PPP: Hagan Up 3 Over Tillis, Race Still A Toss-Up

A new PPP poll has Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan up 3 points over her Republican challenger Thom Tillis. Wait; didn’t Tillis say that Hagan is going to lose on Nov. 4? Did they not smell “victory in the air?”

Everyone, relax. As Tillis told Townhall, single digits in North Carolina decide races–and his campaign officials said that the Tar Heel state has a history of races breaking late. Last night, there was another Senate debate, with one notable exception: Kay Hagan was absent. So, with two weeks out from Election Day, Thom Tillis had a solid hour to make a final argument with North Carolina voters in a race that’s virtually tied; reasons that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mentioned in her rant against Hagan for skipping the debate.

My colleague Guy Benson had this zinger last night.

So, how does the poll breakdown? First, it’s a D+7 poll. Second, it’s not shocking where the bases of support for Hagan and Tillis comes from in this race [emphasis mine]:

Hagan is up 49/37 with women, 85/4 with African Americans, and 61/27 with young voters. Meanwhile Tillis is up 49/42 with men, 55/34 with white voters, and 54/37 with seniors. Tillis is ahead 43/38 with independents but in an unusual finding for North Carolina politics, Hagan is getting the same share of the Democratic vote (81%) that Tillis getting of the Republican vote and if you do that as a Democrat in North Carolina you're generally going to win given the party's voter registration advantage in the state.

There’s also a question of how strong the evangelical vote will turn out this year. They’re one-third of North Carolina’s electorate, but this bloc of voters is difficult to poll. Yet, there are other positive indicators.

Education has been the Achilles heel of the Tillis campaign; a point even his own staff has admitted in private, but they are hoping this line of attack from Hagan and national Democrats has hit a ceiling with voters, according to the Washington Examiner.

As reported here at Townhall, foreign affairs has played a crucial role is shifting the debate away from Hagan’s “sins of Raleigh” strategy, even admitting to skipping an Armed Services hearing to attend a fundraiser last February. There are also questions relating to allegations that her family profited from stimulus cash injections they received for their business; questions that would have inevitably come up if she had attended last night’s debate.

But let’s not forget the Obama factor. Despite red state Democrats trying to run away from him, Obama keeps spoiling that narrative by saying his policies are on the ballot this November–and that they all support his agenda.

Tillis’ campaign manager, Jordan Shaw, sent out this memo as to why Hagan would skip the debate last night:

• On Friday, Sen. Hagan flip-flopped on implementing a travel ban from Ebola-inflicted countries. While Thom was one of the first Senate candidates in the nation to call for a travel ban, Sen. Hagan equivocated on the issue for weeks, even criticizing the idea of a ban at times, all while praising President Obama and the CDC for their “great guidance” in addressing Ebola.

• At the October 7th debate hosted by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters, Hagan couldn’t name a single instance where she regretted supporting President Obama’s policies, which she has done 96 percent of the time. Following the debate, Hagan admitted that she skipped a classified Armed Services Committee hearing on ISIS to attend a cocktail fundraiser in New York City, but has thus far refused to tell journalists why she chose to do so.

• At the October 9th debate hosted by WECT, Hagan struggled to answer questions about her family’s $390,000 stimulus payday, insisting that she consulted a lawyer who deemed taking the taxpayer money was “appropriate” even though Hagan was directly benefitting from legislation she voted for

As Tillis told Townhall, he knew he wouldn’t be leading in the polls during the summer, but he’s seeing a shift in direction towards him with undecided voters who may decide this election. Right now, Hagan and Tillis are garnering equal shares of the Democratic and Republican vote in North Carolina, which means this race will come down to turnout and it could be incredibly close.

Right now, both sides have eyes on early voting–and it’s not looking good for Democrats (via WaPo):

Compared to overall voter registration, Iowa and North Carolina Democrats are doing much worse than earlier in the month, and Republicans in those states much better.

How to read this: A red or blue dot above the diagonal line shows that the Republican (or, for a blue dot, Democratic) vote in the state comprises a larger percentage of the early vote than the total voter pool. A dot below the line indicates that the early vote is under-performing for that demographic. The further above or below the line the dot falls, the better or worse the group is faring. The change since the last time we did this is indicated with a line connected to the small dot at the previous percentage.

Interestingly, unaffiliated/undeclared voters are uniformly underperforming their registration numbers, perhaps in part because campaigns aren't targeting them as aggressively in the early vote process. But that puts the poor performance of Democratic campaigns in sharper relief. If unaffiliated voters are underperforming as a percentage of all of the votes that are in, one would expect the two parties to be overperforming.

But Democrats aren't. The bad news for them is clear: the extent to which the red dots are above the line and the blue dots are below it. In what we expect to be a relatively low-turnout election, Democrats would want (and really need) to leverage their generally superior turnout mechanisms to bank votes early. So far, they're getting beaten at that effort.

The bad news for Republicans is that — as we mentioned two weeks ago — these numbers can and will change quickly.

In all, Republicans voters are turning out at higher rates–and that's not good news for Kay Hagan.

Editors note: Upon reviewing the North Carolina Board Of Elections website, in-person early voting began today.  We tried contacting the the board of elections multiple times, but high caller volume prevented us from getting a clarification on the early voting numbers from the Washington Post piece.  It's probably a calculation of the absentee ballots, but we will keep you updated on this matter.  

Poll: Cotton Way Up in AR

By eight percentage points, to be exact, if this poll is to be taken seriously. Last summer, when Talk Business and Politics, along with Hendrix College, conducted and released their last joint survey, Cotton’s lead was small (44/42). Now, however, he’s on much firmer footing (49/41) and “poised” to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor on Nov. 4th.

“As early voting begins and candidates begin their homestretch run, Cong. Cotton is poised to knock off Sen. Pryor barring any major disasters,” Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock said in a statement. “I do think this race tightens, however, as Democrats are pushing for a massive get-out-the-vote effort among newly registered and dormant voters. How big that impact will be is anyone’s guess. It’s complicated and nearly impossible to accurately poll that universe."

Nevertheless, Cotton is currently winning male voters (55/37) and female voters (although, according to the pollsters, his lead among the latter demographic “is small”), independents (59/28), and seniors (51/42). For these reasons, he’s opened up an enormous lead.

But can Pryor close it?

“Moving into early voting, our survey says advantage Cotton,” Dr. Jay Barth argued in his analysis after reviewing the findings. “For Pryor to close the gap, a monstrous and effectively targeted turnout operation and the entrance of large numbers of new registrants into the fold are both essential.”

Boosting turnout, in other words, could save him -- or at least make the race more competitive. But as things currently stand, he's in trouble.

BREAKING: Judicial Watch Obtains List of Fast and Furious Documents Held Under Obama's Executive Privilege

Late last night the Department of Justice complied with a court order and turned over a list to government watchdog Judicial Watch , known as a Vaughn Index, of Fast and Furious documents being held from Congress and the American people under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. Not surprisingly, DOJ failed to fully comply with the requirements of providing a Vaughn Index. 

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Regardless, the list of documents shows Obama asserted executive privilege to protect Attorney General Eric Holder's wife and to protect information showing Holder helped to craft talking points during the fallout of the scandal. What a preliminary review of Vaughn Index by Judicial Watch shows: 

Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.

President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.

Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.

The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.

Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.

Keep in mind the White House has denied any involvement with Operation Fast and Furious when it was active between 2009 and 2010. The documents described in this list indicate otherwise. Further, former White House National Security Advisor Kevin O'Reilly was in contact with former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division William Newell about the details of the operation. Previous reporting shows at least three White House officials were aware of or involved in the operation despite denials after Congressional inquiries about the scandal. 

The emails Judicial Watch describes as showing Holder being directly involved "in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter" only further solidify his role in the cover-up of the operation. As for Holder's wife Sharon Malone being involved, this is the first time her name has come up throughout the course of the Fast and Furious scandal. His mother hasn't been mentioned before, either. 

Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.

“This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.”

After more than a year of stonewalling and a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, DOJ attorneys asked for an extension until November 3, the day before the midterm elections, to turn of the list explaining more than 15,000 documents. That request was denied.

President Obama asserted executive privilege over thousands of Fast and Furious documents just moments before Holder was held in contempt of Congress by the House Oversight Committee in June 2012. That same month, Republicans and Democrats in the House voted Holder in civil and criminal contempt of Congress. Holder is the first sitting cabinet member in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. After six years at the Department of Justice, Holder submitted his resignation to President Obama in September, but will stay in his position until a new Attorney General is confirmed after the midterm elections.

This post has been updated with additional information. 

CNN Makes a Mockery of the Worst Moment of Bristol Palin’s Life, She Responds

Bristol Palin was pushed to the ground. She was dragged across the grass. She was called a “slut.” She was robbed.

CNN’s Carol Costello thought that was hilarious.

In what was perhaps the worst moment of Bristol’s life, the media treated her as a laughingstock. Outlets couldn’t wait to report on the “Palin family brawl” or the “thrilla like Wasilla” that occurred at a party in Anchorage, Alaska, and turn it into a TMZ segment. Heck, it was probably even on the verge of becoming a Saturday Night Live skit. MSNBC’s Joy Reid referred to it as a “stunt” and said John McCain should apologize for putting Sarah Palin on the ballot in 2008. But, the worst “report” of all, had to be this insensitive segment from CNN’s Costello.

CNN obtained the audio from the unfortunate incident. In the clip, an exhausted and shaken Bristol describes how a stranger pushed her sister Willow, then assaulted her. To make matters worse, Bristol had her five-year-old son Tripp in the car and she was clearly concerned for his safety as well. It is this audio clip that Costella told her viewers to “sit back and enjoy:”

When the Ray Rice scandal broke and that terrifying video surfaced of the football player knocking his fiancé to the ground and dragging her out of an elevator, Costello slammed Fox News for supposedly making light of it. She also made sure to inform her viewers about the very real dangers of domestic assault. Here she is reading off a few statistics, for instance, that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence and women 20 to 24-years-old are at greatest risk.

Fast forward a month later, Costello is openly mocking Bristol Palin for…being a victim of physical assault. You’d think she’d change her mind about making jokes about the encounter after listening to the troubling clip, but at the end, she merely says, “You can thank me later.”

Shame on Costello and her fellow media outlets for taking a horrible moment in Bristol’s life and turning it into a farce. Bristol and her family were in serious danger. You can hear the terror in Bristol’s voice when she’s speaking to the police.

It is for this reason that Bristol decided to respond to the media on her blog and share the real story: She and her sister Willow were brutally attacked and Bristol only “took a swing” at the attacker to defend herself. In a separate post, she asked how anyone could be so cruel as to call the disturbing police clip (which she refuses to ever listen to) as the "best audio" they've ever heard in their life? Bristol also wasn’t afraid to pinpoint the reason why the media is treating the incident so lightly: they are biased against conservative women.

Thankfully, we have journalists like the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis who are willing to go on TV and shame the media. Kudos to some media for admitting their mistakes as well, like Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski, who acknowledged the show had initially reported the story with a humorous tone.

Costello has yet to apologize.

Obama: We Need Michelle Nunn to Win So The Democrat Senate Can Advance My Agenda

Over the past few weeks Democrats have expressed great frustration with the White House and President Obama's desperate attempts to tie himself to vulnerable candidates. Democrats have done everything possible to distance themselves from President Obama, whose 60 percent disapproval rating among voters is proving toxic. Candidates don't want Obama campaigning for them and won't even admit to voting for him in 2008 or 2012 when asked by reporters. 

Democrats are running from Obama's agenda just ahead of the midterm elections and the President is chasing them. 

First, during a speech at Northwestern University President Obama said his agenda is absolutely on the ballot for the midterms as Democrats have desperately tried to argue this election isn't about him. Then Obama said on Al Sharpton's radio program that "the bottom line is" vulnerable Democrats support his agenda and have repeatedly voted for it. And most recently, President Obama said during an interview earlier this week on Atlanta's Ryan Cameron Morning Show it is crucial Democrat Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn win her race against Republican David Purdue so "good work" and his agenda can continue in Washington with a Democrat majority and Harry Reid at the helm.

"If Michelle Nunn wins that means Democrats keep control of the Senate and that means that we can keep on doing some good work and so it is critically important to make sure folks vote," Obama said.

If Democrats keeping the Senate depends on keeping President Obama at a distance, then why is Obama continually inserting himself into places where he is not welcome? Over to you, Lou Dobbs.

"How much punishment can a practicing narcissist suffer?" 

President Obama, just leave the Democrats alone!

Report: WH Lied About Releasing Illegal Immigrants Charged With Violent Crimes


Rewind the tape to February of 2013, when the Obama administration was ramping up its machinations to make the federal government run as poorly as possible in order to terrify the public about the looming (microscopic) sequester cuts -- which were, we'll remind you, President Obama's own idea.  The plan was to make the "consequences" of sequestration as unavoidable and unpalatable as possible --  deliberately at the expense of responsible, priorities-oriented governance.  The White House's cynical ploy faltered, as they failed to fool most Americans, and as fact-checkers took them to task for their intentional, endless mendacity.  The sequester went into effect, and the earth did not implode.  But don't say they didn't try.  Team Obama was earnestly committed to hurting as many people as possible as a means of turning voters against the concept of fiscal responsibility. One of their most reckless gambits over the course of their calculated 'parade of horribles' was the mass release of hundreds of illegal immigrants being detained for various reasons.  The federal government couldn't afford to hold them any longer, we were informed at the time, thanks to those "draconian" budget cuts:

Federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from detention centers around the country in recent days in a highly unusual effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said Tuesday. The government has not dropped the deportation cases against the immigrants, however. The detainees have been freed on supervised release while their cases continue in court, officials said. But the decision angered many Republicans, including Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, who said the releases were a political gambit by the Obama administration that undermined the continuing negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform and jeopardized public safety...A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said the detainees selected for release were “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.” Officials said the releases, which began last week and continued on Tuesday, were a response to the possibility of automatic governmentwide budget cuts, known as sequestration, which are scheduled to take effect on Friday.

We're not endangering public safety, the administration insisted.  We're only releasing non-violent illegal immigrant detainees.  And we're doing it because of these tiny budget cuts, Congress.  So take the hint, and cancel the cuts.  (Lord knows there wasn't any federal fat to trim that didn't involve flinging open jail doors).  Well, USA Today has been digging into this episode and has gathered proof that the administration lied.  Surprise:

New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide. The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress. The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen acknowledged the discrepancy. She said "discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency's control."


Uh huh.  And what, pray tell, were those "special circumstances"?  And who was calling those shots?  The story reminds readers of the extent of the administration's deceit:

In hearings last year, Republican lawmakers pressed then-ICE Director John Morton for specifics on the criminal records of the people the agency had freed. At one, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked Morton directly, "No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?" Morton answered, "They were not." He told lawmakers that, to his knowledge, none had faced child pornography charges. White House spokesman Jay Carney similarly described them as "low-risk, non-criminal detainees." A spreadsheet ICE officials prepared listing the detainees includes one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers. Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon. One in Denver had a sexual assault charge. 

