Problems so bad, ObamaCare almost looks good

**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

Buzz Cut:
• Problems so bad, ObamaCare almost looks good
• Gran and Gramps Clinton hurry back to the trail
• Ryan urges Romney run, would step aside
• Kansas tea party leaders to meet on Roberts’ race
• Worst job in China

It’s been a year since the Obama administration presided over the crash landing of ObamaCare, so what have we learned? First, the human beings remain almost uniformly bad at predicting the future at any distance. Attitudes about the law are basically identical to this point in 2013. There has been no “death spiral” but neither has there been much change of heart about a law Americans do not like. And while smart-set reporters say that the issue is passé, the truth is that while Americans have become inured to the law (much as they have to their dreary economic circumstances) it (like the economy) remains part of the background music for the electoral drama currently playing out. But what’s in the foreground is part of that too.

[In this latest study by the Brookings Institute, only 36 percent of Democratic candidates have expressed support for Obamacare]

Frying pan or fire? - Part of the reason that ObamaCare is getting less attention these days, other than voter and media fatigue, is competition for attention. It is good for Democrats that the current round of ObamaCare insurance disruptions aren’t getting the attention they were amid the “If you like it you can keep it” debacle. But look at what stories are replacing those about ObamaCare victims: The president blaming his intelligence team for failing to intervene soon enough against ISIS. Russia is bristling with aggression. Ebola has come to Texas. The Secret Service is in utter disarray. Immigration activists are furious over executive inaction after a border crisis froze the president’s pen. Just imagine if someone a year ago had described the current situation. It makes ObamaCare’s disastrous rollout sound like a walk in the park.

[GAO says bailouts need approval - Washington Examiner: “The Department of Health and Human Services cannot legally bail out the insurance industry for excessive losses through President Obama’s health care law unless the U.S. Congress approves language allowing the administration to do so, according to a legal opinion released on Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.”]

ISIS alone - A year ago, we hadn’t heard about ISIS much and the president was still touting his handiwork against al Qaeda. That Obama would be forced to resume the war in Iraq and then later admit fault (or at least place it on a subordinate) would have been unimaginable to most. And the other big stories of this October sound more like movie plots than news stories. Pandemics, security breaches, migrant surges at the southern border, Russian territorial advances: Sounds more like Tom Clancy than the rundown for the evening news.  So while Democrats are cheering that the Titanic of health care isn’t still scraping the iceberg, they may want to check the arrival schedule for the Hindenburg.

[Watch Fox: Fox News polls on President Obama’s job rating and latest military moves released tonight on “Special Report with Bret Baier” 6 p.m. ET]

After the briefest pause for grandparenthood, the Clintons are hitting the road in force. The Democrats’ 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who cancelled two events in the Washington area Tuesday, sent former president Bill as campaigner-in-chief to a fundraiser for Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown that reportedly netted $1.2 million. Hillary was the main draw at a high-dollar Democratic congressional fundraiser in Manhattan on Monday and is slated to stump in Miami Thursday for Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. The former secretary of State will return to the Big Apple “this week” according to the AP, to fundraise for New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.  While Hillary hasn’t been in the critical primary state since her 2008 presidential bid, her husband plans to stump for the Dems in New Hampshire on October 16.

Bubba stumps - Before Bubba gets back to New Hampshire, the former Arkansas governor is headed back home where vulnerable Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is struggling, to boost former Clinton driver and Rep. Mike Ross’s, D-Ark. bid for the governor’s mansion and the congressional campaign of former Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt. Also hoping for more help in red states carried by Clinton in the 1990s are Kentucky Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes, daughter of FOB Jerry Lundergan, and Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn.

And how about the current president? - The Clintons’ aggressive campaigning is in stark contrast to the anemic schedule of President Obama. The president is heading to his home state today ahead of a Thursday speech on the economy, in which the president will no doubt try to defend his claim that Americans are better off than they were six years ago. Obama will also headline a big-buck fundraiser for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s agonizing re-election bid. But guess who elese is coming to dinner? Illinois native Hillary will reportedly be in the state to stump for Quinn on Oct 8.

[The Chicago Trib has this amusing look at the potential for an Obama-Quinn bro-hug.]

Crowd off-limits to press at M.O. event? - Fox News: “A Milwaukee reporter is claiming that journalists covering first lady Michelle Obama’s speech at a campaign rally for Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke were told not to speak with the crowd at the event. Meg Kissinger, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, posted on Facebook that she was ‘creeped out’ after she was told by a White House aide and an aide for Burke not to speak with people attending the Monday event.”

