The Real Winner of Wednesday's Debate? Fox News

Wednesday’s final debate was the third most watched presidential match ever, with 71.6 million viewers. And Fox News walked away the real winner. Not only was Fox News’ Chris Wallace praised for his “sterling performance” as moderator, but the network surpassed all the others—cable or broadcast—with 11.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

ABC came out ahead for broadcast networks with 10.9 million viewers.

What a Shame: Election Overshadows 100th Anniversary of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood, an organization that performs over 300,000 abortions every year but disguises itself as a "women's health" provider, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month. 

Thanks to the presidential election, you may not have heard about it. 

Planned Parenthood's attempt to stoke enthusiasm has largely gone unnoticed. Last weekend, they tried to start a trend entitled #100YearsStrong. It only trended once, and for a short period of time. In fact, many tweeters were pro-lifers who were trolling the campaign, using it as an opportunity to remind people about Planned Parenthood's radical abortion agenda.

Abby Johnson, founder of the pro-life group And Then There Were None, offered a statement on the embarrassing failure of a tweetfest.

"Over and over again, we see Planned Parenthood desperately attempting to remain relevant among younger populations. But the bottom line is that young people are rejecting Planned Parenthood and their deceptive marketing. Planned Parenthood's primary base of support is from post-menopausal women who don't even have Twitter or Instagram accounts. Not to mention the sheer lack of tact in them celebrating their "birthday", when they have taken birthdays away from millions of unborn human beings." 

Of course, the Democratic nominee and her running mate choose to ignore these sobering statistics. Both Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine tweeted their praise for the organization on its anniversary. 

Clinton has also promised to uphold abortion rights on the Supreme Court. As Guy noted, she is "fanatically consistent" on this issue. At Wednesday night's Vegas debate, the Democratic nominee defended her support of partial-birth abortion, although most Americans are against the procedure at such a late state in a woman's pregnancy.

The Stream is hosting its own campaign, #100ForLife, asking contributors to share any stories they may have about their decisions to reject abortion. 

As a reminder.

Did WikiLeaks Just Issue a Warning to Tim Kaine, Donna Brazile?

WikiLeaks has issued what seems to be a warning to vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and Donna Brazile, the interim chair for the DNC.

In a tweet Thursday evening, Wikileaks said they “have a surprise in store” for the two Democrats.

Brazile has made headlines a few times thus far from the leaked emails. First when the DNC was hacked over the summer leading to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, more recently when she seemed to give an exact debate question to the Clinton campaign.

Kaine, for his part, has remained largely untouched by the leaked emails.

Trump's Al Smith Dinner Speech Gets Too Political, Draws Boos

We knew it was going to be awkward. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were tasked with sitting just one seat apart from each other at the Al Smith dinner in New York City just 24 hours after their third and final presidential debate. The annual event was created to benefit Catholic charities.

The dinner started great. The chairman of the event, Alfred E. Smith IV, had a contagious sense of humor and noted that this year's dinner broke a fundraising record. It was smiles all around. When he handed the microphone off to Donald Trump, the GOP nominee started off with some seriously funny jabs. He threw some harmless jokes Clinton's way, noting this must be the biggest crowd she's drawn all year. Trump's home run moment, though, was when he snuck in a jab at his wife Melania for her RNC speech, parts of which turned out to be copied from an old Michelle Obama speech. That joke, he said, was bound to get him in trouble when he gets home. 

But, the laughter and applause turned to boos when his speech got a bit too political for the religious crowd. He called Clinton "crooked," brought up her email scandal and suggested that she was pretending to like Catholics by being there tonight. It all seemed a little too controversial for what was supposed to be a lighthearted evening.

Social media users noted that was an unfortunate first for the Al Smith dinner.

When Clinton went up to the podium, she said she was surprised Trump agreed to a "peaceful transition," poking fun at his continual argument the election is "rigged." She also included her own bit of self-deprecating humor, noting she took a break from her napping schedule to be there.

Despite the obvious tension, at one point Trump and Clinton did manage to shake hands - a feat for which the host noted Cardinal Dolan should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The crowd's loudest applause seemed to come when the speakers noted the election will be over very soon.

10th Alleged Victim Comes Forward

The day after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off in their third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, a 10th woman has come forward claiming the GOP nominee once sexually assaulted her. In a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, Karena Virginia said that Trump grabbed her at the 1998 U.S. Open.

Karena Virginia, a self-described wellness expert and TV personality, alleged that Trump grabbed her arm and touched her breast during an encounter at the U.S. Open in Flushing, Queens, New York, in 1998.

“Hey, look at this one,” she recalled overhearing Trump telling a group of men. “We haven’t seen her before. Look at those legs.”

Virginia said those comments made her feel like an "object" rather than a person.

Businessman and Clinton surrogate Mark Cuban made news Wednesday night before the debate when he said he knew at least two other women who were victimized by Trump, but refuse to come forward. In that same conversation, Trump's friend and ally, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, denied the allegations. He said witnesses have falsified at least one woman's story, while noting that he's known Trump for years and he has always been a gentleman to women. 

The GOP nominee has also repeatedly denied the women's claims, concluding it is a coordinated attack on him just a few weeks before the general election. The alleged victims came forward after Trump denied ever acting on what he crudely described in the infamous "Access Hollywood" tapes. 

