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• Frightful poll sends Dems screaming
• Deadline day for ObamaCare exemptions
• Holy See (and hear?)
• Cruz vows no tricks for fellow Senate GOPers
• All the eggs and toilet paper in Fargo…
CRASHES, CANCELLED POLICIES FRACTURE DEMS -As millions of Americans receive notices that their insurance policies are being cancelled because of new ObamaCare regulations, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., will offer her own bill that will allow Americans to keep their existing plans. When news broke this week that the president for years led voters to believe they could keep their coverage under his insurance overhaul despite knowing otherwise, Republicans pounced offering legislation to block the Obama rules banning low-post, bare-bones coverage. Landrieu, facing a tough re-election fight in a Republican state, is jumping the line with a bill of her own. “The promise was made and it should be kept,” Landrieu told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “And it was our understanding when we voted for that, that people when they have insurance, could keep what they had. So, I’m going to be working on that fix.” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is also preparing his own legislation that would delay by a full year the imposition of ObamaCare fines for those who don’t buy insurance.
Crash drives Obama to new low - President Obama went to Boston to rally his supporters on behalf of his embattled law, but a new WSJ/NBC News poll shows that the failed launch of his signature law is proving a major drag with the public at large. His job approval rating skidded to 42 percent, the lowest-ever rating in the poll. That’s an 11-point drop from his job approval rating following his re-election and 5 points since last month.Disapproval for the health law shot up to 47 percent, 10 points ahead of approval, double the gap from earlier this month.
Scary stuff - It was a dire WSJ/NBC News poll that drove Republicans to the exits on the partial federal shutdown three weeks ago. Now it’s the Democrats turn for a fright. The president’s tanking poll numbers and the surge in concern over the beleaguered ObamaCare rollout will push more moderate Democrats to conclude that their best path is away from the president and his law. Shutdowns are temporary. ObamaCare is forever.
DEADLINE FOR DEMS ON OBAMACARE EXEMPTIONS -Will top Democrats in Congress choose to exempt their staffs from ObamaCare? Today is the deadline for lawmakers to decide whether to grant a hugely valuable exemption to the staffs of congressional committees. House Republicans have all opted to submit themselves and their staffs to the costly provisions of the law. But as today’s deadline approached, Senate Democrats appeared split on the issue. The choice could become a big issue in next year’s elections. With Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and some Republicans pushing a constitutional amendment forbidding Congress from exempting itself from any laws it passes, the stakes are high. As Washington Examiner reports, an embarrassing moment in the testimony of Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, in which she repeatedly and wrongly claimed it would be “illegal” for her to enroll, exemptions are proving to be a hot topic. Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel has the story.
Top Tweet of the Morning from @laurenashburn - @NewsNinja2012 Gotcha! Kathleen Sebelius captured on hot mic telling her assistant “Don't do this to me” http://bit.ly/1bEwl3h
[Lauren Ashburn of “#MEDIABUZZ” tracks the Twitterverse every day in Top Twitter Talk.]
TOP HOSPITALS OPT OUT OF OBAMACARE - Despite claims by the Obama administration that insurances companies will be competing for consumer dollars under ObamaCare, a new survey by watchdog.org shows many of America’s top hospitals will accept insurance from only one or two companies. U.S. News and World Report has more.
SECURITY QUESTIONS STILL SHADOW HEALTH SITE - During Wednesday’s hearing on ObamaCare’s Web site, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., pointed to a Sept. 27 memo to Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner from her staff warning of “inherent security risks” stemming from inadequate testing. “You accepted a risk on behalf of every user . . . that put their personal financial information at risk because you did not even have the most basic end-to-end test on security of this system,” Rogers said.“It was a theoretical problem that was immediately fixed,” Sebelius responded, acknowledging there was a security flaw that did open the door to hackers. Spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Julie Bataille, said the site was still undergoing security testing, but maintained consumer information remains safe. WaPo has more.
“I’ll tell you, one of the things we’re very concerned about is the security of information that individuals post on that website, knowing that in fact they’re changing the lines or changing some of the information that’s out there literally every single day.” – Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren.” Watch Here
Morale killer? - Buzzfeed looks at how frustration over the disastrous rollout is causing morale to drop among the programs’ frontline volunteers and coordinator’s in “Obamacare’s Grassroots Army Is Starting To Get Burned Out”
Geek squad - “Neither he [President Obama] or I are technology geeks and we assumed it was up and ready to run…The president tried to get online, my daughter tried to get online, I did not because it was clear that I wasn’t getting online.” – Vice President Joe Biden to Headline News.
NSA HACKED GOOGLE, YAHOO - The National Security Agency has broken into the highly secure data centers where Google and Yahoo store vast troves of data on their users by hacking an unencrypted weak point in the data pipeline linking the enormous centers, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden to the WaPo. Fox News has more.
Holy See (and hear?) - Italian magazine Panorama reports that the NSA monitored calls from the residence where cardinals stayed before the papal conclave that elected Pope Francis. An agency spokeswoman said the agency “does not target the Vatican.”
Any references? - AP reports “[A] lawyer for former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, says his client has found a technical support job at a Russian website.”
