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• One email from oblivion: Hillary’s big bet on secret server
• 2016 Dems Power Index: O’Malley shows muscle
• Pence stands tall on new law
• Power Play: Blackburn fights Net regs
• ‘I just decided it would look better without the weenie’
ONE EMAIL FROM OBLIVION: HILLARY’S BIG BET ON SECRET SERVER
With the revelation that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “wiped clean” any trace of tens of thousands of emails from her time as secretary of state, the 2016 presidential campaign enters a new phase. With a move as audacious as any in the evidence destruction game, Clinton has set her candidacy dangling. Clinton told reporters that the more than 30,000 emails she ordered deleted would have exonerated her, but she destroyed them in the interest of her and her family’s privacy. By her reasoning, there is nothing related to emails with foreign powers who donated money to her family foundation. No directions to staffers about dealing with political controversies. No emails to her political network and friends about government business. Nothing official or of a foreign-policy nature. At all. Just yoga lessons and bridal bouquets. And if that’s the case, she has nothing to worry about.
[Fox News: “Senate Republicans are renewing efforts to learn why Huma Abedin, a top assistant to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was allowed to keep working at the agency under a special, part-time status while also being employed at a politically-connected consulting firm.]
But if there are things that Clinton wants to keep from congressional investigators, she had better hope that her deletion crew bleached every corner of the digital world. Because if even a pixel of something Clinton should have handed over is unearthed in her domain or in a musty folder in someone else’s email system, Clinton would be a political goner. Her bold move to destroy emails even after being asked for them by the government would leave her in major-league trouble in the middle of her second presidential run. And Clinton has placed herself in the digital shark cage. If there’s anything amiss, she’d better hope that her IT guys are the very best on the business.
[A ‘reset,’ you might even say - NYT: “[Clinton] told a representative of a group of prominent Jewish leaders on Sunday that she wanted to put the relationship between the United States and Israel back on ‘constructive footing,’ the representative said.”]
2016 DEMOCRATIC POWER INDEX: O’MALLEY SHOWS MUSCLE
Presidency ‘not a crown’ - WaPo: Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley took a swipe at likely 2016 contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush on Sunday, saying that ‘the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.’ Appearing on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ O’Malley, who is weighing a possible run against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, called the presidency ‘an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people.’ O’Malley — who at times has been reluctant to take on Clinton directly — declined to say whether he thought the former secretary of state would stand up to Wall Street and other special interests. ‘I don’t know where she stands,’ he told host George Stephanopoulos. ‘Will she represent a break with the failed policies of the past? Well, I don’t know.’”
“I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives.” –Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., on ABC’s “This Week”
2016 Democratic Power Index - 1) Hillary Clinton; 2) Martin O’Malley [+2]; 3) Joe Biden [-1]; 4) Elizabeth Warren [-1]; 5) Jim Webb
[Watch Fox: Chris Stirewalt joins “The Real Story” in the 2 p.m. ET hour with the latest on who’s up and who’s down in the 2016 Power Index.]
2016 GOP POWER INDEX: KASICH, HUCKABEE GET IN POSITION
1) Jeb Bush; 2) Scott Walker; 3) Ted Cruz; 4) Marco Rubio; 5) Rand Paul; 6) John Kasich [+2]; 6) Carly Fiorina [-1]; 8) Rick Perry [-1]; 9) Mike Huckabee [+2]; 10) Chris Christie [-1]
On eve of Schiavo anniversary, Jeb takes light touch on defining moment - WSJ: “Casting himself as the “most conservative governor in Florida’s history,” Jeb Bush ticks off a record in office that includes tax cuts, vetoes on spending, private-school vouchers and fewer state employees. But the likely 2016 presidential candidate rarely, if ever, trumpets one of his most enduring conservative credentials: his yearslong effort to save Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged woman whose husband wanted to remove life support despite her parents’ objections. Mr. Bush isn’t planning to attend a charity fundraiser, hosted by her family, on Tuesday marking the 10th anniversary of Ms. Schiavo’s death.”
