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Matt Vespa - NC SEN: So, Is Hagan Ahead By One Or Two Points In New Poll?
Posted: 10/10/2014 10:00:00 AM EST

After the second senate debate in North Carolina, a new poll shows that the race is virtually a tie. A Suffolk/USA Today poll shows both Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, tied at 45.4/45. With leaners, it’s 46.8/45.4. So, in all, Hagan is leading by 1 point in this race:

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan retains the 2 point lead over Republican challenger and North Carolina General Assembly Speaker Thom Tillis that she had when a similar poll was taken in August, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of likely voters in the Nov. 4 general election. Hagan led Tillis 47 percent to 45 percent, including leaners, with 4 percent choosing Libertarian Sean Haugh and 3 percent undecided. Initially Hagan and Tillis were tied at 45 percent, but when undecided respondents were asked who they would vote for if they were standing in the voting booth today, more chose Hagan, giving her the lead, although still within the margin of error.

Hagan is ahead 52 percent-38 percent among women and leads in the Triangle, including the Raleigh-Durham area, 56 percent-36 percent. She also is strong among voters who said the most important issues are education (65 percent-23 percent) and health care (56 percent-34 percent). Tillis, on the other hand leads among men, 53 percent-38 percent; voters in the mountain west counties, 58 percent-33 percent; and among voters who said that the budget (64 percent-31 percent) and foreign policy (60 percent-29 percent) are the top issues facing Congress.

Wait, Hagan’s up 2 points? What gives? Well, that’s the beauty of decimals, as Harry Enten over at FiveThirtyEight explained on Twitter. Yes, Hagan may be ahead in the polls, but the margin is closer to 1 not 2.

Tillis had been trailing Hagan closer to four, but he seems to have begun closing that gap as we have entered the final weeks of the campaign, focused on foreign policy (ISIS), and reiterated his very humble upbringing to voters. Oh, and being able to totally concentrate on his campaign could be a factor as well; Tillis was in Raleigh for most of the summer given his role as the State House Speaker. If he fails to unseat Hagan in the general election come November, don’t be surprised if many an autopsy reads that he should have resigned his position in the legislature.

As for Hagan’s attack on Tillis’ reported cuts to education, she seemed to have contradicted herself in the debate (via Daily Caller):

He’s done tax cuts for the wealthy and he has gutted our education system,” Hagan claimed, “He has cut $500 million from the public education. And do you know what that means, folks? That means fewer teachers in the classroom, that means larger classroom sizes, and that means outdated textbooks, if there’s any textbooks at all.

Tillis responded by saying that Hagan’s claim had been proved false by fact-checkers. “Since 2011, we’re spending a billion more dollars a year in education. This year, we provided an average seven percent pay increase for teachers. … Next year, we’re going to give them another seven percent raise!”

After Tillis’ rebuttal, Hagan seemed to contradict her own previous statement. “We are now 48th in the nation on what we spend per pupil. So we might be spending more on education, but we have so many more thousand students, it’s being diluted.”

Democrats in the state legislature wanted to allocate $23.6 billion to education spending in 2011, while Tillis and fellow Republicans wanted to allocate only $23.1 billion.

“Sen. Hagan’s statement attacking Tillis said he ‘has cut $500 million from public education.’ Literally, the statement is wrong,” PolitiFact wrote. “As North Carolina’s Speaker of the House, Tillis helped pass a budget in 2013 that increased actual spending on education in comparison to previous years.”

Yet, the biggest takeaway from the debate this week was Hagan’s admission that she skipped an Armed Services hearing to fundraise. This was surely going to make it’s way onto the airwaves in the form of attack ads–and they have arrived.

“While ISIS grew, Obama did nothing; Sen. Hagan did cocktails.” Ouch.

Also, Crossroads GPS released a TV spot of their own, slamming Hagan by using her own words against her when she ran against then-Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008; she criticized Dole for voting with Bush 92 percent of the time. Hagan has voted with Obama 95 percent of the time.