Watch Live: Trump, Clinton Meet Again at Al Smith Dinner

Video: Calling Out the 'Sanctimonious Hypocrisy' of 'Gore Won' Democrats

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- As I predicted last night and again early this morning, the post-debate news cycle has been largely consumed by Donald Trump's refusal to pledge to respect the outcome of November's election. His message was quickly repudiated by his campaign manager, running mate, and other key allies -- and Trump himself "clarified" his remarks early Thursday. While his partial walk-back is welcome, he inflicted this wound on himself live, in front of 70 million-plus debate viewers. Polling shows that an overwhelming majority of US voters believe candidates should pledge to abide by electoral outcomes, and Trump's answer played poorly with Frank Luntz's focus group of undecided voters. What to make of this whole brouhaha? I discussed that question on Fox News earlier this afternoon, via Right Sightings:

In short, I argued that there's no excuse for Donald Trump's reckless insinuations and assertions that the whole system is fraudulent and rigged against him -- and that many of the liberals proclaiming to be deeply scandalized by his conduct refuse to acknowledge to this day that President Bush won Florida in 2000, in spite of the  incontrovertible evidence. Some forms of undermining the legitimacy of election results and eroding public faith in the system are more acceptable than others, it seems. Philip Klein's balanced column on this partisan food fight is worth your time.  A taste:

Back in 2000, Election Day was on Nov. 7, and it wasn't until Dec. 13 that Gore, after more than a month of lawsuits culminating in a Supreme Court decision, acknowledged that George W. Bush would be the next president. As my colleague Tim Carney has pointed out, liberals did not accept the result of the election, with Democrats even calling it a "coup." Even those who now talk about how Trump's comments are undermining democracy still challenge the legitimacy of the 2000 election result. It's an article of faith that the Supreme Court handed Bush the election in a purely partisan decision, even though, as Tim has detailed, an exhaustive media recount of the Florida ballots showed that Bush still would have won. Despite this, Bush was routinely referred to as "president-select." And Hillary Clinton has not been innocent in this...All of this having been said, it would also be unfair to suggest that what Trump is doing right now is in any way equivalent to the situation in 2000. In 2000, controversy erupted after an election in which Gore won the popular vote and came within a few hundred votes in the deciding state, in which 6 million votes were cast. So in theory, small voting irregularities or the treatment of a tiny percentage of ballots could have tipped the balance of the election. Gore, himself, did eventually concede once the legal process had played out. This is a lot different from Trump. Weeks before Election Day, just as he started tanking in polls, Trump preemptively began talking about the election system being "rigged," portraying a vast, widespread, nationwide conspiracy to deny him the presidency. It's an election that Clinton is poised to win by millions of votes and over 100 electoral votes.

Klein notes that Mrs. Clinton has fueled the 'Gore won' conspiracy over the years, calling Bush "selected," and averring that "a court took away a presidency."  That second quote comes from way back in...2016.  And via Allahpundit, here's sitting Congresswoman and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schutz peddling the lie just last year:

They caterwaul that Trump's (admittedly toxic and baseless) preemptive excuse-making for his likely loss is tearing at the very fabric of our republic, yet they're the same people who've endlessly repeated the debunked mantra that a presidential election was stolen by Bush and unjustly rigged by the Supreme Court. But that's different. Because shut up. I'll leave you with two items: First, Hillary running down the embarrassing litany of circumstances in which Trump has shrieked "rigged" when things didn't go his way (likely part of the reason his temperament numbers are in the toilet), followed by Trump's unhinged election night tweetstorm rejecting the validity of the 2012 presidential results:

Question: Did Romney "choke like a dog," or was he robbed by fraudsters, Donald? Also, based on a fair amount of evidence, the only thing Trump may have been right about on that list was the outcome of the FBI's email scandal investigation.

Surprise: Iran Wants Ransom Payments to Release New American Hostages

Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer are two of six American hostages currently languishing in Iran. The two were just sentenced to 10 years in prison this week. Iran is willing to release them on one condition - they want more money from the U.S. government.

Iran is seeking “many billions of dollars” in payments from the United States in exchange for the release of several U.S. hostages still being detained in Iran, according to reports by Iran’s state-controlled press that are reigniting debate over the Obama administration’s decision earlier this year to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what everyone (except the Obama administration) knew what would happen when we agreed to pay Iran a total of $1.7 billion in cold hard cash for the release of four American prisoners in January. They got what they wanted once, so why not ask for more?

As The Washington Free Beacon notes, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani fully expects more payouts from the United States in the future, an action Congress has been furiously trying to prevent via legislation.

We were supposed to have the upper hand with the Iranian nuclear deal President Obama signed last summer. Iran was supposed to halt its nuclear weapons program and become a more cooperative international player. Yet, these past months have only confirmed that all the agreement did was embolden our dangerous adversary.

Hypocrisy: Morning Joe Lists The Many Times Liberals Said The GOP Was Rigging or Stealing Elections...Especially The 2000, 2004 Races

Liberals are going nuts over Donald Trump’s endless trolling that he might not accept the final results of this presidential election. Today, he took it up a notch by saying; “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election…if I win.” Besides the epic trolling here, which worked because the media took the bait—Trump will accept the results. “Of course I would accept a clear election result,” he added. “But I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” Guess what? That’s not controversial and every candidate reserves that right to challenge the results. It’s not a story. Take a shot of Wild Turkey, liberal media and allies. He’s playing you.

