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• Volume of Iraqi victims falls below Obama threshold for rescue
• Putin’s convoy rolls on despite White House warning
• What’s bringing POTUS back to the Washington Sunday? Dana Perino has a bet
• Dems dump $9 million to help Hagan
• Puccini to the rescue
VOLUME OF IRAQI VICTIMS FALLS BELOW OBAMA THRESHOLD FOR RESCUE
President Obama is apparently recalculating his formula on intervening against an Islamist army in Iraq after reports that the number of Christians and other religious minorities trapped on a desert mountain range may have dwindled to level beneath the threshold that meets Obama’s standard for a “duty to protect” mission like the one he ordered in Libya in March 2011. The president’s self-described standard for intervention requires a significant enough humanitarian crisis in volume but also that U.S. action can effectively solve the problem. Obama famously opted to abandon planned airstrikes aimed at ending the genocide in Syria not for a lack of volume in human suffering but because he wanted Congress to sign off, the kind of authority he said he had derived in Libya from a United Nations vote. In the president’s formula V(olume) + E(fficacy) + A(uthority) = I(ntervention), the numbers of those facing imminent death apparently no longer meet his standards for a balanced equation.
[The remnant of the U.S.-backed government in Libya voted Wednesday to ask foreign powers to intervene to fight the Islamist militants who now control most of the nation.]
Mr. Will observes - George Will: “One of Napoleon’s aphorisms – ‘If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna’ – means: In military matters, tentativeness is ruinous. Are F-18s going to be used for a foreign policy of rightminded gestures..?”
[Watch Fox: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., discusses how to stop the Islamist militants in the 11 am ET hour.]
Low grade - Fox News: “Obama’s overall job rating holds in the low forties. The poll, released Wednesday, finds 42 percent of voters approve of his job performance, while 49 percent disapprove. Last month it was 42-52 percent. On the issues, Obama performs best on the economy (43-51 percent) and health care (42-53), and worst on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (30-54), Ukraine (31-50) and immigration (33-57).”
PUTIN’S CONVOY ROLLS ON IN DEFIANCE OF OBAMA ORDER
The latest Fox News poll shows 74 percent of American voters believe President Obama has not been tough enough on Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And 77 percent said that Putin does not take Obama seriously. As if to prove the point, the 262-truck Russian convoy bound for Ukraine keeps on rolling in defiance of Obama’s demand that Russia not attempt to send relief to Russian separatists pinned down in that country’s ongoing civil war. Putin calls it humanitarian relief, but… From AP: “On Thursday the white trucks, some flying the red flag of Moscow city and accompanied by green military vehicles, traveled down a winding highway through sunflower fields and rolling green hills. They turned off that road near the city of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, driving west toward the Ukraine border crossing of Izvaryne, which is currently under rebel control. The route suggested Russia was intent on not abiding by a tentative agreement to deliver aid to a government-controlled border checkpoint in the Kharkiv region, where it could more easily be inspected by Ukraine and the Red Cross.”
WHAT’S BRINGING POTUS BACK TO THE WASHINGTON SUNDAY? DANA PERINO HAS A BET
The Hill: “The president is expected to return to the White House on Sunday, but officials won’t say why Obama is taking the unusual, and costly, trip back to Washington. He’s expected to return to Martha’s Vineyard, where he's been vacationing, on Tuesday. Speculation has circled around whether Obama might make an announcement of executive actions he's taking on immigration reform, or a surprise visit from a foreign leader. But the White House is ‘not anticipating a major announcement on immigration when the president is in Washington,’ spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters traveling with Obama in Massachusetts. Schultz did say that Obama will be meeting with Vice President Biden while he's back in Washington. And Obama will be without both press secretary Josh Earnest, who is out on paternity leave, and Schultz, Earnest's top deputy, while in the nation’s capital.”
