Jon Karl

CNN’s John King Mocks Jay Carney’s Spin on Benghazi Emails

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CNN host John King had some fun with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s spin on why the administration didn’t previously release an email that relayed talking points to then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to hit on Sunday talk shows in which questions about Benghazi would be asked.

“[I]f you look at the document in question here, it is not about Benghazi,” Carney told ABC News correspondent Jon Karl on Wednesday, “it is about the protests around the Muslim world outside of U.S. embassies, and what we know about them and what we should say about them based on our policies.

Karl had asked Carney why the White House and administration didn’t release an email written by then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes that contained talking points.

King mocked Carney’s explanation. “I don’t know how — and I don’t have two hands. I don’t know how you can say this is not about Benghazi,” the CNN host said. “I can’t understand why the White House did this, because if you released it with all the others you could say Ben Rhodes, when he wrote this document was following, if you look at the timeline, a previous email that came over from the CIA saying here are the talking points.”

“So they could release this and people could say it was wrong, people could say its misleading and be done with it a year ago. Now people are saying, why are you hiding this?” he added.

Jay Carney: Benghazi talking points “not about Benghazi”

Jay Carney

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the reason the Obama administration didn’t turnover a September 2012 email with talking points for then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is because the “document was not about Benghazi.”

“Why were you holding back this information? Why was this email not turned over to the Congress? Why was it not released when you released all the other emails?” ABC News correspondent Jon Karl asked Carney. “This is directly relevant. Why did you hold this back?”

“Jon, I can say it again and again, and I know you can keep asking again and again,” Carney replied. “This document was not about Benghazi.”

“It was her prep for the, for the Sunday shows,” Karl noted, to which Carney replied, “It wasn’t her only prep, Jon. She relied on her — for her answers on Benghazi, on the document prepared by the CIA, as did members of Congress.”

Nate Silver: 60% chance Republicans takeover the Senate

Jon Karl and Nate Silver

Election guru Nate Silver says that Republicans are likely to win the net-six seats that they need to take control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, noting that they could pick up as many as 11 seats in the chamber.

In a segment with ABC’s This Week, Silver, who runs the statistics website FiveThirtyEight, told Jon Karl that Republicans will take open seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. He believes that Republicans are likely to take Arkansas, pointing out that polls have shown Republicans “pretty consistently ahead.”

Silver, who accurately predicted outcome in all 50 states in the 2012 presidential election, gives Republicans a 55% shot of taking Louisiana and an even shot of winning in North Carolina. If Republicans win each of those three seats, plus the three aforementioned open seats, they would take control of the Senate.

Silver also gives Republicans a 45% shot of winning in Alaska. He gives lesser odds of the GOP taking Michigan and Colorado, races that are being watch closely by political analysts with buzz building about a “Republican wave.”

“This is the drum roll,” said Karl. “Republicans need six seats. What’s the projection, how many are they going to pick up?”

“I’d say exactly six,” Silver replied, “but it’s probably six, plus or minus five,” acknowledging that Republicans “could” pick up as many as 11 seats in the most extreme “wave election” scenario.

Jay Carney: Obamacare “absolutely worth it” even if Dems lose the Senate

Facing the very real prospect of losing control of the Senate in this year’s mid-term election, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the passing Obamacare is “absolutely” worth the political costs Democrats may pay in the upcoming mid-term election.

“[T]he answer is, it is absolutely worth it, no matter what happens politically,” Carney told Jonathan Karl on ABC’s This Week. “I just disagree that Republicans are going to have a winning issue on this, if they decide to run on it, because they’ve got to explain what repeal means.”

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have been resistant to any attempts by Republicans to alter or delay parts of the law, even proposals as basic as codifying the administration’s delay of the employer mandate provision and ensuring the security of Healthcare.gov users’ personal information.

Ted Cruz: Sorry I’m not sorry

In an interview that aired yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stood by the “defund Obamacare” strategy and blamed President Barack Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for the impasse that led to the government shutdown in October.

Much of the interview focused on the unusual way in which Cruz has been able to gain influence and his relationship with House conservatives. But the key comments came when ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who conducted the interview, asked the Texas senator if he thought that his tactics were a mistake in hindsight.

“I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” Cruz said, adding later the media was largely responsible for the belief that Republicans shutdown the federal government.”

Karl was openly contemptuous of Cruz’s comments, telling him that the “only reason why this happened is because you insisted.” But the Texas conservative, who was in contention for Time’s Person of the Year, wouldn’t waiver, despite criticism from his fellow Republicans and political pundits.

Obamacare’s bogus paper application process

After the well-publicized glitches and problems with the federal Obamacare exchange, President Barack Obama and administration officials told prospective enrollees not to worry, telling them that they could still sign-up for coverage by phone or submit paper applications.

But it turns out that this was a just a ruse, as many suspected. Jon Karl of ABC News reported earlier this week, citing memos from the Obama Administration, that the paper and phone application process uses the same system that as the website, meaning that they’re not moving any quicker than web-based applications (emphasis added):

A series of internal Obama administration memos obtained exclusively by ABC News reveal for the first time how dysfunction with HealthCare.gov has upended the entire Affordable Care Act enrollment process, including applications by paper and phone that officials have been pushing as more reliable alternatives.
[…]
“The same portal is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is submitted (paper, online),” reads a Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight memo from Oct. 11.

“The paper applications allow people to feel like they are moving forward in the process and provides another option,” it says. “At the end of the day, we are all stuck in the same queue.”

White House hints at individual mandate delay

Jay Carney

During the daily press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t answer a simple question about the problems plaguing the federal exchange website in relation to the individual mandate.

Jon Karl of ABC News asked Carney if the White House would delay the individual mandate due to the problems with the federal exchange. Carney deflected initially, leading Karl to fire back, “Well, why not? Why not delay? You are going to charge people a fine for not enrolling.”

Carney went into a long-winded, deflective answer in which he said that people who are in a state that hasn’t expanded Medicaid won’t be hit the individual mandate tax and that the administration is focused on implementing the law.

“We’re three weeks into a six month enrollment period,” Carney told Karl. “Our focus is on making the Affordable Care Act work and making sure Americans have access to these plans, not on figuring out whose to blame for a problem that clearly exists and we need to fix.”

The individual mandate is a provision of ObamaCare that requires Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax. The tax in 2014 will $95 or 1% of gross income, which ever is greater. It increases each year thereafter. This unpopular provision is considered to be the heart of the law at the Obama Administration hopes that young and healthy Americans will sign up for coverage to offset insurance costs on the sick and elderly.


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