What isn’t true is that this is unprecedented for people to say that this election is rigged or is being stolen. When Democrats found themselves losing for the better part of a decade under President Bush (aka the best living president ever), they too spewed out stories about how Bush v. Gore stole the election, how the GOP is rigging things in Ohio, and how Howard Dean said that we shouldn’t be shocked that the GOP are willing to manipulate elections in a 2006 Rolling Stone interview. Dean was then the chairman of the Democratic National Committee:

I’m not confident that the election in Ohio was fairly decided...we know that there was substantial voter suppression, and the machines were not reliable. It should not be a surprise that the Republicans are willing to do things that are unethical to manipulate elections that’s what we suspect has happened, and we’d like to safeguard our elections so that democracy can still be counted on to work.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe documented the history of liberals complaining about rigged elections today. As for unethical actions, it should never cease to amaze us how these people can just lie. The videos that James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas group released show Democratic operatives scheming to commit voter fraud, admitting that they paid operatives to instigate violence at Trump rallies, and facilitating lines of communication between pro-Clinton super PACs which is illegal under federal election law. So, we have evidence here, whereas the 2004 Ohio whine fest was simply that Democrats couldn’t convince enough voters to cast their ballot for weak, tepid, and aloof John Kerry. Kerry sucked, Bush won—get over it.

Cortney and Katie also wrote today about how Clinton even believed that Bush didn’t win the 2000 election. Bush won. He won both times, but liberals, like a bunch of high school girls, just can’t seem to let this go. And when a Republicans alleges that voter fraud schemes are being cooked up, with videos showing as much, they go ballistic. I don’t think this election is being rigged. Certainly some bad stuff from the progressive left had been executed this cycle, like shutting down Trump’s rally in Chicago. But it would be best if Trump focuses on listing what he would do to make America great again, while reminding folks about Hillary’s email fiasco and foundation dealings.

(H/T Free Beacon)

Ouch: Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance Now Than Before Obamacare Reform

Guy wrote about the coming damage Obamacare will inflict upon us in 2017. In short, it’s a total disaster, with premiums set to spike to outrageous levels, 75 percent in Arizona alone. Another punch to the gut regarding this miserable failure of a health care law; there are fewer Americans with private insurance now than there were in 2007 (via Weekly Standard):

That's according to the federal government's own figures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see table 1.2b), 66.8 percent of those living in the United States had private health insurance in 2007. Now, as of 2015 (the most recent year for which figures are available), only 65.6 percent of those living in the United States have private health insurance.

It turns out that median incomes aren't the only thing that have dropped since 2007.

There are currently about 320 million people living in America. If the percentage who have private health insurance were as high now as it was in 2007, 3.8 million more people would now have private health insurance.

This isn’t the only thing that off. The projections from the Congressional Budget Office regarding where enrollment should be with Obamacare missed its target…by 24 million. Hope and change, folks.

Apache Helicopters Now "Advising" Military Operations in Iraq

Since the rise of ISIS in 2014, the White House has maintained U.S. troops and special operators deployed to Iraq are not engaged in combat, but instead are simply advising Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the region to defeat the terror army. 

This wasn't true then and it isn't true now. 

The Pentagon has just announced Apache helicopters will be used by the United States in the effort to take back Mosul from ISIS. The Mosul offensive, the largest since the majority of U.S. troops were initially pulled out of Iraq in 2011, was launched earlier this week. More than 25,000 U.S. troops have been deployed for the effort.

During intense fighting today, a U.S. servicemember was in a roadside IED bombing while "advising" and assisting in the offensive. 

Earlier this year Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV was killed in Iraq and video surfaced showing others under heavy combat fire. 

Despite U.S. combat casualties, the White House continues to claim U.S. troops are in strict advisory roles.  The White House has also argued U.S. servicemember deaths are not combat related because Kudish or Iraqi forces are leading the operations U.S. troops are a part of as advisors, not active soldiers.

Is Your Town on the Clinton Campaign Trail?

The debates may be over but the race to the White House surely isn’t. There are 19 more days until election day, which means 19 more days of intense campaigning. See if Hillary Clinton or her running mate Sen. Tim Kaine will be coming to a town near you. 

Clinton Events 

Oct. 21: Cleveland, Ohio | Cuyahoga Community College | 4:30 PM, Doors open at 2:30 PM | Get Out the Vote Rally 

Oct. 22: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Location TBD | Time TBD (evening) | Get Out the Vote Rally | Will be joined by Sen. Tim Kaine

Oct. 22: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Location TBD | Time TBD (evening) | Get Out the Vote Rally | Will be joined by Sen. Tim Kaine

Oct. 24: New Hampshire | Location TBD | Time TBD (afternoon) | Get Out the Vote Rally | Will be joined by Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Oct. 25: Florida | Location TBD | Time TBD | Get Out the Vote Rally 

Oct. 26: Florida | Location TBD | Time TBD | Get Out the Vote Rally 

Kaine Events

Oct. 20: Charlotte, North Carolina | Heist Brewery | 12 PM, Doors open at 10:30 AM | Early Vote Rally

Oct 20: Durham, North Carolina | The Bowl at North Carolina Central University | 5:15 PM, Doors open at 3 PM | Early Vote Rally

Oct. 21: State College, Pennsylvania | Penn State University | 2:30 PM, Doors open at 12:30 PM | Rally 

Oct. 22: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Location TBD | Time TBD (evening) | Get Out the Vote Rally | Will be joining Hillary Clinton 

Oct. 22: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Location TBD | Time TBD (evening) | Get Out the Vote Rally | Will be joining Hillary Clinton 

Oct. 23: Alachua County, Florida | Location TBD | Time TBD (afternoon) | Early Vote Rally 

Oct. 23: Orange County, Florida | Location TBD | Time TBD (afternoon) | Early Vote Rally

Oct. 24: Miami-Dade County, Florida | Location TBD | Time TBD (afternoon) | Early Vote Rally

Oct. 24: Palm Beach County, Florida | Location TBD | Time TBD (afternoon) | Early Vote Rally

Oct. 25: New York City, NY | Location TBD | 5 PM | Hill's Kitchen: A Tasting Event with Tim Kaine | Hosted by Katie Lee

These events are subject to change. For more information, visit under ‘scheduled events.’

