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• Millions flowed to Clinton charity from foreign friends
• Jeb walks education tightrope in Georgia
• Power Play: Courting evangelicals
• Obama to Netanyahu: U.S. reassessing peace approach
• Obamas privately eyeing Magnum P.I. digs?
MILLIONS FLOWED TO CLINTON CHARITY FROM FOREIGN FRIENDS
The Clinton Foundation may have sworn off donations from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, but millions of dollars from individuals with ties to foreign governments and state-owned companies flowed into foundation coffers during her tenure. WSJ: “Some donors have direct ties to foreign governments. One is a member of the Saudi royal family. Another is a Ukrainian oligarch and former parliamentarian. Others are individuals with close connections to foreign governments that stem from their business activities… All told, more than a dozen foreign individuals and their foundations and companies were large donors to the Clinton Foundation in the years after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, collectively giving between $34 million and $68 million, foundation records show…After Mrs. Clinton left the State Department in 2013, the foundation resumed accepting donations from foreign governments. Just after she stepped down as secretary of state, it received a large donation from a conglomerate run by a member of China’s National People’s Congress. In response to questions about foreign donations, a foundation official said the individuals have given to a host of other major philanthropies.”
Broke foundation donor disclosure pledge - Reuters: “In 2008, Hillary Clinton promised Barack Obama, the president-elect, there would be no mystery about who was giving money to her family’s globe-circling charities. She made a pledge to publish all the donors on an annual basis to ease concerns that as secretary of state she could be vulnerable to accusations of foreign influence. At the outset, the Clinton Foundation did indeed publish what they said was a complete list of the names of more than 200,000 donors and has continued to update it. But in a breach of the pledge, the charity’s flagship health program, which spends more than all of the other foundation initiatives put together, stopped making the annual disclosure in 2010, Reuters has found. In response to questions from Reuters, officials at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the foundation confirmed no complete list of donors to the Clintons’ charities has been published since 2010.”
Hillary gives likely last paid speech before a 2016 presidential run - WaPo: “Hillary Rodham Clinton, edging closer to an expected presidential run, came to [Atlantic City, N.J.]… Thursday to deliver a nostalgic and cheerful address on family, the outdoors and schoolyard fights. The audience: thousands of professional camp counselors, whose trade group spent an estimated $200,000 to hear from the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination. The speech to a regional gathering of the American Camp Association was the last paid appearance on Clinton’s public calendar, and probably the last she will give before her campaign begins.”
O’Malley hopes past Iowa time will pay off - WaPo: “Over the past two years, as Martin O’Malley has mulled a run for president, he has poured hefty resources into Iowa, appearing at 24 campaign events and fundraisers, lending 14 staffers to Democratic candidates and the state party, and donating more than $40,000. [Today] the former Maryland governor returns to the home of the nation’s first presidential caucuses for the first time since last fall’s election, hoping to start reaping the reward of that investment. Remarkably, as the 2016 presidential race launches in earnest, very few of the candidates and party leaders O’Malley helped in Iowa have committed, to him, to presumed front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton or to anyone else.…The trip comes as Democratic activists are starting to consider possible alternatives to Clinton amid controversies over her use of a personal e-mail account while secretary of state and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.”
JEB WALKS EDUCATION TIGHTROPE IN GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush made his formal debut at the Georgia statehouse Thursday, where he waded into a few of the thornier policy debates facing state legislators. The former Florida governor spoke briefly to the House and Senate chambers about the need for broader education reforms that give parents a greater choice in schools. And he met with Gov. Nathan Deal, who is backing a plan to give the state broad new powers to intervene in struggling schools…[Bush] could face a particularly tough battle in Georgia, where his more moderate stances on immigration and the Common Core education standards could clash with a conservative strain of GOP politics.”
Power Play: Courting evangelicals
Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee are just a few possible 2016 candidates who are pushing their evangelical status among voters. GOP strategist Pete Snyder and Democratic consultant Stephen Cobb weigh in with host Chris Stirewalt. WATCH HERE.
Walker’s back in S.C. as a GOP frontrunner - (Columbia, S.C.) The State: “Scott Walker is not as familiar to South Carolinians as other 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls. But the Wisconsin governor’s newness could prove to be part of his appeal…Walker, who launched a two-day blitz of the state Thursday, is making the most of his first S.C. visit since 2013… On Thursday, Walker attracted a group of more than 125 who paid $50 to $1,000 each to eat lunch at a Columbia hotel and hear Walker…[tout] his successes in Wisconsin, saying he has lowered taxes and unemployment, eliminated the state’s budget deficit and passed voter ID and right-to-work laws…After his speech, Walker met privately with Gov. Nikki Haley and S.C. GOP lawmakers. Haley and Walker, a pair of 40-something governors elected in 2010, have developed a friendship…Haley has said she will not endorse a Republican presidential candidate until closer to the February 2016 primary.”
No Rand didn’t file to run for president - WashEx: “A web page on the Federal Elections Commission website said that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was officially running for the White House in 2016. However, it was a false alarm as the page was actually just created by the FEC to handle expenditures from a super PAC supporting Paul for 2016…Since the FEC can’t link transactions to a candidate that doesn't exist, the agency set up an ID page that seemed to note Paul was filing to be president. The FEC has done this before, but it has never caused such confusion, the spokesperson told the Examiner.”
Perry in Iowa: ‘I’m the candidate’ - Des Moines Register: “Because he’s not a declared presidential candidate yet, [Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry] in his prepared remarks at a Dallas County GOP event Thursday evening was careful to say he’s in Iowa to push for the election of all constitutional conservatives — in state government, in Congress and ‘obviously, the president of the United States.’ But he slipped up in a question-and-answer session when a reporter asked him about remarks one of his new aides had made in 2011. ‘I'm the candidate,’ Perry stressed. ‘And my views are the ones that matter, not’ those of Jamie Johnson, whose hire was announced Wednesday.”
Kasich eyes GOP primaries, ‘Ohio story’ in hand - NYT: “Gov. John R. Kasich was sipping coffee in the sun-drenched garden room of his official residence, boasting about his ‘Ohio story’ of economic recovery, when he was told that some Republicans thought a fellow Midwestern governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, was more conservative. He bolted upright. ‘I think I have the right to define what conservatism is,’ Mr. Kasich roared…‘I’m the governor of Ohio, O.K.?’… ‘If I decide to do it, I mean, there are time constraints and certain realities, I think I can raise enough money to get out there and get my plane off the aircraft carrier and fly it around.’”
Fiorina: ‘I agree with Hillary’ - Tampa Bay Times: “Carly Fiorina wants to ‘unlock potential.’ Those two words were the subject of the possible Republican presidential candidate’s talk Thursday afternoon in Tampa…Fiorina said, ‘I agree with Hillary Clinton,’ even though she has publicly condemned the potential Democratic presidential candidate. ‘Maybe it’d be a good idea to have a woman in the White House,’ she said. When asked if she could be that woman, Fiorina said, ‘Maybe.’ But will she run? ‘I’m very seriously considering it,’ she said, adding that she will announce a decision in April or May.”
Santorum staffs up in S.C. - Jon Parker has been named state director for Rick Santorum’s Patriot Voices PAC, previously helping Santorum in his 2012 win in the Tennessee primary. Meanwhile veteran consultant Warren Tompkins will lead Sen. Marco Rubio’s PAC in the state.
Trump’s timeline - New Hampshire Union-Leader: “In his first visit to New Hampshire, Donald Trump said he is the only one who can restore America’s greatness and that he will make a decision about running by June.” Des Moines Register reports that Trump will make his first trip to Iowa for an education speech on April 8.
#Mediabuzz - This week Howard Kurtz welcomes Sharyl Attkisson, Amy Holmes and Kirsten Powers to examine the latest coverage of the 2016 campaign. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
Fox News Sunday - In an exclusive interview Chris Wallace welcomes CIA Director John Brennan in his first Sunday show as leader of the intelligence agency. This week’s Power Player of the Week is Matt Rhodes who served as Mitt Romney’s campaign manager and as research director for George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign. He currently is heads up the conservative opposition research group “America Rising.” “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox News. Check local listings for air times in your area.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Standing at an astonishing 2,073 feet, the Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. That sort of extreme height provides some interesting challenges for the 121 story building and its architects. Gizmodo reports that traditionally a pendulum placed high up in the structure has been used to solve the problem of oscillations (swaying) and building fatigue due to wind. But in a building of this scale that same free swinging pendulum would cause another set of problems. The solution: A “tuned” mass system which uses the pendulum in conjunction with a system of hydraulic rams and a “tunable” self-generated magnetic field. The giant pendulum hangs above 125 magnets and as it swings over them an electrical current is generated which limits the motion. The simplistic nature of this system also eliminates the need for any outside power source thus making it self-sufficient and self-regulation.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.1 percent//Disapprove – 50.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 31.7 percent//Wrong Track – 58.7 percent
OBAMA TO NETANYAHU: U.S. REASSESSING PEACE APPROACH
With tensions between the two allies already strained, President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday that the U.S. is reassessing its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace in light of Netanyahu’s pre-election comments rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state. AP: “In [a] telephone call, Obama extended congratulations to Netanyahu for his election victory two days ago,. But a White House official said Obama also raised Netanyahu’s critical comments about Israeli Arabs ahead of the election, which the White House has denounced as a ‘cynical’ effort to mobilize voters.”
