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• The Hillary Files: Juicy details from friend’s diary
• Key ObamaCare contractor has ethics woes
• First in Fox News First: Rubio lays out higher ed plan
• Pryor looks for cover on vets vote
• Le Pew, party of one
THE HILLARY FILES: JUICY DETAILS FROM FRIEND’S DIARY
How important is the Clintons’ past to their political future? Consider: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has caused an eruption on Planet Hillary after refusing to back down from his claim that former President Bill Clinton is a “sexual predator” because of his assignations with a 22-year-old intern in the Oval Office. Subsequent to Paul’s doubling and then tripling down on the claim, the former president announced that he would head to Paul’s home state later this month to campaign for a Democratic Senate candidate – a sure sign that the former president doesn’t want anyone thinking that Paul has him cowed. The husband of the 2016 Democratic frontrunner is on a collision course with a leading contender for the 2016 GOP nomination, and it’s all over Bubba’s mid-1990s sexcapades.
Time bomb - A timely moment, then, for the Washington Free Beacon to share details of previously unpublished memos and archive material from Diane Blair, a longtime friend of 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The document cache is a trove of goodies for opposition researchers, with insights on many of the Clintons’ most famous scandals. Why do such things exist? The Beacon explains: “Diane Blair’s husband, Jim Blair, a former chief counsel at Tyson Foods Inc. who was at the center of “Cattlegate,” a 1994 controversy involving the unusually large returns Hillary Clinton made while trading cattle futures contracts in the 1970s, donated his wife’s papers to the University of Arkansas Special Collections library in Fayetteville after her death [in 2000].” The files have only recently been opened to the public and never explored by any media outlets.
Would you rather be ‘slick’ or ‘ruthless’? - “On May 12, 1992, Stan Greenberg and Celinda Lake, top pollsters for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, issued a confidential memo. The memo’s subject was ‘Research on Hillary Clinton.’ Voters admired the strength of the Arkansas first couple, the pollsters wrote. However, ‘they also fear that only someone too politically ambitious, too strong, and too ruthless could survive such controversy so well.’ Their conclusion: ‘What voters find slick in Bill Clinton, they find ruthless in Hillary.’
On spinning intern sex - “On July 28, 1997, President Clinton was facing yet another wave of allegations from yet another woman. Kathleen Willey had accused Clinton of sexually assaulting her, and Blair faxed a Drudge Report item about her claims to one of the president’s aides. Blair’s handwritten note attached to the story: “Do we take Matt Drudge seriously?’ Six months later, Drudge would break the story of an affair between Clinton and 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky…When Clinton finally admitted to the relationship after repeated denials, Hillary Clinton defended her husband in a phone call with Blair. She said her husband had made a mistake by fooling around with the ‘narcissistic loony toon’ Lewinsky, but was driven to it in part by his political adversaries, the loneliness of the presidency, and her own failures as a wife.”
‘Whiney women’ - “In a Dec. 3, 1993, diary entry, Blair recounted a conversation with the first lady about “Packwood” – a reference to then-Sen. Bob Packwood, an influential Republican on health care embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal. ‘HC tired of all those whiney women, and she needs him on health care,’ wrote Blair. ‘I told her I’d been bonding w. creeps; she said that was the story of her whole past year’…Days after President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998, the first lady called Blair in good spirits, telling her friend that, ‘Most people in this town have no pain threshold…’”
‘Single-payer necessary’ - “‘At dinner, [Hillary] to [Bill] at length on the complexities of health care – thinks managed competition a crock; single-payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare…As the First Lady prepared to testify before Congress in September 1993, Blair wrote that ‘she’s begun to see that they don’t really care about the issues but want to feel they’re part of the process. So she’s slobbering over their ‘craft’ as she testifies.’ Hillary Clinton’s testimony is seen in retrospect as the high point of her failed health care campaign.”
‘IT’S MY SPEECH’: HILLARY SHUNNED BUBBA’S EDITS
The Hill: “Hillary Clinton refused to allow her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to alter her 2008 Democratic Convention speech …according to… the soon-to-be-released ‘HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton’… ‘While she had been on the mock stage at the convention center, Bill had delivered edits. He had ripped up the structure and added some of his own poetic flourishes... But Hillary was having none of it. Bill and the set of advisors she had hired from his 1996 campaign had proved disastrous at developing her message and strategy for the campaign. She was the one in the hot seat now … ‘It’s my speech,’ she declared as she left to find [Bill].”
