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|Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone)||Oct 28, 2013, 8:58 AM|
Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Over the summer, back when the world was just getting to know Edward Snowden and the documents he introduced us to, President Obama expressed hope for "a thoughtful, fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place." This is quite the detour. It's becoming a global crisis - friendly foreign governments lining up to express outrage that their communications were monitored by the United States. They're responding to domestic political pressures in showing their outrage, and the president can't ignore his, either. Already, Republican members of Congress are lining up to outline the necessity for American snooping on even its allies. But back to that original quote: "fact-based." Yes, internal reviews are ongoing, and the president himself is not involved in every operational detail. But spying on allied heads of state is kind of a big deal. If the president himself didn't know those facts, what confidence can he convey about the ability to have that thoughtful debate?
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The beleaguered health care law faces a critical week. Yes, Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testify for the first time about the troubled website at a House Committee on Wednesday. But a deeper sense of concern at the White House comes from the Senate, where a growing coalition of Democrats are calling for at least some provisions of the Affordable Care Act to be delayed. This is quickly becoming an issue for the party's Senate candidates, too. With the Senate returning to the Capitol this week, health care will once again be a chief topic of discussion. The White House may find the Democratic calls for delay increasingly difficult to ignore.
ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Ted Cruz spent the weekend in Iowa, his third trip to the presidential testing grounds in less than 3 months, and he told Republicans at the Iowa GOP Ronald Reagan dinner: "We need to unify, we need to come together, and let me tell you growth and freedom are principals and ideals that unify the entire Republican Party," Cruz said, explaining that all aspects of the Republican Party can come together if "we get back to our core principals." But, he still laid the blame squarely on the unsuccessful Obamacare effort on Senate Republicans saying "had we stood together I'm convinced the outcome of this fight would be very, very different." "Now, we didn't accomplish our ultimate policy goal in this battle and we didn't because unfortunately a significant number of Senate Republicans chose not to unite and stand side by side with House Republicans," Cruz said. He was introduced by Iowa's governor, Terry Branstad and he made a point of saying he wanted to "help bring all Republicans together" and urged the party to follow Reagan's 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. "We need to be united as a party and we need to get our message across to the people of this great country" Branstad said. After the dinner, Cruz was asked about Branstad's comments and whether he had violated Reagan's 11th commandment. He answered that he "is a big believer that Republicans need to stand for principal." http://abcn.ws/17kf6Y9
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
ANN COULTER'S POLITICAL LOVE AFFAIR WITH TED CRUZ. Ann Coulter is standing by her "love," Ted Cruz. The conservative pundit told ABC's RICK KLEIN that Cruz has a "huge" future in the Republican Party after leading the effort that led to the 16-day government shutdown earlier this month. "I think he has a very bright future," Coulter said of Cruz. "He was over in the House whipping the House Republicans. He was like a general in this." Coulter, who has previously called the government shutdown "magnificent," explained why she supported Cruz's hard-line stance of refusing funding for the government unless the president's health care law was repealed. "I think it was a good thing, because it branded Republicans as the anti-Obamacare party," Coulter said. "Obamacare is less popular than the bubonic plague right now. That's a great branding," Coulter has just published a new book "Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 - Especially a Republican," in which she makes a case that Republican activists groups, including some that have the support of Cruz, should stop mounting primary challenges to Republican members of Congress in an effort to replace less conservative Republicans. For more from Coulter, check out this episode of "Power Players": http://yhoo.it/17nkWbr
SENATOR BARRASSO CALLS HHS SECRETARY, 'THE LAUGHING STOCK OF AMERICA'. As technical problems continue to plague the Obamacare rollout, Senator and orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Barrasso, R-Wy., once again called for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign, reports ABC's ISOBEL MARKHAM. "She's already, as of 'Saturday Night Live' last night, the laughing stock of America," he said on 'This Week' this Sunday. "She's lost considerable credibility." Sebelius was parodied in the opening segment of 'Saturday Night Live' last night, poking fun at the failures of the Healthcare.gov website. The Obamacare rollout has been beleaguered by problems since the enrollment system went live at midnight on Oct. 1. In his weekly address Saturday, President Barack Obama said Healthcare.gov had been visited more than 20 million times since its launch. However, only around 700,000 Americans have successfully submitted applications. "The website was supposed to be the easy part of this," Barrasso said on "This Week" Sunday. "This is just the tip of the iceberg of problems, with bigger problems to come." http://abcn.ws/19KouC2
MANCHIN ON SEBELIUS: 'I THINK SHE SHOULD STAY'. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin acknowledged that it was a mistake to go forward with the launch of Healthcare.gov on October 1, but didn't agree that Sebelius's resignation should be part of the solution. "I think she should stay and I think she will get the job done," Manchin told GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS on "This Week." A Congressional hearing on Thursday revealed that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allowed just two weeks to road test the website before the launch and was aware in advance of problems that would likely cause system malfunction. Sebelius is due to testify before Congress on the rollout Wednesday. Frustrations with signing on to the new system have led some on Capitol Hill, including Senate Democrats, to once again call for a delay. Manchin is calling for a one-year delay of the penalty for failing to sign up for the individual mandate. Instead of the current $95 fine taking effect in January 2014, a larger penalty of $325 would hit those not signed up by January 2015. "It'll still induce people to get involved but it'll also give us the time to transition in," Manchin said. http://abcn.ws/19KouC2
TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama visits FBI headquarters at noon to deliver remarks at the installation ceremony for the new Director, James Comey. Later, Obama meets privately with Secretary of State Kerry, where U.S. surveillance of world leaders will no doubt be a likely topic of discussion.
