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Clinton can’t stop gaffes on crony capitalism

Smithsonian_HClinton_AP_660internal.jpg

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, during a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington.AP

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Buzz Cut:
• Clinton can’t stop gaffes on crony capitalism
• Inside the Democrats’ dark money ATM
• Still no answers, IRS boss back on Hill
• Cochran’s bid to draw democrats a tall order
• Bad bet

CLINTON CAN’T STOP GAFFES ON CRONY CAPITALISM
Can Hillary Clinton, who says she and her husband went on from being “dead broke” in 2001 to rake in an estimated $155 million, run for president as the nominee of a party that is obsessed with income inequality? No problem, she told The Guardian, because the Clintons pay their taxes. The Democratic 2016 frontrunner dismissed the idea that voters would see a corporate-connected candidate with a nine-digit income in the past decade as part of the problem: “‘But they don't see me as part of the problem,’ she protests, ‘because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work.’” The name she was not naming, presumably, was that of Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee famously called “a vampire” by President Obama’s re-election campaign for his work in private equity. Untold billions of pixels were slain in the name of discussing Romney’s tax payments, with Team Obama arguing that Romney paying the lowest possible tax rates was an unpatriotic act.

[In a new Quinnipiac poll, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton slips a bit among Iowa voters, although they continue to choose Clinton when matched against each of the top potential GOP 2016 contenders.]

Worse than Romney - Clinton’s holier-than-Mitt stance misses two things. It wasn’t Romney’s taxes that did him in. It was the “out of touch” label. The tax stuff was a painful jab, but what hurt Romney was the coverage of car elevators, horse dancing and Romney’s own penchant for gaffes in his bid to relate to ordinary voters – some of his best friends own NASCAR teams, etc. Romney’s tax rate was important not because of the percentage paid, but because of the idea that he was using his status to beat the system with Cayman banks, etc. Clinton, who claims that giving speeches and writing books is earning $155 million “through dint of hard work” is already blowing past the famously awkward Romney for an inability to talk about her riches. And we also know that the Clintons do plenty to exploit loopholes in the tax code, even as they call publicly for their closure.

[Schultz promises Hillary will campaign in 2014 - “I’m confident that [Hillary Clinton]’s going to be [involved], and I’ve spoken to her…She’s going to be involved in helping Democrats across the country to get elected, including the DNC.” – Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in an interview with C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”]

Out of touch, but with what? - The Clinton campaign, this time in the form of the candidate’s family foundation, descends on swing state Colorado this week to discuss, among things, income inequality. One imagines that the Democratic frontrunner will take another swing at repairing her comments on her family’s fantastic wealth. (It is unlikely that she will discuss that $257 million donors have poured into the foundation’s coffers and how it has spent $50 million, much of it for the family itself, on travel.) But as the latest gaffe about not being “truly wealthy” shows, it’s not the phrasing that seems to be Clinton’s problem. The issue is rather that she believes she and her husband deserve all of that dough. Instead of being a little bit sheepish about becoming so rich so fast, Clinton seems to want credit for her “hard work” and sympathy for what she sacrificed in the name of public service. If she really believes she would be so rich without her stints in government, she’s not out of touch with the electorate, she’s out of touch with reality.

Granny groaner -  WaPo: “… at a dinner Friday night for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Hillary Rodham Clinton’s image appeared on two large screens overhead. In a video, she teased that she needed advice from Harkin on a ‘momentous plunge’ that she is about to take. ‘Tom, what’s the secret to being such a terrific grandparent?’ Clinton asked, drawing uproarious laughter from the crowd.”

[Lloyd Green: Hillary wants to be viewed as Bill’s successor, but given where Obama is going that may not be possible.]

ADMINISTRATION CHANGES STANCE ON IRAQ ISLAMISTS
Secretary of State John Kerry is in Baghdad today as part of an Obama administration bid to push out the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as a condition of the U.S. providing additional military aid. But Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, traveling with Kerry, notes a significant shift in language: “Where senior aides traveling with Kerry on this trip had previously termed ISIS ‘a highly capable and sophisticated terrorist organization [that] is also essentially a criminal syndicate,’ [a Senior State Department official] briefing reporters from Baghdad, betraying the benefit of a more informed, ground-level view of the crisis, pointedly instructed reporters to take a different view. ‘It’s really important to understand that it’s an army,’ the briefer said. ‘There are political grievances in this country and that's a serious problem and we need to address them in order to mobilize the population to really stand up to these guys. But it's an army.’”

