Reid readies for last gasp in power

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Buzz Cut:
• Reid readies for last gasp in power
• What went wrong with midterm polls?
• Team Hillary looks to quarantine campaign HQ
• McConnell: Rand can ‘count on me’ in 2016
• A political ad attack that really worked

President Obama
’s White House luncheon today with more than a dozen members of Congress is not a working lunch. It’s a photo-op designed to make newly empowered GOP leaders Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell part of a herd. Rather than a summit – a meeting to facilitate negotiations among equals – this is the head of state holding court for the benefit of the cameras. The question of how the earthquake on Tuesday has changed Washington won’t be seen in gritted grins over tureens of mushroom soup but rather in how Obama and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid approach the final 54 days of Democratic control of the Senate. The initial indications suggest conciliation will not be on the menu.

[Power Play - Joe Trippi and Ed Rollins explain the causes and consequences of this week’s stunning midterm victory for Republicans on “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt.” Click here to watch.]

Not without a fight - With President Obama mulling when to drop the hammer on a long-threatened temporary amnesty for illegal immigrants, a plan to bypass the Senate on a controversial nuclear deal with Iran and an expected announcement of a sure-to-be-controversial nominee for attorney general, much of the focus has been on what Obama will do to defy or diminish Congress before his clout shrinks again at the start of 2015. But with the president taking off on a lengthy tour of Asia this weekend, the first, best sign of how Democrats will respond to their historic whupping on Tuesday will come from Reid and his plan for the coming lame duck session. So far, the discussions are pretty tame. But given Reid’s history of audacious procedural moves, the large number of defeated or retiring Democrats who will be casting votes and Reid’s own intention to seek to hold on to his role as top Senate Democrat suggests he will be trying some major moves.

[Pelosi points to cash in bid to hold power after another defeat - Roll Call: “In a private call with her restive – and shrinking – flock – Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointed to her fundraising prowess as a reason to keep her post…]

Kelly File: Sessions draws line on executive amnesty - Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and six of his Republican Senate colleagues sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging him to block any executive action that would amount to amnesty for illegal immigrants. “It violates the constitutional structure and law. And it needs to be stopped,” Sessions told host Megyn Kelly. “The American people have pleaded with Congress and presidents for 30 years. They’ve asked, pleaded, and demanded really a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interests. President Obama is decimating law enforcement, Megyn, in a host of ways. This is just one of them.”  When pressed if the GOP would pursue impeachment if the president took that course the Alabama Republican said, “No,” adding, “I think we've got plenty of tools for use, any one of those tools.” Watch the full interview here.

[Watch Fox: Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., discusses what’s next for Congress in the 11 a.m. ET hour]

“Tuesday’s midterm elections were supposed to be a night of nail-biters, from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election race in Kentucky to veteran Sen. Pat Roberts’ battle in Kansas. The too-close-to-call refrain was expected to be heard throughout the night. Instead, when the dust settled, Republicans rumbled to one of their biggest victories in decades. How could so many polls get so many races so wrong?... Fox News takes a look, here.

Dems pull plug on Landrieu - Washington Examiner: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has canceled its television advertising reservations in Louisiana, where Sen. Mary Landrieu  [D-La.,] faces a runoff. The committee had reserved $2.1 million in ad time to help Landrieu beat back a challenge from Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. But Cassidy is currently favored to win the Dec. 6 runoff, and the DSCC might be strapped for cash after a bruising Election Day. Still, Democrats could spend that money on Landrieu later, and the committee insists it plans to remain involved in the race.”

Sullivan still strong - AP: “[Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska] trailed Republican Dan Sullivan by about 8,100 votes [among 100 precincts reporting], with thousands of ballots still to be counted. The Libertarian, non-affiliated and write-in candidates combined earned nearly 14,000 votes, following precinct reports.”

[Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace welcomes Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., as well as newly elected Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Cory Gardner of Colorado. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox News. Check local listings for air times in your area.]

S. Donald Stookey
may not be a household name, but his creation – a synthetic ceramic glass able to withstand heat up to 1,300 degrees otherwise known as “CorningWare” – certainly is. The chemist, whose discovery revolutionized Americans cooking and eating habits, passed away at age 99 in upstate New York this week. WaPo: “Dr. Stookey was director of fundamental chemical research at Corning when, in 1957, he drew national attention for developing Pyroceram, a product that could endure the intense heat generated by air resistance and encountered by missiles in flight. After the product’s military uses had been explored – it was used on nose cones of guided missiles – Corning announced its workaday relevance for home cooks. Suddenly, instead of dirtying sinkloads of pans and serving dishes, they could bring casseroles and lasagnas from freezer to stove to dinner table in one attractive, shatter-proof dish…. [Stookey] said his creation was serendipitous. He had left a plate of photosensitive glass in a furnace heated to 900 degrees Celsius (1,652 degrees Fahrenheit) – 300 degrees higher than he intended….But the plate – astonishingly – had not melted. Instead, it had turned opaque, with a milky-white appearance. Impatiently, he reached in with tongs to remove the glass. When the tongs slipped from his grip, the plate bounced on the floor, clanging like steel.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 42 percent//Disapprove – 53.2 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28  percent//Wrong Track – 66 percent

The Clinton watchers at Politico report that the presidential campaign of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is making good on a pledge to isolate itself from the press and outside voices by setting up shop in suburban Westchester County, N.Y. near one of her homes. From the piece: “Having the campaign there would not just keep it close to Clinton – but would place it far from New York City and the hordes of political reporters and elites who live there… Still, one group of Clinton insiders has advocated for White Plains, a city in the south-central part of Westchester County, replete with office parks. It’s more socioeconomically diverse than some other parts of a county best known as a haven for wealthy suburbanites who commute to Manhattan. White Plains also has an airport, meaning that LaGuardia and JFK Airports in Queens wouldn’t be the only entry points.”

