**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
• Obama dumps on Congress, a lot
• Unions set to win, enviros set to lose on pipeline
• War dance or kabuki on immigration?
• A DeMint man for Oklahoma race?
• New York declares war on the birds of the 1 percent
OBAMA DUMPS ON CONGRESS
From President Obama’s interview with CNN: “Uh, the House Republicans, in particular, have had difficulty rallying around any agenda, much less mine. And in that kind of environment, what I don’t want is the American people to think that the only way for us to make big change is through, uh, legislation… I mean, the truth of the matter is, is that every president engages in executive actions. In fact, we’ve been very disciplined and sparing in terms of the executive actions that we have taken. Uh, we make sure that we're doing it within the authority that we have under statute.”
Congress too unpopular to resist him - “…it’s a tough argument for the other side to make that not only are they willing to do an -- not do anything, but they also want me not to do anything, uh, in which case, um, I think the American people, uh, who’s, right now, estimation of Congress is already pretty low, uh, might, uh, might have an even lower opinion.”
Damning with faint praise – “[Republican support for an immigration overhaul], particularly in this Congress, is a huge, uh, piece of business, because, uh, they haven’t gotten a lot done over the last couple of years out of the House Republican Caucus. They – they’ve been willing to say what they're against, not so much what they're for.”
But on legal pot, Obama passes the pipe to Congress - “Well, first of all, what is and isn't a Schedule One narcotic is a job for Congress … It's -- it's not -- it's not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws under -- undergirding those determinations...”
Pot may be okay, unless corporations get involved - “…because if we start having a situation where, uh, big corporations with a lot of resources and distribution and marketing arms are suddenly going out there, uh, peddling marijuana, then, uh, the levels of abuse that may take place are going to... are going to be higher.”
Go to the Olympics, even though there might be a terrorist attack - “I'd tell them that I believe that Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings… if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics. And, uh, you know, we're not discouraging, in any way, Americans from participating in what is just always a -- an amazing, wonderful event.”
[President Obama will sit down with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in a live interview Sunday at 4:30 pm ET.]
TALKING POINT ALERT: ‘NO, DONNY, THESE MEN ARE NIHILISTS, THERE’S NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF.’
In a sign that President Obama’s dismissive words about Congress are part of the Democratic establishment’s midterm talking points, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered the same message to Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart: “If you're dealing with people who have no agenda – ‘Nothing is our agenda, and never is our timetable’ – It’s very hard to negotiate with them.”
[Josh Kraushaar notes that Nancy Pelosi, losing many of her most loyal lieutenants to retirement and likely to again fail to recapture the House majority, may be nearing the end of her career.]
UNIONS SET TO WIN, ENVIROS SET TO LOSE ON PIPELINE
Fox News: “The State Department is expected to release an environmental analysis on the Keystone XL oil pipeline as early as Friday that may disappoint environmentalists and opponents of the proposed project, according to individuals briefed on the matter. The release of the long-anticipated evaluation, known as an ‘environmental impact statement,’ sets the stage for a 90-day review period, during which the Obama administration must determine whether the project is in the national interest.”
[Ed. note: What do you want to bet that the final decision comes down just in time to help red state Senate Democrats save some of their skins?]
WAR DANCE OR KABUKI ON IMMIGRATION?
House Republicans leaders announced Thursday they will back a limited path to legal status for the country’s illegal immigrants. At the annual House GOP retreat in Maryland, House Speaker John Boehner emphasized border security must come first. The speaker insisted his conference favors a “common sense, piecemeal” approach to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. The “standards for immigration reform” document, released Thursday, ruled out a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. More
Far from home - The Hill: “When you lay out a major policy initiative like immigration, I don’t know when it’s going to appear on the schedule,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “My hunch is it doesn’t come up, you know, tomorrow. It’s probably months out.”
Isn’t that what they said about ‘defunding’ ObamaCare? - “Republicans are poised for an historic election this fall--a conservative tidal wave much like 2010. The biggest thing we could do to mess that up would be if the House passed an amnesty bill -- or any bill perceived as an amnesty bill -- that demoralized voters going into November.” – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to Breitbart
The most important question -Washington Examiner’s Byron York gets it: “… [I]n the very last sentence of the principles, comes the key to the whole thing: ‘None of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.’ It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of immigration reform in Congress depends on whether Republican leaders mean what they say in that single sentence.”
GOOD SCORE FOR OBAMACARE ALTERNATIVE
The Center for Health and Economy scores the leading Republican replacement to ObamaCare and finds the plan proposed by Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Orrin Hatch R-Utah would lower premium prices and save $1.4 trillion while providing coverage to a similar number of people that ObamaCare promises to enroll. The group found the plan could lower premiums by 2 percent and would lower federal Medicaid spending.
[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel considers GOP efforts to unify around an ObamaCare alternative.]
Cantor promises plan - The Hill: ‘’’This year, we will rally around an alternative to ObamaCare and pass it on the floor of the House,” [House Majority Leader Eric Cantor] said during a presentation [at the House GOP’s issues conference] in which he outlined four areas — healthcare, jobs, helping the middle class and creating opportunities — where Republicans would offer ‘big, bold ideas.”’
[WTAE shares the story of the employees at one Pennsylvania small business hit hard by ObamaCare.]
