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Buzz Cut:
• Dems confront past failures on gun control
• ‘Clinton Inc.’ paid even bigger bucks to Blumenthal
• The preacher’s kid and the president’s son
• Power Play: The sunshine boys
• Hail, West Virginia!

DEMS CONFRONT PAST FAILURES ON GUN CONTROL
“When I ran in 2008, I in fact did not say I would fix it. I said we could fix it.” –President Obama at a Beverly Hills fundraiser discussing the mass murder at a Charleston, S.C. church.

The only really clear mandate after President Obama’s 2012 re-election was to not be Mitt Romney. Obama had won more in spite of his policies than because of them, but had successfully convinced voters that Romney was too risky a pick.

After the grindingest grind of an election in presidential political history, Obama had won another term of what, exactly? Endless battles with the GOP House on taxes and spending? Foreign policy headaches? More scorched earth fights protecting ObamaCare? Blech.

But at that very moment, a meteor crashed into American public life: The senseless slaughter of 20 children and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school less than two weeks before Christmas. A fatherless, mentally ill 20-year-old had killed his mother, stolen her guns and laid waste to a group of students at a nearby school, all aged 6 and 7.

Obama wept in private and shed tears in public, as most parents must have. He also found new purpose for the second term of his presidency. Two days after the murders, Obama would make a mighty vow: “In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens … in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”

As an orthodox liberal, Obama had always been a proponent of gun control. But it had hardly been a top-drawer concern. For example, when a gunman killed 13 people at an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y. in April of 2009, Obama called it “senseless violence,” but did not demand that the Democratic-controlled Congress push through gun control.

The Connecticut killings, different in nature and coming as they did when Obama was looking to do more than just defend his legacy, spurred him headlong into the divided Congress with demands for the most sweeping gun control legislation since the Clinton era. Even though the legislation wouldn’t have prevented the shooting had it been in place, gun violence became the animating issue for the Democratic Party.

The legislation was cued up and public pressure was enormous. The daily shouts from television, social media and elsewhere were for action, action, action. But before too long, Democrats lost their nerve. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ended up killing even a compromise package that would have required background checks at gun shows and for private sales. All the thunder came to naught.

And here we are again.

This time it is nine Christians at worship at a historic church in Charleston, S.C. The place that once heard the exultant cries of freed slaves heard the anguished ones of murder victims.

It would be wholly unfair to say that the legislation proposed by the president would have in any way prevented the killings. But one wonders why a party and a president who believed that more gun regulations would save lives gave up so easily.

[Watch Fox: Correspondent Rich Edson is in Charleston with the latest on the shooting.]

“Can government save you? Can government be the be-all end-all? The reason I ask is that I meet with pastors, and they're looking at government for the answers. I look back at them and I say, 'I'm looking at you for help.'" – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a meeting of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“I hope we, the American people, can come to the understanding that we are not each other’s enemies.  The enemies are those who are stoking the flames of division, trying to divide us into every category and weakening us as a society.” – Ben Carson on “The Kelly File”

‘CLINTON INC.’ PAID EVEN BIGGER BUCKS TO BLUMENTHAL
Fox News:  “Clinton confidant [Sidney Blumenthal] under scrutiny on Capitol Hill over detailed Libya memos he sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers earlier this week he has been pulling in $200,000 a year from Clinton ally David Brock’s media operation, congressional sources tell FoxNews.com.….The money was in addition to the $10,000 a month he was getting for work with the Clinton Foundation.  ‘He was getting, from Clinton, Inc., $320,000 a year,’ one source told FoxNews.com…. The source said Blumenthal has been working with Media Matters, American Bridge and Correct the Record…. Though it's unclear exactly what Blumenthal was paid to do, Politico reported his work entailed giving high-level strategy and messaging guidance, and the Benghazi debate was likely part of that. The groups above have busily defended then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from GOP broadsides.”

