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• Endangered Dems push Iraq escalation
• WaPo: McCaskill behind Kansas candidate switch
• Hillary heads to Mexico to show support for billionaire backer
• Chamber ramps up midterm push
• Freedom Partners unloads on Braley, Merkley and Pryor
• The father of the preppy rights movement
ENDANGERED DEMS PUSH IRAQ ESCALATION
Members of President Obama’s cabinet and fellow Democrats continue to pressure the president to further escalate his already growing intervention in Iraq. While Obama in Estonia yesterday expressed a desire to reduce ISIS to a “manageable” problem, Vice President Joe Biden had harsher words for the group, saying, “They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reiterated Wednesday the threat from the Islamic State is “something we’ve never seen before.” The cycle has persisted since the White House initiated bombing raids and troop deployments in Iraq: milky language from the White house begets pushback from the Pentagon and hawkish Dems, which in turn begets tougher lines and increased intervention from Obama.
[Who started it? - Remember who started the public split on strategy? Mmhmm.]
Pushed by the polls - Democrats like Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) are joining the chorus of Congressional members calling for the president to act, writing in a statement, “I urge the administration to come to Congress with a clear strategy and political and military options for eliminating the ISIL threat.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) chimed in, tweeting: “Do not believe ISIL is ‘manageable,’ agree these terrorists must be chased to the ‘gates of hell.’” Why’s that? The latest George Washington University Battleground poll gives President Obama 51 percent disapproval overall with 58 percent disapproving of his handling of foreign policy. Gallup’s latest poll shows 54 percent disapprove of Obama’s foreign policy performance.
Baier Tracks: A view from the ground in Iraq… - “Largely overlooked in the back and forth about what is being said and done (and not done) on the strategy for dealing with ISIS are the thoughts of the U.S. troops being deployed to Iraq. Rarely do we get a glimpse into their thoughts, but I received an email from a friend – a special operator who is in contact with his fellow soldiers who have been deployed to Iraq – that provides some insight. My friend said it would be okay to pass along what he’s hearing anonymously: ‘I'm getting notes from the guys over in these operations centers in Iraq. Frustration and confusion reign. Their commander in chief has deployed them back into harm’s way with a defensive mission to only defend US facilities against ISIS, that it's not a US problem to solve, and the Iraqis must get their act together politically. Now today he says we are going to destroy and degrade ISIS, and in the same sentence that we are going to only manage them. Then we have our Vice President in a Howard Dean moment. My favorite quote of the day from an operator downrange ‘Chase them to the Gates of Hell? How the F$@k are we going to do that when we can't even leave the front gate of our base!?’” Interesting perspective from someone redeployed to Iraq.” – Bret Baier
The Judge’s ruling: A long, hot summer - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst JudgeAndrew Napolitano has returned from his August recess and recaps an arduous summer for advocates of liberty: “Transparency is a disinfectant for political corruption, and a people cannot be free when the government gets away with law breaking and lying about it.”
WAPO: MCCASKILL BEHIND KANSAS CANDIDATE SWITCH
WaPo: “Democratic nominee Chad Taylor dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas on Wednesday, an 11th hour move that could clear the way for his party to rally behind an independent candidate and potentially change the math in the battle for the Senate majority. … The move, which came on the last day for ballot changes, could clear the way for Democrats to rally behind Greg Orman, an independent candidate who has left the door open to caucusing with both parties if elected. Orman, who used to be a Democrat and a Republican, has been viewed as a more viable opponent against Sen. Pat Roberts (R), who polls show is vulnerable. Orman has been a far more productive fundraiser than Taylor.”
[No exit? - The Hill: “Despite filing papers with the Kansas secretary of State withdrawing from the Senate race late Wednesday, Democrat Chad Taylor may be stuck on the ballot this fall. Two election law statutes have raised questions about whether Taylor gave sufficient cause to remove himself from the ballot, and, if so, whether Democrats must ultimately choose a candidate to replace him.]
Howdy, neighbor - WaPo: “Taylor, the Shawnee County district attorney, was in touch with at least one prominent Democrat in the days leading up to his decision. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) spoke with Taylor about dropping out of the race in order to consolidate support behind Orman in hopes of unseating Roberts, according to Democrats familiar with the talks. … In an interview with The Washington Post last week, Orman would not say which party he would caucus with if elected. He suggested that he would side with whichever party is in the majority and would consider joining both sides if he ends up being the deciding vote.”
[Gross violation - Wichita [Kan.] Eagle : “An actor who appeared in a campaign ad for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis was arrested on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute and was once suspended from a position at a Topeka high school for inappropriate behavior with a student, according to documents released by the Kansas Republican Party.”]
