Obama tries to buy a thrill

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Buzz Cut:
• Obama tries to buy a thrill
• Baier Tracks: Stakes a mile high…
• Orman: Party pick only valid until spring
• Pryor double fumbles on Ebola
• ‘Would the juror driving the silver Mazda please see the bailiff…’

The hard and bitter sentiment against President Obama’s policies, foreign and domestic, is plenty to drive Republican voter enthusiasm. But how can you get Democrats to the polls at a time when the party’s base is deeply disillusioned over a “30-year war” and the Senate looks like a lost cause? Cash. U.S. News explores a $60 million Democratic grassroots voter turnout initiative, but the real sums being spent are likely more than quadruple that once we factor in deep-pocketed party patrons and labor unions. But however big the push, can you recreate the Obama magic recipe for victory without the key ingredient: an enthusiastic voter base? Having been forced to not only expand the war in Iraq and Syria but also abandon some plans for enthusing Democrats and trolling conservatives, the president can’t do much to get the band back together. So the only thing left to do is go see the “millionaires and billionaires” in hopes that they will underwrite a massive get-out-the vote effort to close the gap in key states.

[Remember two weeks ago when they told you everything had changed about the Obama presidency. So, that didn’t happen. And remember that when they tell you that the next big event will change it. Like the song says: “Same as it ever was…”]

For auld lang syne - Today, Obama is raising money in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. In New York, Obama will enlist the help of, among others, Harvey Weinstein and Mark Wahlberg and a pair of plutocratic pioneers of same-sex marriage. Then on Wednesday, Obama is back to work, including a rare scheduled briefing at the Pentagon. But on Thursday, it’s wheels up for California, where Obama will hit a string of high-end fundraisers in a three-day swing.

[She’s got the Goop - Hollywood Reporter: Prior to the contentious midterm elections this November, President Obama is set to visit Los Angeles for a fundraiser hosted at the home of Gwyneth Paltrow. An invitation, sent from the Democratic National Committee to donors, states that a reception and dinner will be held at the actress’ home on Oct. 9. “Following the reception, President Obama will take your questions at an intimate dinner,” reads an email from a key Hollywood fundraiser to invitees.]

M.O. moves for Quinn - Chicago Sun-Times: “Team [Pat Quinn, D-Ill.] is pulling out all the stops in star-studded political endorsements and the latest is a new TV ad where First Lady Michelle Obama urges voters to back Quinn for reelection. The release of her TV ad comes one day before she leads a political rally for Quinn at UIC on Tuesday. It also follows Michelle Obama's radio ad and follows the president's visit to boost Quinn last week.”

Byron York: “In what is likely to become a theme of the last weeks of campaigning before the midterm elections, former President Bill Clinton all but begged voters here in Arkansas not to use their vote as an expression of disapproval for Barack Obama… ‘[Republicans] are really running against the president, aren't they?’ Clinton said. ‘They see the polls, the president is unpopular in Arkansas.’ ‘They want you to make this a protest vote,’ Clinton continued. ‘They're saying, ‘You may like these [Democrats], but hey, you know what you've got to do. You've got to vote against the president. After all, it's your last shot.’’”

Hillary echoes Panetta - Ottawa Citizen: “Hillary Clinton said Monday that military action against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria is ‘essential’ to stop the growth of ISIL outside the region. Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state who is likely to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential race, made the comments in an appearance in Ottawa. ‘This kind of jihadist extremism is expansionary,’ Clinton told several hundred people at the conference hosted by the Canada 2020 think-tank. …Overall, Clinton said that there may be 50,000 to 100,000 ‘hard-core jihadists’  in the world right now. ‘I think we turn away from it at our peril,’ she said.’ This is a long-term struggle and we just have to be sensible about it, and be smart, and learn the lessons from the past.’’’

She couldn’t possibly… - “Well, you know, I can’t really talk about it because I was in the office that has primary responsibility for making the decision. I don’t want to inject myself into what is a continuing process or to in any way undermine my successor as he tries to make this decision.” –Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton in answer to a question about the Keystone XL pipeline, a stalled project that would bring Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

“DENVER – ‘Special Report’ will come to you live from the Mile High City tonight focusing on two tight races here, one for Senate where Democrat Mark Udall is in the political fight of his life to hold on to his seat against his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner.  We’ll have new interviews with both.  But we’re also covering the close Governor’s race out here.  Yesterday Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper said legalizing marijuana in his state was ‘reckless,’ even though he signed it into law. Republican former Congressman Bob Beauprez is focusing on the economy and energy and is making headway.  We’ll dissect that race too in this purple swing state that has it all on the issues front.”

