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• Obama collapse with young white voters bodes ill for party
• Consider yourself Grubered
• Budget deal: Will the fat lady sing?
• IRS in crosshairs for GOP 2016 field
• No wonder he ran away
OBAMA COLLAPSE WITH YOUNG WHITE VOTERS BODES ILL FOR PARTY
How long will the damage done to the Democratic brand by the Obama presidency last? According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval among white voters under age 30 has fallen to 34 percent. That’s just 3 points better than with older white voters, one of the worst demographic subsets for the president. More worrisome for Democrats is that their 2016 frontrunner is much older than Obama and has been on the national stage since before many younger voters were born. Whatever policy set Hillary Clinton ends up embracing among those she has been testing on the campaign trail, she seems an unlikely choice to disaffected liberals who have lost their love for Obama’s amid the mire of his second term. While she may find purchase with younger voters yearning for a more moderate or effective chief executive, Clinton will struggle to court those voters without further blowing up the Democratic coalition or inviting a second primary defeat.
What’s it mean? - The poll suggests that the Democratic dream – in which younger white voters join with minority blocs to build a permanent majority for the party – is at best premature. It almost certainly means that Democrats, like Republicans before them, will experience a heavy hangover from a two-term presidency.
[Sheriff Joe, uniter - WashEx: “Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday he will decide ‘at the end of this spring or early summer’ whether to run for president. …Biden suggested, should he run, he would make his case for the presidency not as a liberal Democrat to the left of [Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton], but as a pragmatic, middle-of-the-road Democrat willing to work with Republicans…‘The one thing that moves me,’ Biden said, ‘I think that I have the ability to bring the sides together.’”]
CONSIDER YOURSELF GRUBERED
Dana Milbank adds a new term to the lexicon of official Washington: “A gaffe, under the oft-cited Michael Kinsley rule, is when somebody in Washington accidentally speaks the truth. But what happens when frankness leads you to say something so monumentally stupid — the verbal equivalent of a pratfall, a face-plant into a mud pit — that “gaffe” doesn’t cover it? In that case, you have Grubered yourself. The originator of this maneuver, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, summoned by House Republicans to explain his caught-on-tape remark that passage of Obamacare, on which he was a prominent consultant, relied on the “stupidity of the American voter.”…Republicans tried to Gruber Democrats by asserting that Gruber was a key architect of Obamacare and that his talk about passing the law deceptively was true. Democrats tried to Gruber the Republicans by tying the hapless professor to former Massachusetts Republican governor Mitt Romney, for whom Gruber also consulted. And Gruber continued to Gruber himself, refusing reasonable demands that he disclose all the government fees he had received…”
POLITICAL FUROR GROWS OVER SENATE DEMS’ CIA REPORT
Fox News: “A Democrat-led Senate panel released a scathing report Tuesday on CIA interrogation practices amid warnings from lawmakers that the findings could ‘endanger the lives of Americans’…The report, from the Senate intelligence committee, claimed the interrogation techniques used were ‘brutal and far worse’ than the CIA represented to lawmakers. Further, the report claimed the tactics were not effective and the spy agency gave ‘inaccurate’ information about it to Congress and the White House. The report called CIA management of the program ‘deeply flawed’ -- though agency officials have staunchly defended the program and credited it with helping track down Usama bin Laden and other terror leaders…The roughly 500-page report, a summary of a still-classified 6,000 page study, amounts to the fullest public accounting from Congress -- at least from Democrats -- 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. [President Obama] said the Senate report documents a ‘troubling program’ and pledged to make sure ‘we never resort to those methods again.’”
[Watch Fox: Former Vice President Dick Cheney will appear on “Special Report with Bret Baier,” 6 p.m. ET.]
