Trump threatens third party bid

July 21, 2015: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at his South Carolina campaign kickoff rally in Bluffton, S.C.

July 21, 2015: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at his South Carolina campaign kickoff rally in Bluffton, S.C.  (AP)

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Buzz Cut:
• Trump threatens third party bid
• Jeb says Congress needs to investigate Planned Parenthood
• Big players in the wings
• Take Five: Pennsylvania stays on top
• Blimey! Bagged by big brother

The odds of Donald Trump mounting a third party run for the White House would “absolutely” increase if he felt he was being unfairly by the Republican National Committee, Trump told The Hill. “‘The RNC has not been supportive. They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy,’ the business mogul [said] ... Pressed on whether he would run as a third-party candidate if he fails to clinch the GOP nomination, Trump said…‘I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans,’ Trump said. ‘Absolutely, if they’re not fair, that would be a factor.’” Trump, who was asked by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to tone down his rhetoric earlier this month and was rebuked by the RNC for being critical of Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero, said the GOP establishment doesn’t like him because he’s “not one of the gang.”

[Border bound - Trump heads to Laredo, Texas today with several public appearances slated, including a press conference on the U.S.-Mexico border.]

“He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.” – Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

[In the ring - WaPo looks at how taking on Trump has help Rick Perry crack the media silo. “Perry has had three spikes in mentions over the past two weeks. All were Trump related.”]

Where’s that $10 billion? - WaPo: “The document, released publicly by the government agency Wednesday, provides an unusually detailed look at the range of the magnate’s holdings. But the disclosure is unlikely to stem the ongoing debate over [Donald Trump’s] net worth. Last week, Trump claimed that his net worth for 2015 had reached more than $10 billion. There is no way to corroborate that figure from the document, which requires candidates to list assets, income and liabilities only in broad ranges.”

Jeb: Congress needs to investigate Planned Parenthood - CNN: “[Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla.] said Wednesday that Congress should investigate recent videos that have embroiled Planned Parenthood in controversy, saying if he were president, he would review government spending on organizations that he said have a ‘deep political agenda.’ ‘It just troubles me that you would sell body parts. It just makes no sense to me,’ he said Wednesday during a stop at the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina.”

And he tells Iowans he’ll establish order - In an op-ed for the Des Moines Register, Bush continues taking on “Mount Washington” he writes, “…my goal isn’t to climb Mount Washington to take in the view from the heights. Rather, I’m running for president to disrupt the established order, change the culture and make possible the real changes that this nation needs.

[Bush holds a town hall in Gorham, N.H. today]

Rubio struts hawkish side in Iran hearing today - USA Today: “[Today Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.] will get the chance to directly confront the White House on what is arguably Obama’s biggest foreign policy gamble: an agreement that aims to curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Rubio sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will hold the first of what’s expected to be several hearings to examine the agreement, announced July 14. Congress has 60 days to review the deal and decide whether to accept or reject it. It’s doubtful Secretary of State John Kerry and other administration surrogates at the hearing will win over Rubio, who has already dismissed the agreement as ‘Barack Obama’s deal with Iran.’”

Rubio on Trump, Obama and class - Fox News Latino: “‘I don’t think the way [Trump’s] behaved over the last few weeks is either dignified or worthy of the office that he seeks,’ Rubio said [on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday], adding about Obama. ‘We already have a president now that has no class. We have a president now that does selfie stick videos, that invites YouTube stars there, people who eat cereal out of a bathtub.’”

Donors for Walker roll in - Milwaukee Business Journal: “Former magazine publisher Roy Reiman was among Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s biggest individual Wisconsin financial backers as are the political action committees affiliated with Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and the parent companies of We Energies and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Reiman, formerly of Reiman Publications in Greendale, and Brenton contributed $10,000 each this year for the period ended June 30, according to a report filed Monday by the Friends of Scott Walker with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.”

[Walker and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in San Diego.]

