WH: C'mon, Obama Isn't 'Tearing Up the Constitution' on Executive Amnesty

The Washington Post's editorial board, not known for its staunch conservatism, has been warning the White House for months against implementing the executive amnesty President Obama is expected to announce tonight.  In August, the Post published a stern house editorial that laid out the stakes and Constitutional context of the administration's then-rumored action:

Congress is a mess. But that doesn’t grant the president license to tear up the Constitution. As Mr. Obama himself said last fall: “If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws.” To act on his own, the president said, would violate those laws. Mr. Obama now seems to be jettisoning that stance in the name of rallying his political base. He is considering extending temporary protection from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants, including the parents of U.S.-born children and others who have lived in the United States for years. Conceivably, this would give Democrats a political boost in 2016. Just as conceivably, it would trigger a constitutional showdown with congressional Republicans, who could make a cogent argument that Mr. Obama had overstepped his authority.

Confronted with this stark assessment on MSNBC's Morning Joe, White House adviser Jennifer Palmieri laughed off the criticism (presidential spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday that Obama sees "emperor" criticisms as a "badge of honor").  We're not tearing up the Constitution, she said with a grin -- adding that the administration's stab at a legal justification for this action will be revealed after the policy has been announced:

During a follow-up question from Scarborough, co-host Mika Brzezinski interjects a comment about the president's own assessments on the legality of this move.  She's referring to the many, many times Obama has explained that he lacks the authority to do the very thing he's going to do in a few hours. You'll be seeing this WFB video a lot around here as the executive power grab debate unfolds:

Palmieri, by the way, deflected the question and retrained her focus on helping illegal immigrants, saying, "after two years, there's just no credible reason to continue to ask these people to wait." The 'these people' in that sentence refers, if I'm not mistaken, to immigrants who came to the US illegally as adults. I'm not sure how many Americans will be swayed by the argument that the United States owes millions of illegal immigrants closure as soon as possible, and that it's immoral for them to "wait" until, say, Congress passes a law -- which is how our system works.  (See Obama, above).  Earlier we asked how the GOP might respond to Obama's decree (and here's an example of how they shouldn't).  Sen. Mitch McConnell delivered a sober floor speech this morning, attacking the White House's policy, warning about the larger separation of powers issue at play, and issuing a nonspecific warning that Congress will retaliate in some fashion:

“If the President truly follows through on this attempt to impose his will unilaterally, he will have issued a rebuke to his own stated view of democracy...the action the President is proposing isn’t about solutions. It isn’t about compassion. It seems to be about what a political party thinks would make for good politics. It seems to be about what a President thinks would be good for his legacy. Those are not the motivations that should be driving such sweeping action. And I think the President will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward. Because the plan he’s presenting is more than just, as the President himself has acknowledged, an overreach — it’s also unfair. What does the President have to say to the countless aspiring immigrants who’ve spent years waiting patiently in line? To the people who’ve played by all the rules? Where is his compassion for them?...If President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act. We’re considering a variety of options. But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act.

This is a very serious issue, and it requires a serious, level-headed response. Among the challenges facing Republicans in reacting appropriately is the fawning news coverage this action will receive in many quarters, especially in the Spanish-language media: "A triumph."

Jay Leno Spokesman Falsely Claims NSSF Didn't Pay Comedian Before Cancelled SHOT Show Appearance

Last night comedian Jay Leno announced he was pulling out of a scheduled performance at the 2015 National Shooting Sports Foundation State of the Industry dinner on January 20 in Las Vegas. The decision was made after heavy public pressure from liberal media outlets and anti-gun groups funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

In justifying the cancellation, Leno's team claimed in the New York Daily News they never received any funds for the upcoming appearance. 

“Jay was asked to do what was positioned as a sportsman show, and when he found out it was a pro gun lobby show, he cancelled,” Leno’s spokesman Bruce Bobbins said in an interview with the Daily News Wednesday night. “There was no money involved at this point, and if there was any, he would return it." 

Bobbins' claim that there was "no money was involved at this point" is untrue. According to documentation, a 50 percent deposit in the amount of $82,500 was wired to Leno on August 5, 2014. 

Further according to NSSF, every press release, blog, ad, email blast and website material that mentioned Leno or had Leno's likeness on it was approved by his team before publishing or advertisement. 

Counter to Bobbins' claim, there was a lot of money involved and therefore, according to his own statement, should be returned.

Conservatives Descend on Louisiana for Cassidy...No Unity Rallies for Mary Landrieu

This weekend, I’ll be down in the Bayou State reporting on the last leg of the Senate race between Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and her GOP opponent Bill Cassidy. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will be the latest conservative leader to lend his voice to Cassidy and his attempt to unseat the incumbent Democrat.

Rubio joins a list of prominent conservatives who have endorsed or stumped for Cassidy, including former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), will appear with Cassidy next weekend in North Louisiana.

On the other side of the political fence, Democrats have abandoned Mary Landrieu. No unity rallies appear to be on her schedule, she’s received little to no help from the DSCC or outside groups, and she’s certainly getting no visit from Hillary Clinton this time around. Her campaign headquarters may as well be a ghost town.

Because of her support of Obamacare, Landrieu is also getting hit with a new attack ad linking her to Jonathan Gruber - you know, the Obamacare architect who thinks you're 'stupid.' 

Yet, Landrieu is full steam ahead. Recently, she put all her efforts into passing the Keystone XL pipeline, legislation which Rachel Maddow pointed out had been sponsored by Cassidy. Therefore, Landrieu was essentially promoting her opponent’s bill. Those efforts were all for naught, however, as she failed to get the last vote she needed to get it through the Senate.

A new poll released Wednesday shows Landrieu in deep trouble. Like double digit trouble. It’s for reasons like these that Democrats have called for Landrieu to bow out of the race. Landrieu is ignoring them and sticking around for the long haul. “Stubborn” comes to mind.

Will Louisianans elect Cassidy and finally end the Landrieu dynasty? Or will they extend the Democrat’s 18-year reign? We’ll find out December 6th.

Stay tuned for coverage from this Saturday’s unity rally for Bill Cassidy in Kenner, LA, headlined by Sen. Rubio.

Sorry, Liberals: Voter ID Laws Don’t Really Impact Election Results

If there’s one thing that gets liberals blinded with rage, it’s voter ID laws. There was a whole panel dedicated to this issue at the progressive Netroots Nation last summer, where panelists agreed that this is the latest evolution of Jim Crow laws. But is it impacting elections?

Nate Cohn at the New York Times wrote that such laws don’t really sway elections. Granted, there are some issues with voter databases that could prevent someone with a valid ID from voting. Yet, these errors also inflate the number of voters who are labeled as not having proper identification. Additionally, it’s hyperbolic to say these laws suppress the vote since the demographics that could potentially be disproportionately impacted don’t vote often anyway:

These figures overstate the number of voters who truly lack identification. Those without ID are particularly unlikely to vote. And many who do vote will vote Republican. In the end, the seemingly vast registration gaps dwindle, leaving enough voters to decide only elections determined by fractions of a point.

To begin with, the true number of registered voters without photo identification is usually much lower than the statistics on registered voters without identification suggest. The number of voters without photo identification is calculated by matching voter registration files with state ID databases. But perfect matching is impossible, and the effect is to overestimate the number of voters without identification.

Take Texas, a state with a particularly onerous voter ID law. If I register to vote as “Nate” but my ID says “Nathan,” I might be counted among the hundreds of thousands of registered voters without a photo ID. But I’ll be fine at the polling station on Election Day with a name that’s “substantially similar” to the one on file.