Benghazi hearing today - The Select Committee on Benghazi holds its second public hearing today on the security of U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
When the great Appalachian American Davy Crockett left Washington behind after one term in Congress he said “You can all go to Hell. I will go to Texas.” Jim Angle may be going back to his native Lone Star State, but the Fox News Channel’s Chief National Correspondent is leaving on a very different note. After a remarkably distinguished career, Jim is retiring. A Fox News original, Jim joined the network a week before its 1996 launch. Jim has covered four presidents, with award-winning reporting on politics and the economy. Prior to joining Fox News, Jim was a correspondent at CNN, ABC News and NPR. In a farewell note to colleagues at the Washington Bureau, Jim wrote that his 18 years at FNC have been “the most rewarding part” of a career that spanned four decades. “I saw the Cold War come to an end, and the Berlin wall come down,” he wrote, “which was particularly touching for me since I had given tours of it while stationed in Berlin in the Army.” Most recently Jim has gained acclaim for his incisive, rigorous reporting on the details of ObamaCare. But most of all, he won the respect of his viewers for keeping them and their interests first. In his goodbye, Jim wrote of the honor of being here as Fox News grew and “poured on the steam.” But if anybody was keeping the boiler hot, it was Brother Angle.
“Jim Angle always took on the hard, complex stories and did them with clarity and integrity. He never let us down.” – Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst and former managing editor.
“I first worked alongside Jim in 2000 at the presidential recount in Tallahassee. We worked out of the back of a Ryder truck bouncing from courtroom to courtroom trying to dissect and digest rulings on the infamous “hanging chad.’ I learned a lot from Jim back then and since. First, never be afraid to do a story because it's too complex. Details matter and our audience is smart. Second, read the fine print. There’s usually a story in there. Third, always laugh. Jim, you're one of the originals. We’ll miss you. Good luck in a well-deserved retirement!” – Bret Baier, anchor of “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
“His reporting is brave.
His words never mangled.
Smart, funny and kind.
A class act.
– Megyn Kelly, anchor of “The Kelly File.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.6 percent//Disapprove – 52.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 25.9 percent//Wrong Track – 67 percent
[Watch Fox: New Fox News polls on topics including President Obama’s temporary amnesty for illegal immigrants, ObamaCare, Jonathan Gruber’s taunting of voters, the efforts to close the prisoner of war camp at Guantanamo Bay and the fight against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria will be debuted in “Special Report with Bret Baier.”]
BUDGET DEAL: WILL THE FAT LADY SING?
Though we have seen similar deals evaporate before, an agreement has reportedly been reached on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that, if passed, would avert a partial government shutdown while delaying a fight over President Obama's immigration actions until early 2015. Fox News: “The GOP-led House Appropriations Committee released the plan, which would keep most of the government funded through September 2015, following days of backroom negotiations. The government technically runs out of money at midnight Thursday. The narrow window raises the likelihood that lawmakers will have to pass a stopgap spending bill to buy time…. Strong opposition to the House budget plan from the Republicans’ conservative caucus could force GOP chamber leaders to rely on Democratic votes to avert a government shutdown. House Speaker John Boehner can afford to lose only 17 caucus votes before he must turn to support from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, D-Calif., has said her party would be willing to help but has signaled she may make some demands.”
On the menu:
- Financing for all Cabinet departments except Homeland Security through Sept. 30, 2015, with $521 billion for defense and $492 tied to non-defense. Another $64 billion is provided for overseas military operations. Homeland Security funding would run through Feb. 27.
- $490 billion to the Pentagon, increasing its budget by $3.3 billion. It provides billions to continue air strikes against ISIS and train Iraqi forces.
- $5.4 billion of President Obama’s $6.2 billion request to fight Ebola.
- $49 billion for foreign aid programs. Israel would receive $3.1 billion in military aid and Egypt $1.3 billion.
- Cutting the Environmental Provision Agency's budget to $8.1 billion, 21 percent below peak levels in 2010.
[Want more? - WaPo offers an evolving reader’s guide to what’s in the proposed budget bill.]
GOPers push amendment to defund temporary amnesty - DailyCaller: “[N]ew anti-amnesty language is being pushed by Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, South Carolina’s Rep. Mick Mulvaney and Virginia Rep. Dave Brat…The draft amendment [to the budget bill] bars various agencies from spending any money to implement Obama’s amnesty, including any fees paid by legal immigrants to immigration agencies…The amendment will be examined on Wednesday by the powerful rules committee, which sets the rules for debates.”
