Josh Kraushaar

Republicans win a special election — and complete control of the 2014 narrative

Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid

While we should be cautious to read too much into a special election, there’s no denying that the Republican victory last night in Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District (FL-13) is bad news for Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election, regardless of how they try to deflect it.

The spin from Democrats is that FL-13 had long-been held by Republicans and the district has a Republican tilt, albeit very slight, at R+2. This is true. But talking points miss some very important points.

First, this is a district twice won by President Barack Obama, so it’s more friendly to Democrats than they want to admit. Secondly, Democrats had the money advantage. Alex Sink, who lost last night, overwhelmingly outraised and outspent her Republican opponent, former lobbyist David Jolly, and outside groups backing the Democrat slightly outspent those backing the Republican candidate.

Third, Jolly was a lobbyist, and that point was frequently brought up by Sink and outside groups backing her campaign. Despite being pegged in populist rhetoric as a Washington insider, Jolly managed to win.

Administration lowers Obamacare website expectations, hopes to enroll 80% of users

Facing a self-imposed November 30 deadline to fix the problematic federal Obamacare exchange,, the Obama Administration is now hoping that 80% of users will be able to enroll without issue:

The Obama administration will consider the new federal insurance marketplace a success if 80 percent of users can buy health-care plans online, according to government and industry officials familiar with the project.

The goal for how many people should be able to make it through the insurance exchange is an internal target that administration officials have not made public. It acknowledges that as many as one in five Americans who try to use the Web site to buy insurance will be unable to do so.
The goal is that 80 percent of people going to should manage to enroll electronically — but that means that many others, perhaps tens of thousands, will not succeed. It puts more pressure on the administration to fix technical problems that have made it difficult for people to sign up for coverage by other routes, including federally sponsored call centers and the insurers themselves.

Administration officials acknowledge that until recently, they had no concrete definition for how well should work, but they say one would not have made sense before the site went live Oct. 1.

Herman Cain directly addresses allegations

After taking heat from his fellow candidates and conservatives, Herman Cain finally addressed, in a very direct manner, the allegations of sexual harassment by several women that have be raised in the last week:

Addressing the controversy before a throng of reporters in suburban Phoenix, Cain said he had no recollection of ever meeting Sharon Bialek, the woman who went public Monday and accused him of groping her in a car after the two dined together in Washington 14 years ago. Cain called her account “baseless, bogus and false” and said Bialek and three other women who have accused him of sexual harassment are part of a coordinated effort to attack his character and derail his campaign.

“We are not going to allow Washington or politics to deny me the opportunity to represent this great nation,” Cain said, adding that he would be willing to take a lie-detector test. “As far as these accusations causing me to back off and maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race — ain’t gonna happen.”

Cain’s campaign is taking the Bill Clinton approach by trying to tear down her credibility by pointing out her past financial and legal issues. But as Allahpundit notes over at Hot Air, this falls flat:

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