[Watch Fox: Deputy State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf will appear on “The Kelly File” with Megyn Kelly tonight at 9 p.m. E.T.]

More, more, more - AP: “Their latest victories — including two border posts captured Sunday, one along the frontier with Jordan and the other with Syria — considerably expanded territory under the militants’ control…”

Obama’s bad bet on Maliki - Dexter Filkins: “President Obama won the White House in part by promising to end the war in Iraq, and since then he placed his faith in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to help him do so… In early 2009, a group of American diplomats in Iraq warned the White House that it ran the risk of creating a dictator. They were largely ignored, and when Maliki won [re-election] a year later Obama gave him his full support.”

Cheney, Paul feud over Iraq - Sen. Rand Paul and Dick Cheney traded barbs Sunday over U.S. involvement in Iraq – highlighting the sharp divide over a “hands on” or “hands off” American foreign policy between the libertarian-leaning 2016 presidential hopeful and the former vice president. Fox News: “Paul… criticized those who supported the 2003 U.S. military invasion of Iraq and now blame the Obama administration for its handling of the aftermath, which includes Sunni Muslim militants having seized several towns and cities. ‘What’s going on now, I don’t blame President Obama,’ Paul said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘But I do blame the Iraq War [for] the chaos that is in the Middle East.’…Paul told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad could turn the country into a ‘Jihadist wonderland.’ ‘It’s now a Jihadist wonderland in Iraq precisely because we got over involved, not because we had too little involvement,’ he continued. Cheney, a strong supporter of going into Iraq during the George W. Bush administration to topple the regime of President Saddam Hussein, dismissed Paul as an ‘isolationist.’ ‘He doesn’t believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world,’ Cheney said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ ‘I think it’s absolutely essential.’”

McCarthy puts limits on Iraq aid -  Newly-elected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy straddled the line on U.S. military involvement in Iraq, telling “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace”: “I don’t have a problem sending the 300 [U.S. military advisors], but I think it’s more important, what is the strategy you’re going to have going forward.  So what military options do you have?  I leave everything on the table right now.”

INSIDE THE DEMOCRATS’ DARK MONEY ATM
Politico: “The 21 groups at the core of the Democracy Alliance’s portfolio intend to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle — including nearly $200 million this year — to boost liberal candidates and causes in 2014 and beyond, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO. While growing sums of that cash are being spent vilifying the billionaire conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch over their own network’s political spending, the documents reveal the extent to which the Democracy Alliance network mirrors the Kochs’ — and is obsessed with it.”

A few seats on the board as well - Washington Free Beacon reports Democracy Alliance, which connects major left-wing donors to organizations that support issues and causes friendly to Democrats is “providing large chunks of cash for, and serving as top advisers and officers of, President Barack Obama’s personal advocacy group. Democracy Alliance donors have contributed at least $1.87 million to Organizing for Action (OFA), the 501(c)(4) organization that evolved out of Obama’s reelection campaign, according to data released by OFA. Democracy Alliance members also have official roles in running OFA.  According to Democracy Alliance documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, OFA’s board of directors includes four Democracy Alliance “partners,” individuals who pay $30,000 in annual dues and contribute at least $200,000 to the left-wing groups that Democracy Alliance supports”

STILL NO ANSWERS, IRS BOSS BACK ON HILL
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa subpoenaed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to testify tonight before the committee about former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost IRS emails. Issa has accused Koskinen of ‘obstruction and game-playing’ in response to the committee’s investigation of the IRS. Koskinen’s appearance at Dave Camp’s committee on Friday turned into a shouting match, as panel members outright accused Koskinen of lying to them.

[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel will preview the IRS hearing that starts at 7 p.m. E.T.]

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Have you been following The Atlantic’s remarkable photo history of World War I? The images are sometimes shocking, sometime inspiring, but always enlightening about the most important, least understood conflict of the 20th century. This week’s installment, the ninth of a 10-part series, catalogues the breakout on the Western Front in 1918. America had thrown itself into the war, helping to end a brutal four-year stalemate. The black & white photography, from a variety of sources, brings the stark and haunting conditions of the Great War to life.

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 42.2 percent//Disapprove – 53.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.5 percent//Wrong Track – 63.5 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 42 percent// Republicans 42 percent

COCHRAN’S BID TO DRAW DEMOCRATS A TALL ORDER
Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and his supporters are making a desperation play in Tuesday’s primary runoff with state Sen. Chris McDaniel and trying to push as many Democrats as possible into the Republican runoff vote. It’s rankling Mississippi Republicans. But as the vote looms, it’s apparent that unless the incumbent can dramatically change the makeup of the primary electorate, he can’t win. From The Jackson Clarion-Ledger: “[Democratic pollster] Chism Strategies has another poll that shows Chris McDaniel increasing his lead to 8 points over incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran ahead of Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff. The latest poll was taken Friday night and showed McDaniel leading Cochran 52 to 44 percent with 4 percent undecided. The automated survey polled 697 voters and has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.”

