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• Fiorina, Kasich crack top 10 in new Q Poll
• Artfully edited Walker ultrasound comments start media feeding frenzy
• Report: Blumenthal on Clinton payroll while hunting profits in Libya
• Trumka’s trade warning for Hillary
• Hey, nice meat straw
FIORINA, KASICH CRACK TOP 10 IN NEW Q POLL
Marco Rubio skidded. Jeb Bush slid. Ben Carson zoomed. Mike Huckabee bounced. Scott Walker stayed steady. And that’s how you end up with a five-way tie for first place in the latest Quinnipiac University national poll on the GOP Sixteeners. Put another way: With five candidates evenly dividing half of the vote, there is no first place. While Rubio lost a third of his support and Bush continued to droop, losing three points for the second month in a row, all five can say with confidence that they will meet the polling criterion for the first GOP debate, hosted by Fox News and Facebook on Aug. 6 in Cleveland.
Aside from having filed as candidates – including required financial disclosures – and paid their candidate filing fees, a candidate must be among the top ten in the average of five methodologically sound national polls taken before the debate. Huckabee, Bush, Carson and Rubio may be sowing some volatility, but they can expect to be there with Walker on the big day.
But the real drama right now is about the bottom, not the top. Quinnipiac looks at the back half of the pack: “Rounding out the top 10 for televised debates are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7 percent, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 6 percent, Donald Trump at 5 percent, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie at 4 percent and Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 2 percent each.”
Jeb tries to get Iraq debate in future tense - Bush sat down with local 24 hour News 8 reporter Rick Albin in Grand Rapids, Mich., on the big policy issues. On Iraq Bush said, “The lessons of history need to be applied in the here and now, and going forward that’s the advantage of hindsight is not to say, ‘What would have happened?’ It’s to say, ‘What do we do now?’”
[Bush is in Michigan today to tour Emergent Biosolutions in Lansing, a company best known for producing the anthrax vaccine.]
Artfully edited Walker ultrasound comments start media feeding frenzy - WashEx: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker believes forced ultrasounds are ‘just a cool thing for women,’ a handful of online news sites reported Wednesday. Problem is: That's not exactly what the Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate said. In an interview Friday with conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Walker defended a bill that he signed into law in 2013 mandating that women seeking abortions must also be provided with ultrasounds. … The Wisconsin governor, who is also the father to two sons, then marveled at the technology behind ultrasounds. ‘…I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there,’ he said. … Newsrooms took it from there, editing together Walker’s comments so that they could claim in headlines that the Republican lawmaker said ‘forced ultrasounds’ are ‘cool.’”
[Watch Fox Business: Walker will appear on “Cavuto” tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Check your local listings here.]
Rubio gets Pawned for his birthday - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., turns 44 today and plans to celebrate in his childhood hometown of Las Vegas. The presidential hopeful plans to stop by the pawn shop made famous by the reality show “Pawn Stars.” This will mark Rubio’s first stop in Nevada since declaring his candidacy.
[In a new video, Rubio highlights his time this month on the campaign trail in South Carolina. It makes sense because the Palmetto State is the cornerstone of his early state strategy.]
Kasich insiders say announcement after June 30 - WaPo: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has been actively gauging reactions to a possible campaign for president in 2016, is now moving rapidly to assemble the staff and financial resources for such a bid and is looking to declare his candidacy sometime after June 30, according to knowledgeable Republicans.”
[Zings Jeb - “I don’t know anything about [Bush’s theme]. I really don’t. I’ve never listened to him. What’s “Right to Rise”? Getting up in the morning?” – Kasich in a WaPo interview.]
Fiorina mocks Hillary’s grassroots campaign - After a day on the campaign trail in South Carolina lacerating Hillary Clinton for ethical misconduct and unaccountability, Carly Fiorina took her Clinton stakeout online. Her campaign launched a new site called Ready to Beat Hillary. The site includes video and photos of Fiorina campaigning against Clinton, and making obvious comparisons between the two, highlighting her major campaign point that it will take a woman to beat a woman candidate for president.
[Fiorina is on the Capitol Hill Show Town Hall Q&A series today.]
Jindal whacks Rand, Rand whacks back - Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., is following in the footsteps of other long-shot GOP presidential hopefuls by taking some swings at the Rand Paul piñata. Jindal hit the airwaves Wednesday to decry Paul’s claim that hawkish Republicans who pushed hard to arm Islamist rebels in Syria were to blame, telling MSNBC “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved -- they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.” Jindal dove into the fray saying “a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief.” Paul’s counterpunch came in a statement from adviser Doug Stafford: “Just last week, Gov. Jindal spoke out in support of Sen. Paul and announced he now opposes the NSA’s illegal and unnecessary domestic bulk data collection, after previously cheerleading for it”
[Paul continues a campaign swing through Iowa today.]
Santorum makes immigration hard line a campaign centerpiece - Byron York writes: “In his June 6, 2011 speech declaring his first run for the presidency, former Sen. Rick Santorum didn't mention immigration. On Wednesday, announcing a second race and seeking to win the support of displaced and discouraged American workers, Santorum laid out the toughest position on immigration of any candidate in the large 2016 GOP field. … As proof of his bona fides, Santorum pointed to high marks he received recently from the head of the restrictionist group Federation for American Immigration Reform. ‘Santorum is really the only one who is drilling down into the nuts and bolts and is looking into the job market and how immigration is really hurting American workers,’ Dan Stein, head of FAIR, said recently during a debate sponsored by the Washington Times. In his announcement, Santorum touted FAIR’s assessment.”
