DAYBREAK DAILY: McAuliffe facing daunting task on Medicaid expansion

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly cloudy with scattered rain and highs near 60 early followed by steadily decreasing temperatures.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – The latest on the Affordable Care Act, with today looming as crucial; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

TERRY’S DAUNTING TASK: Of Medicaid, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe comes to Richmond with no experience running a government but plenty of experience cutting a deal. And in the aftermath of a narrow victory in a closely watched and hotly contested election, brokering an agreement on Medicaid expansion might be the greatest test of that expertise.

“McAuliffe believes accepting the expansion is so critical to the health of Virginia’s economy and its citizens that to get a deal done, he says nothing is off the table — not even a conversation about cutting taxes. He’s “totally open to any great ideas” to ensure Medicaid funding, he said last week in his first sit-down interview since winning office on Nov. 5.”

MEANWHILE: Swimming upstream, per the Virginian-Pilot, “U.S. Sen. Mark Warner was fired up. After a four-year crusade for tax and spending reforms to rein in a dangerously high national debt, he was finally getting a seat at the table. In the aftermath of a 16-day government shutdown sparked by bitter congressional feuds, Warner was one of about two dozen lawmakers tapped in mid-October to hammer out a budget agreement and head off another shutdown.

“. . . Warner's involvement ended up being a small supporting role - one with some humbling lessons in how to gain clout and temper his aggressive style to get things done. "Am I frustrated? Yes. But does that mean it's time to give up? Absolutely not," Warner said after the budget deal was struck.”

UP AND DOWN IN MARYLAND: Depends where you live, per the Baltimore Sun, “To understand how unevenly the recession and recovery rippled across Maryland, consider its economic extremes. At one end, there's Anne Arundel County. Its employment base was 7 percent larger this spring than it was five years earlier, a gain of 17,000 new jobs. A major driver of that growth, Fort Meade, is now the state's single largest employer — so big it hires thousands of people each year "just because of attrition," said installation spokeswoman Mary Doyle.

“At the other end, just a few dozen miles away, is Talbot County. Buffeted by the housing bust like much of the Eastern Shore, its job base shrank faster than Anne Arundel's grew — a steep 8 percent drop. "Companies laid off people and didn't hire them back," said Paige Bethke, Talbot's economic development director. "They hired [via] temporary jobs."

NEW FLOCK: Not the same as the old flock, per the Washington Post, “The Pennsylvania man stripped of his ministerial credentials for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding on Sunday joined a D.C. congregation of the United Methodist Church that embraces gay marriage in defiance of Methodist doctrine.

“Defrocked three days earlier, Frank Schaefer stood within the Foundry United Methodist Church wearing a dark business suit and a necktie with a pattern representing a religious flame. He also donned a rainbow-colored stole, to show his support for the gay community, and delivered a sermon urging Methodists who support gay marriage to remain in the denomination and reform it from within.”

PUSSY RIOT: One member freed, per the New York Times, “One of two women from the punk group Pussy Riot serving two-year prison terms for staging a protest performance against President Vladimir V. Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral was released on Monday under a new amnesty law.

“The case of Maria Alyokhina, who was set free from a prison in Nizhny Novgorod on Monday morning, and her co-defendant, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, drew international condemnation of Russia’s human rights record, with critics saying their prosecution and relatively stiff sentences represented a brutal repression of free speech.”

HOLLYWOOD PARK: It’s no more, per the Los Angeles Times, “The bugler in his green coat and top hat tried to sound upbeat as he blew the traditional "Call to Post," but he might just as well have been playing a dirge. Down by the rail, Todd Matzner listened with a cigar stub clamped between his teeth. "I wasn't going to miss this, no way," the horse racing die-hard said. "Even if it's kind of sad."

“Sunday marked the last gasp for Betfair Hollywood Park, a 75-year-old racetrack that had once been a sparkling jewel of the city. The Inglewood landmark, which has fallen victim to declining revenue industrywide, will have its grandstand razed and its racing ovals dug up.”

OBAMACARE: Dems feeling ripple effects, per The Hill, “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Sunday said Democrats are feeling the weight of the botched site as they prepare for the 2014 midterms. Manchin, known for going against the grain of his party at times, wouldn't go so far as to say Democrats would lose control of the Senate in 2014, but did say it would be "extremely challenging" to hold on.

