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• Trump's candidacy not all about him - no, seriously
• Jeb chides Huck, Huck doesn’t care
• Kasich wants you to know that he doesn’t know
• Hillary hides the ball on global warming
• Montani semper pepperoni
TRUMP'S CANDIDACY NOT ALL ABOUT HIM - NO, SERIOUSLY
If Donald Trump can lead his closest rival in New Hampshire’s Republican primary by a 2-to-1 margin even after mocking local favorite John McCain’s five years as a prisoner of war, it’s time for Republicans to drop the idea that Trump will burn out or be blown away.
The new Monmouth University poll – which was in the field starting the day Trump made his POW dig – shows the brash businessman with nearly a quarter of the vote, doubling up establishment frontrunner Jeb Bush. And for those who think that the nasty words of Trump’s lawyer about spousal rape or Trump’s history of dealings with the Mafia will undo the candidate, they’re still missing the point.
While there may be some who like the idea of a businessman in the White House, the core of Trump’s support seems to be among those chiefly interested in his power to smash the system – as a destroyer in chief.
You don’t care too much about the policy views or personal life of the guy you hire to bulldoze a building, just so long as he can put it asunder. Republicans have tried hitting Trump for serial flip-floppery, crassness and a lack of qualifications. The collective response from nearly one in five Republicans nationally: So’s yer mom! They don’t want Trump to make Washington work. They want him to burn the place down.
And guess what? That percentage of the party isn’t shrinking. Far from it.
So while candidates, particularly Rick Perry, are going after Trump with barrels blazing they’re not slowing him down. Why? The ironic truth is that the guy with the biggest ego in the field is the one with the campaign that’s really not about him.
But keep Trump in perspective. However long his reign as frontrunner lasts, it is bound to end. And it is not as likely to be from another candidate’s shots or a self-inflicted wound, as it is from the tyranny of fractions.
Republicans have opted to compress their nominating process this cycle. Candidates have been barred from participating in any debates until next week, when some network is kicking things off in Cleveland. Four years ago, the candidates were gearing up for their third debate at this time. As a result of this long period of vamping, candidate after candidate has gotten into the race. This compressed-primary strategy may look very different at the end of a process designed to produce a well-funded and unifying nominee, but in these dog days, the GOP is feeling the grind.
Plus with an open seat, lots of qualified candidates and a beatable Democrat dogging through a phony primary, there are lots of interested individuals. And since there’s seemingly little difference between being a top-tier contender at 6 points and a small-fry with 2 points, many have taken the plunge. In most years, people ask why they should run for president. This year the question seems to be “Why not?”
As a consequence of such a divided political pie, Trump can be the big man with relatively small wedge compared to previous years. But as the process kicks into gear and candidates drop out and constituencies coalesce, 18 percent won’t be enough to claim bragging rights. And with Trump trumping, party pressure will grow for long-shots to get out of the race to give real contenders a chance.
And that may be how the Trump saga ends: Once he is overtaken by other candidates, the wrecking crew that’s backing Trump now may have to accept the fact that he will never get to swing the ball on Pennsylvania Avenue. They will then either move on from politics this cycle or accept a more practical contractor for their planned demolition.
Jeb chides Huck, Huck doesn’t care - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took Mike Huckabee to task for comparing President Obama to a Nazi over the Iran nuke deal. Bush said, “The use of that kind of language is just wrong…This is not the way we’re going to win elections and that’s not how we’re going to solve problems. So, unfortunate remark — not quite sure why he felt compelled to say it.” Huckabee, for his part, has shown no sign of backing down.
[A CNN poll out today says 52 percent of Americans want Congress to reject the Iran deal.]
Jeb en español: Felt ‘hurt’ by Trump remarks - Miami Herald: “How did Trump's comments make him feel, considering that his wife was born in Mexico, Telemundo news anchor José Díaz-Balart asked Bush in a Spanish-language interview taped in Orlando. ‘Hurt,’ Bush said. ‘To hear a person speak in such vulgar fashion. This makes solving this problem more difficult.’”
