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• Obama getting cold shoulder in Colorado
• Loose lips may sink Obama border play
• Baier Tracks: On second thought
• NYT riffs on Hillary’s Wall Street worries
• Your opinion counts… against you in court
OBAMA GETTING COLD SHOULDER IN COLORADO
If President Obama is as thin-skinned as his critics say then his ego is in for a bruising in Colorado today. Obama will be campaigning in the Centennial State – one of the key battlegrounds in his bid to hold the Senate for his party – but neither the incumbent senator he is trying to save nor other top-tier Democratic candidates will appear in public with the president. Adding insult to injury, embattled incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., will appear in private with Obama tomorrow for the president to tap his extensive donor network in the state. Udall’s team cited scheduling problems that would keep the senator, locked in a toss-up race with challenger Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., from appearing at a daytime campaign event where there will be reporters present. But Udall’s schedule will clear up just in time for the senator to arrive at a closed-door donor event in Denver. Even more galling: Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, facing a tough re-election test, and Andrew Romanoff, the former state House speaker now running for a seat in Congress, will both be no shows for Obama. Candidates ditching unpopular incumbents in public is nothing new, but the Colorado case is telling for Obama and his party this cycle.
[The Denver Post reports today that the drop-out rate for the state’s ObamaCare program is now forecast to be twice as bad as first projected.]
Peaks and valleys - Obama’s jaw-dropping 2008 convention, complete with Greek pillars, was held in Denver and Hickenlooper, then mayor, was the host. Obama went on to roll through the previously reddish state by a stout 9-point margin. Democrats cruised in Colorado in 2010 and the president didn’t have to break a sweat to win the state again in 2012, though his margin shrank to 5 points. Obama championed Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s rise in the party, choosing him in a contentious 2010 primary and helping Bennet rise to be the current chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Colorado was the centerpiece of an Obama “Western strategy” to permanent Democratic majorities. Now? The president’s job approval rating in the state was at 38 percent in the last reliable public poll taken in the state. Udall, who rode Obama’s coattails in 2008, is looking like an increasingly bad bet for re-election. The president’s energy policies and overall economic concerns rank high on the list of voter concerns, but ObamaCare remains a toxic substance in the state. Colorado embraced the health law but has struggled badly with implementation. Like Iowa to the east, Colorado’s retreat from Obama and the Democrats who carry his banner has revealed the hollowness of Obama’s onetime boats of being a transformational political figure for his party.
LOOSE LIPS MAY SINK OBAMA BORDER PLAY
It looks like congressional Democrats got a little ahead of the White House in touting the president’s decision to drop efforts to deport tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have surged across the southern U.S. border to take advantage of the administration’s policy of granting sanctuary to migrant children. After the AP cited Hill sources claiming that President Obama, bowing to liberal worries, would drop his request for rapid deportation authority, the White House pushed back saying that the request was still part of a package headed to Congress today seeking billions in new spending and other legal changes to address the border surge.
[That’s where the money goes - York: “So: A total of $1.324 billion ($329 million for the Border Patrol and $995 million for ICE) will go to the ‘care, feeding, and transportation costs’ of the illegal immigrants, while $32 million ($9 million for attorneys and $23 million for removal operations) will go to deportations.”]
Out of order - The way it was apparently supposed to work was for the president to first seek new spending to help care for and place the border crossers in permanent homes in the United States. Since making a request for deficit spending to accommodate part of a migrant influx forecast to be approximately 100,000 strong would be politically unpalatable for the president and Democrats, the request for deportation authority and some funds to beef up the border guard would provide at least the appearance of a balanced approach. The enforcement measures would have been necessary to either win passage of the spending plan or make a more credible case for the president using executive authority in the face of congressional inaction. But in the rush to assure liberals that the tough talk was only that, the White House seems to have given up the game. Because of the leak, it will be harder to either co-opt Republicans or shift blame for the crisis. No wonder they pushed back so hard.
BAIER TRACKS: ON SECOND THOUGHT...