Robocall attacks tea party days before run-off election - Daily Caller: “The GOP Senate primary in Mississippi continues to intensify with the surfacing of a robocall aimed at potential voters that strongly criticizes the tea party and urges the listeners to vote against state Sen. Chris McDaniel in Tuesday’s runoff vote. In the automated message appearing to target black Democrat voters in Mississippi, the female voice on the line claims that tea party challenger Chris McDaniel would lead to more obstruction in Washington and create more ‘disrespectful treatment’ to the nation’s first African-American president. ‘The time has come to take a stand and say NO to the tea party,’ the message says. ‘NO to their obstruction. NO to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.’ The robocall goes on to urge listeners to go to the next polls Tuesday and vote against McDaniel. The only option in voting against McDaniel is to vote for incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran as they will be the only two names on the ballot…. Some experts have argued that it is technically illegal for voters affiliated with an opposing party to vote in another party’s primary in Mississippi.”

PAC blames Cochran for release of five Taliban – The pro-McDaniel group Campaign for American Values released a new ad blaming Sen. Thad Cochran for the release of five Guantanamo terrorists in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl because he supported the nomination of Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel. “Chuck Hagel chose to let them go,” says the narrator. “Sen. Cochran was the first and one of the only to support Chuck Hagel…and now five terrorists are free to threaten us again.”

Social media smack talk - Senate hopeful Chris McDaniel responded to Sen. Thad Cochran’s daughter Kate Cochran, a literature professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, who had a Facebook tirade about her dad’s primary challenger. McDaniel’s answer to Professor Cochran’s post includes a picture posted with the hashtag “#Who’sYaDaddy?”

POLL: LANKFORD MAKES BIG GAINS IN OKLAHOMA
KWTV: “[Rep.] James Lankford now has a lead over T.W. Shannon in a heated race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn, according to a News 9/News On 6 poll. The poll, taken June 19-21, shows Lankford with 43.4 percent and Shannon with 34.9 percent, with 13.3 percent of likely Republican voters still undecided. The latest poll indicates Lankford has gained an eight point lead over Shannon since a May 5-10 News 9/News On 6 poll showed the two front-runners nearly tied…A candidate needs to get more than 50 percent of the votes cast in the June 24 primary to avoid a runoff.”

POWER PLAY: RETRO NEW JERSEY
New Jersey GOP Senate nominee Jeff Bell sits down with Host Chris Stirewalt to discuss his plan for victory. Bell holds the distinction of having first run for the Senate in New Jersey in 1978, when he, as a young insurgent, unseated a Republican incumbent before going on to lose in November. Returning 36 years later, Bell hopes to unseat Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. Watch the interview here.

PICK SIX: PICK 14?
Republicans have their sights set on six seats to win back control of the Senate from Democrats. So which seats are most likely to flip from blue to red? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia. Fox News First reader Chuck Elliott from Forest Hill, La. says “I see potential in, at least, fourteen States for Republican gains. In addition to the six you continue to mention. How about Colorado, Alaska, Iowa, Oregon, New Hampshire, Virginia, Michigan, and Minnesota?” We hear you, Mr. Elliot. But the name of the game is “pick six” because choosing the most likely is tougher than choosing all of the possibilities. We wouldn’t want to go easy on you!

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

FLORIDA SPECIAL HOUSE ELECTION TUESDAY
AP: “Voters in a heavily Republican southwest Florida district are selecting a replacement for U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. Republican Curt Clawson, a former CEO of an aluminum wheel company, is a heavy favorite to defeat Democrat April Freeman and Libertarian Ray Netherwood in Tuesday’s vote.”

BAD BET
A guest at a motel in Jackson, Miss. was approached by another man asking for a cigarette, according to KPTV. The would-be moocher walked away when the motel guest said “no,” but then turned and said, “I bet you don’t have one of these,” pointing a gun in the guest’s direction. It was not his lucky day, as it turned out. The stingy smoker did have “one of these” and shot the man at least once. So, without a smoke and now a bullet wound, the man fled on foot. He was picked up by an ambulance a few blocks away and taken to a local hospital for treatment.

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 digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.