Sirius XM's Julie Mason and Fox News Contributors Lauren Ashburn and Ric Grenell join Kurtz to discuss the exhaustive coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.4 percent//Disapprove – 52 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 27.4 percent//Wrong Track – 61.6 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42.2 percent// Republicans 40.8 percent
PLANET HILLARY TO ORBIT ILLINOIS RACE
Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton will try to provide a boost to embattled, union-backed Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill. when the two appear together later this spring. Quinn will award the Chicago-born Clinton with the prestigious “Order of Lincoln Award” May 3. The Chicago Sun Times notes: “One of Quinn's biggest challenges is energizing the Democratic base in Illinois so that Democrats turn out in November in the numbers they did in the 2012 and 2008… when President Barack Obama was leading the ballot. Clinton in Chicago for anything is helpful in cranking up the base.”
FOX NEWS SUNDAY: BUCK-EYE ON 2016?
Chris Wallace talks politics with Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, often the object of attention as a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate. And, Chris will discuss recent developments on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and Dr.Alan Diehl, Former Investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board. “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.
BROWN HITS BACK FOLLOWING OBAMA JAB
Potential New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown is hitting back after President Obama said he’d be happy if the former Massachusetts Senator moved to Texas because “we could always use some moderate Republicans in other parts of the country.” Brown called for Sen. Jean Shaheen, D-N.H., to invite Obama to the Granite State, where they two can defend the president’s unpopular health law. From Brown’s Thursday statement: “President Obama and Jeanne Shaheen are joined at the hip. If it wasn’t for Jeanne Shaheen, Obamacare would not have become the law of the land.”
ESTABLISHMENT GETS THE EDGE IN GEORGIA SENATE PRIMARY
In the latest SurveyUSA/WXIA poll, establishment backed candidate, business man David Purdue, holds a 10 point lead over Reps. Jack Kingston ,R-Ga., in the race to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. The crowded May 20 primary field also includes Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., Paul Broun, R-Ga., and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. The fight to take up Chambliss’ mantle has become quite heated, with Purdue portraying his opponents as wailing babies in a recent ad. The top two vote-getters in the May 20 primary will advance to a July runoff election.
Kingston plays penny-pincher - In his latest ad Rep. Jack Kingston argues he is the most conservative member in Congress, showcasing a beat-up station wagon that he says has been in the family for 20 years. From the ad: “I drive it because it still runs. Growing up my parents taught me the value of every hard-earned dollar, in Congress I cut my office budget and returned over $1 million to taxpayers and I cut Obama’s budget over $3 billion…you and I know the value of a dollar and its time Washington learns it too.”
ALASKA GOP SENATE HOPEFUL SHAKES UP STAFF
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, R-Alaska is shaking up his staff to loosen up funds in his campaign to unseat vulnerable Gov. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. Anchorage Daily News: “Treadwell on Thursday announced that he had parted ways with his campaign manager…Treadwell, in a statement, called the departure of Adam Jones one of the toughest decisions of his campaign so far. In addition to Jones' departure, Treadwell's statement said Rick Gorka, who has been part of his communications team, also was leaving. Jones said by email that it's ‘no secret the campaign has struggled to raise money’…’But bills need to be paid and the campaign will be in a better financial position with Rick and I off payroll,’ Jones wrote.” Former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan is the frontrunner in the three way GOP primary contest.
Pick Six - Republicans are looking to pick up an additional six Senate seats to wrest control of the upper chamber from Democrats this fall. Which six are the most vulnerable? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia.
DEMS BEST GOP RAISING FEBRUARY DOUGH
The latest fundraising figures for February show Democrats with the cash edge as they face a tough and expensive attempt to retain the Senate and mitigate losses in the House. The Democratic National Committee raised $7.24 million, with $6.96 million on hand, to the Republican National Committee’s $7.1 million with $10 million on hand. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hauled in $6.8 million, with$18.1 million in ready cash; the Republican Senatorial Committee took in $5.1 million with $12.75 million in ready cash. On the House side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $6.4 million, with $34.4 million cash on hand, to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $5.1 million, $24.8 million in ready cash.
[Pick me, please - After being delayed by Washington’s wintery weather earlier this month, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Las Vegas will make their pitches to host the 2016 GOP Convention to the Republican National Committee’s selection panel today. Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City and Phoenix are also in the running.]
ETHICS PROBE HITS ILLINOIS DEM
The Hill: “The House Ethics Committee is looking into whether Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) violated House rules. The Ethics Committee did not specify the matter on Thursday, but USA Today has reported Gutiérrez continued to employ his former chief of staff Doug Scofield — now an Illinois lobbyist — as a paid contractor since 2003. Scofield had been paid more than $500,000, the newspaper reported, to train staff and write press releases, among other things.”
CULTURAL DIVIDES PRESENT NEW POLITICAL POSSIBILITIES
WSJ takes a deep dive on how the cultural divide between rural and urban America is also widening the country’s political divide. “There have always been differences between rural and urban America, but they have grown vast and deep, and now are an underappreciated factor in dividing the U.S. political system, say politicians and academicians. Polling, consumer data and demographic profiles paint a picture of two Americas—not just with differing proclivities but different life experiences…As Democrats have come to dominate U.S. cities, it is Republican strength in rural areas that allows the party to hold control of the House and remain competitive in presidential elections… The U.S. divide wasn't always this stark.”
‘I TOOK THEE FOR THY BETTER’
Edd Joseph, 24, of Bristol, England, is turning to the sonnets of William Shakespeare to get back at an online scammer. Joseph got duped into spending £80 ($133) by an online seller for a Play Station 3 game console that he never received. Rather than blast the thief’s phone with angry text messages, Joseph decided to take a more cultured approach. Joseph discovered that he could copy and paste entire works of the Bard from the internet and send them in one long message. And alas, they are delivered to the recipient in 160-character bunches. The thief has been sent some 22 plays, amounting to 17,000 individual texts. Some of the works Joseph has already sent to the scammer include “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “Othello.” While Joseph didn’t start out a fan of Shakespeare, he tells the Bristol Post he has a “new appreciation” for him.
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