“He added that Republicans are using the debacle surrounding the rollout of President Obama's signature healthcare reform law to their advantage for the upcoming election cycle. "And even the Republicans who are my friends, they think that's a great advantage they have," Manchin said in a interview with CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday. "The Democrats are right now feeling the weight of it."

POLITICO PLAY: “Maryland gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler is incensed over the botched rollout of Affordable Care Act. He’s aghast at chronic problems with Maryland’s online enrollment platform and stunned that a state with “literally the smartest people in the country” would have hired a company from North Dakota, of all places, to help put its exchange in place. The whole spectacle, Gansler fumes, “is almost like a Saturday Night Live skit.”

“The punch line: Gansler, Maryland’s current attorney general, is a Democrat. Washington has been locked for months in a series of partisan battles over the law known as Obamacare, as well as battles within the GOP over how best to oppose the ACA. But it’s the state just to the north that has served up the country’s first Democrat-on-Democrat brawl over the inept implementation of the law, offering perhaps a first test of Democratic voters’ patience with the ACA’s technical setbacks.”

HIP IN D.C.: Or so they say, per City Paper, “The District is at all-time peak hipness. We've got artisanal ice and our own brand of house music. The District's so hip, we're over ramen. But like some crazed, sleeve-tattooed Captain Ahab, Mayor Vince Gray isn't satisfied.

“At an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting in Georgetown last week, Gray touted the city's second-place ranking on Forbes' 2012 list of coolest cities. His staff passed out a flyer that included the ranking, illustrated with a tiny handlebar mustache, on a list of the District's accomplishments. Still, Gray isn't satisfied. He's set his sights on the top dog: uh, Houston.”

P.G. CRIME: By the numbers, per Gazette.Net, “. . . Total overall crime in Prince George’s County is down 12.1 percent than 2012, according to police data. In 2012, crime numbers were as low as they had been since 1987 so it’s possible the 2013 decreases will top that, said Gina Ford, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney spokeswoman.

“Murders are down 11.7 percent, overall violent crime is down about 15 percent and property crimes are down as well with both burglaries and overall property crime down about 12 percent, according to police data.”

STATE OF MIND: And preference, per the Loudoun Times-Mirror, “East and West. Loudoun has two totally different mentalities from a development standpoint. In the population- and technology-dominated east, commercial development is always ongoing. Large office buildings and leasing space is constantly seen. In the much quieter and less populated west, much more subtle changes in development are being made in little towns and villages.

“Unlike its brother, western Loudoun has a distinct flavor to its growth, which is constantly emphasizing a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. With much of western Loudoun booming from the wine industry – and now, breweries – expansion is frequent.”

MEANWHILE: A different story, per the Charlottesville Daily Progress, “A plan to create a second pedestrian shopping district in downtown Charlottesville, expected to attract $300 million in long-term private investment, has some longtime city residents concerned that urban renewal will leave low-income residents in the dust. Called the Strategic Investment Area, the plan is to redevelop the area between Garrett Street and Elliott Avenue, bordered by Avon Street and Ridge Street, with a central greenway, mixed-income housing, shopping and jobs.

“Civil rights activist and former local NAACP President Eugene Williams worried that the plan will only hurt those in public housing. “I think that when you displace low-income people in the name of progress, that’s not the case, it’s just the opposite,” Williams said. “Less-fortunate people have nothing to show for progress.”

HOUSING: No bubble, per the Frederick News-Post, “Home sales were down in November, and foreclosures were up in Frederick County. Home sales in the county totaled 216, down from 240 in October, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence. Foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac, were up 42 percent at 186 in November. Darren Ahearn, a Realtor with Re/Max Results, said demand has remained strong, and sales, though down for November, were better than past years in the end months of the year.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Redskins lose 24-23 against Dallas.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Some great news for D.C. Public School students! Schools will be receiving new supplies and equipment thanks to $10 million in funding that has gone unspent due to unfilled job vacancies and reduced benefit costs. These new items include: musical instruments, books for the libraries, computers and tablets, art supplies, and science lab equipment.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is John Ayala, head of the local chapter of the Guardian Angels, who will be asked about the “knockout game.”

--Skip Wood