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Obama takes the Grammy for small politics

  • In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, people rally for comprehensive immigration reform outside the White House in Washington.

    In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, people rally for comprehensive immigration reform outside the White House in Washington.  (AP)

  • FILE: Nov. 5, 2014: President Obama at a news conference in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C.

    FILE: Nov. 5, 2014: President Obama at a news conference in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, D.C.  (AP)

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Buzz Cut:
• Obama takes the Grammy for small politics
• What’s in the plan, man?
• Majority now says health insurance not federal responsibility
• Webb gets ready to battle Hillary
• ‘The kick did not deter the groundhog’

Americans are mostly unhappy with President Obama’s much-belabored plan to offer temporary amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. But he is plowing ahead tonight anyway. The president’s strategy for unveiling his executive orders is getting much praise from supporters, particularly because it will “coincide with the Latin Grammy Awards on Univision, which will cut away to air the president’s address, thus guaranteeing excellent ratings among the Spanish language audience.” Obama also teased the speech in conjunction with one of his corporate backers, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, by using Zuckerberg’s site and then celebrating each other’s posts. It may sound more like a way to launch a new flavor of potato chips or a Nickleback single than a major shift in public policy. But by handpicking media partners who support the action, Obama can guarantee favorable coverage for target audiences and dial back some of the consequences with the nation as a whole.

[Watch Fox: President Obama delivers an address on immigration at 8pm ET. Stay with Fox News for full coverage and analysis.]

Same old song - After a relatively poor showing this fall among Latino voters in key races, Democrats are keen to show vigorous action on immigration. So, narrow-casting his remarks to the Latin Grammy audience and then heading to Nevada for a campaign rally Friday is a logical step. It’s also exactly how Obama has dealt with prior problems: Give a speech and then hit the road to complain about “Washington.” And while Democrats surely hope for Republicans to catch impeachment fever or at least offer the chance to force a government shutdown, there is little reason to believe this gambit will work any better than his previous talk treks. Remember how Democrats tried to rally black voters ahead of the midterm vote with targeted, often incendiary, outreach through African-American media outlets and direct mail. This is the same approach on a larger, risker, scale. After all, word will certainly get out.

“If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act. We’re considering a variety of options. But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.” – Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell, in a Senate floor speech today.

One mouth, two sides - The message the president would like the audience for the Latin Grammys to take away is that this is a big deal and that he is audacious and decisive. The message for the rest of the country is that this is no big deal, and just like what previous presidents of both parties have done to deal with a “broken” immigration system. Despite lots of evidence to the contrary, there will be a strong effort by the president to downplay these actions as temporary, necessary and normal. But with the results of the Nov. 4 elections still fresh on Americans’ minds, it will be hard for them to see this as anything but vindictive and obstinate behavior by a president who can’t deal with his new political reality.

[The Federalist’s Gabriel Malor truth squads claims that Obama’s executive action on immigration is comparable to those of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush: “They were trying to implement a complicated amnesty that Congress had already passed … Obama is clearly contravening both ordinary practice and the wishes of Congress—as expressed in statute—by declaring an amnesty himself.]

What’s in the plan, man? -
The White House has not released the official details of President Obama’s executive action, but there have been lots of breadcrumbs from the White House. Fox News first reported the contours of the plan to grant temporary amnesty to an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants. Since then, a steady flow of reports have offered clues to what Obama will declare:

  • Temporary amnesty for an estimated 4 million illegal immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

  • Eliminating the age limit on the temporary amnesty Obama issued in 2012 for those who came to the U.S. as minors. The initial action applied to an estimated 1.2 million illegals under the age of 31, but only about half have taken advantage.

  • The administration claims that none of the recipients of the temporary amnesty will be eligible for government health coverage.

  • Elimination of Secure Communities, a law-enforcement program that checks the fingerprints of all inmates with the Department of Homeland Security to verify their immigration status. The plan will reportedly offer a replacement system.

  • Adding an unknown number of additional H1-B visas for high-tech workers, something long sought by the president’s business backers.

  • Unspecified additional border security measures to reduce border crossings by undocumented immigrants will be part of the president’s plan, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters this week.

[Teepees - Buzzfeed got a glimpse at the White House’s immigration talking points sent out to Democratic congressional offices.]

Governors ready suits - NYT: “Gov. Rick Perry of Texas accused the president of “sticking his finger into the eye of the American people” after an election that gave Republicans control over both houses of Congress. Several governors threatened legal action to block the measure. “I would go to the courts,” said Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. “This is illegal.” Mr. Perry called a lawsuit against the Obama administration “a very real possibility.”… A number of those likely to run for president simply avoided offering direct or firm answers. … As he has in the past, [RGA Chairman] Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey refused to specify a plan for dealing with illegal immigration, saying he would not articulate a plan until he had decided whether to run for president.”