CHENEY SLAMS SEN. MIKE ENZI ON FUNDRAISING, SAYS THEY AREN'T FISHING BUDDIES. Sunday on "This Week," former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney slammed the man his daughter Liz Cheney is challenging for his Wyoming Senate seat - Republican Sen. Mike Enzi - calling out the three-term senator for his political fundraising and his characterization of their relationship. "Mike has a record, if you go back and review his finances, of getting about 84 percent of his campaign funds from Washington-based PACs. That's more than any senator of either party. He doesn't get much money from Wyoming," Cheney told ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS. "In the quarter just reported, Liz got 25 percent of her funds from Wyoming; he got 13 percent of his from Wyoming. She outraised him in the last quarter, over a million dollars in the first quarter out there." Cheney also took Enzi to task for reportedly saying that the pair are fishing buddies. "Mike also said he and I are fishing buddies, which is simply not true. Never happened," Cheney said. The New York Times reported in July that Enzi recalled that the two bonded over fly-fishing, when they "were on the same team competing in a popular annual One Fly tournament - fishing with the same fly lure all day - in the Snake River." Despite being behind in the polls and gaining little support from Republicans in Washington, Cheney said his daughter had "just started" in the race and would eventually prevail in the final vote next year. "She's going full speed. She's going to win and Washington isn't going to decide who's the next senator from Wyoming - Wyoming is," Cheney said. http://abcn.ws/18Z318K
TED CRUZ COY ON 2016, SAYS 'FOCUS IS 100 PERCENT ON THE U.S. SENATE'. Sen. Ted Cruz has visited the presidential testing grounds of Iowa three times in less than three months, but the Texas Republican is coy when asked directly whether he's ruled out running for president in 2016. "My focus is 100 percent on the U.S. Senate," Cruz told reporters in Le Mars, Iowa this weekend while leaving a fundraiser here for fellow tea partier Rep. Steve King who represents this part of the state. "It is a tremendous honor to be here, the reception has been very warm, very encouraging and my focus is on the substance of the battles we have right now. … My focus is 100 percent on the U.S. Senate because that is where these fights are being fought." Three years out from the next presidential election, Cruz was on a two-day swing of the state. Saturday he went on King's annual pheasant hunt here in the northwest part of Iowa. It's also a fundraiser for King's congressional campaign and has become a must-stop for potential presidential candidates. The congressman is a sought-after endorsement from candidates before the caucuses. Wearing a navy checked shirt and jeans, Cruz told reporters he bagged two pheasants on the hunt. http://abcn.ws/1eWiqs2
@PhilipRucker: In case you're keeping count, @GabbyGiffords's Des Moines crowd was double @TedCruz's this weekend http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20131028/NEWS09/310280039/1056/news05 …
@McCormickJohn: Reagan Revolution Misses Tax Fiefdoms Flourishing in U.S. (day 1 of 4-day @BloombergNews series on local government): http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-28/reagan-revolution-misses-tax-fiefdoms-flourishing-in-u-s-.html …
@matthewjdowd: Good Monday am! Can we each look at everything in our life's as if we are borrowing them including relationships? With no ownership? Tryin