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• It’s really more like ‘Jeb?’ than ‘Jeb!’
• 2016 GOP Power Index: Rubio nicks Walker, Perry up, Kasich krumbles
• 2016 Dem Power Index: Feel the Bern!
• Power Play: AFP’s 2016 push
• She’s a rascal
It’s REALLY more like ‘Jeb?’ Than ‘Jeb!’
The biggest disadvantage that Jeb Bush has isn’t his last name, but rather the relative quality of the Republican field he is facing.
That’s not to say that being George W. Bush’s little brother is an unalloyed positive for the former Florida governor. But as polls have shown, it is (no surprise) less of a problem for GOP primary voters than with the general electorate. Plus, Dubya is mellowing in the cask of public opinion, especially as President Obama flails about over Iraq.
The younger Bush obviously understands the liabilities involved with his family name and the basic American resistance to dynasties. Otherwise, he wouldn’t pick a logo that emphasizes a nickname that sounds as if it were ringing across the tennis courts at Andover.
But don’t let them kid you. If you wanted to be president and could choose whether to be the son and brother of presidents or be the son of a small-town preacher or a Miami bartender, you know what you’d pick. Bush was born on third base; everybody else had to hit a triple.
But still, as he launches his official candidacy, Bush is struggling to assert his dominance. Bush is probably a better establishment-backed candidate than either of the two after his brother, and both John McCain and Mitt Romney won by comfortable margins. Yet, this time seems different.
Part of it is technique. While Hillary Clinton has lowered the bar dramatically for forthrightness, accountability and probity, Bush’s decision to invoke his Right to Raise unlimited sums for six months before actually declaring hasn’t exactly set him up to run as the tribune of the people.
But the biggest part is that Bush is facing serious competition. In 2008, Romney had to keep other viable establishmentarians out of the field, particularly then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Once the field was set, Romney had only one real threat: then Texas Gov. Rick Perry. But Perry was a bust. Everything after was just delaying the inevitable.
This time, Bush has at least two rivals in Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose talents and positions make them real alternatives. Remember, the way the previous two candidates put away the nomination: Mainstream Republicans blanched at the thought of nominating candidates seen, fairly or not, as one-dimensional, social issue grinds.
Neither Walker nor Rubio is that kind of candidate. If either makes it into the home stretch with Bush, the surge is more likely to come for the underdog rather than the current frontrunner. Unless Walker and Rubio succeed in destroying each other and leaving the way open for a riskier pick, Bush will not have the advantage of declaring his final foe electorally toxic.
Jeb Bush is a better candidate in many ways than Romney or McCain were. But unfortunately for him, his chief rivals are furlongs ahead of the 2008 and 2012 pack.
[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron reports on Jeb’s announcement live from Miami.]
2016 GOP POWER INDEX: RUBIO NICKS WALKER, PERRY UP, KASICH KRUMBLES
1) Jeb Bush; 2) Marco Rubio [+1]; 3) Scott Walker [-1]; 4) Carly Fiorina; 5) Ted Cruz; 6) Rand Paul; 7) Rick Perry [+3]; 8) Ben Carson; 9) Mike Huckabee [-1]; 10) John Kasich [-4]
On the Radar - Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki
Scott Walker still has the clear advantage in polling, but give Marco Rubio the edge this week for the political jujitsu move of the month. Rubio made the most of an error in a NYT piece pummeling him for dicey financial moves as a younger man – that described his fishing boat as a “luxury speed boat.”
Now, an $80,000 pleasure boat is not exactly a cocker spaniel, but Rubio’s jackhammering of the Times has a bit of Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” speech to it. Reporters who want to take issue with Rubio’s finances will have to make it about way more than watercraft from here on in. That no doubt helped Rubio as he was auditioning for Romney’s money men in Utah at Camp Mitt this weekend. These are people who spend $80,000 on boat storage, not boats.
