**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
• GOP Debate buzzer beater in Cleveland?
• Inbox alert
• Sixteeners warm up in New Hampshire
• Disturbed no more: Hillary all in for Planned Parenthood
• Grace alone
GOP DEBATE BUZZER BEATER IN CLEVELAND?
CLEVELAND — With just hours to go before the first presidential debate of the 2016 cycle a spate of new polls have shown up just ahead of the deadline.
Invitations to the Fox News/Facebook/Ohio Republican Party debate will be based on the most recent, methodologically sound polling of national Republican primary voters. In addition to a fresh poll from Fox News, pollsters for CBS News, and Bloomberg have dropped surveys ahead of the final tabulations.
The polls all agree that Donald Trump is a center-stage participant in the 9 p.m. ET debate for the top ten. And for perennial top-flight candidates like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, knocking them off that stage would take a statistical cataclysm.
But for three candidates — Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rick Perry — they can’t yet be sure whether they will be on at 9 p.m. or with the rest of the herd at a 5 p.m.
Will there be more data today? The clock is ticking.
-- INBOX ALERT: THIS EVENING, FOX NEWS FIRST WILL PUBLISH THE LIST OF INVITEES FOR BOTH DEBATES --
UPDATED REAL CLEAR POLITICS AVERAGE: GOP NOMINATION
Donald Trump, 23.2 percent; Jeb Bush, 12.8; Scott Walker, 10.6; Ben Carson, 6.6; Mike Huckabee, 6.6; Ted Cruz, 6.2; Marco Rubio, 5.2; Rand Paul, 4.8; Chris Christie, 3.4; John Kasich, 2.8; Rick Perry, 2.0; Rick Santorum, 1.4; Bobby Jindal, 1.2; Carly Fiorina, 1.0; Lindsey Graham, 0.4; George Pataki, N/A; Jim Gilmore N/A.
[Invitations to the Fox News Channel/Facebook/Ohio GOP debate are not based on the Real Clear Politics average, but rather the five most recent national surveys as of 5 p.m. today that meet Fox News’ methodological standards.]
GOP frontrunners brace for Thursday - Wash Ex’s David Drucker says that underdogs will be on the hunt for any opportunity to take down a leading contender. And in the early debates anything is possible. As he writes, “The first nationally televised debate offers underdogs for the GOP presidential nomination their first direct opportunity to knock a leading candidate down a peg, if not out of the running altogether.”
SIXTEENERS WARM UP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Voters First Forum in Manchester, N.H. was the largest cattle call of the Republican nominating process to date, but it may have been more notable for the absence of one candidate: Donald Trump. Trump refused to participate citing an unflattering article in one of the newspapers sponsoring the forum. Aside from Trump’s boycott, most of heat came from a gang tackle attack on Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
“As to the Clintons, I’ve been dealing with this crowd for 20 years. I’m fluent in Clinton-speak. You want me to translate that? When he says, Bill says, ‘I didn’t have sex with that woman, he did.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Jeb makes pitch to Southern Baptists - AP: “Bush travels to Nashville [today] for a live interview before thousands of members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which will also show a pre-recorded interview with Rubio. Organizers said leading GOP and Democratic presidential candidates were invited in May to participate; only Bush and Rubio accepted.”
[While slurping on an Orange Julius at a stop in Iowa, Bush said he lost 40 pounds in 6 months on the “Paleo” diet.]
Walker donor has ties to arena deal - TIME: “On the day before Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker launched a push this spring to spend $250 million in public funds on a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, the super PAC promoting Walker’s presidential campaign received a large check. The May 27 donation to Unintimidated PAC, for $150,000, came from a limited liability corporation connected to Jon Hammes, a Milwaukee-area businessman and investor in the NBA franchise…It’s not clear that the deal brought any political benefits for Walker’s presidential campaign.”
“I think part of the reason why I’m polling in second is because people think I’m a fighter…I’m the only one in this race who shown consistently on the common sense conservative forums that I can win either in a blue state. I can clearly fight and win in America.” – Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.
Doomsday prepper, Rubio keeps building delegate bank - Oregonian: “Shawn Lindsay, a former Republican state representative from Hillsboro, has been chosen to chair Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s GOP presidential campaign in Oregon, the Rubio campaign announced Monday. Lindsay is an intellectual property lawyer and served as Mitt Romney’s Oregon chairman in 2012.”
Kasich snags key N.H. endorsement - Cleveland Plain-Dealer: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich picked up the endorsement of a key Republican leader. State Rep. Jack Flanagan, the majority leader in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, cited Kasich’s success in Ohio and conservative budget policies as the reasons for his support.”
