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• Pressure grows for travel ban, Frieden ouster
• Hillary makes feminist pitch for Grimes
• Orman fumbles on abortion
• Gardner stays in driver’s seat
• This marathoner really hit the wall
PRESSURE GROWS FOR TRAVEL BAN, FRIEDEN OUSTER
With a new poll showing that 60 percent of voters (including 57 percent of Democrats) favor the idea of banning travel to the United States by those in the Ebola hot zone in West Africa, how long can the Obama administration hold the line? The issue of a travel ban took center stage in key Senate debates in Kansas and Colorado on Wednesday night and is sure to stay front and center as a dozen or more contested Senate races rage into their final days. The administration’s decision is hard to defend and easy to attack, especially compared to convoluted claims Democrats have been making about funding caps.
[Colorado Senate frontrunner GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, willreportedly break off the campaign trail today to attend a committee hearing on Ebola.]
Must be serious - With President Obama abandoning his prior stance of not canceling political or personal events amid crises for the sake of not alarming the public, we are left to wonder if it is time to panic. More likely, the current spin is just as politically motivated as was the defense of fundraising and recreation amid the furor over the public beheadings of Americans by Islamist militants. The daily revelations of botched and bungling responses to Ebola have put the administration on defense. That explains an unprecedented second-straight day of scrubbed Obama campaign events. If there's more bad news today, Obama doesn’t want to be sipping Chablis at a fundraiser when the story breaks. But we also must wonder if the president isn’t taking some time today to review résumés. Dr. Thomas Frieden has so bungled the public outreach and protocols for current crisis that he is one more calamity away from being Shinsekied.
[Author of Bloomberg bans - The NYT profiled Frieden, then New York health commissioner, when he was being vetted for his current CDC post: “Since being appointed the city’s health commissioner by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2002, he has gained a reputation as New York City’s health conscience, the architect of the city’s widely emulated campaigns to ban smoking in bars, post calorie counts in fast-food chains and ban artery-clogging trans fats in restaurants.”]
Hot zone - Friedan heads to Capitol Hill today to defend his agency’s struggle to deal with Ebola. It has been a rough run for the administration’s public face on epidemic response. His prior claims that the disease could be detected before entry into the U.S. and dealt with by hospital workers if it did breach our borders proved false. On Tuesday, Frieden countered charges that the CDC has been wrong, saying “our information is clear and correct.” When Megyn Kelly pointed out that the CDC director had assured the American public that “we would stop Ebola in its tracks,” Frieden responded, “What we are doing is making sure that we stop the train of transmission.” (You can see the follow up on “The Kelly File” here.) When it was revealed that Freidan’s agency had allowed a nurse who had treated an Ebola patient and who was complaining of a fever to board an airplane, calls for Frieden to resign began at once.
The Judge’s Ruling - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano expounds on the intersection between competency and liberty. (And it’s a corker!): “The government can’t deliver the mail, pave potholes, balance the budget, fairly collect taxes, protect us from Ebola, even tell the truth. Who would trust it with personal freedoms?”
HILLARY MAKES FEMINIST PITCH FOR GRIMES
The Hill: “Hillary Clinton struck a strong populist tone as she praised Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky.) as the champion of common Kentuckians during a campaign rally Wednesday night. ‘If you want to level the playing field so that your voice and your vote and, if you are so able, your contribution are as important as everyone else’s, then you know what you have to do,’ Clinton said. ‘Send Alison to Washington to stand up for you’… She even ended with a familiar theme from her 2008 concession speech, which praised her voters for making ‘18 million cracks’ in the glass ceiling that [Clinton claims] has so far kept women out of the presidency.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Whenever they tell you that words don’t matter, remember that on this day in 1854 a gangly man with a strong “Kentucky accent” made a speech that changed America. Today is the anniversary of the “Peoria Speech” by Abraham Lincoln, in which the former one-term congressman and Senate hopeful made his first public remarks in opposition to slavery. He didn’t get the Senate seat (that was before direct election of senators) but he did change the trajectory of his country, which then seemed bound for the expansion of slavery in the Western territories. Chicago newspaperman Horace White who had come out to hear Lincoln and Sen. Stephen Douglas, D-Ill., that day described Lincoln thusly: “although awkward, he was not in the least embarrassed.” The key, White wrote, was that Lincoln’s “eloquence was of the higher type, which produced conviction in others because of the conviction of the speaker himself. His listeners felt that he believed every word he said, and that, like Martin Luther, he would go to the stake rather than abate one jot or tittle of it.” You might need a third cup to get through the three-hour speech, but you can read it here.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42 percent//Disapprove – 52.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.9 percent//Wrong Track – 63.3 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 43 percent// Republicans – 46.4 percent
-- 19 days until Nov. 4 --
ORMAN FUMBLES ON ABORTION
AP: “Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts called independent candidate Greg Orman’s support of abortion rights ‘unconscionable’ during their last debate Wednesday and suggested that helping fellow Republicans recapture a Senate majority was the top issue in their race… Orman noted the decades of debate over abortion and said, ‘It prevents us from talking about other important issues, and what I'd like to see us do is start focusing on some of the big problems that we absolutely need to get our arms around if we're going to preserve the American dream and our financial futures.’ Roberts, a strong abortion opponent, took issue with Orman’s remarks. ‘Get past the rights of the unborn?’ Roberts said… In reply, Orman acknowledged abortion is an important issue. ‘I just think we've spent a lot of time as a country debating it, and it's time to start debating other important issues as well,’ he said.”