To review: The Obama administration opposed its own budget cuts, so they bent over backwards to dream up ways of making those reductions as visible as possible, packing as much sting as possible.  So they cut loose thousands of detained illegal immigrants, while carefully assuring the public that those released were "low risk non-criminals."  That detail was important, they reckoned, because releasing violent criminals of any sort, let alone illegal immigrants, would create a backlash that might complicate their scare tactics.  But they did release violent criminals, and they lied about it.  Then again, simply releasing thousands of illegal immigrants with criminal records is par for the course; you're just not supposed to know about it.  The most transparent administration in history has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal pertinent immigration statistics from inquiring journalists, opting instead to share the information with allied immigration activists.  Between this revelation, this disgraceful performance, and Harry Reid's breathtaking irresponsibility regarding the unaccompanied minor border crisis, Democrats are showing themselves to be the veritable definition of bad faith actors as it pertains to immigration reform.  That's why many of us who are at least theoretically in favor of a legislative package to addresses our broken system have become jaded.  Democrats and the Obama administration cannot be trusted to enforce the law or tell the truth.  Working with them to "solve" this problem is quixotic, as they clearly have no intention of solving anything.

CO Governor's Race Turns into 'Rocky Mountain Slugfest'

It is anyone’s game in the Colorado governor’s race. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP Rep. Bob Beauprez are in a dead heat (45-44) and only eight percent of likely voters remain undecided, according a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the poll, noted:

"In just a few weeks, what looked like a slide toward political oblivion for Gov. Hickenlooper morphs into a down-to-the-wire Rocky Mountain slugfest with Bob Beauprez.

Let's see who's still standing when the bell rings on Election Night. Will they be talking about Hick the Comeback Kid of 2014, or Bob 'The Bomber' Beauprez?"

Gov. Hickenlooper, once the most popular governor in the country according to Public Policy Polling, is now finding it much more difficult to harvest support.

Some voters are turning away from Hickenlooper due to public safety concerns. Dave Maney, chief executive officer at Deke Digital LLC, told Bloomberg he donated to Hickenlooper in 2010, but will cast his ballot this year for Beauprez:

"I saw a guy I thought matched up with the way I looked at the world who failed to stop a runaway legislature. He went from being happy to drink fracking fluid to somehow being willing to brook this giant discussion on drilling near communities. Then he moved to restrict peoples’ personal freedoms with guns."

In addition to restricting Coloradans' ability to defend themselves, Hickenlooper’s softness on crime is raising concerns. The governor intends to grant clemency to convicted death-row inmate Nathan Dunlap, a man who murdered four Chuck E. Cheese employees and seriously wounded a fifth in 1993. Family members of the victims are speaking out on the issue.

Here is a video with Dennis O'Connor, whose daughter Colleen was murdered:

This is not an isolated example of public safety dereliction, according Beauprez’s campaign manager Dustin Olson:

"Hickenlooper has a long list of public safety failures, including the release of dangerous prisoners into our neighborhoods, an understaffed Parole Division, policies that discourage accountability for parolees even for serious violations, and an inability to lead his party on common sense legislation like a Felony DUI law."

Mail in ballots began flooding in last week, and more than 330,000 Colorado voters have already made their decision.

Cosmological Film ‘The Principle’ Asks: Are We Significant?

Where do we fit in the universe? Is Earth significant? These are questions the new film, “The Principle,” attempts to answer. The low budget independent movie examines the Copernican Principle, the concept that humans are not “privileged observers of the universe,” making the case that perhaps humans are a key piece in the universe’s puzzle.

Rick Delano, writer and producer of “The Principle,” says he decided to make the film five years ago after studying surveys of the cosmos.

“They were shocking and there was a great movie in that,” he told Townhall.

His is the first documentary ever produced on the Copernican Principle. Civilization, he said, has been shaped by two things: The Scriptures and science. In Genesis, he explained, we’re at the center of everything, until science suggested we weren’t. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert on the cosmos; Delano ensures that the film is condensed into these two simple stories:

“One puts us in the center, the other says we’re insignificant. Both turn out to be correct.”

The film challenges American astronomer Carl Sagan’s notion that Earth is nothing more than a “pale blue dot,” making the case that perhaps we humans do have a unique significance in the universe.

Because of the profound questions asked in “The Principle” it is being advertised as what could be the “most controversial” movie of our time. Indeed, a slew of media outlets have already attacked the film as being too geocentric, suggesting Earth is at the center of the universe. Delano responded to these attacks:

“You have to deal with [geocentrism],” he explained. “The entire world was geocentric for 1,000 years. It’s incorrect to tell me what my film is about. Those media outlets have never seen the film.”

“The Principle” will not only challenge long held scientific beliefs, but it will challenge audiences’ faith, perhaps urging them to ask, was Earth made for us?

“There’s something in the film to challenge everyone," he said. "It’s not meant to preach to any choir. It forces the audience to think and it challenges deeply held assumptions.”

“I ask them to bring their worldview, but to consider all arguments. Make up their own mind at the end. It’s a film that will cause them to question things.”

“The Principle” will be circulated by Rocky Mountain Pictures, the same distributor behind the films Obama 2016 and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and will open in Chicago this weekend, followed by a national release. For more information, check out the trailer below:

Yikes: New Hampshire Democrat Holds Pro-Abortion Rally in Front of Halloween Decorations Portraying Death

Democrat Ann Kuster has been representing New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district since 2013. As our own Matt Vespa has extensively covered, New Hampshire State Republican Marilinda Garcia is challenging Kuster for her seat. At this point, the race is a toss up with less than two weeks to go until Election Day. 

Yesterday Kuster's campaign held a pro-abortion, pro-choice event in an effort to rally liberal voters and forgot to take down the Halloween decorations portraying death in the background.

Yikes. No need to point out the obvious, the situation speaks for itself.

Obamacare: Largest NC Insurer Announces Double-Digit Premium Increases


It's been a tough week for North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, who's clinging to a razor-thin lead in her re-election fight.  She chose not to attend a 'debate' this week, ceding an hour of statewide airtime to her surging Republican opponent, Thom Tillis.  Her chair sat empty throughout the forum.  What didn't she want to discuss?  Perhaps it was her decision to skip a key classified briefing on ISIS in favor of a New York City fundraiser.  Or maybe it was the explosion of reports that her immediate family benefited directly from the "stimulus" law she voted for.  It could have been President Obama's endorsement of candidates like Hagan as strong supporters of his agenda in Washington; the extent of Hagan's fealty was underscored again in yesterday's CQ analysis of 2014 voting records:


It may just be possible that Hagan wasn't in the mood to answer yet another question about her decisive vote to pass Obamacare, which continues to harm North Carolinians:

North Carolina's largest health insurer says rates will rise by more than 13 percent on average next year for buyers of individual Affordable Care Act policies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina discussed the prices Wednesday. As an example, the insurer cited a typical rate for a 45-year-old man in the Raleigh area who doesn't smoke...Aside from ACA plans, the insurer is maintaining pre-existing plans that don't conform to the Affordable Care Act's requirements but customers wanted to keep. Rates for those plans will rise by an average of 13 to 19 percent, depending on when they were sold.

Double-barrelled hikes, for Obamacare exchange participants and other consumers alike.  Democrats like Barack Obama and Kay Hagan promised that rates would go down under the new law; the opposite is occurring, and most people are waking up to that reality.  In other Obamacare news, the Wall Street Journal  reports on another phenomenon accurately anticipated by conservative forecasters:

With companies set to face fines next year for not complying with the new mandate to offer health insurance, some are pursuing strategies like enrolling employees in Medicaid to avoid penalties and hold down costs. The health law’s penalties, which can amount to about $2,000 per employee, were supposed to start this year, but the Obama administration delayed them until 2015, when they take effect for firms that employ at least 100 people. Now, as employers race to find ways to cover their full-time workers while holding a lid on costs, insurance brokers and benefits administrators are pitching a variety of options, sometimes exploiting wrinkles in the law...the company, which is based in Hartford, Conn., hopes to reduce its costs by offering eligible employees a chance to enroll in Medicaid, using a contractor called BeneStream Inc. to help them sign up. The government program is more affordable for employees and saves money for Locals 8, said Chief Executive Al Gamble. “The burden gets shifted to Medicaid,” he said.