[Bush begins his West Coast swing today with a $25,000-per-couple reception and discussion at The Pacific Club.]
Meet Tonette Walker - The Hill: “A Scott Walker presidential campaign may end up being one of the easier things Tonette Walker has had to endure. The Wisconsin first lady has experienced poverty, becoming a young widow and losing other close family members, the lonely period of cynicism and despair that followed, a whirlwind romance to the much younger future governor, and death threats from a nasty labor fight. Those that know the Walker family describe Tonette as ‘tournament-tested’ and ‘unflappable,’ and say the political and personal travails she has faced will leave her well-equipped to deal with the rigors of national campaign and the next-level close-up she’ll get. ‘She’s been through a lot,’ said Wisconsin GOP lobbyist Brandon Scholz. ‘His campaigns have never been easy, and they’ve been through campaign after campaign after campaign. She’s ready.’ Walker allies say Tonette is more than just a figurehead, she’s a member of her husband’s inner political circle…”
Cruz lifts off, but limits emerge - Bloomberg: “Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continues to lead the pack of Republican presidential hopefuls, but one candidate is making moves. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the only GOP hopeful to formally announced his candidacy thus far, has shot up in the rankings in a new CBS News poll. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said that they would consider voting for Cruz in March, up 14 points from when the same question was asked a month ago. By comparison, 51 percent said they would vote for Bush, just two percent higher than did in February. Still, while Cruz is enjoyed a one-month bump, the conservative Texan continues show serious weakness among Republican voters. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said they could not vote for Cruz, one point higher than in February's poll. Twenty-seven percent of those polled said they would not vote for Bush in March, while 26 percent said the same in February.”
“In the presidential race in 2016, there may be other candidates who choose to throw rocks my direction. I’m not going to engage in the personal mudslinging, in the negative attacks on people's character.” –Presidential Candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
Save the date: Rubio ready for Miami kick off - Miami Herald: Marco Rubio has reserved the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami for an undisclosed event April 13, which appears to be a potential, if not likely, spot for Florida’s junior senator to announce his candidacy for president. A Rubio adviser stressed nothing has been nailed down for any kind of announcement, but the timing makes sense: Likely presidential candidate Rand Paul is expected to make things official April 7, followed by a five-day, five-state announcement tour, so Rubio presumably would not want to share the spotlight during that period.”
[Watch Fox: Rubio will appear today on “The Five” in the 5 p.m. ET hour.]
Can Rand lead a GOP youth surge? - National Journal: “When Sen. Rand Paul makes his first visit to Iowa as an official presidential candidate next month, he will head to the campus of the University of Iowa. The location, one of the state's biggest liberal strongholds, seems unusual for a Republican, but Paul is headed there in the hopes of appealing to a different constituency. As Paul prepares to formally enter the 2016 arena, younger conservatives are emerging as a backbone of his campaign strategy: a source not only of volunteers and energy but votes. A youth-fueled campaign, his team hopes, will also help brand him as a fresh face for the future of the Republican Party. From campaigning at universities (by the end of his coming trip, Paul will have hit both of the Iowa's biggest college towns already in 2015) to using Snapchat and doing interviews with MTV, Paul is focusing more on the next generation of Republicans than any of his GOP rivals.”
Fiorina: Chances of a run ‘higher than 90 percent’ - Reuters: “Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina said on Sunday the chances she would run for the U.S. presidency in 2016 were ‘higher than 90 percent’ and that she would announce her plans in late April to early May. Fiorina, speaking on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ said she could not yet announce the bid because she was working to establish her team and put together what she described as ‘the right support’ and financial resources.”
“Hillary Clinton lacks a track record of accomplishment. She is not candid, which suggests her character is flawed. And I think now in e-mail gate, we not only have a situation where she is clearly not being candid. I mean, her saying all those e-mails she erased were just her and Bill chatting is a little bit like Richard Nixon saying those erased moments on the tape were he and Pat talking.” –Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on “Fox News Sunday” Watch here.