AFL-CIO lines up behind Orman - National Journal: “The AFL-CIO will endorse Kansas Senate candidate Greg Orman, a spokesman for the labor union tells National Journal, giving the independent candidate from Kansas a last-minute lift in his race against Republican incumbent Pat Roberts…The AFL-CIO won’t run TV ads for Orman, spokesman Jeff Hauser said, but his campaign will now be incorporated into the union's extensive ground game there.”
Orman gave mostly to Dems - National Review: “According to OpenSecrets.org, the extremely revealing website of the Center for Responsive Politics, [Independent Greg Orman] contributed $37,300 to political candidates and party committees between October 23, 1996 and January 12, 2010. Of this total, $34,800 went to Democrats, and $2,500 landed in Republican coffers. Thus, 93.3 percent of Orman’s political giving benefited Democrats. Only 6.7 percent of his campaign largesse helped Republicans.
Chamber puts Obama in Orman’s “O” - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hitting Orman on his ties to President Obama, replacing the “O” in his last name with Obama’s campaign logo.
[Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., appears in the Chamber’s ad hitting Sen. Kay Hagan’s, D-N.C., support of ObamaCare saying, “Show Kay Hagan you are smart enough to choose your doctor and choose a new Senator.”]
Q POLL: GARDNER STAYS IN DRIVER’S SEAT
While the race is tightening somewhat, Rep. Cory Gardner, maintains a durable 6-point lead in the Republican’s quest to unseat Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., according to a new poll. The poll from Quinnipiac University released this morning shows Gardner ahead with 47 percent to Udall’s 41 percent. The Republican held an 8-point lead in Q’s Sept 18 poll.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., appears in the 4 p.m. ET hour.]
Pocketbook - Free-market group the LIBRE Initiative is putting six figures behind targeted online ads in Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina and against House Democrats in Florida Texas and two districts in Arizona. The ads feature a Latina mom unpacking groceries and talking about rising prices and falling wages.
POLL: ERNST KEEPS LEAD
USA Today: “Republican Joni Ernst enjoys a narrow lead and an atmosphere favoring a GOP victory in the Iowa Senate race against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, according to the latest USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll. Ernst leads Braley 47%-43% among likely Iowa voters, taking a narrow lead in a race where 7.4% of voters remain undecided…A late August USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll showed the race tied at 40%.”
The line that defines - Freedom Partners Action is up with an ad backed by a $1.2 million buy. The ad features two Iowa farmers insulted by a dig Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, made against retiring Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for “being a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”
DEMS DOMINATE AIRWAVES
Washington Examiner: “Democrats have flooded the airwaves with more ads than Republicans, according to analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project. Across Senate, House and gubernatorial races, spending this election cycle is already over $917 million. In 10 of the 15 Senate races with the most advertising, pro-Democrat ads outdo pro-GOP ads that aired between Sept. 26 and Oct. 9. By Election Day, a total of at least two million ads will have aired this cycle.”
[But Pryor is low on dough - Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., hauled in $2.2 million in the last quarter, but spent $5.2 million, leaving $1 million in the bank for the final stretch before the midterms, his campaign announced Wednesday.]
NUNN GETS BLOOMBERG BUCKS
AJC: “Former New York City mayor, media tycoon and gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg gave $350,000 to a pro-Michelle Nunn Super PAC last month, making him easily the biggest single benefactor to her campaign. A new FEC filing from Georgians Together revealed the donation as the main engine behind the Super PAC’s $400,000 ad campaign on Nunn’s behalf. Bloomberg had given the maximum $5,200 to Nunn’s campaign earlier this year. Republicans have used it to cast her as a gun-grabber.”