The burden gets shifted to Medicaid, i.e. to taxpayers. Two notes: First, Medicaid is a massively expensive and ineffective government program whose 'beneficiaries' (a) experience no better health outcomes than uninsured people, (b) have trouble finding doctors who will treat them, and (c) actually increase their ER visits (exploding one popular myth in support of Medicaid expansion). Second, Obamacare's employer mandate has been delayed for a large chunk of businesses into 2016, so the "coverage dumping" is just beginning. The "it's working!" file grows thicker by the day. I'll leave you with this:

Republicans Take Historic Early Ballot Lead in Iowa

By this time in 2012, Democrats had turned in 56,908 more ballots than Republicans, on their way to a 52 percent to 46 percent win for President Obama.

But this year, it is Republicans who have the upper hand. As of yesterday, according to Iowa Secretary of State data tabulated by AOS HQ, Republicans had turned in 105,347 ballots compared to the Democrats 104,984, giving the GOP a 363 ballot lead.

That is far better than the GOP's 2010 pace when they still trailed Democrats by more than 16,000 ballots at this point, but still managed to elect Republican Gov. Terry Branstad by 53 percent to 43 percent margin.

According to Iowa Republican officials, this is the first time Republicans have led in early balloting since 1998 when Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) crushed Democrat David Osterberg 68 percent to 31 percent

In other good news for Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst, yet another poll now shows her beating Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA). This time it is Quinnipiac which shows her up 48 percent to 46 percent. The Quinnipiac poll is the 5th poll in a row showing Ernst beating Braley.

Ferguson: Autopsy Suggests Michael Brown Was Reaching For Officer’s Firearm

The official autopsy is in and it suggests that the gunshot wound to Michael Brown’s hand indicates that he was reaching for police officer Darren Wilson’s firearm during an altercation, which ended in with his death last summer. The event sparked mass unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and a discussion about race relations in America.

Moreover, the autopsy’s results come into conflict with eyewitness reports, which said that Brown was shot while running away from Officer Wilson (via St. Louis Dispatch) [emphasis mine]:

The St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official investigation, reviewed the autopsy report for the newspaper. He said Tuesday that it “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”

Graham said the examination indicated a shot traveled from the tip of Brown’s right thumb toward his wrist. The official report notes an absence of stippling, powder burns around a wound that indicate a shot fired at relatively short range.

But Graham said, “Sometimes when it’s really close, such as within an inch or so, there is no stipple, just smoke.”

The report on a supplemental microscopic exam of tissue from the thumb wound showed foreign matter “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm.”

Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, said the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.” She added,

Sources told the Post-Dispatch that Brown’s blood had been found on Wilson’s gun.

Melinek also said the autopsy did not support witnesses who have claimed Brown was shot while running away from Wilson, or with his hands up.

She said Brown was facing Wilson when Brown took a shot to the forehead, two shots to the chest and a shot to the upper right arm. The wound to the top of Brown’s head would indicate he was falling forward or in a lunging position toward the shooter; the shot was instantly fatal.

A sixth shot that hit the forearm traveled from the back of the arm to the inner arm, which means Brown’s palms could not have been facing Wilson, as some witnesses have said, Melinek said. That trajectory shows Brown probably was not taking a standard surrender position with arms above the shoulders and palms out when he was hit, she said.

Illinois Ballot Machine Changes Votes From Republican to Democrat

As liberals and Democrats continue to argue voter fraud doesn't exist, voting machines in Cook County Illinois are changing votes for Republican candidates to votes for Democrats. More from Watchdog.org

Early Voting in Illinois got off to its typical start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

So why is this happening? Officials are blaming the problem on a "calibration error" and promised changed votes weren't actually registered. 

Cook County Clerk’s Office Deputy Communications Director Jim Scalzitti, told Illinois Watchdog, the machine was taken out of service and tested.

“This was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine,” Scalzitti said. “When Mr. Moynihan used the touch-screen, it improperly assigned his votes due to improper calibration.”

This machine error was visible, what about the changes these machines are making to votes cast for Republicans that aren't visible? How many registered voters have had their votes and participation in the process stolen as a result of "faulty" machines?

When dead people in Illinois aren't voting for Democrats, machines are picking up the slack and stealing votes along the way.

Meanwhile in case you missed it yesterday, liberal activists in Colorado think it's "truly awesome" to illegally fill out discarded ballots in favor of Democrats so votes "are put to good use."

Security Beefed Up in Washington D.C. After Terror Attacks in Canada

After terror attacks in Canada yesterday and earlier this week left two soldiers dead, federal law enforcement agencies are beefing up security in Washington D.C. and around the country. 

Security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, which is similar to the National War Memorial patrolled by the Canadian soldier killed yesterday, has been increased as a precaution. According to a memo obtained by Fox News, the FBI has asked field offices across the country to stay alert and vigilant. Officials are also paying close attention to ISIS chatter about Canada and the United States. 

Late last night Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a statement to the country and the world, saying they will not be intimidated by terror.

"We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated," Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed in a nationally televised address hours after a masked gunman killed a soldier standing guard at Ottawa's war memorial shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The suspect then stormed Parliament in a dramatic attack that was stopped cold when he was shot to death by the ceremonial sergeant-at-arms.

Back in the U.S. an official increase in the terror threat level has not been released by the Department of Homeland Security's National Terror Advisory System.

Confirmed: Wendy Davis Literally Has THE Worst Twitter Campaign Of All Time

Well, if you thought the Wendy Davis gubernatorial campaign, which has devolved into a clown show, couldn’t get any worse; you should brace yourselves. She had this tweet featuring a bunch of eager young Davis supporters, but there’s only one problem. It was actually a group of volunteers for the College Republican Federation of Virginia who posed for a photo after knocking on doors for Ed Gillespie, the GOP senate hopeful in the Old Dominion.

My colleague Christine Rousselle recently asked if the floundering Texas Democrat had the worst Twitter campaign of all time. This comes after she attacked her Republican opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, on Twitter about interracial marriage, despite him having a Hispanic wife.

In general, the Davis campaign has been launching various kamikaze attacks as the 2014 election cycle comes to a close. She launched a rather egregious attack ad against Abbott that featured a wheelchair; Abbott was left paralyzed from the waist down when a tree fell on him while jogging in the mid-1980s.

Then, to make matters worse, Davis doubled down and held a presser using disabled Americans as props in the background.

Talk about a disaster. And Davis is trailing Abbott by double-digits two weeks from Election Day.  I can't imagine why.

"Shaheen Lost the Debate"

One reporter’s opinion isn’t the end-all, be-all of political analysis. But as a respected, Boston-based reporter, Andy Hiller’s contention that Brown won the debate last night is worth listening to nonetheless.

“Shaheen lost the debate because she had to spend so much time on the defensive, explaining the president’s policies on Ebola, Obamacare, ISIS and immigration,” he said. “She was much more effective in the second half when she directly challenged Brown.”

“But Brown won,” he continued. “He never looked uncomfortable, he has cable network level communication skills, and in this debate the issues were on his side. He wasn’t perfect, but best for him, he’s not President Obama.”

I wrote in my post last night that Brown was indeed “relaxed under fire,” which admittedly wasn’t an easy thing to do given how partisan the crowd was. Most of the audience was comprised of Shaheen supporters (or so it seemed to me) and therefore Brown handled himself well in a hostile environment.

But what I’m most curious about is the way Granite State voters who watched it at home reacted to the debate. My sense from being at the venue itself, and following the #nhsendebate hashtag all night long on Twitter, was that the overwhelming consensus was that Shaheen won. Perhaps at best, then, we can say it was a draw.

