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Sebelius Speaks on Faulty Exchange Website; McAuliffe Still Leads Va. Gov. Race; Ugly NYC Debate Sebelius Speaks on Faulty Exchange Website; McAuliffe Still Leads Va. ...

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Sebelius Speaks on Faulty Exchange Website; McAuliffe Still Leads Va. Gov. Race; Ugly NYC Debate

Wake-Up Call! is Hotline's daily morning briefing on campaigns and elections. Click here to subscribe.


  • In an interview, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that President Obama didn't hear that there may be problems with the signup portal for the federal health care exchange until it went live on October 1 then nosedived into a technical abyss. Sebelius: "No one could be more frustrated than I am and the president." (CNN)
  • A new Quinnipiac University poll of VA GOV LVs, conducted Oct. 15-21, shows former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe (D) leading Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), 46-39%, with Robert Sarvis (L) at 10%. In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 2-8, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli, 47-39%, with Sarvis at 8%. (release)
  • "Bill Clinton will appear at five events" around Virginia with McAuliffe "Sunday and Monday, with more appearances to be announced next week." (Politico)
  • In the second New York City mayoral debate of the general election on Tuesday, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota (R) "shed his sleepy style to unleash a ferocious attack against" Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) "in an acrid debate that descended into a free-for-all of interruptions, name-calling and indignant lecturing." De Blasio "appeared frequently rattled by his opponent's newfound fury, shaking his head, narrowing his eyes in pique and resorting, at times, to pleas for propriety." (New York Times)
  • A new WBUR-FM poll of Boston mayoral LVs, conducted Oct. 19-20 by MassINC Polling Group, shows city Councilor John Connolly leading state Sen. Martin Walsh (D), 41-39%. (release)
  • In the second televised Boston mayoral debate on Tuesday night, Connolly "sought ... to use attacks against him from organized labor to frame the fundamental difference between him and" Walsh, "hoping voters would see a clear distinction in a race with few policy differences." (Boston Globe)
  • In the AL-01 Special, 2012 candidate Dean Young (R) launched a new TV ad, "featuring his wife, Jan, who speaks about her husband in loving tones while family photos fill the screen." (Mobile Press-Register)
  • In AR SEN, Sen. Mark Pryor (D) launched a new TV ad, hitting Rep. Tom Cotton (R) for his "irresponsible actions" in helping to shut down the federal government. (release)
  • Former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays (D) made his bid for AR-02 official Tuesday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
  • In CA-52, the "conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is ... funding a television ad calling for residents to call Rep. Scott Peters (D) and demand the Affordable Care Act be replaced." (U-T San Diego)
  • In NH-02, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R) "has been telling fellow Republicans she is thinking seriously about running" against Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D). (New Hampshire Union Leader)
  • In OR-05, Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith (R) "said Tuesday that she is launching an exploratory campaign" to consider challenging Rep. Kurt Schrader (D). (Portland Oregonian)
  • New Mexico state Sen. Howie Morales (D) announced Tuesday he will challenge Gov. Susana Martinez (R) next year. (Silver City Sun News)
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "says he's 'seriously considering' running for another term when his current one ends three years from now." (KFYI-AM)
  • Former Utah Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright said "he is considering running against" Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in 2016 "because he has grown 'exasperated' with" Lee's governing style. (Washington Post)


  • According to a new CBS News poll of national adults, conducted Oct. 18-21, 46% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while 49% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted Sept. 19-23, 43% approved of Obama, and 49% disapproved. (release)


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day


• Election rules designed to benefit conservatives are playing a key role in the GOP's shift rightward. Virginia's Bill Bolling would have had a fighting chance against Cuccinelli in a primary, and Lee probably wouldn't be a senator if Utah Republicans chose their nominee without a convention. Meanwhile in Iowa, Republicans are worried about the prospect of a hard-right nominee emerging at a convention, if no candidate receives 35% of the vote in the June 2014 primary.

• AFP's ad tying Peters to Obamacare's "glitches" may be the first TV spot to directly take on the insurance exchanges' troubled rollout, but it won't be the last. It neatly, harshly encapsulates why fixing the technology around the ACA is such an urgent concern for Democrats.

• Despite dangerously low approval numbers, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) still has a chance to win a second term thanks to a competitive three-way race. But the feisty Republican keeps getting in his own way. LePage's latest controversial statement -- a claim that roughly 47% of "able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work" -- has opponents comparing him to Mitt Romney. In a tight race with a small margin for error, LePage is once again grabbing headlines for the wrong reasons.




Extreme Takeover: Tea Party Edition



  • Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of showers. Highs in the upper 50s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph, becoming northwest this afternoon.
  • The House reconvenes at 10 a.m.
  • A discussion on "Our Place in the Universe: Cosmology from the Greeks to Today." (Library of Congress, 11:30 a.m.)
  • Game 1 of the Fall Classic at Fenway. (WTTG-TV, 8 p.m.)
  • Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!


  • The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in Oct. 1962.
  • The winner is Joe Bookman, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "How many presidents had 2 living parents at the time of their inauguration?" The 2nd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the shoe fits, wear it." -- Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), responding to criticism after a fundraising solicitation compared tea party members to Klansmen (Roll Call)


"Scientists have studied for years this difficult question of why some people have a conscience and some don't. Some people are called Democrats, and some people are called Republicans." -- Grayson (TPM, 2009)

Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief

Steven Shepard, Executive Editor


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