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• Millions face ObamaCare price hikes
• Boehner: No commitment to defund exec amnesty next year
• Hillary says it’s hard to be president
• Last lap for Landrieu and Deep South Dems
• Wrong turn on the way to the market
MILLIONS FACE OBAMACARE PRICE HIKES
Amid a recent spread of buyer’s remorse among Democratic lawmakers who pushed President Obama’s complicated and unpopular health law through, the Obama administration is warning Americans that they face big price hikes if they don’t find their version of the ObamaCare blue light special aisle during open enrollment. In many cases that means changing coverage plans, even though you may be happy with it, again. Federal health officials say people could face rate hikes of nearly 10 percent. The warning comes on top of this year’s more costly premiums, which, depending on the state you live in, could mean a double-digit price jump. In other words, Americans, who were sold on claims of reduced rates, can add “You’d better shop around” to the ObamaCare hit parade of “If you like it you can keep it.”
Obamacare calorie labeling regs hard to swallow at $1.7 billion - Wash Free Beacon: “The federal government formally completed regulations that will force vending machines and restaurants to display calorie information, which can lead to businesses being fined thousands of dollars for not including the number of calories in a mayonnaise packet. The regulations, which originated in Obamacare, total 319 pages and will cost industry $1.7 billion to comply. The Food and Drug administration (FDA) published the final rules last week just before the Thanksgiving holiday, arguing the rules are ‘an important step for public health.’”
BOEHNER: NO COMMITMENT TO DEFUND EXEC AMNESTY NEXT YEAR
Weekly Standard: “John Boehner [R-Ohio] said he would not commit to bringing up a bill to strip critical funding from the Department of Homeland Security in the next Congress. Instead, the speaker of the House says there are ‘lots of options’ for blocking President Obama’s executive order on immigration. At a Thursday press conference in the Capitol, Boehner did not guarantee the House would vote to block or cut off funding from DHS once Republicans had control of both houses of Congress in 2015…‘I’m not going to get into hypotheticals of what we could or couldn’t do. But I do know this. Come January, we’ll have a Republican House and a Republican Senate, and we’ll be in a stronger position to take actions.’…The Ohio Republican emphasized the current plan to address the immigration executive order in the next Congress gives the GOP the best chance for ‘keeping our leverage.’ But, Boehner said, ‘we have limited options in how we can deal with this.’”
[Flash-bang: The Yoho bill to ‘block’ President Obama’s executive order passed the House, 219 to 197.]
Republicans prepare 2015 immigration legislation - Reuters: “U.S. Republicans, outraged with President Barack Obama for easing deportations of millions of undocumented residents, plan legislation in 2015 strengthening the U.S.-Mexican border to discourage illegal immigration. The move, likely to come early next year according to House Republican leadership aides, may lead to other steps the House of Representatives could contemplate to repair parts of U.S. immigration law…. ‘I think there is the realization...that this issue is not going away,’ said Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who has labored to write broad immigration legislation. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul likely will oversee the effort, according to leadership aides. McCaul has pushed legislation imposing tough standards for border apprehensions.”
“It really makes it very difficult to go forward on that and we all think he [President Obama] made a big mistake if he was interested in actually getting some kind of results on immigration.” –Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on “On the Record.” Watch here.