The demographic profile of voters without identification — young, nonwhite, poor, immobile, elderly — is also similar to the profile of voters who turn out at low rates. It’s also possible that the voter file is the issue. Some people voted in past elections, but have moved since and haven’t been purged from the voter file, even though their ID may have expired (if they had one in the first place). Some elderly voters might just be dead and not yet removed from the voter rolls.

The article also notes that some of these folks that don’t have IDs are Republicans, but those without identification are mostly breaking for Democrats. Still, it’s not enough to decide anything but an extremely close election. Moreover, it’s not like Democrats have been unable to win states with voter ID laws; Cohn aptly noted that Obama won Indiana in 2008.

Concerning the American people, voter ID laws are immensely popular across the political spectrum. In Texas, 67 percent support their voter ID laws. A Fox News poll from May of 2014 found that 70 percent, including 55 percent of Democrats, support laws that protect the integrity of our elections.

In July of 2013, when parts of the Voting Rights Acts were struck down as unconstitutional, Marist asked: “Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing if election laws were changed to do each of the following: Require voters to show identification in order to vote?”

There was 70+ percent approval across the board; regions, political ideology, political affiliation, income, sex, and race all said such were a good thing. One statistic that stood out was 65 percent of those describing themselves as “very liberal” approved of voter ID laws.

If there is one thing that’s preventing Americans from voting, it’s not voter ID laws; it’s the lack of resources at polling stations in predominantly minority voting districts.

Now, take what you will from that narrative, but it’s clear the voter ID laws are popular–and they’re not really deciding elections.

Even President Obama said on Al Sharpton’s radio show last October that voter ID laws are not preventing minorities from voting. 

"Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don't vote from voting. Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver's license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient' it may be a little more difficult."

MSNBC to Amnesty Supporters: "You're Sensitive. You Care. Your Heart Is Open!"

Some deep, compassionate, heart-felt emoting from MSNBC's hyphenated beta-male, Jose Diaz-Balart.

Viva Las Vegas: Obama's Trip to Nevada An Effort to Save Reid

Bumper stickers with the words "Harry Reid Doesn't Represent This Nevadan" flourish on the rear-end of cars throughout the Silver State.

Soon to be Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), is very unpopular in Nevada. The latest poll taken in July by Harper Polling had him at 41 percent approval among constituents. He barely kept his seat in 2010 and is bound to be defeated in 2016 if rumors are true that beloved Nevada governor, Republican Brian Sandoval, will run against him.

As President Obama makes his way to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas tomorrow after announcing his immigration plan tonight on primetime television, Nevada was the most strategic place to rally support for his executive action. 

And why not knock out two birds with one stone? This trip to Vegas will also help Senator Reid who's popularity is in free fall.

Nevada has the nation’s largest share (8 percent) of unauthorized immigrants, according to Pew Research. There are 210,000 undocumented immigrants living in Nevada, comprising 10 percent of the state's labor force.

In 2010, Reid won 90 percent of the Latino vote. If he wants to win in 2016, he needs to ensure Latinos have his back. By supporting President Obama's immigration reform (regardless of what the president says tonight, odds are Reid will follow him without hesitation), Reid can start to rally support from the Latino voting community (which is about 16 percent of Nevada's eligible voters) in anticipation of a tough race in 2016. 

I can picture it now. Tomorrow in Las Vegas, Reid will be on stage behind President Obama, grinning ear to ear. 

The Official White House Talking Points for Obama's Amnesty

Buzzfeed has obtained and posted a series of talking points the White House is circulating among Capitol Hill Democrats before President Obama's amnesty announcement tonight. A full uninterrupted version of the document is posted below, but first here are some ideas on how conservatives should respond to Obama's propaganda:

Obama's executive action on immigration is the antithesis of "ensuring everyone plays by the same set of rules." 

He is concocting arbitrary lines out of thin air that separate illegal immigrants worthy of work permits and Social Security numbers, from those who get nothing. 

Why should parents of legal residents get benefits but not parents of DACA recipients? Why should an illegal immigrant who entered the country before 2007 be eligible for DACA but not one who entered in 2008? 

All of these illegal immigrants will be forced to play under very different sets of rules, rules completely made up by Obama.

Nothing in Obama's plan will hold illegal immigrants accountable for breaking the law in any way. There are no fines, penalties, or back taxes to be paid. 

Obama has previously admitted on over 20 occasions that his current executive action is lawless. 

Most damning, on July 25, 2011, Obama told the National Council of La Raza, "That's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.” 

Obama already issued a lawful order in 2011, the Morton memo, the prioritized deporting felons not families. But that was not enough for amnesty advocates. They want work permits, Social Security numbers, and driver's licenses for all illegal immigrants. That is what Obama's new amnesty give millions of them.

Obama's new amnesty completely kills any possibility of a compromise immigration bill with Congress and Obama knows it.

Completely false. No president has ever issued a unilateral amnesty decree of this size and scope. Yes, many past presidents have protected smaller, specific immigrant groups after natural disasters or political upheaval in their home countries. But no president has ever tried to enact by fiat what Congress has specifically rejected by law. 

1. Illegal immigrants not only already can pay taxes, but most do
2. Again, there is zero accountability for any illegal immigrants here. No one is being asked to pay fines, penalties, or back taxes for breaking the law.
3. Again, the 2011 Morton memo already put the focus on deporting felons, not families. What this amnesty does is give illegal immigrants work permits, Social Security numbers, and driver's licenses.

1. No president has ever enacted an amnesty of this size and scope unilaterally
2. Once given, legal status is almost never rescinded. It is very difficult to takeaway someone's benefits once they have been granted.
3. Nothing Congress can pass, other than a measure to defund the program, could possibly override Obama's action. Obama's legal theory rests entirely on his inherent "prosecutorial discretion" power as president. Since Obama's claimed power comes from his office, and not from statute, there is no law Congress could write to override it. The only way to contain Obama's abuse of power is through Congress' power over the purse.

1. If Obama wants to give every illegal immigrant in the country a background check, nothing is stopping him. That he has perfect legal authority to do already.
2. Again, all illegal immigrants are perfectly able to pay taxes already and many do.
3. If Obama insists on shutting down the federal government to protect his work permit and Social Security number giveaway, that is his choice. He is the one instigating a Constitutional crisis.

Here is the full letter:

Wow: Four Networks to Pass on Obama's Historic Amnesty Address

That is to say, they won’t cover it live. The Hill reports:

Three major networks will not air President Obama's prime-time address Thursday outlining his executive actions on immigration.

Officials with ABC, CBS and Fox confirmed to The Hill that Obama's 8 p.m. speech from the White House will not be carried on their networks. CNN reported that NBC would not be carrying the address either. Cable news networks are expected to carry the address, as is the Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo.

Why? In part because the White House did not give them advanced notice, and in part because the major news networks are in the business of making money:

A source at one of the major networks told The Hill that the White House did not officially request prime-time coverage on the networks Thursday, a big night for ratings given popular shows on several networks, including ABC’s “Shondaland” schedule of shows created by producer Shonda Rhimes.

As a business decision, this seems like a no-brainer. Ratings will be much higher carrying “popular shows” than another groan-inducing and "prime time" presidential address. And furthermore, since at least two Spanish-language networks will pick up President Obama’s remarks, this isn’t a total disaster.

