Leah Barkoukis - Ouch: Americans Believe Obama Is Worse Than Bush
Posted: 10/20/2014 8:30:00 PM EST

Somehow, this is still Bush’s fault:

Voters in battleground states think President Obama is worse at “managing the basic functions of the federal government” than his predecessor George W. Bush, according to a POLITICOpollreleased Monday. In other words, voters think Obama is a less effective manager than the man he stills blames for his failures.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said Bush, the greatest living president, was a more effective manager of government, compared to 35 percent who said Obama was more effective; 26 percent said the two were “about the same.” So in total, 64 percent of respondents think Obama is, at best, no better than George W. Bush at managing the government.

It comes as no surprise, then, that 64 percent of respondents believe things in the U.S. feel “out of control” right now. And 50 percent said the country was “off the wrong track.” The survey comes on the heels of a Fox News poll last week that asked respondents about how they feel things in the world are going. With ISIS, Ebola, a nuclear Iran, and countless other instabilities and threats around the globe, it’s easy to see why 58 percent said things are “going to hell in a handbasket.”

Clearly, Americans are ready for new leadership. We just have to hang in there for another… 822 days.  

Kevin Glass - Pat Roberts Is Closing On Greg Orman - But Is It Too Late?
Posted: 10/20/2014 6:30:00 PM EST
A new poll out today from Monmouth University of likely voters in Kansas finds a dead heat between incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts and independent-aligned Greg Orman at 46%-46%. The telephone poll surveyed 429 likely voters in Kansas and has a margin of error of 4.7%.

First, the good news: Pat Roberts has been struggling in this race and many polls have found him trailing Orman, so even a dead heat might mean he's gained some ground - and that his rhetoric that Orman is a progressive masquerading as a centrist might be taking hold. The other candidate/undecided vote looks to be breaking toward Roberts, as only 8% of those polled now say they're not committed to either Roberts or Orman.

The bad news, however, is that Orman still maintains a sizable lead over Roberts with self-identified independent voters - 60%-32%. The self-identified independent vote in Kansas is larger than the Democratic vote in Kansas, so Roberts' poor showing here is not good, especially considering that Romney won the independent vote handily in 2012 and Roberts won the independent vote by 5 points in his last election in 2008.

Townhall's PollTracker average, which takes into account all polling to date, finds Orman has a slight lead of two percentage points over Roberts:

Guy Benson - Good News: Tens of Thousands of Federal Workers Are Being Paid to Sit at Home
Posted: 10/20/2014 5:05:00 PM EST

Just a friendly reminder about the state of our 'not-a-cent-to-spare' federal government, via the Washington Post:

Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show. During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone. The extensive use of so-called administrative leave continues despite government personnel rules that limit paid leave for employees facing discipline to “rare circumstances” in which the employee is considered a threat. The long-standing rules were written in an effort to curb waste and deal quickly with workers accused of misconduct. And the comptroller general, the top federal official responsible for auditing government finances and practices, has repeatedly ruled that federal workers should not be sidelined for long periods for any reason.

So we're forking over hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of workers placed on 'administrative leave,' all thanks to a provision originally designed to be used in very narrow circumstances?  Terrific.  This is bureaucracies doing what they do: Skirting or breaking internal rules, sticking taxpayers with the bill, and hoping that no one makes enough of a stink to upset the apple cart.  The news gets even better:

They found that supervisors used wide discretion in putting employees on leave, including for alleged violations of government rules and laws, whistleblowing, doubts about trustworthiness, and disputes with colleagues or bosses. Some employees remain on paid leave while they challenge demotions and other punishments. While the employees stayed home, they not only collected paychecks but accrued pension earnings, vacation and sick days, and moved up the federal pay scale...The GAO report almost certainly understates the extent and cost of administrative leave because the figures examined by the auditors were incomplete. Not all government agencies keep track of the practice, and those reviewed account for only about three-fifths of the federal workforce.

So these findings were made in the absence of roughly 40 percent of the relevant data.  Please file away "small" examples of federal waste like this for the next time Statists decide to blame the current crisis du jour on a lack of "resources" and "draconian cuts."  They just recently attempted one such gambit on the Ebola outbreak, using claims that were easily debunked with statistics and slapped down by fact-checkers.  As for the outlandish, eagerly-repeated claim from the NIH director that budget cuts have prevented the discovery of an Ebola vaccine, the Institute's lead researcher on the disease doused that assertion with cold water on yesterday's Meet the Press:

"I don't agree with that, I have to tell you quite honestly…you can't say that."
Cortney O'Brien - Unreal: Medical Society of NY Tells Doctors to 'Follow Twitter' to Stay Informed on Ebola
Posted: 10/20/2014 4:15:00 PM EST

In its weekly update for New York State physicians, the Medical Society of the State of New York wanted to ensure that the doctors within their network were well informed on the threat of Ebola. So, MSSNY President Andrew Kleinman, M.D., told them to make sure they were following the society on Twitter.