You can find Donald Trump’s campaign schedule here

Trump Jr. Says Running for President Is a "Step Down" For His Father

Donald Trump Jr. defended his father’s performance at the third presidential debate Wednesday night and said that running for president is a “step down” for the Republican nominee.

"He hasn’t spent his whole life to be up on the debate stage like a career politician,” Donald Trump Jr. said when asked how his father did during the debate. "He spent his life creating jobs, building things, doing things that would benefit American workers in this country.

Trump Jr. said his father was learning as he goes “because he’s a real American.”

"Imagine, if he was doing this for his whole life, he’d be the greatest politician in the history of the world."

He continued: "UnlikeHillary Clinton, who’s gotten very rich being a politician, peddling American influence, he hasn’t. This is only a step down.”

Trump’s son presumably meant that becoming a politician is a step down financially for his father.

BREAKING: U.S. Military Serviceman Killed in Mosul Offensive

A U.S. service member has been killed in a roadside suicide attack as the Mosul offensive against ISIS continues, with the most intense fighting so-far happening today. The name has not been released as officials notify the family. 

More than 25,000 U.S. troops are taking part in the Mosul offensive. The White House maintains U.S. military forces are not engaged in combat. 

U.S. officials and their intelligence partners in the region believe ISIS will use chemical weapons as Kurdish, Iraqi, Turkish and U.S. forces move further into the city.

"Thanks Obama": President Pats Himself on the Back in Last ACA Pitch

“You’ve heard a lot” about Obamacare, President Obama said in his last pitch for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Miami, Florida. He was obviously hinting at all the bad press his signature policy has received in the past seven years.

The president asked the audience why they think he and his administration fought for health reform in the first place? “It was because of you,” he said.

“It was because of the stories I was hearing all over the country. People who had been forced to fight a broken health care system.”

The president gave a few personal stories about patients who have supposedly been helped by the Affordable Care Act. Those patients, he said, concluded that Obamacare has provided them the “freedom and security to choose how I live my life.” That’s what it’s all about, he said.

Obama then listed several positive results of his controversial health care plan. Thanks to his policy, he said, customers now get free preventive care offered by insurance companies, free checkups for women and free mammograms. The Affordable Care Act, he noted, prevents companies from “discriminating against you if you’re a woman.”

He continued that young people are now able to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and health care inflation has slowed.

The president did admit premiums were still rising, (just look at Guy's latest post about the looming premium hikes in 2017) but insisted that they’ve gone up “the slowest in 50 years since Obamacare was passed.”

The majority of Americans do not get health care through the ACA, Obama noted. About 80 percent get health care on the job or through Medicaid or Medicare.

“For most Americans it has not affected your coverage except to make it better,” he said.

“You’re benefiting from it” even if you don’t know it’s Obamacare,” he said. “Thanks Obama.”

To quiet the criticism and improve Obamacare, the president said repealing it would not work. Instead, he suggested that states expand Medicaid and that we use the money we saved to provide more tax credits for middle income families and young adults to buy insurance. Finally, Obama suggested we add a "public plan fallback" to give people more options in places where there are not enough insurers to compete. He also encouraged "innovation" by the states to find a way to make these plans more affordable.

Obama concluded that it’s only because he’s a Democratic president that negative headlines continue to swirl around his plan.

“The Affordable Care Act has done what it was designed to do,” he said. “So why is there still such a fuss?”

Obamacare is so successful that Hillary Clinton will change it if she becomes president, and Donald Trump pledged to get rid of it altogether.

Flashback: Hillary Says George W. Bush Was Selected President, Not Elected

Much has been said about Donald Trump's refusal to flatly accept election results on November 8th. In fact, at the third and final presidential debate of the cycle last night in Las Vegas, Democrat Hillary Clinton said it was "horrible"  when Trump said he was going to wait and see what the results were. 

But according to statement by Clinton at a 2002 fundraiser, reported then by Newsweek and dug up today by Fox News' Brit Hume, the former First Lady said George W. Bush was "selected" president rather than elected after Al Gore refused to accept election results in 2000. Apparently Clinton hadn't accepted them either two years later. 

Is the Trump Campaign Coming to a Town Near You Before Election Day?

The debates may be over, but the campaigning is not. See if Donald Trump or his running mate Gov. Mike Pence are coming to a town near you. 

Trump Rallies

Oct. 20: Delaware, Ohio | Delaware County Fair | 12:30 PM, Doors open at 9:30 AM

Oct. 21: Fletcher, North Carolina | WNC Agricultural Center | 12 PM, Doors open at 9 AM

Oct. 21: Johnstown, Pennsylvania | Cambria County War Memorial Arena | 4 PM, Doors open at 1 PM

Oct. 21: Newtown, Pennsylvania | Newtown Athletic Club Sports Training Center | 7:30 PM, Doors open at 4:30

Oct. 22: Virginia Beach, Virginia | Regent University | 3 PM, Doors open at 12 PM

Oct. 22: Cleveland, Ohio | I-X Center | 7 PM, Doors open at 4 PM | Will be joined by Gov. Mike Pence

Pence Events

Oct. 20: Reno, Nevada | Reno-Sparks Convention Center | 1PM, Doors open at 11 AM

Oct. 20: Albuquerque, New Mexico | Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque Hotel & Spa | 6 PM, Doors open at 4 PM

Oct. 21: Exeter, New Hampshire | Exeter Town Hall | 6:30 PM, Doors open at 4:30 PM

Oct. 22: Cleveland, Ohio | I-X Center | 7 PM, Doors open at 4 PM | Will be joining Donald Trump

These events are subject to change. Check Donald Trump’s official campaign site,, under ‘schedule’ for more details.

