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- Appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "apologized for the flaws of HealthCare.gov, which was not functioning for most of the day. Conceding that navigating the health portal has been 'a miserably frustrating experience for way too many Americans,' Sebelius told lawmakers: 'Hold me accountable for the debacle. I'm responsible.'" (Washington Post)
- Delivering a speech about implementation of the health care law in Boston on Wednesday, President Obama "sought to frame the setbacks as temporary -- as they were in Massachusetts -- and part of the broad process of meaningful market reforms." Obama: "We are just going to keep on working at it. We're going to grind it out, just like you did here in Massachusetts." (Boston Globe)
- "Gathering Wednesday morning for their first formal meeting, the leaders of the House and Senate Budget committees continued the recent pattern of setting low hurdles and reasonable expectations — while still being split as usual on the issue of taxes." (Roll Call)
- House and Senate farm bill conferees used the first and possibly only public meeting Wednesday to once again articulate their differences on agriculture and nutrition policy, but the tone was conciliatory and congressional farm leaders made plans to continue negotiations next week even though the House is out of session. (National Journal Daily)
- In VA GOV, former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe (D) and Bill Clinton "capped a four-day swing with rallies in Charlottesville and in Roanoke" on Wednesday, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) "will campaign with" Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) "in the final days of the race." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- A new Quinnipiac University poll of New York City mayoral LVs, conducted Oct. 25-29, shows Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) leading former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota (R), 65-26%. In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 16-20, de Blasio led Lhota, 68-24%. (release)
- Lhota "tried to gain ground in a lopsided race by attacking what he described as ... de Blasio's lack of management experience and 'naive' public safety proposals Wednesday night in their final debate on live television before next Tuesday's election." Toward the end of the debate, Lhota "found an opening to compare himself to the all-American hero of the Rocky films" and de Blasio to Ivan Drago, "the tall Soviet bruiser from Rocky IV." (Wall Street Journal)
- A new UMass-Amherst poll of Boston mayoral LVs, conducted Oct. 22-26, shows state Rep. Marty Walsh (D) leading city Councilor John Connolly, 47-40%. (release)
- The Boston Globe endorsed Connolly over Walsh, writing that Connolly's "vision and independence put him in a better position to help Boston reach its greatest potential sooner." (Boston Globe)
- In the FL-13 Special, Gov. Rick Scott's (R) office "confirmed dates for the special election. ... The primary election will be Jan. 14 and the general election March 11." (Tampa Bay Times)
- "At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "told his colleagues that he would not intervene in their 2014 primary fights or fundraise for the controversial outside group" Senate Conservatives Fund, which has endorsed challengers to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). (Politico)
- In AR-02, state Rep. Ann Clemmer (R) "announced Wednesday afternoon that she would be seeking the Republican nomination." (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
- According to a new Franklin & Marshall College poll of Pennsylvania RVs, conducted Oct. 22-27, 20% believe that Gov. Tom Corbett (R) "has done a good enough job" to deserve reelection, while 67% "believe it is time for a change." In the previous poll, conducted Aug. 21-26, 20% thought Corbett deserved reelection, and 69% thought it was "time for a change." (release)
- "All of the female Democratic senators signed a secret letter" to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) earlier this year "encouraging her to run for president in 2016 -- a letter that includes the signature" of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and "other senators who are mentioned as potential candidates." (ABC News)
- According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of national adults, conducted Oct. 25-28 by Hart Research Associates (D)/Public Opinion Strategies (R), 42% approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 51% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 7-9, 47% approved of Obama, and 48% disapproved. (release)
- The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also shows 45% of RVs prefer the next election to result in a Congress controlled by Democrats, while 41% prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans. In the previous poll, 47% preferred a Democratic-controlled Congress, and 39% preferred a GOP-controlled Congress. (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Yesterday's NBC/WSJ poll found that the president's declining approval rating is also costing Democrats the gains they made during the government shutdown. The latest survey shows Dems down to a 4-point lead on NBC/WSJ's version of the generic Congressional ballot, a four-point drop from last month and in line with where it's been for most of the last couple years.
• Digging into the latest Franklin and Marshall poll in Pennsylvania, one question jumps out: Why hasn't Gov. Tom Corbett drawn a GOP primary challenger? Asked if the governor should seek reelection or step aside, 44% of registered Republicans said he shouldn't run, while 42% said Corbett should run for another term. And only 34% of registered Republicans rate Corbett's job performance as excellent or good. If Corbett's polling numbers continue to show no sign of improvement, chatter about a primary challenge -- mostly non-existent up to this point -- may ramp up as 2014 draws closer.
• This week, three House Republicans -- one each day -- have signed onto House Democrats' comprehensive immigration reform bill, including Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) on Wednesday. All three GOP co-sponsors were among the six Republicans who voted against Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) amendment to defund President Obama's DREAM Act-like "deferred action" program earlier this year. For the bill to pick up more bipartisan momentum, it'll have to expand beyond that group, perhaps to include other Republicans who don't want that vote to be their signature move on the issue any longer.
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials." (Washington Post)
- "I'm very pleased to hear Senator Cruz say he will no longer raise money for groups that are advertising against his colleagues." -- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) (ABC News)
- "Anthony Weiner vs. The New York Times" (GQ)
- The New York City Council "voted Wednesday to hike the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21." (New York Daily News)
- "Q&A: Alabama's 'pitchfork people' v the Republican old guard" (The Guardian)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service:
- The Senate is back at 10 a.m., with the swearing-in of Sen.-elect Cory Booker (D-NJ) set for noon.
- Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appear at the Georgetown University Law Center and the Migration Policy Institute 10th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference. (Georgetown University Law Center, 9 a.m.)
- The 6-2 Bengals travel to Miami to face the Dolphins. (NFL Network, 8:25 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Red Sox DH/1B David Ortiz became the third DH to win the World Series MVP on Wednesday night. The others were Hideki Matsui and Paul Molitor.
- The winner is Bill Mayer, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "The last time the Red Sox won the World Series at home, Republicans won control of both houses of Congress later that year, leading to this Bay Stater becoming House Speaker in 1919." The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Budget Conference: A Committee of Two?
- Budget Negotiations Continue—And So Does the Clock on the Debt Ceiling
- What Kind of Conservative Will Marco Rubio Be Today?
- The Right to Vote
- Why Delaying Obamacare Has Insurers Freaking Out
"Oh, yeah, I'm also going to work on my Spanish. I am adamant that I want to speak Spanish like a native." -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), on his post-mayoral life. (Forbes)
Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard, Executive Editor