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• Dems veer into danger zone with abortion bill
• Bipartisan bill to speed deportations gains ground
• Conservative group targets Christie’s judgment on judges
• Braley does the chicken dance
• D.C. stands for ‘doesn’t count’
DEMS VEER INTO DANGER ZONE WITH ABORTION BILL
Democrats today are kicking up their election-year effort to shift the discussion to social issues in a bid to drive a wedge between female voters and the GOP. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is leading a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on his bill that would override the laws banning late-term abortions and imposing regulations on abortion clinics in an increasing number of states. The bill, which already has the support of nearly two-thirds of Senate Democrats, would eradicate the restrictions in at least a dozen states where abortions have been banned after the start of the sixth month of pregnancy and rules in many more states that regulate the conditions at abortion clinics. The New York Times editorial board is enthused as are others on the left who have seen access to elective abortions restricted in the aftermath of the discovery of a house of horrors at the Philadelphia abortion clinic operated by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. But Blumenthal’s anti-anti-Gosnell bill takes Democrats into some very dangerous political territory.
Trickier topic - The Democrats’ gynecological approach worked twice before to save the Senate, thanks in part to some self-destructive Republican candidates – most notably former Rep. Todd Akin (who still is out there trying and failing to explain his unorthodox understanding of biology). Having so recently been on these crusades, Democrats still have the battle plan handy and are quick to race into the fray. The fundraising emails were out on the Hobby Lobby case even before reporters had finished reading the opinion and the legislation from vulnerable Senate Democrats was out soon thereafter. But fighting state abortion regulations is something very different than just punking Akin or thinking up some new birth-control hashtags. Americans got comfortable talking about “the pill” a long time ago, but still find it kind of fun and sexy. Abortion, though, is still a raw subject and demands delicate discussion. It’s a topic around which error-prone politicians ought not tread. The majority of Americans favor restrictions on abortion, leaving the Democratic default position on the issue – unrestricted access to elective abortion – increasingly out of step. It’s great to say you think ladies ought to be able to get the pill, a largely uncontroversial position for 40 years. But how about sharing your view on when life begins? Or whether unborn children feel pain? Where’s your hashtag for those?
Shetlands, sheepdogs - So while today’s Blumenthal hearing certainly is part of Democratic efforts to shift the election narrative and to frighten suburban women about Akin-ite boogeymen lurking in every doctor’s office, it’s also evidence of the power of the left wing in the Democratic Party. One would have to imagine this hearing is designed to placate the vocal, well-funded pro-choice crusaders in the Democratic base and not designed to proceed even to a show vote. After all, the most influential pro-choice political group doesn’t even talk about the issue in its ads, instead attacking Republicans on unrelated topics. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a self-professed pro-life Mormon, knows the power of the issue in swing states like his own. Surely he intends to squelch the subject and get back to regular programming as soon as the hearing wraps. If he doesn’t, Democrats from red states will start having to answer whether they would support rolling back restrictions.
Right back at you - Republican strategist Lauren Zelt suggests a different way for her party to counter Democratic gender warfare: turn the beat around. From her column in The Hill: “What's our answer to the grammatically questionable #notmybossbusiness? It doesn't lie solely in carefully debunking the Democrats' argument. It's a tedious process, and it doesn't make for a good hashtag, sound bite or campaign ad. A better strategy could be to point out the obvious: In 2014, the Democratic Party is the party defining women solely by their reproductive organs. When did it become socially acceptable again to define women that way? When did we travel back to 1955?”
[ObamaCare decision as early as today - A decision could come as early as today in the lawsuit that would end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies in more states who did not set up their own state exchange. If the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor to the suit, more than half of the country would lose insurance subsidies in President Obama’s signature health care law. Regardless of the decision, it is likely to appealed to the Supreme Court.]