IT’S OFFICIAL, CARTER IS OBAMA’S MAN AT DEFENSE
After a number of top choices pulled their names out of the running, President Obama has settled on former Pentagon official Ashton Carter as his nominee to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Fox News: “If confirmed by the Senate, Carter would be Obama’s fourth Pentagon chief in his roughly six-year administration. The development comes less than two weeks after Hagel abruptly resigned under White House pressure, after less than two years on the job. Carter has extensive experience in the national security arena. Carter's former role was essentially that of chief operating officer. Before he served as deputy defense secretary, he was the Pentagon's technology and weapons-buying chief for more than two years.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Today’s high-paced, well-defined information age seems to leave little room for mystery. But when events like the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 over the southern Indian Ocean occur, we are reminded that the unexpected and unexplained are a very real part of our world. In that spirit, we recall that 69 years ago on this day, a flight of five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers took off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. The 14 airmen of Flight 19 never returned. Neither did the 13-man crew of the rescue Mariner aircraft sent to find them. Although the Navy maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the “Lost Squadron” helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.3 percent//Disapprove – 53.0 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.2 percent//Wrong Track – 67.3 percent
HILLARY SAYS IT’S HARD TO BE PRESIDENT
Frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who in 2008 raised questions about who’s answering the phone at 3a.m., was back on point in a speech in Boston. WaPo: “‘The job of president is stressful and unrelenting, and forces fast decisions even when ‘maybe you need to sleep on it,’ [Clinton said.]…Clinton said in her experience as first lady during Bill Clinton’s two terms in office, it was important to hold onto old friends who ‘continue to treat you like a human being.’ ‘You can lose touch with what’s real, what’s authentic,’ Clinton said. ‘So whether it’s a man, or a woman, the support system is absolutely critical.’ Clinton said for women, or anyone in public life, it is important to have a thick skin and to understand the value of criticism. ‘For me, learning to take criticism seriously, where appropriate, but not personally, has been a great lesson,’ Clinton said. ‘Sometimes your critics will tell you things your friends will not tell you.’”
Buffett’s bucks are ready for Hillary - Billionaire Warren Buffet, longtime Hillary Clinton supporter and donor to her campaigns, has apparently reversed his dour view of donating big bucks to super-PACS, at least in Hillary’s case. Bloomberg: “Buffett has said he’s willing to ‘put money’ on Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 presidential race. Turns out, he really meant it. The Oracle of Omaha gave the maximum donation allowed to Ready for Hillary last quarter, his first-ever check to the sort of independent political groups that he’s scorned in the past. Buffett, who is the third richest man in the world, gave $25,000, the most any individual can donate under the committee’s self-imposed cap, according to a person familiar with Ready for Hillary’s post-election financial disclosure report.”
[Put your 2016 boots on: WSJ: “Stand with Hillary” has released a country music song in support of 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The video features a young man in jeans and a cowboy hat and a longing to vote for Clinton for president.]
Hillary reacts to Garner and Ferguson - Boston Globe: “Hillary Rodham Clinton dove into a roiling national debate about race, policing, and justice Thursday, saying the United States must wrestle with some ‘hard truths’ and positioning herself as a proponent of criminal justice reform after two high-profile deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers. ‘I know that a lot of hearts are breaking, and we are asking ourselves, ‘Aren’t these our sons? Aren’t these our brothers?’’ the possible 2016 White House contender said. In a speech at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center that sounded decidedly presidential in its broad sweep and careful call to action, Clinton said, ‘Each of us has to grapple with some hard truths about race and justice in America.’”
#mediabuzz: Contrasting coverage
The starkly different media reaction to grand jury decisions in the chokehold death of Eric Garner and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson tops the buzz this week. Host Howard Kurtz welcomes investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, Daily Caller contributor Matt Lewis, political commentator Richard Fowler, Roll Call’s Christina Bellantoni, radio talk show host Michael Medved and Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
‘INNER CIRCLE’ SOURCE: ROMNEY’S RUNNING
Business Insider: “Mitt Romney held meetings with donors in New York this week that left one attendee convinced he is running for president again in 2016. A member of Romney’s inner circle who spoke to Business Insider said the former governor of Massachusetts traveled to New York City on Monday where he met with key financial backers of his past campaigns to lay the groundwork for a 2016 White House bid. The source, who was at one of the meetings, said other attendees included Time Warner CEO Stephen Ross, New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson, and hedge funders Julian Robertson and Paul Singer…In addition to potential donors, the source said Romney met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) this week. Christie endorsed Romney during his last race; however, he is expected to mount his own White House bid in 2016.”