“Given their allies in all the right places,” Hot Air’s Noah Rothman recently observed, “it’s hard to imagine that the White House is exactly inconsolable over their snub by the broadcast networks.”

Indeed. If viewers who regularly watch these networks tune in (as they almost certainly will), the news of the president’s executive amnesty will reach its intended audience. Of course, this isn't an ideal situation, but nor is it a terrible one, either.

For what it’s worth, I’ll leave you with this video released today by House Republicans. It’s called “Stop Acting Alone”:

How Should Republicans Respond to Obama's Executive Amnesty?

By now you know that this move is no longer hypothetical; it's officially coming. Tonight.  The president's power grab is unpopular with the public, even with a favorably-worded poll question from NBC, and becomes even more lopsided when properly framed as a separation-of-powers issue.  Team Obama doesn't care, evidently, and this is why:

How can elected Republicans express their justifiable outrage over the president's dangerous broadside against our Constitutional order (that's how Obama himself routinely and correctly cast this move until recently) without falling into the political trap of coming across as intemperate and hostile to Latinos (which is how much of the media is eager to cover all of this)?  National Review's Charles Cooke dispensed some wise, broad-strokes advice on Twitter yesterday, advising the GOP to control its tone, make clear that this principle transcends the issue of immigration, and 'calmly but firmly' explain the institutional peril at play:

Cooke admits that he's in furious "pitchforks" mode, but he recognizes that boiling over in anger plays into Obama's hands.  He also recommends that Republicans ask their Hispanic members to lead the public charge against the executive action, as cynical and unseemly as that may seem.  On a policy level, Conn reported on a "rescission" de-funding option some Congressional Republicans are considering -- a plan that some conservatives are rejecting as insufficient.  Allahpundit is urging the GOP to explicitly spell out precisely how a Republican president might apply Obama's abusive precedent to achieve domestic policy goals that would have liberals shrieking with rage.  The always thoughtful Pete Wehner surveys Republicans' options and renders fairly similar advice to Cooke's, albeit with a few more specifics:

Because I believe that what the president is about to do is egregious–constitutionally and institutionally, as an aggressive attack on the role of Congress and the separation of powers–I’m open to all sorts of recourses. Certainly Republicans in Congress need to respond in some manner. Those advocating a government shutdown aren’t being moronic or irresponsible; they want to protect our constitutional form of government. But neither are those who are warning against a shutdown being weak, impotent, or cowardly. It’s a matter on which intelligent people can disagree. If you believe as I do that a government shutdown would in the end hurt more than help the conservative cause–that it simply won’t achieve its aim and it will cause collateral damage in the process–the obvious thing to do is to shift the fight onto terrain that is more favorable to the GOP. Republicans should therefore amass all the actions at their disposal to inflict maximum damage on Mr. Obama while not walking into his government shutdown trap.

I wonder, for example, whether Republicans might simply refuse to act on the president’s judicial and Cabinet nominees unless and until he undoes his (forthcoming) executive action. Can similar steps be taken on a range of other issues? Can Republicans basically hit the “off” switch when it comes to the normal procedures and cooperation that takes place between a president and Congress, regardless of which party is in control? It does strike me that we are facing an exceptional situation; that the president is inviting this needless confrontation and that he needs to pay quite a high price for it. It won’t be as high as many of us wish, but we have to adjust around that fact. The challenge for conservatives is to act in ways that are wise and realistic; that are guided not by fury but by clear thinking; and that ultimately persuade people to our point of view. We need calm, sober, intelligent, and enlightened individuals who can advance the arguments for constitutionalism and the rule of law. Because right now we have a president who is subverting both.

And once again, the "plenty of precedent" argument the Left is already employing is deliberately tendentious and distortive. Via the Free Beacon, I'll leave you with President Obama, constitutional scholar, explaining in 2012 why he lacks the authority to execute the exact action he's going to announce tonight.  "That's just not the case"


In Cowardly Move, Jay Leno Cancels SHOT Show Appearance After Pressure From Bloomberg's Anti-Gun Goon Squad

Comedian Jay Leno was scheduled to perform at the annual National Shooting Sports Foundation 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas on January 20, but after unwarranted pressure from Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun goons, Leno has dropped out despite hundreds of tickets to his event already being sold.

"We are clearly disappointed by Jay Leno's decision not to perform at the 2015 SHOT Show State of the Industry Dinner. He unilaterally cancelled his promised appearance due to pressure from the anti-gun lobby, which included false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety, which we attempted to personally correct with him, but to no avail. We are not deterred by their publicity seeking nor are we unfamiliar with the bullying political tactics of the gun control groups that seem to have as little respect for the First Amendment as they continually demonstrate with regard to the Second Amendment," NSSF released in a statement late last night. "We are proud of the many programs that we run that meaningfully contribute to public safety including our long standing Project ChildSafe and Don't Lie for the Other Guy initiatives in addition to our members everyday work in compliance with comprehensive federal and state laws. We will not allow the lawful commerce in firearms nor our industry to be demonized and we will continue to speak out for the Second Amendment rights of the millions of law-abiding citizens who are our customers. Despite Mr. Leno's cancellation, we look forward to having our biggest and best State of the Industry Dinner to date with a performer that respects the contributions of our industry and the customers it supports."

A record number of people attended the 2014 SHOT Show and pumped $73 million into the local Las Vegas economy over the course of just a few days. In partnership with the PGA the annual NSSF charity golf event, Birdies for the Brave, raised $100,000 for military homefront groups.

The 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas has come to an end and this year was the most popular year yet. According numbers released Friday from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a record 67,000 people attended this year's show, beating last year's numbers by 5,000. The event pumped $73 million into the Las Vegas economy. More than 1600 companies participated in the week long event, filling up 13-acres of space.

Earlier this year, Penn & Teller performed at the State of the Industry dinner and were a hit. It's a shame Leno let dishonest and elitist liberal stooges bully him into bailing out on a great event with some of America's best people. I look forward to NSSF finding a replacement for the 2015 show. 

Cruz: Senate Should Block Obama's Nominees Until He Rescinds Amnesty

As President Obama prepares to announce the overhaul of U.S. immigration law through executive fiat tonight in a prime-time address, Republicans are trying to come up with ways to either stop him or to push back against the move.

Last night on The Kelly File, Republican Ted Cruz called this a "moment of testing," said we are witnessing a constitutional crisis and suggested the Senate block all of President Obama's nominations, except for those crucial to national security, until he rescinds his executive order.  

"We are are witnessing is a constitutional crisis, what President Obama is doing is he's defying the law, he's defying the constitution," Cruz said. "If the President goes forward with this, if he goes forward with unilaterally defying the Congress elected by the people, defying the American voters, then it is incumbent on Republicans in Congress to use every single constitutional tool we have to defend the rule of law...this is a moment of testing and I am hopeful we will see Republicans in Congress stand up and side with the people against a lawless President." 

"The President is behaving in an unprecedented way. There is not in recent times any parallel for a President repudiated by the voters standing up and essentially telling the voters, 'go jump in a lake,' he's going to force his power," Cruz continued. "The new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should stand up and say, 'If you disregard the constitution, if you disregard the law, if you issue this executive amnesty, the new Congress for the next two years will not confirm a single nomination, judicial or executive other than vital national security positions until you end this illegal amnesty.' Now that's a big and dramatic step, it's never been done before in Congress but the framers put in place checks and balances and the confirmation power is a tremendously potent authority given to the Senate. The Senate majority leader has the unilateral ability to stand up and say, 'If you defy Congress, if you defy the American people none one of your nominees will get confirmed.'..We [also] need to use the power of the purse." 

