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• The ObamaCare numbers that really matter
• Invading countries is just so passé
• Obama-style attacks on Cotton called bogus
• Christie takes hot seat on ‘The Kelly File’
• Stench of failure
THE OBAMACARE NUMBERS THAT REALLY MATTER
What the number that matters most today on ObamaCare? The administration hopes you think that its much-touted figure of 6 million potential ObamaCare enrollees win the prize. But that’s a mostly meaningless metric that does not reveal any relevant data about those who have signed up (or clicked a box indicating that they might sign up in the next few weeks). Who paid? No idea. How many of them are just refugees from ObamaCare regulations that cancelled existing policies? Don’t know? What is the proportion of sick, costly subscribers to healthy, low-cost customers? Can’t say. Can they say anything at all about numbers at all? They think they’re great and they’re quite proud of themselves. But that, of course, tells us nothing about how this disaster-prone initiative is playing with voters or might shape the fall elections. Fortunately, we have a spate of new polling to answer those questions.
[“I’ve always looked at this bill as not perfect…I am going to be working with Republicans to make it better for consumers and businesses…” – Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, on “Fox and Friends”]
All-time low - An AP poll out this morning says just 26 percent of Americans support ObamaCare. That’s 13 points below where the law stood when it passed four years ago – an all-time low. Woof. That echoes what the latest Fox News poll, out Thursday, revealed. Our poll shows ObamaCare opposition continuing to ride high at 56 percent. The silver lining for President Obama in the AP poll is that the vast majority of Americans appear to be resigned to the fact that the law cannot be repealed. Talk about slim solace. And that growing acquiescence among voters isn’t particularly good news for the embattled Democrats who are lugging the president’s health law with them as they campaign. The Fox News poll explains why: 65 percent of respondents thought ObamaCare makes health insurance more expensive. Even 42 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of those favoring the law say it is increasing insurance costs. So voters largely dislike the law, believe it cannot be undone and think that it will harm them and their families. Whatever Team Obama and pro-administration outlets are talking about today, no abstract enrollment figures will trump what appears to be a deepening despair over the president’s costly new entitlement program.
Study: $10 Billion so far in ObamaCare subsidies - The Hill: “A report released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation said that 83 percent of the 4.2 million people who had selected a plan as of March 1 had qualified for subsidies, which average nearly $3,000 per person.”
[Watch Fox: Jon Tester, D-Mont, discusses Democratic proposals to fix ObamaCare in the 2 p.m. hour]
ONE MONTH DELAY FOR OREGON ENROLLMENT
WSJ: “Oregon residents will have until the end of April to apply for health insurance because of ongoing technical problems with the state’s health insurance website, Cover Oregon… Although residents can apply online, the application must be processed manually by state workers.”
Hard to defend - Daily Caller: “Colorado’s Obamacare exchange has paid more than $300,000 for outside legal services…”
INVADING COUNTRIES IS JUST SO PASSÉ
“Certainly [Russians are going to] have influence because of trade and tradition and language and heritage with Ukraine. Everybody acknowledges that. But there's a difference between that and sending in troops, and because you're bigger and stronger, taking a piece of the country. That is not how international law and international norms are observed in the 21st century.” – President Obama from a CBS News interview.
KRAUTHAMMER: OBAMA’S PUTIN PLAY WILL PUSH SAUDIS CLOSER TO NUKES
As President Obama arrives in Saudi Arabia in a bid to mend frayed relations with that kingdom’s rulers, Charles Krauthammer considers how Obama’s approach to Russian ruler Vladimir Putin’s military moves will reduce America’s clout with our allies. From An irredentist Putin: “Such fanciful thinking will leave our allies with two choices: bend a knee – or arm to the teeth. Either acquiesce to the regional bully or gird your loins, i.e., go nuclear. As surely will the Gulf states. As will, in time, Japan and South Korea.”
ROGERS RETIRING, EXCLUSIVE ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the powerful chairman of the House Intelligence Committee just announced he will not seek another term. Rogers will join host Chris Wallace for an exclusive interview on “Fox News Sunday.” And, on the eve of ObamaCare’s March 31 enrollment deadline, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Angus King, I-Maine, will also appear. “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.