Clinton doubles down on executive amnesty – USA TODAY: “Speaking Thursday before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Clinton [said]… she would fight for comprehensive immigration reform that includes ‘a real path to citizenship’ for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who have settled in the United States…oppose any move to deport the young immigrants known as ’Dreamers’ or to undo President Obama’s executive actions that are shielding millions of immigrants from enforcement action. And that if Congress continues to balk at acting on immigration reform, ‘as president I will do everything possible under the law to go even further than what President Obama has attempted to achieve,’ she said.”

[Clinton continues to rake in the West Coast cash with fundraisers in the Los Angeles area. President Obama is also in the state fundraising for the DNC.]

Hillary breaks left on trade - Fox News: “After being coy for weeks on her position, Hillary Clinton on Thursday clearly broke with President Obama on his trade push -- despite having supported the trade deal he wants as secretary of state.  The now-Democratic presidential candidate made her position clear in an interview with veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.  After speaking at length about the uncertainty of what's in the deal and trade in general, Clinton was pressed for a yes-or-no answer on whether she'd vote for the package going through Congress.  ‘At this point, probably not,’ she said.”

Billionaire Dem donor tweaks Hillary - Nat Journal: “[D]eep-pocketed Democratic donor [Tom Steyer] who has pushed President Obama and Hillary Clinton on environmental issues took advantage of Pope Francis's climate-change encyclical to call on the next president to act on global warming. And he effusively praised Martin O’Malley for taking the lead. Steyer thanked O'Malley, the long-shot Democratic 2016 contender, for urging the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and spelling out a detailed plan of action to confront Earth's rising temperatures.”

No drought for Obama’s golf - WashEx: “President Obama is expected to spend the weekend golfing in the lush environs of Southern California's verdant desert resorts near Palm Springs — resorts that are among the state's top guzzlers of water.

POWER PLAY: BERNING DOWN THE HOUSE
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist,  is within 10 points of Hillary Clinton in a New Hampshire poll. What’s happening here? Paige Lavender, politics editor at the Huffington Post and Daniel Halper from the Weekly Standard discuss the Sanders surge with Chris Stirewalt. WATCH HERE.

[Sanders holds a town hall and speaks at the NALEO convention in Las Vegas.]

Bernie’s gun quandary - Detailing a record that could burn him on both sides of the debate, Politico details how liberal standard bearer Sen. Bernie Sanders parts company with his base when it comes to gun rights.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
In a culture that doesn’t flinch at grown women wearing ill-fitting yoga pants to travel on an airplane or adult men wearing tennis shoes to work in an office, what’s the point of “dressing up?” In a society where vulgarians are everywhere ascendant, what’s the point of being polite? And in a world where perfect strangers think nothing of calling adults, even their elders, only by their first names, what’s the point of courtesy? Being formal today is often seen as not just pointless but also priggish. So parents and others weary sentinels on the frontier between civilization and idiocracy often struggle with the “why” of keeping social order. In his commencement address to students at a California charter school, Prof. Harvey Mansfield provides the most powerful alternative to “because I said so.” And The Weekly Standard has made it available to you.

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 43.5 percent//Disapprove – 51.5
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.0 percent//Wrong Track – 62.2 percent

THE PREACHER’S KID AND THE PRESIDENT’S SON
At one of the largest gatherings of evangelical leaders, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, two men will vie for the same votes with very different narratives. For Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., this is a home-field event. As a preacher’s kid from the Midwest he is highly representative of the group. His blue-collar Christian roots are perfectly suited for this event. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., an adult convert to Roman Catholicism and son of a president doesn’t have things so easy. He’s not ‘one of them… except, he says, in his heart. And that is what he plans to talk about. As Bush has said before, his campaign message is based on heart. He’s already demonstrated this with immigration when he said illegals come to this country as an, “act of love.” What better way to appeal to a Christian than highlighting love of neighbor? But maybe the debate between these two is all for naught. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gave an articulate, powerful sermon Thursday followed by a, “spontaneous leap off the stage” that wowed the crowd.