OBAMACARE NUMBER CRUNCHERS SEE SPIKE IN HEALTH SPENDING
Daily Caller: “According to a report published in the journal Health Affairs by actuaries from federal Obamacare administrator the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the health-care law is contributing to a renewed boost in health care spending. The findings contradict the White House’s own line on health spending, after officials attempted to claim a recent slowdown in health spending growth as a triumph of Obamacare… CMS actuaries expect health spending to climb even higher, projecting 5.6 percent growth in 2014, 4.9 percent growth in 2015 and 6.1 percent every year afterward through 2023. One primary drivers of the skyrocketing health care spending: Obamacare.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Friday will see the debut of a documentary about what has been one of the most remarkable and remarkably successful educational experiments in the nation, Newark’s St. Benedict’s Prep. City Journal explains:“As Newark deteriorated around them, the monks took on the job of educating teenage boys growing up in a chaotic urban environment. Many students were products of a collapsing public school system that would one day be seized from the city by state officials. Decades later, St. Benedict’s is still there, and its recent history is a remarkable story of educational success under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. The Rule, a documentary by Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno opening this Friday in New York and next week in Los Angeles, recounts the improbable tale of priests and brothers living under a nearly 1,500-year-old monastic code, and the Newark kids whose lives they have transformed.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42 percent//Disapprove – 52.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 25.6 percent//Wrong Track – 66.1 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42.5 percent// Republicans – 42. percent
-- 61 days until Nov. 4 --
HILLARY HEADS TO MEXICO TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR BILLIONAIRE BACKER
AP: “[Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton] is scheduled to be in Mexico City on Friday to attend an annual event hosted by a financial supporter of the Clinton Foundation, billionaire Carlos Slim. The event will honor scholarship students helped by Slim's foundation.” Slim, whose control of Mexico’s formerly state-run telecom industry helped make him the richest man in the world, is an owner of the New York Times and has been dabbling more in American politics.
[She loves green - Clinton today will address a key donor group at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s annual Las Vegas gathering for green energy firms to audition for new federal subsidies.]
Warren worried about Hillary’s Wall Street ties - In an interview with Yahoo News Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., continued to paint herself as the liberal alternative to 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton. When asked how she felt about Clinton’s relationship with Wall Street, Warren responded, “I worry across the board.”
[KDVR: “Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the darling of the Democratic base, will campaign with…Sen. Mark Udall [D-Colo.] in Jefferson County on Friday. Warren, who is also attending a private fundraiser for Udall, will appear along with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and Congressman Ed Perlmutter [D-Colo.]”
Billionaire Steyer stays focused on Kochs - Billionaire Democratic donor and green-energy mogul Tom Steyer’s political action group is putting $3 million toward an ad tying Michigan Republican Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land to conservative oilmen donors Charles and David Koch. “Petroleum coke: oil waste dumped by Terri Lynn Land's out-of-state billionaire backers,” a narrator says in the 60-second ad. “Those same out-of-state billionaires, the Koch brothers, have dumped nearly $7 million to help buy her a Senate seat, so they can keep polluting across Michigan. Michigan has been dumped on enough. On Election Day let's dump Terri Lynn Land.” The move further complicates things for the Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters, who has denounced so-called “pet coke,” a byproduct of oil refining that can be used for fuel, but is an investor in one of its leading manufacturers.
Back and forth in Oregon - Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., continues to focus his assault on Republican challenger Monica Wehby’s supporters: “Monica Wehby may be a good investment for the Koch brothers, but she’s the wrong choice for Oregon.” Meanwhile, Wehby’s latest ad blasts Washington policies that are hurting small business and calls for the replacement of ObamaCare.
U.S. CHAMBER RAMPS UP MIDTERM PUSH
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching its new theme for the closing months of the midterm cycle: Vote for Jobs. The effort scores candidates on key economic issues and is backed by a big dose of ad spending targeting incumbents:
Udall - The Chamber hits Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., for supporting President Obama’s energy agenda. From the ad: “Mark Udall, more power for them, higher costs for you.”
Hagan - In its attack against Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., her record on the nation’s record debt and stagnant economy is contrasted with Republican Thom Tillis’ efforts to push a balanced budget through the state legislature.
Rahall - In ad promoting Rep. Nick Rahall’s, D-W. Va., Republican opponent Evan Jenkins, Rahall is ripped for his support of ObamaCare and the president’s energy agenda.