Cruz also pushed back on rumors of a government shutdown reminded viewers that the only person pushing for a shutdown is President Obama.

Yesterday in an op-ed published in POLITICO, Cruz reminded the country that the President is not a monarch and therefore we shouldn't allow him to rule like one.

"When the president embraces the tactics of a monarch, it becomes incumbent on Congress to wield the constitutional power it has to stop it," Cruz wrote. "Congress, representing the voice of the people, should use every tool available to prevent the president from subverting the rule of law."

President Obama will make his announcement at 8 pm eastern from the White House. Townhall will have full coverage of his remarks.

LA Poll: Landrieu in Deep, Deep Trouble

The Keystone XL Pipeline didn’t pass. Democrats are pulling advertisements in the state. Several publications have all but declared her tenure in the Senate over. And now a new poll shows her down by double digits:

A new Louisiana survey released by Vox Populi Polling today found that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy leads Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu 53 to 42 percent, with 5 percent unsure. In addition, Cassidy is up big with Independents, winning with them 58 to 31 percent over Landrieu. Cassidy has seen a big bump after the Nov. 4 open primary. In our recent Oct. 13-14 survey, Cassidy led Landrieu 48 to 44 percent in a head-to-head, with 8 percent unsure.

Deliciously, her Keystone XL Pipeline gambit backfired. Badly:

On the heels of last night’s United States Senate vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline, it is interesting to note that voters aren’t moved by Mary Landrieu’s efforts to bring the legislation before the Senate for a floor vote. When asked if it made voters more likely to vote for the incumbent Democrat, 39 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Bill Cassidy and 32 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Mary Landrieu.

Remember, Cortney will be in Louisiana this weekend covering the Cassidy campaign. Be sure to follow her coverage and analysis of the race.

The runoff is scheduled for December 6th.

Does Anyone Stand Up for Middle/Working Class America Anymore?

Democrats are the party of the middle class; that’s an axiom liberal politicians and pundits pound away on the Sunday morning talk shows pervasively. Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal reiterated such sentiments at the liberal Netroots Nation last summer. Yet, is it still true?

One of the many reasons House Democrats are less than enthused about Rep. Nancy Pelosi remaining as House Minority leader is that they felt her messaging didn’t resonate with middle class voters.

As for the gender gap, Republicans in the most competitive races this cycle won women voters, split them equally, or lost by single digit margins. That’s not exactly an apocalyptic reading of the tealeaves.

I looked at the exits polls for women voters and those making $50k-$100k a year, which is a good range to represent the middle class vote, for all the competitive Senate and gubernatorial races this cycle.

Colorado Senate Race: Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R)

  • Udall wins women 52/44
  • $50k-$100k: Gardner takes middle class vote 57/40

Arkansas Senate Race: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R)

  • Cotton beats Pryor with women by 10 points 53/43
  • $50k-$100k: Cotton wins middle class vote 61/35

Kentucky Senate Race: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D)

  • McConnell actually ended up beating Grimes with women voters 50/47
  • $50k-$100k: McConnell easily beat Grimes with middle class voters 61/37

North Carolina Senate Race: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and Thom Tillis (R)

  • Hagan beat Tillis with women 54/42
  • $50k-$100k: Hagan lost the middle class vote, which she won in 2008, to Tillis 52/44.

Iowa Senate Race: Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst (R)

  • Braley and Ernst split women voters 49/49 respectively.
  • $50k-$100k: Ernst handily beat Braley with middle class voters 55/43

Alaska Senate Race: Sen. Mark Begich (D) and Dan Sullivan (R)

  • Begich slightly beat Sullivan with women voters 48/46; He won women 55/41 over Ted Stevens in 2008.
  • $50k-$100k: Sullivan won these voters 49/44 over Begich. In 2008, Begich pretty much split the vote with Stevens.

Virginia Senate Race: Sen. Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R)

  • Warner won women voters handily over Gillespie 55/43.
  • $50k-$100k: Gillespie won the middle class vote 54/44 over Warner. Warner, who won with 65 percent of the vote in 2008, barely won re-election with 0.4 percent of the vote. He also lost the coal counties and Loudon County in Northern Virginia, which went to Obama in 2008 and 2012.
  • If a little more money was spent in the Old Dominion, it’s possible that this could have been Republicans’ 10th senate pickup.

Louisiana Senate Race: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), and Rob Maness (R)

  • Women voters, who represented 56 percent of the electorate in Louisiana, split three ways, with Landrieu taking 48 percent of the vote, Cassidy took 36 percent, and Maness clinched 13 percent. Landrieu won the plurality, but, in all, 49 percent of women decided to throw their support behind a Republican.
  • $50k-$100k: With middle class voters, Landrieu took 39 percent, Cassidy got 43 percent, and Maness received 16 percent. Cassidy wins the plurality. Again, overall, 59 percent of middle class vote went to the Republicans.

Georgia Senate Race: Michelle Nunn (D) and David Perdue (R)

  • Nunn won women voters over Perdue 53/45.
  • $50k-$100k: With middle class voters, 52/46 broke for Perdue.

Kansas Senate Race: Sen. Pat Roberts (R), Greg Orman (I), and Randall Baston (L)

  • Roberts won women voters 50/46 over Orman; Baston clinched 4 percent of the vote.
  • $50k-$100k: Roberts managed to win 51 percent of the middle class vote, with Orman clinching 46 percent and Baston nabbing 3 percent.

Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Mary Burke (D)

  • Burke won women voters 54/45 over Walker.
  • $50k-$100k: Walker easily beat Burke with middle class voters 57/42.

Michigan Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and former Rep. Mark Schauer (D)

  • Women voters backed Schauer over Snyder 53/45.
  • $50k-$100k: Snyder won this demographic 52/47 over Schauer.

Illinois Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Bruce Rauner (R)

  • Women voters back Quinn 51/44 over Rauner.
  • $50k-$100k: Despite the Quinn campaign’s attempts to “Romney” Rauner over his wealth, he was able to beat Quinn 55/44 with middle class voters. Also, Rauner won 101 of Illinois’ 102 counties, which is a feat that has not been seen since 1994.

Georgia Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and Jason Carter (D)

  • Carter won women voters 52/46 over Deal.
  • $50k-$100k: Deal was able to clinch 52 percent of the middle class vote to Carter’s 46 percent.

Kansas Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Paul Davis (D)

  • Davis and Brownback virtually split both demographic down the middle. Davis slightly beat Brownback with women and middle class voters ($50k-$100k) 49/48.
  • Kansas is a weird state. While the state been dominated by Republicans virtually since the beginning, it has a vocal and effective moderate wing, which has been able to block conservative legislation when members of the state legislature vote with the Democrats.
  • Brownback ended up beating Davis 50/46, but not after nearly 200 sitting and former Kansas Republicans lawmakers endorsing him and Greg Orman; he survived what appears to be a revolt.

Florida Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Charlie Crist (D)

  • Crist won women voters and the middle class vote over Scott 49/47.

With the exception of Crist and Brownback, every Republican in these competitive gubernatorial and senate races won the middle class vote. It could be due to the fact that Democrats had no national message to rally around given President Obama’s dismal approval numbers. While critics can deride the results by saying the field in 2014 was much more favorable to Republicans, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alaska were not sure bets, despite Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alaska being states where Romney won by 10+ points or more in 2012.

