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- President Obama "said Thursday that he is 'sorry' that some Americans are losing their current health insurance plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act, despite his promise that no one would have to give up a health plan they liked. ... Obama said many of the people being canceled could get better cheaper plans in the marketplaces, but he acknowledged glitches are preventing that." Obama: "The majority of folks will end up being better off. Of course, because the website not working right they may not know it." (NBC News)
- "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the ... law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance," which could "address the issue of 'sticker shock' that has been popping up across the country, as individuals are losing their coverage and finding only higher-cost alternatives." (Huffington Post)
- "U.S. employers added 204,000 jobs in October, an unexpected burst of hiring during a month in which the federal government was partially shut down for 16 days." The Labor Department "says the unemployment rate rose" to 7.3% from 7.2% in September, "likely because furloughed federal workers were counted as unemployed." (AP)
- "The Senate on Thursday approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act," 64-32, "in a tempered win for gay rights advocates who still need a reluctant, GOP-controlled House to take up and pass the bill." (Roll Call)
- SEIU is targeting 7 GOP lawmakers with a "roughly $500,000 ad buy ... seeking to ratchet up pressure" on them "to support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally." (Los Angeles Times)
- Americans for Prosperity (R) launched 4 new TV ads on Thursday, attacking Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Nick Rahall (D-WV), and defending Reps. Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Joe Heck (R-NV). (release)
- "Declaring himself 'a Bill Young Republican,'" ex-Young aide/lobbyist David Jolly (R) "officially kicked off" his FL-13 Special campaign on Thursday, "the same day that two other strong potential GOP candidates decided to bow out." (Tampa Bay Times)
- NRSC chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and vice chairman Rob Portman (R-OH) "said they have urged" former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) to move to New Hampshire and challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). "Moran dismissed speculation that Brown has merely been flirting with a run." Moran: "He knows of our interest in him pursuing this. ... I don't think Scott Brown is just fooling around." (Boston Globe)
- In HI-01, state Senate president Donna Mercado Kim (D) unveiled her campaign earlier this week. (KHNL-TV)
- Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) "will not seek reelection in 2014, he announced on Thursday," opening up his NC-06 seat, where the "real battle in 2014 will be in the Republican primary as the GOP is heavily favored to retain the open seat." (Politico)
- In GA GOV, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) launched a new 15-second TV ad, a "metro Atlanta buy ... in the $120,000 range -- not a heavy purchase, but certainly enough to send a message ... 24 hours after" state Sen. Jason Carter (D) entered the race. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is in Iowa this week, "meeting with political and business leaders, touring a gun parts supplier and doing interviews with local and national reporters." Perry said Thursday "it's yet to be determined whether or not he runs for president a second time." (Des Moines Register)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• In his interview with Peggy Noonan, Mitch McConnell sounds highly confident -- even cocky -- about his chances of defeating Matt Bevin in the GOP primary. Another sign that the establishment has momentum: Tea Party-aligned Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp is acknowledging mistakes with the House GOP strategy to defund Obamacare, and will be changing tactics during the next government funding showdown.
• Last year, some campaigns and outside groups on both sides saved a ton of money in select media markets by reserving TV time early, before rates skyrocketed amidst billions in 2012 election spending. An incomplete list of areas where TV advertisers may want to reserve early time this year: Denver, the swing-state home to a GOV, SEN, and competitive CO-06 race with two high-fundraising candidates; Miami, where FL-26 candidates are raking in money, and Rick Scott is preparing to spend a good chunk of his money; and Sacramento, where multiple ballot initiatives will collide with multiple congressional races again. There is technically a governor's race there, too.
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- Obama "would have refused to take Vice President ... Biden off the Democratic ticket in 2012, he told NBC's Chuck Todd Thursday, calling Biden 'one of the best vice presidents in our history' and saying his selection ... was 'one of the best decisions that I've ever made.'" (NBC News)
- CBS News' Lara Logan, correspondent for "the disputed '60 Minutes' segment about the attack on the United States Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year apologized on the air Friday morning, saying it was a 'mistake' to put on a security officer whose credibility has since been undermined by his diverging accounts of his actions that night." (New York Times)
- The Fairfax County (Va.) Electoral Board "is investigating a possible irregularity in the number of absentee ballots cast in Virginia's largest jurisdiction that Democrats say could shift votes in the still-unresolved race for ... attorney general." As of Thursday evening, state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R) led state Sen. Mark Herring (D) "in the contest by 777 votes." (Washington Post)
- "I don't see the math. There are only 16 days, legislative days, for the floor. ... Unless someone has some magic potion. I don't see how there's time to go through the committee process and through the floor with what could ultimately be six or nine bills." -- Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), on the prospects for immigration reform in the House this year (Miami Herald)
- "Martinez's tour with Christie spurs talk of 2016 ticket" (Santa Fe New Mexican)
- "The fact that my obvious joke is being highlighted today just shows how worried Mark Udall and the Democrats actually are of my campaign for the U.S. Senate here in Colorado." -- CO SEN candidate Owen Hill (R), dismissing the suggestions he seriously suggested Obama was born in Kenya (Denver Post)
- "Home renovations and landscaping were performed "at Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) Richmond-area home last year by the brother of Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, "a wealthy businessman whose relationship with McDonnell is the subject of a federal investigation." (Washington Post)
- "Celebrities, politicians and a long-time colleague celebrate Billy Graham's 95th birthday" (Charlotte Observer)
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford "has been caught on video in an impaired rant saying he is going to kill someone and 'rip his f---ing throat out.'" Ford "slurs his words as he staggers around an unknown dining room, apparently high, ranting gibberish and gesticulating wildly." Ford: "I'm gonna kill that f---ing guy. I'm telling you, it's first-degree murder." (Toronto Star)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Sunny. Highs in the lower 50s. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
- The Senate will convene for a pro-forma session at 11:45 a.m., but otherwise Congress is off for the weekend.
- The Wizards host the new-look Brooklyn Nets. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- The GW Colonials kick off their 2013-14 campaign when they host Radford. (Smith Center, 7 p.m.)
- Georgetown takes on Oregon from South Korea. (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)
- Just days before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Choral Arts performs a choral tribute in Kennedy's honor. (Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 4 p.m. Sunday)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Mark Penn and Doug Schoen polled for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (D) in 1977.
- The winner is Joe Luchok, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Keeping the 1977 theme going, the top-rated television show of 1977-1978 season was a spinoff from the show that was 2nd-rated. What were the titles of the two shows?" The 2nd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
- The winner of Hotline's Election Contest will be contacted later today, so check this space on Monday to learn his or her identity!
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Virginia's Election Encapsulates the Problems Both Parties Face
- The GOP Still Hasn't Figured Out How to Get On With the Tea Party
- How Long Until Senate Leadership Resorts to the Nuclear Option?
- How Obama Blew the Entire Last Year
- Can Republicans Redefine Abortion's Middle Ground?
"I don't wanna be overly cocky, but I'm gonna be the Republican nominee next year." -- McConnell, asked about his KY SEN primary challenge (Wall Street Journal)
"Great, kid. Don't get cocky." -- "Han Solo" ("Star Wars")
Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard, Executive Editor