[Ed. note: My bet is for a personnel announcement. Looking at you Eric Holder… But wise woman Dana Perino suggests that it might be a Supreme Court retirement, a move that would stoke the Democratic base ahead of midterms. Was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing a head fake? We shall see. ]
EMPLOYERS READY TO PASS OBAMACARE COSTS TO WORKERS
Fox News: “[The National Business Group on Health] reported Wednesday that companies desperate to avoid a 40 percent ObamaCare ‘Cadillac tax’ are finding ways to shift the costs to workers. The so-called “Cadillac tax,” now four years away, will affect health plans that spend more than $10,200 per worker… Meanwhile, employers are shifting workers into plans with higher deductibles, just as ObamaCare does in the health care exchanges, and using health savings accounts to help defray the costs… The ‘Cadillac tax’ was originally intended to take effect sooner, but unions and other groups convinced officials to delay it until 2018, reducing the anticipated income from $137 billion to $80 billion over ten years. But many analysts predict it will be far less than that.”
Papers, please - Washington Free Beacon: “Judicial Watch is suing the Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of journalist Sharyl Attkisson for records regarding the rollout of Healthcare.gov. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services failed to respond to four FOIA requests Attkisson sent between October 2013 and June 2014.”
[Rep. Dianne Black, R-Tenn., is asking the administration how Health and Human Services will ensure those signed up for ObamaCare meet citizenship and residency requirements after the department threatened to revoke healthcare for over 300,000 until they prove their citizenship. Black warned fraudulent subsidies could cost billions.]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Americans got a surprise on this day in 1941 when it was revealed that President Franklin Roosevelt had not been on a fishing trip in New England but instead just completed his first ever meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill off a remote peninsula in Newfoundland, Canada. The result was the Atlantic Charter, which would later be adopted as expressing the official aims of the Allies in World War II. It was also the beginning of what would be one of the most productive partnerships among leaders in Western history. Churchill’s first words upon stepping aboard the U.S.S. Augusta: “At long last, we meet, Mr. President.” Read all about it via Toronto’s Globe and Mail.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.3 percent//Disapprove – 52.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 25.7 percent//Wrong Track – 67.2 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41.8 percent// Republicans – 41 percent
[Poll Watch: The latest Fox News polls on the border crisis, Congressional approvals, opinions of Democrats, Republicans, and the Tea Party, along with views on ObamaCare and the spread of Ebola will be released in the 6 pm ET hour during “Special Report with Bret Baier.”]
SO HAPPY TOGETHER…
Fox News: “The White House says that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were ‘happy’ to see former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton at an exclusive party in Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday, in their first meeting after a foreign policy flap between the former Secretary of State and the president….”
[According to the latest Fox News poll, more respondents say they would rather vacation with Bill and Hillary Clinton, 42 percent, than Barack and Michelle Obama, 25 percent.]
RNC lays into Obama for hitting the links - The Hill: “The Republican National Committee knocked President Obama Wednesday for taking a two-week, golf-heavy vacation in Martha's Vineyard during a trio of international crises.”
Hillary campaign alum fended off greenies on Keystone - The Hill: “A former spokeswoman to Hillary Clinton worked for the Canadian province of Alberta to ‘neutralize the environmentalist arguments’ against the Keystone XL pipeline, new filings with the Justice Department reveal. Hilary Lefebvre, who served as the director of broadcast media for Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, was paid $53,725 during the 10-week contract, according to the documents.”
WARREN HEADED TO ISRAEL
While potential presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has won the hearts of progressives for her more populist stance on domestic issues, questions remain over what alternatives she would offer to 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s more hawkish views on foreign affairs. According to The Boston Globe, the freshman senator has not taken a single official overseas trip. Warren voiced non-interventionist views in her only foreign policy speech at Georgetown University in February, and warned last week of not getting “bogged down in another war in the Middle East.” In a move that could signal Warren is seeking to pad her foreign policy portfolio, an aide told The Globe that she will be part of a delegation traveling to Israel following the November midterms.
