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• That’s a mighty big ‘if’ Mr. President
• ObamaCare upends Virginia race
• Code name “d-----bag”
• The law firm of Skidmark, Jail Tat and Roadrash
THAT’S A MIGHTY BIG ‘IF’ MR. PRESIDENT - President Obama now says he never promised voters they could keep their health insurance plans, “period.” Talking to top backers of his permanent campaign arm, Organizing for Action, at a Washington meeting Monday night, the president made a new claim: “What we said was, ‘You could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.’” The president gave voice to an excuse that had so far only been offered by spokesmen: That the “if you like it” claim was trumped by a less-publicized promise to ban barebones insurance policies. “If we had allowed these old plans [to continue]… then we would have broken an even more important promise — making sure that Americans gain access to health care that doesn’t leave them one illness away from financial ruin.” Obama’s promise priorities are expected to result in the cancellation of some 3.5 million Americans’ policies. Fox News has more.
[“…You know, the president already has a Nobel Prize for peace; I think he’s shooting for one in fiction.” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.]
OBAMACARE STUCK IN THE SWAMP - Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is solidifying her place as the leading Democratic voice against ObamaCare provisions that banned millions of existing health insurance policies. She took to the Senate floor Monday blasting the president and the cancellations that have occurred as a result of his new entitlement program. Landrieu read a constituent’s cancellation notice from the floor charging, “This letter should never have gone out.” Landrieu has offered legislation requiring insurers to sell coverage that would otherwise be banned, so individuals will not lose their current policies.
[Daily Caller points out Obama was recorded making his “if you like it” pledge 29 times.]
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., meanwhile is working on a coalition for a broader fix to the troubled law. As Democrats grow weary of apologizing for the technical problems and unmet promises of ObamaCare, Manchin’s leverage with the administration will grow. But is the White House willing to take a seat at Manchin’s table given fears that a fix could turn into a nix?
[Watch Fox: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., appears in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
Look over here! - President Obama would like to talk about something else. How about immigration? He will meet with business leaders on the topic today at the White House. Later this week, though, he’s back on the campaign trail trying to prop up his law, heading to Texas Wednesday and to New Orleans, the home city of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., on Friday.
[Noonan: “…[T]he program debuts and it’s a resounding, famous, fantastical flop. The first weeks of the news coverage are about how the websites don’t work, can you believe we paid for this, do you believe they had more than three years and produced this public joke of a program, this embarrassment?”]
MASSIVE MEDICIAD ABUSE IN ILLINOIS - An audit of Illinois’ Medicaid program shows rampant fraud and abuse. Out of a sample of 712,000 enrollees in the government health insurance program more than half were not eligible. The probe only looked at a quarter of those in the program. The finding has been enough to send Democrats in the budget-busted state scrambling to crack down. KMOV has the story.
ObamaCare unveiled - David’s Bridal is the latest company to slash employee’s hours to skirt ObamaCare’s employer mandate, Daily Caller reports.
[New Today on Fox News Opinion: Juan Williams Insurance cancelled? Don't blame Obama or the ACA, blame America's insurance companies]
Softball shortage - Marilyn Tavenner, the official in charge of healthcare.gov, can expect friendlier treatment today from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee than she got last week in the House… but not much. The ongoing technical problems for the site, deepening worries about data security and new revelations about pleas from the tech team to delay the launch will make her trip to the Democratic-controlled panel more hostile than she might have hoped. Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest on the ObamaCare crash.
[Watch Fox: Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., appears in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
OBAMACARE UPENDS VIRGINIA RACE - It’s Election Day in the Old Dominion and political pros are watching like hawks. This is the warm-up for 2014: A purple state, no all-star candidates and plenty of national attention. Republican Ken Cuccinelli had been written off two weeks ago, trailing by double digits, woefully outspent and shackled with an unpopular government shutdown. But as Democrat Terry McAuliffe was brushing up his victory speech, the ObamaCare crash slammed right into his poll numbers. McAuliffe went from prohibitive favorite to flailing frontrunner last week, and closes with a lead down to 6 points in the Real Clear Politics average.
