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• Fins in the water: New ObamaCare warning signs emerge
• Obama to Texas for bundlers, not border
• Hillary defends stint as lawyer for child rapist
• Power Play: Udall defends Obama on energy
• If your dream involves potato salad, dream bigger
FINS IN THE WATER: NEW OBAMACARE WARNING SIGNS EMERGE
The Democratic declaration of victory on ObamaCare this spring was that the law was here to stay. As summer blazes on, that boast may come to sound more like a lament than a boast. Consider, for example, the NYT piece on how Americans are paying through the nose for care but increasingly wait longer and longer to see doctors: “The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based foundation that focuses on health care, compared wait times in the United States to those in 10 other countries last year... The study found that 26 percent of 2,002 American adults surveyed said they waited six days or more for appointments, better only than Canada (33 percent) and Norway (28 percent), and much worse than in other countries with national health systems like the Netherlands (14 percent) or Britain (16 percent).” As physicians flee the field with new regulations coming on line, will the problem likely get worse or better?
Leviathan - But that’s just one example of the way that the huge, little understood health law is making its presence felt across the electorate. Democrats may protest that the old system was broken too. Maybe so, but voters don’t think this is an upgrade. And for the foreseeable future, people’s complaints about the system will land squarely at the feet of Democrats. We already knew about patients losing access to doctors, now we hear about longer wait times. And around the corner, we can see higher prices and workplace disruptions.
A war room is kinda like a bunker, isn’t it? - Just ahead of the fall elections, voters will be confronted with another broken promise about ObamaCare: The president said the law would bring insurance rates down, but new rates set to be announced in September will show rates continuing to rise. Unlike Obama’s now-infamous “if you like it” promise, the White House claims it will eventually keep this pledge and is touting to pro-administration outlets its “war room” to push back against coverage of rising insurance costs. Spin can help mitigate some damage, but as is the case with gas prices, when people feel the pinch, they pass along the discomfort to the party in power. And it’s likely too late to do anything about the cost spikes other than distributing talking points.
[Watch Fox: Chief National Correspondent Jim Angle will be tracking the latest on ObamaCare.]
Dems ditching cost controls - But what about the employer mandate, expected to push millions of workers out of full-time jobs and cause millions of Americans insured through employers to be dumped into ObamaCare? As employers get ready for the delayed regulations, Democrats sound increasingly ready to dump the mandate instead. That rule, like the individual mandate, was a nod to cost-control during the debate, and Democrats increasingly favor something more expensive. Given a choice between massive disruptions in voters’ jobs and insurance policies and more money on the federal debt, the majority party is hardly divided. But that would take the liberal use of the president’s pen and phone, highlighting the stakes in the soon-to-come suit from the House seeking a court order for Obama to exercise his Constitutional duties.
[Boehner: “What’s disappointing is the President’s flippant dismissal of the Constitution we are both sworn to defend. It is utterly beneath the dignity of the office.”]
Johnson gets his day in court - A federal judge will hear Sen. Ron Johnson’s, R-Wis., lawsuit against President Obama overstepping his bounds when it gave members of Congress and their staff subsidies to help pay for health insurance in the ObamaCare exchange today. Federal Judge William Griesbach will hear arguments from both sides regarding the administration’s request to dismiss the suit. Johnson must prove that he was personally harmed by the administration’s actions. Johnson says the subsidies harmed him because the administration asked him to determine which of his staff will get the subsidy and is forcing him to participate in something he believes is illegal and not available to other Americans.
[And don’t forget - The lawsuit that could pose the largest threat to ObamaCare of any is still pending.]
OBAMA TO TEXAS FOR BUNDLERS, NOT BORDER
President Obama will be less than 250 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, but has no announced plans to visit the region that has seen a flood of illegal immigrants over the past weeks. Instead he’ll be in Austin raising money for Democrats as part of a two-day buck raking jaunt that reportedly starts in Denver. Last week Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas invited the president to see for himself the crisis in his state, which shares over 1,200 miles of its southern border with Mexico.
“I don’t believe [President Obama] particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure..” – Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, on ABC’s “This Week”
Obama’s claim doesn’t hold up - LAT: “President Obama and his aides have repeatedly sought to dispel the rumors driving thousands of children and teens from Central America to cross the U.S. border each month with the expectation they will be given a permiso and allowed to stay. But under the Obama administration, those reports have proved increasingly true. The number of immigrants under 18 who were deported or turned away at ports of entry fell from 8,143 in 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 1,669 last year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released under a Freedom of Information Act request.”