Walker contrasts Hillary’s Iowa visits to his own - In a Des Moines Register op-ed, [Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.,] said that Clinton’s visits to Iowa focused on special interests: “While Clinton is dead-set on defending and enabling the special interests that have driven our nation’s capital to the point of dysfunction, we’re focused on fixing the broken system these forces created. We’re bringing new and bold leadership from outside of Washington that takes power away from big government bureaucrats and union bosses and puts it back where it belongs: in the hands of hard-working Americans.”
Rubio: Discrimination against blacks causes economic woes - AP: “[Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.] told reporters that ‘decades and decades of discriminatory practices’ have yielded a lack of economic opportunity for many minorities and sour relationships between law enforcement and minority communities, particularly African-Americans. ‘It’s important for us to confront these issues because we can’t fulfill our promise as a nation if we have a significant percentage of the population feeling as if the American dream is out of reach for them, that they’re somehow locked out of the promise of America,’ Rubio said after addressing South Carolina's Upstate Chamber Coalition.”
Kasich wants you to know that he doesn’t know - Cincinnati Inquirer: “What would a President Kasich do about student loans? How should the U.S. reform campaign finance? What would he commit to do to cut reliance on fossil fuels? What specifically should the U.S. do to balance the federal budget? He doesn’t know yet, he said. He’ll have to look at it – and variations on that theme. The approach seems odd for a man who last week launched his campaign to lead the free world. That uncertainty on Kasich’s behalf went over in three ways with the New Hampshire crowds. A few people seemed exasperated by the frank response. Some came to hear specifics and were disappointed the Ohio governor didn't deliver.”
Fiorina gets gig for key donor audition - USA Today: [Carly Fiorina] is one of five GOP candidates slated to appear when more than 400 donors to Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce gather this weekend in southern California. Freedom Partners is the non-profit hub of the sprawling network of groups and causes aligned with the Kochs…Also slated to attend: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.”
“Here is another truth that we must see and speak and act upon. China is our rising adversary.” – Carly Fiorina at the Reagan Presidential Library
Carson rallies in Washington - Presidential candidate Ben Carson is in Washington today for a rally against Planned Parenthood. The rally is part of the national #WomenBetrayed movement that includes over 50 cities around the country. The event will be at the Capitol today at noon.
Cruz uses Senate fighting to raise visibility - The Hill: “[Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas], who is running for president, was blocked from offering an amendment to the highway bill that would have prevented President Obama from lifting some sanctions until Iran supports Israel and releases Americans currently held in the country…Cruz specifically blamed McConnell after the vote for his push not being successful.”
[Ain’t over yet - House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says no way the House will take up the highway bill.]
SOUND OFF: READERS RESPOND TO 2016 GOP POWER INDEX
“So glad to see Carly Fiorina rise in the poll, as she should. When interviewed she is on point and able to back it up…and is on offense for the American people…just the opposite of Hillary” – Rita Travis
“You nailed the Top 10. Order matters not for now, but those are the ones who need to be on stage.” – Todd Ross
“You are so wrong. Jeb Bush should not be #1. Trump, Walker/Rubio for #2. Bush, Cruz, Fiorina, Carson, Huckabee and Christie. The others should go home.” – Mary Lou Barile
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Pound cake, bacon, cheese, and frosting. What do those specific foods have in common? High concentrations of fat. And your tongue knows it. WaPo reports that chemists in Japan found fat to be one of the human tongue’s basic flavors receptors like sweet, sour, salty and the magical, meaty umami. While humans have always been attracted to fat it was never thought to be a basic flavor receptor, but rather a texture appeal. Fatty foods are moist and soft with a hint of, usually artificial, buttery flavor. Knowing the flavor is a basic receptor could revolutionize the food industry. Similar to the sensation in a 3-D movie, food scientists could simulate the fatty taste and texture that makes certain foods so enticing with a healthier alternative that has the same characteristics. Experiments have already begun.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.1 percent//Disapprove – 50.0 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 29.7 percent//Wrong Track – 61.3 percent
HILLARY HIDES THE BALL ON GLOBAL WARMING
Unveiling her global warming proposal, Hillary Clinton hopes the Democratic left – and ethanol-centric Iowans in particular – see her as a climate warrior standing tall amid a forest of solar panels and windmills. But while Clinton’s plan plugs aspirational goals for renewable fuels she’s says little about cost and is remarkably lacking on details like Arctic offshore drilling, fracking and the ban on U.S. oil exports. And on the Keystone XL pipeline the Democratic frontrunner is also silent, refusing again Monday to reveal her position on the oil sands project. With rivals Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley unequivocally opposed to Keystone, offshore drilling and fracking, the net result of Clinton’s detail-free plan leaves climate change activists wanting more – even as it stokes concern over party moderates.