MSSNY is here to help you. As we communicate regularly with key New York State officials, and closely monitor the worldwide and U.S. efforts regarding efforts to contain the outbreak, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest scientific and other important information. Continuous updates are being posted to our Twitter and Facebook feeds when important new information arises, which is many times per day.

If you are not on Twitter or Facebook already, you need to follow us! (If you need help setting up an account, please contact And please “re-tweet” and “re-post” these important updates to those physicians and other care providers who follow you.

How reassuring to know that the MSSNY is taking necessary precautions to keep their patients safe by telling our respected doctors they must rely on social media. Are you telling me this is the best way the organization is keeping in contact with our physicians -- by assuming they're following their Twitter and Facebook accounts? Scary.

MSSNY isn't the only entity to be less-than-accessible on the threat of Ebola. The Centers for Disease Control has contradicted itself several times when responding to the health crisis. First, the CDC definitively declared the virus cannot spread in the air, yet a few days later in a House subcommittee, CDC director Thomas Frieden seemed much less sure of himself, stating, "Evidence does not suggest it spreads through the air." They also backtracked on comments that Ebola could not be spread through sneezing.

In addition to its inconsistent and misleading messages, the CDC managed to put people in danger when it allowed a nurse who had treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person infected with Ebola to die in America, to fly on a plane. They told her it would be okay to travel even after she had complained of a fever. It was another example of their incredibly botched oversight.

The question is, are New York's hospitals prepared for Ebola? While Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared New York is ready for the threat, local radio hosts have insisted doctors and nurses don't know the protocol. WBEN's Tom Bauerle said he's been speaking with hospitals who say they are not at all prepared.

But, as long as they keep refreshing their Twitter page, all is well.

Guy Benson - Cringe-worthy Senate Democrat Interview: 'I'm Brain Dead Today'
Posted: 10/20/2014 3:56:00 PM EST

Come for his answer on Common Core ("yes"), stay for his avert-your-eyes inability to answer lighthearted softball questions about books and music -- via John Ekdahl:

He's got most of the policy stuff nailed: Keep Obamacare? Check. Gun control? Check. Path to citizenship? Check. Opposition to the death penalty? Check. Opposition to the 'personhood' amendment? Check. More regulations on fracking? Check. Was his answer on Common Core an endorsement of the program, or a rejection of it?  Yes. Keep in mind that this is a man running for re-election in a purple state who's still trying to position himself as a moderate and the White House's worst nightmare, or whatever. Setting aside his record of voting 99 percent of the time with the president, would O himself have answered any of those policy questions differently? Maybe he'd have hedged a bit on the death penalty, which would place Udall to Obama's left.  No wonder Udall couldn't name a single Obama proposal he opposes when pressed to do so during a recent debate.

But I'm mystified by the consecutive blown lay-ups on books and tunes.  Udall goes the safe route with with JFK's Profiles in Courage, then…can't call to memory two other books -- any two books he's ever read -- that have influenced him.  Everyone knows what a brain freeze feels like, but "I'd have to really think about which books have influenced me the most" is surely preferable to, "um, the, uh, let me think.  We can play this over, right?  Let me re-tape this."  When the interviewer bails him out by re-lobbing the music question (basically, name any song in the universe, Senator), Udall throws in the towel.  "Uh, I'm brain dead today," he says with a sheepish grin, before finally recovering and spitting out a few answers at the end of the clip.  George Will's Friday column featured the Colorado race, and accused Udall of treating women as "civic illiterates:"

One Democrat whose gallantry toward women is monomaniacal, Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.), is now uncomfortably known here as “Mark Uterus.” He is seeking a second term by running such a relentlessly gynecological campaign that the Denver Post, in endorsing his opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, denounced the “shocking amount of energy and money” Udall has devoted to saying that Gardner favors banning birth control. Actually, Gardner favors over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives. In addition to being common sense, Gardner’s proposal is his way of making amends for formerly advocating a state constitutional “personhood” amendment (it is again on the ballot this year and will be decisively rejected for a third time) and for endorsing similar federal legislation that has zero chance of passage. By defining personhood as beginning at conception, these measures might preclude birth control technologies that prevent implantation in the uterus of a fertilized egg. On this slender reed, Udall leans his overheated accusations that Gardner is bent on “trampling on women’s rights,” is on a “crusade” for “eliminating” reproductive freedoms and would “outlaw birth control.”