[A bit of coin for politics - A “rider” tacked on to the end of the proposed government funding bill increases limits on campaign funds. The Hill has the details.]
Buzzkill - Fox News: “The spending bill unveiled by House leaders Tuesday night includes a provision to ban local and federal money from being used to implement a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in Washington D.C., which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.”
POWER PLAY: SHUTDOWN SQUEEZE PLAY IN 60 SECONDS
With the budget deadline looming over Congress, House Speaker John Boehner works to get around the roadblocks of President Obama’s immigration action to get enough votes to avoid another government closure before the Christmas break. In just 60 seconds, Chris Stirewalt details the holiday calendar crunch and the final push to avoid a shutdown. Watch it here.
IRS IN CROSSHAIRS FOR GOP 2016 FIELD
With the news that the IRS wrongly paid at least $6 billion in child tax credits in 2013, the troubled agency is back on the political front burner. Because the welfare payments are essentially hidden as tax deductions, these abuses often fly under the radar. But with a failure rate over 10 percent, the issue now becomes unavoidable. Almost daily, we get a clearer picture of an agency with an ever-expanding portfolio that shows ever-decreasing competence. Aside from overseeing non-tax issues like disbursement of welfare payments and regulating political speech, the agency is doubled over trying to implement the long-delayed but most cumbersome parts of ObamaCare. While the Obama administration has so far successfully blocked efforts to punish those responsible for targeting the president’s political enemies, if Republicans get the presidency in 2016 you can expect a thorough scouring. But since the agency is held in such low esteem by voters across the political spectrum, its abuses and failures are likely to figure largely in the 2016 campaign.
Rick Perry’s policy school - WaPo: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is undergoing exhaustive preparations to run for president in 2016, with dozens of think tank experts flying into Austin this month for daylong briefings and tutorial sessions with the governor. Perry said during a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post that he would be a ‘substantially different, versed candidate’ should he launch a second presidential campaign. Perry regularly has attended policy briefings for the past two years, but the sessions have picked up pace in December, his final full month as governor. Many of the scholars and policy experts visiting with Perry are not working exclusively with him and have been briefing some other potential 2016 candidates. But some of them are poised to join his effort in some capacity. The days of briefings -- which typically include multiple roundtable and lunch or dinner -- are being organized by Jeff Miller, Perry's top political strategist, and Abby McCloskey, a Texas-based economist who previously worked for the American Enterprise Institute.”
“My job is to make sure that when you ask me about, ‘How does it feel to be humbled?’ that I very quickly get that answered. And then talk about what’s going to be humbling: When we don’t have everyone in this country that deserves a job having a job.” – Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an interview with AP.
Carson committee opens N.H. office - Wash Times: “The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent political action committee formed to draft the retired neurosurgeon and author has opened a 1,700-square-foot [headquarters] in Manchester…”
At the 115th meeting of the football teams from the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy on Saturday, the Midshipmen will be decked out in special uniforms featuring a stylized version of the First Navy Jack, the rattlesnake flag first flown at the bow of naval vessels during the Revolutionary War warning foes “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” Navy leads the series 58-49-7.
NO WONDER HE RAN AWAY
Well it wasn’t a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but rather a sheep in a dog’s sweater. AP reports that the sheep who is accustomed to walking with a leash was found wandering the streets of Omaha, Neb., wearing a Christmas sweater designed for dogs. The sheep, named Gage, was cared for by the Humane Society until his “shepherd” could be identified. His owner, Margaret Vazquez, believes he escaped through a construction fence and located him thanks to the social media attention Gage’s adventure received online. Vazquez treats Gage like any other four legged friend, “It’s like you dress your dogs up, your cat, but he’s just a sheep, that’s the only thing that’s different.” She has dressed him up for Fourth of July, Halloween and is planning a New Year’s costume as well. Gage is just one part of her menagerie of animals including two chickens, two cats, a guinea pig and a hamster.
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.