USA Today: The Cascade of 2017 Obamacare Premium Hikes Has Arrived

The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein penned a prescient column in February, arguing that Obamacare was "off to a rocky" start in 2016. In the piece, he noted that potential political pain for Democrats would start to make headlines and land in consumers' mailboxes around...well, right about now: "For months leading up to the election, voters are going to be hearing more and more about staggering rate increases coming in 2017. And this year, open enrollment – when individuals shopping for insurance can start to go online and see the premiums on new plans -- begins on Nov. 1, or just one week before the election. This means that for the months, weeks, and days leading up to the election, the Democratic presidential nominee and all of the party's Congressional candidates are going to have to contend with news of sky-rocking rates coming from Obamacare as insurers struggle to make the business profitable," he wrote.  And that is exactly how things are playing out.  USA Today is out with new reporting confirming that Obamacare rate spikes are being approved by regulators across the country -- some even green-lighting increases above and beyond what insurers requested:

State insurance regulators across the country have approved health care premium increases higher than those requested by insurers, despite a national effort to keep rates for policies sold on Affordable Care Act exchanges from skyrocketing, a USA TODAY analysis shows. In eight states, regulators approved premiums that were a percentage point or more higher than carriers wanted, said Charles Gaba, a health data expert at who analyzed the rates for USA TODAY. As of Tuesday, those states are Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Utah...“To consumers, this seems terrible like, ‘Oh, they’re price gouging us,’ ” Gaba said. “But part of regulators’ jobs is to keep insurance companies solvent so they can continue to give people insurance.” In fact, this year many insurance carriers have requested premium rate increases that are closer to what regulators think are appropriate, says Gaba. “Ideally you want what’s requested to be what’s necessary,” he added. “And that was part of what happened.” Insurer withdrawals from some markets and rate hikes of more than 50% in some areas prompted fears that some insurance marketplaces were at risk of collapsing.

'They're just doing what's necessary to keep these companies afloat' is the whole problem.  The reason that so many major insurers are pulling out of Obamacare is that the disproportionately sicker risk pools are quite expensive to cover, resulting in huge financial losses to the providers.  To offset those losses, enormous rate increases are being approved, making coverage even less affordable for the relatively healthy consumers trying to keep their heads above water -- including millions who receive taxpayer subsidies through the law.  As their costs skyrocket even further, more and more younger, healthier people will either walk away from the law, or continue to avoid signing up for it.  After all, paying the individual mandate tax is much cheaper than shelling out big bucks every month, on top of out-of-pocket costs; plus, in the event of a health emergency, insurers are required under the law to accept all comers during open enrollment, regardless of pre-existing conditions.  This is the unsustainable, spiraling trajectory that has industry experts warning of a potential full collapse.  By the way, here is the article's accompanying infographic, illustrating the prevalence of double-digit premium increases.  As you peruse this map, recall that the tent pole promise of Obamacare was that it would significantly reduce costs for virtually all American consumers.  Instead, here is the "Affordable" Care Act reality:

Based on that chart, only a small handful of states will have the supposed 'good fortune' of experiencing single-digit hikes.  The vast majority will experience cost surges in the double-digits, with roughly half of all states getting slammed with increases of at least 20 percent.  Time magazine reviews the eight states where consumes will suffer the most next year, where regulators have imposed rate jumps of at least 30 percent.  The piece's opening sentence says it all: "The Affordable Care Act is getting a lot less affordable for many Americans."  Meanwhile, many Arizonans find themselves in Obamacare's crosshairs, getting rocked by the double-whammy of soaring costs and dwindling-to-nonexistent choices:

Arizonans will have fewer options at higher rates when they buy coverage for 2017 on the federal health insurance exchange. This week, the Arizona Department of Insurance released details about the plans and rates being offered on the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Maricopa County will only have one insurer on the exchange, Health Net, which is offering four plans and raising rates by nearly 75 percent. “It’s definitely on the high side. There's no question about that, but Arizona is not the only one with significant, more than 50 percent increases," insurance analyst Jim Hammond, publisher of the Hertel Report, said...In the rest of Arizona’s counties, except for Pima, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be the only insurer. Those rates are going up 51 percent. Other insurers will be offering plans off the exchange this year, but most are also raising rates by about 70 percent. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

Arizona's Democratic Senate candidate calls her vote in favor of Obamacare one of her proudest moments. She's getting smoked.  Republicans should press this issue down the home stretch of the campaign.  As we mentioned yesterday, Americans for Prosperity is rolling out an ad campaign in key Senate races to help hold Democrats accountable for their failing law:

Beyond the millions who saw their existing coverage snatched away because of Obamacare in 2013 -- in violation of a major Obama pledge -- market disruptions have led to more than one million additional cancellations this year.  Those affected will have to wade back into marketplaces and contend with the bruising premium spikes laid bare on the map above.  It's little wonder, therefore, that some projections predict that the law's already-downgraded enrollment figures may plateau or even decline moving forward.  Obamacare is unpopular with the American people, and has consistently harmed more families than it's helped.  Hillary Clinton first proposed Obamacare during the 2008 campaign.

Russia's Flexing: Conducts Missile Exercise, Deploys Naval Fleet to English Channel

Vladimir Putin is making sure the world knows that his relationship with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Western world has turned for the worst in recent years.