Gardner, 40, cherubic and ebullient, is a human sunbeam whose unshakable cheerfulness is disconcertingly authentic as he exclaims to the waiter at breakfast, “Thank you for your work this morning!” A fifth-generation Coloradoan who lives in a prairie town in a house once owned by his great-grandparents, Gardner is amused by an anomaly: “Udall looks like the Republican in this race — dour and angry.” When Gardner ran an ad saying Udall is “a real nice guy” but too much a creature of Washington to change it (Udall’s father, an Arizona congressman, ran for president; Udall’s uncle was an Arizona congressman and interior secretary; Udall’s cousin is a senator from New Mexico), Udall, in high synthetic dudgeon, called the ad a reprehensible attack on his family. Which elicited this puckish headline in the Washington Examiner: “Cory Gardner calls Mark Udall ‘nice guy’; Democrats want ad pulled.”

Will praises Gardner for his open-mindedness, adding in a dig at the 'Mark Uterus' campaign: "In order to change your mind, you have to have one. The 'war on women' incantation is mindless — a substitute for thought."  Ouch.  If Democrats want a late game-changer in this contest (and polling suggests they might need one), perhaps they can leak some additional garbage 'scoops' to Gawker-owned sports blogs about Cory Gardner's grade school career.  One of them might eventually stick, or at least serve as a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from this story.  I'll leave you with Gardner's latest ad, starring his grandmother:

Protect "every penny" of Medicare benefits for current and soon-to-be seniors, and reform the troubled program to preserve it for future generations.  That's right, Gardner just took a (good-natured, upbeat) shot across the 'MediScare' bow in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Editor's Note:  A version of this piece is cross-posted at

Matt Vespa - Tillis Campaign Smells 'Victory In The Air'
Posted: 10/20/2014 3:30:00 PM EST

If there’s one thing the Tillis campaign has a lot of, it’s confidence. North Carolina GOP Vice Chairwoman Carolyn Justice was feeling good about Republican prospects of booting Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on Election Day.

“I smell victory in the air,” she told a group of supporters in a packed room at the Raleigh Victory center last Saturday. Hagan’s Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, also addressed the crowd before starting a victory center tour across the state.

As he began to address his legion of loyal supporters, Tillis reaffirmed that the “campaign is going great.” He recalled how he was in the very same room back in 2010 when the NC GOP was planning to retake the State House of Representatives. Tillis was convinced the party would win 16 seats–and they did. In the legislature, Tillis noted that Republicans kept their promises of cutting taxes, spending, regulations, protecting life and promoting family.

Tillis added that keeping your promises is the easiest way to get elected, while breaking them is the fastest way to find yourself out of politics. He then gave a history of Hagan’s record of failure.

She voted for Obamacare, which gutted health care coverage for millions of Americans; Veterans Affairs is still a mess; and ISIS is on the rise thanks to Hagan being a rubber stamp for the Obama agenda. Sen. McCain, who dropped by North Carolina last week, told Tillis that he believes America has never been so vulnerable in his lifetime.

On Ebola, Hagan was against a travel ban and now she’s for it, which Tillis reacted by saying, “welcome.”

As for the stimulus allegations against Hagan, Tillis said, “that’s not leadership; it’s wrong.”

In all, Tillis is positioning himself to be an independent voice for North Carolinians; a person who will stand up to leaders of both parties who fail to act on reducing spending, cutting regulations, and creating a climate that is conducive to job growth. It takes courage and commitment to do that–and you can’t succeed if you, like Hagan, vote with the president and his party 96 percent of the time. That’s been a huge talking point for Republicans in this race.

As with any candidate, Tillis thanked his supporters for their time helping him in his race; he also mentioned how critical it is to be on the frontlines as the 2014 election cycle enters its final weeks.

With that said, he also mentioned how this race is his to lose. There’s still a lot of time for both sides to drop the ball. North Carolina is turning out to be one of the most, if not the most, expensive Senate races in our history.

When asked by a GOP strategist how does it feel to be the center of attention for a lot of national media outlets, Tillis said it didn’t leave him with any good feelings. It would mean his campaign would be in the crosshairs of the national Democrats and Harry Reid, which you have already seen in their incessant attacks on his education policies.