“After the furor over the border crisis involving tens of thousands of illegal-immigrant children, the White House finally admitted that no, the president couldn't just go to Texas Wednesday and Thursday for two Democratic fundraisers just a couple of hundred miles from ground zero in the crisis. After formally asking Congress for billions of dollars to help deal with the situation, it would be a tough visual for the president to be raking in campaign cash while asking for taxpayer money for a humanitarian crisis in the same state. So what's the solution? A roundtable discussion with local leaders. Most of the president’s critics say he needs to act more and talk less. But we'll see how this talk goes.” – Bret Baier.
Jarrett tries jiu-jitsu on Perry snub - Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, declined to appear in an Austin airport photo-op with President Obama during the president’s Texas fundraising trip on Wednesday. Perry instead sent a letter to the commander in chief suggesting he and Obama have a “substantive meeting” relating to the current crisis at the border between Texas and Mexico. Not to be outdone, top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett sent Perry a letter Monday thanking him for his “concern.” Jarrett wrote that Obama “would welcome a meeting with” Perry, but provided no details. Jarrett did invite Perry to join a group discussion with faith leaders and local elected officials with the president in Dallas. The White House continues to insist the president has no plans to visit the border, which Perry invited Obama to do to “see firsthand what is happening there.”
HALF OF INSURANCE BROKERS WANT OUT
Puget Sound Business Journal: “Nearly half of insurance brokers polled nationally have considered leaving the industry in the wake of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – meanwhile, employers say they need them more than ever before, according to a report by Aflac. A potential exodus of brokers could make it more difficult for large and small businesses to lose that expertise just as things are getting really complicated. Brokers help companies give employees the best and most affordable coverage and insure they comply with the complexities of the ACA….Brokers have only seen their jobs get more difficult since the dawn of the Affordable Care Act. They're under pressure to deliver employers low-cost health care, but that can be increasingly difficult. Others fear losing customers to public and private health exchanges. And when brokers look elsewhere for work they take their expertise with them. Many had previously expressed concern that the introduction of the health exchanges would take business away from them.”
[Washington Free Beacon: “The OBGYN practice of Marilyn Jerome, the wife of Democratic congressional candidate John Foust, does not accept Medicaid, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. Foust has repeatedly attacked his Republican opponent Barbara Comstock for opposing the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act in his campaign to represent Virginia’s 10th district.”]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
After faithfully serving as a solar observatory, then flying through the tails of Comet Giacobini-Zinner and Halley’s Comet, scientists decided they didn’t need it anymore. The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer describes the quest to save the ISEE-3—a long-lost NASA probe launched in the disco era and abandoned in the dot-com boom. “Late last week, the amateur scientists and engineers working to salvage the probe hit a major milestone: They coaxed the craft into firing its rotational thrusters… Now, the team can begin to fire the ISEE-3’s thrusters and change the ship’s trajectory—hopefully, keeping it from crashing into the moon… In the past month of working with the spacecraft, Cowing said they’d gotten used to its idiosyncrasies. ISEE-3 lacks an onboard computer, so commands must be fed to it one at a time… [Keith Cowing, a journalist-turned-mission-leader says] ‘It’s like telling an old dot-matrix printer from back in the day to do something.’”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42 percent//Disapprove – 53.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.5 percent//Wrong Track – 63.3 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 43 percent// Republicans 41.6 percent
RNC CONVENTION SITE EXPECTED TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY
The location for the 2016 Republican National Convention is expected to be announced today. The Republican National Committee’s site selection team is reportedly going to decide today whether Cleveland or Dallas will get the nod. Cleveland, a swing-state, blue-collar city with a pleasant lakeshore summertime climate, is considered the frontrunner. But Dallas has serious clout as coming from the most influential state in the party as well as larger capacity for big events. The downside for Dallas, other than the heat: messaging difficulties related to the ongoing feud in the state party as well as the legacy of the city’s most famous resident, former President George W. Bush. The current plan is for the convention to begin on June 27 or July 18, 2016.
