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First Read Flash: By the numbers

As few as 40,000 Americans may have signed up through the online insurance market place during the site's troubled first six weeks -- far below expectations.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

As few as 40,000 Americans may have signed up through the online insurance market place during the site's troubled first six weeks -- far below expectations.

Washington Post: "Roughly 40,000 Americans have signed up for private insurance through the flawed federal online insurance marketplace since it opened six weeks ago, according to two people with access to the figures. That amount is a tiny fraction of the total projected enrollment for the 36 states where the federal government is running the online health-care exchange, indicating the slow start to the president’s initiative."

Wall Street Journal: "The administration had estimated that nearly 500,000 people would enroll in October, according to internal memos cited last week by Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.). An estimated seven million people nationwide were expected to gain private coverage by the end of March, when the open-enrollment period is set to end."

New York Times: "The chief digital architect for the federal health insurance marketplace has told congressional investigators that he was not aware of tests that indicated potential security flaws in the system, which opened to the public on Oct. 1."

Politico: "Democrats have a general idea of what it would take to put the Obamacare rollout back on track. Fix the damn website, they say, and most of the other problems will take care of themselves. But will they? The problem is that neither the administration or the House and Senate yoked to it can describe a threshold for when the public will view the health law as on the way to recovery."

New York Times: "Some major health insurers are so worried about the Obama administration’s ability to fix its troubled health care website that they are pushing the government to create a shortcut that would allow them to enroll people entitled to subsidies directly rather than through the federal system. The idea is only one of several being discussed in a frantic effort to find a way around the technological problems that teams of experts are urgently trying to resolve."

Los Angeles Times: "Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she will recommend that President Obama act alone if necessary to create new national monuments and sidestep a gridlocked Congress that has failed to address dozens of public lands bills. Jewell said the logjam on Capitol Hill has created a conservation backlog, and she warned that the Obama administration would not 'hold its breath forever' waiting for lawmakers to act."

New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry came up a few disputed words short of closing a landmark nuclear deal with Iran on Sunday in Geneva. Now he is defending the diplomacy that led to that near miss against a rising chorus of critics at home and abroad."

Reuters: "Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's pinning of blame on Iran for the lack of a deal on its nuclear program last week, saying splits between Western powers prevented a breakthrough. Responding to remarks by Kerry in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Zarif said that singling out Iran only served to undermine confidence in the Geneva negotiations, which will resume on November 20."

Politico: "It’s just mid-November, but it’s quickly becoming a reality: Washington could be mostly done making laws for the year. If it isn’t evident by looking at the thin congressional calendar, top sources in both chambers are downright grim that the final eight weeks in 2013 will produce any legislative breakthroughs, like a broad budget agreement or an immigration deal."

NBC's Mark Murray: "If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie runs for president in 2016, he would face the dual challenges of uniting a fractured Republican Party and besting a formidable Hillary Clinton in a general election, according to a new NBC News poll. Following his resounding re-election victory last week, 32 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents say they would vote for Christie in a GOP presidential primary, while 31 percent prefer another Republican candidate."

Charlie Cook writes that "all the speculation about “will Hillary run” among Democrats and the curiosity on the Republican side about Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and, most recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is rather extraordinary a year before even the midterm elections."

New York Times: "In the 2008 presidential primary campaign, Mitch Stewart devoted himself to defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton, overcoming the advantages of a well-funded Democratic front-runner through grass-roots organizing, and propelling Barack Obama to victory. On Tuesday, Mr. Stewart and a dozen or so other political operatives and 170 donors will gather in New York to plot how to help Mrs. Clinton win in 2016. The meeting is the first national finance council strategy meeting of Ready for Hillary, a “super PAC” devoted to building a network to support Mrs. Clinton’s potential presidential ambitions."

CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles Times: "Deep inside a new USC/Los Angeles Times poll are details that could make the California Republican Party, and by extension its cohorts elsewhere in the country, fear anew the march of time and demographics. California right now is an extreme example of the nation, to be sure: more ethnically mixed and younger than most states, and riven for 20 years by a hobbling GOP civil war that now is surfacing dramatically elsewhere in the country. But if California is on the leading edge, as opposed to an outlier, the poll serves as confirmation that long-term problems loom for Republicans."

MONTANA: The Missoulian: "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Bohlinger rapped Montana’s two sitting U.S. senators and “D.C. insiders” on Monday for their early support of fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. John Walsh, saying they should let Montana voters do the choosing. Bohlinger’s criticism stems in part from a fundraiser that U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester – both Montana Democrats – are hosting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for Walsh.

NEBRASKA: Roll Call: "In a display of the unpredictability of the race, conservative groups are falling on opposite sides of the Republican Senate primary in Nebraska. FreedomWorks, a tea-party-affiliated group that has backed candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Monday that it has endorsed former state Treasurer Shane Osborn. That news came just days after Midland University President Ben Sasse landed the second of two coveted conservative endorsements from the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund."

SOUTH CAROLINA: The State: "U.S. Army veteran and Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate Monday at a Myrtle Beach Tea Party meeting. Connor joins Spartanburg state Sen. Lee Bright, Easley businessman Richard Cash and Charleston PR executive Nancy Mace as the fourth candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the June GOP primary. The only one of Graham’s challengers to run a statewide race, Connor ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 and lost in a runoff."

SOUTH DAKOTA: AP: "Former Sen. Larry Pressler said Monday he is considering running again for the U.S. Senate, this time as an independent. Pressler, 71, served three Senate terms as a Republican after first winning the seat in 1978. He lost a 1996 re-election bid to Democrat Tim Johnson, who is not seeking re-election next year after also serving three terms. Pressler, who lives most of the time in Washington, D.C., but maintains a home in Sioux Falls, said there is less than a 50-50 chance he will run for the Senate next year. But he said if he does run, he wants to do it as an independent because that would give him the best chance to find compromise in Congress."

VIRGINIA: Washington Post: "Democratic state Sen. Mark R. Herring took the lead in the extraordinarily tight Virginia attorney general race Monday evening, after he picked up more than 100 previously uncounted votes in Richmond. Herring had started the day trailing his Republican opponent, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (Harrisonburg), by a mere 17 votes out of 2.2 million cast. But as jurisdictions across the state continued to scrub their vote counts, the State Board of Elections showed Herring with a 117-vote lead late Monday.

Politico: "A year after the 2012 election in which the Obama campaign dominated on data and Republicans wondered how they could catch up, both parties saw 2013 as not only a testing ground for new digital strategies but also a test of how much ground the GOP has made up. Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe’s campaign, building on the foundations of Obama’s 2012 data operation, was able to adapt many of Obama’s data strategies to a state-level race."