On the other hand, Tillis encouraged his supporters who have not yet watched any of the debates to do so; you can see that Sen. Hagan can’t be proud of anything she has done in the U.S. Senate.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus also had a few words, calling North Carolina “ground zero” in the fight for the Senate majority this year. While Priebus thanked Tillis’ supporters, he warned them that freedom was “evaporating” in this country. With Obamacare, premiums are going up, people with coverage are being dropped, and doctors are being lost.

The chairman noted how Hagan was the point of the lance in peddling the “you can keep you doctor” Obamacare lie. Again, as for addressing the allegation that Hagan’s family profited from stimulus cash, Priebus simply said that one should Google “corruption” to get a sense of that story.

As Priebus left the podium, he said, “If you want jobs, vote Republican."

Christine Rousselle - Wendy Davis Possibly Has Worst Campaign Twitter of All Time
Posted: 10/20/2014 2:10:00 PM EST

Fresh off from her bizarro-land and near-universally hated advertisement that essentially accused Greg Abbott of hating the disabled (despite, you know, being a person with a disability himself), Wendy Davis' campaign has now thrown another Hail Mary pass in an attempt to remain somewhat relevant in the election by accusing Abbott of being in favor of a ban of interracial marriage.

Abbott's wife, Cecilia, is Hispanic. His first campaign ad featured his in-laws speaking Spanish, and pointed out that his wife would be the first Hispanic First Lady in the state's history if he were to be elected. The "poll tax" Davis' tweet refers to is Texas' voter identification law, which was approved by the Supreme Court yesterday.

Twitter reacted with appropriate (and somewhat amused) shock at the "desperation" of Davis' tweet:

Just another disgusting move from what has already been a disgusting (and poorly-run) campaign.

But fear not. The "best" may be yet to come:

Abbott has a 15-point lead over Davis in the latest poll.

Daniel Doherty - The Hill: Grimes, Pryor 'Are Falling Short'
Posted: 10/20/2014 1:15:00 PM EST

Two Democrats running for US Senate seats (who are expected to benefit the most from a Clintonworld endorsement) may be on the verge of losing, The Hill suggested in an op-ed published this weekend (via Noah Rothman):

Self-proclaimed Clinton Democrats are struggling this election cycle, and not even their powerful namesakes may be enough to save them.

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried to turn on their charms to help centrist Democrats in Kentucky and Arkansas. But as candidates in both states are slipping, help from the party’s preeminent power couple is falling short. ….

Despite their close ties to the Clintons, their efforts to distance themselves from a deeply unpopular current president may not work.

And why not? One possible reason is because both candidates are struggling to portray themselves as independent-minded candidates. In Arkansas, for example, Sen. Mark Pryor has been routinely accused by the Cotton campaign of rubber stamping the administration’s agenda and casting the deciding vote for Obamacare. He is not, in other words, living up to his own slogan that “Arkansas Comes First.” By contrast, Team Pryor has sought to parlay these attacks by taking selfies with the former US president and emphasizing his record of bipartisanship. But these efforts will perhaps be in vain, as Noah Rothman explained over at Hot Air:

…What is instructive ahead of 2016 are those Democrats who are enthused to turn out in support of liberal candidates this cycle. It’s not pro-Clinton moderates, but Obama-backing progressives who are most likely to head to the polls despite anti-Democratic headwinds.

This is why Clinton's continued support for Pryor may fail to meaningfully tip the scales; after all, the kind of voters the former president's desperately trying to win over for him...may not even vote. Meanwhile, unfortunately for Pryor, recent polling indicates his Republican challenger is in fine shape, edging him in four of the last five polls conducted in the state.

Team Cotton therefore has the momentum, and it remains to be seen what, if anything, the Clintons can do about it.

Guy Benson - Over It: 'Steady Stream' of Democrats Leave Campaign Rally During Obama Speech
Posted: 10/20/2014 10:37:00 AM EST

In 2008, they were passing out. In 2014, they're walking out.  These tweets come from mainstream media correspondents who watched in puzzlement as "lots" of Maryland voters departed a campaign rally over the weekend while President Obama was still talking.  Change:

Here's how Reuters' Jeff Mason summarized the event:

President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity. With approval levels hovering around record lows, Obama has spent most of his campaign-related efforts this year raising money for struggling Democrats, who risk losing control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm election. Most candidates from his party have been wary of appearing with him during their election races because of his sagging popularity. Not so Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown of Maryland, who is running for governor, and Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, who is running for re-election….A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.