[Kasich tours an internet services company in Manchester, N.H. today]
Carly says shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood - On the Hugh Hewitt Show Monday, Carly Fiorina said that the GOP should shut down the government if it would defund Planned Parenthood. She said, “They should close the government down…We have to hammer the Democrats on this, honestly their position, which most Americans do not understand... it is not a life until it leaves the hospital... most Americans to no agree with that position.”
SOUND OFF: READERS RESPOND TO 2016 GOP POWER INDEX
“I think things will shake out a little clearer once Trump sticks his foot in his mouth and then shoots himself in the foot (hopefully in that order).” – Paul Papadakis
“Totally agree with your GOP Power Index rankings, especially the placement of Carly Fiorina. She is smart, bold, and focused, and is a compelling contrast to Hillary Clinton. Matched with Jeb’s gravitas and resources, a Bush-Fiorina ticket would be awesome!” – Mary Heller
“John Kasich is my all around fav for the long haul. His resume is, indeed, impressive. He played a key role in delivering a balanced budget while in Congress.” – Tom Fox
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
NPR: “…Military needs have driven food-preservation experiments for centuries. Canning, or bottling, was invented at the turn of the 19th century, when the French army offered a reward for someone who could invent a way to keep foods longer…But as author Anastacia Marx de Salcedo writes, the U.S. Army has taken this research to a whole other level. She says many food innovations trace back to the Natick Soldier Systems Center, a U.S. Army research complex in Natick, Mass. The federal laboratory investigates how to make soldiers’ rations taste good and last longer. She says its initiatives have led to the processed cheese that’s now found in goldfish crackers and Cheetos. The center is also behind longer-lasting loaves of bread and the energy bar, which was originally created to give worn-out soldiers a boost, she says.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.5 percent//Disapprove – 49.4 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.8 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent
DISTURBED NO MORE: HILLARY ALL IN FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Hillary Clinton previously said she found undercover videos detailing the harvesting of unborn babies’ organs by Planned Parenthood to be “disturbing,” but no more. Clinton released a web video in defense of her longtime political backer and America’s leading abortion provider. Clinton attacked Republicans attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, name-checking Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., and former Govs. Rick Perry, R-Texas, and Jeb Bush, R-Fla, accusing Republicans of mounting a “full-on assault on women’s health.”
[Clinton campaigns and raises cash in Colorado today.]
Christie not shy in pro-life defense - In a web video response, Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. says: “I don’t believe taxpayer money should be going to Planned Parenthood. Now Secretary Clinton, why don’t you answer this question: Do you support the conduct of Planned Parenthood in the killing of children in the womb in a way that maximizes their body parts for sale on the open market? Secretary Clinton, answer that question. I just did.”
Sanders touts treats in new video - Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., lengthy video “Progress” emphasizes his populist campaign theme seeking: free public university education, universal healthcare, and wealth redistribution. Sanders highlights his working-class roots in Brooklyn, N.Y., and how he realized the importance of financial stability from a young age. Sanders’ unlikely political climb was also depicted drawing a sharp contrast with Hillary Clinton.
TAKE FIVE: WHAT DO YOU SAY?
Eyes may be on the White House, but the fight for the Senate has already heated up. Democrats need five seats to flip the Senate from red to blue. Who will be in and who will be out? Tell us what you think. We’ll track your votes and comment and share them here each and every Thursday.
Share your top five picks. Email them – just five, please – toFOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @ChrisStirewalt.
WKMG: “[Melbourne, Fla.] police arrested a man who they say tried to rob churchgoers during a sermon, but was tackled by the church pastor. John Grace was arrested and charged with armed robbery and 20 additional charges in the Sunday morning incident at The Door Christian Fellowship Church on East Melbourne Avenue. Pastor Les Snodgrass tells Local 6 Grace had attended his church services before but was hardly a regular. During his sermon on ‘The Value of Life,’ he said Grace stood up and showed a gun…‘I just pushed against the wall with all my might,’ [Snodgrass said]. ‘I had him by the shoulders, and as soon as I did that, my son leapt from the platform into the air and pounced on him. He punched him twice in the head.’ Snodgrass said his wife held a stun gun to Grace until Melbourne police officers arrived and arrested him.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“For Obama, if you have your own Vice President pick up the legacy, win the election in a way it is an endorsement of the Obama presidency. I think that would please him and I am sure that like others among Democrats they are not quite sure about Clinton and how she would carry on. So I think there‘d be a lot of support for him, much more than we would have expected 6 months ago.” – 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.