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Buzz Cut:
• Hillary calls Planned Parenthood scandal ‘disturbing’
• Carly picks off Brady on Deflategate
• Power Play: Trumped!
• Cruz takes on IRS
• See: Nuts, Deez

HILLARY CALLS PLANNED PARENTHOOD SCANDAL ‘DISTURBING’
Hillary Clinton
was asked by a New Hampshire newspaper about the scandal surrounding her longtime political benefactor, Planned Parenthood. Clinton allowed that she had “seen pictures” from the videos that depict officials from America’s leading abortion provider talking in ghoulish terms about harvesting the organs of aborted babies. Clinton said what she saw was “disturbing” and touted her own efforts in her prior White House stint to reduce the number of elective abortions conducted each year. But Clinton, who is under pressure to return donations from Planned Parenthood, stopped short of criticizing the group. She suggested that her longtime ally was a victim of circumstance, saying that “the whole process” of how aborted babies’ body parts are harvested ought to be scrutinized.

Two-month gap in Hillary’s emails - Fox News: “A reported two-month gap in emails from Hillary Clinton’s private account during 2012 coincides with a period of escalating violence in Libya and the obtaining of a special exemption by her top aide, Huma Abedin, to work for both the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. The Daily Beast reported late Tuesday that no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff for the months of May and June 2012 are among the estimated 2,000 messages that have been released from the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s account. … If true, that means neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via e-mail during a period that saw three attacks on international outposts in Benghazi, including one on the consulate itself.”

Taunts Keystone questioners - USA Today: “Hillary Clinton again declined to take a position on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday, saying that decision currently belongs to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. ‘If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,’ Clinton said during a town hall in New Hampshire. Environmentalists oppose the Keystone project, which would move oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf Coast.”

Sanders calls her out - The Hill: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took a shot at Hillary Clinton on Tuesday [saying] ‘We must make significant reductions in carbon emissions and break our dependency on fossil fuels. That is why I have helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline,’ he said in a statement, ‘It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline.’ Sanders' comments come after Clinton refused on Monday and Tuesday to state her position on the Keystone XL Pipeline.”

[Sanders will deliver a livestream address today from a house party in Washington to 3,000 grassroots gatherings in homes, coffee shops and union halls in all 50 states.]

Who better than Joe? - Josh Kraushaar explains how the shifting rationale behind Clinton’s candidacy – from a “warm purple space” to a Obamian slap-chop approach to a base-versus-base election – has opened wide the door to the candidacy of President Obama’s wing man, Vice President Joe Biden.

[Clinton is fundraising today in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa.]

Ah, rich people - Politico looks back at the time Hillary Clinton celebrated one of Donald Trump’s weddings.

Clipped - The NY Post reports that Hillary Clinton was the recipient of the ultra-VIP treatment. It’s kind of a retro look for her…

CONGRESS GETS CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF
With the August break looming and flights home beckoning lawmakers, a view from the control tower shows some hot button issues jockeying on the tarmac. The traffic: A vote to cut off federal funding for  Planned Parenthood, sparked by videos of the abortion provider hawking fetal body parts, looks likely in the Senate, but not in the House. A 3-month patch appears destined to keep transportation projects running this summer. While the Senate continues to work on six-year highway bill that House leadership has refused to take up, the lower chamber is melding the 3-month fix with “must pass” VA hospital funding before heading for their districts this week. The tactic is expected to result in Senate passage before it leaves next week. The 60-day clock continues to tick on Congressional review of the administration’s Iran nuclear deal, which was met with considerable skepticism by House and Senate panels in testimony this week. Bottom line: and already full pattern faces Congress on their return flights.

[House Democrats are at the White House today where President Obama is expected to push his Iran deal.]

