**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
• McDaniel returns neo-Confederate cash
• McCarthy’s moment
• IRS ‘recycled’ computer with evidence in targeting probe
• Virginia GOP files ethics complaint against Warner
• CNTL+C, CNTL+V, done
MCDANIEL RETURNS NEO-CONFEDERATE CASH
The campaign of Mississippi Senate hopeful Chris McDaniel has returned a donation from a controversial neo-Confederate supporter. A McDaniel spokesman declined to elaborate, but told Fox News First that the campaign gave back the $800 contribution from Carl Ford “as soon as we learned about it.” The campaign of embattled Republican incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran has attacked McDaniel for the donation from Ford, a Mississippi secessionist who was part of the defense team representing a Klansman convicted in 1998 of murdering a 1960s civil rights leader during the fight to desegregate the state. The attacks come in the closing days of the bitter primary that concludes Tuesday with a runoff election. A poll from McDaniel backers Citizens United Victory Fund shows the challenger with a 12-point lead over Cochran. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls has McDaniel up by nearly 6 points.
McDaniel rallies with Santorum - Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., heads down south today to Madison, Miss. to support Senate hopeful Chris McDaniel.
Football star Farve says Cochran is a big win for Mississippi – The (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is turning to the first real ‘celebrity’ to endorse incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Former Southern Miss and Green Bay Packer star quarterback Brett Favre offers his endorsement sitting on the back of a utility vehicle on a golf course... ‘I’ve learned through football that strong leadership can be the difference between winning and losing,’ Favre says in the ad spot. ‘Mississippi can win, and win big, with Thad Cochran as our strong voice in Washington.’ The Gulfport …touts Katrina aid but also mentions education funding.”
Governor touts Cochran’s military support in new ad - Sen. Thad Cochran’s, Citizens for Cochran, released a new TV ad Wednesday featuring Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. “Let us honor Thad Cochran’s service as a veteran and for the good job he’s doing serving Mississippi now,” says Bryant. “Sen. Cochran has fought for our military bases and the brave men and women who serve. Let us honor Thad Cochran’s service as a veteran and for the good job he’s doing serving Mississippi now.”
[New on Fox News Radio: The endgame has finally arrived in a bitter Mississippi GOP Primary. Fox News Digital Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt looks at the Cochran/McDaniel battle. And, questions still linger over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking loss in Virginia’s 7th District Primary. FOX’s Peter Doocy looks for answers. All on this week’s Balance of Power podcast.]
There’s not much suspense about the vote in the House today to replace defeated Rep. Eric Cantor as House majority leader. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has solidified support to slide into the No. 2 spot in the House. It’s a remarkable rise for a guy first elected to Congress from a Southern California district just eight years ago, especially since it’s widely seen as a six-month audition as a potential speaker of the House (get the context from National Journal here). But if you want to know how the cloakroom and dagger business behind such a vote works, who better to ask than our resident curator of congressional arcana, Chad Pergram? Check it out here. Chad won’t leave you hanging on the vote.
[Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney argues “To stay in power, Kevin McCarthy must put conservatives ahead of K Street”: “Assuming [House Whip Kevin McCarthy] wins the leader race on Thursday, his next six months will be something of a tryout. His judges won’t be exporters, sugar growers, and windmill makers. His judges will be House Republicans. Can he learn to sing their tune?”]
IRS ‘RECYCLED’ COMPUTER WITH EVIDENCE IN TARGETING PROBE
Fox News: “The top Republican on one of the House committees investigating the IRS targeting scandal reacted furiously late Wednesday to a report that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner's hard drive had been recycled, making it likely that many emails sent to and from Lerner prior to the summer of 2011 will never be recovered.”
“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination , this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception. Old and useless binders of information are still stored and maintained on federal agency shelves; official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don't just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.” – statement from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on the news that the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s hard drive containing e-mails from the time period of IRS targeting
KELLY FILE: CHENEY DEFENDS IRAQ WAR, CALLS FOR STRIKES
In a hard-hitting interview on “The Kelly File,” former Vice President Dick Cheney argued for military intervention in Iraq and defended the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of that country. “I think when we left office we had a situation in Iraq which was very positive…We made major progress,” Cheney told Megyn Kelly when the anchor pressed him on the widespread criticism for his role in the war. Cheney said that President Obama abandoned the gains made by U.S. forces. “What happened was Barack Obama came to office and instead of negotiating a stay-behind agreement, he basically walked away from it.” Watch the full interview here.