In Iowa, the Democrats were incredibly effective in maximizing turnout in the 2008 and 2012 elections; they ended up winning the state in both years.

North Carolina is a state that splits right down the middle; Colorado has the same level of volatility regarding elections.

Virginia was a curveball given that this was supposed to be a Warner beat down, which never came to fruition on election night. Instead, he barely won re-election in a state that, like North Carolina, has become purple.

It seemed as if the middle class abandoned the Democrats. But do Democrats have some serious work ahead to win these voters? I take you back to Molly Ball’s piece in the Atlantic, where she noted that the GOP wins the over $50k demographic on a regular basis; based on national exit polls, the Democrats have only won the $50k-$100k voting bloc twice since 1994, once in 2006 and again in 2008; both being Democratic wave years.

OK, let’s include the working class, which expands the category to Americans who make less than $100k.

Senate Races

Alaska: 47/46 Begich

  1. Arkansas: 53/43 Cotton
  2. Colorado: 48/45 Gardner
  3. Georgia: 51/ 47 Nunn
  4. Iowa: 51/46 Ernst
  5. Kansas: 51/45/4 Roberts
  6. Kentucky: 53/43 McConnell
  7. Louisiana: 49/36/13 -> 49/49 Landrieu ties with GOP
  8. North Carolina: 51/44 Hagan

Gubernatorial Races:

  1. Florida: 50/44 Crist
  2. Illinois: 50/46 Quinn
  3. Kansas: 48/48 tie between Brownback and Davis
  4. Michigan: 51/48 Snyder
  5. Wisconsin: 50/48 Walker

So, even with the working class vote included, Republicans were able to either be competitive or win them outright. As you can see, overall, Democrats enjoy strong support with those making less than $50k a year, which explains how some of the comfortable leads Republicans had with the $50k-$100k demographic were chipped away. Yet, that’s mostly attributed to black and other minority working class voters; it’s the massive bloc of white working class voters that left the Democrats in droves.

Some liberals know they need work on winning the support of white working class voters, but others have dismissed it as a southern problem; that’s a monumental mistake.

In all, it looks like the Democrats, for all their economic populism, have hit a ceiling in their messaging. That being said, liberals are hoping to re-engage with this lost cohort that has drifted towards the Republicans. If not, winning future elections could become more difficult.

Then again, Republicans shouldn’t take this group for granted either. America’s working class is more diverse and has more characteristics to it that didn’t exist in the Reagan era (via Washington Monthly):

[I]f by blue-collar jobs we mean jobs that involve routine and repetitive tasks, require limited skills, are closely supervised, and offer no autonomy during working hours, then it turns out that half of all white male workers and 40 percent of white working women are blue collar. Far from working on factory floors, more and more workers are employed in service-sector jobs like health care, leisure and hospitality, and, particularly, professional and business services.

If Democrats cannot figure out how to appeal to today’s working-class voters, then they don’t deserve to lead. Nearly all of the people in these jobs have not seen a raise in years. The majority of them, who now work in the service sector—maids and housekeepers, waitresses and hostesses, cooks and dishwashers, counter attendants and ticket takers, janitors and hairdressers and child care workers—earn, on average, about $400 a week.

In some instances, today’s post-industrial members of the working class need the same things from government that their counterparts did in the industrial era: a safe workplace, affordable health care, and a sound pension system, for example. But other issues are comparatively new.

Female labor force participation now equals male participation. A majority of households are made up of unmarried couples and parents, and mothers are the sole or primary providers in 40 percent of American homes. All the issues surrounding the balancing of work and family life, including child care and pre-K education, speak directly to the needs of today’s working class.

As with anything in politics, nothing is permanent. Republicans may have benefitted from Democrats dropping the ball, but with this complex mesh of issues that makes up the new American working class; there are plenty of inroads Democrats can take.

CNN: 'Obama Promised Obamacare Wouldn't Do Exactly What Gruber Says it Will Do'

Earlier this year, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was caught dead-to-rights in a brazen lie that undermines the White House's legal stance in a critical Supreme Court case. In recent days, the Gruber cancer has spread. A string of videos emerged showing the MIT economist spewing venom at Obamacare opponents, candidly confirming numerous conservative critiques of Obamacare (on cost containment, "keep your plan," taxes, and redistribution), and gleefully celebrating the law's lack of transparency -- which he deemed a great political boon to Democrats, by allowing them to deceive "stupid" American voters. Democrats have clumsily attempted to disclaim Gruber as one of their own, disavowing his comments, and trying to downplay his role in shaping their unpopular law.  They've been exposed as frauds at every turn.  Gruber wasn't just an influential insider throughout the entire process; he was arguably the central policy cog in the Obamacare wheel.  Fox's Special Report broadcast an excellent review of Grubergate earlier in the week, and now CNN's Jake Tapper has added another unsparing report into the mix:

From Tapper's accompanying piece:

At a town hall meeting where he campaigned for health care legislation in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to voters that he did not want any tax on health insurance plans he perceived as wastefully generous to ever impact average Americans. But in recent comments by one of the men who helped draft the legislation, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, that is not only precisely what will happen -- but that was the intention of the tax. White House officials had no comment, despite repeated requests by CNN...Gruber said the only way those pushing for Obamacare could get rid of the tax subsidy for employer provider health insurance was to tax the more generous, or Cadillac, plans -- "mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it's a tax on people who hold those insurance plans." The second way was have the tax kick in "late, starting in 2018" and have its rate of growth tied to the consumer price index instead of to the much higher rate of medical inflation. Eventually, the 40% tax on the more expensive plans would impact every employer-provided insurance plan..."This was the only political way we were ever going to take on one of the worst public policies in America." By 2018, Gruber said, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the trillion dollars that repealing the tax will take from the U.S. Treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt. This is obviously exactly what Obama told voters in 2009 he had "taken off the table."

This White House embraces means-to-an-end lying, so "no comment" is about the best they can do.  Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, meanwhile, is suggesting that Grubergate is a Beltway "process" story that normal people don't care about, quasi-excusing the mainstream media's lack of feeding frenzy coverage.  The "process story" rule of thumb is true more often than not in DC, but I think there are some important distinctions in this case.  First off, there's the video of a top architect explicitly applauding the "lack of transparency" that allowed the law to pass, and disdaining the "stupidity" of normal people.  Boasting about lying and openly sneering at regular folks tends to strike a nerve.  That's personal, not process.  Secondly, this is a very unpopular law that is still actively hurting people (many more than it's helping, according to polls) and betraying promises.  Gruber admits in these clips that many more painful betrayals are on the way.  So this controversy amounts to another big strike against a law that most people already oppose.  That's very much relevant.  Finally, Gruber's comments may factor into SCOTUS' decision on federal subsidy eligibility, which has the strong potential of throwing the law into further chaos.  Should that occur, Gruber has provided Republicans with lots of ammunition for the inevitable political brawl in the ruling's aftermath.  I discussed one possible game plan for the GOP within that scenario here.

Poll: Many Latinos Disapprove of Obama's Executive Amnesty

A new NBC poll shows Latinos do not overwhelmingly support President Obama's decision to thwart Congress on amnesty through executive action. 

Nearly half of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s expected plan to take executive action that would potentially allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the United States, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Latinos are divided, with 43 percent supporting the action and 37 percent opposing it. But the sample size here is small (just 110 Latino respondents), so the numbers have a high margin of error.

There's just a six percent difference in Latinos who do and do not support the President's plan to rewrite immigration law with an executive order. Notice how NBC was sure to add a note questioning the numbers due to a small sample size, ignoring that the margin of error could also result in more Latinos being against executive amnesty.