[Watch Fox: “Special Report with Bret Baier” is live from Colorado to take an in-depth look at the pivotal races in the Centennial State this November at 6 p.m. ET.]

KDVR: “Two partisans, locked in a tight race to win over moderate voters in this purple state, sparred for nearly an hour Monday morning over their respective records in Washington. Democratic Sen. Mark Udall defended his support for Obamacare and underscored his support for a tax on carbon pollution, while criticizing Republican Congressman Cory Gardner’s voting record as being ‘out of the mainstream.’ Gardner, who looked to soften his positions on issues like immigration and climate change, sought to portray Udall as a loyal foot-soldier for President Obama, who he quoted repeatedly throughout the …debate…”

[Colorado Senate Republican candidate Rep. Cory Gardner’s campaign announced third-quarter fundraising numbers, showing a haul of $4.35 million and more than $3.3 million cash on hand.]

Hickenlooper veering - Denver Post: “Colorado voters were ‘reckless’ for legalizing retail marijuana, Gov. John Hickenlooper [D-Colo.] said Monday, during a pair of debates marked by candidates who dealt with uneasy positions and pivots. ‘I'm not saying it was reckless because I'll get quoted everywhere, but if it was up to me, I wouldn't have done it, right?’ he said during the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce debates. ‘I opposed it from the very beginning. Oh, what the hell, I'll say it was reckless’… Though public safety was not originally part of the business-focused debate [Republican Bob Beauprez] raised the issue in reply to a question about regulating marijuana. He cited a Denver Post story published Monday about violent prison inmates being released without notice to the public, even though those released have vowed to murder others. ‘It's happened on his watch,’ Beauprez said.”

The reason Obama is in New York - Organizations like the conservative, Americans for Prosperity and environmental NextGen Climate are greatly expanding their grassroots efforts in Colorado. NextGen, backed by billionaire eco-activist Tom Steyer, says its ground troop budget will likely overshadow that of its broadcast budget in Colorado. The grassroots game in Colorado is what the Denver Post is calling “the fiercest in the country.” – Watch Fox: Correspondent Alicia Acuna examines the ground game the left and right are dispatching in Colorado.

Happy anniversary, Megyn Kelly. It was one year ago today that “The Kelly File” debuted with its brand of jet-propelled news and unfailing good humor and wit. She and her team have far surpassed all expectations, despite a fondness for certain Appalachian Americans. Tune in tonight at 9 p.m. ET and get a special look back on the first year in the File.

China is a vast and diverse nation with no fewer than eight distinct regional cuisines as different from each other as bagels and lox are from biscuits and gravy. So why does Chinese food in America taste so much alike? How did General Tso conquer America? The New Yorker tells a key part of story as writer Lauren Hilgers goes inside the world of the employment agencies that provide cooks for Chinese restaurants across the country and tells the story of Rain, part of the diaspora from the Fujian province that has filled many of the kitchens of more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants in America. “Rain found work in South Carolina, where he stayed for two months. ‘At the beginning, I couldn’t do anything—I could only clean up, do a little frying,’ he told me. ‘Now I can do pretty much anything.’ He encountered his first eggroll and his first fortune cookie, and learned how to prepare dishes he had never seen in China.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 43.3 percent//Disapprove – 52.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.6 percent//Wrong Track – 64.6 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 43.3 percent// Republicans – 45.4 percent

-- 28 days until Nov. 4 --

Democrats are backing independent Senate candidate Greg Orman in his bid against Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., but Orman promises that he would still support Republican leadership of the Senate if the GOP would be in clear control of the Senate with or without him. Orman has also described what he believes would be a bidding war for his allegiances if the parties are locked in a 50-50 tie. But now he has a new wrinkle: Even if he goes with a GOP majority, the commitment would only be binding until the spring. In an interview with NBC News Orman said “If four or five months goes by, and it’s clear [the party he chooses is] engaged in the same old partisan politics, we’ll be able to change our allegiances and work with the other side.”

Gucci Gulch - The Hill: “Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is leaning heavily on K Street as he tries to save the Senate seat he’s held for 18 years. … ‘The old man is raising 100 grand a day. I’m serious. Ask any lobbyist of anyone in Washington if they’ve gotten a call from Pat Roberts. He’s stepping up,” said one Republican source close to the campaign. ‘It’s amazing what a little fear will do to somebody,’ the source added.”

Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor appeared to suffer a meltdown in response to a reporter’s softball question on how well the Obama administration was handling the Ebola crisis, according to the Republican opposition research group America Rising. Pryor, who ran an ad implying his opponent Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was to blame for the crisis, responded to the query with a long pause, followed by a rambling admission that it was “hard to know.”

Boston Globe: “[I]n their first debate, both Republican Scott Brown and [Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.] got their points across loud and clear. Brown portrayed the incumbent as a stagnant, status quo senator, voting in lockstep with President Obama and part of a dysfunctional Washington that is not looking out for everyday voters. Shaheen painted Brown as untrustworthy on key issues that matter to New Hampshire residents, from protecting women’s access to abortion and contraception to protecting Granite State jobs. She described him as a supporter of outsourcing and oil companies over regular folks. In a wide-ranging forum that touched on issues from foreign policy to health care to immigration, Shaheen and Brown remained cordial, mostly cool, and keen on crafting the sharpest possible contrast with each other. Both successfully conveyed their messages without landing any knockout blows or stumbling into campaign-shifting gaffes.”

[N.H. Journal: “When Florida [Republican] Sen. Marco Rubio returns to New Hampshire on Tuesday to campaign with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown, the two will focus on President Barack Obama’s policy in the Middle East, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s [D-N.H.] support for that policy.”]

[Asheville, N.C.] Citizens-Times: “Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and state House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, will have their final two debates of their race for Hagan’s Senate seat this week. The two will debate Tuesday at 7 p.m…Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh will join Hagan and Tillis on Thursday in a debate in Wilmington.”

[Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., raised nearly $4.9 million in the third quarter of fundraising. According to reports, Hagan’s campaign says that the embattled Democratic incumbent will report almost $2 million cash on hand. It has also already put $4.8 million towards advertisements for this month.]

Charleston (W.VA.) Daily Mail: “The only scheduled debate for West Virginia’s U.S. Senate candidates will reach residents in all 55 counties. The hour-long debate between Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Democrat Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is set for 7 p.m. [tonight] at the Clay Center in Charleston… [Statewide radio anchor] Hoppy Kercheval is moderating the event.”

Georgia Republican Senate candidate David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn are set to debate this evening in Macon, Ga., The two will face off again, in a final debate Nov. 2 in Atlanta.

[Hampton Roads] Virginia-Pilot: “Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat who is seeking a second term, will face Republican challenger Ed Gillespie in a 7 p.m. forum in McLean…A second televised debate between Warner and Gillespie is slated for Monday in Richmond.”

[Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is slated to campaign with Republican Ed Gillespie in Virginia next week.]

Has mo’, but still a ways to go - A Christopher Newport University poll released this morning finds Republican Ed Gillespie has nearly halved his deficit against incumbent Sen. Mark Warner since last month, cutting the Democrat’s advantage from 22 points to 12 points in the survey.

Just weeks after a flurry of reports that Democrats cash advantage in midterm fundraising, the National Republican Senatorial Campaign announced it raised $15.5 million in September, the best single month in NRSC history and more than double the organization’s August haul of $6 million. The group says investments in digital operations paid “enormous dividends” making last month the NRSC’s best digital fundraising month as well.

[Ed. note: What does that work out to, like 5 cents per email sent last month?]

But pulls back on Land - The Hill: “The National Republican Senatorial Committee has cut the remaining television it had reserved in Michigan amid signs former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) is having trouble catching Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). The NRSC's independent expenditure arm has canceled television reservations for the last two weeks of the campaign, pulling more than $850,000 out of the state, The Hill has confirmed.”

Des Moines Register: “A new survey of likely Iowa voters shows U.S. Senate candidates Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst dead even in the waning weeks of their hard-fought campaign. Ernst, a Republican, is the choice of 42.4 percent of respondents to the latest Loras College Poll. Braley, a Democrat, is polling just behind at 42.1 percent. The results continue a trend seen in several recent polls showing a close race and a slight advantage to Ernst.”

[Republican 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney will rally for Republican Joni Ernst this weekend, while First Lady Michelle Obama hits the stump for Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, at Drake University in Des Moines on Friday.]

The stakes are high for Democrats come November as they need to limit Republican gains in the Senate to five or fewer in order to retain control of the upper chamber. If the GOP can flip six seats from blue to red this year, the dynamics in Washington will change in a big way. Fox News First wants to know which six Democratic-held seats are most vulnerable. The current consensus among readers: Arkansas (13.7%), Montana (13.1%), West Virginia (12.3%), Louisiana (11.7%), South Dakota (11.9%) and Alaska (8.7%).