The Judge’s Ruling - Judge Andrew Napolitano blasts the pervasive nature of the NSA’s spy program for Fox News Opinion in Spying on the President: “The president claims he can start secret foreign wars using the CIA, secretly kill Americans using drones, and now secretly spy on anyone anywhere using the NSA. Is the president an unwitting dupe to a secret rats’ nest of uncontrolled government spies and killers? Or is he a megalomaniacal, totalitarian secret micromanager who lies regularly, consistently and systematically about the role of government in our lives?”
ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS ACCESS TO BENGHAZI SURVIVORS - The State Department has again denied a request from lawmakers to interview survivors of the Sept. 11, 2012 raid by Islamists on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya. In letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the agency refers to “significant risks” and “serious concerns about having the survivors of the attack submit to additional interviews.” Graham has been asking since last year for the FBI’s transcripts of interviews with State Department and CIA survivors. He and other Republicans are warning the White House they will blockade Federal Reserve nominee Janet Yellen if the administration does not provide the details. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge has more.
[Watch Fox: Rep. Darell Issa, R-Calif., head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, appears in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...George Will looks at how campaign finance decisions are changing the shape of American political discourse in The judiciary and free speech: “Brick by brick, judges are dismantling the wall of separation that legislators have built between political activity and the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and association. The latest examples, from Mississippi and Arizona, reflect the judiciary’s proper engagement in defending citizens from the regulation of political speech…Liberals who love the regulatory state loathe Citizens United. You can understand why.”
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.9 percent//Disapprove – 51.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 20.1 percent//Wrong Track – 70.9 percent
CRUZ STAYING OUT OF GOP PRIMARY FRAY - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told his Republican colleagues during a closed-door lunch that he would not intervene in 2014 GOP primary fights or fundraise for the Senate Conservative Fund, according to the Dallas Morning News. The controversial outside group, founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., recently announced its support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s challenger, Matt Bevin, and has gone after Sens. Lindsey Graham R-S.C., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in attack ads. “The senator has made clear for a while that he’s not going to get involved in incumbent primaries….The senator is simply clarifying what has been true all along,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the paper.
[Matt Bevin releases a new ad today accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of funding ObamaCare by brokering a deal to end the government shutdown, The Louisville Courier-Journal has more]
LESS READY FOR HILLARY - As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ramps up her political activity her public support is ramping down. The latest WSJ/NBC poll shows her favorability rating has hit a new low. Just 46 percent of those surveyed view Clinton favorably, her lowest rating since 2009, when she was first named Secretary of State.
[A new book claims President Obama asked then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stay on another year: she refused]
CUCCINELLI GETS LATE BOOST FROM GOP BIGS - Conservative stars will converge on Virginia to stump for Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the closing days of the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race. Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., will rally supporters Saturday in Spotsylvania and Prince William counties. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will headline two events in Northern Virginia Monday. Libertarian firebrand former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, will also speak at rally Monday in Richmond. Libertarian-leaning voters may make the difference as the latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis sitting on a cache of votes more than twice the size of Cuccinelli’s 3-point deficit to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - On Wednesday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” All-Star Panel, Bing Pulse saw Republicans, Democrats, independents and women all agree with Charles Krauthammer’s assertion that the ability for consumers to keep their existing insurance is an “extremely important element” of ObamaCare and that it was key to its passage. Krauthammer’s remark also drew the highest viewer response, with 43,000 votes per minute. Viewers across the political spectrum disagreed with Juan Williams when he called the 5 percent of Americans losing their insurance under ObamaCare a small amount of people.
Viewer interaction was high during discussion of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ Congressional testimony. Williams drew strong and intense disagreement when he called the hearing “pure theater” and dismissed security concerns raised by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., with Democrats disagreeing more than Republicans. Bing Pulse measured 260,000 viewer votes during the discussion. Take a deeper dive in the data here and make sure your voice is heard.
CLUNKER FOR CLUNKERS - It turns out the Obama administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” program was a clunker as a job creator, energy saver and emissions reducer according to a study by the liberal Brookings Institute. The 2009 $3 billion government sponsored car-buying voucher program cost $1.4 million for each job created, dropped gas consumption by only “about 2 to 8 days worth of current usage,” and resulted in minimal “emissions reduction.”
DIGGING DEEP: A COAL MINER’S PLEA - The impassioned plea of West Virginia coal miner David Green of Alpha Natural Resources for lawmakers to spare his industry from crippling new regulations is winning the Internet this week. Green, who is also the captain of the Coal River Mine Rescue Team, spoke before a pro-coal rally in Washington, talking of the pride he takes in his work underground: “It’s not a curse. It’s not a prison. It’s an honor.”
ALL THE EGGS AND TOILET PAPER IN FARGO…A mother in Fargo, N.D., has decided to strike a blow against childhood obesity by giving children she deems too fat a letter of reproach to give to their parents. WDAF provides the text of the unidentified woman’s Halloween nastygram: “[Your child] is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season. My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…“I would say that what’s really at stake here, is that if this thing really goes south, if ObamaCare truly self-destructs, I don’t know that it’s certain but I would say right now it is more than likely, it would really set back American liberalism for a decade at least…That’s why I think the liberals are running scared…It’s not just one election, it’s the whole ideology that the government knows best.” --Charles Krauthammer on “The Kelly File.” Watch Here.