NRSC looks outside Atlanta for Perdue push- David Drucker writes: “The [National Republican Senatorial Committee], the Senate GOP campaign arm, is now on the air in four key TV advertising markets in a bid to help Republican nominee David Perdue…The ads are running in Georgia's smaller but still vote-rich media markets, including Augusta, Albany, Savannah and Macon. The NRSC is scheduled to hit the airwaves in Atlanta, Georgia's largest market, on Tuesday. The NRSC announced plans Friday to invest $1.45 million in Georgia in the campaign's final weeks.”
Back and forth - In the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s ad debut in Georgia, the group rips Republican David Perdue for wanting to close the Federal Department of Education. Perdue’s latest ad features Georgia women defending his job record and blasting Democrat Michelle Nunn for not having clear policy positions on education and job growth because she is tied to President Obama’s agenda.
[Fab five - Fox News Radio’s “Balance of Power” podcast features Chris Stirewalt with the rundown on the week’s five most intriguing Senate races. Check it out.]
PICK SIX: SLIM TO NUNN OR SLIM AND NONE?
Republicans need six more Senate seats to take control of the upper chamber. Which blue seats are the most vulnerable in this year’s midterms? Here are the top picks based on Fox News First reader tweets and e-mails: Arkansas (13.8%), Montana (13.2%), West Virginia (12.4%), South Dakota (12%), Louisiana (11.8%), and Alaska (8.8%). Reader Greg Guldenschuh doesn’t feel Democrats investment in Georgia will pay off writing, “With Michelle Nunn having Nunn of the same commitment to Georgia that got her father elected to the Senate over and over again; I find it odd that the DSCC thinks she will have any chance of winning.”
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
NYT’s Upshot gives the GOP a 73 percent chance of winning a Senate majority, bumping up Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to a 72 percent likelihood of besting Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
WaPo Election Lab gives the GOP 93 percent chance of winning a Senate majority, giving the red team a 90 percent chance of taking Colorado and 95 percent likelihood of winning in Alaska.
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gives the GOP a 60 percent chance of winning a Senate majority.
PRO-CARSON GROUP SEES BIG CASH
Daily Caller: “The National Draft Ben Carson For President Committee raised just over $3.3 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to the disclosure. The pro-Carson committee spent most of the money it raised in the most recent quarter — $3.2 million — leaving it with just over $800,000 cash on hand. The committee’s haul places it third among all campaigns and committees that disclosed financing on Wednesday. Speaker of the House John Boehner raised $5.7 million, while the pro-choice group Emily’s List raised $3.8 million. The recent quarter’s strong showing is not an anomaly for the Carson committee. So far this year, it has raised $9.1 million while spending nearly $8.6 million.”
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS? HOW ABOUT OSCILLATING OR STATIONARY?
WTVT: “The Florida gubernatorial debate [between Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist] got off to a bizarre start when the live broadcast began with neither candidate onstage, and an announcement the neither would be participating. Apparently all because of a small fan at [Democrat] Charlie Crist’s feet… According to [debate moderator Eliot Rodriguez], the Scott campaign protested the fan ahead of time. ‘Governor Crist has asked to have a small fan placed under his podium,’ Rodriguez explained. ‘The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Somehow, there is a fan there, and for that reason ladies and gentlemen, I am being told that Governor Scott will not join us for this debate.’ Then one of the panelists asked Crist, who was still standing at the podium, if there was a rule that there would be no fan. ‘Are we really going to debate about a fan?’ Crist responded…”
[Watch Fox: Correspondent Steve Harrigan has the latest on the Sunshine State gubernatorial contest.]
THIS MARATHONER REALLY HIT THE WALL
AP: “Authorities say a wanted man attempted to flee pursuing officers by blending into the sea of Chicago Marathon runners. WLS-TV reports police say Bryan Duffy of Chicago ran from officers Sunday after they approached him. Police say the 29-year-old man jumped into a group of marathon runners in hopes he could make an escape. But police were ultimately able to tackle and arrest Duffy. Police say the man was carrying 10 capsules of MDMA, also known as Molly or ecstasy. Duffy is charged with possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. He was also charged with reckless conduct for endangering the marathon runners. His bail is set at $10,000.”
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.