But before we pivot to birth control… - NYT: “…after about 28 minutes of questions about it on Wednesday from Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s ‘Meet The Press,’ Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana tried to cut off the discussion. ‘We have an hour,’ Mr. Jindal said. ‘We’ve now spent 30 minutes talking about the president breaking the law.’ The crowd here at the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Association erupted in applause.”

[Ed. note: What prompted Christie’s team at the RGA to tap Todd to moderate a panel among Republican politicians?]

Haslam on the inside track for new RGA chairman - Zeke Miller reports: “According to multiple individuals familiar with the gubernatorial discussions, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who was reelected this month, is the inside favorite for the post, though one governor described the situation as ‘very fluid’ before governors meet to elect the new RGA leadership on Thursday afternoon.”

Boehner readies plans to strike back at ‘Emperor Obama’ - Roll Call: “With the White House appearing near to announcing a broad executive amnesty in the coming days, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, warned of blowback. “If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue — and many others,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.”

[Boehner adviser Matt Wolking lists 22 instances in which Obama claimed to lack the lacks the power to act unilaterally.]

Rand: So sue him - The Hill: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday night that the House should pass a resolution opposing President Obama’s immigration executive action, setting up a lawsuit against him. ’What I would recommend to the House is they should immediately pass a resolution saying that what he is doing is contrary to the will of the House of Representatives,’ Paul said on Fox News. ‘That would set up, I think, a very clear-cut case in the court.’ … Paul, a likely presidential candidate, has a strategy that differs from another possible 2016 hopeful, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz's plan calls for blocking Obama's nominees in the Senate until he reverses course, as well as including language blocking the actions in spending bills.”

[Restraining order -  National Review’s Andrew McCarthy argues that while there is precedent for the courts stopping presidents from doing things by fiat, there is little prior basis for the Supreme Court compelling the president to fully discharge his authority.]

“If he goes forward unilaterally defying the Congress elected by the people, defying the American voters, then it’s incumbent on Republicans in Congress to use every single constitutional tool we have to defend the rule of law, to reign in a president so the president does not become an unaccountable monarch imposing his own policies in defiance of the American people. This is a moment of testing.” – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.

The Judge’s Ruling: Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano writes that President Obama is playing with fire: “The Framers required that every president swear to do his job “faithfully” to serve as a reminder to him that his job requires fidelity to the enforcement of laws with which he may disagree. The American people, Congress and the courts need to know we have a president who will enforce the laws, whether he agrees with them in his heart or not. Without presidential fidelity to the rule of law, we have a king, not a president.”

Coburn warns of dangerous example - USA Today: “Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.), warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama's executive order on immigration Thursday. ‘The country's going to go nuts, because they're going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it's going to be a very serious situation,’ Coburn said on Capital Download. ‘You're going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence.’… ‘Here's how people think: Well, if the law doesn't apply to the president ... then why should it apply to me?’”

‘And she’ll take what you give her, as long as it’s free…’ - The Hill: “Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opted to appear at a star-studded event honoring Billy Joel rather than meet with President Obama on Wednesday night to discuss his plans for executive action on immigration.”

Gallup: “[A] majority of Americans (52%) agree with the position that it is not the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have [health insurance]. Prior to the start of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009, a majority of Americans consistently took the opposite view.”

[Silent service - The Hill: “The Obama administration is keeping a tight lid on most figures related to the performance of…”]

Just imagine if the Gruber story broke before the election - Washington Free Beacon: “Freedom Partners Action Fund released a new ad Wednesday slamming embattled Sen. Mary Landrieu for supporting the Obamacare and highlighting comments from its now infamous architect, Jonathan Gruber, who said ‘lack of transparency’ and ‘the stupidity of the American voter’ were ‘critical’ in passing the unpopular and deceptive health care law. … ‘Senator Mary Landrieu sold Obamacare to us the Washington way–with false promises and deception,’ the narrator said. ‘And Obamacare’s chief architect admits it.’ The ad replays clips from Gruber’s condescending comments on the ‘stupidity’ of American voters and points out that Landrieu has claimed she would vote for Obamacare again.”

[They’re not that stupid - Burlington [Vt.] Free Press: “Vermont expects economist Jonathan Gruber to finish his health-care consulting, but without any additional pay. Lawrence Miller, the state's chief of health care reform, announced the decision Wednesday.”]

#runoff - Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D-La.) launches a TV ad making fun of her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, (R-La.) for being “not cool” during an online chat with supporters. Landrieu has made outreach to young voters a key part of her campaign.

[Listen to Fox - Defeated in a battle to win Senate approval for Keystone XL pipeline and down big in the latest polls, Mary Landrieu’s had a terrible week. FOX News Radio's Jason Bonewald has the details in this week’s Balance of Power podcast.]