In orbit - From New York magazine’s weird interview with Hillary’s lead attack dog, Philippe Reines: “I think she’d be better off not hiring anyone [for the 2016 campaign] over the age of 35… And I think they should all be on a barge or on some kind of orbital platform that can only transmit to the Earth and not receive from it. You just want a roomful of people having good thoughts and good ideas and then not knowing what happened. You come back to Earth the day after the election.”
KEY OBAMACARE CONTRACTOR HAS ETHICS WOES
“Accenture, the contractor hired to fix ongoing problems with the federal health exchange website, has been heavily criticized by some of its largest clients, including federal agencies, according to a published report. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General's Office recommended this past June that the agency consider terminating more than $200 million in contracts with Accenture. The recommendation cited an ‘absence of business ethics’ by the firm, including a 2011 settlement with the Justice Department to resolve allegations of ‘kickbacks’ and ‘bid-rigging’ in federal contracts. Accenture, which paid $63 million to resolve the claims, denied the allegations.” More
[Fox News: “The glitches and other problems with the ObamaCare website that sparked a national firestorm are similar to those military veterans using the federal government’s online benefits system have routinely faced for about the past 18 months…” ]
Obama regulatory backlog grows - Daily Caller: “Twenty-eight significant Obamacare regulations are still waiting for approval, according new study from the free-market American Action Forum (AAF), including five-month old rules surrounding the individual mandate. …The IRS itself may soon be struggling to get ready for its own…[ObamaCare] responsibilities in time. It’s already going to take the IRS 7.5 million hours to implement the individual mandate.”
Exclusive: ObamaCare plaintiff speaks out - Watch Fox: Correspondent Shannon Bream talks exclusively with Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green, who is battling ObamaCare’s birth-control mandate. Supreme Court justices will soon hear arguments on Green’s claim that the law’s requirement that company subsidize the “morning-after pill” infringes on his religious freedom.
Millions falling into ObamaCare gap - WSJ details why millions of lower-income Americans, too poor for ObamaCare subsidies and caught between mismatched state and Federal rules in states without expanded Medicaid programs are left without coverage.
[WSJ: “Hospitals backed the health-care law because it promised to create new, paying customers. Instead, the failure to expand Medicaid coverage by some states not only adds fewer insured patients, it also eliminates the payments hospitals had long received to cover the cost of uninsured people they treat free.”]
CLOCK TICKS AS GOP DEBATES DEBT STRATEGY
BuzzFeed: “Some Republicans are pushing back against a new conservative debt limit strategy… putting all the pressure on moderate Republicans to avoid fiscal battles… The ‘let Democrats pass it’ approach has been embraced by a number of prominent House conservatives including Reps. Raúl Labrador [R-Idaho], Michele Bachmann [R-Minn.], Justin Amash [R-Mich.], and Thomas Massie [R-Ky.] The move, which has not been endorsed or floated by House leadership, would require either the majority of Republican members to vote ‘present’ or have a handful of Republicans vote ‘yes’ with Democrats to have such a bill clear the House… Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, said that… Republicans shouldn’t “shoot for the moon,” but fight for something they see as achievable — like approval of the Keystone pipeline… It’s the ‘vote no, hope yes’ caucus,’ he added.”
[George Will and radio host Laura Ingraham had a fiery exchange over immigration during “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” watch the debate courtesy of Daily Caller.]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
National Review’s Kevin Williamson considers Men at Work: “The diversity of human interests, human desires, and human abilities is in effect infinite, and so too, therefore, are the uses of labor and opportunities for employment. Surely there are many paths to a ‘right livelihood’ waiting to be discovered. And yet there sits official Washington, along with its supramarginal gyrus in the media, trying to figure out how to ‘create jobs’ like an ape doing one of those monochromatic jigsaw puzzles with half the pieces missing, desperately working at ‘manipulating the world in order to get what we want from it,’ forcing together pieces that do not fit. And that is the perverse price of politics: that there are so few jobs to be had when there is so much work to be done.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.1 percent//Disapprove – 52.1 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.0 percent//Wrong Track – 63.3 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 40.5 percent// Republicans 42.0 percent
FIRST IN FOX NEWS FIRST: RUBIO LAYS OUT HIGHER ED PLAN
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will lay out his vision for education reform in a speech this afternoon at Miami-Dade College. Rubio will share his own personal experience of carrying over $100,000 in student loans when he was first sworn in as a senator. The potential 2016 candidate will offer his plan for making higher education work, including income-based repayment options for education loans.