“It would be nice for him to come down to the border. But…with all due respect, I think he still is one step behind. They knew this was happening a year ago,” – Rep. Henry Cueller, D-Texas, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Members of Congress set to tour Texas detention center - Fox News: “The Department of Health and Human Services is allowing members of Congress to visit a Texas immigration detention center amid growing concerns about access to such facilities housing the recent surge of children who have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. The tour is scheduled to take place Tuesday morning. The site will be a temporary shelter at the Joint Base San Antonio Lackland…”
OBAMA ADMIN MUM ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION INFLUX
Fox News: “Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson dodged pointed questions Sunday about whether the tens of thousands of Central American children who have recently entered the U.S. illegally will be deported or allowed to stay. His responses on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ and those of other Obama administration officials about what exactly they will do about the estimated 50,000 children who have entered the U.S. illegally in recent months are being characterized as ambiguous, as officials try to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Johnson said everybody who crossed the border faces a ‘pending’ deportation proceeding but also repeated recent administration talking points about looking at ways to ‘create additional options.’…Johnson also dismissed questions about not having enough resources at the border and expressed optimism the U.S. will stop the flow of illegals into the country, estimated in the hundreds of thousands since spring….He also suggested that America’s first obligation is to the incoming children, over sovereignty.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
The New Yorker’s Héctor Tobar delves into a 2010 mining accident trapping 33 men and recounts the survivor’s memories while explaining the devastating story in “Sixty-Nine Days”: “In the early-morning hours of August 5th, two thousand feet belowground, the night shift was finishing its work. Men covered in soot and drenched in sweat gathered in one of the caverns, waiting for a truck that would take them on the forty-minute drive to the surface. During their shift, they had noted a wailing rumble in the distance—the sound of many tons of rock falling in forgotten caverns deep inside the mountain. The noise and the vibrations caused by these avalanches were transmitted through the mountain much as lightning strikes travel through the air and the ground. ‘The mine is weeping a lot,’ the men said to one another. A few mentioned the rumblings to the men on the next shift, but there was no sense of alarm. The thunder always receded and the mountain eventually returned to its steady, quiet state.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.1 percent//Disapprove – 53.1 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.5 percent//Wrong Track – 63.3 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42.8 percent// Republicans 41.4 percent
HILLARY DEFENDS STINT AS LAWYER FOR CHILD RAPIST
In a new interview, Hillary Clinton claims she did not have a choice as to whether she would defend an accused child rapist in 1975. The case came to renewed fame last month when the Washington Free Beacon revealed recordings that include her laughing about the man beating a lie-detector test. “I asked to be relieved of that responsibility, but I was not,” Clinton said in an interview with Mumsnet, a British parenting site. “When you are a lawyer, you often don’t have the choice as to who you will represent, and by the very nature of criminal law there will be those who you represent that you don’t approve of,” a But at least in our system you have an obligation, and once I was appointed I fulfilled that obligation.”
HAWKS GETTING IN FORMATION FOR HILLARY
CBS News: “Sen. John McCain would be ‘proud’ to work with a President Hillary Clinton, the Arizona Republican said Sunday on “Face the Nation” - that is, he added, if she ‘regrettably’ makes it into the White House. Last month, Clinton on “Good Morning America” called McCain … her favorite Republican. Asked whether he reciprocates the sentiment about the former first lady, senator and secretary of state, McCain before giving his congenial answer joked to Bob Schieffer that he hoped the program would be ‘blacked out’ in his traditionally red-leaning state.”
Neocons getting ready? - Jacob Heilbrunn: “Mark Salter, a former chief of staff to Senator McCain and a neocon fellow traveler, said that in the event of a [Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.] nomination, “Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse” but to support Mrs. Clinton for the presidency.”
Her favorite cause - Under pressure for huge speaking fees at colleges where tuition rates are skyrocketing, Hillary Clinton told ABC News that she will donate her pay for speaking at colleges over the past year. But there’s a catch: the charity of her choice is her own family’s foundation. “So it goes from a foundation at a university to another foundation,” Clinton said. Aside from charity work, though, the quarter billion dollars collected by the Clintons for their foundation since leaving the White House helps fund their lavish lifestyle beyond even the estimated $155 million they have collected for their personal fortune. The foundation, which recently financed a multiday event for the Clintons in swing-state Colorado, has spent an estimated $50 million on travel alone.
KOCH BROTHERS FOCUS ON IOWA
Des Moines Register: “The main political branch of the conservative Koch brothers’ empire is mounting a full-scale mobilization to become a transformative political power in Iowa, the state where the battle for the presidency begins. Americans for Prosperity, which touts the virtues of low taxes and an unobtrusive government, isn’t focusing on just an election cycle or two. Its organizers openly say they’re digging in to circumvent traditional political outlets and change the landscape of politics here for a generation….Americans for Prosperity-Iowa now has five field offices, a 27-member staff, a record of orchestrating public events featuring state and national GOP leaders, and a strategy for marketing free-market principles as the best means to improve Iowans’ lives.”