NYT RIFFS ON HILLARY’S WALL STREET WORRIES
NYT: “As its relationship with Democrats hits a historic low, Wall Street sees a solution on the horizon: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Clinton was the industry’s home state senator, and the financial sector was the second-largest giver to her presidential campaign in 2008. In her post-State Department life, she has been showered with lucrative speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan and other financial firms. In her talks, she says it is unproductive to vilify the industry, and she avoids the kind of language that puts off financial executives, as when President Obama referred to ‘fat cat’ bankers in 2009. But as Wall Street hopes for a warm embrace from the former secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton must grapple with a populist surge coursing through politics, on both the right and the left….Several people who advised Mrs. Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign said the speech angered some of her Wall Street donors, who complained about what they viewed as her increasing antagonism to the industry. Mrs. Clinton has also called for eliminating the carried interest tax loophole… some on the left say Mrs. Clinton’s less combative approach to issues of taxation, Wall Street regulation and growth — ‘We’re all in this mess together,’ as one person who had attended several of Mrs. Clinton’s paid speeches described her message — was out of step with the current political climate.”
America Rising calls for Clintons to show the money – The conservative group America Rising PAC is calling for the Clinton Foundation to release records on how the non-profit is spending its money and which of Hillary Clinton’s high-priced college speaking fees, many whose tuitions have skyrocketed, were donated to her family’s foundation. “For Americans to credibly believe these speaking fees are being donated to charitable endeavors, the foundation must be transparent about how and where it has spent its millions since Hillary Clinton joined last year,” America Rising PAC Executive Director Tim Miller said in a statement. Miller claims in the past the foundation has funded the Clinton’s glitzy lifestyle and paid for Democratic aids who can help Clinton though her potential presidential campaign.
Poll: GOP gains on Hillary as her favorability declines - Although Hillary Clinton continues to beat at top GOP presidential contenders, a new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters shows the GOP contenders are inching upward against the Democratic presidential frontrunner. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., gained the largest margin among the possible nominees, four points since January of this year. The same poll also shows that since Clinton left the administration in 2012, she has been on a downward slope of favorability, dropping from 61 percent favorability to 49 percent. This is the first time she has dropped below the 50 percent threshold since losing the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.]
University refuses to disclose Clinton payout - NY Post: “[State University at Buffalo] — which is taxpayer-funded — refuses to disclose how much Clinton received [for a speech at the university]. Officials claim they don’t have to make the amount public because it was paid through the university’s foundation. ‘[The foundation] is not subject to the New York Freedom of Information Law. As such, these agreements, including information about speaking fees, are not public information,’ the university said in a statement.”
[Slacktastic - A Pew study, one in ten Americans are not registered, seldom or never vote, or do not follow political news most of the time.]
CRUZ CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO COCHRAN’S WIN
WaPo: “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on Monday sharply criticized allies of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for courting Democrats in last month’s Republican runoff election and called for a thorough investigation into allegations of voter fraud, marking his most direct comments yet on the outcome of one of the most contentious and divisive campaigns in recent memory. ‘What happened in Mississippi was appalling,’ Cruz said on the Mark Levin Show. ‘Primaries are always rough and tumble. But the conduct of the Washington D.C. machine in the Mississippi runoff was incredibly disappointing.’” Cruz is a vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which McDaniel’s campaign has accused of wrongdoing in the election.
McDaniel’s lawyer presses on - The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger: “A lawyer for Chris McDaniel said campaign canvassers started going through records at every courthouse statewide on Monday and he’s confident McDaniel can successfully overturn the June 24 GOP runoff. The Thad Cochran campaign countered that few voting irregularities are being found and the vote should stand. [Mitch Tyner, an attorney for McDaniel and former Republican candidate for governor] said he is uncertain the number of ineligible votes the campaign has found. McDaniel’s campaign reported 4,900 late last week, and McDaniel in television interviews said 5,000. The McDaniel campaign has said a majority of these are people who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary, then crossed over June 24 and voted in the Republican runoff, which is prohibited by state law… Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell on Monday refuted the McDaniel campaign’s claim there are thousands of illegal votes and says the number appears to be within normal margins of election errors….Russell said he didn’t have totals, but listed the number of potential crossover votes found in four counties: Perry, 1; Lauderdale, 7; Pontotoc, 3; Leake, 5.”
[Former GOP gubernatorial candidate hopeful and attorney Mitch Tyner now represents Chris McDaniel during the run-off voting irregularities investigation. On Tyner’s candidate Web site he is still featuring a picture with him and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., as the first picture on the page.]
