October 2013

Oct 23, 2013

France Is Latest US Ally Angered by NSA Snooping

By Deb Riechmann and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

The sweep and scope of National Security Agency snooping abroad forced President Barack Obama once again to hear complaints from a U.S. ally angry about the surveillance net that has sparked an international debate over the limits of American spying.

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Is Immigration Really Dead in the House?

By Fawn Johnson, National Journal

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, declared immigration reform dead, so why aren’t the opponents of a big overhaul pouring the champagne?

Because they know better than anyone that the issue could be resurrected at any time.

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Obama’s Uncertain Path Amid Syria Bloodshed

Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

With rebel forces in Syria in retreat and the Obama administration’s policy toward the war-ravaged country in disarray, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived at the White House Situation Room one day in June with a document bearing a warning. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against his people, the document said, and if the United States did not “impose consequences,” Mr. Assad would see it as a “green light for continued CW use.”

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Poof Goes the Middle Class

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Imagine a future in which real wages for most workers decline year after year; a future in which middle-class jobs that disappeared in the Great Recession won't be coming back; a future in which young Americans either squeeze into an increasingly wealthy elite or tumble to the bottom, with fewer and fewer in what we once called the middle class.

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HealthCare.gov Pricing Feature Can Be Off the Mark

With Jan Crawford, CBS News

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Oct 22, 2013

Meet the New Hillary

By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

On Saturday, Hillary Clinton was a campaigner again.

It had been five years since the former secretary of state last took to the stump when she appeared here on behalf of her former fundraiser and presidential campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, who is the Democratic nominee in the Virginia gubernatorial election scheduled for November 5. And her pointedly political speech showed both the new candidate she will be if she runs again and the old tendencies that remain.

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France joins list of allies angry over NSA spying

By Deb Riechmann and Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press

Joining a growing list of angry allies, France on Monday demanded an explanation from Washington of a report that the U.S. swept up 70 million French telephone records and text messages in its global surveillance net, even recording certain private conversations.

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Poll: Major Damage to GOP After Shutdown, and Broad Dissatisfaction with Government

By Dan Balz and Scott Clement, Washington Post

The budget confrontation that led to a partial government shutdown dealt a major blow to the GOP’s image and has exposed significant divisions between tea party supporters and other Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey highlights just how badly the GOP hard-liners and the leaders who went along with them misjudged the public mood. In the aftermath, eight in 10 Americans say they disapprove of the shutdown. Two in three Republicans or independents who lean Republican share a negative view of the impasse. And even a majority of those who support the tea party movement disapprove.

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In Texas, Ted Cruz Has Allies

By Reid Wilson, Washington Post

When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his Tea Party allies took control of congressional Republicans’ legislative strategy last month in an ultimately failed effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, veteran Republicans worried their party had been commandeered by a small faction of extremists.

Those who worry over Cruz’s influence, however, would do well to avoid his home state. A little more than a year after Cruz upset establishment favorite David Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor, in his bid to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), the entire Texas Republican Party resembles the take-no-prisoners, damn-the-torpedoes approach Cruz has taken in Washington.

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Democrats Reach Out to Business After Shutdown

By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

At a time when the business community’s ties to congressional Republicans have been strained by recent fiscal crises, Democratic political operatives are trying to move into the breach.

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Obama in Full Bore Damage Control

By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

There’s a reason why President Obama and fellow Democrats insist the Affordable Care Act is more than a website.

A marginally unpopular law now offers in some states a hugely confusing and frustrating online enrollment experience that won’t be fixed tomorrow and has jeopardized the government’s second chance to make a first impression.

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Error Message

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

An IT problem has never escalated faster than the president's Rose Garden speech Monday addressing the problems with healthcare.gov. He could no longer outsource responding to user complaints. At first, the White House had said the headaches signing people up for health care coverage were just technical glitches, but now the sheer number of those glitches defies that explanation. Reporting about deeper systemic problems suggest that fixes will not come quickly. As my colleague Matthew Yglesias explains, adding more bodies to the problem adds more complexity, which may exacerbate the problem. It's hard to untangle Christmas lights by committee.

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