UKRAINES MUST FEEL SAFER AFTER STATE SELFIE
Russia may have land-grabbed a whole region of their country and have troops massed on the border, but Ukrainians can take comfort in the fact that the Obama administration is deploying its selfie brigade. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki posted a photo of herself on Twitter smiling and holding a sign that reads “#UnitedForUkraine @StateDeptSpox.” Pskai’s post is getting a hefty mocking on the Internet, the NY Post observes. Last year, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power was derided for her tweet calling for U.N. action against the still-ongoing genocide in Syria while she herself was on holiday and unavailable to attend a Security Council meeting following a chemical weapons attack by dictator Bashar al Assad’s forces.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Breitbart’s Abigail Fox considers The Paradox of Alzheimer’s: “Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD); two thirds of them are women… So far, the quality of our response has not been adequate; pathetic is the right word… we have [an] abundance of capital and technology, and yet we've got no cure… Using the available capital of our rich nation, the ever-increasing availability of computing power, and Silicon Valley’s solution – the power of a data commons – there is hope to restore medical innovation.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.6 percent//Disapprove – 53.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.8 percent//Wrong Track – 61.6 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42 percent// Republicans 40.3 percent
CHRISTIE TAKES HOT SEAT ON ‘THE KELLY FILE’
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., is bringing his bid to reclaim his reputation and GOP frontrunner status to “The Kelly File.” Watch Christie take Megyn Kelly’s questions in the 9 p.m. ET hour tonight. Megyn talked Thursday with the lawyer who led the internal investigation, pressing him on how the probe, which exonerates the governor, could have been complete without the cooperation of two former top Christie lieutenants at the center of a dirty tricks scandal involving lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. In comments to ABC News after the internal report was issued, Christie called his aides’ actions “inexplicably stupid.” The Garden State governor called the imbroglio the “toughest time in my life professionally” adding, “You don't sleep, you don't eat... you struggle. You struggle. But I do believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.”
[Bolton bolder with fundraising - Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton pushed out a mass solicitation for his political action committee on Thursday. “There is a critical fundraising deadline approaching that will be the determining factor in how many candidates my PAC can support in 2014. Will you help us before time runs out?”]
POWER PLAY POLITICAL PROS WITH TRIPPI AND WILLIAMS
In the latest installment of “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” Chris sits down with political pros Ryan Williams, a veteran GOP operative, and Democratic strategist and digital guru Joe Trippi. What are their picks for the races to watch this week? Click here to find out.
OBAMA-STYLE ATTACKS ON COTTON CALLED BOGUS
Daily Caller: “…Senate Majority PAC’s forthcoming TV ad… alleges that, ‘Before Congress, [Arkansas Republican Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton] got paid handsomely, working for insurance companies’ – an allegation curiously similar to one lodged by Cotton’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Mark Pryor. The only problem? It doesn’t appear to be true. After graduating from Harvard Law, Cotton spent five years as an Infantry Officer in the Army, and the last two years in the U.S. Congress. In between, he worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. But according to his former boss at the firm, Cotton never worked for any big insurance companies.”
[Two conservative groups will reprise ads supporting McConnell during this weekend’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen game between the University of Louisville and University of Kansas. Kentuckians for Strong leadership will run an ad blasting Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes support of ObamaCare, while Kentucky Opportunity Coalition will air ads thanking the Minority Leader for promoting veterans benefits.]
PICK SIX: FARM FOUL RAISES GOP’S HAWKEYE HOPES
The stakes are high for Democrats come November as they need to limit Republican gains in the Senate to five or fewer in order to retain control of the upper chamber. If the GOP can flip six seats from blue to red this year, the dynamics in Washington will change in a big way. Fox News First wants to know which six Democratic-held seats are most vulnerable. The current consensus among readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia. But reader Bryan Fishers sees blunders on the part of Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, pushing the Hawkeye State into the red column. Fisher observes, “I think with Bruce Braley's recent slam on non-lawyer farmers, who still account for a massive chunk of the Hawkeye State's economy, he's going to be relying on a lot of money from Texas lawyers and working overtime to hold onto any kind of an edge he had over the Republican field.”
Not the best week for Braley - Fox News: “Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley has had a tough week after a conservative Super PAC released a video of him mocking GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley as a farmer who has “never been to law school,” and it is only getting worse. The Des Moines Register reported Thursday that a press release the Democratic congressman issued to tout his history of fighting for farmers misspells the terms detasseling and baling. ‘Bruce grew up in rural Iowa and worked on Iowa farms, detassling (sic) corn and bailing(sic) hay,’ it reads. After the typos were pointed out, Braley spokesman Jeff Giertz said on Twitter he lost his fourth-grade spelling bee by misspelling ‘journey.’ ‘I guess my old habits are hard to break,’ he said. Additionally, Buzzfeed reported on Thursday that a photo of an Iowa farm Braley posted to his Facebook page in 2013 is actually a photo of a farm in England. Braley spokesman Drew Pusateri said the photo is being corrected, and it has been taken down.”
[Iowa Republican Senate hopeful Mark Jacobs is using Braley’s recent comments to hit the Democrat in a new ad.]