On the Radar - Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence
What would you say? - Give us your take on the GOP field and we will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
At a time when the United State Secret Service hasn’t been receiving much in the way good press, today provides a reminder of the conspicuous success of the agency charged with protecting the president. On this day in 1981, President Ronald Reagan, Press Secretary Jim Brady, a Secret Service agent and a D.C. police officer were shot by lone gunman John Hinckley Jr. at a Washington curbside, all would survive. The 34-year stretch is a distinct departure from the norm for most of the 20th century, when attempted shootings were relatively commonplace. You can read the pulse-pounding account from the agent who saved Reagan.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.6 percent//Disapprove – 50.2 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 30.2 percent//Wrong Track – 61 percent
PENCE STANDS TALL ON NEW LAW
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says legislation he signed last week is about “empowering people to confront government overreach” and “not about discrimination” as detractors claim. Recent furor in the mainstream media over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act may seem to hold peril for Pence, a potential 2016 contender, but in political terms standing up for individual rights against government intrusion is not a bad place for the Republican to be. “We’re not going to change the law,” Pence told ABC News, though he said he would look at a bill to clarify the law’s intent. The measure prohibits Indiana laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs.
[Fox News: “The definition of ‘person’ includes religious institutions, businesses and associations, which is being interpreted as allowing a cake maker, for example, to legally refuse an order for a wedding cake for a gay couple.”]
What’s really in a RFRA? - The Federalist’s Gabriel Malor observes: “This law, known as a Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA (pronounced ‘riff-ra’), tracks the language of the 1993 federal RFRA signed into law by President Clinton after a 97-3 vote in the Senate. But you would not necessarily know how innocuous it is from news media coverage. According to what you might hear in the news, this is an anti-gay law that is ‘almost universally loathed,’ and which a White House official suggested would ‘legitimize discrimination.’ Indiana’s RFRA has none of these characteristics.”
“There’s a lot of people across this country who, you're looking at ObamaCare and the Hobby Lobby decision, looking at other cases, who feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon and, and The Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the federal level and all the states now, including Indiana, who have it, are simply about addressing that. This is not about discrimination.” – Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., on ABC’s “This Week”
[Hill’s ‘sad’ week-ender - “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against ppl bc of who they love” –Hillary Clinton tweet Friday.]
Back at you - Time looks at how controversy over Indiana’s law could ensnare leading Democrats like President Obama, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who previously supported bills with similar effects years ago.
POWER PLAY: BLACKBURN FIGHTS NEW INTERNET REGS
Hello, Internet! So who is in charge of you? The Obama administration is pushing through a plan to regulate the Internet like it does telephones, with rules for fees, requirements for carriers and new fees. Could that also mean the government would have control over the content? Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has taken up the charge to fight the move. The Tennessee Republican joins Chris Stirewalt to discuss what’s at stake for the consumer and the legislative steps she’s taking to stop the FCC. WATCH HERE.
DON’T YOU WISH OUR CAMPAIGNS WERE 38 DAYS LONG?
Sky News: “David Cameron said in five years he had put Britain ‘back on her feet again’ as he formally fired the starting gun on the election race after a meeting with the Queen. Speaking on the steps of Number 10 after returning from Buckingham Palace where he asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament, Mr Cameron said voters face a "stark choice" between him and Ed Miliband. With 38 days to go until the election, the Conservatives would offer strong leadership and a country that was safe and secure but Mr Miliband would offer a country mired in ‘economic chaos’”
‘I JUST DECIDED IT WOULD LOOK BETTER WITHOUT THE WEENIE’
AP: “The small southern Utah town of Hurricane might become a little quieter after a statue of a copper bull lost its most prominent private feature this weekend. The sculpture holds a high perch above the sign for Barista's restaurant, and owner Stephen Ward said he woke up Friday and decided the bull would look better without the oversized genitalia that caused uproar among the neighbors. Hurricane residents disturbed by the noticeable, cone-shaped feature had asked the city council to revoke Barista's business license. … ‘I told them I am not removing the penis for you or because of your complaints. I don't like you. I'm doing it for me,’ Ward said. ‘I just decided it would look better without the weenie. And oh my God! It's beautiful.’”
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 politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.