The Judge’s Ruling: Iraq war weakened America - New at Fox News Opinion, Fox News Senior Judicial Judge Andrew Napolitano argues against more military intervention in Iraq: “America is no safer because of the Iraq war, but we are weaker. Our relationships among the people in the Middle East are far less sanguine, we have planted three generations’ worth of hatred, distrust, and lust for vengeance among Middle Eastern youth, and we have a crushing war debt. We also have American cash and military hardware, including expensive and lethal Stinger missiles, now in the hands of ISIS.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Nishant Choski questions “What keeps you up at night?” for the Atlantic: “Reason, humanity, and genius may not be found in the shadows of your room at bedtime, or past it, when there’s nothing left to do but go to sleep, and you find yourself, against your better judgment, not even doing that. Scientists at the self-regulation lab of Utrecht University, in the Netherlands (which specializes in examining bungled attempts of all kinds), are calling this phenomenon ‘bedtime procrastination.’”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.3 percent//Disapprove – 53.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.3 percent//Wrong Track – 63.5 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42 percent// Republicans 42 percent
VIRGINIA GOP FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST WARNER
The Republican Party of Virginia is accusing Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., of an ethics violation with a campaign ad. In a complaint filed with the Senate Ethics committee over the incumbent Democrat’s use of images of Senate proceedings in a campaign ad. In a letter to the committee, RPV Chairman Pat Mullins, noted that not only is the using the images against Senate standing orders, “the rules were of such concern to fellow-embattled Democrat Mary Landrieu [D-La.] that she actually re-enacted a committee hearing to avoid violating them.” The ad, Mullins writes “…clearly depicts Senator Mark Warner sitting behind the dais in a United States Senate committee hearing room…”
CONSERVATIVE GROUP ATTACKS LANDRIEU’S SPENDING
Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit youth advocacy organization with ties to brothers Charles Koch and David Koch, release a new ad attacking Sen. Mary Landrieu’s, D-La., spending habits: “Washington politicians like Mary Landrieu have a spending problem,” says the young narrator. The ad features a young woman walking around a grocery store pushing a “politician” who is frantically grabbing anything on the shelves. “They are spending money they don’t have, and sticking our generation with the bill…Ten percent of us are unemployed, and one third are back in our parent’s house,” says the narrator. The ad concludes with a pricy check-out of $800,000, the 18 year old’s share of the debt. The “politician” nods to the young woman saying “she’s got it,” but the young woman replies, “No, pay for it yourself.” The $450,000 TV ad buy will run on major broadcast and cable networks though early July. Generation Opportunity also will spend $100,000 in online promotion. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., challenges Landrieu in November.
OKLAHOMA SENATE CANDIDATES TRY TO SHOW STRENGTH IN DEBATE
Tulsa World: “U.S. Senate candidates T.W. Shannon and James Lankford sharpened their selling points — and their bullet points — for a nearly statewide audience Wednesday night during a head-to-head debate televised in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The two leading candidates to succeed U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn did their best to polish the images they have projected over the past six months. Shannon hammered away at what he portrayed as a weak-kneed Congress that is unable to control spending or a president run amok….Lankford continued to present himself as the more experienced and savvy of the two. He said his 3½ years in the House of Representatives, all of it as a member of the Budget Committee, has taught him that balancing the budget is not as easy as some people think… Five other candidates are in the GOP primary, but Lankford and Shannon seem to be far clear of the field heading into Tuesday’s primary.”
BROWN’S SISTER GETS PERSONAL IN BIO AD
Boston Globe: “Scott Brown unveiled a new campaign television advertisement [Wednesday] narrated by his sister LeeAnn Riley that outlines the struggles they faced as kids. ‘We moved a lot. Our mom was married and divorced many times. There was physical abuse in the home, but Scott was there to protect myself and my mom,’ Riley says in the 30-second spot, which includes pictures of them as kids. Riley vouches for Brown’s character, saying he is determined to do the right thing. ‘When people ask me what kind of man he is, I tell them, ‘He’ll be there for you, like he has been for me’,’ Riley says as the ad ends.” The ad will air across New Hampshire starting today. Brown is the frontrunner in the Sept. 9 GOP primary and hopes to unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D- N.H., in November.
AMID SCANDAL, PETERS PULLS FROM IRS UNION
Washington Free Beacon: “Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) has received thousands of dollars from the labor union representing IRS agents, leading to strong criticism from Republicans. Peters has collected $8,500 from the National Treasury Employees Union over his career, according the National Republican Senate Committee. The union has spent more than $100,000 so far in the 2014 cycle, including a $2,500 donation to Peters Senate campaign.”
Republicans are hoping to pick up an additional six seats to gain control of the Senate this November. Which Democrat-held seats will prove to be the most likely flips for the red team? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia.
AMERICA RISING’S ONE-STOP SHOP FOR HUMBLING HILLARY
If you can’t say anything nice, make a FlipBoard… Conservative group American Rising is using FlipBoard for a new aggregation of “negative press and reviews” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” and other topics called “Stop Hillary Daily.” The mobile app can be found here.
SCHLAPP SET TO STEP UP AT ACU
The American Conservative Union is set to elect a new chairman at a board meeting today. Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Al Cardenas led the group from 2011 until he stepped down last month. The frontrunner to replace Cardenas is Matt Schlapp, a Republican strategist who served as political director to former President George W. Bush. Schlapp, a Kansan, left the White House to work for Wichita-based Koch Industries and now leads GOP firm Cove Strategies with his wife, Mercedes. The ACU, the nation’s oldest conservative grassroots organization, scores lawmakers’ voting records and hosts the influential CPAC conference each year.
CNTL+C, CNTL+V, DONE
Many high school principals take the time to write a thoughtful message to their graduating seniors. One New York principal is accused of plagiarizing his message to graduating seniors, according to Long Island News 12. Steven Strachan of Roosevelt High School, apparently duplicated sections from another principal’s senior send-off note. The tipping point? He ended the letter congratulating students from the wrong school and wrong year. Dr. Strachan claims an unedited draft of his remarks were printed instead of his final version. The yearbooks were collected and new copies will be delivered this week.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“There are no good options” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” discussing potential U.S. responses to the unraveling of Iraq. Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up 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.