“I don’t know how many votes [this debate] will change,” Hiller asserted in the clip above. “But if I’m right, and Scott Brown was the winner, then this very close race will get even closer.”

Thirteen days.

Civil War: Democratic Operatives Trash White House Over Midterms


A new National Journal piece containsall the hallmarks of political "pre-criminations," as Democrats assail each other over the state of the 2014 election campaign.  Ground zero for this intra-family feud?  Iowa, where Democrats are angry about everything, including the early voting trends (regarding which Democrats have a problemnationally):


The relationship between the White House and Senate Democrats hit a new low Tuesday evening after the administration's press office released a transcript of first lady Michelle Obama's appearance in Iowa on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley. The problem: The subject line of the e-mail referred to Braley as the "Democratic candidate for governor." The botch came after the first lady repeatedly referred to the Democratic Senate nominee as "Bruce Bailey" in a campaign appearance earlier this month—and it took an attendee in the crowd to correct her mistake…Top Senate Democratic officials wasted no time lashing out at the Obama administration's political team in response, suggesting it was acting like a junior varsity operation two weeks before the midterms..."The ineptitude of the White House political operation has sunk from annoying to embarrassing," one senior Senate Democratic aide told National Journal. Another Senate official told the Washington Post that Obama's comments were "not devised with any input from Senate leadership." Democrats are growing increasingly pessimistic about their chances of holding onto the Senate...Iowa is emerging as a must-win state for Democrats if they want to halt the Republican momentum, and it's a race where Democrats can't afford late-breaking mistakes. A plugged-in Democratic House official said internal polling showed Braley trailing Republican Joni Ernst in all of the state's congressional districts, even those that typically favor Democrats. Democrats are even struggling to hold Braley's House seat.

The pre-election blame game is already underway, it would seem -- even as Republicans still have plenty of time to blow their advantage, according to, um, a Republican Senator. (Comparing the Obama political operation to a JV team is a double blow, given the president's recent entanglement with that phrase).  That last bolded morsel is especially intriguing; if Braley is trailing in every Congressional district in the state according to Democrats' own internal polls, down-ticket Democrats must be starting to sweat about reverse coattails.  Public polling continues to show a tight race with Republican Joni Ernst slightly ahead, but Democrats are not behaving as if they expect to win.  Ernst is out with a new ad that I love on several levels:


This spot, like Ernst's previous offering, just feels like it's coming from a confident winner who's looking to close strong. It's fun and upbeat, but addresses a serious issue on which Republicans hold a substantial advantage with the public.  It also feels like a subtle 'come full circle' nod to the commercial that put Ernst on the map, way back when she was an obscure player in the GOP primary.  We started this campaign with hogs, and goshdarnit, we're going to end it with hogs, too.  The farm setting is also a faint reminder of the sanctimonious, caught-on-camera attack used by Republicans to fire their first major salvo against Bruce Braley's favorability.  Meanwhile, in Colorado:


That's the latest from USA Today's polling partner, and it's full of worrisome signs for Team Udall.  President Obama isn't a popular figure in the state, and new figures calculated by Congressional Quarterly show that Mark Udall's record of voting with with Obama was nearly flawless in 2014 (with some additional scores to follow):


Taking the cake is scandal-plagued "moderate" Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who went a perfect 117/117.  What was Obama just saying about his reliable Washington allies who habitually vote for his agenda, again? For what it's worth, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts -- tied in the polls with Obama donor and fake "independent" Greg Orman -- voted against the Obama line more often than any other member of the Senate.  Kansans voted to fire Obama in 2012 by more than 20 percentage points.

Will Law Enforcement Leaks Prevent Rioting in St. Louis?

Another day, another leak from law enforcement in St. Louis indicating that Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted by a grand jury for the shooting death of Michael Brown. Under the headline, "Evidence supports officer’s account of shooting in Ferguson," The Washington Post reports today:

[M]ore than a half-dozen unnamed black witnesses have provided testimony to a St. Louis County grand jury that largely supports Wilson’s account of events of Aug. 9, according to several people familiar with the investigation who spoke with The Washington Post.

Some of the physical evidence — including blood spatter analysis, shell casings and ballistics tests — also supports Wilson’s account of the shooting, The Post’s sources said, which cast Brown as an aggressor who threatened the officer’s life.

The Post report comes a day after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an official autopsy of Brown, also finding that the facts support Wilson, and not the narrative created by rioters in Ferguson. From the Post-Dispatch:

The St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official investigation, reviewed the autopsy report for the newspaper. He said Tuesday that it “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.” Graham said the examination indicated a shot traveled from the tip of Brown’s right thumb toward his wrist.

The official report notes an absence of stippling, powder burns around a wound that indicate a shot fired at relatively short range.
...
Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, said the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.” She added, “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.”

And last Friday, The New York Times reported:

The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.

The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.

This is quite a string of well placed leaks not to be the result of design. Clearly law enforcement officials in St. Louis want to prepare Brown supporters for the seemingly imminent reality that Wilson will not be indicted. Faced with this possibility, Brown's supporters, so far, have been defiant. 

"This is not a black and white thing," Ferguson activist Angela Whitman told CNN after The New York Times story Friday, "this is about what's right and wrong. St. Louis is in trouble, because if this is what Darren Wilson said, and they believe him, St. Louis is going to burn."

Whitman's let it burn attitude seemed to be the prevailing sentiment among Brown supporters this Sunday when they harassed people outside a St. Louis Rams game, holding the American flag upside down, while punching and spitting on passers by.

Will the violence at the next Rams be worse or better now that it is becoming clearer Wilson will not be indicted? If it does get worse, it is hard to see how more leaks could possibly prevent a full blown riot.

DSCC Spending Money in Kentucky Again

Barely a week after pulling out of Kentucky, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has returned to help candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes currently trails incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell by about four points.

Politico had the exclusive:

The party committee is reserving $650,000 in airtime to boost Alison Lundergan Grimes after reviewing recent internal and public polling, a DSCC official told POLITICO. The polling, the source says, suggested that independent voters are moving in the Democrat’s direction.

The decision comes after the big-spending party committee said last week it had no plans to spend on the air in Kentucky until Election Day, a sign many interpreted as meaning that Washington Democrats had given up on the race. But with the new ad buy and ongoing DSCC investment in the Grimes voter turnout effort, Democrats are signaling they believe they can still pull off an upset in one of their few pickup chances.

Only a single poll has shown Grimes to be in the lead this election cycle. Grimes experienced a significant drop-off in polls after her series of gaffes the past two weeks. She has also faced opposition from the left for her ad condemning amnesty. The most recent polling from Western Kentucky University has McConnell up five.

Brilliant New Feminist Tactic: Using Little Girls in Videos to Yell The F-Word

Hide your daughters, parents and don't let them grow up to be feminists. 

In the latest stroke of genius for the bitter movement, the feminists over at FCKH8.com have released a video featuring little girls in princess outfits dropping the f-bomb and screaming non-factual statements about women's equality in American society. 

Warning: lots of really bad language. 

The part where the girls say, "Society teaches us that our bodies, boobs and butts are more important than our brains," is painfully ironic. This video comes from a movement that has spent the past four years defining women by the pills they take and by telling them to vote with their lady parts. The most offensive part of this ad isn't the use of foul language, but instead the lengths feminists have gone through to get little girls to hate boys at such a young age based on bogus statistics and "data."

The description of the video is the following: 

Facing a future where women are still paid 23% less than men for the same work, and where 1 in 5 women are raped or sexually assaulted in gender-based violence, little girls between 6 and 13 years-old dressed as pretty pink princesses drop F-bombs to draw attention to society’s continued sexism. Asking the question, “What’s more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women” these adorably articulate little ladies in sparkling tiaras turn the “princess in distress” stereotype on its head and contrast the F-word with words and statistics society should find shocking such as “pay inequality” and “rape.” The video also features a 12 year-old boy wearing a pink gown standing up against sexism saying, “When you tell boys not to ‘act like a girl,’ it’s because you think it’s bad to be a girl.”