TEAM JEB HEADHUNTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Potential 2016 GOP contender Jeb Bush is talent hunting in the first in the nation primary state. RCP: “Two top New Hampshire Republican strategists have been contacted this week by a Jeb Bush confidant to discuss their interest in leading the former Florida governor’s prospective presidential campaign there…The new outreach from Bush’s camp was directed at a pair of experienced and well-respected New Hampshire GOP operatives, each of whom has previously helmed presidential campaigns in the state. Both were given the proverbial instruction to ‘keep your powder dry,’ suggesting that Bush is leaning toward entering the race early next year. ‘I think the decision’s been made, personally,’ said one of the strategists…Neither of the operatives has been contacted by Bush himself, but they were asked if they'd be interested in speaking with the would-be candidate.”
Fox News Sunday: Joust with Jindal - Chris Wallace sits down with potential Republican presidential contender Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., to plumb his 2016 aspirations. “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.
INQUIRY: ‘NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE’ CHRISTIE KNEW OF LANE CLOSURES
WSJ: “A legislative inquiry into the George Washington Bridge scandal couldn’t determine whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the controversial lane closures before they occurred, with investigators saying they were stymied by a lack of access. The 136-page report—reviewed by The Wall Street Journal—found ‘no conclusive evidence’ that Mr. Christie ‘was or was not aware’ of the September 2013 lane closures in advance or while they were happening. But the report found that accusations by a former ally of the potential 2016 Republican presidential contender left ‘open the question of when the governor first learned of the closures and what he was told.’ A spokesman for Mr. Christie declined to comment. An investigation performed by attorneys hired by the Christie administration cleared the governor in its own report.
LAST LAP FOR LANDRIEU AND DEEP SOUTH DEMS
With Sen. Mary Landrieu’s, D-La., bid to hold her seat about to end in defeat, CSM takes a deep dive into why support for Democrats is dying in the Deep South. “Come Saturday, the sweep is likely to be complete. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana is nearly certain to lose her runoff election against Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. In the Deep South, that will mean no more Democrats in the US Senate, a governor’s office, or the majority in a state legislature. This shift to deep red in the Deep South has been decades in the making. And it was only a matter of time before Louisiana was going to shift, too, analysts say. Still, one statistic stood out in Senator Landrieu’s vote totals on Election Day last month: She got only 18 percent of the white vote, down from 33 percent just six years ago Why the precipitous decline? And what does it signal for Democrats’ future chances in the South? To the first question, experts on Southern policies have a short answer: President Obama…”
DEMS DRAFT MIDTERM AUTOPSY TEAM
AP: “Democrats are turning to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and others to lead a task force reviewing what went wrong in recent mid-term elections. The Democratic National Committee is naming a 10-person panel to examine the party's problems during the 2014 and 2010 elections and recommend solutions. The task force is aiming to determine why Democrats have struggled to turn out its voters in non-presidential elections. It will look at the party's tactics, messaging, get-out-the-vote operations and digital efforts. It expects to complete its work by mid-2015.”
WRONG TURN ON THE WAY TO THE MARKET
A piglet near Suffolk, England apparently went to great lengths to escape his pen. The adventurous little oinker first slithered under an electric wire fence, crossing 200 yards of farmland to the end of a cliff where he got stuck in the sand. Animal inspector Jason Finch was called by a passer-by to help rescue the piglet. Panicking by the attempted human capture, the animal fell off the cliff and started swimming out in the ocean. Finch said, “I have never seen anything like it. I couldn't believe it when he darted straight into the sea like that. He was completely un-phased by the bubbling surf and started diving up and down among the waves.” Finch ran into the ocean and finally scooped up the piglet bringing him back to shore. Though after the successful rescue, he was unable to report if this little piggy cried “wee, wee, wee” all the way home to the relieved staff at Church Farm.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I think anybody who looks at the [Eric Garner] video would think, that this was the wrong judgment, the problem is in our system, you don’t have double jeopardy. If a grand jury makes a mistake, that’s the way it is.” —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.