On the social issues front, Women Speak Out PAC is spending $620,000 on this 11-day ad campaign calling Hagan “too extreme” on abortion.

On the left, Presente Action is hitting Hagan for helping to block relief for illegal aliens (via Huffington Post):

Presente Action has been critical of vulnerable Senate Democrats for urging President Barack Obama to delay executive action on immigration that potentially could shield millions from deportation. Although Obama initially promised to take action by the end of the summer, he pushed back his plans until after the election, reportedly at the urging of red state Democrats who feared it would hurt their chances.

Hagan is one of those vulnerable Democrats, along with Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. All four of them voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill last year, but angered activists when they opposed executive action on deportations and joined Republicans last month to push for a vote to block Obama from making major immigration policy changes.

Latinos are sick of being treated as a political football by Democrats like Senator Kay Hagan and Republicans alike," Presente Action executive director Arturo Carmona said in a statement. "Our families matter, our lives matter, and this ad is meant to remind Senator Hagan of that. Much like Republicans have, Senator Hagan has worked to tear our families apart, and now we urge Latinos across the state to think twice before casting a ballot in her name."

The ads will air for one week in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The ads say, in Spanish, that more than 1,000 Latino immigrants are deported each day and accuse Democrats of following in the footsteps of Republicans to become anti-immigrant.

"When there was a solution within reach, Senator Kay Hagan stood opposed," a voice says in the ad, as translated by Presente Action. "Senator Hagan voted with the most anti-immigrant senators in Congress in support of the continued deportations of our community."

Tillis will continue to take heat on education and possibly voter ID in the coming days since the Supreme Court blocked the 4th Circuit Court’s ruling that reinstated same-day voting registration and out-of-precinct voting (via News Observer):

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday that means voters in North Carolina will not be able to vote out of their precincts on Nov. 4 nor register to vote and cast ballots on the same day.

The ruling blocked a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision Oct. 1 that reinstated same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting for the coming election.

The justices offered no insight into their 7-2 ruling to uphold a district court ruling to let the November election proceed under the 2013 rewrite of the state’s elections laws.

Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented and issued an opinion outlining their reasons.

Critics of the law have stated that it disproportionately impacts minority communities; Hagan used the 4th Circuit’s ruling to take a swipe at Tillis, but North Carolina voters support measures that ensure the integrity of elections are maintained. As reported in the Washington Post when this bill was signed last year, “recent North Carolina polls and a Washington Post poll last year showed nearly three-quarters support requiring voters to show photo ID.”

The abortion ad is very well done and it seeks to mobilize the Republican base, but the gender gap will continue to hobble Tillis. Then again, Obama tends to dampen the mood with voters and Democrats are struggling to keep the voters they won from 2012.

While Tillis has been receiving better news in the past few weeks, there’s also this point:

Sorry for throwing some cold water on the enthusiasm, folks.

Townhall Magazine - Kicking Cars to the Curb
Posted: 10/10/2014 9:13:00 AM EST

In the October issue of Townhall Magazine, where this column originally appeared, TownhallFinance.com's Michael Schaus discusses the United Kingdom's effort to impress Al Gore by banning horseless carriages.

The United Kingdom is steeped in history, tradition, and heritage. Sure, that tradition no longer includes things like guns, social conservatism, or fiscal sanity; but at least they still have a queen, right?

The U.K.’s capital city of London might soon give a hoity goodbye to yet another tradition: cars. It seems auto- mobiles might be going the way of the horse-drawn carriage in England’s larg- est metropolitan hub.

That’s right. The city of London will soon be closing its roads to anything other than zero-emission modes of trans- portation. Despite the fact that there are more than 800,000 classic cars (I have to assume most of these run on refined dinosaur bones) in the country, the U.K.’s capital has decided that the environment is just too darn precious to allow citizens any option of personal transportation.

A nearly $7.5 billion per year industry is about to be pushed out of London by England’s environmentalists, nannyists, and crony capitalists. The city’s mayor, Boris Johnson, wants to ban any emission-spewing vehicle by the year 2020 in an effort to reduce global pollution levels. I’m sure the polar bears are thrilled that James Bond will be trading his DB5 for a Tesla. 