From Fox News First’s early glimpse of Rubio’s prepared remarks - “Those with the right advanced education are making more than ever. But those that do not are falling farther and farther behind. The result is a growing opportunity gap between haves and have-nots, those who have advanced education and those who do not. And if we do not reverse that trend, we will lose the upward mobility that made America exceptional…The problem is that we are trying to prepare people for the new economy using a higher education system built for the old economy. As a result, many high-skilled, high-paying industries suffer from a shortage of labor, while too many low-paying industries suffer from a surplus…For millions of Americans trapped in low-paying jobs or at risk of dropping out of school, higher education may be the only way they will ever be able to move to a better paying job. What they need is more affordable degrees or career education options that are tailored to their specific needs and talents…”
Tech surge - “Why hasn’t our education system found a way to harness [free online learning] and allow it to count toward a person’s post-secondary education? The answer is that we have a broken accreditation system that favors established institutions while blocking out new, innovative and more affordable competitors. … Reforming this biased and broken system is crucial to opening broad, innovative pathways to higher education for all Americans…Enacting these and other innovative policies to reform higher education should be among our most urgent priorities. Because what is at stake is our very identity as an exceptional nation. … But just like the industrial revolution at the turn of the last century, this new era offers the real opportunity to build the great American middle class.”
CHRISTIE GETS COLD SHOULDER FROM ILLINOIS GOP
With a good shot to reclaim the governorship this fall amid the state’s fiscal collapse under Democratic control, Illinois Republicans are hoping New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., won’t leave any baggage when he comes to Chicago Tuesday for a fundraiser. Christie is coming for long-scheduled events for the Republican Governors Association, of which he became chairman shortly before his embroilment in a scandal surrounding dirty tricks used by his aides as part of his re-election bid last year. While Democrats will be deploying operatives to the Chicago to whip up as much media attention for the Christie visit as possible, none of the GOP contenders showed any interest in rubbing elbows with their fellow GOPer. From the Chicago Sun-Times: “Brian Sterling, a spokesman for Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, said ‘he knows nothing about the event and is not involved in any way.’”
PRYOR LOOKS FOR COVER ON VETS VOTE
Senate Democrats today will start an effort to get back on offense after months of hiding out from ObamaCare. First on the docket is a bill to eliminate reductions to cost-of-living increases in veteran’s benefits sponsored by embattled Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. It’s nearly identical to legislation from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., which Pryor and his fellow Democrats blocked as an amendment to a budget deal last year. The only difference is that Pryor’s plan uses deficit spending for the $6 billion rather than reallocated funds from other programs. Even if the Pryor deficit-spending version doesn’t pass, it will allow him to muddy the water in Arkansas about his vote against the Sessions amendment. That’s particularly important given that Pryor’s likely opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hey, look over here - National Journal outlines the effort for vulnerable Democrats to use Senate votes to go trolling for midterm voters back home: “Also this week, the Senate might take up a bill cosponsored by Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act has a number of provisions, including one that permits electronic duck stamps and exempts lead fishing tackle from certain regulations. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska has come to the fore as a leading proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, an issue that divides the Democratic caucus… Sen. Mary Landrieu, who faces a tough contest in Louisiana against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, helped pass a bipartisan bill that prevents flood-insurance premiums from spiking. It's an issue that provides her a point of contrast with the White House, which has said it opposes parts of the law—though it stopped short of saying the president would veto the legislation.”
