Democrats Search for an Obamacare Panacea

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND - OBAMA SHOULD HAVE BEEN 'MORE SPECIFIC': New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Sunday on "This Week" that President Obama should have been more specific when he made his famous promise - which he subsequently backtracked on - that Americans who liked their health care plans could keep them under his signature health care law, ABC's BENJAMIN BELL notes. "He should have just been more specific because the point is, if you're being offered a terrible health care plan, that the minute you get sick, you're going to have to go into bankruptcy, those plans should never be offered," Gillibrand told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ when asked if she felt misled by the president. When asked a second time if she felt misled by the president, Gillibrand repeated, "He should have just been specific."
  • 'WHY OBAMACARE IS ON LIFE SUPPORT': The National Journal's Josh Kraushaar writes: "Unless the website miraculously gets fixed by next month, there's a growing likelihood that over time, enough Democrats may join Republicans to decide to start over and scrap the whole complex health care enterprise. … More than anything, politics is about self-preservation, and the last two weeks provided numerous examples of how public opinion has turned so hard against the law that even its most ardent supporters are running for the hills. It's not just red-state Democrats, like Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, distancing themselves from the law. It's blue-state senators like Oregon's Jeff Merkley and New Hampshire's Jeanne Shaheen - and top blue-state recruits like Michigan's Gary Peters and Iowa's Bruce Braley, who voted for GOP legislation Friday that the White House said would 'gut' the law. Nearly every House Democrat in a competitive district joined with Republicans to threaten the law. Without a quick fix, those ranks will grow."


ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The civil war in the Cheney family, quietly building over the summer, has escalated into a very public dispute. It's becoming one of the highest-profile, and deeply personal, political debates so far over same-sex marriage. Liz Cheney is at odds with her sister, Mary. Liz says she disagrees with her sister's right to marry. But Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, have decided to not hold their tongues on the disagreement and fired back in an extraordinary way. In any other family, this would be an awkward, yet private debate. But this could be a moment of reflection for the Republican Party and its new generation of candidates. Will Dick Cheney step in and referee this battle before it becomes even more heated for his family and his party?

ABC's RICK KLEIN: Not all intra-family feuds matter, even among families the nation thinks it knows fairly well. The Cheney sisters' now-public sparring over gay marriage, though, could be different. Liz Cheney's "Fox News Sunday" interview, where she reiterated her opposition to same-sex marriage, got the attention of her sister's spouse - then, her sister herself - via social media. "In fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law," Mary Cheney's wife, Heather Poe, reminded Liz on Facebook. The real danger here to Cheney's Senate candidacy isn't the suggestion that she secretly holds liberal beliefs; it's that she's not the authentic voice for Wyoming she needs to present herself as to have a chance in the primary against still-liked Sen. Mike Enzi. "What amazes me is that she says she's running to be a new generation of leader," Mary Cheney told The New York Times' Jonathan Martin. "I'm not sure how sticking to the positions of the last 20 or 30 years is the best way to do that." A family name makes Liz Cheney's candidacy realistic, and it's a family tie that could be a recurring drag on those hopes.


SCOTT WALKER ON THE IDEAL GOP 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. During an interview with ABC's JONATHAN KARL for "This Week," Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker - while offering praise for his GOP colleagues - dismissed Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan as the ideal 2016 Republican presidential nominee, notes ABC's BENJAMIN BELL. "I think it's got to be an outsider. I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor, people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward," Walker responded when asked by Karl to describe the "ideal Republican presidential candidate in 2016." During the interview in Madison, Wis., Karl asked the governor specifically about Rubio, Cruz and Paul. Walker implied they were all too closely associated with the Beltway to be the ideal nominee. "All good guys, but … it's got to be somebody who's viewed as being exceptionally removed from Washington," the Wisconsin governor said. Walker - asked by Karl about Rep. Paul Ryan - lavished praise on the 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate, but said "yes," - according to his criteria - Paul would not be the ideal GOP 2016 presidential nominee. "I love Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, if he had a fan club, I'd be the president of that," he said.