According to the plan put forward by Johnson, “vehicles will not be allowed in, or new ones will not be allowed in, unless they have, or confirm to very, very, very stringent environmental standards.” In other words, get green or go to France.

Naturally, there is a whole range of car collectors, industry insiders, and average commuters, who are less than thrilled by the idea of swapping their gas-guzzling motor-carriages for some swanky new electric Vespa. But, let’s not let a little thing like European micromanaging get in the way of good-old fashioned crony capitalism. Already Johnson and industry groups are working out a list of criteria that would permit certain connected groups an exemption from London’s newfound love for fascist environmentalism.

Ben Cussons, a “mate” with the Royal Automobile Club, explained that the plan hinges on the question of “finding a balance about usage.” He also suggested that older vehicles might be permitted to pay some sort of a usage fee, or entrance fee, to enter London’s “ultra-low” emissions zone.

Oh, good, another tax. Exactly what a semi-socialist European country needs during tough economic times.

The truth is, Johnson’s plan is ludicrous on many levels. In addition to the environmentally questionable practice of ramping up the production of lithium batteries (and other toxic battery com- ponents), the plan will virtually cripple London’s presence as an international business hub. After all, businesses don’t generally pick locations solely because of the view, history, or physical distance to the world’s most beloved royal matriarch. The ease of doing business, and a relatively low overhead, are generally more important than having “London” in the official address.

Beyond the economic stupidity of placing such draconian (and eventually corruptible) standards on vehicles, there is little-to-no true environmental benefit to be gained. Oh sure, a handful of Chevy Volt-loving liberals might be pleased. But there is likely to be little reduction in emissions from banning gas-powered vehicles. After all, where do you think the electricity for an electric vehicle comes from? I’ll give you a hint, the electricity that comes from the 220 socket in your garage isn’t magic.

Bird-killing windmills, tundra- destroying solar panels, and smog- inducing coal plants will be working overtime to pump a few more kilowatts to the homes that have adopted the liberal myth of the “zero-emissions” vehicle. And while our lovely British lefties might feel good about skipping a trip to the petrol station, someone should remind them that their toxic battery packs are not biodegradable. Landfills will soon be a little less clean because of London’s dedication to Al Gore’s global hoax.

More than the economic impact, or the environmental hypocrisy, the statist nature should have citizens all over the world a little on edge. The ease with which legislators, bureaucrats, and nannyists can twist laws to regulate the people into submission is almost startling. London’s planned devotion to zero-emission vehicles is a shot across the bow of individual rights and, more importantly, republican populism. It is another example of government controlling the populace, rather than the other way around. Regulations are supposed to be a reaction to a need, not the driving force behind social engineering.

Now, in case you were wondering, this doesn’t actually appear to be the case in today’s regulation-happy Western world. In fact, government is in the very ridiculous position of trying to create certain industries and businesses (such as windmills, electric vehicles, and carbon marketplaces), because the free market has yet to determine a need, desire, or efficient method of production for such tree-hugging concepts. But, really, why should we let proven concepts (like market forces and free economies) get in the way of some well-intentioned liberalism, right?

Someone should remind the Brits that us colonists started a shooting war over a tax on our breakfast beverage. At some point, it’s probably OK for them to put up a little bit of a fuss over the government doing things like banning otherwise legal automobiles. • 

Michael Schaus is the associate editor of Townhall Finance. 

Katie Pavlich - WATCH: Man Jokes About Having Ebola, Gets Ripped Off a Plane By Men in Hazmat Suits
Posted: 10/10/2014 8:55:00 AM EST

If you're going to be flying soon and plan on making an Ebola joke, don't. Yesterday at an airport in the Dominican Republic, a man who joked about having Ebola and recently visiting West Africa was taken off a flight from Philadelphia by men in blue hazmat suits. Before the men boarded the plane, a flight attendant warned passengers things would "look worse than they really are."