First of all, it is rude to 'noticeably and noisily' walk out of any speech, let alone one delivered by the President of the United States.  Really poor form, which should somewhat temper any schadenfreude conservatives may feel over this humiliation.  Keep two things in mind, though: (1) These were Democratic partisans disrespecting the president they continue to support. If an audience of conservatives had treated Obama in a similar manner, their actions would have already spawned dozens of racially-tinged columns and MSNBC segments. (2) Maryland is one of the few states in which Obama's political brand is not radioactive, which is why he was even invited to the Brown event in the first place.  A recent, massive nationwide survey from the New York Times and YouGov found that the president's approval rating is underwater in 43 out of 50 states.  Obama registered his strongest score in Maryland, a jurisdiction packed with government workers, white liberals with postgraduate degrees, and African-Americans.  Yet even a gymnasium full of Democratic base voters in Obama's best state couldn't be bothered to sit through his remarks. Alas, as the Reuters story goes on to say, it doesn't seem as though Anthony Brown is in much danger of losing to Republican Larry Hogan, even as several recent polls show the race closing to a high single-digit margin.  This tells you everything you need to know about the voters of Maryland.  Lt. Governor Anthony Brown was put in charge of implementing Obamacare in the state, failed miserably, and has been shifting blame and claiming dubious credit for "taking action" to fix the problems over which he presided ever since.  Maryland's healthcare exchange crashed and burned so badly that Brown and company were eventually left with no choice but to abandon it completely, wasting more than $100,000,000.00 in taxpayer money.  For his stellar work, the people of Maryland are poised to furnish Brown with a promotion.  

A similar dynamic is playing out in Oregon, home to the mother of all Obamacare debacles.  Not only did Oregon's disastrously failed Obamacare exchange flush away more than $300,000,000.00 without signing up a single person for coverage online, it has been the subject of fraud investigations, including serious allegations that Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber willfully lied about his knowledge of the meltdown.  Kitzhaber leads his GOP opponent by roughly ten points in the RCP average.  Stunning, costly incompetence and dishonesty don't appear to be fazing voters in these deep blue states, who are essentially saying 'yes, more of that, please.'  Which brings us to Obama's home state of Illinois, where failed Democratic Governor Pat Quinn's approval ratings have languished in the 20's and 30's for much of his term.  He's overseen multiple downgrades to Illinois' worst-in-the-nation credit rating, he's hiked taxes significantly (promising more to come), and he's presided over an exodus of jobs from the state, whose catastrophic public pension obligations continue to spiral. In spite of all of that, Quinn -- the one-time running mate of disgraced felon Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- has stormed back in the polls against Republican Bruce Rauner.  Democratic attack ads have portrayed Rauner as a mean multimillionaire (the Romney script), setting the state for Quinn's comeback.  Though both the centrist Chicago Tribune and liberal Chicago Sun Times have each endorsed Rauner, the incumbent has seized a very small lead in the race, having trailed by double digits for most of the year.  The race now is a pure toss up, which is an extraordinary commentary on Illinois politics.  Obama's now in town to try to help Quinn seal the deal with Chicago voters.  We'll see in a few weeks if empirically failed Democrats are effectively bulletproof in all three of these liberal states.
Cortney O'Brien - LOL: LA Newspaper Says Sen. Landrieu Represents the 'Middle Ground' in Congress
Posted: 10/20/2014 10:00:00 AM EST

She votes with President Obama 97 percent of the time. Yet, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) represents the "middle ground" in Congress, according to The Times-Picayune, a New Orleans-based newspaper.

In its gushing editorial, The Times-Picayune praises Sen. Landrieu's efforts in steering disaster relief to the state after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rattled its borders, as well as helping to secure the necessary funds to restore Louisiana's coasts following the disastrous BP gulf oil spill in 2010. Her success in these areas is certainly commendable, but the newspaper takes its praise a bit too far when it claims Landrieu is working directly in the political center:

She occupies the middle ground in Congress. She has been an advocate for free trade and a strong military. She pushed the Obama administration to lift its drilling moratorium after the BP spill and is an advocate for the oil and gas industry, which is a mainstay of Louisiana's economy.

Right...Did I mention Landrieu votes with the president 97 percent of the time? This is a fact The Times-Picayune has even reported. Oblivious. In addition to her nearly perfect party line voting record, Landrieu has proven to be radical on issues such as abortion. The Democratic senator has supported taxpayer funding for the procedure and has refused to support restrictions on abortion after five months, when unborn babies can feel pain.

What's more, Landrieu is a proud supporter of Common Core, an educational initiative the federal government has forced on schools across the country, taking decisions out of the hands of teachers and parents.

Landrieu is nowhere near the middle. She's in left field, catching everything our liberal president throws her way.

Our poll tracker currently has Landrieu's GOP opponent Bill Cassidy up by six points: