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• The Full Ackbar: Right warns Obama war plan is a trap
• More votes set on amnesty plan
• GOP confidence grows while Dems get jitters
• Biden: ‘Run on what we have done’
• When you care enough to steal $10,000 worth of underpants
THE FULL ACKBAR: RIGHT WARNS OBAMA WAR PLAN IS A TRAP
In a blistering column, influential conservative columnist Matthew Continetti calls President Obama’s request for congressional authorization for the ongoing war in Iraq and Syria a “trap” and says he would “happily” vote it down. “If the threat of ISIS is as dire as the president says it is in the preamble of his resolution,” Continetti writes, “then not only does the president already have the authority to strike granted to him by Article II of the Constitution and the 2001 and 2002 war resolutions, he also should not cavil or hesitate in unleashing every means at his disposal to confront and defeat the enemy.” Continetti goes on to say, “I also cannot help thinking that the presidential request is little more than a trap, a bone thrown in the direction of the cloakroom to distract from the collapse of America’s position in the Middle East and the approaching deadline for nuclear talks with Iran. How better to provoke infighting among both Republicans and Democrats, to switch the debate from sanctions against Iran to ‘Rand Paul versus Marco Rubio for the soul of the GOP,’ than to start a debate over presidential war powers as the war is going on.”
ISIS grabs ground - Fox News: “Islamic State fighters reportedly seized most of a western Iraqi town on Thursday, in fighting taking place mere miles from an air base where hundreds of U.S. Marines are training Iraqis. Reuters, quoting local officials, reported Thursday that ISIS militants had overrun much of the town of al-Baghdadi. One local Iraqi official told Reuters that, "Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents."
Not even a little ‘hasty’? - “Well first it wasn't hasty. Just because I didn't know what the plans were, didn't mean the plans weren't in place for weeks. We have been planning for weeks a range of contingency options…We always have a range of options we can take when we're talking about a high threat post.".”– State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki on “The Kelly File” discussing the weapons and equipment abandoned in Yemen by U.S. forces. Watch here.
A question of selfie control - Buzzfeed released a video Thursday showing the commander in chief using a selfie stick and smiling at himself in the mirror to help promote ObamaCare. It delighted many in the media. The Washington Post called it, “cute” and “catchy,” while People Magazine gets in on the action suggesting, “judging by the president's expert selfie stick form, it seems like his meeting with Kim Kardashian last year really paid off.” Not mentioned in the stories: the video was reportedly shot on the same day the world learned ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller was dead.
“Evil is real. There is no light grey. Murdering innocent people to move a political point of view has been, is and always will be evil.” – Former President George W. Bush in a lecture at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Wednesday.
ELIE WIESEL WILL ATTEND NETANYAHU SPEECH
“[W]riter, political activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, will attend Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu’s] congressional speech regarding Iran on March 3,” reports the Observer. “A full-page advertisement declaring Mr. Wiesel’s intention to attend the controversial speech will appear in The New York Times on February 14th to be followed by The Washington Post.”
[WSJ: “Senate Republicans on Thursday moved to officially welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. ahead of his planned speech to Congress next month, the latest development in a saga that has roiled politics in both countries.”]
MORE VOTES TO COME ON AMNESTY PLAN
The Hill: “The Senate is going to vote again on a procedural motion to consider a bill reversing President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and fund the Department of Homeland Security. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] filed a motion to hold additional votes to end a Democratic filibuster of the bill, setting up as many as three more attempts. The votes are expected to take place the last week of February, as Congress will be out of town next week for a recess…Funding will lapse after Feb. 27.”
Cost, logistics of Obama immigration plan raise concerns - Fox News: “Though forecasting turn-out of applicants is largely a guessing game, DHS predicts as many as 1.3 million people may apply in the first six months alone…There's also the cost of the plan, officially known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, estimated at $324 million to $484 million over the next few years, according to DHS documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.”
Power Play: Fight over funding - Democratic strategist Penny Lee and former Republican Senate staffer John Hart join Power Play host Chris Stirewalt to discuss the $40 billion Homeland Security bill that would stop the president’s executive action on immigration. Are Republicans picking the right bill for a fight? And can Congress come to an agreement? Watch here.
DeMint seeks peace with old rival McConnell - Politico: “Jim DeMint paid a personal visit Thursday to an old rival: Mitch McConnell. DeMint, a former South Carolina senator and now president of The Heritage Foundation, met one-on-one with McConnell in the GOP leader’s Capitol suite as DeMint pitched Heritage’s ‘opportunity’ agenda. Things appeared to go over more smoothly with McConnell than they did last month with the House, where DeMint was confronted over his sister organization’s strict ratings of lawmakers’ conservatism…”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Relatively little is known about the history of the peoples of the British Isles prior to the arrival of Roman legions in the 1st Century, A.D. But one durable belief is that the more placid peoples of the south who would live under Roman rule were a breed apart from the wild, savage tribes to the north, known to the Romans as Picts. But a new book from Benjamin Hudson, a professor of history and medieval studies at Penn State, is turning that discussion around. While Roman history focuses on the Picts as uncivilized enemies as the Romans began to try to expand the empire’s boundaries into northern England, Hudson’s book argues that “they weren't different, they were merely Britons that the Romans didn't conquer.” While Hudson’s research shows a glimpse of life and culture without the Roman influence, it also makes the case that the bias of Roman historians created a false delineation between residents of the south and residents of the north prior to their arrival.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.6 percent//Disapprove – 50 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 35.3 percent//Wrong Track – 56.4 percent
GOP CONFIDENCE GROWS WHILE DEMS GET JITTERS
Fox News polling guru Dana Blanton writes: “…by a 10-point margin, more Republicans are looking forward to the 2016 campaign than dreading it. That’s the opposite of how they felt about the start of the 2012 campaign in 2011. At that time, they were more likely to say they were dreading the race by 10 points. The poll finds the same reversal of sentiment among Democrats. They were looking forward to the 2012 campaign by 8 points, while now they say they are dreading the start of the 2016 campaign by 5 points. Republicans might be looking forward to 2016 because they are more confident about their party’s chances. Fully 78 percent of Republicans think the GOP candidate is going to win the next presidential election, while just 63 percent of Democrats feel that way about their party’s candidate. The results are almost the same when the hypothetical race is between a generic Republican and Democrat Hillary Clinton: 76 percent of Republicans say their candidate will win, while 67 percent of Democrats think Clinton will prevail.”
Walker and Carson at the head of the class - In the latest Fox News poll, voters got to rank the 2016 contenders with letter grades. Among Republican voters, Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., gets the highest marks of the bunch with a B, followed by Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who both earned B-, all remaining contenders earn C+ or below. Among all voters, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., and Hillary Clinton all earn C+, which is still better than President Obama who earns a C.]
“Listen I’m a big Scott Walker supporter, and he hasn’t announced anything, but you know I’ll be supporting Scott Walker.” -- Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to CQ Roll Call
Rand looks to move up Kentucky presidential pick - Lexington Herald-Leader: “Requesting help to avoid a ‘costly and time-consuming legal challenge,’ U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is asking members of the Republican Party of Kentucky to create a presidential caucus in 2016 that would happen well ahead of the May primary election. In a letter dated Feb. 9, Paul told GOP leaders that an earlier presidential preference vote would give Kentuckians ‘more leverage to be relevant’ in the wide-open competition for the Republican presidential nomination…The letter went out to hundreds of Kentucky Republicans ahead of the party's 54-member executive committee meeting March 7 in Bowling Green, where Paul will pitch the caucus idea to members for a vote…‘If I choose to also seek the presidency, I will do so to serve the people of Kentucky and the ideas that I ran on and have worked for,’ he wrote. ‘I believe I can keep helping the people of Kentucky as senator, but I think there is no doubt I could help them even more as president.’”
[Paul will be spending the weekend in Florida giving speeches at the Orange County Lincoln Day Dinner today and the Republican Party of Sarasota rally Saturday.]
Club for Growth to host Florida cattle call - WaPo: “Six potential 2016 candidates have accepted invitations to speak at the private gathering Feb. 26-28 at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, according to a knowledgeable official who shared the information with The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity. They are Former Florida governor Jeb Bush; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas; Indiana Gov. Mike Pence; and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.”
Rubio nabs Perry’s top money man - US News: “When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a list of 80 donors last week who would serve on the advisory board of his political action committee, there was one glaring omission: The Republican moneyman who helped steer his finance effort in his last run for president. George Seay, the Dallas-based investor and well-connected grandson of former Texas Gov. William Clements, felt he had a duty to support Perry’s late entry into the 2012 White House campaign and without hesitation signed on as his Texas finance chairman. Not this round. Seay has already pledged to help Florida Sen. Marco Rubio if the freshman GOP lawmaker decides to turn the ignition on a 2016 presidential bid, a prospect that looks increasingly likely.”
[Rubio kicks off his national book tour today with an appearance in West Des Moines Iowa. Other stops include South Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire.]
Perry wraps up New Hampshire trip - Dallas Morning News: “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that voters have had enough of a ‘young, attractive’ and inexperienced president and will be looking for a proven leader in 2016. Perry, who is considering a second run for president, wrapped up a two-day trip to New Hampshire with a speech at the Strafford County Republican Committee’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
Kasich calling out GOP’s old guard - Cleveland Plain Dealer : “Gov. John Kasich's presidential deliberations are accelerating, as evidenced not only by an upcoming trip to South Carolina announced this week but also by the prominent Republican advisers entering his political orbit. Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, met recently with Team Kasich, according to GOP sources in Columbus plugged into Kasich's network. One Republican said a separate dinner meeting included former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, the first primary state. Richard Allen, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who served as national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan, also attended the dinner….”
[Gillespie remaining neutral - In a Facebook post, former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie offered a clarification: “Just saw a news report about John Kasich seeking my thoughts on the presidency. I was happy to share some with him (we've known one another more than two decades!), as i've done with others, but I'm going to remain neutral in the nominating process. The article didn't really make that clear.”]
[Watch Fox: Rick Santorum sits down for the latest 2016 contender interview on “Special Report with Bret Baier” tonight at 6 p.m. ET.]
Shalom, y’all - Former Gov. Mike Huckabee departs this weekend for a trip to Israel.
Carson grabs leader of Gingrich’s winning S.C. team - Dr. Ben Carson has named Ruth Sherlock, a former Newt Gingrich operative, as his South Carolina state director.
POWER PLAY: TROUBLE AT CAMP HILLARY
Keeping tabs on Team Hillary, news of a disagreement within the campaign provide fodder for strategists. Democratic strategist Penny Lee and former Republican Senate staffer John Hart join Power Play host Chris Stirewalt to discuss the struggle among Clinton’s courtiers. WATCH HERE.
[In the latest Fox News poll, among Democratic voters Hillary gets a B+ and Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren tie at B-.]
BIDEN: ‘RUN ON WHAT WE HAVE DONE’
The Hill: “The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee should embrace the notion of a third term of the Obama presidency, Vice President [Joe Biden] said Thursday, during a speech at Drake University in Iowa. ‘I call it sticking with what works,’ Biden declared. The address was billed as a chance for Biden to explain some of the ideas introduced in President Obama's recent State of the Union address, but the vice president repeatedly returned to a discussion of how he saw the contours of the presidential race…The vice president said the election would be ‘all about’ either continuing the Obama economic policies or shifting to Republicans' ‘top-down’ vision. ‘Run on what we have done. Own what we have done. Stand for what we have done. Acknowledge what we have done,’ Biden said.”
[Would you like to watch the video again of when Biden used the archaic term for an inseparable friend, “butt buddy,” to refer to a former congressman? Of course you would.]
Come out come out, wherever you are - Des Moines Register: “National GOP operatives [posted] a mobile billboard at the vice president's events Thursday that tries to push the idea that Hillary Clinton's absence from the 2016 presidential campaign trail means she's ‘hiding from voters.’ ‘As her poll numbers show, when Hillary is campaigning, she's much less popular. What's the only way not to seem like she's campaigning? Go into hiding,’ Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer wrote in a news release Tuesday.”
[#HillaryCandyHearts - The inveterate Hillary hazers of America Rising is getting into the holiday spirit with not-so-sweet virtual conversation hearts about Hillary on Twitter.]
‘90s Nostalgia - In a NYT op-ed with former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Clinton calls for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to be extended.
#MEDIABUZZ: MEDIA MAYHAM
This week Howard Kurtz welcomes former CNN anchor Piers Morgan and former ABC News President David Westin to discuss Jon Stewart stepping down, Brian Williams being suspended, the death of Bob Simon, and President Obama saying the media overhype the threat of terrorism. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH TO STEAL $10,000 WORTH OF UNDERPANTS
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Atlanta police are searching for a shoplifter who appears to have Valentine’s Day sales in mind. A woman pilfered 785 pairs of panties at the Victoria’s Secret at Lenox Square Mall on Saturday, Officer Ralph Woolfolk said Thursday. The suspected thief put the panties in three shopping bags in a raid on the store lasting two hours and absconded, Woolfolk said. Retail for the panties was estimated at more than $10,000.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The government doesn't make money, it takes it, and it takes it from enterprises that are successful. [President Obama] simply will not recognize, although I'm sure he's been told since he's never been in the private sector, that when you write a law with specific details, people are going to work within those details to try to minimize expenses. It's rather elementary, but he still doesn't get it.” —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.