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12:45 PM ET, October 24, 2013


 Top Items: 
Rebecca Shabad / The Hill:
ObamaCare website contractors blame Obama administration  —  Principal contractors hired to build the ObamaCare website are hitting back at the Obama administration for the site's overwhelming technical problems.  —  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) …
New York Times:
Republicans, Sensing Weakness in Health Law Rollout, Switch Tactics  —  WASHINGTON — Emboldened by the intense public criticism surrounding the rollout of the online insurance exchange, Republicans in Congress are refocusing their efforts from denying funds for the health care law to investigating it.
Norm Ornstein /
Buck Stops With Obama on Rocky Rollout of Health Care Plan  —  The debacle has been thoroughly dissected so far by America's best health journalists and policy analysts.  To be sure, every major rollout of a new or changed social policy, including Medicare itself, is rough and takes weeks or months to resolve.
Cole Premo / CBS Minnesota:
Rep. Nolan: Firings Needed Over Health Law Woes  —  MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Frustrated Democrats are complaining about the problem-plagued rollout of the new health care program known as Obamacare.  And one Minnesota Congressman, Democrat Rick Nolan, says President Obama needs to “man up, step up” and start firing people.
Sandhya Somashekhar / Washington Post:
Americans will have an extra six weeks to buy health coverage before facing penalty
Robert Pear / New York Times:
Contractors Assign Blame, but Admit No Faults of Their Own, in Health Site
Discussion: Politico and First Read
Rebecca Shabad / The Hill:
Daley: ObamaCare rollout ‘a big embarassment’
Discussion: Politico
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
White House may ‘align’ Obamacare signup dates
Jeane MacIntosh / New York Post:
Obama wants Marines to wear ‘girly’ hats  —  A change to the Marine Corps' uniform hats could take the hard-nosed Leathernecks from the Halls of Montezuma to the shops of Christopher Street.  —  Thanks to a plan by President Obama to create a “unisex” look for the Corps …
Ashley Parker / New York Times:
A Wife Committed to Cruz's Ideals, but a Study in Contrasts to Him  —  WASHINGTON — At first glance, Senator Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, seems to be just the sort of person the Tea Party supporters who celebrate her husband's anti-establishment positions love to hate.
Catherine Thompson / Talking Points Memo:
Ted Cruz's Wife Confirms He's Covered Under Her Blue-Chip Health Plan  —  The wife of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led a vocal effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, confirmed in a New York Times interview published Wednesday that the senator receives health care coverage through her blue-chip employer insurance plan.
Discussion: Liberaland
Todd S. Purdum / Politico:
Trash-talking the president  —  No matter how many times you've been there, the White House is a pretty awesome place, conferring on every president what “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin once called “the single greatest home-court advantage in the modern world.”
Jennifer Bendery / The Huffington Post:
Harry Reid Told Caucus That Pete Sessions Was Behind Obama Insult, Senators Say  —  WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told his Democratic caucus last week in a private meeting that a top House Republican said to President Barack Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you …
Kyle Cheney / Reuters:
What makes so complicated?  —  Building a website in 2013 should be as easy as U-R-L, so what's the deal with  —  The White House billed the Obamacare portal as the of health coverage — only instead of plane rides, it was selling health insurance.
Discussion: Politico and Infowars
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Medicaid could be the next headache for Obamacare
Megan McArdle / Bloomberg:
Why Obamacare Is Like Three Mile Island  —  I've been blogging a lot over the past week or so about the risk of an insurance market “death spiral” — where young people stay away, so the only people buying insurance are old and sick, causing the cost of insurance to rise over time and pushing ever …
EndPlay / WIVB-TV:
Hillary Clinton speaks at UB, is heckled … AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to a large crowd at the University at Buffalo Wednesday night, as part of the university's Distinguished Speaker Series.