The only other candidate or crypto-candidate who right now meets the credibility threshold to beat Bush would be Ohio Gov. John Kasich. But with Kasich’s choice of a campaign team that specializes in double-dog-daring primary voters to back their candidates, he seems unlikely to seek broad-based appeal. Kasich seems instead to be picking a trajectory in which he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be battling coffee-shop-by-coffee-shop for a Huntsmanian third-place finish in New Hampshire.
Rick Perry, despite having the worst-ever campaign song in the history of recorded music, is showing that in addition to a newfound humility he is also packing a superior campaign organization this time around. Perry’s focus on the military and foreign policy will also serve him well on the trail.
What would you say? - Give us your take on the 2016 Power Index we will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM
[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.]
Realness kept - By the way, are you keeping it real enough? Really real? Colleague Gretchen Carlson definitely is with the launch of her book “Getting Real.” Here’s a sample that provides some valuable career insight for anyone in journalism. “Getting Real” debuts on Tuesday, but you can pre-order here today.
Jeb’s team gears up for the campaign fight - WashEx’s David Drucker writes on the Bush team’s switch from maybe running to official candidate. They’ve got the money, and now they need the strategy. Read here.
[Team Rubio put out an ad on the heels of Clinton’s speech Saturday where she quoted the famed Beatles’ song “Yesterday.” Rubio’s response? “Yesterday is over.” Watch here.]
Walker budget deadline looms with razor thin margin - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Gov. Scott Walker’s budget hangs by a gossamer thread in the GOP-controlled state Senate, where ‘no’ votes from just three lawmakers within his own party would be enough to derail his spending plan. Already, two conservative Republican senators have made clear they will be extremely difficult — perhaps impossible…to win over without knocking moderate senators from their party out of the yes column in the process.”
Rand says Snowden helped change NSA - [San Diego] Union-Tribune: “Sen. Rand Paul said Saturday that former national security contractor Edward Snowden changed the political climate and helped open doors to government surveillance reform. The GOP presidential candidate stopped short of saying whether Snowden should be prosecuted for leaking documents about secret government mass surveillance programs.”
[Paul is Lexington, S.C., hosting a “Stand with Rand’ meet and greet at a VFW post. Paul’s wife, Kelley Paul, is also in South Carolina meeting with Berkeley County Republicans, and giving an address at a rotary club in Charleston.]
POWER PLAY: AFP’S 2016 POLICY PUSH
With large war chest at his disposal, Tim Phillips, president of the Koch network’s Americans for Prosperity, joins Chris Stirewalt to discuss the conservative group’s advocacy on key issues like ending the Ex-Im bank and the influence AFP plans to wield this election cycle. WATCH HERE.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Next time you categorize something as a failure don’t be so quick to write it off. Sometimes it just takes a couple of centuries…The Magna Carta, arguably one of the most important documents in history, was very nearly lost to history. In 1215, King John needed a means to regain support after many of the barons rebelled against him, and he faced a growing threat of invasion from France. To ensure support at home the king drafted a charter called the Magna Carta, a peace treaty protecting barons from monarchical abuse, in addition to other rights listed. Within a month, King John broke the treaty, however, and the Magna Carta was considered a failure. But in 1642 when civil war broke out in England, Chief Justice Sir Edward Corke used the document as proof of limiting monarchy power, leading to his dismissal from the bench and charges of treason. Leap ahead another 100 years or so and the Magna Carta was once again used in the American Revolutionary War.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.6 percent//Disapprove – 51.3
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.6 percent//Wrong Track – 61.8 percent
2016 Democratic Power Index: 1) Hillary Clinton; 2) Bernie Sanders [+1]; 3) Martin O’Malley [-1]; 4) Joe Biden; 5) Elizabeth Warren; 6) Jim Webb; 7) Lincoln Chaffee
2016 DEM POWER INDEX: FEEL THE BERN!
While Hillary Clinton channels Elizabeth Warren and cozies up to the base by tweaking President Obama on trade, Bernie Sanders has clamped down hard on the Democratic frontrunner in a series of sharp attacks. Sanders’ steady barrage – shining a spotlight on Clinton’s vague policy positions and a record that makes the left nervous – has touched a nerve and drawn in large crowds on the trail. Sanders grasp of the megaphone stands in clear contrast to the quiet traverses of early primary states by O’Malley, Webb and Chafee. So Bernie’s earned a bump up to number two in the Democratic index.
