DAYBREAK DAILY: Gansler wants outside spending out of Md. gubernatorial race

ABC7 WEATHER: Bitter cold early then mostly sunny with highs in the mid 40s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – House hearing on the Obamacare rollout ; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

TAKING A STAND: But to what end?, per the Baltimore Sun, “Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler asked his Democratic rivals Tuesday to keep third-party spending out of the race for governor, pointing to other states where such agreements are said to have cut down on negative attack ads. Gansler's call for a "clean" primary campaign would exclude advertisements paid for by political action committees, unions and special interests — a call so broad that it would exclude several of the powerful groups that have endorsed his competitors.

“Gansler's "Candidate's Pledge," modeled after an agreement last year between Republican then-Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, includes fines for candidates when outside groups sponsor ads on their behalf. . . It received a lukewarm response from the other Democrats contending to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown said through a spokesman he could run a clean campaign without such a deal. A spokesman for Del. Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County asked why Gansler wanted to negotiate such a pledge in public.”

VIRGINIA AG DUST SETTLES?: Perhaps, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Democrat Mark Herring declared victory in the attorney general’s race Tuesday night after a canvass of Fairfax County provisional ballots left him with an unofficial 163-vote lead over Republican Mark Obenshain out of 2.2 million cast last week.

“Over the course of the past week, a thorough and extensive process has ensured that every vote has been tallied and accounted for,” said Herring, a Loudoun County state senator. “The margin was close, but it is clear that Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next attorney general.” Obenshain seemed to see the Tuesday count, with a midnight deadline approaching for localities to report numbers to the state, as short of decisive.”

MIXED BAG: Of airplanes, per the Washington Post, “Three months after warning that creating the world’s largest airline could cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, the Justice Department on Tuesday announced that it had reached a settlement and dropped its opposition to the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.

“The deal requires the merged airline to relax its stranglehold on Washington’s Reagan National Airport, a mandate that will increase competition and could lower fares for flights to major cities. But it also may end some direct flights to smaller communities, officials said. Dominance of National, where the new airline would have controlled 69 percent of all flights, was a major impediment to the merger. The airline, which will retain the American Airlines name, will have 44 fewer departing flights from National under the agreement, but it will remain the airport’s major carrier with 57 percent of all flights.”

OBAMACARE: The latest, per the New York Times, “Under intense bipartisan pressure to answer mounting consumer complaints about the botched health care rollout, White House officials are struggling to make good on President Obama’s promise that Americans can keep their insurance coverage without undermining the new health law or adding unaffordable costs.

“After the president’s apology last week for wrongly assuring Americans that they could retain their health plans if they wanted, senior White House aides said the president wanted to ensure that people who were forced off older policies with less comprehensive coverage were not stuck with higher monthly premiums to replace their insurance. But administration officials declined to say how they might achieve that goal, how much it would cost or whether it would require congressional approval.”

MEANWHILE: Slivers of sunshine, per the Los Angeles Times, “. . .More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October — most in Medicaid — and about 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant, officials credit the exchange's success in part to the Pacific Northwest's high-tech bent.

“Colorado enrolled just over 37,500 people in the same period. New York state — with a population nearly three times the size of Washington's — had enrolled just more than 48,000 in health plans as of Tuesday, state officials announced. Kentucky enrolled more than 32,000 in its first month. California is expected to release figures this week. All are among the states that embraced Obamacare and crafted their own insurance exchanges rather than rely on the federal site, which has been riddled with breakdowns.”

ON THE OTHER HAND: Not so sunny, per The Hill, “A new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday found 39 percent of voters approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 54 percent disapprove. It's the second time within a week that Obama's approval rating has sunk below 40 percent in a major poll.

“Quinnipiac recorded its lowest level of approval since Obama took office in 2009. His approval rating is underwater with nearly every demographic group. Only black and Hispanic voters approve of Obama more than they disapprove. Similarly, a record high, 52 percent, believe Obama is not honest or trustworthy, up 3 percentage points since May.”

POLITICO PLAY: “In the days after went live, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough quietly dispatched Jeff Zients, a favorite West Wing fixer, to assess the operation and report back.When Zients did, President Barack Obama learned the project was in worse shape than suspected — riddled with coding problems, management issues and communication gaps, according to a senior administration official.

“It was only then that Obama and his top aides realized the extent of what they didn’t know. The story of how a technology-obsessed White House failed to head off a technological disaster may be as simple as it is mind-boggling to the law’s supporters. Senior White House officials claim they just never anticipated the magnitude of the problems that would unfold — there was concern, yes, but not an impending sense of doom.”

VIRGINIA TECH AD TO RESIGN: Just the facts, per the Roanoke Times, “Jim Weaver had not been planning to retire for a few more years. But his declining health forced him to change that plan. Weaver, who has been Virginia Tech’s athletic director since 1997, said Tuesday he will step down Dec. 31.

“Weaver, 68, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004. He has also undergone five back operations in the past six years, most recently in January. Two months ago, he learned he needs to have both his hips replaced. He already had his left hip replaced once before, in 2008.”

CHILI CAMPAIGN: Or something like that, per City Paper, “So far this cycle, D.C.'s would-be mayors have leaned on Top 40 songs for their campaign kick-off music. Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal launched his bid a little differently, in the back room of Ben's Chili Bowl this morning: The event started with a bongo drums entrance (including some beats from Shallal himself), then a call-and-response rap from poet Bomani D. Armah.

"Make some noise for Andy Shallal," Bomani rapped. "And make D.C. a city for all." Shallal tossed out a number of policy ideas, from weeks-long programs to improve students' social skills to lowering the voting age to 17. He struck broader tones too, saying the District needs to work for residents pushed out by gentrification.”

HOLIDAY TIME: Or not, per Gazette.Net, “Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr won’t be official school holidays next year, but some school board members say a change needs to be made in determining the basis for adding new holidays to the county schools’ calendar.

“While the decision won’t affect the next school year, the Montgomery County school board didn’t amend the school calendar Tuesday to give students and staff in Montgomery County Public Schools the day off on two Muslim holidays. Among other information, the board considered absenteeism data from Eid al-Adha, which fell on Oct. 15 this year, before voting to approve the 2014-15 school year calendar.”

INFRASTRUCTURE: Just do it, per the Frederick News-Post, “Beginning with a $400,000 Maryland State Highway Administration sidewalk retrofit project in Myersville, 2014 will be a busy year for construction projects in the west Frederick County municipality. The Md. 17 sidewalk project will be done around the same time as the $1.5 million Main Street reconstruction project. In addition, the town plans to replace an 80-year-old sewer trunk line that was exposed during Superstorm Sandy.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Caps beat Columbus 4-3; Wizards lose 105-95 against Dallas.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Attention dog owners! Georgia-based dog food company Bailey's Choice has expanded a recall involving its teriyaki dog treats over salmonella concerns. The recall includes Virginia -- along with Delaware, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is David Charron of MRIS, who will be asked about what the October numbers tell us about Washington area real estate.

--Skip Wood