First Read Flash: The lucky few

Updated

NBC’s Frank Thorp: “Only six people were able to enroll for health insurance through the Obamacare website on the first day, according to documents released Thursday by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The documents also show that by the end of the day Oct. 2, only 248 enrollments had been completed through healthcare.gov.”

New York Times: ”Already under fierce attack from Republicans over the new health care law, President Obama now faces broad and mounting Democratic concerns that the troubled start of the insurance program will cut into the political benefit the party received from the government shutdown and cost Democratic candidates in next year’s midterm elections.”

Charlie Cook writes in National Journal that “President Obama’s allies are alternately wincing over, or shaking their heads at, the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its website, as well as disclosures that U.S. intelligence agencies spied on some of our closest allies….What makes these problems more troublesome than some other controversies is that they go to the question of Obama’s competence, rather than to differences of policy or ideology.”

Politico: Team Obamacare is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars of essentially frozen assets — yet another consequence of the failed launch of healthcare.gov. There’s no point in an ad blitz directing people to sign up on a website that doesn’t work. And while advocacy groups say they had always planned to spend more money on the back end to boost enrollment in lagging states at the end of this year and early next year, they didn’t count on the opening month fizzle.”

New York Times’ Jonathan Martin: “President Obama’s top aides secretly considered replacing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the 2012 ticket, undertaking extensive focus-group sessions and polling in late 2011 when Mr. Obama’s re-election outlook appeared uncertain….The idea of replacing Mr. Biden with Mrs. Clinton had long been rumored, but the journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, in their new book, ‘Double Down,’ provide a detailed description of the effort inside the senior circle of Obama advisers. It was pushed by the chief of staff at the time, William M. Daley….In a phone interview on Thursday, Mr. Daley acknowledged that he had wanted to research what the move would have meant for Mr. Obama, whose popularity, in the fall of 2011, was at its lowest in his presidency to date. He called it simply ‘due diligence.’”

More from the Washington Post:The book is a narrative reconstruction of the behind-the-scenes machinations of the campaigns of Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It details Romney’s search for a vice-presidential nominee. ‘Project Goldfish,’ as his vetting team called its operation, was so secretive that researchers referred to the five finalists by aquatic names — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Pufferfish), former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (Lakefish), Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio (Filet-O-Fish), Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (Pescado) and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Fishconsin).”

USA Today:Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed to try again after Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a critical time for the industry. ‘Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction continued today with a step that we have not seen since the Civil War,’ Reid said.”

Roll Call: The nomination wars are officially back…’I think it’s worth considering it,’” Biden “said of changing Senate rules on nominees after Republicans filibustered two nominees.”

“A top adviser to Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday night that the Kentucky Republican would be “more cautious in presenting and attributing sources” in the future, after POLITICO confronted the senator’s office with fresh examples of Paul speeches that borrowed language from news reports without citing the original text.”

Houston Chronicle: “A federal appeals court ruling Thursday gives Texas the green light to start enforcing a new abortion restriction that a lower court judge said posed an undue burden on women. The decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was a huge victory for Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas abortion opponents, temporarily lifting an injunction that prevented the provisions from going into effect. The provision requires abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.”

FLORIDA: NBC Miami: Gov. Rick Scott’s political committee plans to air an ad called “Opportunist” about former Republican governor turned Democrat Charlie Crist beginning Monday, the day Crist is expected to announce plans to run for his old office with his new party. A Democratic operative with knowledge of the ad buy said the committee is spending more than $500,000 on the ad.”

MONTANA: Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad: Montana Rep. Steve Daines, who is widely expected to run for Senate, is inviting supporters to a ‘special event’ next week.According to an invitation distributed by the Daines campaign on Thursday, the Republican’s event will take place Nov. 6 at a Holiday Inn in Bozeman. The missive included an unchanged logo, ‘Daines U.S. Congress.’”

NEW JERSEY: Wall Street Journal:As he crisscrosses New Jersey in a final campaign push, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has made clear to donors, top supporters and the national GOP that he wants to do more than just notch a big re-election win next Tuesday. He sees his campaign—and particularly his aggressive outreach to nontraditional GOP voters—as a national model for his party. Racking up big margins among women and even winning outright among Hispanics, as polls suggest he may, would position him well in a 2016 Republican presidential field as the party continues to struggle elsewhere to widen its appeal.”

VIRGINIA: Washington Post:Ken Cuccinelli II is planning a frenetic schedule with a handful of big-name Republican surrogates as the race for Virginia governor draws to a close. Terry McAuliffe, by contrast, is spending somewhat less time in the public eye aside from a pair of high-profile events. The differing strategies illustrate the relative advantages of the two campaigns as the hard-fought contest nears its end. Cuccinelli (R) is consistently trailing in the polls and can’t afford much of an advertising presence on the airwaves, so he’s counting on word of mouth and media coverage from live appearances to stay afloat.

Politico: Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Ron Paul will campaign with Ken Cuccinelli in the final days of the Virginia governor’s race.”

Washington Times: “McAuliffe maintains a 7-point edge over” Cuccinelli II “in the race to be Virginia’s next governor, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis still pulling numbers that suggest he could influence the final outcome of the closely watched contest on Tuesday. Among likely voters, Mr. McAuliffe takes 45 percent of the vote in the final poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy, compared to 38 percent for Mr. Cuccinelli and 10 percent for Mr. Sarvis.”

Norfolk Virginian Pilot: An “analysis of Cuccinelli’s office and campaign schedules for July, August and part of September suggests he has spent more time on the trail than behind his desk while earning a $150,000 annual state salary, plus health benefits for his nine-member family.

First Read Flash: The lucky few

Updated