Big draw - Des Moines Register: “Sanders continues his streak of attracting large, loud crowds in Iowa. The audience of mostly professionals and older adults, mixed with some college-age and younger attendees, rewarded him with applause more than 100 times.”
[Watch Fox: Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports on Hillary’s New Hampshire sweep live from Concord, N.H.]
“I helped lead the effort in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline…Secretary Clinton has been very quiet on this issue. I voted against the war in Iraq…Secretary Clinton voted for the war. I voted against the USA Patriot Act…Secretary Clinton voted for it. But I think bottom line is, the American people want leadership to take on the billionaire class, represent the middle class…People will have to judge the secretary's role in that process.” -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on CBS ‘Face the Nation”
Bubba says his wife had to do two jobs - Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday that Hillary had to get involved in economic diplomacy because there wasn’t a commerce secretary during much of her time as secretary of state. WaPo’s fact check says, “For three out of the four years, there was a Senate-confirmed commerce secretary sitting near Hillary Clinton at Cabinet meetings. Moreover, the secretary of state is supposed to engage in economic diplomacy…But Clinton’s assertion that if not for Hillary Clinton, ‘nobody would have been doing’ economic diplomacy is quite a stretch, given the dominant role of the Treasury Secretary on international economic issues.”
Hillary laments mean-spiritedness after attack-filled campaign re-launch - At her first Iowa rally after Saturday’s New York re-launch, Clinton talked mean-spiritedness of today’s political dialogue saying, “Did they not go and hear the same lessons I did in Sunday school? Did they not sing the same hymns?” Like the kind of politics in which you use a framing speech to bash your rivals by name? Watch here.
[Clinton is in New Hampshire today for a forum on early childhood education, a launch party and to deliver the keynote speech at a Flag Day dinner.]
“I haven’t spoken to [Hillary Clinton] about the deal obviously since what’s happened Friday and what’s going to happen next week. But, again, you know, this is someone who has voted for trade agreements when she thought they were good for the country, and against trade agreements when she thought they were bad for the country.” -- Karen Finney, Clinton campaign spokesperson on “Fox News Sunday”
Clinton falls in the middle on trade - Fox News: “Hillary Clinton said Sunday the problems that Congress has with President Obama’s trade agenda should be an opportunity for the president to ask fellow Democrats about their concerns with the proposal but still declined to say whether she supports or opposes the legislation. ‘Let’s take the lemons and turn it into lemonade,’ Clinton told about 600 supporters at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, addressing the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership trade proposal…Courting Iowa voters, Clinton sought to address Democratic opponents of the trade legislation, including liberals and labor unions…Clinton appeared to be seeking a middle ground, saying while some support the deal and others vehemently oppose it, ‘I kind of fall in the group that says ‘what's in it?’ And ‘let’s make it as good as it can be, and then let’s make a decision.’”
[The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi won the weekend with her write on the “dystopian” backdrop for Clinton’s campaign kickoff event.]
“I would hope very much that Secretary Clinton will side with every union in this country, virtually every environmental group, many religious groups, and say that this TPP policy is a disaster, that it must be defeated…” – Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on CBS “Face the Nation.”
Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., continues a three day Iowa tour with a radio show appearance and a young professionals event in Des Moines.
SHE’S A RASCAL
WHDH: “A state trooper in Washington went to great lengths to escort an elderly woman home after she got lost while riding her electric scooter. Trooper Dave Hintz said he was surprised to see the woman driving down the highway on her scooter. Other drivers were too, thinking the woman was leading the trooper on a low-speed chase. Hintz said he was simply trying to get her home, not detain her. ‘I just treated her the way I would've wanted somebody to treat my mom,’ said Hintz. He ended up escorting the woman home, letting her drive as fast as the scooter would go, which is 6 miles per hour. After an hour, she made it home…The woman was not ticketed after the incident.”
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.