The Russian military conducted drills involving their new state-of-the art missiles near the nation's western border, according to the Associated Press.  The Defense Ministry said Thursday that the drills involved Iskander-M missiles. The war games were held at a shooting range near the city of Luga, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of the border with Estonia.

And to show even more bravado, eight Russian vessels led by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier are moving through the English Channel and are expected to pass through the Dover Straits tomorrow morning.  They are expected to link up with two more ships which would mean 10 heavily-armed Russian ships will be operating just miles from the British coast.  

The Ministry of Defense said “it is pretty unambiguous that they have set a course to pass through the Dover Strait.”

The Russian navy deployment will increase its firepower in Syria, where it has conducted an air campaign in support of President Bashar Assad's army for more than a year. 

"They are off to conduct a mission. They are off to conduct it off Syria," Peter Roberts, a senior research fellow for sea power and maritime studies at the Royal United Services Institute said. "They are very focused on their mission."

House Republicans Fundraising for Vulnerable Candidates

A conference call was made between 80 House Republicans on Wednesday. The meeting, organized by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise, sets to implement a last minute fundraising push to help embattled GOP candidates fighting tough elections. Republicans enjoying the safety of deep-red districts were asked to pony up cash for fellow House members who are not as demographically fortunate.

The aim is to build a “firewall” for vulnerable Republican members. Analysts are predicting the GOP to lose around 10 to 20 House seats come Election Day. Others are arguing Trump’s sinking poll numbers could result in more losses for the GOP. Republicans would need to lose 30 House seats to surrender the gavel to Nancy Pelosi.

While this still seems unlikely. Republican leadership is not taking any chances.

In a climate where more and more GOP House candidates seem to be at risk of losing their elections, the NRCC and its super PAC arm, Congressional Leadership Fund, have been forced to spend money in areas at first thought to be safe.

For example, Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia is in the fight of her life in her light-red district. In the closest election of his career, Rep. Darrel Issa of California is battling a shockingly strong Democratic challenger – even losing to him in recent polling.

The situation also does not look gleeful in Hispanic-heavy areas. Districts controlled by Rep. Bill Hurd in Texas and Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Miami are rated as “Toss Up.” Speaker Ryan was campaigning for Curbelo on Wednesday.

Ironically, Pelosi had her own conference call on Wednesday. She told fellow Democrats they are poised to dwindle the GOP majority to less than 10 seats.

Through it all, Republicans still have the edge in retaining the House chamber when the sun rises on November 9.

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in Delaware

Remember When Hillary Totally Accepted the 2000 Election Results?

Most voters over the age of 25 remember the back and forth mania of the 2000 presidential election. Despite trailing Al Gore in popular votes, Republican nominee George W. Bush was declared the winner and Gore called him to concede. Briefly. After learning how close the contest in Florida was, Gore said he was retracting his concession. When the recount in Florida went Gore's way, Bush took his case to the Supreme Court. Finally, after an anxious three weeks of waiting for their decision, the Court officially declared Bush our 43rd president. 

As expected, the losing party had a hard time accepting the final results - one of them being none other than current Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

At a private fund-raiser in Los Angeles for Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan of Missouri, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told the crowd that President Bush merely had been “selected” president, not elected, Newsweek reports in the current issue.

Her bitterness did not expire in 2000. Hot Air's Larry O'Connor noted that just last week Clinton nodded in agreement with her crowd of supporters who chanted that Gore "won" the controversial state contest with Bush.

With this context in mind, how can Clinton and her team criticize Donald Trump for claiming the election is "rigged" and refusing to agree he'll accept the results on November 9? Certainly, that has been one of the loudest headlines to come from Wednesday night's debate. When Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he'd accept the results, the GOP nominee said, "I'll keep you in suspense." 

How could he! the media is screaming. Perhaps they should turn back the clock and see if they asked Gore and Clinton the same question in 2000.

Final note: The "Morning Joe" hosts on Thursday morning provided a montage of liberals and Democrats questioning election results. I'd encourage you to watch and discover the hypocrisy for yourself.

WikiLeaks: Clinton Camp Calls The New York Times "Our Press"

From having veto power over quotes to getting a heads up on stories before they published and being given exact interview questions ahead of time, Hillary Clinton’s cozy relationship with the media has been on full display in the emails released from WikiLeaks thus far. The relationship is so close, in fact, that Team Clinton referred to The New York Times as “our press.”

In WikiLeaks’ latest leaked emails, Clinton told her aides she was “upset” by a story about her in The New York Times titled “Re-Re-Re-Reintroducing Hillary Clinton,” and her “continued bad relationship” with what one of her aides described as “our press.”

Her campaign chairman John Podesta emailed members of the campaign in July 2015 to see what the reaction has been to the story written by Mark Leibovich.

 “I kind of felt like he wasted the effort. Kind of a reporter’s sketch rather than interesting observation,” he noted.

“Not a lot of reaction,” said Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

“Reaction has been positive – that it is a sympathetic portrait of how hard it is for her,” she continued, noting that Clinton was “upset” by the story.

 “She is unhappy with it,” Palmieri said. “Huma, Kristina, and I did a call with her. She is upset about our continued bad relationship with our press.”

Sadly, with the vast majority of the media in the tank for Clinton, Palmieri’s right—it is her press. 

Rubio Closes Door to 2020 Presidential Run

Marco Rubio has seemingly ruled out a possible presidential run in 2020 should Donald Trump lose on November 8.