No flip-flop, Netanyahu insists - Fox News: “’I didn’t retract any of the things I said in my speech six years ago, calling for a solution in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes a Jewish state,” Netanyahu told Fox News host Megyn Kelly. ‘I said that the conditions for that, today, are not achievable for a simple reason: Abu Mazen, the leader of the Palestinians, rejects consistently the acceptance of a Jewish state. He’s made a pact with the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, that calls for our destruction. And the conditions in the Middle East have changed to the point where any territory we withdraw from is immediately taken up by Iranian-backed terrorists or by ISIS.”
[Top Obama aide to address Netanyahu opposition group - The Hill: “White House chief of staff Denis McDonough will be the keynote speaker at the national conference of J Street, a group that opposes many of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies.]
“President Obama has said time and time again, as I’ve said, that the only path to a peace agreement is an agreement, a negotiated agreement…I think that you can’t force the people of Israel, who’ve just elected me by a wide margin, to bring them peace and security, to secure the state of Israel, to accept terms that would endanger the very survival of the State of Israel. I don’t think that’s the direction of American policy.” -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on “The Kelly File” Watch here.
[Boehner to visit Bibi - Haaretz: “Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner is expected to visit Israel in about a week. Boehner, a member of the Republican Party, is U.S. President Barack Obama’s arch rival and the man who invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make his controversial speech in Congress. Senior Israeli officials who asked to remain anonymous said Boehner will begin his visit, which has not yet been announced publicly, on March 31, heading a delegation of Republican Congress members.”]
OBAMA APPEALS TO IRANIANS TO MAKE A NUKE DEAL
Fox News: “President Barack Obama appealed directly to Iranian citizens in a message commemorating Nowruz, the Persian New Year. ‘Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain,’ Obama said Thursday in a video message posted online. ‘If Iran’s leaders can agree to a reasonable deal, it can lead to a better path — the path of greater opportunities for the Iranian people,’ he said.”
Senate panel sets Iran deal vote date - U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, [Thursday] announced the committee will vote on the bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 on April 14. The bill mandates that the president submit the text of any agreement to Congress and prohibits the administration from suspending congressional sanctions for 60 days.
Power Play: Can Dems win back Senate?
Though the GOP may have just gained majority status in the Senate there is no honeymoon in politics. Democratic consultant Stephen Cobb and GOP strategist Pete Snyder join host Chris Stirewalt to discuss the battle for control of the upper chamber next year. WATCH HERE.
FRACKING RULES MAY COME OUT TODAY
Politico: “The Obama administration is set to unveil the first major nationwide safety restrictions on fracking, touching off a fresh political confrontation between the president and his critics in Congress and the energy industry. The Interior Department’s rules — expected to be released as soon as Friday — are the federal government’s most comprehensive foray to date toward regulating the technology at the heart of the U.S. oil and gas boom, addressing worries such as potential dangers to drinking water. They will also offer oil and gas supporters new room to accuse President Barack Obama of seeking to throttle fossil-fuel production, despite his repeated boasts about the nation’s booming energy supplies.”
Wading through Federal Regs - The conservative policy institute, American Action Forum is launching a new, interactive website that allows users to search federal regulations. The site, regrodeo.com, allows regulations to be filtered based on a variety of topics including industry, topic, agency and year. To the tune of $617.5 million, the Obama administration has launched over 2,000 final regulations.
OBAMAS PRIVATELY EYEING MAGNUM P.I. DIGS?
Fox News: “Magnum, P.I. is not on the case, but plenty of amateur sleuths are trying to figure out if the mysterious buyer of the Hawaiian mansion where the 1980s detective show was shot is none other than President Obama. The 11,054-square-foot home on three acres of Honolulu beach front was sold Monday for $8.7 million in a tricky transaction that includes some tantalizing clues. The official buyer is listed as ‘Waimanalo Paradise,’ which turns out to be a Delaware corporation set up by a Chicago attorney and longtime Obama supporter. The deed and mortgage are signed by Judy Grimanis, an executive assistant at a Chicago private equity firm run by another Obama pal, and a former employee of Penny Pritzker, the real estate millionaire Obama tapped to be Secretary of Commerce in 2013. No one is confirming that the home known as ‘Pahonu’ will be the First Family's post-Pennsylvania Avenue address, but then no one would be expected to, either.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“It’s a very cynical move on the part of the administration….It was an election year. [Benjamin Netanyahu] has gone out of his way today in your interview and lots of other statements to make it very clear that what he meant, the softening of it is that he is open to a two state solution.” —Charles Krauthammer on “The Kelly File” Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.