Christie’s brashness overshadowed by Trump - [New Jersey] Asbury-Park Press: “The governor and Trump staked out similar ground as self-described truth-tellers, both vowing to shake up the status quo with unflinching candor. Only Trump has delivered on his promise, at least in terms of roiling the crowded GOP field and stealing attention. Political analysts say [Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.], by reputation, would have the brash mantel to himself should the Trump campaign fully implode. But even Christie, whose YouTube moments include admonishing a critic to ‘sit down and shut up,’ will have to raise the decibel level to match trump Trump.”

Cruz looks to curb Supreme Court - WaPo: “The Republican presidential candidate convened a Senate hearing to protest high court rulings last month that reaffirmed constitutional support for President Obama’s health law and legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Cruz’s solution: to amend the Constitution to allow for ‘imposing real limits on the Supreme Court.’”

Kasich: the most intriguing candidate? - WSJ: “Mr. Kasich’s leadership and approval ratings are far more impressive than the records of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker…Mr. Kasich balanced Washington’s budget and created jobs in Ohio–these themes are a good track record to run on and set him apart from his fellow Republican candidates.”

See you at the lake-  AP: A spokesman for Kasich says he will have lunch Thursday at Romney’s lakeside vacation home in New Hampshire.

[#TBT - Back in the 90s Kasich and Hillary dined together to discuss healthcare. Read here.]

Must see - Check out Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. destroying his cell phone. After Donald Trump gave out Graham’s actual cell phone number on live television, the South Carolina senator decided it was time for an upgrade. But first, he had to get rid of the old one. Watch here.

Punctuation is a seldom thought about, yet often bemoaned aspect of written life. With the rise of the digital age, however, punctuation has seemingly lost its use. Text, email, tweets, all encourage the lack of punctuation since it takes up another “character” in the letter. Time Higher Education reporter Poppy Corbett gives an analysis of Jeff Scheible’s book “Digital Shift: The Cultural Logic of Punctuation,” which makes the case that punctuation is not only important, but has its own personality. For example, Corbett writes, “The period is surely the Mafia overlord of punctuation marks: its ubiquitous firm presence, helpful indication to breathe when reading aloud and ‘dot’ in the ‘dot-com’ all point towards a character that knows it’s the boss. Its spherical shape conjures images of completeness. However, Scheible suggests that the period may no longer inscribe finality across visual culture. Its role is shifting: ‘ongoing, architectural, and less conclusive’.”

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

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 44.9 percent//Disapprove – 50.9 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 30.4 percent//Wrong Track – 61.3 percent

Time magazine scored a joint interview with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton who, “reveal their views on the upcoming presidential campaign which could pit one’s wife against another’s brother.” From the article…

“‘I think most of my role will be giving advice if I’m asked for it,’ Clinton told TIME about his position in wife Hillary Clinton’s campaign. ‘And I try not to even offer it at home unless I’m asked. But she’s been pretty good about asking every now and then.’…

‘I’m sure there will be moments where somebody says something about Jeb or somebody writes something about Jeb that will sting,’ Bush says. I shouldn’t say I’m used to it, but the emotions I felt when our dad was criticized really got me for a while. … I think I’ll feel the same thing about Jeb. It’ll be interesting to see how affected I become.’”

Friend funding crosses the lines - Some in the upper echelon of income donate for friends, because of friends, or to their friends…regardless of party. Yup, that’s right, several of the high-income donors donate to several candidates across party lines. Why? “When friends are running for office you do whatever you have to do,” [said billionaire John Catsimatidis to TIME] “If Hillary Clinton was the nominee in the Democratic Party and Jeb Bush was the nominee in the Republican Party, I would go to sleep early on election night because regardless of who got elected our country would be in good shape.” But that didn’t stop him from also donating $5,400 to Ted Cruz: “He was full of piss and vinegar and caught my fancy.”