BLOOMBERG GROUP LAUNCHES NEW RATINGS
Fox News: “A gun-control group founded and backed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking all House and Senate candidates in the 2014 midterm elections to complete a 10-part survey on issues related to firearms. The Washington Post reports that the survey will ask respondents questions about their stance on issues like background checks for gun buyers, limiting magazine capacity, and passing laws restricting gun trafficking. Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety, will then use a particular candidate's answers, as well as an analysis of past votes and public statements to either support or campaign against a candidate. The system is meant to emulate and counter the legislative ratings system of the National Rifle Association, which assigns lawmakers a letter grade based on their support of pro-gun rights legislation.”
POWER PLAY: UDALL DEFENDS OBAMA ON ENERGY
In the latest installment of “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt,” Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., talks about his support for President Obama’s environmental policies in a bid to blunt election-year criticism. Udall was once considered a shoo-in for re-election, but now finds himself in a toss-up race with Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who has made his opposition to Obama regulations a centerpiece of his campaign in the energy-rich state. “The Obama administration has been all in, investing in an energy approach,” Udall said. “That has been my approach as well. I’m glad this administration has followed my lead” Watch here.
GARDNER DEFENDS FRACKING AS JOB CREATOR
The (Colo.) Durango Herald: “Rep. Cory Gardner[, R-Colo.], seeking to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall[, D-Colo.], defended hydraulic fracturing as a job creator and said bans of the practice would kill thousands of jobs ‘overnight’ in a visit to Durango on Sunday. His ‘all-of-the-above energy policy’ relies on fracking. ‘If an energy ban were to take place in this state, you would lose 120,000 jobs overnight,’ he said. ‘Twelve billion dollars in economic activity would walk away and $1 billion in tax revenues that builds roads and schools in this state. Colorado has some of, if not the most, stringent regulations in place. A hydraulic fracturing ban on the ballot would be devastating to our economy.’”
MCDANIEL SERVES NOTICE OF CHALLENGE
4,900 and counting - AP: “Chris McDaniel’s campaign said it believes it has found about 4,900 examples of improper voting in the June 24 runoff. Most were by people who apparently voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and the Republican runoff, the campaign said. Mississippi does not register voters by party, but state law bans a person from voting in one party’s primary and another party’s runoff in the same cycle. The McDaniel campaign did not release documents supporting its claim. McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said the campaign served papers to Cochran’s son, Clayton, giving notice of the intent to challenge based on allegations of improper crossover voting. Fritsch said the papers had to be served directly to Cochran or to a member of his family.”
Bounty hunter - State Sen. Chris McDaniel is offering “$1,000 for evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud on or leading up to the June 24, 2014, Republican primary runoff election in Mississippi…”
‘C’EST LA VIE,’ SAID THE OLD FOLKS
The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune: “The Bill Cassidy Senate campaign announced Thursday that the candidate’s unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant as she prepares for her senior year at a Baton Rouge high school. Cassidy, a Republican congressman from Baton Rouge, said in a statement provided NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune that his daughter faces ‘a more challenging future’ and that she has his and his wife Laura's unconditional support. The baby is expected later this summer.” According to his website, Cassidy “works to promote the culture of life and protect the unborn.” Cassidy hopes to unseat Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. Landrieu’s seat is seen as a key state for the Republicans to gain control of the Senate in November.
PICK SIX: BY THE NUMBERS
Republicans have their sights set on six seats to win back control of the Senate from Democrats. So which seats are most likely to flip from blue to red? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota and North Carolina. Fox News First reader Dave Lubrano said, “I believe the largest margin of victory for these six will go in the order in-which I am presenting them: Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana. These individuals will have the largest margins of victory in that order.”
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
IF YOUR DREAM INVOLVES POTATO SALAD, DREAM BIGGER
Zack Brown said he needed a little extra cash to support his need for a nice bowl of potato salad, so he turned to Kickstarter.com, a website where people can donate money to different causes. Brown set out his goal at $10 to make the starchy goodness, offering his backers simple gifts from a “thank you” to a more substantial donation reward, an “I love Potato Salad” trucker hat. Thanks to the wonderful world wide web, Brown now has raised a whopping $7,840 (and climbing.) After the potato salad connoisseur reached his 10 bucks, he raised the stakes and stretched his goal. “We have hit the $3000 level, I’m getting us a party hall and inviting the WHOLE INTERNET to party with us. We’re going to need a lot of potato salad!,” Brown said in a post. After Brown reached the $5G mark, he posted a video thanking is supporters for “letting [him] live [his] dreams.” But Brown warns, “It might not be that good. It’s my first potato salad.”
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.