The pay gap percentage used is inaccurate. Women aren't getting paid 23 percent less than men for the same work. Further, the 1-in-5 rape statistic used in the video is grossly off the mark.

This ad comes after a long list of feminist stunts over the past few years which have included wearing tampons as earrings on national television, wearing giant vagina costumes in public, having abortions on video, throwing jars of feces and urine at police, bowling for abortion, etc.

Modern feminism: always classy.

Bangor Daily News Endorses Eliot Cutler for Maine Governor

The Bangor Daily News, a major daily newspaper in Maine, has again endorsed independent candidate Eliot Cutler for governor. The paper also endorsed Cutler during the 2010 election, which he lost to Republican Paul LePage by less than 10,000 votes.

As Cutler has been polling at smaller numbers this election cycle, there have been plenty of cries from the left for him to drop out of the race in order to clear a path for Democrat candidate Rep. Mike Michaud. In their endorsement, Bangor Daily News makes it clear that they feel as though both major parties have failed to develop suitable candidates for the job and that Cutler is the best-qualified candidate.

It is not a mistake to vote for the candidate who is most qualified for the job. It is not a mistake to vote for the candidate who has put forward the most detailed and thoughtful solutions to some of Maine’s most pressing problems — such as a high property tax burden and a stagnant economy. And it is not a mistake to vote for a candidate who will restore serious policymaking to the governor’s office and ensure government works on issues that are most important to Maine’s future.

[...]

Michaud presents himself as the antidote to LePage’s divisiveness and has done well to weather attacks from both the governor and Cutler. But he has come up short in proposing a full array of well thought-out policy priorities and ways to pay for them. A full pendulum swing back to big-government solutions and a preference for out-moded industries is not the way to move Maine forward. Convening working groups and listening can be productive, but without decisive moves forward, this is not leadership.

Cutler appears a long shot to win this election, but he is the best candidate running. He would bring needed dignity and a reasonable, business-like approach to the governor’s office. He has our support on Nov. 4.

Gov. LePage was elected in 2010 with just under 37 percent of the vote. His predecessor, John Baldacci (D), was re-elected with 38 percent of the vote. Maine's governor has been elected with a majority vote just twice (1982 and 1998) in the past 40 years.

Polls show that LePage and Michaud are essentially tied.

"Obama Has Never Broken a Sweat in His Life"

He may have been shaken, but he’s never stirred. That’s more or less how author Mark Steyn described President Obama and his “boring” life, challenging Daniel Craig’s assertion that Obama would make a fitting James Bond. Steyn spoke with Townhall about his new book, “The Undocumented,” a collection of his best columns, explaining how liberals have inundated the culture with their ideology. Among other topics in our fascinating conversation, Steyn explained why the president isn’t as “cool” as some Millennials may think, why John McCain is the real epitome of James Bond, and the consequences of Obama’s missteps in the Middle East.

Why is it always liberals who are trying to change the culture?

“I think liberals are motivated in the sense that they are the ones who want to change things. Generally speaking, if you’re a conservative you believe that a child is best raised in a traditional family setting and so you’re fighting defensively, you’re fighting a defensive maneuver to say this is the particular definition of the family that’s prevailed for thousands of years and we’re sticking with that. And in cultural terms, change is always an attractive position. It’s the person who wants to change things, it’s the person who’s in the minority, it’s the person who takes the stand and if you put that in cultural terms that seems a much more adventurous and appealing position to take and they’ve been very successful at that. It’s somewhere in the first part of the book, on all the big questions, politics is really irrelevant, and even judges are irrelevant. Judges are just playing catch up. If you read the sort of torrid logic of say the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision on legalizing gay marriage, I mean in legal terms it’s complete nonsense. Basically what happened is people who matter in Massachusetts changed their minds on what marriage is and these not-so-clever judges had to twist themselves into pretzels to try to find a legal pretext to go along with it. I think in that sense liberals are successful because they play the long game where it matters. They’re not focused on Tuesday mornings in November. For what they want, everything is up for grabs. It’s not even about politics, it’s not even about America, it’s about changing facts that have prevailed for thousands of years before anybody thought of America and they play the long game on that and they burrow away into institutions like schools and the mainline churches and into the pop culture and they do it incrementally and they do it very cleverly and but they have their eye on the whole megillah. Not just on this particular House district, or this particular Senate seat.”

There are some Republican politicians, like Marco Rubio, who likes to say he listens to rap and he likes all these rap artists. So, do you think this is what conservative politicians need to do? To give these kinds of interviews? In other words, instead of trying to change the culture, embracing it or try to relate more to Millennials?

I don’t think people should pretend to be what they aren’t. Every politician gets asked things like that. Marco Rubio, I can just about imagine him listening to rap in certain circumstances. When John Kerry said that he listened to a lot of rap, I didn’t believe a word of it. If you’d broken into John and Teresa’s mansion – all their mansions, all 17 or how many they have – I doubt between those 17 houses you would have found a single rap album in the John Kerry record collection – and so that’s fake. When George W. Bush – I think it was a couple of months before the election – some reporter was doing a pop culture test with him and said, ‘What do you think of Madonna?’ and Bush said, ‘I don’t like pop music.’ I loved that, because that’s an honest answer. He’s saying, ‘This is who I am, take it or leave it.’ So it’s fine if you happen genuinely to be into rap, but if you’re doing it for the reasons you suggested, you know conservatives have a reputation of being Mr. Squaresville so you show how groovy you are by pretending you listen to gangsta rap all day, I think you just make yourself look ridiculous. People have to have the confidence to be who they are and that’s particularly true about politicians. Politicians who lie to you about what pop songs he likes isn’t necessarily going to be someone who tells you the truth about lots of other important things. That may well indeed be the first sign that he doesn’t have the strength or will to tell you the awkward truth on debt or ISIS or anything else. So, I think it’s worth paying close attention when some 63-year-old guy with gray hair pretends he’s into hip hop.”

So you don’t think the Republican Party should be focused on evolving, say for the 2016 election, particularly to win the Millennial vote?

“I can’t stand what has become the system in the last few presidential elections where it’s basically, the only thing that matters is half a dozen swing states and there’s no real election. If you’re a deep red state like Wyoming, or a deep blue state like Massachusetts, there is no presidential election. The presidential election is just fought in half a dozen key states, with politicians tailoring their messages to those particular perceived swing states – whether it’s Florida or New Hampshire or wherever. So I’m in favor of candidates going out to win every vote. I don’t agree with the Mitt Romney thing, that you write off 47 percent automatically and just focus on the 53 percent. Since so far as Millennials or Hispanics or gays or anybody is part of that, candidates should be going towards them. But I think there’s danger about micro targeting generally. You know, I don’t get it myself. The reason why Obama seems cool to Millennials in a way that Mitt Romney or John McCain doesn’t, says more about the nature of cool. ‘Cool’ is by definition a relatively shallow thing. Obama has led a very dull life. He’s a boring man who stayed in school until he was 28 or whatever it was. Then he sort of sat around in rooms talking all day long. John McCain, who ran against him in 2008, has been shot out of the sky. He was taken prisoner by the Vietnamese, and he was brutally tortured through all of that. Daniel Craig was asked who would make a better James Bond in the 2008 election, and he said Obama, because John McCain is more of an ‘M’ type, like he’s the boss of the Secret Service, he gives the orders, the desk job. That’s actually the opposite of reality! Obama has never broken a sweat in his life. John McCain has lived an ostensibly thrilling life – he’s had a James Bond-like life. He’s been shot out of the sky, he’s been brutally tortured – just like 007 and ‘Die Another Day’ and all the rest of it. And yet ‘cool’ in the sense in which Obama is deemed to be cool actually is not just terribly shallow, but also incredibly boring. I mean he hasn’t done anything – and McCain who is an exasperating, infuriating person who I certainly would view with great trepidation had he ever actually made it to the White House, but the idea that somehow McCain loses on the coolness front to Obama, is I think ridiculous. So it’s not a question of nominating Jay-Z as the candidate, it’s about changing the culture so that leading a boring life, sitting around in faculty lounges groaning about social justice as Obama did for decades isn’t perceived to be the acme of ‘cool’ anymore and it shouldn’t be that difficult to do that.”