House hijinks - Fox News: “In a move unprecedented in the history of the House of Representatives, a Republican lawmaker filed a motion Tuesday to remove House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, from his post, in another sign of dissatisfaction with Boehner’s leadership by a number of House conservatives. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., filed the resolution – a ‘motion to vacate the chair’ – late Tuesday, claiming that he “has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent.” The proposal was referred to a committee stocked with leadership loyalists, and therefore unlikely to emerge…”

Senate deep freeze - Confrontation between Senate Republicans appears to be easing following days of strife over the highway bill The Hill reports: “[L]awmakers insisted that the conflict between conservatives and party leaders was not evidence of a splintering caucus, and they predicted they will unify for the fiscal battles that loom on the legislative calendar. The most public peace offering came from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who issued a joint statement on Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about repealing ObamaCare, following a combative conference meeting late Monday.”

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The New Yorker takes a deep dive into the mystery of stage fright. The disease has crippled the most successful performers, and doesn’t seem to let up over time. As they write, “In a number of ways, stagefright doesn’t make sense. Laurence Olivier, when he was in his late fifties, was visited by a spell that lasted, intermittently, for five years, causing him great anguish. At the time, he was the most celebrated stage actor in England. How could he be frightened of failing? Ditto Mikhail Baryshnikov. In the nineteen-seventies and eighties, Baryshnikov was the most famous ballet dancer in the world, and he probably still is, though he ceased classical dancing some twenty-five years ago. Since then, he has built a successful career in modern dance and theatre. But he experiences terrible stagefright, and says that it has only got worse over the years.”

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

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 45.3 percent//Disapprove – 50.2 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 29.7 percent//Wrong Track – 61.3 percent

CARLY PICKS OFF BRADY ON DEFLATEGATE
Carly Fiorina
spiked the ball on scandal-soaked New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton when talking with Boston radio host Howie Carr. Fiorina said, “Maybe Tom Brady learned how to wipe his phone clean by watching Hillary Clinton wipe her server clean…I mean, hey, if the secretary of state can just wipe out all relevant information on an investigation involving her, maybe Tom Brady decided, ‘I can just wipe out all the text messages as an investigation swirls about me?’” Tuesday’s swipe came the same day the NFL issued a ruling to uphold Brady’s suspension over allegedly deflating footballs.

The jab may not be so well received in New Hampshire, which is Patriots country. Fiorina said she wasn’t making an accusation but pointing out that, “It’s a big dent in his reputation,” before linking back to her point of accountability saying, “The trouble is we have a lot of politicians not being held accountable.” Other GOP candidates have weighed in on the Brady controversy. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said a few months ago that, “Tom Brady was framed,” before also linking the deflate scandal to Clinton adding, “And I will say this: I have it on good authority that Hillary Clinton did it. Why do you think she deleted her emails?”

Jeb rakes in cash from GOP establishment - WSJ: “A Texas oil man, a Wall Street financier and several former U.S. ambassadors are among the top donors to Jeb Bush’s super PAC, providing hard evidence the Republican establishment is rallying to his presidential candidacy as he girds for a long primary battle. Mike Fernandez, a Cuban-American billionaire who gave $3 million, is the biggest donor to the Right to Rise super PAC, which set a record fundraising pace and bested all of Mr. Bush’s rivals—Democrats and Republicans—by amassing $103 million in the first six months of 2015.”

Pumped up Hispanic strategy - Wash Ex’s David Drucker takes a look at Bush’s push for Hispanic voters from hiring Spanish-speaking staffers to hitting Spanish language media. In a field with a lot of Hispanic ties there is stiff competition to capture these voters. But Drucker writes, “Bush appears to have the most developed Hispanic engagement strategy among Republicans.”

Walker slices through the politics of cheese - AP: “The governor of the nation’s top cheese-producing state visited the capital of cheesesteaks on Tuesday and ordered two topped with American, skipping the customary Cheez Whiz but avoiding the blunder of a former presidential candidate who was ridiculed for wanting his with Swiss. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told Geno’s Steaks owner Geno Vento he’s had cheesesteaks with Cheez Whiz in Philadelphia before and would have been dripping the orange goo if he ordered his the usual way. Walker ordered one each from Geno’s and rival Pat’s King of Steaks, across the…and, true to political form, wouldn't say which cheesesteak was better.”