"Once we landed in Punta Cana we were told by the flight attendants that there was a situation and that a passenger may have been in Africa and had Ebola. She was certain it was a hoax but they did not take any chances and had a full hazmat crew board the plane and take the passenger off. It was later confirmed that the passenger was never in Africa and after 2hrs we were finally able to get off the plane," the caption on a a video posted by Patrick Narvaez and Jukin Media states.

So, the guy who joked about having Ebola was ripped off a plane by guys wearing hazmat suits, yet the CDC would argue the people who were on the plane sitting next to him would have been totally fine if he in fact did have Ebola.  Makes sense.

Meanwhile, CDC Director Tom Friedman is out with an op-ed today tripling down on his position that travel restrictions from Ebola stricken countries should not be implemented. 


Katie Pavlich - Actress Gwyneth Paltrow to Obama: I'm Concerned About Equal Pay For Women as a Working Mother
Posted: 10/10/2014 8:30:00 AM EST

Last night Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a fundraiser for President Obama and the Democrats at her ritzy home in Brentwood, California. Paltrow is worth $140 million dollars and was raised in a rich, privileged family before making her way to the big screen. But that didn't stop her from classifying herself as a "working mother" concerned about equal pay for women, an issue Obama has been dishonestly harping on. 

Yes, I'm sure Gwyneth knows the struggle is real. Maybe she should voice concern over President Obama paying women in the White House less than men? Or maybe she should educated herself in order to understand the so-called pay gap between men and women is a myth

There is no evidence that women are routinely paid a fraction of what men make for the same work, or that discrimination drives statistical differences between men and women’s earnings.

The Department of Labor statistic underlying the “wage gap” claim simply compares a full-time working man’s median wages with those of a full-time working woman, ignoring the many factors that affect earnings, including number of hours worked, industry, years of experience, and education, to name but a few. When such information is taken into account, the wage gap shrinks, and in some cases even reverses.

To make things worse, Paltrow pretty much wants Obama to be king, which makes sense since she spends much of her time in England. 

Parting note from the Hollywood Reporter:

The actress introduced the President to a crowd of 200 supporters. She gushed: "You're so handsome that I can't speak properly." Paltrow also described herself as one of Obama's "biggest fans, if not the biggest."

H/T Twitchy

Christine Rousselle - New Poll Shows Maine Governor With Five-Point Lead
Posted: 10/9/2014 8:00:00 PM EST

The Maine gubernatorial election is typically decided by a relatively thin margin, and polls throughout the election have shown that the three-way race between incumbent Republican Paul LePage, Democrat U.S. Representative Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler has been an extremely close race. Today, however, a poll conducted by Pan Atlantic SMS Group was released that showed that LePage has a five-point lead over Michaud.

From WMTW:

The Pan Atlantic SMS Group conducted its annual fall Omnibus Poll between Sept. 23-29.

It shows LePage at 39.3 percent, compared to 33.6 percent for Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud and 19.5 percent for Independent Eliot Cutler.

According to the poll, 7.8 percent were undecided.

Clearly, this is excellent news for the LePage camp, and they have every right to be excited. The firm is highly regarded and decently accurate. However, if I were in the governor's position I wouldn't ease up just yet: another poll released today had LePage losing by two points to Michaud, albeit the numbers were well within the margin of error.

Looks like it's going to be a crazy October in the battle for control of Vacationland.

Greg Hengler - Jason Mattera Responds To Critics of His Ambush of IRS Chief Lois Lerner
Posted: 10/9/2014 5:37:00 PM EST

Mattera also responds to Bob Beckel's threat towards him.