Despite what the media would have us believe, immigration reform is often at the bottom of the priority list for Latino voters and a majority want enforcement before a comprehensive overhaul. 

By a margin of 56 percent to 40 percent, Hispanic voters oppose allowing illegal immigrants to obtain federal benefits, including Obamacare benefits, “while they are going through the legalization process and before the 90% goal is reached.”

When asked to choose which of four issues — the economy, immigration reform, education, or health care — is most important to them, registered Hispanic voters said immigration reform was their lowest priority. Just 31 percent ranked the issue first or second, compared with 62 percent for the economy, 57 percent for health care, and 45 percent for education. Non-registered voters, on the other hand, ranked immigration reform as their highest priority.

Generally speaking, registered Hispanic voters were far more likely to support tougher security and enforcement measures than non-registered voters. For example, 64 percent of registered voters said they supported employment verification to determine if job applicants are lawful residents, compared with just 46 percent of non-registered voters. Additionally, 55 percent of registered voters backed increased border-security measures (fencing, drones, police, etc.), compared with 45 percent of non-registered voters.

Regardless, President Obama is moving forward and will announce his plans for executive amnesty Thursday night at 8 pm et in a prime-time address from the White House.

Jon Stewart Rips Nancy Pelosi For Her Treatment of Rep. Tammy Duckworth

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came under fire for refusing to permit Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to vote by proxy in the Democratic caucus. Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War, is eight months pregnant and was unable to travel to Washington for the vote due to her pregnancy. Pelosi refused to allow Duckworth to vote by proxy, saying that the exception may spark a "slippery slope."

The Daily Show's host Jon Stewart feels otherwise. In a segment titled "Petty Woman," Stewart skewers Pelosi for her hypocrisy of previously touting the importance of voting (including early voting), filing briefs on behalf of pregnant women, and being awarded by women and family groups for refusing to permit Duckworth to vote. Stewart accuses Pelosi of engaging in petty inter-party politics, as Duckworth did not support Pelosi's preferred candidate to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Stewart raises good points. It's absolutely absurd that Pelosi wouldn't grant a pregnant woman an exception. The "slippery slope" argument is essentially moot--there simply are not that many pregnant congresswomen to merit alarm. This was politics at its worst, and Duckworth was effectively stripped of her vote. That is not right. (Pelosi's candidate lost, by the way.)

Kudos to Stewart for telling it like it is.

Coming Soon: Gruber Under Oath in Front of Congress?

As the White House and leading Democrats continue to distance themselves from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, Congress is moving in and wants to put him under oath for questioning. 

In an interview on Fox News last night, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, who sits on the House Oversight committee, said "of course" Gruber needs to testify in front of a Congressional committee.

"He used taxpayer money to lie to tax payers and when it was all over he made fun of them. Of course he needs to come in front of a congressional committee and answer our tough questions about what he did, where all of the money went to. Lets hope that happens, there's a timing to it, but lets hope it happens and I think it will," Jordan said. "He was the man, the American people know he's the man. He lied to the American people using their tax dollars to do so, of course he needs to answer our questions. 

Gruber was paid $5 million in taxpayer money through state and federal grants and paychecks for his work as a consultant on Obamacare.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz will replace Congressman Darrell Issa as chairman of the House Oversight Committee when the new Congress begins in January.

BREAKING: Amnesty Executive Order Announcement Coming Thursday in Prime Time Address

Remember reading this? Disregard it. It’s coming tomorrow:

Our immigration system has been broken for decades -- and every minute we fail to act, millions of people who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to live right by the law and contribute to our country.

So tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation to lay out the executive actions he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch the President live tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET at WhiteHouse.gov/Live.

Politico has some additional details on the executive order itself, which will reportedly affect some five million “undocumented immigrants”:

The executive actions will cover 4 million undocumented immigrants who would qualify for deferred deportations by using criteria such as longevity in the United States and family ties, according to sources briefed on the discussions. Another 1 million would receive protection through other means, two sources said.

UPDATE: The jury's still out on this one.

UPDATE: This could get awkward.

UPDATE: By the way, the Washington Post editorial board has already advised against this course of action. Oh well.

UPDATE: Republicans aren't just going to forget, Mr. President:

UPDATE: Republicans will not be attending the White House dinner tonight after all.

UPDATE: Yup, no Republicans allowed.

UPDATE: A new poll shows the president's impending unilateral action is opposed by "almost half of Americans."

UPDATE: No words.

UPDATE: Taking to the pages Politico Magazine, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggests ways congressional Republicans can respond:

If the President announces executive amnesty, the new Senate Majority Leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee—executive or judicial—outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.

This is a potent tool given to Congress by the Constitution explicitly to act as a check on executive power. It is a constitutional power of the Majority Leader alone, and it would serve as a significant deterrent to a lawless President. Additionally, the new Congress should exercise the power of the purse by passing individual appropriations bills authorizing critical functions of government and attaching riders to strip the authority from the president to grant amnesty.

UPDATE: Eighteen Democrats are going:

UPDATE: Flip-flop of the year?

UPDATE: "Reagan and Bush did the same thing, but nobody complained back then! This is nonsense."

Americans Oppose Obama's Executive Amnesty By 10 Points

Almost half of Americans, 48 percent, disapprove of President Obama's decision to grant executive amnesty to an unknown number of illegal immigrants, according to a new NBC News poll, while just 38 percent support the idea.

The full poll will not be released until tonight, and Obama will not announce the specifics of his amnesty plan tomorrow, but NBC News has shared the wording of their executive action question with Townhall:

There are a number of problems with this question:

1) Obama will not be signing an "executive order" tomorrow. Not all executive actions are "executive orders." For example, Obama's first executive amnesty program, the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was not done by "executive order."

2. That first sentence completely primes the respondent into thinking Obama's executive action is perfectly normal. After all, the question asserts as fact that "a president ... can put some regulations into effect that do not require Congressional approval." No mention is made of whether the presidential action is actually supported by Congressional statute. And Obama's executive amnesty is absolutely not supported by statute. Obama is citing his executive "prosecutorial discretion" power as the legal basis for this amnesty. Congress has never empowered the president to unilaterally choose which groups of illegal immigrants he will enforce the law on, and which groups he will give amnesty to.

3. Since Obama's executive action is based on inherent presidential power and not Congressional statute, there is no law Congress could pass "to take its place." 

Here is how a question on Obama's immigration action should be worded:

"President Obama has unilaterally created a new executive immigration program without any input from Congress. The program gives work permits and Social Security numbers to many illegal immigrants and requires most states to give them driver's licenses too. Do you support or oppose this new program?"

That would be a fair question. Hopefully other news organizations will hit closer to the truth.


Ferguson: Gov. Nixon, The Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home

With the Ferguson grand jury announcement imminent, National Guard units and police are making sure law and order is kept in the city. Last summer, the city was marred by protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.

Gov. Jay Nixon recently declared a state of emergency in Ferguson ahead of the grand jury report; so it appears as if the lights are on, but nobody’s home.

In a press call with reporters this week, Matt Sledge, a reporter from the Huffington Post, asked Gov. Jay Nixon “Does the buck ultimately stop with you when it comes to how any protests are policed?”

“Um, we’re, um, I, you know, it, uh, our goal here is to, you know, keep the peace, and allow all voices to, uh, to be heard,” said Nixon. “I’d prefer not to be a commentator on it.”

