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Inside the Beltway: Stripping down for Obamacare

- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2013

Attractive women wearing nothing but a smile and flesh-colored underwear emblazoned with the motto "Are You Covered?" strolled the most popular shopping areas of Denver in the name of the Affordable Care Act this week. Oh, and there were blondes in the shortest of short shorts plus muscular young men in gray flannel boxers — and that is all — also on parade. They sported beribboned signs reading "Without health insurance, you're exposed."

The earnest models were handing out information to startled passers-by, hired by Colorado HealthOP, a nonprofit insurance company eager to get the message about the new health care law to the public. Some of the locals were not impressed.

"So now we have to dress like Miley Cyrus to sell Obamacare?" asked Kelly Maher, a politically inclined Denver mother, who took her multiple protests to Twitter.

"Hey feminists, doesn't this objectify women. Hello? Anyone?" responded Christian Cama, a conservative Florida lobbyist and founder of the Reaganista.com blog.

The insurance company in question entered the social media fray to defend itself. The underwear model outreach was "a light-hearted event to call attention to a serious issue: 829 thousand uninsured Coloradans," the company responded in its own tweet.

OBAMA'S FOREVER CAMPAIGN

"Let's imagine that America is invaded by aliens. They vaporize Congress and melt down the Statue of Liberty. What does President Obama do? He hits the campaign trail," says historian Tim Stanley, a columnist with The Guardian. He imagines Mr. Obama exhorting the crowd as Barbra Streisand sings the national anthem and Martian hordes fire ray guns at liberal students.

Mr. Stanley is particularly irked that campaign speeches are still going on as the shutdown continues, when there should be serious and productive talks about a compromise. The president never stops making stump speeches.

"That's what Obama does in the middle of any crisis. He doesn't confront events head on like a mature leader should — particularly a mature leader in the middle of his second term with no more elections to run in. No. Obama goes out and campaigns. And he's doing it right now," Mr. Stanley observes.

"If his presidency is low on accomplishments and high on disappointment then this is why. He not only underperforms for the majority of Americans in his day-to-day work, but he also misleads his base with angry rhetoric that promises the Earth and usually delivers nothing," he continues.

"Herein lies the paradox of this presidency: Obama gets very little done, yet still manages to exhaust us all in the process. Three more years to go," the historian says with a sigh.

AN INCOMING CAMPAIGN

"Texas is a place where we aim high and take big risks."

— Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, a pro-choice Democrat, on announcing she would run for governor of the Lone Star State, from a high school gym in Haltom City, a suburb of Fort Worth.

"Texas is pro God, pro family, pro life and pro guns."

— sign carried by Davonia Leach, among a crowd of 40 protesters just outside the gym.

MAN OF THE PEOPLE

Gov. Scott Walker is definitely staying in Wisconsin and seeing to the very local, grass-roots business of his state, a smart strategy for those who might pursue, say, the Republican nomination for president in 2016. Behold, this new headline from the governor's office:

"Glad to announce the 2013 Cow of the Year at the World Dairy Expo."

Indeed, Mr. Walker was there to do the honors, in red work shirt and blue jeans, congratulating the cow's owner, and of course, the bovine in question, who is a Jersey cow by the name of Ambition Hercules Jordan.

BUMPER PATROL

"My other car is a college tuition."

— Bumper sticker spotted in Harrisburg, Pa.

RUBIO HAS A WARNING

While budget negotiations in the nation's capital meander toward a destination, one Florida Republican has a very blunt warning for the Obama administration about Iran, despite all the cordial news about President Obama's recent phone call with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.

"This is who we're negotiating with. We're not negotiating with Belgium. We're not negotiating with Luxembourg. We are negotiating with a government, a country run by evil liars," Sen. Marco Rubio told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

"And when you negotiate with evil liars, all your lines have to be clearly marked out and the verifications have to be stronger. I mean we are dealing with some very dangerous people here," he said.

Sixty-four percent of Israelis, incidentally, think Iran will build a nuclear bomb, this according to MidGam/Tel Aviv University survey of more than 500 Israelis released Thursday.

DING-A-LING

Dialing for depravity? There's more than a glitch involved in the great national campaign to get Americans to sign up for Obamacare. The new toll-free consumer number associated with the Affordable Care Act uses an unfortunate sequence of numbers that unfortunately spells out 1/800-F***-YO.

The number was set up by the Department of Health and Human Services, which has offered no acknowledgment or comment so far. First spotted by the sharp-eyed Washington Free Beacon writer Lachlan Markay, the revelation quickly circulated from one gleeful news organization to the next, including the Drudge Report, BuzzFeed, the Daily Caller, Hot Air and The Blaze.

"The Obamacare hotline number sums up Obama's message to the U.S.," declared BizPac Review, a Florida-based news site.

It doesn't much help to learn that some public outreach for Obamacare consumers includes the promise of a free smartphone. The Nashville Business Journal reports that Community Health Alliance, the Obamacare health insurance co-op in Tennessee, is using the allure of an LG Lucid 2 4G smartphone, a phone plan and tech support, "included as a cost of their health plan benefits."

The phone plan includes unlimited talk, unlimited texting and 1.2GB of data.

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of Americans say it would be a "bad thing" if the nation's debt ceiling is not raised; 40 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say that it would be a "good thing" if the debt ceiling is not raised; 52 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent would blame Republicans in Congress if the debt ceiling is not raised; 30 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent would blame President Obama if the ceiling is not raised; 57 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent say raising the debt ceiling is more important for Congress to do that delaying certain provisions in Obamacare; 31 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall say delaying the provisions is more important; 61 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 8.03 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 27 to 29.

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