Guy Benson - Iowa Senate: New Ad Calls Out Braley on 'Equal Pay' Hypocrisy
Posted: 10/9/2014 4:21:00 PM EST

Trailing Joni Ernst in the polls, Democrat Bruce Braley claims to be a supporter of "equal pay for women," a staple of Democrats' midterm messaging strategy. But a new ad from a group called the Iowa Priorities Fund showcases Braley's hypocrisy on the subject:


Fifty-nine cents on the dollar, Bruce? His campaign might respond that those calculations unfairly overstate the Braley pay gap.  Women receive equal pay for equal work, they'd likely argue, so the discrepancy highlighted in the ad isn't a product of discrimination at all.  It's ridiculous to draw unequal pay conclusions based on unequal work, they'd say.  And they'd be right.  Pay disparities between men and women are overwhelmingly rooted in causes other than gender discrimination.  They arise from other factors such as the choices that women make (to become mothers, for example), education, hours worked, and the types of jobs than men and women tend to take.  But that degree of nuance is utterly and intentionally absent when Democrats, especially at the White House, obsess over this phony issue for political gain.  The Left's ploy on equal pay is to repeat damning-sounding statistics (like, for example, "women in Bruce Braley's Congressional office make 40 percent less than men") without any context.  The idea is to rile up a segment of the populace against this injustice, which many people falsely ascribe to discriminatory practices, then lambaste Republicans as hostile to women's interests for attempting to explain the facts. It's a classic drive-by attack that targets lower-information voters.

The ad above uses Democrats' own slithery standards against them.  If you're going to play these games, you'd better be prepared to defend your own record on this issue -- based on the rules you've chosen to erect for this debate.  It's worth noting that Braley pay gap is especially pronounced, suggesting that his upper echelon of advisers and staffers (who make the most money, thus skewing the stats) is dominated by men.  We mentioned on Monday that this is also becoming an issue out in Colorado, where supposed "pay equity" advocate Mark Udall pays women on his Senate staff 84 cents on the dollar, using Democrats' misleading math.  But even using that questionable method, Udall's Republican opponent Cory Gardner pays women on his staff more than men:


"Coffman," incidentally, refers to a Republican Congressman who represents a suburban Denver district.  Gardner employs more women than Udall, and has them placed in more powerful positions, so they earn more.  I'm still holding out hope that Team Gardner will exploit this advantageous set of facts to puncture the non-stop 'war on women' meme "Mark Uterus" keeps flogging.  I'll leave you with two videos out of Iowa.  The first features a local news report on double-digit premium hikes hitting consumers in the Hawkeye State -- presenting another headache for Braley, who claims to have read all of Obamacare before enthusiastically voting for it.  The second is Joni Ernst's latest upbeat spot:


Matt Vespa - MI GOV: Obama Flies In To Help Schauer, Bloomberg Bets On Snyder
Posted: 10/9/2014 3:45:00 PM EST

As the Michigan gubernatorial race enters its final weeks, First Lady Michelle Obama plans to stump for Democrat Mark Schauer and Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters. The event begins tomorrow at the Detroit Music Hall at 12:45pm.

With President Obama “benched” by his party due to his low approval numbers, Michelle is the only option left for the White House. This chart pretty much sums up why she’s travelling the country stumping for Democrats ahead of Election Day; she plans to head to Iowa later on Friday and help out Rep. Braley’s campaign as well. In the meantime, Schauer made a stop in Saginaw for a get out the vote rally.

As for Gov. Rick Snyder, the Republican incumbent has been graced with good news, surging 6-8 points in the polls over Schauer. Also, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PAC plans to spend $2.3 million on Snyder’s re-election effort.

The Snyder campaign and the Michigan GOP have also released two new ads; Snyder’s pushes back against his education policies, while the Michigan Republican Party hits Schauer over Obamacare.

Lastly, while there is a huge gender gap in some of the 2014 races, especially in North Carolina; the gender gap in this gubernatorial election isn’t that bad. In a Vangaurd and Denno Research poll, Schauer leads Snyder with likely women voters 43/36; a 7-point deficit isn’t good, but it’s not bad either. It’s enough to keep Snyder ahead in the polls, which Vanguard and Denno have him up 3, but other polls have Snyder leading by a larger margin.

Regardless, these polls could all change in the coming days as the debate between Snyder and Schauer begins on October 12.

