From Cuba to Israel

By Emily Cyr

With President Obama’s recent announcement about opening a US Embassy in Cuba, instead of looking south, some GOP candidates are turning their attention to Israel.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) responded to the news about Cuba by saying it is a “slap in the face” to Israel. Cruz, who is of Cuban descent, spoke on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” saying:

            “How sad is it that under the Obama administration the United States is going to have an embassy in Havana before we have an embassy in Jerusalem, that this administration will be friendlier to a Communist dictator who hates America and seeks to undermine our nation, than it is willing to stand with our close friend and ally, the nation of Israel? I think it’s wrong.”

Currently, the U.S. embassy in Israel is located in Tel Aviv, and the topic of its relocation has been a source of controversy for years.

In 1995, The Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed to allow the relocation of this embassy but there is a Presidential Waiver that states “for a period of six months if he [The President] determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States”.

While Cruz and other candidates have stated they support the removal of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, they are not the first candidates to do so. Both Republicans and Democrats have campaigned on a platform of relocating the embassy but both have failed to implement it when in office.  20 years and three presidents later, this waiver is applied consistently, every six months, with the most recent block on June 3rd , citing “national security interests” as justification.

The act passed with bipartisan congressional support, but remains unfulfilled. The tables are turned for the Cuban embassy, which requires Congressional approval for any funds towards the embassy and Senate approval for the President’s eventual nominee for ambassador to Cuba.

Cruz, Rubio and other senators have indicated they will do what they can to block any nomination, but it looks like we will see an embassy in Havana before Jerusalem.

July 4th 1826

By Emily Cyr, Special Report Summer Associate 

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are two men with a great deal in common: they both signed the Declaration of Independence, they both spent time as diplomats in Europe and both served as president as well as VP. One of the lesser known facts they have in common is that they both died on July 4th 1826.

50 years after both men had signed the Declaration of Independence, Adams and Jefferson had not only witnessed the birth of a great nation but also a great friendship. They met in July 1775 at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia and a bond developed quickly, with Adams writing about his friendship with Jefferson as one “one of the most agreeable Events in [his] Life”.

The two often had diverging political ideologies, which they were able to overcome most of the time. Unfortunately, their friendship could not survive the presidential election of 1800, where Adams, as the incumbent Federalist, faced off against his vice-president, Jefferson, representing the Democratic - Republican Party. Jefferson proved victorious, but during his last days in office, Adams made multiple political appointments that Jefferson called the “one act of Mr. Adams’ life, and only one, ever gave [him] a moment’s displeasure”.

Their friendship went on hiatus during Jefferson’s two terms in office but in 1812, their correspondence resumed for the remaining 15 years of their lives. In these letters (many of which are chronicled in the Library of Congress), they discussed everything from politics to religion, philosophy and family. Though they still had their differences, Jefferson attributes their time as “fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right of self-government” as the foundation of their friendship.

When on July 4th, 1826 at the ripe old age of 90, Adams passed away, according to the records of his family, his last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives”. But unbeknownst to him, Jefferson had passed away five hours earlier at the age of 83.

The nation put great emphasis on the fact the two men died the same day, with John Quincy Adams, then president himself, writing about his father’s death: “The time, the manner, the coincidence with the decease of Jefferson, are visible and palpable marks of divine favor, for which I would humble myself in grateful and silent adoration before the Ruler of the Universe”.

Whether this was divine favor or not, it is a great story to share at a barbeque this weekend, Happy Fourth of July! 

Perry on Obama efforts to reestablish relations with Cuba: ‘This is just throwing the Castro brothers a lifeline’

Republican presidential candidate and former Texas governor Rick Perry (R) said Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that President Obama’s efforts to thaw the diplomatic freeze with Cuba are the wrong approach.

“We've seen this president not being able to connect the dots often. We see it in Iran. We see the same approach in Cuba, and how we're dealing with it,” Perry said. “The Cuban people are not any better off with this deal at all. In fact, I would suggest to you this is just throwing the Castro brothers a lifeline.”

If elected president, Perry said he’ll reverse steps the Obama administration is taking to formally reestablish diplomatic relations with the island nation,

“I think the next president of the United States obviously has an opportunity to come back in and using sanctions and other types of diplomatic ways to deal with the Castro regime,” he said, adding, “Until you see the people there getting the freedoms they deserve, I wouldn't try to normalize anything with them.”

Bret sits down with presidential candidate Lindsey Graham

The extras we didn't have room for during out "Presidential Contenders" series! 

Bret sits down with presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson

The extras you we didn't have room for during our "Presidential Contenders' series!