When asked what official or agency would be in charge of response, Nixon couldn't give an answer.

“Well, I mean, it uh, clearly… (4-5 seconds of dead air) I feel good about the… we worked hard to establish unified command, to outline our responsibilities now with the additional assets provided by my order today of the Missouri National Guard we have worked through, uh, a number of, uh, operational issues the folks have and, uh, I’ll only say, uh, our efforts today are on top of a lot of last hundred days to make sure we’re prepared for any contingency.”

Curtis Kalin of CNSNews.com commented on this rather brain dead response, saying:

Suffice it to say, Nixon doesn’t seem to think he is in charge of the very plan he crafted and codified in executive order. Furthermore, he was unable to tell anyone who is in charge. The situation in Ferguson will likely be chaotic. The blundering leadership of Missouri’s governor will surely exacerbate that chaos.

Let’s hope not. The grand jury decision will be delivered in the coming days.

Landrieu Calls New Attack Ad 'Sexist' Because it Shows Her Aging

Yes, those unpopular campaign ads are still running in the state of Louisiana, where the last Senate race has yet to be called. One ad in particular from the Ending Spending Action Fund, entitled, "Time to Geaux," which attacks Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and her 18 years-too-long in Washington, goes a bit too far, according to the incumbent. In fact, it's downright 'sexist.' Why? Because it shows pictures of Landrieu aging during her time in office. First, the ad in question:

The Landrieu campaign explained why the senator was highly offended by the 30-second spot:

"It is appalling that Congressman Cassidy and his allies would illustrate the senator's age progression with a leading phrase that Washington has 'changed' her," Levy said. "The ad is as classless as it is sexist, and Congressman Cassidy and his allies should remove [it] from television immediately."

For one thing, the point of showing her age progression was not to criticize her appearance, it was to suggest that she's spent too long in Washington and hasn't accomplished what she promised. She's getting too cozy with her DC life and too distant from her constituents, the ad suggests. Yet, Landrieu's campaign has resorted to cheap attacks on her GOP opponent Bill Cassidy.

By the way, would Cassidy have complained an attack ad was sexist because it displayed pictures of him from two decades ago? I think not.

Landrieu is hanging by a thread in this race after Democrats failed to stand by her and pass the Keystone XL pipeline, which the senator believes could have helped her gain more votes in the Louisiana runoff. Unfortunately for her, she isn't going to make up those votes by calling her opponent sexist. She just comes across as desperately trying to resurrect the "war on women" in a race she has all but lost. 

Two weeks to go until we have a winner in the Pelican State. Stay tuned for coverage from Louisiana as I head down there to cover the last legs of this extended election.

His Own Words: Obama Said He Doesn't Have Authority For Executive Amnesty 22 Times

According to a report in POLITICO, President Obama is expected to make good on his executive amnesty threat on Friday during an event in Las Vegas, despite saying repeatedly over the years that he does not have the authority to change immigration laws from the Oval Office. 

House Speaker John Boehner, who warned the President shortly after the 2014 midterm elections that acting alone on immigration would "poison the well," has taken notice of Obama's past statements. After some research, his office found President Obama directly claimed 22 times he couldn't take executive action on immigration because he doesn't have the authority. 

Over the weekend President Obama was questioned during an overseas trip about his change in position with executive action looming and tried to argue his position on the extent of his authority to change immigration law hasn't changed at all. 

"Actually, my position hasn’t changed. When I was talking to the advocates, their interest was in me, through executive action, duplicating the legislation that was stalled in Congress," Obama told reporters.

When Obama says he was speaking with "advocates," he's referring to radio interviews on programs with open-border hosts, at La Raza events and during a number of interviews conducted by Univision and Telemundo. Here are a few examples: 

October 2010: Obama on Immigration Reform "I am Not a King"

“My cabinet has been working very hard on trying to get it done, but ultimately, I think somebody said the other day, I am president, I am not king,” Obama told Univision in October 2010, when asked why he had yet to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

March 2011: Remarks by the President Univision Townhall

"America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that. That's part of my job. But I can advocate for changes in the law so that we have a country that is both respectful of the law but also continues to be a great nation of immigrants. … With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed …. [W]e’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” 
“I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books …. Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.”

January 2013: Pres. Obama Defends Deportation Record: ‘I’m Not A King’

“I’m not a king. My job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law,” Obama told Telemundo. “When it comes to enforcement of our immigration laws, we’ve got some discretion. We can prioritize what we do. But we can’t simply ignore the law.”

February 2013: Obama: ‘I Am Not a Dictator’

“I can’t do these things just by myself.” He reiterated that sentiment in a February 2013 interview with Telemundo. “I’m not a king,” he said.

FactCheck.org, The New York Times, and The Washington Post aren't buying Obama's argument and make it clear the President has in fact changed his position.

This is a flagrant untruth: “In fact, most of the questions that were posed to the president over the past several years were about the very thing that he is expected to announce within a matter of days,” reported The New York Times. “[T]he questions actually specifically addressed the sorts of actions that he is contemplating now,” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker agreed, awarding President Obama the rare “Upside-Down Pinocchio,” which signifies “a major-league flip-flop.” Even FactCheck.org piled on.

Obama's argument that his "position hasn’t changed" and that "when I was talking to the advocates, their interest was in me, through executive action, duplicating the legislation that was stalled in Congress," falls far short of explaining away his statement about a lack of authority. Not to mention, regardless of whether legislation is stalled in Congress, the President still doesn't have the authority to rewrite or issue an executive order mirroring pending legislation.

Yesterday ABC's Jon Karl asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest if President Obama still doesn't view himself as the "emperor" of the United States as he refuses to work with Congress on illegal immigration reform. From MRC:

“Does the President still stand by what he said last year when he said, ‘I am not the emperor of the United States; my job is to execute laws that are passed.’ Is that still operative?” asked Jonathan Karl, reporter for ABC, during Tuesday’s White House press briefing.

“Absolutely,” replied White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

“Not a king either?” asked Karl, to audience chuckles.

“That’s right,” said Earnest flatly.

There are a few explanations for President Obama moving forward to change illegal immigration law despite his own statements and objections from Congress and even liberal attorneys like Jonathan Turley. The first is that the President is an ideologue with nothing to lose politically at this point. Obama isn't up for re-election, he only has two years left and Democrats just lost in huge numbers at every level of government across the country. There's no longer anything to save. Obama is interested in his legacy with the Left, not with the country as a whole. Second, the President is interested in fighting with Republicans, not working with them, and his latest move on illegal immigration proves it. The President is essentially daring Republicans to look at ways to address executive action and is hoping to get impeachment on the table in order to suck up all of the media oxygen and hysteria for the remainder of his term. Further, Obama knows if Republicans choose to address his executive action through the courts, he'll be out of office before the legal fight is over. Obama doesn't have much, if anything to lose and has made it clear he doesn't care much about the constitutionality of what he's about to do, despite claiming his coming action doesn't fall within his constitutional authority over the past six years.

Conn has your rundown on what Republicans will do after Obama goes through with executive action on Friday.

I'll leave you with this:

Tea Leaves: Executive Amnesty to be Issued in Vegas?

Earlier this week, Guy asked if President Obama’s sweeping executive amnesty order would be handed down sooner rather than later. Originally, most Democrats supposed and hoped he’d at least have the courtesy to wait until after the December Louisiana runoff between Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy. After all, any type of “poison-the-well” executive action before voters head to the polls would be politically devastating. But now that the Keystone XL Pipeline has gone down in flames and her cause appears to be hopeless, he might be ready to move now.