Cuccinelli’s bumpy road - It’s never been easy for Ken Cuccinelli. A split that began with the decision by the state Republican Party to hold a nominating convention rather than a primary left Cuccinelli in a lurch. Moderate Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who was expected to win if the primary had been held, nearly launched a third-party candidacy in protest. Meanwhile, scandals swirling around Gov. Bob McDonnell denied Cuccinelli the chance to run as successor to the formerly popular social conservative. While dealing with divisions and scandals, Cuccinelli was unable to pounce on the many ethical woes of Democrat Terry McAuliffe. By the time the brutal and costly contest of personal attacks had begun, Cuccinelli was already behind. Democrats and moderate Republicans were preemptively gloating about the demise of the social-issue crusader’s candidacy… and then came ObamaCare. The disastrous rollout of the president’s unpopular health law, against which Cuccinelli had long led the charge, has provided a late-game opportunity for the attorney general. If the race is a low-turnout affair and motivated Republicans can deliver, Cuccinelli could still author what would be a spectacular comeback.
McAuliffe the showman - Democrat Terry McAuliffe whose portfolio consists mainly of his career as the top moneyman for the Clinton political machine, came to the race already branded a carpetbagger. (He did once publicly consider a run for governor of his native New York.) Backed by megabuck financing and with the help of the Clinton team, McAuliffe set out to defeat his demons: namely scandals connected to his failed stimulus-backed GreenTech car venture and its links to a federal investigation into allegations that the company was running a visa mill. The strategy that proved effective until ObamaCare flopped: massive spending (a 3-to-1 advantage) to paint Ken Cuccinelli as a zealot and finance an Obamaesque focus on minorities, youth and women. McAuliffe no doubt hopes the Old Dominion will reverse its long held trend of electing a governor from the opposite party of the current president.
Campaign Carl Cameron’s scorecard - Can Ken Cuccinelli pull off a stunning upset? He needs to do at least two of these three things: 1) Blow away turnout models. 2) Get enough bounce from appearances by Rand and Ron Paul to undercut Republican-turned-Libertarian, third-party potential spoiler Robert Sarvis. 3) Get the equivalent of a referendum vote on ObamaCare, and not the referendum on Tea Party shutdown and women’s health issues that Dems counter with.
Misleading robocalls in VA? - Republican State Delegate Scott Lingamfelter tells the Washington Free Beacon he received a call Sunday night, reportedly from the Democratic Party of Virginia, stating Republican Ken Cuccinelli supported ObamaCare and tax-payer funded abortions. Cuccinelli is an ardent foe of ObamaCare and a champion of pro-life causes.
[Watch Fox: Virginia polls close at 7 p.m. ET Fox News will have the results and all of the latest political angles. Tune in tonight for coverage.]
FUHGEDDABOUDIT! - Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., is expected to win a landslide victory over Democratic state Sen. Barbra Buono. Christie’s backers say widespread bipartisan support for the tough-talking, moderate governor shows the way forward for the GOP and should bolster an expected 2016 presidential bid by Christie, who recently told supporters, “We need to show the Republican Party in America that we can win again.” Polls close tonight at 8 p.m. in the Garden State. Deeper dive: RealClearPolitics looks at the national implications of a Christie win.
REEFER-ENDA: BALLOT ROUNDUP - Polls in six states will put over 30 ballot initiatives out to voters. Voters in Colorado’s Eagle and Englewood counties will weigh in on whether to allow medical marijuana retail stores, with several other precincts deciding on how pot will be taxed. Voters in 11 counties in rural, eastern Colorado will get to decide whether they want to secede from the increasingly urban, increasingly liberal state. It’s a long shot, but reflective of the divide in purple Colorado. Fracking restrictions will be up for a vote in Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins, and Lafayette counties. In New York, voters will decide on a state-backed plan to open casinos. In New Jersey, voters look poised to enshrine a state minimum wage, indexed to the cost of living, in their constitution. Washington state voters will consider the required labeling of genetically modified foods, a measure Californians voted down last year. A small Mormon community in Utah will decide whether or not it will legalize alcohol. In Houston, voters will consider the fate of the shuttered Astrodome.
