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The Edge

Clinton Breaks Rank & Stupid Polling—THE EDGE Brought to you by America’s Natural Gas

November 12, 2013

By Patrick Reis (@Patrick_C_Reis) and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Typhoon Haiyan has already killed thousands in the Philippines, but the suffering is far from over, as the storm left a humanitarian disaster in its wake. Back in the Beltway, Bill Clinton went off-message on the Affordable Care Act's plan cancellations, and new Obamacare exchange enrollment numbers revealed that fewer than 50,000 people were able to sign up successfully on the site in October, a tally that falls far short of the White House's goal of 500,000 October enrollees. Elsewhere, DOJ paved the way for a massive airline merger, and NBC released a 2016 poll that you should ignore—even if you're ignoring it alone.


BILL CLINTON TELLS OBAMA TO KEEP HIS WORD ON OBAMACARE: The "Secretary of Explaining Things" explained his way into a potential talking-point nightmare today, by telling Ozy Media that "I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got." Republicans predictably pounced on Twitter and elsewhere, seizing the political moment to condemn Obamacare writ large. (Marina Koren, NJ)


BUT THIS IS HEALTH CARE, AND IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE: Obamacare establishes a minimum set of benefits and prohibits insurers from discriminating certain customers, meaning a lot of current insurance doesn't qualify under the law. A Bubba proclamation does not change reality. (Jonathan Cohn, TNR)

OBAMA'S LIMITED RESCUE OPTIONS: The president's cancellation apology last week included a pledge to look for ways to help people whose plans got scratched. But to provide that help, Obama is going to have to get creative, as the law's critics and supporters alike agree that there's no easy solution. (Sam Baker, NJ)

SITE ENROLLS ONE-TENTH OF ADMIN'S OCTOBER GOAL: Fewer than 50,000 people were able to sign up successfully on the Obamacare site as of last week, a figure that falls far short of the White House's hope of 500,000 for October. (Weaver/Martin/Radnofsky, WSJ)

WHO COUNTS AS ENROLLED? Deciding who counts as in the exchanges is as difficult as it is controversial. The administration is using a generous definition of who counts as "enrolled" in the ACA's exchanges. (Sarah Kliff, WaPo)

TYPHOON NOT THE END OF SUFFERING FOR PHILIPPINES: Typhoon Haiyan likely killed thousands over the weekend, but the necessary aid work is just beginning. Reports abound of survivors short on food and water, as agencies struggle to get rescue supplies to those in need. (Cruz/Harlan, WaPo)

DOJ REACHES PRELIMINARY DEAL IN AIRLINE MERGER SUIT: The Justice Department would allow American and US Airways to merge if they sold 104 takeoff and landing slots at Ronald Reagan, as well as 34 at LaGuardia and a sprinkling of others at five other airports. (De la Merced/Mouawad, NYT)

CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL: In a courageous struggle against rock bottom, Congress's approval has sunk even lower! Gallup's latest pulse-reading finds Congress's job approval at 9 percent. (Frank Newport, Gallup)

A friendly reminder, however, that people don't vote for "Congress," they vote for their member of Congress—and even in times of widespread dissatisfaction, the vast majority of incumbents win reelection.

TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Both the House and Senate are in session.The House Oversight Committee holds a full hearing at 9:30 a.m. on the technological failures behind the rollout of the Obamacare site. John Kerry plans to meet with Panamanian Foreign Minister Nunez Fabrega at 10:30 a.m. at the State Department. Obama will speak in the afternoon at the White House Tribal Nations Conference.


THE DUMBEST POLL: Polls three years ahead of elections are dumb. Just ask Rudy Giuliani. (Matt Berman, NJ)

TAKE YOUR PARENTS TO WORK: Involving Mom and Dad in your career choices can make you more successful. (Lauren Davidson, Quartz)

WORLD TRADE RISES: The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat declared today that One World Trade Center, at 1,776 feet, is the tallest building in the U.S. (McGeehan/Bagli, NYT)

EDWARD SNOWDEN: He's close to broke, according to his lawyer. (UPI)


HE WAS LEAKING NSA SECRETS BEFORE IT WAS COOL: Perry Fellwock became the NSA's first bigtime leaker four decades ago, helping to usher in an anti-surveillance movement of the 1970s. After 30 years of self-imposed silence, Fellwock—once better known under the pseudonym of Winslow Peck—is telling his full story. (Adrian Chen, Gawker)


LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Proof Chris Christie isn't running for president, and Senate Democrats set a new record with how fast they ran away from Obamacare. (Reena Flores, NJ)

THE HISTORY OF AMERICA'S ADDICTION TO CAFFEINE: It's not exactly pretty. Tracing our love affair with our favorite psychoactive drug. (James Hamblin, The Atlantic)

TYPHOON HAIYAN: BEFORE AND AFTER THE DESTRUCTION: An interactive maps shows the scale of damage done in the city of Tacloban. (WSJ)

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