BIPARTISAN BILL TO SPEED UP DEPORTATIONS GAINS GROUND
WaPo: “A pair of lawmakers from Texas will introduce bipartisan legislation in Congress on [today] to speed up the deportations of tens of thousands of Central American children who have entered the country illegally across the southern border. Sen. John Cornyn (R) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) say their bill aims to amend a 2008 law that currently requires the federal government to provide greater legal protections to young immigrants who attempt to enter the United States from noncontiguous countries. The legislation would rewrite the law to allow Central American minors be treated like those from Mexico and Canada, who can be deported more quickly. Under the plan, unaccompanied minors from any country would be able to have an immigration court hearing within seven days of their processing by Health and Human Services, and an immigration judge would be required to rule within three more days on whether the child would be allowed to stay or be deported. The bill authorizes 40 new immigration judges to help process the cases. The lawmakers are calling their bill the HUMANE Act, an acronym for: Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency.”
[What’s the president doing today? Oh, you know, a photo-op to draw attention to a political issue. It is almost as if he believes political “theater” can help solve problems.]
Poll: 6 out of 10 disapprove of Obama’s handling of border crisis - Fifty-eight percent of American adults disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the immigration crisis, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. While Republicans in Congress are still trying to piece together their response to Obama’s $3.7 billion request to aid the influx of Central American children at the border, slightly more adults, 66 percent, disapprove of the GOP’s lack of action. But there is hope for the President, a majority of respondents support the nearly $4 billion plan that will provide care for the illegal children while waiting their deportation hearings, speed up the hearing process and increase border security.
Asylum approvals skyrocket under Obama - Daily Caller: “The number of foreigners who successfully filed asylum claims in the United States almost tripled from 2012 to 2013, up to 30,393. That’s 10 times the number from 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected, and it is evidence his immigration officials are approving most of the asylum requests from the growing wave of Central American migrants. If you came illegally to the U.S. seeking asylum in 2013, you had better than a four-in-five chance of successfully filing an asylum claim. That’s up from a three-in-five chance in 2008. The migrants include mothers with children, and youths who have been brought north by their parents who are living illegally in the United States. Roughly 240,000 migrants — parents, youths and children — are expected to cross the border by the end of September. The total includes 57,525 unaccompanied youths and children, from October 2013 to June 30, 2014, according to DHS.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
With the so-called “summer polar vortex” around the corner, it may seem shocking that 55 million years ago, researchers believe it was a “steamy, runaway greenhouse world” with no polar ice caps. In the Scientific American, Jennifer Huizen explains how a small fern could be the root of the temperature and carbon dioxide shift in “How Scientists Uncovered Arctic Clues to a Past Where a Tiny Fern Changed the Planet”: “Even with abundant carbon and nitrogen to consume, the size of the plant and its limited access to fresh water make it almost inconceivable that it could even survive in the Arctic, let alone muster up enough power and mass to change the Earth's entire climate, saving our planet, perhaps, from a Venus-like, overheated oblivion.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.3 percent//Disapprove – 54 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26 percent//Wrong Track – 63.5 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41.4 percent// Republicans 40.2 percent
DAILY SHOW COULD BE DICEY FOR HILLARY
Hillary Clinton will appear tonight on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” the 2016 Democratic frontrunner’s third go-round on the Comedy Central show, but the first of her current campaign. Clinton’s gaffes about her wealth have already been solid fodder for Stewart and may make for a challenging encounter in otherwise friendly liberal territory. Recall that then Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius faced tough scrutiny from Stewart in her disastrous defense of ObamaCare. The last time Hillary was on “The Daily Show” was the eve of critical primaries during her failed 2008 presidential bid, which prompted a joke from Stewart about her judgment in appearing on his program at a such critical moment, followed by a substantive interview. Now, with 2016 in her sights and appearing on a favorite show for the young liberals in the Democratic base, Clinton might be smiling but must be wary. With her popularity slipping, Clinton had better hope that the Hipsters are laughing with her and not at her.
[WaPo details how as Obama’s star has faded, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has become a rock star for liberal Democrats: “[Monday’s] rally on behalf of [W. Va.] Senate candidate Natalie Tennant was the latest in a string of recent Warren appearances in red and blue states alike, where Democratic base voters have embraced her fiery message as an envoy to working-class voters frustrated with both Wall Street and the Obama administration.”]
Ready for Hillary ready with the bucks - The pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary reports a fundraising haul of $2.5 million for the second quarter of the year. LAT has details.]