Rubio the South Carolina sleeper? - NYT: “…if there is one group that encapsulates what [Sen. Marco Rubio’s] base is, it would probably be the Republican voters of South Carolina. The electorate here, with its close replication of all three legs of the Republican Party’s stool of fiscal, social and national defense conservatives, essentially fits the Rubio campaign’s playbook. Mr. Rubio spent the last two days testing the waters here as he made a relatively quiet trip through the central and northeastern parts of the state, drawing curious but not especially large crowds.”

Cruz takes on IRS - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, holds a hearing today on the progress of the IRS after allegations the agency had targeted conservative leaning groups nearly two years ago. Cruz, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, hears testimony from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, as well as leaders of conservative groups to see how the reforms are progressing. This comes as House Republicans on Capitol Hill call for Koskinen’s resignation accusing him of obstructing congressional inquiries, and falsifying testimony.

[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel has the latest from Capitol Hill.]

Power Play: Trumped! - For Donald Trump it’s all about him. And while he’s up in the polls and continues to roil the Republican field, is it really, or is something deeper happening here? Chris Stirewalt has the lowdown on the Trump factor, in 60 seconds. WATCH HERE.

“This is an appalling story that never should have been published.  To take a 25-year-old single allegation by an ex-wife during a hotly contested divorce and try to make it as if Trump raped his wife, when he said in a statement subsequently that was included in this 1993 book, Megyn that she didn’t mean rape in a criminal or even literal sense is the epitome of a cheap shot.” – Howard Kurtz talking about the Daily Beast article on Donald Trump’s divorce on “The Kelly File.”

Rand takes a stand as ‘culture warrior’ - Newsweek: “These days, however, the 2016 presidential candidate is assuming a role he wasn’t known for in the past: culture warrior. On Tuesday, [Sen. Rand Paul made] opening remarks at a rally of anti-abortion activists aiming to defund Planned Parenthood. The nonprofit organization that provides abortions and other reproductive health services to women around the country. ‘There comes a time in the history of nations where we will all be judged on whether or not we took a stand for life. Now is that time,’ he roared to the crowd of a few hundred.’”

Christie dismisses new poll showing him down in New Hampshire - Wash Ex: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blasted a top pollster who found him trailing several Republican presidential candidates in the early primary state of New Hampshire. ‘First of all, it’s a Monmouth University poll, so you guys should know by now that the Monmouth University polls [are] created just to aggravate me,’ Christie reportedly told members of the press during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.”

[Christie participates in the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security forum in Manchester, N.H.]

HOT IN CLEVELAND
Are you a hack, flack, staffer or politico headed to Cleveland for next week’s first GOP presidential debate? The American Enterprise Institute is set to host a discussion on the GOP presidential race and how the party’s message is often misunderstood in the public forum. Arthur Brooks, author of “The Conservative Heart” and president of AEI will speak along with Ed Gillespie, former RNC chairman, pollsterKristen Soltis Anderson and former White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen. The event and subsequent reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton 6th floor in Cleveland on August 5th. RSVP here.

DON’T FORGET TO TAKE FIVE
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.

BOTH INSIDE AND OUT
The Hill has deemed Shannon Bream one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” on Capitol Hill. Well, duh…

SEE: NUTS, DEEZ
WKYT: “An independent named Deez Nuts filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission Sunday. Nuts is among the field of declared candidates that is far larger than the 21 Democrats and Republicans whose candidacies (Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump) get regular coverage in the media. The latest entry to the race is Steven Wayne Covington, who filed his statement of candidacy Monday, the 512th person to do so. … Limberbutt McCubbins, a Kentucky cat, gained attention in the news after his handlers announced his presidential bid. Limberbutt, a Democrat who is using the campaign slogan Meow is the Time, plans to improve space exploration and environmental protection.”

AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The first change in public opinion on abortion, when it began to go less pro-choice, was with the advent of ultrasound, when you could see what a living human… I think the long range effect is going to be profound, as profound as the advent of the ultrasound. And I think that’s what people should focus on now. You’re not going to get a short term political outcome, but this will help to change perceptions over time.” – 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.