SCOTUS to Rule Health Law, Newt Surges, Cain's 'Oops,' and Detailing Defense Cuts

ABCs Sam Donaldson, Frank Luntz talk Cains likability, Gingrichs comeback.

Watch Diane Sawyer interview Gabby Giffords Tonight at 10/9c

People will be buzzing about it tomorrow. All things related to the interview will live here.   

Cain’s Libya Oops – People are buzzing right now about Herman Cain’s ‘Oops Moment’: How he got flustered by a question about Libya in Wisconsin. More on that later. See it here:

Catching up with Cain – “Unfavorable views of Herman Cain have soared by 17 points in the face of allegations of past sexual harassment, including a sharp increase in negative views of Cain within his own party,” according to analysis by Gary Langer. “The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that more Americans now see Cain unfavorably than favorably, by 44 percent to 29 percent, with the rest undecided. Favorability is a basic measure of any public figure’s personal popularity. It’s trouble when it goes negative.”

Supreme Court Will Rule on Health Law Before Election – ABC’s Ariane de Vogue reports: The court will review a key provision of the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate that requires individuals to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty. It will also hear arguments regarding whether the mandate can be severed from the rest of the law, whether the challenge is barred by a federal tax law whether the law’s Medicaid expansion presents an undue burden on the states. Justices have budgeted five-and-a half hours for the arguments – much more than is generally allotted for a single case.

Newtmentum – The Gingrich boom that has been predicted and considered for weeks seems to be taking hold. A new CNN / ORC poll has him essentially tied with Mitt Romney at 22 percent for Gingrich and 24 percent for Romney.

“This is a wild race,” Gingrich said today. “Who knows what the polls are going to be two months from now. I’m not going to tell you I’m on the way.” Gingrich said he was “humbled” by the general conclusion that he’s offering “real substance and real solutions in the debates.”

ABC’s Elicia Dover reports from a Gingrich event in Greene County – 100 people attending, SRO, that he’s using his Greece trip as a policy plank now.

“Was in Greece in June, I took some flak in the media for going on the trip but it was good because I was actually able to talk to people about what’s going on over there. And I listened to them and talked to them about the current crisis, I reflected on what’s going on over there,” he said.

We had thought he was there on a  vacation cruise, not a listening tour.

The problem for Gingrich could be maintaining his momentum. He has benefitted from debates – respecting his fellow debaters and attacking the media. But like Cain Gingrich spent a good portion of his candidacy on book tour. And the problems that made Gingrich’s bid unlikely over the summer are still there. His personal life could be less than appealing for some conservative voters. And on the question of electability, Gingrich is likely to be divisive. His pugnacious and dismissive debating style might work well in a primary, but could turn off independents.

Leon’s Nuclear Threat – The Defense Secretary released a list of what’ll be cut if the Super Committee doesn’t reach a deal – 23 percent of its non-personnel budget. Panetta writes in a letter to John McCain: “Rough estimates suggest after ten years of these cuts, we would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history. Panetta says the Pentagon would cut its land-based nuclear program – ICBM’s – one leg of the U.S.’ three-pronged nuclear strategy.

Bite the Bullet, Bite of the Apple – “Over the past year, the House Republican leadership has frequently used the metaphor of “three bites at the apple” to cut spending — the first nibble coming in the form of the continuing resolution, the second chomp at the FY2012 budget, and the third course trillions of dollars in deficit savings concocted in a deal to increase the debt limit,” according to John Parkinson.  Obama told the GOP to bite the bullet. “I don’t want to be opining as to bullets or apples,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters today, including Parkinson.

Back to Cain – If Herman Cain is in trouble tonight, it has less to do with today’s Gloria Allred press conference than it does with his baffling answer to a Milwaukee editorial board on the president’s Libya policy and his support of collective bargaining rights for state employees.

Video of Cain seeming confused by a question on Libya, and ensuing long pauses drew instant comparisons to Rick Perry’s brain freeze during a Republican presidential debate last Wednesday.

Except in that  case Perry simply forgot his talking point. In this case Cain found himself struggling to seem like he understood the issue.

“I do not agree with the way (Obama) handled it for the following reason,” Cain began, before correcting himself. “No, that’s a different one. I gotta go back to … Got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with on what? … Here’s what I would have – I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is and I’m sure that our intelligence people have some of that information.

On the issue of collective bargaining, Cain seemed to side with public employee’s unions, who have fought Republican legislatures and governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere. Voters in Ohio recently rejected a Republican Gov. John Kasich’s bill to curb public employee rights. And today Democrats in Wisconsin began an effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, whose beef with Democratic state lawmakers shut the state government down earlier this year.

Will Gloria Cain be too late to help her husband? She breaks her silence in an interview airing tonight on Fox News.

“To hear such graphic allegations and know that that would have been something that was totally disrespectful of her as a woman, and I know that’s not the person he is. He totally respects women,” Gloria Cain said in an interview with Greta Van Susteren scheduled to  air on Fox News tonight.

Read here about Gloria Allred’s press conference and attempt to beef up Sharon Bialek’s story.

McCain ‘Disappointed’ with Candidates on Torture – Sunlen Miller reports: “Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war, said today he is “very disappointed” that two of the Republican presidential candidates at Saturday’s debate defended the practice of waterboarding.”

Obama’s Executive Actions – He’s been talking about not being able to wait for Congress. Here’s our thorough examination of what he’s done with executive action and whether its worked.

Romney is bound again for Iowa (4th Time this cycle) –

The San Donaldson / Frank Luntz Show – Top Line today had a great debate between Sam Donaldson and Frank Luntz on GOP politics and God. Get these two guys their own show.

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