The official tally: 7,667 - AP: “The Mississippi Republican Party says U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran won the state’s Republican primary runoff over challenger Chris McDaniel by 7,667 votes. The party sent results to the Secretary of State on Monday, the legal deadline. The GOP’s numbers showed Cochran winning by more than the 6,800 votes counted by The Associated Press after the June election. Tallies change as county parties examine provisional ballots and finalize results.”
CARR LAUNCHES SECOND SPOT ATTACKING ALEXANDER
Republican primary challenger Joe Carr released his second TV ad Monday attacking incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., for “listening to Washington and not Tennessee conservatives.” “Washington isn’t listening and neither is Lamar. Lamar’s record - run against the tea party, voted for bank bailouts and amnesty for illegal aliens,” says the narrator in the 30 second ad. The ad ends urging voters to “Vote Carr not Lamar.” The two face off in an Aug. 7 primary.
BRALEY BUSTED CLAIMING TO BE A FARMER
Des Moines Register: “[Senate hopeful Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa,] who was caught on tape in January making a remark that seemed to besmirch Iowa farmers, has been caught on tape seemingly claiming to be one. ‘We’re farmers,’ a parade attendee appears to tells Braley, a U.S. Senate candidate, during the Fourth of July parade in Iowa Falls last weekend. ‘So am I,’ Braley answers in a video… ‘But so is [Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa],’ says the woman, who is seated in a lawn chair on the side of the road. ‘So am I,’ Braley insists. Braley is not an active farmer. He doesn’t own farm land and doesn’t earn any farm income, according to his federal financial disclosure reports. He doesn’t perform or manage any farm operations, campaign aides said today.”
GLOBAL WARMING GROUP HITS ERNST ON EDUCATION
Sioux City Journal: “An environmental group said Monday it is launching the second ad of its campaign against Republican Senate hopeful Joni Ernst, saying she is out of step with Iowans because she wants to eliminate the federal Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. The ad is going to begin running this week and into next in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets. It's part of a $457,000 ad buy placed late last month when its first ad debuted. The league and two other groups, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club, have said they are going to spend $1 million in Iowa's open Senate race…. The ad says that federal Pell grants would be threatened by closing the education department and shuttering the EPA would let ‘polluters off the hook.’ The league says a third of the education department's spending is on Pell Grants.”
CROSSROADS ROLLS OUT NEWS SPOTS IN ARK. AND COLO.
Conservative group Crossroads GPS will launch a pair of TV ads today in key Senate battlegrounds. The group is launching a $435,000 TV ad attacking Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., on unstable ObamaCare premiums and taxpayer-funded subsidies for Congress. “Arkansas families struggle after being told their health plans were cancelled and worry about higher premiums and Medicare cuts,” the narrator says in the 30-second spot. “But Sen. Mark Pryor voted to allow members of Congress and their staff to get taxpayer-funded health care subsidies to help pay for ObamaCare premiums.” The ad concludes urging voters to “tell Pryor, Arkansas families can’t afford ObamaCare.” Another ad, backed by $460,000, will hit Colorado airwaves targeting Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., over the Obama administration’s global-warming regulations and inaction on a proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, the Keystone XL project.
CASSIDY ATTACKS OBAMACARE IN NEW AD
Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La, debuts a new ad attacking ObamaCare and the exemption for Congress and their staff. “For 25 years, I cared for patients in charity hospitals like this,” Cassidy says in the 30 second spot referencing [a] hospital in Baton Rouge, La. “I saw that when politicians and bureaucrats control healthcare, your care suffers.” Cassidy continues, “Politicians know this. So some in Congress exempted staff from ObamaCare. It’s good enough for us but not for them — that’s what’s wrong with Washington.” The ad will air in New Orleans over the next few weeks. Cassidy challenges Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., along with Col. Rob Maness in November. Landrieu’s seat is seen as a key state for Republicans to gain control of the Senate in the fall.
SENIOR TESTIMONY: ‘I JUST DON’T TRUST JOHN WALSH’
GOP Senate nominee Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., debuts a new ad featuring a pink-haired cancer survivor attacking incumbent Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., on ObamaCare, Medicare, entitlement programs and Social Security. “I’m a breast cancer survivor. That’s why I dyed my hair pink,” Pat Lawrence from Billings, Mont. says in the 30 second spot. “I really depend on Medicare. When I heard that John Walsh said ObamaCare wouldn’t hurt seniors, I couldn’t believe it. ObamaCare cuts billions of dollars from Medicare, putting my care at risk. Walsh also believes that privatizing Social Security should be on the table.” Lawrence concludes saying “I just don’t trust John Walsh.”
