Walker Raises Clinton’s Age

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) raised the subject of Hillary Clinton’s age when discussing when he might run for president in an interview with a Wisconsin Fox affiliate.

Said Walker: “Whether it’s two years, six years, 20 years from now, because at 47, I mean I think about Hillary Clinton, I could run 20 years from now for president and still be about the same age as the former secretary of State is right now.”

Christie To Give Up GOP Governor’s Chairmanship

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) “is set to arrive in Florida on Tuesday to wrap up his yearlong job as Republican Governors Association chairman, a position that brought national visibility to the potential 2016 contender,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The conference comes on the heels of Republicans picking up four gubernatorial seats in a particularly strong showing during the midterm elections. The GOP now controls 31 governor’s seats, a high last reached in 1998.”

King Hopes to be Presidential Kingmaker

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) “is expanding his footprint as a presidential kingmaker,” the Des Moines Register reports. “The conservative congressman with the fitting last name is launching his own annual multicandidate forum for presidential hopefuls.”

Already attending the January summit: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Said King: “It’ll be an event that all the nation stops and looks at. What gets said and done, some of those things will be driving the conversation in the country.”

Can Hillary Clinton Expand the Map?

“The top minds in the proto-Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign infrastructure are already gaming out Electoral College scenarios. What they think they have is a candidate who could compete in a handful of traditionally red states, putting Republicans on the defensive and increasing her chances of winning the White House,” TPM reports.

“There are two buckets of states potentially in play. Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri comprise one bucket. The first is a somewhat unique case, given Clinton’s history there, while the other two were razor-thin in 2008, but the principle is the same: Clinton has a record of appealing to white working-class voters — especially women — and they could be enough when paired with the Obama coalition to pull out a win.”

“The second bucket consists of Arizona and Georgia, two states that Democrats believe are demographically trending toward them, a process that could accelerate with the voter turnout that usually occurs in presidential elections.”

The Fix: “The first bucket of states is ridiculous. The second is plausible — but almost certainly not in 2016.”

Indictment Seems Imminent for D.C. Mayor

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) “rejected an offer by federal prosecutors in September that he plead guilty to a single felony count in connection with their long-running investigation of his 2010 campaign,” the Washington Post reports.

“Prosecutors have also re-interviewed key witnesses in recent weeks, several individuals familiar with the case said — a further indication that authorities are marching toward an indictment of the outgoing mayor.”

Huelskamp Refuses to Give Plan for Immigrants

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), “one of the most strident anti-illegal immigration Republicans in the U.S. House,” refused to directly answer a question on Bloomberg TV about what he would do about the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

“Huelskamp responded by saying he didn’t know exactly how many immigrants were in the country illegally, and then tried to pivot to the importance of border security.”

When pressed again for a plan to handle undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Huelskamp said “nobody in Washington I know of is talking about deportation.” He then questioned the number again: “I want to know how many folks are here. I want to secure the border.”

Chris Christie’s Legacy Looks Increasingly Shaky

Politico: “No, as much as national pundits like to bemoan Christie’s demeanor and as much as events like Bridgegate have underscored Christie’s reputation as a bully and a back-room brawler, his biggest campaign trail albatross is a more fundamental challenge—one he can’t fix with a smart made-for-YouTube put-down. Chris Christie’s greatest challenge as he contemplates moving onto the national stage is that his own state looks to be in rough shape.”

“Unlike the nation as a whole, which has more than recovered the jobs it lost during the recession, New Jersey has yet to recover half of its lost jobs. Christie once declared a ‘New Jersey Comeback,’ but he has since abandoned that narrative. Opponents in 2016 will want to tell Americans why.”

Pelosi Not Leaving Until Democrats Take Majority

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she has no plans to relinquish her leadership position until Democrats retake control of the House, the Washington Post reports.

Said Pelosi: “I could have walked away, but we built something and then we want to take it to the next step. I thought I’d be long gone by now. I thought we’d win the third term in the majority [in 2010] and I would have completed some of the work. I’m not here because I want to have the accoutrement of being leader. I’m here because we have a mission to accomplish for the American people.”

Roll Call: “In a shock to her caucus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi selected Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2016 cycle.”

Time to Get Even or Time to Get Over It?

Gerald Seib: “Republicans, of course, have taken control of the Senate after eight years of Democratic rule, and lawmakers from both parties are nursing serious grievances over how the other side behaved during that stretch.”

“Democrats endured a blizzard of Republican filibusters, shattering previous records and helping gum up the works. That’s the burden new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell carries when he says, as he did the day after the election, ‘This gridlock and dysfunction can be ended.'”

“Republicans chafed under the iron-fisted rule of Democratic leader Harry Reid , who regularly limited debate, blocked amendments and prevented votes. That’s the burden Mr. Reid now faces when he says, as he did last week, ‘This is not get-even time.'”

Obama and Insurers Become Allies Defending Health Law

“With the health insurance marketplace now open for a second year, President Obama will be depending more than ever on the insurance companies that five years ago he accused of padding profits and canceling coverage for the sick,” the New York Times reports.

“Those same insurers have long viewed government as an unreliable business partner that imposed taxes, fees and countless regulations and had the power to cut payment rates and cap profit margins.”

“But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.”

The Return on the Veto

The Atlantic: “For all of the Republican handwringing over President Obama’s use—or overuse—of executive authority, there is one exclusive presidential power he has barely wielded at all: the veto.”

“Obama has rejected just two bills passed by Congress in his nearly six years in office. That’s the fewest of any president since James Garfield, who didn’t veto a single bill, but lasted only six months in the White House before his assassination in 1881. And when you look at presidents who have served as long as Obama has, you’d have to go back to James Monroe, the nation’s fifth president, to find a chief executive who has formally clashed with Congress so rarely. Monroe vetoed just one bill in his two terms, according to records kept by the Senate.”

“That’s about to change for Obama in January, when Republicans control both the House and the Senate.”

Obamacare Popularity Hits New Low

Gallup: “As the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period begins, 37% of Americans say they approve of the law, one percentage point below the previous low in January. Fifty-six percent disapprove, the high in disapproval by one point.”

“Repeal is highly unlikely, given Obama’s veto power, but the law’s new low in approval — and new high in disapproval (56%) — could potentially have an impact on its future. The president himself has acknowledged he will consider modifications to the law, which could include repealing the tax on medical devices.”

Wonk Wire: Who still lacks health insurance?