NYC POISED TO ELECT FIRST DEM MAYOR SINCE 1993 - New York City Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Democratic populist who has crusaded against income inequality and denounced the city’s tough-on-crime stances of recent years, is expected to crush Republican former deputy mayor Joe Lhota. Polls close tonight at 9 p.m..
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...New Yorker’s John Cassidy considers how Democrat Bill de Blasio’s expected win in New York City’s mayoral race presents a test case for a new wave of liberal candidates for the post-Obama Democratic Party. Can the candidate who rode the Occupy Wall Street wave on the left become a mayor who does business with Wall Street?
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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.5 percent//Disapprove – 51.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 22.2 percent//Wrong Track – 70.9 percent
A LITTLE DOUBLE DOWN’LL DO YA - A couple of excerpts for your morning read from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s recently released book and Washington’s current scandal sheet, “Double Down”
Code name “d-----bag” - “Hillary Clinton had concluded the 2008 Democratic nomination fight with $20 million of debt. Over time, she had paid down most of it, but a stubborn $263,000 remained. Now Bill Clinton’s gatekeeper, Doug Band, issued an ultimatum to the Obamans: the price of WJC’s involvement in the campaign was the retirement of HRC’s balance due.” The first reaction of [Jim] Messina and [David] Plouffe was: F[---] this. The second was to wonder whether Bill and Hillary were aware that the extortionate demand was being made, or if Band, whom the Obamans code-named “[D-----]bag,” was acting unilaterally.
He was right about that - “Obama celebrated with his staff on the Truman Balcony of the White House…tipping his glass and cocking his eyebrow, Obama said, ‘You know, they’re gonna kick our asses over this.’”
YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - President Obama is facing a trust gap with the American people. That was the consensus among viewers of “Special Report with Bret Baier,” as tracked by Bing Pulse. Republicans, Democrats, independents, men and women all agreed when AP’s Julie Pace said President Obama has endangered the trust of the American people. Pace also found wide agreement across the political spectrum when she said the administrations shifting position on the security of ObamaCare’s Web site is suspect. Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson found high agreement when he stated, “I think what he said was, ‘if we like your health insurance, you can keep it.’’’
Monday’s panel saw 227,000 viewer votes. Viewer intensity surged to 31,000 viewer votes per minute when Pace said ObamaCare could fall apart because the “right mix of people,” especially young health ones, are not signing up. Go deeper in the data here. And don’t forget to make sure your voice is heard.
[New today at Fox News Opinion: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on why he supports legislative prayer]
ABBOTT TAKES EARLY LEAD IN TEXAS POLL - A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner, state Sen. Wendy Davis, who rose to fame with her filibuster defense of late-term abortion, trailing Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott in a hypothetical 2014 matchup.Abbott leads Davis 40 percent to 34 percent with nearly 25 percent of voters undecided.
[Roll Call shares its list of the 10 most vulnerable House members.]
READY FOR HILLARY? MAYBE NOT - Liberal columnist Frank Bruni questions former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s inevitability in 2016 for NYT in Hillary 2016? Not So Fast: “Voters are souring on familiar political operators, especially those in, or associated with, Washington. That’s why Clinton has fallen. She’s lumped together with President Obama, with congressional leaders, with the whole reviled lot of them… The ascent of Bill de Blasio and the cult fervor for Elizabeth Warren demonstrate an appetite right now for liberal firebrands.”
THE GREATEST APPLICATION - The Trust for the National Mall, the nonprofit group that preserves and maintains America’s front lawn, has a new app for visitors to the World War II Memorial that tells the tales of some of those memorialized there. Get it here.
THE LAW FIRM OF SKIDMARK, JAIL TAT AND ROADRASH - When you think about the lawyers for Hells Angels you think criminal defense, not civil litigation, but times have changed. The scourges of Altamont and terrors of the Western highways are suing the Dillard’s department store chain over a line of shirts and hats bearing a logo that is too similar to the motorcycle club’s “Death Head” emblem, a winged skull. Also named in the suit is rapper Young Jeezy’s clothing line, 8732 Apparel, which designed the skull-logo gear. Read it all via American University’s patent law blog.