CONSERVATIVE GROUP TARGETS CHRISTIE’S JUDGMENT ON JUDGES
Ahead of an Iwo campaign swing this week by Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., a conservative group is launching a $75,000 online ad campaign targeting the potential 2016 presidential candidate’s record on judicial nominations. Judicial Crisis Network released two versions of an ad bringing light to Christie’s reappointment of six liberal judges in New Jersey, including one whom President Obama considered to be a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee. “Important issues like ObamaCare are at stake in our courts, the narrator says in a 90 second spot. “The next president of the United States may get to appoint as many as three Supreme Court nominees…Tell [Chris Christie] to fight for judges who respect the rule of law.”
Jeb makes surprise New Hampshire play - Concord (N.H.) Monitor: “Former Florida governor Jeb Bush headlined a fundraiser for Scott Brown and the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Boston [Monday], his press aide Kristy Campbell confirmed. ‘Governor Bush believes Senator Brown is a strong, proven candidate who has the momentum in this race. New Hampshire is a tremendous pick-up opportunity as Republicans work to take back the U.S. Senate in November,’ Campbell said in an email. Brown is running in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat. Bush, who could be a Republican candidate for president in 2016, posted a picture of himself with Brown and his family on Twitter early [Monday] afternoon, which is how most reporters learned about the fundraiser.”
Jindal kindles Granite State support - New Hampshire Journal: “Potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will return to leadoff presidential primary state New Hampshire in September….”
Carson PAC keeps the dough rising - The conservative group backed by Dr. Ben Carson, American Legacy PAC, raised more than $1.2 million from April to June. This is the second quarter in a row that the group has raised more than a million dollars. Since the election cycle began, American Legacy has raised $2.4 million. The PAC has made donations to 12 House and Senate candidate including Senate hopefuls Georgia’s Jack Kingston, Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis.
History’s laboratory - Jim Pinkerton uses the lesson’s from Pat Buchanan’s new Nixon book to suggest a way forward for the GOP in 2016: “So that’s the story of Nixon’s comeback, as told by one who was there. And half-a-century later, for victory-starved Republicans: Attention must be paid.”
BRALEY DOES THE CHICKEN DANCE
Washington Free Beacon: “Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, threatened to sue a homeowners’ association after a chicken crossed onto his vacation home property in Iowa, again raising concerns that the Senate candidate is out-of-touch with farmers in the state, the Iowa Republican reports. The dispute started this spring after one of his neighbor’s chickens appeared on his vacation property in Holiday Lake, Iowa: ‘Braley’s wife Carolyn attended a May 8 meeting of the Holiday Lake Owner’s Association to complain about the fowl. The dispute escalated, causing the association to incur nearly $1,700 in legal fees after Braley called the association’s attorney with an implied threat of legal action. ‘It’s stupid that it went this far. Any reasonable person would have talked to their neighbor in a reasonable fashion instead,’ said Bill Nagle, an association board member. ‘For being brought up on a farm, he sure has lost his rural, farm values.’’ Pauline Hampton—Braley’s neighbor, a licensed therapist, and a U.S. Air Force veteran—is a registered Democrat. She reportedly used her four chickens to work with children who have mental health and communication problems.”
Crossroads pitches in while Ernst on duty - AP: “Conservative fundraising group American Crossroads is filling in for Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst while she participates in Iowa National Guard training for two weeks. Group spokesman Paul Lindsay told the Associated Press that the group backed by GOP strategist Karl Rove is spending $415,000 on a 30-second television ad that begins airing statewide Tuesday. That's in addition to the $3.1 million in advertising time the group has reserved in Iowa as part of the $20-million blitz it plans in Senate battleground states….”
SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE
Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report changed the status for the re-election bid of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., from “safe Democrat” to “Democrat favored.” “The change reflects the broad national environment and Minnesota’s generally competitive nature,” Rothenberg wrote Monday. “The new rating says little about Republican challenger Mike McFadden’s candidacy, other than the fact that the wealthy businessman appears to have considerable personal resources that he can sink into the race if he wishes.”