To wit, the president will be in Las Vegas on Friday, and The Hill reports everything appears to be in place:

Could President Obama’s announcement of sweeping new executive action on immigration reform be coming Friday in Las Vegas?

A pair of local media outlets reported late Tuesday night that the president would be making a surprise trip to the city later this week.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reported only that Obama was planning a visit, while Jon Ralston, a prominent Nevada political journalist,tweeted that he was hearing Obama would speak at Del Sol High School.

A speech at Del Sol would provide a symbolic bookend on the president’s push for immigration reform. During a speech at the school in January 2013, he declared repeatedly “now is the time” for Congress to enact immigration reform. “We can't allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate,” Obama said in the speech. “We've been debating this a very long time.”

Thus the symbolism and location of the visit is unmistakable. In all likelihood, Friday will be a huge news day. Stay tuned.

Gruber: 'Evil' GOP Resistance to Obamacare Provision Rooted in Racism, Hatred of Poor

Jonathan Gruber strikes again. NRO's Jim Geragthy digs up yet another video of the increasingly infamous MIT economist sounding off on the law he helped design, and assassinating the character of its critics. In this episode, recorded in April 2014, Gruber rips into Republican opponents of Medicaid expansion, calling some governors' and legislators' efforts to reject the federal strings "almost awesome in its evilness." Note how the interview subject grins as he's introduced as "the architect" of Obamacare -- a reality some people are rather eager to deny these days:

"There’s larger principles at stake here. When these states are turning – not just turning down covering the poor people – but turning down the federal stimulus that would come with that. So the price they are willing … They are not just not interested in covering poor people, they are willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. It really is just almost awesome in its evilness."

Here's a guy who has proudly boasted on camera of repeatedly misleading the "stupid" American people in order to achieve his ideological ends -- which also just so happened to personally enrich him to the tune of millions of dollars -- calling other people "evil" and spiteful for disagreeing with his grand project.  In addition to "punishing poor people" (more on that in a moment), Gruber later follows his party's all-purpose script by playing the race card:

"I really believe that if we could politically help explain the costs to society of cutting provider rates, of cutting back Medicaid, I think we’d get the majority of people to support strengthening that program. I think it’s just because of racial reasons and other things, we just haven’t managed to get through with that message."

Remember, in its original form, Medicaid expansion at the state level was mandatory.  After that provision was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on a 7-2 vote, a number of Republican-led states have declined to take the federal government up on its "generous" offer.  The feds' supposed largesse comes with strings attached, as phased-in pay-fors require the states to start picking up a portion of the higher tab in future years.  Beyond that objection, many conservatives' opposition to expanding Medicaid is that the existing program is already a mind-blowingly expensive failure.  Last year, a gold-plated, comprehensive study on Oregon's Medicaid program (widely considered to be one of the the best in the country) dropped like a policy bomb on healthcare wonks.  It concluded that low-income Oregonians enrolled in Medicaid do not experience any measurably better health outcomes than their uninsured counterparts. In short, gobs of taxpayer money has been, and is being, spent on a program whose 'beneficiaries' are faring just as badly as people without any coverage at all.  Medicaid data out of Oregon also showed that despite Medicaid expanders' rationale, covering more people on the program actually increased the "uncompensated care" of costly ER visits, as opposed to reducing those expenses.  The co-author of this study?  One Jonathan Gruber.  Think about that.

Medicaid also represents the pinnacle of the healthcare adage that 'coverage does not equal care.'  Even prior to its sweeping expansion under Obamacare, huge numbers of the program's enrollees were already suffering from access shock, unable to find doctors who accept Medicaid patients, due to prohibitively low government reimbursement rates.  A lasting, well-publicized issue.  Obamacare (very much including its Medicaid elements) has significantly worsened this problem.  Many conservatives, therefore, look at the optional Medicaid expansion and see an already-failing, strained program fraught with federal strings and obligations.  They conclude that doubling down on that program by flooding it with millions of additional Americans would be madness, and would actually harm Medicaid's truly indigent pre-Obamacare recipients by applying even more pressure to a rickety, dysfunctional system. (Might this qualify as "punishing the poor"?)  Yet the man whose own study exposed Medicaid's fatal flaws to the world has denounced these judgments as borne out of evil bigotry and vindictiveness, rather than an entirely rational response to the available data -- including important data supplied by himself.  I'll leave you with a 'Grubergate' highlight reel from American Commitment, and also be sure to watch this piece of excellent contextual reporting by Bret Baier:

Obamacare Architect/ Non-Staff Member Visited The White House Quite A Bit

Guy and Katie have been covering the fiasco regarding MIT professor Jonathan Gruber who said repeatedly that Obamacare’s passage relied on “the stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of transparency” to get it through Congress.

As the firestorm grew, Democrats began to distance themselves, or outright deny ever knowing Gruber, like Nancy Pelosi did, in order to prevent what’s quickly becoming a public relations nightmare.

At the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Australia, President Obama commented on the controversy by saying, “The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run."

OK, Gruber wasn’t on staff, but he certainly was an architect of the law (via Reason):

Yes, Gruber was an adviser, as Obama describes him, but that significantly understates his role. In addition to the nearly $400,000 he received from the administration (more than Obama's senior staff earns annually), his work was cited repeatedly by the administration as evidence for the law, and Gruber participated in high-level discussions with the president himself about what policies the law should include.

When the bill was being scored by the Congressional Budget Office, Gruber was one of just three outside economists summoned to an Oval Office meeting with the president and CBO director Douglas Elmendorf to look for ways to adjust the law in order to receive a better score, according to The Washington Post. That discussion, Gruber later said in a 2012 PBS documentary on the creation of the law, "became the genesis of what is called the Cadillac tax in the health care bill." Gruber also visited with senior administration officials at the White House on several other occasions, according to visitor logs.

The White House relied on Gruber not only to help determine policy, but to make the case for why it would work. In November of 2009, as Obamacare was being debated, the White House touted a report produced by Gruber as an "objective" analysis of the law—failing to mention that he had been paid by the administration.

And then there was the time in 2006 when, as a senator, Obama said he’d "stolen ideas" from Jonathan Gruber—in Obama's words, "liberally."

And, he did spend quite a bit of time at the White House when Democrats were drafting the new law (via WSJ):

Jonathan Gruber, the economist at the heart of a fresh debate about the Affordable Care Act, has had more than a dozen appointments to visit the White House since Democrats began drafting the health law in 2009, records show.

The visits included at least one group meeting with President Barack Obama, as well as appointments with senior administration officials who helped shape the 2010 law that expanded health insurance to millions of Americans.

Mr. Gruber went to the White House at least six times in 2009, according to a review of visitor logs. He met with the president on July 20, 2009, and was joined by other economists. Some of the other meetings were held with Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy, and Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Mr. Gruber visited the White House at least twice in 2010 and met with Jason Furman, who is now chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Gruber meet with Ms. Lambrew at least twice this year and was at the White House as recently as June, the records show. For five of the meetings, visitor records don’t show when Mr. Gruber arrived or departed, making it unclear whether the appointments were kept.

Mr. Gruber wrote a 2011 cartoon book called “Health Care Reform” that aimed to explain the federal law. A note about the author says Mr. Gruber “consulted extensively with the Obama administration and Congress during the development” of the law.

Last note on the attempted distancing, here’s a video that pretty much makes that liberal maneuver virtually impossible: