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Gruber’s choice: Save his ego or save ObamaCare

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Buzz Cut:
• Gruber’s choice: Save his ego or save ObamaCare
• POTUS trolls GOP on amnesty
• Obama backs protests, says inconvenience necessary to trigger ‘conscience’
• puts $1 million behind bid to block Hillary
• Get your snake off my cruller, you hoser

Today’s testimony from ObamaCare architect and noted braggart Jonathan Gruber won’t likely change much about what we know about the law. But with the first 2016 attack ad featuring Gruber already running, GOPers are certainly hoping that the MIT professor will take the opportunity to remind America how much smarter he is than everybody else. If the Republicans are really lucky, Gruber will be defiant. But the ones who have really come to despise Gruber are the Democrats, whose cover he blew. So unlike other administration figures hauled before the House, Gruber is not likely to get much in the way of air cover from Democratic members. Their goal will instead be to marginalize his role and diminish his perceived influence in crafting ObamaCare.

[President Obama appeared on Comedy Central to do a skit making fun of Republicans for their opposition to ObamaCare. The bit said the GOP replacement to his law would be “fracking the elderly.”]

Your money or your pride? - This creates an odd predicament for the professor. His ego and his mega-million dollar consulting business rely on him being a major architect of the law, but his former patrons need him to be some nobody who bragged too much about his role. Does he defy his former paymasters to save face or does he go out in a blaze of glory? Grab the popcorn.

That was then - “I don’t know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT's analysis of what the comparison is to the status quo versus what will happen in our bill for those who seek insurance within the exchange.” – Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, November 2009

This is now - “I don’t know who he is. He didn’t help write our bill.” – Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, November 2014

President Obama
is trolling Republicans today, traveling to red state Tennessee to tout his executive action on immigration.  The president’s town hall discussion in Nashville will no doubt be taken as an in your face maneuver, angering conservatives who have been pushing Congress to use the power of the purse to hit back at Obama and complicating Republican leadership efforts to push through a $1.1 trillion budget deal. Despite ringing criticism of conservative lawmakers, the two-tiered deal funds the most of the government through September 2015 and the Homeland Security Department for only a couple of months. But conservative opposition means Republican leaders may have to surrender even limited policy gains in order to get the necessary Democratic votes. Facing a Friday shutdown deadline, negotiators are racing to tie up loose ends. And while details of the massive spending bill are expected today, reports of only a few modest trims to nutrition mandates and EPA clean water regulations won’t do much to salve conservative anger over the deal.

Poll shows backlash against executive amnesty - Bloomberg: “As for Obama’s decision to take executive action to give some illegal immigrants temporary legal status, 56 percent say they don’t approve, while 39 percent are okay with it and 5 percent aren’t sure. This is partly a partisan issue; 83 percent of Republicans oppose the decisions while two-thirds of Democrats favor them. More ominously, though, a clear majority – 57 percent – of independents oppose the actions.”

Poet Marianne Moore maintained a cult-like following for her fluency in writing about American pop culture in the 1950s. So it was not completely insane when the Ford Motor Company asked her to help develop names for their long-anticipated new product line. David Wallace, a sociology Ph.D. hired by Ford to conduct the naming search wrote to Moore lamenting an “embarrassingly pedestrian” list his office had put together and asked for help from the renowned poet. It was on this day in 1955 that Moore made her final submission. Ford was looking for a name that “flashes a dramatically desirable picture in people’s minds.” With names like, “Mongoose Civique”, “Utopian Turtletop”, “Varsity Stroke” and “Resilient Bullet”, pictures most certainly flashed through people’s minds, however not necessarily desirable ones. Executives returned to grinding through a list of 18,000 names from their ad agency. But when none of the final contenders seemed to fit, Ford returned to its original idea, to name the car after Edsel Ford, son of the company’s founder. The new car line was supposed to be the centerpiece of a new direction for Ford, but instead was discontinued after only three model years. The name became synonymous with the bloated, disconnected American corporate attitudes of Midcentury.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 43.3 percent//Disapprove – 52.5 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.2 percent//Wrong Track – 67.3 percent

Fox News: “The 480-page report, a summary of a still-classified 6,000 page study, amounts to the first public accounting of the CIA's alleged use of torture on suspected Al Qaeda detainees held in secret facilities in Europe and Asia in the years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Reuters reported Monday night that the report contains graphic details about the techniques, including sexual threats made to detainees. According to Reuters, the report describes how at least one detainee was threatened in a sexual manner with a broomstick. In another example, Reuters reported, a detained Al Qaeda operative was threatened with a buzzing power drill. U.S. officials who have read the report say it includes disturbing new details about the CIA's use of such techniques as sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning process known as waterboarding.”

[National Journal explains how by trying to have it both ways on CIA interrogation tactics, President Obama gets the benefits of neither.]

“As long as they’re peaceful, I think they’re necessary. When they turn violent then they turn counterproductive…. Because the old adage, power concedes nothing without a fight -- I think that's true. But what's also true is that a country's conscience sometimes has to be triggered by some inconvenience.” –President Obama in an interview with BET.

[An autopsy of slain robbery suspect Michael Brown conducted for the Department of Justice matched the findings of one conducted by Missouri authorities, discovering gunpowder residue on Brown’s hand consistent with the police report.]

A liberal group that began to bash Republicans for their impeachment of President Bill Clinton is now looking to keep the Clintons from returning to the White House. NYT: “Some Democrats are “Ready for Hillary.” is ready for Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.]. The liberal group is poised to spend $1 million on a campaign to draft Senator Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat, into the 2016 presidential race, an indication of an appetite among some activists for a more progressive alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton.’s executive director, Ilya Sheyman, said the group planned to open offices and hire staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, the states that kick off the presidential nominating process, and ultimately to air television ads in those states. The group will begin its push with a website, “Run Warren Run,” allowing supporters to sign a petition urging Ms. Warren to pursue a White House bid and featuring a video about her.”

Hillary has another paid speech scheduled for March - The Hill: “Hillary Clinton will give a paid speech on March 19, raising questions about her timeline for announcing a presidential run.  Clinton will address the American Camp Association, a group of summer camp professionals, in Atlantic City, N.J. Susie Lupert, the group's executive director, told MSNBC that Clinton will be paid for the appearance but did not specify the amount. “She is being paid for this speech. We went through the regular channels,” Lupert said. Clinton is also scheduled to give what appear to be paid speeches in January and February to separate groups.”

‘But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece. Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash’ - Hillary met with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the British General Counsel’s residence for an event to promote wildlife philanthropy.

Um, thanks… - Fox News: “Don’t worry, girls. ‘You’re as smart as any boy.’ That was the message Monday from Vice President Biden as he pep-talked a group of young women during a White House technology event, in a uniquely Biden way.”

WaPo: “Efforts by potential Republican presidential candidates to win over wealthy donors have set off a series of contests for their support that could stall the GOP race for months…Despite the appeals, which have stepped up in recent weeks, many top donors have committed to being noncommittal, wary of fueling the kind of costly and politically damaging battle that dominated the 2012 primaries. Senior party fundraisers believe that most campaigns will not be able to fully set up their fundraising operations until at least the spring. A telling sign of the mood can be seen in the attitude of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, one of the GOP’s biggest donors, who has expressed reluctance about engaging in the early primary fight. Instead, he and his wife, Miriam, are likely to set up their own super PAC to influence 2016 congressional campaigns as well as the White House race. The hesitancy among the party’s financial patrons about jumping into the White House race right away could hamstring the ability of some candidates to ramp up their campaign operations and quickly break out of a pack of hopefuls that could number as many as two dozen.”

Christie back to Iowa to court conservatives - AP: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie [R-N.J.,] will attend a conservative summit in Iowa next month, a spokesman for a group sponsoring the event said. Jeff Marschner with Citizens United said Monday that Christie will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24 in Des Moines. The conservative group is sponsoring the event along with Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.”

Bush brothers lobby mom to back Jeb run - Bloomberg: “Maybe the White House could use another Bush, after all. Neil Bush, the brother of George W. and Jeb, says that his mother, Barbara, has reconsidered her pronouncement that ‘we've had enough Bushes in the White House.’ … ‘Mom has come around. I think I can say that publicly," Neil Bush told hosts … She's really encouraging. She wants to take her negative comment off the table, let's put it that way.’”

Ted Cruz was an anti-date rape crusader at Princeton - Business Insider: “For Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the issue of sexual assault on college campuses is personal. During his years at Princeton University, Cruz spearheaded efforts to fight date rape at the school…“When I was in student government in college, protecting student safety was a real priority, and no student should ever have to face the threat of sexual assault," Cruz said in an email to Business Insider.

The Hill: “A super-PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) spent big money late in the 2014 midterm cycle on behalf of independent candidate Greg Orman in his bid to oust incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). According to a Bloomberg News analysis of Federal Election Commission reports, the Senate Majority PAC, run by allies of Reid’s, funneled $1.5 million to two PACs backing Orman. The checks were cut late enough in the cycle that Democrats knew the contributions would remain a secret until after the election.”

New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Edwin Edwards said he won't vanish into retirement since losing a bid for U.S. Congress on Saturday night. And starting next fall, if all goes according to a plan, residents can see the legendary Louisiana politician every day from the comfort of their couch. No, the ex-four-term governor and former federal inmate is not embarking on another ill-fated reality TV venture, a move for which he's expressed regret. But after the holidays, Edwards plans to start off the new year working with his biographer Leo Honeycutt to put together a ‘coffee table book’ of pictures from his life in public office. ‘The life of Edwin Edwards in pictures,’ was how Edwards described the concept Monday…‘It was one of the perks of being in public life all those years,’ said Edwards of his star-studded introductions. ‘On the other hand, I'm just as proud of all the thousands of ordinary citizens that met with me, were nice to me and in many cases I was able to help.’ The book will present the photos during Edwards' political life in Louisiana in a historical context, Honeycutt said. It's geared not only to those who are interested in Edwards' career, but anyone enjoys Louisiana history and politics.”

The Star Phoenix in Saskatchewan, Canada reports an unusual incident occurred at a Saskatoon Tim Horton’s restaurant. Police say that staff “fled the store in fear” after two men threw a snake at an employee behind the counter. An argument occurred between the men and the store employee over diced onions on their breakfast order resulting in the reptilian revenge. Saskatoon police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards said, “I’ve never heard of a snake being thrown at an employee by a customer … It was definitely a little chaotic.” Police quickly captured the garter snake and determined it to be nonvenomous. No one including the snake was harmed in the incident. Named Outlaw by the police, the snake has been placed in a temporary home until it can be returned to the wild in the spring. Both men face criminal charges including mischief and causing a disturbance.

“Will you ever take a risk in defense of the national security if you think you’re going to be hung out to dry later? But most important I think is the fact that what intelligence service abroad is going to help us when they are going to be exposed and pilloried around the world?” —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.