The reaction to Wednesday’s testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leads off this edition:
• “You have said the American people should hold you accountable, which is why today I repeat my request for you to resign.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican.
“No more excuses. No more spin. Just give us the truth.” — Utah Sen. Orrin Hath, a Republican.
“You said recently that you expect the website to be running smoothly for a majority of users by late November. There is no room for error. You must meet — and I prefer you beat — that deadline.” — Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat.
You could have predicted these comments three days ago. Sebelius herself called the website meltdown a “debacle” and warned lawmakers that the first enrollment numbers coming out next week will be low.
• “Administration officials have given Congress some cherry-picked statistics, but they refuse to give us the full picture.” — Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins on the House Ways and Means Committee decision to subpoena federal officials for Obamacare enrollment statistics. Jenkins, a Republican, is a committee member.
Republicans are fed up with the administration’s refusal to provide enrollment numbers and decided to go the subpoena route. They obviously suspect the numbers are pathetically small and want to use them to embarrass the president. Republicans, though, have a point: The Obama team hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with roll-out information.
• “It’s complimentary. It’s flattering, and I have no problem with it.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on all the presidential speculation following his easy re-election win Tuesday night.
Christie is going to have his moment in the spotlight. He’s about to take the reins as head of the Republican Governor’s Association, which will give him a national platform. He’s already emerging as the (slightly) more moderate choice for Republicans in a field that could include Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Texas’ Ted Cruz. In short, he’s on a roll.
• “My solution is the same proposed by Ronald Reagan many years ago: ‘Let's have a new first party. A Republican Party raising a banner of bold colors, no pale pastels. A banner instantly recognizable as standing for certain values which will not be compromised.’" — Kansas U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf in a column urging Republicans not to be scared off by losses in Tuesday’s election.
Wolf is portraying himself as the real deal — a genuine, tea party conservative who prefers the fight over the compromise. He’s full of pep. But whether he can make a genuine run of it against fellow Republican Roberts, the three-term incumbent, in the August 2014 primary is still unknown.
• “If you think about this, Virginia is the home state of the NRA. That’s where their headquarters are. If I had said to you 20 years ago that that a Democrat that is ‘F’ rated by the NRA…could win governor, you would have laughed me out of the room.” — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial victory in Virginia on Tuesday. McAuliffe’s opponent got an “A” rating from the NRA.
Bloomberg, who bills himself as an independent, backed McAuliffe in a move that drew conservative criticism. But Bloomberg is on an anti-gun crusade and said that more illegal guns come from Virginia than any other state.