Now, a few specific things you talk about in the book. You talk about feminist hypocrisy. Who do you think is the biggest feminist hypocrite and why?

“I think the first thing I say in the book, is I’m talking about Gloria Steinem – a Gloria Steinem piece she wrote for the New York Times, defending Clinton on the grounds that even if everything that Paula Jones alleged – that he dropped his pants for her and all the rest of it – even if all that is true, it’s not sexual harassment. I think that Gloria Steinem did great damage to feminism and the others who defended Clinton in that situation. They did great damage to feminism by aligning it with a particular political party because I do think we saw it that then when Bush was elected and we had this new struggle in the 21st century, basically that is a women’s issue. The country that Bush liberated in 2001, it was illegal, it was forbidden by law for women to feel sunlight on their faces. If that isn’t a woman’s issue, I don’t know what is. A woman isn’t allowed to leave the house, without a man and when she’s out of the house, she’s not allowed to be out uncovered. She’s supposedly never to know what it feels like to have the morning sun on your face. She’s never to experience that. That is a woman’s issue. Meriam Ibrahim, who is a lady from New Hampshire, a Christian lady who was held in prison in Sudan, that’s a women’s issue. The women in Egypt who have undergone clitoridectomies, female genital mutilation, that’s a women’s issue. And yet, the worst thing about the Western feminist movement is that it has accepted the idea of two-tier sisterhood and I think that’s true of now and all the feminist leaders that if you are born into a certain kind of life in a Western society, you have the right to live life to your fullest potential as a woman. If you’re born into another kind of life, your life starts with female genital mutilation and you’re shoved into a body bag to live and if you’re lucky, you won’t be honor killed by your brothers and your fathers when you decide you’d like to marry someone that they didn’t choose for you. On the whole Western feminists have done – not only have they done nothing to stand up for those women, when there are women who do stand up for them, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, when she chose to speak at American campuses, the feminists are some of the noisiest in making common cause with the Islamic enforcers and trying to have those people shut down. There’s a real war on women and it’s not just in Yemen and Waziristan, it’s actually going on in Western societies too, where some poor woman in Buffalo gets her head chopped off and a girl in Peoria gets honor killed and Western feminists are obsessed with essentially with trivia. Sandra Fluke wanting the taxpayers to pay for her contraception until she’s 47, or whatever she is by now.”

You’re also pretty critical of Obama’s foreign policy. What is the biggest mistake he’s made in the Middle East?

“I don’t think he sees it as a mistake, that’s the thing. I think that what we’ve seen since 2009 is the creation, the dawn of the post-Western Middle East was invented in 1922 by the British and French and as Anglo-French power waned after the Second World War, the United States stepped in to pick up the slack. What has happened since the Arab Spring, is the post-Western Middle East – that’s to say, for the first time in hundreds of years, an Arab world who’s direction is not set by the Western powers. Now I think that is a mistake, but I don’t think Obama does. For quite surely after Obama’s election, he’d get people talking around the planet in Singapore, Australia, Poland, Israel, India, about the post-American world, and I think that from Obama’s point of view, that suits him fine. He does not believe that American force projection and American power has been a force for good in the world and he would rather that force and that power and those resources be applied at home. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the federal government has become far more heavy-handed in the last five years, even as all kinds of crazy loons have had the run of the planet in Libya and all kinds of other places. I think for Obama, and other people who think like Obama, government power is applied at home and the rest of the planet doesn’t matter. We’re all going to pay the price for that, because even if the polar opposites of Obama were to be elected in 2016, undoing all that damage is going to require a huge effort.”

Is there anything you want to share about why you wrote this book at this time?

“I look at it this way. We were talking about the culture earlier, my concern is that particularly on the right we get all excited about. I lived in New Hampshire and I can’t tell you all the dozens of presidential candidates who passed through here. I remember Phil Graham I think in 1997. Everyone thought Phil Graham would’ve made a great president, and he probably would have made a great president, but all those names come and go and in the end, the big action is on the cultural front. I write about coffeehouse culture in that book, which I find, which is fascinating to me, because it sort of embodies to me the increasing sloth of the world. Everyone used to say, ‘Oh go to America, go to New York, it’s fast moving, it’s fast-paced, it’s a restless energy of the New World.’ And I find it becoming one of the slowest-moving places on the planet. And in some strange way, all these little peripheral stories out in the field of vision don’t seem terribly important, like gender neutral bathrooms or whatever seem to be far more telling about the direction we’re heading in, then who’s going to win a particular Senate nomination. And I think we’re on the verge of the abolition of man, as in men, as in manly men, as in a need for males in society. I think that actually is a radical leftist goal and I think they’re galloping – to go back to what you were saying about feminists, I think if you look at the proportion of women at college classes now and you unwind that all the way back through high school and middle school and grade school, to kindergarten, we are becoming a society that doesn’t have much use for boys or boyish virtues and that seems to me at least as important, far more important, about the kind of place we’re going to be in 20 to 30 years’ time and seems at least an important factor into whether we’re likely to have a particular foreign policy posture or not. I sometimes think that some small thing you wrote about in 1998 to 2003 or whatever, actually turns out to be a pretty good straw in the wind as to where we’re headed in a way that the more obvious big picture stuff doesn’t always. That’s why I put these things together and put them in the book.”

For more insight on liberalism’s effect on our “coffeehouse culture,” go here to buy a copy of Steyn’s new book.

Republicans Close Early Ballot Lead in Iowa

Never has the Republican Party come this close to matching early Democrat votes in Iowa.

Not in 2012, when President Obama won the state 52 percent to 46 percent, and not in 2010, when Republican Gov. Terry Branstad won 53 percent to 43 percent.

According to data compiled from the Iowa Secretary of State's office by Ace of Spades HQ, Democrats have turned in just 170 more ballots (98,492) than Republicans have (98,322). Republicans have never turned in more early ballots than Democrats.

To put that 170 ballot lead in context, by this time in 2012, Democrats had a 56,303 ballot advantage, and in 2010 they had 17,228 advantage.

The Republican improvement in early voting is just another sign the Republican Senate Candidate Joni Ernst will beat Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) this November. Braley has not led in a single poll since October 1st, and Ernst has led in every poll since October 3rd

First Lady Michelle Obama has twice failed to help Braley twice this month, referring to him as "Bruce Bailey" in a speech two weeks ago, and then identifying him as a candidate for governor last night. 

For her part, Ernst released her closing ad yesterday, named "Lot," which returns to the same pigpen that launched her campaign.

Race Card: Democrats Go Ugly to Boost Black Turnout


Democrats are losing -- and they know it -- so things are getting awfully ugly out there. A New York Times story over the weekend previewed the onslaught of overt political race-baiting that has begun to sweep across the country.  Entitled, "Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate," the piece describes the party's desperate measures:

The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls. “African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,” Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. “In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.” Mr. Belcher’s assessment points to an urgent imperative for Democrats: To keep Republicans from taking control of the Senate, as many are predicting, they need black voters in at least four key states. Yet the one politician guaranteed to generate enthusiasm among African Americans is the same man many Democratic candidates want to avoid: Mr. Obama.