GILLIBRAND ON HILLARY 2016: 'I HAVE PERSONALLY ENCOURAGED HER'. New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in an interview with ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ on "This Week," about her own political future, including the possibility of a 2016 presidential bid. Gillibrand responded that she was on the Hillary Clinton 2016 bandwagon, saying the former secretary of state would be an "extraordinary president." "I have personally encouraged her, I think she would be an extraordinary president. She has not only the gravitas, but experience, what she's done as secretary of state has been incredible and I think people really are looking to her for leadership," she said.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: JOHN KERRY'S MARRIAGE ADVICE. Addressing the rights of Afghan women and girls, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared the stage at Georgetown University on Friday with former first lady Laura Bush and current Secretary of State John Kerry, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. Afghanistan, all agreed, is at a critical point in the drawdown of U.S. troops and it is crucial for the U.S. to remain engaged in the fight for the advancement of Afghan women and girls. Acknowledging "a lot of progress," Clinton added, "But we are well aware this is a serious turning point for all the people of Afghanistan, but in particular the hard-fought gains that women and children have been able to enjoy." The event did have some lighter moments too. Kerry gave some tips to the male students in the audience, where former President Bill Clinton also attended. "For all the men…who sat in or who sit in classrooms where Bill Clinton sat so many years ago, my advice to you is this: Study hard, go to Oxford, become governor of your state, and then maybe you can marry one of the country's remarkable secretaries of state," he quipped to laughs from the crowd.

OBAMAS' FAMILY NIGHT AT MARYLAND-OREGON STATE BASKETBALL GAME. The Obama family left the White House for nearby College Park, Md., yesterday to watch an evening basketball match-up between the University of Maryland and Oregon State, ABC's MATTHEW LAROTONDA notes. First lady Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, is the coach of the Oregon State Beavers. President Obama and the first lady, daughters Sasha and Malia, and grandmother Marian Robinson were joined by Craig's wife Kelly Robinson and their young son in the stands. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., also came over to say hello, according to press traveling with the president. As the Terrapins and Beavers battled, the president and first lady occasionally worked the crowd, chatting with students and fans. The nail-biter of a game ended with victory for the visiting Oregon at 90-83.

PATRICK KENNEDY REFLECTS ON JFK'S LEGACY. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy during a trip to Dallas in 1963 - 50 years ago this week - left a nation in mourning and America's royal family torn apart, ABC's ISOBEL MARKHAM notes. "We're very focused on family because it's the only thing that got us through," former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the son of Ted Kennedy, who was born four years after the tragedy, told ABC's BYRON PITTS in an interview for "This Week." "It certainly got my dad through."After JFK's brother, Robert, was also assassinated in 1968, it was left Ted Kennedy, the youngest of the brothers, to hold the family together. "My father, frankly, was not just my father," Patrick Kennedy said. "He was the father for my cousins, John and Caroline. And all my Robert Kennedy cousins too."


"SHELDON ADELSON, TOP 2012 DONOR AND CASINO MAGNATE, READIES TO FIGHT INTERNET GAMBLING," by the Washington Post's Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger . "Billionaire casino magnate Shel­don Adelson, whose record-breaking campaign spending in 2012 made him an icon of the new super-donor era, is leveraging that newfound status in an escalating feud with industry rivals over the future of gambling. Adelson, best known for building upscale casino resorts in Nevada and more recently in Asia, wants to persuade Congress to ban Internet betting. He says the practice is a danger to society and could tarnish the industry's traditional business model. Nearly all of his competitors, including Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, disagree. They say regulated Internet gambling can be done safely and can boost the industry. … Adelson has begun hiring lobbyists and public relations experts in Washington and in state capitals nationwide to press his case in what is shaping up to be one of the most heavily lobbied debates of 2014. In January, Adelson plans to roll out an advocacy group, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, that aides say will include advocates for children and others who are considered vulnerable to the temptations and ­potential harms of online betting."


@ABC: Abraham Zapruder: The Man Behind the Video of JFK's Assassination

@jodikantor: Riveting story about meltdown in the House of Cheney over gay marriage. By @jmartnyt

@GlennKesslerWP: New #FactChecker : 4 Pinocchios for false claims about an #Obamacare memo that persist even after testimony.

@RealClearScott: The excellent @CaucusDoc's lesson for 2016ers in Iowa: authenticity & showing up remain the key to success. …

@Jordanfabian: With immigration reform stalled, ads take a sharper tone via @maggiepolitico

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