The Soviet Union gave the world one of the most mysterious sports dynasties of the 20th century. Under the watchful eye of Coach Anatoli Tarasov, the nation’s hockey team won 3 straight Olympic gold medals and 10 consecutive world championships. Nick Paumgarten of The New Yorker explores the political and cultural crossover between the team from behind Iron Curtain and the Western World especially at the height of the Cold War, a dynamic that peaked at the 1980 Winter Olympics with the Miracle on Ice game against the United States. The Soviet cultural phenomenon is explored in greater depth in a documentary, “Red Army,” slated for wide release in January. In the film, Captain Slava Fetisov examines the rise and fall of the Soviet hockey team as national heroes to political enemies and during similar social and cultural ups and downs.

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 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.7 percent//Wrong Track – 66.2 percent

Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has officially launched his exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2016. Webb posted a 4-page letter and accompanying video to his 2016 website saying, “A strong majority of Americans agree that we are at a serious crossroads. In my view the solutions are not simply political, but those of leadership. I learned long ago on the battlefields of Vietnam that in a crisis, there is no substitute for clear-eyed leadership.” Webb added that, “I made this decision after reflecting on numerous political commentaries and listening to many knowledgeable people. I look forward to listening and talking with more people in the coming months as I decide whether or not to run.”

Appalachian-American - A populist challenger to 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, if Webb’s views appeal to enough voters, he could throw a wrench into her still-unofficial campaign’s plan to appeal to “white, working-class voters.”

Not a typical Dem - In a 2010 WSJ op-ed Webb voiced a need to end affirmative action, saying, “[diversity programs] having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.” He opposed “comprehensive” immigration legislation, calling for border security first. Webb staunchly supports gun rights, but also backs access to elective abortions and same-sex marriage.

Resume - A 1968 graduate of the Naval Academy, Webb served in Vietnam earning numerous awards before entering a law career, serving as counsel to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee until 1981. Webb then served as Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration. After leaving government, Webb wrote numerous books and screen plays before winning the Virginia Senate seat in 2006. While Webb’s history of the Scots-Irish in America was a massive success, some of his other writings have been controversial.

[WashEx: “Democrats sharpen Wall Street criticism”]

The Hill: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday warned that the country is headed in the wrong direction and pushed Democrats to demand a government that does more for working-class citizens. In remarks before the Center for American Progress, the newest member of Senate Democratic leadership argued that the public broadly supports major pieces of the Democratic agenda, but she implied that the party has lost sight of its priorities in recent years. “Our country is headed in the wrong direction,” she said. “The American dream is slipping out of reach. “There is a long way to go before Democrats can reclaim the right to say we’re working for America’s people ... but don’t forget the good news: our agenda is America’s agenda,” Warren added. Senate Democrats added Warren to the leadership team following a midterm election drubbing that saw the party lose its Senate majority. As a strategic policy adviser, she will serve as a liaison to progressive groups. Many liberal groups continue to hope Warren runs for the White House in 2016, something she has repeatedly ruled out.”

WSJ: “Two of the frequently mentioned governors considering 2016 bids, John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are unfamiliar to 61% and 54% of American adults, respectively, according to a new WSJ/NBC News poll…Fifty-eight percent don’t recognize Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon…Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, are unfamiliar to 39% and 40%, respectively…The lower profiles of some of the GOP contenders contrasts with the universal recognition afforded Democrat Hillary Clinton. The former first lady is viewed positively by 43% and negatively by 40%…Some Democrats are urging Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to challenge Ms. Clinton in 2016…she is viewed positively by 23% and negatively by 17%. The best-known Republican weighing a presidential bid, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is viewed positively by 26% and negatively by 33%...Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, whose father ran for president three times, is better known than his Senate colleagues eyeing 2016. Only 25% said they don’t know him or are not sure who he is.”

WMUR: “A Hampton [N.H.] couple said they were terrorized Tuesday by a groundhog that ran at them with teeth bared… ‘He got close enough so I could just poke him with my toe, and I pushed him back a few feet. He just turned around and came right back, and I gave him a harder kick this time,’ [homeowner Gary McGrath] said. The kick did not deter the groundhog. McGrath went in his garage and closed the door, but the groundhog snuck through another open door. … “Here he comes again and he almost got me that time,” he said. …“I took off as fast as I could, which didn’t have to be too fast. He had pretty short legs,” he said. … His wife snapped some photographs and they called animal control. The angry rodent confronted the animal control officer, who had to get back into his truck for a short time. The groundhog was later put down in the yard. It will be tested for rabies.”

“History is not going to care much about what’s going to happen in these two years. But it will care about the encroachment of the executive power in a gross way, and the prerogatives of Congress.” —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

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.