Friess on board with Santorum ‘right now’ - Santorum’s billionaire patron Foster Friess told WaPo that he was back on the buggy for 2016 but added a qualifier: “right now.”
[Santorum heads back to Iowa for campaign events today.]
Pataki channels Giuliani in announcement - Former Gov. George Pataki, R-N.Y., joins the race today. He posted a video announcing his official candidacy that emphasized his role in rebuilding Lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11. Pataki will have his official campaign launch event today in Exeter, N.H.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
On this day in 1987, a West German teenager determined to prove President Ronald Reagan wrong ended up helping Reagan win the Cold War. Mathias Rust, a then-19-year-old with a love of flying, was extremely disheartened at the American president’s refusal to accommodate Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. He set out to prove that the Soviets were serious about peace by safely penetrating their omnipotent military and fly straight to Moscow. Rust told Air and Space magazine in a 2005 interview: “How would Reagan continue to say it was the ‘Empire of Evil’ if me, in a small aircraft, can go straight there and be unharmed?” Although he didn’t broker the deal, a young pilot changed the international dialogue and showed that the world’s most feared military arsenal wasn’t so fearsome after all on this day in history.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.7 percent//Disapprove – 50.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.7 percent//Wrong Track – 62.3 percent
REPORT: BLUMENTHAL ON CLINTON PAYROLL WHILE HUNTING PROFITS IN LIBYA
Longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal was being paid “about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation” while he was providing intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Politico reports. The payments, which reportedly continued under a consultant contract until March, add a new dimension to scrutiny of Blumenthal’s financial relationship with the Clintons, and raise new questions about his Libya memos emailed to Clinton via her private email account.
Politico: “The memos — and Blumenthal’s concurrent work for the foundation…and a pair of businesses seeking potentially lucrative contracts in Libya — underscore the blurred lines between her State Department work and that of her family’s charitable and political enterprises. Blumenthal has been subpoenaed by the U.S. House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and Clinton’s handling of it….The committee is said to be interested in exploring Blumenthal’s connections to any entity that may have stood to benefit from Clinton’s decisions in Libya.”
[Blumenthal trail - Fox News: “Recently released emails detail then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s interest in arming Libyan opposition groups using private security contractors before the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 – though at the time, the opposition was not formally recognized by the U.S. or United Nations, which prohibited arming without following strict guidelines and oversight.]
Clinton Cash, campaign edition - Clinton is making her first visit as a candidate to two states today starting off in Atlanta with a breakfast fundraiser at the home of Georgetown Capital equity firm founder A.J. Johnson. Then it’s off to the Miami area for a pair of big-donor encounters. Clinton will be hosted by trial lawyer and Clinton Foundation donor Ira Leesfield at his home in Coconut Grove, and in Coral Gables at the home of Nilda Milton. The give for all three events ranges from $2,700 to $50,000. The Miami Herald reports the Florida Republican Party plans to hold press conference outside one of the stops to highlight the Democratic frontrunner’s lack of press conferences.
[Clinton’s former boss President Obama did some Miami-area buck-raking of his own Wednesday, raking in a reported $1.6 million for the DNC.]
TRUMKA’S TRADE WARNING FOR HILLARY
USA Today: “The nation’s most powerful labor leader, vowing to defeat President Obama’s key trade legislation in the House next month, warned Hillary Clinton of serious political consequences if she fails to take a stand against the Pacific trade pact that the president is campaigning for as a major part of his legacy. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, predicted that no more than 20 House Democrats would vote for Trade Promotion Authority, the ‘fast-track’ bill that on Friday passed the Senate. ‘Thirteen Democrats left their base,’ he said of the Senate vote in an interview with Capital Download. ‘They decided to pass something that was going to cost jobs and lower wages…They’ll be held accountable; there's no question about that.’”
CHA-CHA-CHA-CHANGES ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
David Drucker looks at the evolution of the GOP and its presidential contenders on the issue of same-sex marriage: “Even as recently as four years ago, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in the midst of his first run for president (he's running again in 2016), had to backtrack after initially citing the Tenth Amendment as his reasoning for being okay with the state of New York legalizing same-sex marriage. Perry, a traditional marriage purist, had angered social conservative activists. This time around, no less than Sen. Ted Cruz has said that his position is grounded in the Constitution.”
“…That, by the way, is the greatest victory of all of the proponents of same- sex marriage is they have absolutely made it unacceptable to have any discussion. And you know what politicians will do in time? They’ll learn the lesson from watching what happened to Marco Rubio today and others and they'll say, ‘I’m just not going to talk about this.’” – Chris Stirewalt on “The Kelly File”
The Judge’s Ruling - Patriot Act must go: With section 215 of the Patriot Act about to expire, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano reviews its history and points to a recent Justice Department Inspector General report that concludes “the bulk collection of data has not stopped a single act of terror or aided a single federal terrorism prosecution since the Patriot Act became law on October 26, 2001.” “The government’s bulk collection of data must go,” Napolitano writes, “It assaults freedoms, and it fails to enhance our safety.” More here.
HEY, NICE MEAT STRAW
WSJ drinks deeply from the booming business of edible straws, including a carnivore craze: “…Some companies want thirsty consumers to sip out of everything from sliced pork to beef, stainless steel to repurposed cookie. ‘You can’t go wrong with bacon,’ says Jason Porat, whose bar garnishes cocktails with straws made of coiled pork slabs that customers can drink from….After a lot of experimentation, they found the best straw takes two slabs of pork and that a batch takes about an hour to make. Fans have found added benefits of bacon straws. Near the tail end of a big cocktail event in Halifax, Nova Scotia this year, Allison Sparling says ‘…Those straws were the only way I could have survived that evening, having that extra bit of protein.’”
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.