In an interview Wednesday with News Radio 970 WFLA, Rubio stated, "If I wanted to run for something else, I wouldn't have run for Senate... My opponent keeps saying I'm gonna run for president. If I wanted to run for president in four years, I would have just stayed out of this race and started running on November the 9, which a lot of other people are going to do. I wouldn't have run for re-election at the last minute in the toughest swing state in the country, in a year as uncertain as this one."

Rubio, having at first declined to run for re-election in the Senate for a shot at the White House, has taken heat from his Democratic opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy, for having presidential ambitions above his duties representing Florida in Congress.

To the dismay of many Republicans nationwide who would love to see Rubio run again for the White House if Trump loses, the Florida senator has assured voters in the Sunshine State that he plans to stay committed to the Senate for a full six-year term.

Rubio’s original plan after dropping out of the 2016 presidential race was to (at least temporarily) leave public office. He even hired a lawyer to manage all the job offers he was inundated with. However, he received heavy pressure from congressional Republicans to run for re-election after it became clear he was the only Republican polling well enough in the Florida senate race.

It seems Rubio made the right choice – polling shows him performing very strongly against Patrick Murphy, and many pundits declared Rubio the clear victor in their first debate.

The 2016 Presidential Debates are Now Over. Here Are Key Takeaways.

Hillary and Trump have faced off on the debate stage for the last time; the 2016 presidential and vice presidential debates are finally over. If you feel like you’ve missed something—or simply need a refresher—here are the 15 most memorable moments from this year’s debates. 

The First Presidential Debate:

1. Trump and Hillary actually agree. 

As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that,” admitted Trump. “We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we're going to do, but perhaps we'll be talking about that later.”

Trump also seemingly agreed with Hillary on gun control in regards to the TSA’s no-fly list. 

“I agree with you,” Trump told Clinton. “When a person is on a watch list or a no-fly list. I have the endorsement of the NRA, which I’m very proud of. These are very, very good people, and they’re protecting the Second Amendment.”

“But,” he continued, “I think we have to look very strongly at no-fly lists and watch lists. And when people are on there, even if they shouldn’t be on there, we’ll help them, we’ll help them legally, we’ll help them get off. But I tend to agree with that quite strongly.”

2. The birther lieis finally put to bed.

Lester Holt asked Trump why, after so many years, he finally acknowledged that President Obama was born in the United States. 

Trump pointed out that Clinton and her staff were the ones who started the birther conversation back in 2008. 

“Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and [is a] close—very close—friend of Secretary. Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle...during...her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard,” said Trump. “And if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, [a] highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard. She failed to get the birth certificate.”

Holt then asked the question a second time; “The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You've continued to tell the story and question the president's legitimacy in 2012, '13, '14, ' recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?”

Trump’s answer: nobody was pressing the issue, or cared much about it. Trump also made sure to add that he was the one who got Obama to produce the birth certificate, something President Obama should have done a “long time before.”

“I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate,” Trump mentioned multiple times. “And I think I did a good job.”

At the end of his answer, he threw in a quick jab at Hillary: “Just like she can't bring back jobs, she can't produce.”

3. Trump says he is smartto not pay taxes.

In the weeks before the debate, Trump was being pressured to release his tax records but refused. Unsurprisingly, Holt brought it up during the debate, to which Trump fired back: "I will release my tax returns, against my lawyer's wishes, when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release my tax returns.”

At this, the audience cheered. 

Naturally, Clinton ignored the email comment, placing the focus back on Trump. 

“You've got to ask yourself, why won't he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don't know all of his business dealings,” she said. “Maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes.”

Trump interrupted with one of the most memorable lines of the night: "That makes me smart."

Trump’s tax returns were later released—and not by him. The New York Times published the records on October 2. 

4. Hillary renames Trumps economic plan.

After Trump explained his economic plans, Hillary was given a chance to respond. 

“The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again. In fact, it would be the most extreme version, the biggest tax cuts for the top percent of the people in this country than we've ever had,” said Hillary. “I call it Trumped-up trickle-down, because that's exactly what it would be.”

5. Trump comments on Hillarys stamina.

Holt asked Trump about a comment he made about Hillary’s appearance earlier that month. 

“You said she doesn't have, quote, ‘a presidential look.’ She's standing here right now,” said Holt. “What did you mean by that?”

“She doesn't have the look,” replied Trump.“She doesn't have the stamina. I said she doesn't have the stamina. And I don't believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.”

He later mentioned, “You have so many different things you have to be able to do, and I don't believe that Hillary has the stamina.”

The First (and Only) Vice Presidential Debate:

6. Its made known that more than half of Americans distrust Hillary.

Kaine was asked why 60 percent of voters think Hillary is untrustworthy. Pence decided to jump in.

“There’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton, and that's because they're paying attention.” 

7. Trumps taxes are brought upagain. 

“He stood on the stage last week, and when Hillary said you haven't been paying taxes, he said, ‘That makes me smart,’” mentioned Kaine. “So it's smart not to pay for our military? It's smart not to pay for veterans? It's smart not to pay for teachers? And I guess all of us who do pay for those things, I guess we're stupid.”

In the middle of Kaine’s rant, Pence pointed out that no one is going to pay more taxes than they have to. 

“Senator do you take all the deductions that you're entitled to?…I do.”

8. That Mexican thing.” 

Kaine repeatedly brought up Trump’s derogatory comments about Mexicans: 

“He started his campaign with a speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals.”

”Trump during his campaign has called Mexicans rapists and criminals.”

“When Donald Trump says Mexicans are rapists and criminals…I can't imagine how you could defend that.”

”These guys say all Mexicans are bad.”