Reader Donna Stickling included Iowa in her six noting, “It seems rather strange that [Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa,] closed the gap from 6 points to just 2 in a weeks’ time. I truly question those recent poll numbers.” But here’s the thing about polls: They’re all different and are certainly not of equal value. Online polls, sketchy (sometimes partisan) polls that don’t reveal their methodology and polls that have shady histories abound. But even good polls can disagree and still be accurate (more on that another time). The thing to watch is the trend in legitimate polls. And in Iowa, the trend is the GOP’s friend. So what do you hear beyond the noise of schlocky polls?

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

The Hill: “House Democratic strategists are frustrated that key outside groups are putting their money into the fight for the Senate, leaving House campaigns starved for cash. Spending on House races by organized labor as well as groups representing women and environmental organizations dropped by $18 million compared to the last cycle, the groups said. Democrats are worried their lost seats in the House could be in the double digits, making it that much harder to take back the chamber in 2016, a presidential election year when the party hopes turnout will be better… The biggest drop-off is in labor.  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent $8.3 million in 2012 to help House Democrats, but has only spent $181,500 in independent expenditures on House races this year.  The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) also pitched in $6.3 million two years ago, but has only spent $612,000 to help House candidates so far in this cycle.”

Manchin tries to rally Rahall - Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., appears in Rep. Nick Rahall’s, D-W.Va., latest ad, calling him, a “straight shooter” who “works with me every day to fight the Obama administration’s war on coal.”

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., played host for a confab of mega donors at the home of Jets owner Woody Johnson in Manhattan Monday. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and John Kasich,  R-Ohio, were are all scheduled to attend, as well as Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who has been floated as a top vice presidential contender. According to the invitation, tickets for the soiree were $32,400 per person.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., rips the IRS in his debut ad over losing six months of e-mails from embattled former IRS official Lois Lerner saying, “it’s time to clean house at the IRS.” The 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nominee concludes the spot joking, “I may get audited for approving this message, but it would be worth it.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is enlisting former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., to help Republicans reach out to Hispanic voters. Bush speaks en Español in ads on behalf of Rep. Cory Gardner’s, R-Colo., Senate bid as well as the re-election campaigns of Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., and Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. Translated from the Gardner spot: “Cory is a good man willing to buck his own party. He’s dedicated to creating more jobs, and growing the economy for everyone. Cory supports the hardworking and entrepreneurial spirit of the Latin community. Please send Cory Gardner to the Senate.”

Headlining post-election education summit - Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., will host a summit on education reform late November in Washington, D.C. The annual National Summit on Education Reform brings together policy leaders, lawmakers and education advocates. Bush serves as chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is sponsoring the event.

Rand rips - “I don’t see Common Core being—if you’re for Common Core and you’re for a national curriculum, I don’t see it being a winning message in a Republican primary…If there’s a Republican candidate out there—let’s just say there’s a hypothetical one that’s for Common Core. I’m saying that that hypothetical candidate that’s for Common Core probably doesn’t have much chance of winning in a Republican primary.” – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in an interviewwith Breitbart

[Oregon] Statesman Journal: “Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Portland Wednesday for a rally to support U.S. [Democratic] Sen. Jeff Merkley in his re-election bid. Biden plans to host the rally with Merkley at the Oregon Convention Center.”

“FP1 Strategies LLC (FP1) today announced the addition of Dave DenHerder as a partner who will help lead the firm’s public affairs practice.  He joins FP1 Strategies as the organization continues to recruit top talent from across the public affairs, media and political spectrums.  DenHerder will work closely with the other partners to expand the firm’s diverse client portfolio, specifically focused on growing its public affairs and issue advocacy clientele.”

Bush world - “He served as a regional political director for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, managing political and grassroots operations in the Midwest. During President George W. Bush’s Administration, DenHerder served as White House liaison and special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor.  He also worked on the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000 and various major statewide races during the 1990s.”

The Sacramento Bee: “A 100-feet tall pine tree snapped at the base of its trunk and crushed a car in the parking lot reserved for jurors in downtown Sacramento…. [T]he fairly new Mazda automobile in the parking lot across the street from the Sacramento County Courthouse, 720 Ninth Street, was still underneath the big tree. …It does not appear that anyone was in the car when the tree fell. …An arriving juror on Monday was taken aback when she saw the pancaked car in the lot 20 feet from where she has been parking for jury duty.”

“…Just like [former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta] in describing the situation in 2011, he says it was the political advisors in the White House who said ‘Get out of Iraq with an election year coming up,’ and the military and the foreign policy advisors said you have to leave a residual force.  And I worry that it’s the political operatives in the White House that are prevailing against the military advice again and it will lead to disaster.” – 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