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- "Slightly more than 106,000 Americans signed up for health plans in the first month of new state and federal insurance marketplaces, the Obama administration reported Wednesday ... far lower than the administration predicted." (Washington Post)
- "Anxious congressional Democrats are threatening to abandon President Obama on a central element of his signature health care law, voicing increasing support for proposals that would allow Americans who are losing their health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act to retain it" ahead of a House vote scheduled for Friday. (New York Times)
- In AR SEN, Sen. Mark Pryor (D) released a new TV ad Wednesday that assails Rep. Tom Cotton (R), for supporting cuts to Medicare and Social Security. (Hotline reporting)
- In MS SEN, Senate Conservatives Action (R) launched a new TV ad on Thursday supporting state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). The broadcast- and cable-TV ad buy is worth a little more than $260,000. (release)
- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), "acknowledging that he failed to anticipate how the new health care law would lead to a wave of health insurance cancellations, on Wednesday co-sponsored legislation" proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) "that would allow consumers to keep their current policies if they want." (Portland Oregonian)
- In WY SEN, activist Liz Cheney (R) released her first TV ad, a 60-second biographical spot. "The bulk" of the $56,000 buy is for broadcast television in the Casper and Cheyenne markets." (Politico)
- Former Treasury Department official and TARP administrator Neel Kashkari (R) "is likely to run" for CA GOV and "has begun the process of gathering advisers for an anticipated campaign." (Politico)
- In IL GOV, businessman Bruce Rauner (R) launched a new TV ad on Thursday, which will air "on broadcast and cable stations throughout the state." (release)
- Rauner "is putting $500,000 of his own money" into his campaign, which "essentially frees" Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and the three other GOP candidates "to take donations of any size." (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Former Obama White House chief of staff Jim Messina and former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta "are currently in talks to co-chair ... Priorities USA, the multimillion-dollar super PAC," which "would be a dramatic early symbol of party unity behind" former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D). (Buzzfeed)
- According to a new Fox News poll of national RVs, conducted Nov. 10-12 by Anderson Robbins Research (D)/Shaw & Company Research (R), 40% approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 55% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 20-22, 41% approved of Obama, and 53% disapproved. (release)
- The Fox News poll shows Republicans leading the generic ballot, 43-40%. In the previous poll, Democrats led, 45-37%. (release)
- A new Quinnipiac University poll of national RVs, conducted Nov. 6-11, shows the parties tied on the generic ballot, 39-39%. In the previous poll, conducted Sept. 23-29, Democrats led, 43-34%. (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• If the health care chaos doesn't subside in the next several months, pay close attention to a new crop of swing-state Senate Dems who looked safe but could face strong health care headwinds. That list includes Al Franken (MN), Merkley, Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Mark Udall (CO). None is currently facing strong opposition, but in a wave environment, you don't need a strong challenger to win. And the latter three are among the most outspoken Dems trying to distance themselves from the unpopular law.
• Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is announcing whether he'll run for reelection at the end of the month, but this week it feels like he's already left the race. McDaniel has been locked in a back-and-forth with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) -- who has said he'll look at running if Cochran decides against another bid -- over whether McDaniel voted in a 2003 Democratic primary.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"White supremacist takes DNA test, finds out he's part black" (Los Angeles Times)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Maybe I'm being simplistic, but can't we call Bill Gates up and say, 'Take care of this?' Or go to a college dorm and say, 'You guys, you invented Yahoo, can you take care of this?'" -- Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), on the administration's response to the health care website glitches (Roll Call)
- "Secret Service agents are removed from Obama detail" (Washington Post)
- Virginia state Sens. Mark Herring (D) and Mark Obenshain (R), "locked in a razor-thin contest for attorney general, on Wednesday both named transition teams," despite the fact only one will get the job. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' forthcoming book reportedly "questions Obama's policy choices on the Arab Spring in particular, and even compares" Obama "unfavorably with" George W. Bush. (Politico Magazine)
- "If your question is: Did the president rely a lot on his Cabinet as a group of advisers? No, he didn't." -- Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (Politico Magazine)
- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) "has a high-powered new girlfriend -- Hollywood entertainment lawyer Bianca Levin." (New York Post)
- "Mitt Romney Wandering Through Cold New York" (New York magazine)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Sunny. Highs in the upper 50s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
- The House is back at 10 a.m., while the Senate returns at 9:30 a.m.
- The inaugural Defense One Summit is underway. (Grand Hyatt Washington)
- The Senate Banking Committee considers the nomination of Federal Reserve Chairwoman-designate Janet Yellin. (106 DSOB, 10 a.m.)
- Elton John's playing "Your Song." (Verizon Center, 8 p.m.)
- The Colts and Titans lost last week, and both look to bounce back in Nashville. (NFL Network, 8:25 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Andrew Johnson held every office at the federal, state and local level.
- The winner is Erin Gorman, and here's her Swizzle Challenge: "Until their Constitutional Convention in the 1860s, which state elected their governor by rotating geographical districts allowing only registered voters in a single gubernatorial district to vote for the statewide office?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- What Do Green Groups Want More: Saving the Planet or Saving the Senate?
- Former Republican Senator Making His Comeback as an Independent
- The GOP's Unhealthy Bias Against Obamacare
- The Most Powerful Woman in Washington
- More in U.S. Warm to the New Melting Pot
"The marketplace is working, people are enrolling. ... The Web site is very much operational." -- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announcing the number of Americans who have enrolled in the federal online health care exchange (Washington Post)
"Remain calm! All is well!" -- Kevin Bacon ("Animal House")
Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard, Executive Editor