OKLAHOMA RACE DRAWS NATIONAL GOP COMBATANTS
Washington Examiner: “Former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon received the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund, raising the likelihood that his campaign with Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., to replace retiring Sen. Tom Coburn [R-Okla.] will turn into a new battleground between Republican leadership and outside conservative groups.” The Jim DeMint-founded group has also launched a new Web site supporting Shannon.
OSBORN GOES NEGATIVE IN NEBRASKA PRIMARY
Nebraska Senate GOP frontrunner Shane Osborn is taking his attacks on his rivals to the airwaves with a new ad saying he is the only “true conservative” in the race. From the ad: “Four candidates for United States Senate. They all say the right things, only one has proven he can do what he says: Shane Osborn.” The former state treasurer is getting back on offense in his bid for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., after apologizing for misleading reporters with what appeared to be a letter officially exonerating him for his 2001 decision to land a damaged Navy spy plane in Chinese territory. Meanwhile, the leading contender to disrupt Osborn’s path to the nomination, Midland University President Ben Sasse, unveiled his alternative to ObamaCare Thursday. Watchdog.org has the deets.
PALIN MAKES PITCH IN GEORGIA SENATE RACE
Breitbart: “Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel for U.S. Senate in Georgia on Thursday, emphasizing Handel's pro-life stance and success against crony capitalism… In 2010, Palin's endorsement of Handel propelled her to the runoff in the gubernatorial contest, which she narrowly lost to [Gov. Nathan Deal, R-Ga.,] by around 2,500 votes.”
[A new WSB poll finds businessman David Purdue, cousin to former Gov. Sonny Perdue, leading the GOP pack at 21 percent, followed by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and Rep. Paul Broun, at 15 percent each. The top two vote getters in the May 20 primary will advance to a July runoff.]
UNIVISION: NOS ENCANTA OBAMACARE
BuzzFeed: “For more than a year, the Spanish-language television network Univision has embarked on their own company-wide effort to get Latinos signed up [for ObamaCare], working through newscasts, special programming, advertising partnerships, and a dedicated health care website. Univision has not only been providing information to their viewers as to how to sign up but openly encouraging them to do so... Not everyone is impressed with what Univision is trying to do. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican with a large Latino constituency in southwest Florida, said that Obamacare has ‘been disastrous’ for Latinos and said the law played a role in the high unemployment numbers in Latino communities.”
“These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans, in my view.” – Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event Thursday.
[The latest Fox News poll finds 48 percent of respondents see the nation’s job situation getting worse, with 59 percent disapproving of President Obama’s handling of the economy.]
Catch a #mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz welcomes talk radio host Laura Ingraham, columnist Juan Williams, National Review’s Jim Geraghty, Mediaite’s Joe Concha and Fox News contributor Lauren Ashburn. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
[New Today at Fox News Opinion: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., argues Keep the Internet free: “The United States must vocally and vehemently oppose any attempt to allow the Internet to fall under the control of foreign governments or international organizations like the United Nations.”]
‘CULTURE OF CORRUPTION’ NARRATIVE DAMAGES DEMS
Watch Fox: Correspondent Molly Henneberg examines how an outbreak of criminal allegations against Democrats from coast to coast – Rhode Island to Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. to North Carolina to California – is worsening the chances for a party already struggling in a difficult election year. A similar drumbeat of scandal badly damaged Republicans in 2006, who, much like Democrats with ObamaCare today, were already dealing with a dire political climate because of the Iraq war.
Tarnished Golden State - Breitbart: “The unethical and illegal behavior of Democratic state senators in California, where Democrats have total control of the state legislature, is giving the state’s Democratic Party concerns that the GOP may use the misbehavior to regain power. Since the beginning of 2014, every month has featured a Democratic state senator either being arrested or convicted.”
MORE CLINTON FILES TO BE RELEASED
The National Archives will make public another trove of documents today involving President Bill Clinton’s administration. The Clinton Library will release another 2,500 pages of previously classified documents. –Watch Fox: Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen has the latest on what the latest batch of documents hold.
STENCH OF FAILURE
Here’s a story about an alleged burglar in Michigan who was captured in part because he had been sprayed by a skunk. It’s cool, you can pretend like you’re not going to read it or that you don’t laugh when you read a sentence like this: “The Times was unable to reach a representative from the Bay City Public Safety Department for comment on whether a skunked person in custody is dealt with differently.” We won’t tell anyone you clicked.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“…On the one hand you've got the Bishop of Rome, the Holy See of whom a billion co-religionists believe in his infallibility. On the other hand you have a man who said ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’” – Charles Krauthammer, on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
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.