[Watch Fox: Chief Political Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron continues reporting on the GOP 2016ers from the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington.]

Rather be in Philadelphia? - The Northeast Republican Leadership Conference kicked off Thursday, but the big names take the stage today. Those speaking include: Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., Carly Fiorina, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn. Scott Walker wraps things up on Saturday.

Iowa poll has a big lead for Walker - Iowa Republican: “A new poll of likely Republican caucus goers again shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leading the 16-member field of Republican candidates by six points. The poll was released on Thursday afternoon in Washington D.C. at a legislative staff briefing that included Senators Ernst and Grassley.”

POWER PLAY: THE SUNSHINE BOYS
Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are in hot pursuit of their home state’s delegates and donors. Will the spurs come out as they try to lock in a lead? The Huffington Post’s Paige Lavender and the Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper join Chris Stirewalt to handicap the Sunshine State stakes. WATCH HERE.

[WaPo writes that the Quinnipiac poll shows Bush vulnerable in Florida over the past couple of months. Read their take on it here.]

His words say ‘Hillary’ but his eyes say ‘Jeb! Jeb!’ - USA Today: “‘There are those seeking the presidency based solely on what they’ve achieved in the past,’ Rubio told a lunch gathered for the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference. ‘I’m running for president because what we need now are leaders and solutions that are grounded in the future.’”

Oh Snap! - The super PAC backed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., launched a “How Rand Rolls” video for SnapChat, said to be the first ad on the medium ever for a presidential candidate. The spot highlights Paul’s flat tax proposal. Check out the 15 second version here.

[Paul will meet privately with donors at the second annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver on June 30. Paul has been a vocal advocate of legalization.]

Fox News Sunday: Rick Perry and the pope’s climate claims - Mr. Sunday has presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, also sits down to discuss Pope Francis’ new teaching for Catholics on global warming. “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.

#mediabuzz - Transracial issues, Brian Williams, and Donald Trump dominate the airwaves. Howard Kurtz and panel break it down. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.

HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE GETS PERSONAL IN PITCH
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s unanimously passed 21st Century Cures measure would redirect spending and regulation in a bid to spur innovation in healthcare. While the measure is waiting on a final vote, the committee has a new video out to highlight the patients who are urging its passage. Watch here.

[The American Conservative Union Foundation hosts a Capitol Hill forum today on the continuing Iran deal talks. Participants include: Senior Fellow KT McFarland, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and AEI scholar Michael Rubin. RSVP here for the 11:30 a.m. event in the Cannon Caucus Room.]

HAIL, WEST VIRGINIA!
Saturday marks the 152nd anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood. The 35th state is the only one born of the bloodshed of the Civil War, rending itself from the rest of Virginia when the mother state left the Union. Although incorrectly considered part of the South by the Census Bureau, West Virginia is very much Appalachian in nature, as reflected in the state motto: Montani Semper Liberi (“Mountaineers are Always Free”).

Signed, sealed, delivered - This commitment to freedom is illustrated on the state seal, the most interesting part of which may be the most inconspicuous. A hat at the center of the two crossed rifles referred to as the “liberty cap” comes from ancient Rome, and was given to slaves when their owners granted them freedom. The liberty cap, called the Phrygian cap in ancient Rome, is also worn by the Magi that follow the star to the birth of Christ in most depictions, and is worn by the freedom statue at the top of the Capitol building in Washington. Any who celebrate the triumph of freedom over slavery ought to take a moment to observe West Virginia Day on Saturday.

[For those who don’t know what a blessing it is to be a West Virginian, the indispensable Hoppy Kercheval has a brief meditation that is very much worth reading.]

AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I’ve argued for a long time that since we changed our laws on incarceration and involuntary hospitalization of the mentally ill, we’ve had an increase in these crimes. But I wouldn’t insist on it, and I certainly wouldn’t insist on it now. And I think we really ought to show a little respect for some things which are not soluble by law.” – 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 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.