Snapchat, Politics and Millennials

By Emily Cyr, Special Report Summer Associate

With the 2016 presidential campaigns underway, candidates have a new media platform to consider: Snapchat.

While the video-messaging app that debuted in 2011 has been largely used to send pictures and videos between friends, it has now become a way to connect with presidential candidates.

Sen. Rand Paul(R-Ky) and Gov. Rick Perry are two candidates who have created Snapchat accounts so supporters can follow their campaigns and behind the scene action.

Candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush have gone a step further. Both Clinton and Bush were featured on Our Story, a video stream on Snapchat that is published from a live event via audience submissions. When Clinton held her first campaign rally at Roosevelt Island on June 13th, Snapchat users anywhere could follow the event and the same happened for Jeb Bush’s announcement at Miami Dade College Kendall two days later.

A current job posting shows Snapchat looking to further expand its role in political coverage by creating a new content team of “political junkies and news aficionados” to filter Our Story events and 2016 presidential coverage. 

This could be a major source of political news for millennials; Snapchat recently released statistics stating that over 60% of people from 13-34 in the U.S with smartphones are using Snapchat and that 18-24 year olds are the largest group of users, representing 37%.

With upwards of 2 billion video views per day on Snapchat, candidates have plenty of opportunities to get their message to the young voter demographic.

Presidential Candidate Governor Jindal says the Supreme Court caved on Gay Marriage to public opinion

Presidential Candidate and Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal joined "Special Report" panelists in the center seat to answer questions about last week's Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and health care. 

Jindal argued that presidents need to stop nominating Supreme Court Justices that interpret the law to their advantage and any future nominees should be ones that rely on a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Jindal told viewers that the "easiest way to fix this is to appoint justices who will actually read a dictionary, read the Constitution."

Jindal said it was a bad week for the rule of law especially when one of the justices stated that words no longer had meaning. But it was the gay marriage ruling that really questioned Jindal's belief in the Supreme Court system.

Jindal, who converted from Hindu to Christianity many years ago, said it's his belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. He admitted that many others may be leaning towards a different definition of marriage but Jindal questioned those who make their decisions based on public opinion and not what's sacred to them. "The easiest thing for any politician to do... is simply read an opinion poll," Jindal exclaimed. He also noted that changing political stances might work for others but not for him saying "that's what the Court did. That's what the president has done. I'm not evolving with the polls."

Walmart apologizes following ISIS cake incident

Retail giant Walmart is apologizing following an incident at one of its stores after an employee made a cake for a customer decorated with the ISIS flag.

Chuck Netzhammer visited his local Walmart bakery in Slidell, LA and filled out an order form requesting a cake decorated with the Confederate flag. The request was denied, prompting the customer to see just how far Walmart would go.

Netzhammer returned to the store the following day and this time filled out an order form for a cake depicting the ISIS flag. He was surprised when the order was approved and the cake was made exactly as he had asked.

Netzhammer took to YouTube in a scathing video where he asks Walmart if they support ISIS and explains some of the horrors behind the terrorist group. He also accuses Walmart of alienating Southern Americans.

The video has received over 340,000 views.

A Walmart spokesman insists that the employee was not aware of what the flag represented. "Our local store made a mistake. The cake in the video should not have been made and we apologize." 

Note: Walmart (along with Sears, Amazon, Ebay and other retailers) announced they would no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise following the gruesome hate crime that left nine African Americans dead at a church in Charleston, SC and prompted a nation-wide debate over the Confederate flag.

So what do you think? Do you think the Walmart employee is to blame either because they did know what the flag was or should have known? Or was it wrong of Netzhammer to ask to have the cake made in the first place or to attack the store if in fact the employee really didn't know what it was?

And do you agree with Walmart and other retailers in their decision to no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise?

Bret sits down with presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie

You caught him on our 'Presidential Contenders' series, but here are some of the clips that didn't make air! 

Fox News Reporting - Crossing Jordan – Escape From Terror

 
When America leads from behind, who meets our enemies head on?  Jordan’s King Abdullah gives Fox News Reporting unprecedented access to his life and country. Go on patrol with the Jordanian military at the front lines with ISIS and the Syrian regime.  Hear the heartrending stories of Christians and Muslims fleeing torture, massacre and chemical weapons.  And in an exclusive Fox News investigation, learn for the first time about a modern-day underground railroad delivering persecuted Christians into America.  Right now, King Abdullah is fighting two wars at once, both for religious tolerance—will he fight on alone, or will America stand up as well.
 
Please tune in Friday, June 26th, 10pm EDT with additional airings Saturday, June 27th, 8pm ET and Sunday, June 28th, 9pm ET

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