Bring Obama to town on your behalf, and you might attract more black voters to the polls; but you'll also associate yourself with a deeply unpopular president, and alienate voters who aren't aligned with Obama's most unflinchingly loyal voting bloc.  Quite a dilemma.  Solution?  Resort to grotesque racial attacks to scare black voters.  In Texas, Wendy Davis is pretending that Greg Abbott might oppose interracial marriage, which would be disgusting enough even he weren't...in an interracial marriage himself.  In North Carolina, a pro-Hagan group plastered churchgoers' cars with fliers warning that a Republican Senate would mean the impeachment of Barack Obama, using imagery of a lynching as a backdrop.  Beneath contempt.  And now the Democratic Party of Georgia (not an outside group, mind you, the official party) is seeking to spur turnout among African-Americans with fliers invoking the racially-charged shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.  In addition to the fear-mongering content, it makes naked appeals to 'race loyalty' in the voting booth:



Vote your skin color (*cough* Democrat *cough*) unless, of course, you want more unarmed black teenagers shot to death and "left in a pool of blood in the street."  Georgia Democrats' chairman has defended the flier, arguing that it's really all about job training and education, or something:

"It’s about opportunity. Are you going to be in situations more like that? I mean, that’s when you don’t have people having the opportunity for jobs or to participate in their community and the opportunity to grow. When you have communities like that that are stagnant — that’s what we’re getting to in Georgia — and when you offer people the HOPE grant to get retrained, or the fundamentals in education so we can get our dropout rate down. That very much of what that climate is, is what we’re trying to change here.”

Oh, it's "about opportunity," alright. Just not the kind he's talking about.  Extra points for name-checking something called a HOPE grant in the context of justifying undisguised race-baiting.  Incidentally, Democrats' Ferguson linkage comes as Michael Brown's official autopsy appears to corroborate the officer's account of the shooting -- even as it may not necessarily be exculpatory beyond the initial struggle and shots.  The newly-released evidence also calls into doubt the oft-repeated incantation that Brown was shot in the back, with his hands in the air.  But these details are 100 percent irrelevant as far as Democrats' political purposes are concerned.  Meanwhile, Freudian projection is on full display, as noted by Allahpundit.  Obama's running around accusing the GOP of 'peddling fear' while he and his party are sowing fright on every available front -- from Ferguson, to lynchings, to interracial marriage, to birth control, to secretive billionaires, to domestic abuse, to the end of civilization.  I'll leave you with a letter to the editor penned by an African-American gentleman in North Carolina who is fed up with Democrats' tactics:

I am a 59-year-old African American man, born and raised in Jacksonville, and now living with my family in New Bern. I am insulted by the arrogance of the Democratic candidates during this election because they talk to us through their advertisements as if we are stupid...I was shocked to hear the radio commercial that featured a couple of ladies suggesting the Republicans were trying to take away the rights of African Americans to vote. The voter ID initiative,(if that’s what they’re referring to) is to preserve the integrity of the vote, and a photo ID can be acquired for free through the North Carolina DMV...These things do not invoke trust within me or many of my friends for the current Obama administration. The Democrats are spending an awful lot of money on negative ads designed to discredit Republicans. Why would anyone choose that kind of strategy over one that highlights their own accomplishments? Thank you for allowing me to voice this opinion.

Well said.  Democrats ferociously oppose voter ID laws -- which are overwhelmingly popular with the public -- because, frankly, the party machine doesn't have a problem with voter fraud, which they insist isa "myth" (something I've addressed here and here).  One man's fraud is another's "putting votes to good use:"



Tillis: ‘Sen. Hagan Is Going To Lose On November 4th’

Before North Carolina State House Speaker Thom Tillis embarked on a road trip to thank and address supporters and volunteers at the various victory centers across the state, I was able to have a brief interview with the GOP Senate hopeful who has Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan fighting for her political life.

The first concern some have in this race–and others across the country–is the gender gap. Tillis is trailing women voters by double-digits–and faring worse with single women. Yet, Tillis didn’t seem worried about it, telling Townhall how he felt:

“Good about our position in areas across the board. If you go out to rural North Carolina, you go out into areas of the state we feel like we have the foundation to win–that we have enough to win. In North Carolina, races are typically decided by single digit margins so you are always going to be fighting for a few percentage points on one side or the other; President Obama did; Governor Romney did. So, it’s more of a matter of being disciplined and getting our message out–and withstanding the tens of millions of dollars that Sen. Hagan and Harry Reid have dumped into this state."

In the polls, Tillis was trailing Hagan by a slim 4 points, but seems to have erased that lead. Recent surveys from the New York Times, USA Today, and High Point University have this race tied or with Hagan leading by 1 point.

With ISIS and national security issues becoming more prominent on the campaign trail, did this shift contribute to Tillis catching up with Hagan? Is this the return of the “security moms?” While it seems that way, especially with Hagan admitting to skipping an Armed Services hearing to fundraise last February, the rise of ISIS, and the Obama administration’s noticeable torpor in reacting to the Ebola crisis; Tillis was confident that the polls began to show movement in his direction regardless of the help he’s received on the national security front. For most of the summer, he was unable to campaign as aggressively due to the state legislature being in session.

"I think if you take a look at the polls from the perspective of dropping off some of the lagging indicators of the mid-summer when they had a 3 or 4 to 1 advantage in spending, and you start looking at polls that started after the legislative session ended; virtually every poll showed movement in our direction. The polls this past week had us dead even in one poll, slightly ahead in another poll, and these were polls that had us down before so they were not some sort of upstart; they were people who had been in the mix before. So, I think what you’re seeing is just–as you get closer to the election; as people become more focused on the issues; we’re seeing the undecided voters and the voters most likely to vote siding with us. And we just have to continue to get that message out."

In Virginia, one criticism I heard from conservatives was that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli should have resigned his office as attorney general to concentrate solely on beating Democrat–and now governor–Terry McAuliffe. So, would Speaker Tillis be leading in the polls if he has resigned as State House Speaker? He told Townhall he disagreed with that narrative.

"I don’t think so. I had a two-year commitment that I made; I think that a lot of the legislative initiatives required strong leadership to get them done. I think some of the things that we were working on in this session, particularly around job creation and improving our economy may have not gone to the level that they did under my leadership. And quite honestly, it was my primary job. This is a future job–and I feel very strongly that I needed to live up to my obligations; so I don’t think so."

"I think it would have been a different set of issues, but I think we would have been there; we never expected because of the money advantage–with labor unions and Harry Reid and liberal interests that was going to be there whether or not I was in session. We never really expected in the summer to be ahead. What should be troubling to Sen. Hagan is to have spent tens of millions of dollars and never to be able to get over 44 percent. She’s a sitting senator; generally speaking if you can get to 50 percent as a sitting senator either because of your results or because of the money to try and prop up your results; it’s a problem. That’s why Sen. Hagan is going to lose on November 4th."

Mr. Tillis was running late to his next event, but my other question would have been the role of his humble upbringing in this race. Voters like candidates who are authentic; people who have experienced socioeconomic struggles and have triumphed over it. 

It’s also part of this nameless, faceless neo-populist wave that’s emerging across the country. Thom Tillis fits that mold. After contacting Tillis’ press secretary, Meghan Burris, she provided Townhall with a statement from the GOP hopeful:

"I was born into a working class family with five brothers and sisters. We knew from the very beginning that success in life would be achieved through hard work and dedication. I didn't have the luxury of going to college after high school, and instead worked my way up the corporate ladder from a minimum wage job in a warehouse to a partner at IBM. I struggled to make ends meet as I raised a family and finally earned my degree at the age of 36. I was fortunate enough to realize my American Dream - and that's why I'm running for the U.S. Senate. I will go to work on day one to help provide opportunities for Americans to be able to realize and achieve their own dreams and make our nation great again."

With Election Day just two weeks away, we'll find out soon enough.