Beth Reinhard /
Inside the Messy but Moneyed Republican Plan to Neutralize the Tea Party  —  The business-friendly GOP establishment is putting its cash to work in skirmishes across the country that might reshape the 2014 elections.  —  It took a tea party insurrection that disabled the federal government …
Baltimore Sun:
Gansler says breaking up teen party was not his job  —  Attorney general has advocated against underage drinking  —  Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (white shirt with cell phone, right of center) is seen in a photo posted to Instagram from a senior week party in Delaware this summer.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Mediaite
New York Times:
Health Care Law Fails to Lower Prices for Rural Areas  —  As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama's health care law, evidence is emerging that one of the program's loftiest goals — to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low — is falling short for many rural Americans.
Discussion: The PJ Tatler and Althouse
Dylan Byers / Politico:
NYT's Rick Berke to join POLITICO as executive editor  —  Rick Berke, the veteran New York Times editor, has been named executive editor at POLITICO.  —  Berke, who joined the Times as a reporter in 1986, replaces Jim VandeHei, who was promoted earlier this month to President and CEO of POLITICO and Capital New York.
GOP reconsiders Obamacare tactics  —  Some Republicans say a unified focus on spending levels could prove to be the strongest ground on which to fight.  Democrats loathe sequester-level spending — their 2014 budget totaled $1.058 trillion.  If all Republicans demand a clean government funding bill …
Erik Wasson / The Hill:
Lew calls on Congress to replace sequester  —  Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday said House and Senate budget negotiators should replace the sequester with other spending cuts.  —  Lew said the sequester has been a drag on the economy, and that it should be replaced with longer-term measures to reduce spending.
Discussion: Politico
Teacher Took Students to Strip Club: Police  —  Travis Lechien, of Crown Point, Ind., faces up to one year in prison  —  A northwest Indiana teacher who allegedly took some students to a strip club and gave them alcoholic beverages at his home was terminated Tuesday night, district officials said.
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Nicholas G. Hahn III / RealClearReligion:
The Devil and Herman Cain  —  It's been two years since allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, but Herman Cain is finally fighting back.  —  The former Republican presidential hopeful gave RealClearReligion an exclusive look at evidence he'll be using in a soon-to-be published column …
David Nather / Reuters:
Obamacare hearings: Oversight or heckling?  —  There's congressional oversight that answers everyone's most urgent questions - and then there's just heckling from the partisan peanut gallery.  —  Over the next few weeks, Republicans are going to have to decide which path they're …
Discussion: CNN and First Read
Daniel Henninger / Wall Street Journal:
Henninger: Obama's Credibility Is Melting  —  Here and abroad, Obama's partners are concluding they cannot trust him.
Washington Wire:
Live Blog: Thursday's Hearing on Problems  —  A new round of finger-pointing will kick off Thursday morning when a House committee grills four contractors involved in the development of, the troubled site where uninsured consumers are supposed to be able to sign up for health insurance.
Discussion: Josh Blackman's Blog and Digits
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 More Items: 
Alex Tabarrok / Marginal Revolution:
Stayaway from Layaway  —  Layaway plans are immensely popular …
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Christina Ng / ABC News:
Florida Cop Buys $100 in Groceries for Woman Caught Shoplifting Food
Erik Maza / WWD:
Condé Nast Discontinuing Internship Program
Laura Barron-Lopez / E2-Wire:
GOP bill would prevent national park closures in next shutdown
Erik Eckholm / New York Times:
Case Explores Rights of Fetus Versus Mother
Discussion: Law Blog
 Earlier Items: 
Brian Stelter / New York Times:
Time Warner Cable Reaches Agreement to Distribute Al Jazeera America
Danielle / Congressman Darrell Issa:
8 Cats Who Called 1-800-ObamaCare but Still Couldn't Get Healthcare
Discussion: Daily Kos, ABC News and Twitchy
Joe Garofoli / San Francisco Chronicle:
UC Davis pepper-spray officer awarded $38,000
Washington Post:
Secret memos reveal explicit nature of U.S., Pakistan agreement on drones
Doyle McManus / Los Angeles Times:
Poof goes the middle class
Matthew Boyle / BREITBART.COM:
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Darrell Issa to introduce immigration bill
Discussion: The PJ Tatler