The $2 billion cash grab well underway - WaPo: “In the aftermath of Tuesday’s crushing defeats, the Democratic donor class is already turning its attention to the 2016 presidential contest and ramping up what is expected to be a massive outside flanking operation to back an expected White House bid by Hillary Rodham Clinton. The work started first thing Wednesday morning, when Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s team began making calls to secure donations for Priorities USA Action, the super PAC that will serve as the big-money advertising vehicle for Clinton. Andy Spahn, a political strategist who advises Katzenberg and other clients, said that he has started reviewing donor lists and calling wealthy Democratic backers to get their commitments. He and the DreamWorks Animation chief plan to travel around the country to meet with potential contributors in person.”

[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel considers what the results of Tuesday’s midterm election mean for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.]

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said that if fellow Kentuckian Sen. Rand Paul opts to seek the GOP presidential nomination for 2016 “he’ll be able to count on” McConnell’s support. The surprise endorsement came in an interview with Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader: “It’s a safe bet that Paul won’t be the only member of McConnell’s GOP caucus who considers trying for a move to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Does that require a tricky balance? ‘(It’s) not tricky at all,’ McConnell said. ‘Obviously, I’m a big supporter of Rand Paul. We’ve developed a very tight relationship, and I’m for him.’ For president? ‘Whatever he decides to do,’ McConnell said. ‘I don't think he’s made a final decision on that. But he’ll be able to count on me.’” Having already offered his preemptive endorsement, the next question for McConnell will be whether he has checked the box and for his home-state ally or if McConnell will help Paul tap the soon-to-be majority leader’s massive donor and organizational network

[“I think [Hillary Clinton] is going to try saying ‘Oh, I’m different than President Obama, he’s very unpopular but I have different policies.’ Well she was part of his administration and I really don’t know of many, if any, policies they disagree on.” – Sen. Rand Paul on “FOX & Friends.”]

Power play: Is faster better for GOP in 2016? - Republican Party leaders are determined to hit fast-forward on the 2016 primary cycle by limiting debates, delaying the start of voting and pushing up their nominating convention by at least two months. It might have helped in 2012, but is it the right answer this time around? Internet insurgent and Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and Republican strategist Ed Rollins map out a rundown of the top 2016 contenders for Democrats and Republicans. Click here to watch “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt.”]

Ryan reveals his exit plan - National Journal’s Tim Alberta lifts the veil on what Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., political future may hold: “[A]fter dozens of interviews with Ryan and members of his inner circle over several months, I realized something. Ryan isn't preparing to run for president. In fact, he says he is planning to exit electoral politics altogether. … People close to him whisper that Ways and Means would allow him to achieve the endgame he’s hinted at since the 2012 defeat: serve three terms as head of the committee, author a sweeping overhaul of the American tax code, then retire from Congress at age 50, and ride into the sunset. Ryan does little to dispute that exit plan. ‘If I choose the committee track, that's six years,’ Ryan says.”

Ben Carson campaign gets soft launch with bio spot - The Hill: “Ben Carson is introducing himself as a potential 2016 presidential candidate in a 40-minute video that will be aired on TV stations in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator who is Carson’s business manager, is behind the video, entitled: ‘A Breath of Fresh Air: A New Prescription for America.’ … Williams’s documentary will air immediately after well-watched programs, including the political Sunday shows and NFL games. He stressed that his production company paid for the TV slots and Carson is only the subject.

Cruz eyeing campaign office space - US News: “Sen. Ted Cruz [R-Texas] has deployed advisers to begin scoping out office space for a potential 2016 presidential campaign…Over the past several weeks, aides to the first-term GOP senator from Texas have been looking for available real estate in Houston, where Cruz lives with his wife and two daughters.”

Romney to address inaugural gathering of Israeli-Americans -   Republican 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., will headline the first annual Israeli American Council  National Conference today in Washington. Romney’s former foreign policy adviser, Dan Senor, will interview the former Massachusetts governor this evening about what the midterm elections mean for America’s relationship with Israel. The conference will also feature Republican mega-donor, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Democratic backer Haim Saban.”

[#mediaBuzz: Howard Kurtz’s a wide-ranging interview with Sharyl Attkisson on her hacked computers, and problems with CBS and the Obama administration. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.]

Generally speaking, brow-beating others with your political views is considered distasteful. But for a 19-year-old Seattle man confronted by thieves, exercising a bit of personal political clout came in handy. KATU: “According to the Seattle Police Department, the victim was dropping off flyers around North 60th Street and Kensington Place North when he was stopped by three men in black clothing. One of the men said he had a gun and told the victim to hand over his stuff, according to police. Instead, the victim hit the man in the head with his bag of flyers then punched him and took off running. The men reportedly didn’t chase after the victim because they were too busy helping their fallen comrade off the ground. The victim ran a few blocks to his car and called 911. Officers responded to the area but were unable to find the men.”

“What impresses me is [President Obama’s] arrogance and contempt for the voice of the people. This was a very unequivocal election. It was not nuance; it was across the board. It was everywhere.” – Charles Krauthammer, on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News.  Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up