UPDATE: Michigan GOP had this to say about First Lady's visit to stump for Schauer:

An upcoming visit from First Lady Michelle Obama says only one thing about Democrats’ desperation nearing November: President Obama isn’t going to cut it. With top-ticket Democrats Gary Peters and Mark Schauer losing momentum less than a month until Election Day, Michigan Democrats up and down the ballot refuse to stand with a President whose approval rating is nearly toxic for their campaigns.

"Mark Schauer and Gary Peters are anxious to campaign alongside the First Lady, but Michigan families aren’t going to forget she’s still here on behalf of her unpopular husband, President Barack Obama,” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak. “At this point, Schauer and Peters are willing to do and say anything – including lie – in hopes of reigniting excitement for their lagging campaigns. It still won’t change the fact these two have supported policies that kill jobs, eliminated 225,000 health care plans here in Michigan, and will drag our state backwards just as their colleague Jennifer Granholm did.”

And how did I forget to include this Snyder ad touting his education policies.

Conn Carroll - Obama to Hide Obamacare Rates Till After Election Day
Posted: 10/9/2014 3:30:00 PM EST

HealthCare.gov, the online portal where millions of Americans must buy health insurance, will not display premiums for 2015 until after the 2014 elections, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. 

Obama administration officials told the AP that Americans will not be able to find out if their health insurance premiums are going up "until the second week of November," which conveniently falls after Americans will go to the polls November 4th.

"Insurers say one big challenge for next year will involve millions of returning customers," the AP reports. "It's not really a technology issue, but a time crunch that also coincides with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays."

"Existing customers who do nothing will be automatically re-enrolled in their current plan as of Jan. 1," the AP continues. "But they will receive this year's subsidy amount, which could be lower than what they'd be entitled to for 2015. And that could mean sticker shock over their new monthly premiums."

Virtually any change in income can significantly change what kind of premiums and plans are available to current Obamacare enrollees. Americans who thought they were lucky to get a raise this past year are likely to either lose their Obamacare subsidies entirely or see them significantly reduced. Americans who report less income compared to a year ago might not qualify for private health insurance at all and could be forced into Medicaid. 

Income changes are not the only threat facing Obamacare enrollees. The rates for their specific plan may have increased dramatically from last year and reports indicate that the most popular low cost plans also experienced the steepest rate hikes.

Katie Pavlich - Poll: 84 Percent of Americans Believe Violence Committed With Guns a Criminal Issue, Not Public Health Issue
Posted: 10/9/2014 3:15:00 PM EST

For years gun control advocates have tried to turn incidents of 'gun violence' into a public health issue in order to justify wide reaching government regulations, but a new scientific poll from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows the vast majority of Americans view violence committed with guns as a criminal issue, not one of public health. The poll also shows an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the Centers for Disease Control should be focused on combating illness and disease, not 'gun violence.'

An overwhelming 84 percent of survey respondents said gun violence is a criminal justice issue, rather than a public health issue, such as viruses. An even higher 88 percent of respondents said they do not think the CDC should spend resources on studying the use of guns in crime rather than on studying viruses and disease. Some 71 percent of respondents said that the federal government should not classify gun violence as a public health issue in the manner of viruses and diseases.

When asked whether the definition of gun violence should be expanded to include accidents and instances of self-defense, nearly three-quarters of respondents said gun violence is a crime committed using a firearm with the intent to injure another person.

"As the significant challenges posed by the Ebola epidemic demonstrate, the emphasis of the Centers for Disease Control should remain on the study, prevention and containment of viruses and infectious disease," NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane said in a statement. "For political reasons, many involved in gun control activism would like to re-define the criminal misuse of guns into a public health issue. We commissioned this survey to help determine where Americans stood on this issue. To put it plainly, they don't buy it. And given the 20-year reduction in violent crime that the FBI reports, even as the number of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens has increased, they shouldn't buy it."

In 2013, President Obama ordered the CDC "to research the causes and prevention of gun violence." The results of that study were contrary and unhelpful to his policy positions on gun control.