[Washington Examiner: “Rep. Scott Peters, running for re-election in a hotly contested race, is something of a political unicorn: a Democrat endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce announced it will back Peters over Republican Carl DeMaio in California's 52nd Congressional District, which includes parts of San Diego…”]
FREEDOM PARTNERS UNLOADS ON BRALEY, MERKLEY AND PRYOR
The conservative group Freedom Partners Action Fund is launching ads hitting Democratic Senate candidates in Iowa, Oregon, and Arkansas. The group blasts Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, for his poor attendance record while serving on the Veterans Affairs Committee, rips Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oreg., over the nation’s soaring debt, and hits Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., over those who have lost health insurance coverage under ObamaCare.
NO KNOCKOUTS AT N.C. DEBATE
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., answered repeated questions about her support for President Obama during her first debate with Republican challenger Thom Tillis. Tillis, meanwhile, successfully fended off Hagan’s attacks on social issues. WRAL has more.
DSCC OPENS IN ALASKA WITH MEDISCARE
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is up with its first attack ad against Republican Senate nominee Dan Sullivan over backing changes to entitlement programs. The ad features an Alaska senior saying, “Our lives are hard enough. We don’t need Dan Sullivan making things even tougher.”
CARSON GETS BEHIND CASSIDY
Conservative favorite Ben Carson (a Fox News contributor) is backing fellow physician Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., to take on Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. GOP frontrunner Cassidy has faced persistent attacks from political newcomer Rob Maness, who is supported by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and others. “In voting for Obamacare, Senator Landrieu chose to empower Washington bureaucrats over the people of Louisiana. Dr. Cassidy’s career has been one of leadership on behalf of individuals and patients, particularly the uninsured,” Carson said in a statement. Unless one candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, the top two finishers, regardless of party, will advance to a December runoff election.
M.O. MOVES FOR NUNN
AJC: “First Lady Michelle Obama will spend Monday in Atlanta to help the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn and promote her education initiatives…In the afternoon, Obama will attend a closed-press fundraiser for the Nunn campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee…The event comes five days before President Bill Clinton comes to hang out with Nunn and Usher.”
[Listen to Fox - Campaign Carl Cameron looks at Kentucky’s Senate race and what it could mean for Democrat’s outlook for holding on to the upper chamber in this week’s Balance of Power podcast.]
PICK SIX: NO NONSENSE IN THE MIDWEST
Republicans are hoping to pick up an additional six seats to gain control of the Senate this November. Which Democrat-held seats could land in the GOP’s hands after November? Here are the top picks, tabulated from Fox News First reader e-mails and tweets: Arkansas (13.7%), Montana (12.6%), West Virginia (11.8%), Louisiana (11.5%), South Dakota (10.4%) and North Carolina (9.5%). Reader James Murphy picks Minnesota and Iowa as dark horses, writing, “Iowans can put character and substance over party and usually do.” Are there are other dark horse races you feel deserve attention?
DEM CHAIRWOMAN NOT BACKING DOWN ON LIKENING WALKER TO DOMESTIC ABUSER
Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke is distancing herself from Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s attack on Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis. as being like a domestic abuser. Wasserman-Schultz went off on Walker in a Wisconsin campaign visit, saying “Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand. I know that is stark. I know that is direct. I know that is reality.” Wasserman-Schultz went on to say, “What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us by the hair and pulling us back. It is not going to happen on our watch." Burke spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson told Fox News, “That's not the type of language that Mary Burke would use, or has used…” A spokesperson for Wasserman-Schultz was unapologetic about comparing Walker to a spousal abuser and doubled down on the analogy, saying that “domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue and the Congresswoman was by no means belittling the very real pain survivors experience.”
THE FATHER OF THE PREPPY RIGHTS MOVEMENT
The perennial prepster look of going sockless in loafers may soon have its first prisoner of conscience. Indiana Circuit Judge Dean Young had grown weary of attorney Todd Glickfield appearing in court with bare ankles. The judge told Glickfield that proper dress meant socks on his feet, and has entered an order commanding Glickfield to comply or face contempt penalties. The Indianapolis Star tells the story of the lawyer who may become a prisoner of fashion: “‘Attorney Glickfield advised the court,’ the judge wrote in his order, ‘that ‘I hate socks’ and that he's had 'this conversation with other judges in other courts.’ Unless the judge could show him applicable ‘orders or other legal authority,’ the judge noted, Glickfield said ‘he would continue his habit of appearing sockless in court.’” No word on how his clients feel about Glickfield’s decision to fight the power of the pro-sock establishment…
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“[President Obama] persists in calling them extremists, as if they are extremists for what reason: they're just very upset about a lot of stuff. He will not call it by its name: Islamic radicalism, he will not explain or concede or see that it is a worldwide movement.” – 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.