CANTOR STYLE: RAND RIPPED FOR DITCHING IOWA FOR HAMPTONS BASH
Real Clear Politics: “Citing a ‘family commitment,’ [Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul] passed on attending Saturday’s Family Leadership Summit -- evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats’ annual gathering of social-conservative activists in Ames, Iowa. Few in the nation’s first voting state would have considered the Kentucky senator’s absence a big deal, especially since Paul has been extremely active building relationships in Iowa and has visited there frequently over the past year, including a three-day trip just last week. The potential problem for the ambitious lawmaker arose when he was photographed and interviewed Saturday by Bloomberg News at a high-end fundraiser in the Hamptons, which was co-hosted by actor and liberal activist Alec Baldwin -- not exactly a Hollywood favorite among Iowa’s Christian conservative set.”
PERRY PAC DEBUTS AD BLASTING OBAMA OVER BORDER CRISIS
Gov. Rick Perry’s, R-Texas, RickPAC has released its first Web video slamming President Obama for failing to secure the U.S border with Mexico. The 90-second video features news reports of Perry urging the president to secure the border accompanied by a graphic that reads, “It’s time to elect leaders who will act.”
JEB TO HIT HUSTINGS FOR SCOTT
Fox News: “Jeb Bush, the former Republican Florida governor and possible 2016 presidential contender, will be making his first campaign appearance of the year -- with incumbent Gov. Rick Scott on Friday. Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said that Bush and Scott will visit a local business in the predominately agricultural area of Homestead, Fla., on Friday morning… Scott is locked in a tough race with his likely general election opponent -- another former Florida Republican governor, and now Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Crist. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed a statistical dead heat between Scott and Crist, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie peeling off about 9 percent.”
-- 82 days until Nov. 4 --
HANABUSA SEEKS DELAY IN CRUCIAL HAWAII MAKEUP VOTE
AP: “[Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D- Hawaii] asked a court on the Big Island on Wednesday to delay a makeup election for more than 8,000 voters, saying they should have more time to recover from a tropical storm before casting ballots in a primary that includes her running for U.S. Senate. Hanabusa filed a request for a temporary restraining order in a state circuit court, while elections officials moved forward with plans to open polls for 11 hours Friday. The complaint asks a judge to stop Chief Election Officer Scott Nago from holding the postponed election for two precincts until voters have enough time to recover and be properly notified of the election. ‘Voters in the affected areas are still without power and water, and many roads are inaccessible or blocked with debris,’ lawyers for Hanabusa said in their complaint.”
The politics of Puna - Watchdog.org: “Puna is a remote area on the Big Island of Hawaii, a place described by the Lonely Planet blog as ‘a new, eclectic population of mainland retirees, nouveau hippies, off-the-grid minimalists, funky artists, New Age seekers, Hawaiian sovereignty activists, organic farmers and the odd pakalolo (marijuana) grower’...[Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii] and Hanabusa and their ground troops descended on the Puna neighborhoods, trying to attract the attention of the 6,800 registered voters yet to cast a ballot…”
DEMS DUMP $9 MILLION TO HELP HAGAN
Charlotte [N.C.] Observer: “In its biggest expenditure this election cycle, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Wednesday launched a $9.1 million TV blitz in North Carolina attacking Republican Thom Tillis. The ad buy, the largest so far in North Carolina… reflects both the outside interest in a race that will help decide control of the Senate and, some say, concern about Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan… Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the buy signals that Democrats have hit the ‘panic button’… While the DSCC buy is the largest expenditure, it’s not the only big spending. Democratic media trackers say Americans for Prosperity, funded by the conservative Koch brothers, has spent nearly $9 million on a series of pro-Tillis and anti-Hagan ads. And the Senate Majority PAC, affiliated with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has spent more than $7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”
MILLER WON’T STEAL FROM MURKOWSKI’S ALASKA PLAYBOOK
In 2010, Tea Party favorite Joe Miller pulled off an upset against Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s Republican Senate primary only to see her win a historic write-in campaign. As schisms deepen between establishment Republicans and Tea Party supporters, Miller is allaying fears that he will not mount a third party bid should he lose Tuesday’s Alaska Senate GOP primary. AP reports, Miller does not, “think it would be successful.” Republican candidates Mead Treadwell and Miller debated Wednesday as Dan Sullivan opted to campaign instead in Anchorage and Eagle River.
[New at Fox News Opinion – GOP sage Ed Rollins explores why the coldest state may have the hottest race in the county.]
TENNANT TOUTS JAILING DEMS IN NEW AD
West Virginia Democratic Senator contender Natalie Tennant is putting $300,00 towards an ad underscoring her work to put three members of her own party in prison for election fraud.
HAWKEYE SENATE CANDIDATES PLAY TO VETS IN LATEST PITCH
Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst is highlighting her two-decades of military service in a new ad. In the ad Ernst appears saying, “During emergencies like floods, people don’t ask whether you are Republican or Democrat, they just need help.” The ad goes on to spotlight her time in Iraq leading convoys into Baghdad as a narrator concludes stating, “Joni Ernst, a leader who will make Iowa proud.” Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, released an ad touting his efforts to tackle military sexual assault after being dogged by Ernst campaign for missing Veterans Affairs Committee hearings.
MCCAIN TO GIVE BOOST TO BROWN’S FOREIGN POLICY CREDS
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will join New Hampshire Republican Senate hopeful Scott Brown Monday for a town hall in Derry, N.H.
PICK SIX: RUSHMORE STATE SHOULD RISE TO TOP
Republicans have their sights set on six seats to win back control of the Senate from Democrats. The most likely seats to flip from blue to red according to Fox News First readers are: Arkansas (13.6%), Montana (12%), Louisiana (11.7%), West Virginia (11.2%), South Dakota (10.6%) and North Carolina (9.9%). Reader Tom Martley disagrees with South Dakota’s place in the pecking order saying it’s “100 miles off.” Martley says, “As a 70 year resident of South Dakota I can guarantee 100% the Republicans will pick up the Senate seat in November.” Is there a state you feel your fellow readers aren’t giving enough attention to? Let us know what it is.
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
RECOUNT LIKELY IN RACE TO SUCCEED PETRI
Milwaukee [Wis.] Journal-Sentinel: “A recount likely will be needed next week to confirm a winner in the GOP primary for the 6th Congressional District where state Sen. Glenn Grothman holds a razor-thin margin of victory over rival state Sen. Joe Leibham. Just 214 votes separate the two contestants, according to complete, unofficial counts from the 11 counties that are part of the sprawling district in east-central Wisconsin.”
BOLTON BACKS FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES
Former Ambassador John Bolton’s political action committee is getting Florida Republican Reps. Ron DeSantis, Mario Díaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo. “Going into 2016, the importance of succeeding in Florida can’t be understated,” said Bolton in a statement announcing his endorsements and financial backing. “I’m committed to helping Florida Republicans win this November so that come 2016 we’re able to create the change America needs.”
PUCCINI TO THE RESCUE
Kyra Kopestonsky, hiking in the Colorado Rockies near Placerville had to think fast when she heard a twig snap and caught a “glimpse of something brown” out of the corner of her eye. “Oh there’s an animal here, she thought.” Sure enough the hiker found herself was face to snout with a 150 pound mountain lion. She tried slowly backing away, then waving a tree branch, but both failed to deter the feline stalker. That’s when she decided to try a sonorous solution. ‘I don’t know why, I just started singing opera really loud,’ Koestonsky told KUSA. ‘It kind of put its ears down and just kept looking at me, and it sort of backed away.’ San Miguel Sheriff Bill Masters, was impressed. “She is obviously educated as to what to do in this unexpected situation.” Masters said.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“This is such a blatant display of Clinton inauthenticity, it’s breathtaking…[Hillary Clinton] moved to the left the last time around and because she is not going to face a serious challenger on the left, she is maneuvering to the center for her current run and expressing more hawkish opinions than the Obama administration. So you never actually have any idea what is the core belief and I think if she finally ended up saying what you thought was inauthentic and withdraws it with a hug within a day, she’s in trouble. ” –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.