It’s time to start picking the next Senate. Democrats are hoping to flip five seats red to blue to win back control of the Senate from Republicans next year. And we’ve asked for your help in picking what the top five battlegrounds of 2016 will be.

Fox News First readers this week kept Pennsylvania at the top of the list as the most vulnerable GOP-held seat. Following Keystone State, Illinois and Wisconsin are tied for the second. New Hampshire and Ohio are tied for fourth, rounding out the top five seats readers think most likely to flip. But not everyone agrees:

Rob Portman (OH) and Pat Toomey (PA) will hold their seats because they haven’t angered their electorate and there is no apparent, stirring enthusiasm for their challengers, Democrats Strickland (OH) and Sestak (PA), on a personal level, or for their messages.” –Paul Koepping

What do you say? We’ll track your votes and comment and share them here each and every Thursday.

Share your top five picks. Email them – just take five, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.


Foreign Policy: “In [Hillary Clinton’s] big economic speech last week, the candidate said she would offer firms a subsidy to give workers a taste of the profits, too. Yet there’s virtually no robust evidence that workers would benefit — in fact, the lowest-paid workers might actually suffer under her plan.”

Trump: a foil to benefit Hillary? - Wash Ex: “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may someday be competitors, but the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have enjoyed financial and personal ties over the years… Bill and Hillary attended Trump’s wedding to Melania Knauss in 2005… Trump and Clinton’s daughters, Ivanka and Chelsea, are also reportedly friends… Due to these, many have wondered if Trump is a stalking horse for the Clintons.”

Bernie rallies around Sandra Bland after being booed by #BlackLivesMatter – On MSNBC Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tried to make up some ground with civil rights groups. After being booed in Phoenix earlier this week, Sanders went on MSNBC and said, “Our criminal justice system is out of control.” The Vermont senator also reiterated that he intends on focusing more on minority groups as his campaign continues to take off.

And backs minimum wage strike - Bloomberg: “Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday joined federal contract workers striking for $15-per-hour pay and union rights in the Upper Senate Park near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington. ‘I think that if you work 40 hours a week, you have a right not to be living in poverty,’ Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, said at a press conference.”

O’Malley campaign fires back at Republicans on ISIS climate claim - Baltimore Sun: “‘They defend the wrong-headed decision to invade Iraq -- a war that cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. When faced with cold, hard scientific facts, they bury their heads in the sand and deny the adverse effects of climate change on the planet. Is it any surprise that Donald Trump is leading the pack?’ [O’Malley campaign] spokeswoman Lis Smith said on Monday.”

Policy wonk down, but not out - Steve Chapman writes that O’Malley is not the most improbable option for the Democrats, and on policy, others in his field are hard to beat. Read Chapman’s take on O’Malley in the race here.

[O’Malley is at the Truman Center in Washington for a discussion on Wall Street reforms.]

NYT: “Under new immigration enforcement programs the Obama administration is putting in place across the country, the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants — up to 87 percent — would not be the focus of deportation operations and would have ‘a degree of protection’ to remain in the United States, according to a report published Thursday by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.”

The Telegraph: “A husband who told his wife he had had his last cigarette was caught out after being snapped by Google Street View. Julie Ryding, from Leasowe, Merseyside, became suspicious over her husband’s doctor-enforced health drive when she found Hobnob wrappers in his car. After hearing the Street View car had been round, she checked their street - only to find her husband Donald, 58, smoking on the drive…She added: ‘I couldn’t believe it - there was no denying it now we’d seen him smoking. When Street View first launched, they didn’t blur out faces, but there was no need to with him - he was covered by a cloud of smoke anyway.”

“The more you see [Hillary Clinton] the more her numbers go down. That’s a definition of a weak candidate. I think what was astonishing is that in some of those polls when they ran the Republicans against Bernie Sanders, not exactly the second coming of Ronald Reagan or FDR in sort of attractiveness, he does better.” – 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.