Work it! - Fox News: Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, California’s ObamaCare exchange has spent $1.37 million to fund an outreach video featuring exercise guru Richard Simmons gyrating on the floor and hugging a contortionist who is kneeling with his buttocks in the air…. Watchdog.org has the details.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Noonan - Meanwhile, Back in America: “All these things—the pushing around of nuns, the limiting of freedoms that were helping kids get a start in life, the targeting of conservative groups—all these things have the effect of breaking bonds of trust between government and the people. They make citizens see Washington as an alien and hostile power. Washington sees the disaffection. They read the polls, they know. They call it rage. But it feels more like grief. Like the loss of something you never thought you’d lose, your sense of your country and your place in it, your rights in it.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.1 percent//Disapprove – 51.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.5 percent//Wrong Track – 63.0 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41.0 percent// Republicans 41.5 percent
THE MORE OBAMA, THE LESS LANDRIEU
NYT: “Election victories have never come easy for Mary Landrieu, who has never drawn more than 53 percent of the vote; her biggest tally came when Mr. Obama was on the ticket in 2008, increasing black turnout. Her success will ultimately come down to her ability to retain enthusiasm among those blacks while attracting moderate white Democrats who increasingly vote Republican, many of whom are furious about [ObamaCare]… ‘Senator Landrieu has supported President Obama’s agenda 97 percent of the time,’ her likely opponent, [Republican] Representative Bill Cassidy, wrote in an email… In an interview, she played down the political threat of the health care law. ‘My opponents take a great risk with that, because I think voters really understand that to have a strong work force you have to have a healthy work force.”’
[To wit: Reuters - “As Senate campaigns begin, some Democrats flee Obama”]
Hey, Bubba! - Former President Bill Clinton will join President Obama to address Senate Democrats when they gather for their retreat next week at Washington Nationals Stadium. As the current president’s poll numbers continue sag, many vulnerable Democrats may sidle up to the biggest moon in Planet Hillary’s orbit.
[Listen to Fox: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates joins Kilmeade and Friends in the 9 a.m. ET hour]
A DEMINT MAN FOR OKLAHOMA RACE?
Roll Call: “Randy Brogdon, a conservative former state senator currently challenging Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin [R-Okla.], is considering running in the Senate special election instead. ‘He has got a lot of people inside of Oklahoma, probably eight or nine out of 10, that are urging him to run for Senate, and he is listening very intently to those urges,’ Brogdon senior adviser Louis Waller said when reached by CQ Roll Call. Brogdon’s potential entrance comes just after Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a favorite among conservative outside groups… A primary for the seat is scheduled for June 24, with a runoff scheduled for Aug. 26 if necessary.”
PICK SIX: KEEPING THEIR DISTANCE?
Republicans need to gain six seats to wrest control of the Senate away from Democrats. Which are the most likely to flip? The consensus from Fox News First readers (in order of times selected): Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and Alaska.
[Ed. note: Do you people really think North Carolina is an easier flip for the GOP than West Virginia, with an open seat in a state President Obama lost by 27 points? Color me skeptical.]
WAXMAN WANES, SCRAMBLE ENSUES
Longtime California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman announced Thursday he will not seek reelection, becoming the latest architect of ObamaCare to quit. Waxman, who represents one of the most liberal districts in the nation, will have served 20 terms in Congress by the time of his retirement. Noted birth control activist Sandra Fluke told KPCC, “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run [for Waxman’s seat]. I am strongly considering running.” But as LAT points out, so is everybody else.
[Gallup’s latest survey finds Washington D.C., is the most liberal part of America, while Wyoming is the most conservative state. Ideologically, the survey finds a majority of American’s to be center right, while moderates tend to be a large Democratic voting bloc.]
JOLLY SLAPS SINK OVER OBAMA ‘LIE OF THE YEAR’
Sunshine State News: “Big names are being dropped -- not in a good way -- between the candidates battling in the special election for the open congressional seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. The candidates spent Thursday trying to tie the other to leading political figures. Attorney David Jolly, a Republican, is hitting the airwaves with a new ad. Jolly, who worked for Young, is taking on former state CFO Alex Sink, a Democratic, and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 special election. Jolly showcased a new television spot Thursday where he goes on the attack against Sink for backing President Barack Obama’s health care law and contrasting their fiscal records. ‘Pinellas needs someone to look out for our interests, not President Obama’s,’ Jolly says in the ad, which can be viewed here.”
SUPER BOWL BLITZ PACKAGE
On “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” - Live from Super Bowl XLVIII, a conversation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Plus, Wallace calls the signals with Hall of Fame quarterback turned Broncos boss John Elway, and former New Orleans Saints quarterback and proud poppa Archie Manning. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox News. Check local listings for air times in your area.
On “#mediabuzz” - Host Howie Kurtz interviews Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews about her stunning sideline encounter with Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman. Howie also chats with former Giants’ sack specialist Michael Strahan – a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame – about his transition from player to pundit and television personality. Plus, Jim Pinkerton and Juan Williams will help Howie go deep on the news of the week. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
NEW YORK DECLARES WAR ON THE BIRDS OF THE 1 PERCENT
The poultry elite is under siege in New York! From AFP: “The New York state department of environmental conservation says swans attack people, destroy vegetation, pose a threat to jetliners and damage water because their feces contain e coli… Now the New York state conservation department wants to expand the offensive and eliminate [an estimated 2,200] free-ranging mute swans by 2025, killing them or allowing ‘responsible ownership’ of the birds in captivity. ‘Lethal control methods will include shooting of free-ranging swans and live capture and euthanasia in accordance with established guidelines for wildlife,’ said the draft proposal. Nests would also be destroyed, and eggs oiled, punctured or sterilised to prevent hatching, it added.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Essentially, [President Obama] passed a law by executive order that the Congress had rejected – wouldn't pass. That is unbelievably unconstitutional. It's as if a Republican ran and said ‘I don't like the capital gains tax.’ Congress rejects an abolition of that tax, and then he orders the IRS not to collect it. People would be up in arms and would be impeaching.” Charles Krauthammer discussing Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opposition to the president’s trade agenda, on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.