China boon - Daily Caller: “‘Mrs. Clinton’s plan would be a huge boost to China and Taiwan, where over 70 percent of solar photovoltaics are made,” Daniel Kish, senior vice president of policy at the Institute for Energy research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation…‘I’m not sure Americans are going to be comfortable with Chinese solar panels covering their houses, plugging into their electricity systems and taking their jobs as official government policy,’ [Kish said.] Thanks to government subsidies, China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels...”
[Clinton holds a Town Hall meeting and a grassroots organizing event in New Hampshire today.]
O’Malley to Hillary: Fess up on Keystone - WashEx: “Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley pounced on Hillary Clinton's failure to take a clear stance on the Keystone XL pipeline Monday. ‘Real leadership means forging public opinion. Real leadership means taking stands on critical issues,’ the former Maryland governor said in a statement. ‘Our climate, our home, is in trouble if we do not act. Ducks and dodges — as we're seeing from other candidates — won't help: What we need is action.’”
And slams Clinton by name on banks – WMUR: “O’Malley hit Clinton for what he called ‘long-established and well known’ ties to Wall Street that he said make Clinton less likely to adequately fight big banks. ‘My proposals go a lot further than Secretary Clinton's,’ O'Malley said. ‘Her closeness with big banks on Wall Street is sincere, it’s heart-felt, long-established and well known.’”
Yoobetcha! Dem Sixteeners Minnesota bound - AP: “The Democratic National Committee says all five of the party's main presidential candidates will address DNC members next month. Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb will speak at the DNC summer meeting in Minneapolis on Aug. 28.”
[Bernie Sanders speaks at the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union Conference in Washington today.]
“I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I believe if I ran again, I could win. But I can’t.” – President Obama in a speech to the African Union.
TAKE FIVE: KEEP ‘EM COMING
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.
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 – toFOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @ChrisStirewalt.
MONTANI SEMPER PEPPERONI
It’s not champagne if it doesn’t come from Champagne and it’s not balsamic if it wasn’t made in Modena or Reggio Emilia. So is it a pepperoni roll if it doesn’t come from West Virginia? The 35th state’s signature food – a soft, slightly sweet, white bun baked with sliced peperoni inside – was born of the Italian immigrants in coal camps in north-central part of the state. (Here’s an exemplary recipe.) Suffice it to say that pepperoni passion runs deep among Mountaineers. So when regional gas-station giant Sheetz notified one of the state’s top purveyors that it was dropping their rolls in favor of an out-of-state contractor that could satisfy all of the chain’s appetite, the Internet erupted and calls for a boycott were swift. But there may be hope yet. Pennsylvania-based Sheetz has summoned the West Virginia bakers to a summit to discuss the role of their rolls later this week.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Iran has made very clear its intent to wipe Israel off the map. And now it’s in the process of acquiring the means of doing that. And I think it’s extremely important to recognize the uniqueness of this deal. All the neighbors of Iran are afraid of this deal, but Israel is the only country on earth openly threatened with annihilation.” – 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.