COBURN BACKS SASSE IN NEBRASKA GOP PRIMARY
Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., may be staying silent on his preference in the increasingly crowded field of Republican candidates hoping to replace him, but Coburn did speak up about the marquee GOP Senate matchup in Nebraska. Coburn is backing Midland University President Ben Sasse, citing the work the two did together when Sasse was in Washington a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Bush administration. Coburn made his endorsement in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star: “Republican conservative icon Tom Coburn [R-Okla.] phoned last week to express his support for Ben Sasse in Nebraska's Republican Senate race… ‘I had a lot of interaction with Ben when he was at HHS and found he has unbelievable character,’ Coburn said. ‘He is a totally open and honest guy who is very responsive and very responsible... If Ben was running in Oklahoma, I'd vote for him,’ Coburn said.” The GOP frontrunner in the race to replace retiring Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is former state Treasurer Shane Osborn.
[Watch Fox: Nebraska Republican Senate candidate Shane Osborn will be a guest on “Fox and Friends,” Tuesday morning.]
ROBERTS COUNTERS RESIDENCY CLAIM
Kansas City Star: “The New York Times was out with a story Friday that chronicled [Republican] Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts’ attempt to re-assert himself in the state in the wake of an August primary challenge from tea partier Milton Wolf…An earlier version of the story contended that the three-term senator, who also served in the House for 16 years, didn’t own a home in Kansas. The Roberts’ team pushed back hard against that idea… The facts, from a Roberts’ spokeswoman, are these: Roberts does own a home in Dodge City. In fact, he’s owned it since 1992. He rents out that home and doesn’t live there…”
Pick Six - Republicans only need to pick up six seats in the midterm elections to win control of the Senate. Which six Democrat-held seats are most likely to land in the red column come November? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and Alaska.
DO YOU KNOW PABLO?
California Republican Pablo Kleinman made the rounds in Washington last week to try to convince party leaders that he’s not so long of a shot in his bid to unseat longtime Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif. Kleinman paid us a visit too, and he makes a very convincing argument. It’s a heavily Democratic district in suburban Los Angeles, but some recent races show that Republicans can be competitive, especially given the infighting that has plagued local Democrats of late. Kleinman, a Jewish immigrant from Argentina who has become a successful Internet entrepreneur, got a glowing write-up from WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin: “Asked to describe his political leanings he says, ‘I’m socially moderate and fiscally conservative’… he looks and sounds more like an international businessman than a Republican politician. … If there is to be a new kind of Republican for newer and younger Americans, Kleinman is the sort of candidate the party will need to attract. ‘If we can show we are coherent on issues, then we can be an appealing choice’”
Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas reports that “sources close to” MSNBC morning show host Joe Scarborough said he is seriously considering running for president as a Republican in 2016. Scarborough, a former Republican who represented a north Florida House district for three terms in the 1990s, rose to fame swatting his own party on the liberal cable network after leaving office. It may sound funny that such a public critic of the GOP would put his lucrative TV career on hold for a ultra-long-shot bid to lead the party he so often laments. Says Pappas: “But behind the scenes, those who know Scarborough are not laughing. It’s widely believed at MSNBC — including among network brass — that Scarborough is actively mulling a presidential bid, sources said.”
[Ed. note: There are such people as “sources close” to morning television hosts? Hey, Brian Kilmeade, who do you have on your roster?]
LE PEW, PARTY OF ONE
President Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande are visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello today and are touting their unity as liberals and international interventionists in a joint op-ed. But like Jefferson in Paris, it’s the sex stuff that has everyone talking. Hollande’s very public dumping of longtime love interest Valerie Trierweiler in the wake of a reported affair with French actress Julie Gayet is what has the attention of this head of state’s visit today. Hollande’s throwing over of his official consort (who went by the title “premier dame” until the split) has caused headaches for the Obama protocol team. As NYT reported: “L’Affaire Hollande has proven to be a dangerous liaison for the tradition-bound White House. Although it is not unprecedented, not many foreign leaders arrive at the executive mansion stag for the most formal and coveted gala in Washington, and even fewer split from their partners, legally recognized or otherwise, just weeks before the festivities…Ivory invitations [for some 300 guests] with the words “the president and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of” each guest’s company had to be quietly destroyed and new ones printed without [jilted partner Valerie Trierweiler’s] name…”
[The New Yorker: “The marriage rate is at all-time low in France, having dropped by more than half in the past twenty years. More than half of children in France are now born to unmarried couples. France adopted a form of civil union known as PACS in 1999, intended initially to allow gay couples formalize their relationships while denying them full marriage equality—but ninety-four per cent of PACS couples are heterosexual.”]