After the fifth time—“When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals”—Pence just had to say something. 

“Senator, you've whipped out that Mexican thing again.”

Needless to say, people weren’t impressed with the comeback. 

9. Pence shares his views on Syria and Russiaand they dont match Trumps.

During the debate, Pence discussed Russia’s role in the Syrian crisis, saying that America should “immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen.”

Pence continued, saying, “The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.”

Trump has not advocated anything Pence outlined. In fact, during the second presidential debate, Trump said he and Pence have not spoken on the issue, and that the two disagree. It became clear that Pence wishes to take a much firmer stance against Russia and the Assad regime than his running mate. 

10. Pence and Kaine come togethersort of.

Toward the end of the night, both candidates were asked to discuss a time when they struggled to balance their faith and public policy. Kaine answered first: “That’s an easy one for me.”

He explained how he’s a devout Catholic who tries to follow the teachings of his church in his personal life. He also said that his greatest struggle has been opposing the death penalty in a state that allows it. 

When it was Pence’s turn to answer he made sure to mention his appreciation and respect for Senator Kaine's “sincere faith.” Pence then went on to discuss how his faith has dictated his views on abortion: 

“The state of Indiana has also sought to make sure that we expand alternatives in health care counseling for women, non-abortion alternatives. I'm also very pleased at the fact we're well on our way in Indiana to becoming the most pro-adoption state in America. I think if you're going to be pro-life, you should -- you should be pro-adoption.”

This is one area where Pence and Kaine agree—sort of. Kaine said in the past that he, personally, is against abortion. However, he now stands by Hillary’s pro-choice platform.

“We support Roe v. Wade,” asserted Kaine. “We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That's something we trust American women to do.”

The Second Presidential Debate:

11. Trump casts the most memorable line of the night.

During the debate, Hillary said, “It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.”

To which Trump responded: “Because you’d be in jail.

Applause erupted from the audience. However, Anderson Cooper wasn’t pleased: “We want to remind the audience to please not talk out loud. Please do not applaud. You're just wasting time.”

Earlier in the night, Trump also told Hillary that if he becomes president he’s going have the attorney general get a special prosecutor to look into her “situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.”

12.  The unexpected final question makes both candidates laugh. 

Karl Becker, one of the audience members, stood up and asked each of the candidates to do something completely unexpected: say something nice about one another.

“My question to both of you is, regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”

Clinton didn't have much to say. 

“Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don't agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that. And I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me.”

Trump said he considered Clinton’s statement to be a “very nice compliment,” whether it was meant to be or not. “I'm very proud of my children. And they've done a wonderful job, and they've been wonderful, wonderful kids. So, I consider that a compliment,” said Trump.

He then went on to answer Becker’s question.

“I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter,” said Trump. “I disagree with much of what she's fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard, and she doesn't quit, and she doesn't give up. And I consider that to be a very good trait.”

The Third Presidential Debate:

13. Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.

While discussing immigration, Hillary decided to criticize Trump for his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border. 

Trump saw the opportunity to remind Clinton that she, too, had supported something similar in the past.

“Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006, or there about,” noted Trump. “Now, she never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn't built. But Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.”

Trump then criticized Clinton’s current plan. 

“She wants to give amnesty, which is a disaster and very unfair to all of the people that are waiting on line for many, many years," he said. "We need strong borders.”

Trump also mentioned that his plan includes expediting the citizenship process so that more immigrants are willing to take the legal route. “It’s a very inefficient process,” he mentioned. 

14. Hillary becomes a supporterof gun rights.

“I support the Second Amendment…I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership. It goes back to the founding of our country,” Clinton said in an uncharacteristic change of tune.

“I also believe that there can be, and must be, reasonable regulation,” she said. “Because I support the Second Amendment, doesn't mean that I want people who shouldn't have guns to be able to threaten you, kill you or members of your family.”

Clinton continued saying she still disagrees with the 2008 Heller decision, which established our individual right to own a firearm within a federal enclave. 

“I disagreed with the way the court applied the Second Amendment in that case, because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns and so they wanted people with guns to safely store them. And the court didn't accept that reasonable regulation.”

15. Trump raises the issues of experience.

“The one thing you have over me is experience,” admitted Trump. “But it’s bad experience.”

Trump mentioned that Hillary, no doubt, has loads of political experience; she’s been involved in politics for over 30 years. But unfortunately, she hasn't accomplished much in that time. 

“For 30 years you've been in a position to help,” Trump told Clinton. “You talk but you don’t get anything done.”

Trump then explained what he has accomplished in those 30 years. 

“I’ve built a phenomenal company, and if we could run our country the way I’ve run my company we would have a country we would be so proud of. You would even be proud of it,” he told Clinton. 

16. Both fail to answer the final question well.

Chris Wallace ended the debate with a question about entitlements. 

“The biggest driver of our debt is entitlements, which is 60 percent of all federal spending,” mentioned Wallace. “Now, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has looked at both of your plans and they say neither of you has a serious plan that is going to solve the fact that Medicare’s going to run out of money in the 2020s, Social Security is going to run out of money in the 2030s, and at that time, recipients are going to take huge cuts in their benefits. So, in effect, the final question I want to ask you…is [would you] make a deal to save Medicare and Social Security that included both tax increases and benefit cuts, in effect, a grand bargain on entitlements?”

Guy summed up both candidates’ answers for us. 

Q was about entitlement reform. Trump pretends growth will fix it all. Hillary goes to tax increases & wants to EXPAND entitlements. FML.

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 20, 2016

Make sure to keep these in mind as you cast your ballot on November 8.