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• Report: Hillary tapped future campaign network for Benghazi spin
• Hamilton taken in Lew of a Dem
• Walker takes another step
• PAC man says Jeb’s cash haul will give rivals ‘heart attacks’
• Pittsburgh pleasure bomb
REPORT: HILLARY TAPPED FUTURE CAMPAIGN NETWORK FOR BENGHAZI SPIN
Politico: “While still secretary of state, [Hillary Clinton] emailed back and forth with [Sidney Blumenthal] about efforts by one of the groups, Media Matters, to neutralize criticism of her handling of the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, sources tell POLITICO. ‘Got all this done. Complete refutation on Libya smear,’ Blumenthal wrote to Clinton in an Oct. 10, 2012, email into which he had pasted links to four Media Matters posts criticizing Fox News and Republicans for politicizing the Benghazi attacks and challenging claims of lax security around the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, according to a source who has reviewed the email exchange. Blumenthal signed off the email to Clinton by suggesting that one of her top aides, Philippe Reines, ‘can circulate these links,’ according to the source.”
Biden still may jump in - U.S. News: “Vice President Joe Biden has still not ruled out a 2016 presidential run and will make his intentions known by Aug. 1, according to two Democratic sources who have been in contact with his family. While the loss of his son, Beau Biden, last month paused any political planning by the vice president, the sources tell U.S. News that family members have indicated a White House run is still a possibility….Dick Harpootlian, former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, says Biden previously indicated to him he would likely make up his mind in July….‘I haven't heard anything to convince me to say that it wasn't still something he was thinking about,” [Harpootlian said.]…A separate source, who asked for anonymity, confirmed that the thinking and timeline remained consistent, even in the wake of the family tragedy.”
But the numbers are tough - A new Quinnipiac University poll of swing states shows Biden’s native son status provides a small bump in Pennsylvania, where he trails Hillary Clinton 53 to 15 percent. Clinton holds an even wider lead over the vice president and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Florida and Ohio.
[FiveThirtyEight delivers its take on what to make of Bernie Sanders surge in New Hampshire.]
Poll: Dems swing hard left - Clinton and her Democratic rivals are vying for the favor of a significantly more left-leaning party base than their predecessors did over the last 15 years, according to new Gallup poll. “Forty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal. This is compared with 39% in these categories in 2008, when there was last an open seat for their party's nomination, and 30% in 2001.”
[Hillary Clinton addresses the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Las Vegas.]
‘It’s one banana, Michael. What could it cost? $10?’ - Is Hillary Clinton embracing the meme about her similarity to “Arrested Development” matriarch Lucille Bluth? Clinton is holding a campaign fundraiser at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, Calif., which might seem familiar to fans of the show.
The Judge’s Ruling: Hidden failure - Against the backdrop of quiet arms deals that put weapons in the wrong hands and secretive alliances that lead to failed states and terrorist breeding grounds, Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano asks, “What do we do about lawless government by secrecy? What do we do about government officials who act as if they are above the law? What do we do if one of them lives in the White House and controls all federal prosecutions? What do we do if another of them is presently on her way there?”
[Visit the Judge’s Chambers to get Socratic on the Libya and Syria wars. Watch here.]
HAMILTON TAKEN IN LEW OF A DEMOCRAT
Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury secretary, will be demoted from his place on the $10 bill. Why Hamilton? A previous petition argued that President Andrew Jackson, founder of the modern Democratic Party and slave owner, should be removed from the $20 bill, but Wednesday Treasury Secretary Jack Lew decreed that Hamilton would take the fall. Hamilton spent his whole life preserving the currency while Jackson did everything he could to break the big banks. While the reasoning behind the decision seems unclear it’s safe to say it’s not going over so well.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The term “War Hawk” has been floated in Congress since the War of 1812, which officially began on this date 203 years ago. Leading up to the war, Great Britain had been trying to draw the U.S. into a fight. A combination of forcing France into an economic blockade, and riling Native American tribes to resist the U.S.’s westward expansion tipped the scales in favor of battle. A faction built in Congress of those who supported an attack on Great Britain. They were referred to as the “War Hawk” faction, and were primarily composed of young Southern and Western members. The name stuck, and today we still use the term “hawk” for those favoring military engagement.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.0 percent//Disapprove – 51.0 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.0 percent//Wrong Track – 62.2 percent
WALKER TAKES ANOTHER STEP
AP: “Stepping closer to an all-but-inevitable White House bid, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has created a ‘testing the waters’ committee that allows him to raise money for a presidential campaign…The new committee allows Walker to raise money for the first time that will be controlled exclusively by him and his prospective campaign…Donors and political operatives expect Walker to enter the race in mid-July after he signs the state budget into law. The Republican-controlled Legislature has been at an impasse for nearly three weeks, delaying passage of the plan that Walker had hoped would have been done by now.”