House Budget Committee Chairman and potential 2016 contender Paul Ryan added fuel to the bonfire on Mitt Romney presidential speculation when the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee said that he would stand aside if Romney opts for a third White House run. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Ryan said, “I wouldn’t if he were. I would support Mitt. If he were to run, I would not.” Ryan said that he was “one of many” Republicans who believe Romney “would be a fantastic candidate” and that Ryan would like to see him run again.

[The WaPo provides a useful timeline of the evolution of Romney and his inner circle about another presidential campaign.]

Romney calls Shaheen ‘Simon says senator’ - New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown is out with this ad titled, “Simon Sez.” 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney narrates and provides his endorsement saying, “The people of New Hampshire have a chance to vote on what they think about the President’s agenda…One person is his number one supporter, Jeanne Shaheen. She votes with the President 99% of the time…We need to have an independent voice. You have a choice. Your next United States Senator from New Hampshire, Scott Brown.”

[Buuuut… - Tim Carney argues that the GOP can’t connect to populist voters with Romney “Republicans are never going to get back the White Bread vote. They should instead go for the blue-collar vote. That means new priorities. And a new candidate.”]

Christie headed back to Iowa - The Hill: “New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie will travel to Iowa later this week, drawing increased attention to a potential 2016 White House run. Christie, who was already slated to headline an Oct. 25 birthday party fundraiser for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's reelection in Clive, Iowa, will travel to Cedar Rapids on Friday to campaign for Branstad and Republican congressional candidate Rod Blum Branstad's campaign announced Tuesday.”

Changing the face of late night television, today is the anniversary of Johnny Carson’s debut as host of The Tonight Show.  As the longest running talk show in television history, the show evolved in the early years through a variety of hosts and formats before settling on Carson in 1962. Based in New York City for the first ten years, the show eventually transitioned to Burbank, California where it remained until 2009. A mainstay on late night, Carson hosted the show for 30 years before turning the reins over to Jay Leno in May 1992. The stability of the show was never quite the same after Carson and Leno going through a series of hosts until settling on Jimmy Fallon in February 2014.

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

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 41.7 percent//Disapprove – 53.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 27.2 percent//Wrong Track – 65.2 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 42.8 percent// Republicans – 45.7 percent

--34 days until Nov. 4 --

As the world of Kansas politics waits for a ruling today on whether Democrats will be forced to field a candidate in the Senate race against incumbent Pat Roberts, local conservatives are weighing their chances. The Hill: “Multiple sources tell The Hill that a group of Tea Party leaders in the state are meeting Wednesday to try to decide whether they should go to bat for the incumbent this fall or sit out of the race entirely.”

[Doctor’s orders - Kansas Republican Party via Facebook: “Dr. Ben Carson, another outstanding conservative leader, endorsesPat Roberts.”]

Orman a ‘de facto Democrat?’ - David Drucker is on the ground in Kansas talking to Greg Orman’s backers, including those who cheer his professed independence. WashEx: “But the Democrats who showed said they are hopeful that the independent will caucus with Senate Democrats despite his assurances that he will join the Republicans if they win an outright majority. To them, Orman is, if not an actual Democrat, a de facto Democrat who could be the first non-Republican to win a Senate race in Kansas since the 1930s.”

With a focus on issues key in the Asian American community, the Asian Republican Coalition has officially announced its list of candidate endorsements for the 2014 election cycle. The list includes Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Rep. Chris Gibson, R-NY, Republican Candidate Allen Fung for Rhode Island Governor, Barbara Comstock, R-Va., and Carl DeMaio, R-Ca.

Bill Hemmer
interviewed former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie about his Senate run in Virginia. (Brother Bill also showed off his Big Board dexterity to give the lay of the land.) Gillespie took a bullish tone in light of a poll last week that showed him down by 9 points against Sen. Mark Warner rather than the 15-point deficit of the springtime. Gillespie said that the electorate was swinging back to the GOP: “I think Republicans take the Senate and my win guarantees it.”

Georgia Republican candidate David Perdue launches this new spot tying Democrat Michelle Nunn to President Obama saying, “He thinks massive government spending will fix our economy, she’ll vote for well whatever he wants…Washington is addicted to spending and our kids and grandkids are inheriting massive debt if we significantly cut government spending, actually balance the budget and pay down our debt, we can unleash this economy and help future generations grab on to our American dream”

In in a new ad, the National Republican Senatorial Committee hits Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., for his focus on social issues instead of addressing the threat from Islamist militants: “…so with America’s national security threatened warnings of Islamic extremists, ISIL plotting imminent attacks but what does Mark Udall say? ‘I said last week that ISIL does not present an imminent threat to this nation and doesn’t.’’

Planned Parenthood launches this ad against Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Co., on his abortion stance, saying “Fact is politician Cory Gardner could ban abortion including in cases of rape. Gardner’s plan could go back to costing the average woman up to $600 a year for birth control. And Gardner’s forcing his politics between a woman and her doctor.”