Senior ‘disappointed’ in Daines for cutting Medicare in new Walsh ad– The Hill: “Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) is using a trio of elderly women to attack Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on Medicare in his latest ad, targeting a key demographic in his uphill battle to retain his seat. ‘We rely on Medicare to survive,’ one of the seniors says in the ad. ‘We were so disappointed when Congressman Daines voted to cut Medicare benefits while cutting taxes for multi-millionaires like himself,’ the others chime in. The ad…then cuts to Walsh, who says the country needs to lower its debt but argues he and Daines have ‘different priorities.’”
POLL: REPUBLICANS HOLD SLIGHT EDGE IN CONTROL OF CONGRESS
A new Quinnipiac poll shows 46 percent of American voters want Republicans to win control of the Senate while 44 percent want Democratic control. The same 46 - 44 percent margin applies to control of the House. The GOP edge falls at boundary of poll’s +/- 2.6 point margin of error.
Republicans can capture the Senate with a net gain of six seats this cycle. Which six Democrat-held Senate seats are the most vulnerable in November? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota and North Carolina.
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
FOLEY LEADS WITH FAMILY MESSAGE IN FIRST SPOT
New Haven Register: “Tom Foley, Republican candidate for governor, has his first television ad up for the season in a low-key introduction to voters with his family. Foley, a Greenwich businessman, who opted not to bankroll his second gubernatorial run with his own money, is shown with his wife, Leslie Fahrenkopf, oldest son Tom, and his 2 ½-year-old twins as Fahrenkopf talks about her husband as a ‘great dad, who would make a great governor.’ It’s the beginning of a long season of ads as Republicans head to the polls on Aug. 12 in a primary with state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and then to the general election in November…. Fahrenkopf, in the ad, says her husband is ‘incredibly smart, he can fix anything. Tom’s an optimist who gets things done.’ Foley, as he stands with his wife, says: ‘Connecticut’s problems can be fixed with smarter policies and new direction. Nobody should be doing better than right here in Connecticut. It’s time to restore prosperity and optimism in our great state.’”
CRIST PROMISES SPENDING, MINIMUM WAGE HIKES
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., launched his first TV ad Monday touting Crist’s support of Florida’s working and middle class when he was governor. “We’re famous for our sunshine here, but for many work starts before it comes up and continues long after it comes down,” Crist says. “That’s who I fought for everyday as your governor.” Crist also makes promises in the 30-second spot if elected back into office. “I will raise minimum wage, restore equal pay for women and restore funding for our schools.” Crist faces primary opponent Nan Rich on August 26, but has mainly focused on the November face-off against Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
CANTOR ASKS HOUSE GOP FOR CASH
Daily Caller: “One-time fundraising all-star Eric Cantor … who lost his district’s Republican primary in early June, spent money designated for the general election during his [primary] campaign… Now that he won’t be running in the general, federal law requires that he pay those donors back — and his staff is reaching out to other Republican congressmen for help.”
YOUR OPINION COUNTS… AGAINST YOU IN COURT
AP: “An alleged New York bail-jumper was arrested on his Pennsylvania college campus after he posed for a news photographer and police spotted his picture in the paper. Authorities caught up to 25-year-old Jacob Close after he took part in the (Bloomsburg) Press Enterprise’s weekly ‘Your Opinion’ feature, answering a question about the controversy over the Washington Redskins’ name. Police say Close jumped bail in a drug and drunken-driving case in Ithaca, New York, several years ago. The Press Enterprise reports he was arrested Sunday at Bloomsburg University’s student recreation center. University police knew Close was wanted but weren’t aware he was on campus for the summer until his photo was published. Close was held on $25,000 bail pending extradition to New York. Court records don’t list an attorney for him.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I think [President Obama] thinks of his presidency as sort of self-enclosed. He is unique. He always had that sense of himself. And anybody who follows him, even a Democrat, will be a shadow of the great man.” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier”
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.