Mid-Atlantic shuffle - The Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority gathering in Washington kicks off today. Speakers at the multi-day event include Walker, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Also on the Acela Corridor this weekend: the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia which will play host to most of the field.
[Watch Fox: Chief Political Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron reports on the coalition live from the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington.]
Jeb says ‘no question’ he’s more qualified than Rubio - Jeb Bush said Wednesday to ABC’s David Muir that he is more qualified for the presidency than fellow Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Bush said, “There's no question of that at all…And that’s not disparaging my good friend who I think is a real talent.”
PAC man says Jeb’s cash haul will give rivals ‘heart attacks’ - BuzzFeed: “Mike Murphy, the longtime Jeb Bush confidant and consultant who is heading the Right to Rise super PAC, told a group of donors on a conference call Wednesday … they were ‘killers’ who he was going to ‘set loose,’ Murphy said the number the SuperPAC would be filing by the next July reporting deadline would give opponents ‘heart attacks’ and discourage their rivals’ donors from opening their wallets.”
Rand’s plan for big tax hack - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has a new ad out today on his major plan to simplify the tax code, and cut taxes overall. Watch the ad here.
Carly’s campaign on credibility - WSJ’s Daniel Henninger writes on the contrast between the two women in the 2016 race. He says, “I’d pay money to see Carly Fiorina debate the status of women in America with the woman who is running for the presidency as an entitlement. In her Roosevelt Island speech, Hillary said her opponents ‘shame and blame women.’ Only one Republican will take that on.”
[Carly Fiorina attends the Conservative Party of NY Annual Dinner in New York.]
Palin pumped for Trump - Former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday, “@realDonaldTrump - Mr. Trump should know he’s doing something right when the malcontents go ballistic in the press! There is no denying Donald J. Trump’s accomplishments and drive to create opportunity for every willing American to succeed.”
STIMULUS WHISTLEBLOWER: ‘WE MISLED CONGRESS’
Judson Berger has the goods: “On paper, it sounded like a true government success story: The Social Security Administration in September opened a ‘state-of-the-art’ data center in Maryland, housing wage and benefit information on almost every American, ‘on time and under budget.’ However, six years after Congress approved a half-billion dollars for the project -- the largest building project funded by the 2009 stimulus -- a whistleblower says the center was built on a lie. ‘We misled Congress,’ Michael Keegan, a former associate commissioner who worked on the project, told [Fox News].”
PITTSBURGH PLEASURE BOMB
KDKA: “A man accused of robbing a bank with a bomb tells police it wasn’t a bomb at all, just an adult toy and cell phone cable wrapped in duct tape…According to court papers, 35-year-old Aaron Stein told police he robbed the bank because he was desperate because he had lost all his money in the stock market last week…Police say Stein wound up confessing to the robbery and claimed he never had a real bomb. Unwilling to trust his word, police asked for the Allegheny County Bomb Squad’s help. Robots removed items from the car, and a briefcase in the trunk was blown open to see what was inside. No explosives were found.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Our strategy ought to be to arm, supply and support with heavy air support the Iraqi Kurds, the Syrian Kurds and there’s also the front of the Free Syrian Army in southern Syria which is advancing as well. These are people we should be supporting but not the Iraqi government and its forces in the field who don't fight and who are not our friend.” – 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 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.