Chad’s Morning Brief, The Ted Cruz Effect, Obamacare Enrollment Numbers, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of February 26, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
The Ted Cruz Effect
Just about every Republican in Texas wants to be linked to Senator Ted Cruz. Don't believe me? Listen to the political ads on the radio and on TV. According to the Star-Telegram, the Ted Cruz effect might be political gold.
Ted Cruz is not on the March 4 primary ballot.
But his likeness is all over TV and in campaign materials, as a slew of Republican candidates on the primary ballot are using his words and — in rare occasions — his endorsement to reach out to voters.
This year, having Cruz weigh in any way possible “is political gold,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.
His thumbs up for a candidate serves “as a signal to Cruz’s plethora of supporters within the GOP primary electorate who the ‘true’ movement conservative in the race is,” he said.
And that has made a number of candidates try to link themselves to the state’s junior senator any way possible.
Cruz skyrocketed to national attention in 2012 after defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a battle for U.S. Senate that turned into a classic Tea Party versus establishment Republican, David versus Goliath fight.
He has remained in headlines for constantly criticizing the Obama administration and the healthcare law.
“Because of his activity in the Senate, and how he has been so vocal, a lot of people are happy with him about that,” said Jen Hall, who heads the Tarrant County Republican Party. “There are a chunk of the voters who probably will pay attention” to his support of a candidate.
“Whether or not is swings a race to put someone over the top remains to be seen.”
Democrats caution Republicans about jumping onto the Ted Cruz bandwagon.
“When you start appealing to a very small part of Texas’ population — the Republican primary voter — it’s going to affect the general election,” said Manny Garcia, a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party. “Some of these positions he’s expressed would be a concern to every day Texans.
“While it may be beneficial to align themselves with Ted Cruz right now, down the road (in the Nov. 4 general election) it may come back to bite them.”
Ties that bind?
Here’s a look at some of the Texas Republicans who have linked themselves to Cruz this political season:
• In the Senate District 10 race, Republican Konni Burton of Colleyville snagged one of the few endorsements Cruz has given. “She’s a tireless, unwavering warrior for the conservative cause. Konni is a fighter and will serve the people of Texas well. I urge voters in her district to support her,” Cruz has said.
• In the race for the 32nd Congressional District, which pits longtime U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas against Tea Party activist Katrina Pierson, the challenger’s website features a photo of Cruz and a quote from him: “Katrina Pierson is an utterly fearless principled conservative.”
• Four Republicans on the Texas Supreme Court who are seeking re-election — Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Jeff Brown, Jeff Boyd and Phil Johnson — picked up a joint endorsement from Cruz. “I wholeheartedly endorse all of them,” he posted on his Facebook page. “These justices are judicial conservatives, and we can depend on them to uphold the law.” Hecht is among those touting the endorsement on his website.
• State Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, is running for Texas Attorney General and his website features a photo of him standing next to Cruz with one comment from the senator: “Ken Paxton is a tireless conservative warrior.”
• Wayne Christian, a Republican seeking a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, has sent out campaign fliers featuring photos of Cruz with the question “Who stood with Ted Cruz?” and the answer “Wayne Christian stood with Ted Cruz when he was only polling 2%.”
“Ted Cruz is very popular in Texas,” said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. “He is very popular among the Tea Party people and is really a charismatic public figure to those that like him.
“His endorsements do carry weight, perhaps more than other endorsements because voters know who he is.”
Jones did note that there are two sides to every coin.
“Ted Cruz has probably done more than any other single politician to shift the center of gravity within the Texas GOP primary competition even further to the right this season,” Jones said.
“Most observers would view this as bad news for the future of the Texas GOP, since the party’s rightward drift takes it further and further away from the Hispanic and Anglo Millennial voters who will be playing an increasingly prominent role in determining who governs Texas in the future.”
In Texas, this is Ted Cruz's Republican Party.
According to FOX News, President Obama claimed yesterday that 4 million people had signed up for Obamacare. The White House had set an initial goal of 7 million sign-ups by the end of March.
President Obama claimed Tuesday that 4 million people have signed up for ObamaCare, part of the president's push to sign up as many people for coverage by the end of March.
"What you need to do is continue what you're doing and reach out with your teams in your respective cities, states, towns, counties because right now we only have a few weeks left," he told an organizing summit for Organizing for Action. "March 31st, that's the last call."
The Department of Health and Human Services also released the 4 million figure on Tuesday as well. The White House has set an unofficial goal of 7 million enrollees by the end of March.
"If they want health insurance now, they need to sign up now, and we're going to make a big push these last few weeks," Obama said.
Nearly 3.3 million had enrolled through the end of January. Enrollment was slowed in the beginning by the rocky start to the administration's health care website.
"Let's face it, the website didn't work," Obama said.
Obama also attributed enrollment troubles to an "implacable opposition" that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions to oppose the health care law.
In a statement, Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the administration is seeking "strong demand nationwide from consumers who want access to quality, affordable coverage." She said system error rates are low and "response times are consistently less than half a second."
In addition to the 4 million enrolled, Obama said millions more were benefiting from the health care law's expansion of Medicaid and its provision allowing young people up to age 26 to remain covered by their parents' insurance.
Signing up enough individuals — especially younger, healthier people — is critical for the insurance pool at the heart of the law to function properly by keeping premiums low for everyone.
Obama spoke to more than 300 activists at OFA's organizing summit at a Washington hotel and later addressed about 80 supporters at a dinner. The group heard from Jim Messina, Obama's 2012 campaign manager, and several former Obama aides who encouraged attendees to help enroll people under the health care law.
"The last call is here and it is our job to let everybody know," said Jon Carson, OFA's executive director.
Two hours before the president spoke, his former Republican rival, Mitt Romney, was spotted in the hotel lobby. A Romney adviser said the former Massachusetts governor was in Washington to deliver a speech and was staying at the hotel by coincidence.
Remember that the White House counts people as enrolled once they have a plan in their online shopping cart. The insurance agencies won't count someone as enrolled until they pay. So there are two big questions out there. Out of the 4 million, how many have paid? And overall, how many people lost their plans and were forced to sign-up for Obamacare.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.