Conservative Millennial outreach group Generation Opportunity, is out with a new ad, “Dunked” about Obamacare disproportionately hurting young people. The ad will run for a week in key battle ground states of in ColoradoIowaLouisianaNorth Carolina, and New Hampshire. The ads say “The ‘Affordable’ Care Act adds $1 trillion in new taxes and $1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt. Obamacare will also increase healthcare premiums for young people by up to 91 percent. Thanks to Obamacare, Millennials are getting DUNKED.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is out with this latest ad comparing Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to President Obama and how both stopped showing up for work but still accepted a taxpayer funded salary in order to campaign for higher office, saying, “Obama and Grimes both broke their promises in order to campaign for higher office. Each had little experience…then stopped showing up for work…And worse, Grimes still takes her taxpayer-funded salary while her parking space at the state Capitol sits empty, day… after day.”

[The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has purchased $1.4 million worth of airtime to campaign against Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a new ad portraying him as a creature of Washington.]

The National Rifle Association is out with a new ad showing an intruder breaking into a home after a woman puts her baby to sleep and blames Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., for voting against gun rights. From the ad: “It happens like that, the police can’t get there in time, how you defend yourself is up to you. It’s your choice, but Mary Landrieu voted to take away your gun rights, vote like your safety depends on it. Defend your freedom, defeat Mary Landrieu.”

[Politico reports that NRA foe Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., went shooting Tuesday  with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in Louisiana supporting her position on the Senate Energy Committee and pushing back against the NRA attacks on Landrieu’s vote to expand background checks.]

Sen. Mark Begich’s, D-Alaska, is out with a new ad and endorsement from Republican and long ago first lady of Alaska, Bella Hammond, whose husband Jay was governor from 1974 to 1982.

Republicans need six more Senate seats to take control of the upper chamber. Which blue seats are the most vulnerable in this year’s midterms? Here are the top picks among Fox News First readers: Arkansas (13.6%), Montana (13.0%), West Virginia (12.2%), Louisiana (11.8%), South Dakota (11.7%), Alaska (8.6%) and North Carolina (8.6%)  Reader Casey Levy says North Carolina and Louisiana look like a tougher pulls for the GOP: “[North Carolina Republican nominee Thom Tillis] doesn’t seem to be making much headway… and [Louisiana Republican nominee Rep. Bill Cassidy] better get his [posterior] in gear or [Sen. Mary Landrieu is] going to send him back ‘to his practice.’”

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

Conservative Super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund, is launching a trio of ads with six-figure buys in Florida and West Virginia congressional races. In the Sunshine State, this ad touts GOP Rep. Steve Southerland’s efforts protect jobs at home and hits his opponent, saying Democrat Gwen Graham would be “one more vote for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.” Another Florida ad takes Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., to task on trust saying, “Florida families need a leader whom they can trust, who can be held accountable, and who will advocate policies that keep the state’s economy moving forward. Rep. García does not fit the bill.” A third ad calls out West Virginia Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall for his alliance with President Obama in the administration’s war on coal.  “Whether it’s a carbon tax that would destroy thousands of jobs, defending President Obama’s EPA, or voting with anti-energy interests, Rahall has shown that he consistently puts Washington over West Virginia,” the ad says.

GOP’s audacious House target - Can House Republicans gain 11 seats to reach the historic threshold of 245 seats? Probably not, but it’s looking more possible than previously thought. Fox News: “By most accounts, the odds lean against the party hitting that historic goal; the GOP would need to execute a near-flawless performance on Election Day. But political observers aren’t ruling anything out. ‘I think the Republicans winning 11 [new seats] is a possibility. It’s not a likely scenario, but I don’t think you can dismiss it entirely,’ said Nathan Gonzalez, managing editor of The Rothenberg Political Report.”

AP: “The 10,000 doves released in a ceremony Wednesday for China's National Day underwent unusual scrutiny, each having its feathers and anus checked for dangerous materials, state-run media reports said, reflecting government jitters over possible attacks. The symbols of peace were released at sunrise in Beijing's symbolic heart of Tiananmen Square in a ceremony for the Oct. 1 holiday to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Beijing domestic security police officer Guo Chunwei was quoted in the Jinghua Times as saying workers checked the wings, legs and anus of each pigeon ahead of time to ensure they were "not carrying suspicious material." The entire process was videotaped, and the birds were then loaded into sealed vehicles for the trip to Tiananmen Square, the newspaper said.”

“The problem is not outside the gate, it is inside the gates…And that’s where you have to take action. I think it starts with a culture in Washington where no one is accountable for anything. You say the words ‘I am accountable, I am responsible’ and nothing happens to you…” – 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