MCDANIEL TO CLAIM 8,300 QUESTIONABLE VOTES
WAPT: “Chris McDaniel's campaign is expected to make an announcement Wednesday. The campaign officials are expected to reveal evidence in what they have said are 8,300 questionable ballots from the June 24 Republican runoff election McDaniel lost to incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran by 7,600 votes. McDaniel claims voters cast ballots in both the Democratic primary and the Republican runoff, which is not allowed by state law. True The Vote, a group out of Texas, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking court order to block the destruction or redaction of any voting records.
Wants voting records released - AP: “Senate challenger Chris McDaniel is taking his quest to view original voting records to the Mississippi Supreme Court. McDaniel asked Monday for an emergency order forcing Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker to let him see original copies of poll books. He's trying to prove people who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary illegally voted in the June 24 Republican runoff won by incumbent U.S. Sen Thad Cochran. …Parker and her employees worked late Friday to redact birthdates out of the original poll books and offer them to McDaniel.”
PALIN PAC PASSES ON HOME STATE
AP: “Sarah Palin's political action committee gave $40,000 to congressional candidates during the last quarter but none from Alaska. Palin, a former Alaska governor, has not weighed in on the Republican race for U.S. Senate in the state. In 2010, she backed tea party favorite Joe Miller in a race won with a write-in campaign by incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Palin's SarahPAC reported bringing in about $460,000 from April through June. She ended the period with about $970,000 on hand. Contributions to candidates included $5,000 to Dave Brat, a donation given the day after he upset then-U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia.”
Arkansas - Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., raised more money in from April to June than incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. Cotton announced that he raised $2.28 million in the second quarter while Pryor raised $1.5 million.
Colorado - Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., outraised challenger Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in the second quarter by $400,000. Udall announced that it raised $3.1 million between April and June Monday. Gardner announced last week that he raised $2.7 million during the same time frame.
[NBC News/Marist polls show Democrats hold leads in Michigan and Colorado Senate races.]
PICK SIX: TOUGH TO SHAKE INCUMBENTS
Republicans have their sights set on six seats to win 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, Louisiana, Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota and North Carolina. Fox News First reader Laura Polakowski from Bethesda, Md. sees Republican chances narrowing: “With the messaging strategy the Dems use, it’s going to be tough to get voters to shake their favorite incumbents in Louisiana, Alaska, and New Hampshire...and possibly in Arkansas, based on the way things have looked in the past few months. Here’s to hoping the GOP ekes it out for a net gain of 6.”
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
MEGYN’S CLOSING ARGUMENT ON CHENEY GRILLING
On “The Kelly File” Tuesday night, anchor Megyn Kelly responded to the expressions of surprise among members of the establishment press at how she grilled former Vice President Dick Cheney in a recent appearance on her show. During an interview with Cheney and members of his family, Politico’s Mike Allen mentioned Megyn’s “tough questions” saying that she was “no enemy” to suggest that Cheney was having trouble even in presumably friendly precincts. Megyn offered some helpful guidance for her press critics: “Mike Allen’s right, I’m not an enemy of Vice President Cheney. I’m not a friend of Vice President Cheney. I’m a journalist who asks questions and he’s a politician who had the guts to come in here and answer them. And let me tell you something else, unlike a lot of politicians and pundits who come in here and answer tough questions, the Cheneys never complained. In fact, they thanked us for the interview and we thank them for being standup people in coming on and giving it.”
D.C. STANDS FOR ‘DOESN’T COUNT’
Justin Gray, the Washington correspondent for Central Florida’s WSTV, thought it was a fairly average day when he arrived to the Orlando airport. He had his bags packed and his District of Columbia-issued driver’s license in hand. But when an Orlando Transportation Safety Administration agent looked at his driver’s license, he insisted to Gray the license was not valid, according to WSTV. Gray said it was his legal, up-to-date identification from the D.C. government, but the agent said he didn’t recognize the license. After a brief back and forth, Gray said he realized that the agent didn’t know what the District of Columbia was. After much discussion, Gray was finally able to go through security. Soon after the discrepancy, a TSA spokesman contacted Gray to confirm the District of Columbia’s license is an acceptable form of ID and that all the TSA agents in Orlando will be shown a copy of the D.C. driver’s license.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“If you treat them here as refugees, you’re essentially saying everybody who wants can come in. … The idea that you’re importing the problem into the U.S. to me is unacceptable because in the end it means we don’t have a border.” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” 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 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.