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• How long can Rand stand?
• Romney re-emerges
• Clinton foundation wooed shady Russian
• Koch group catches Obama in Ex-Im bank flip-flop
• The commute was fine, except for the million-bee swarm
HOW LONG CAN RAND STAND?
To have read media musings on the 2016 race a year ago, Sen. Rand Paul entered the Republican presidential contest as a force of nature. But today finds him unable to stir the slightest breeze.
Paul is running tenth and has to make increasingly adamant claims that he is “in it to win it,” which is to campaigns what “Secretary Soandso has the full confidence of the president” is to the job security of cabinet officials.
With news this week that a libertarian super PAC has cut off Paul and the Kentuckian soon heading home to try to bolster his concurrent Senate bid, things are looking grim. Like John Huntsman in 2012 and Chris Christie this cycle, Paul seems to have been more hurt than helped by the expectations and attention from the establishment political press.
While we could blame Paul’s plight on debate performances or campaign style, the substance here seems to be the problem. Paul’s campaign concept was to take the committed core of libertarian voters he inherited from his father and then woo new voters from the GOP establishment wing and beyond.
In so doing, Paul left his back pasture open to his longtime rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been rustling libertarians and young voters while Paul’s attentions were focused on making peace with his party’s elders.
Paul’s hit against Cruz on “Kilmeade & Friends” Tuesday reflects his state of mind. He blasted Cruz for violating the “decorum” of the Senate and being unable to get things done because of a lack of support from other senators. Cruz couldn’t have said it better himself. That’s his whole selling point. He is a disruptor.
In Paul’s dogged defense of cannabis oil in the second GOP debate and adamant non-interventionist stances, we see a candidate trying to reconnect with the libertarians who financed and fueled his candidacy. But as David Drucker reports, Cruz is implementing a longstanding, well-funded effort to seal the deal with those voters.
By the time Paul gets back to the ranch, he will find that the herd is already gone.
No doubt Paul has been hurt by the merciless taunts of Donald Trump, but frontrunners in 2008 and 2012 did the same to Paul’s dad and it didn’t seem to hurt him with core voters. It may have even helped him by calling attention.
It’s not like his dad was in the hunt at the end, having been unable to turn fervent support into sufficient votes. But that’s the fundamental flaw in Paul the younger’s plan: You can’t expect ideologically demanding activists who care more for purity than electability to tolerate neglect.
Paul, who is running an expensive operation, cannot continue to burn through cash in hopes of retaining his former status. Will he retrench to a handful of caucus states in hopes of scraping up enough delegates and pray for a brokered convention? Or will he, like fellow former frontrunner Scott Walker, decide to fold up his tent and let the circus leave town without him?
If he doesn’t decide soon, the organizers of next month’s debate may decide for him.
Patriotic grace guide - Vizsla enthusiast and purveyor of excellence Dana Perino has some do’s and don’ts for political etiquette when candidates are trying to decide when to call it quits. For example, don’t run up “so much campaign debt that you put yourself in a hole that is very difficult to get out of. Try to pay everyone you owe money to -- that’s the right thing to do and it makes it easier if you decide to run again.”
Jeb now milking Walker cash cow - NYT: “Jeb Bush has plucked a top fund-raiser from the remains of Scott Walker’s failed presidential campaign: Anthony Scaramucci, a New York investor who had served as Mr. Walker’s national finance co-chairman. Mr. Scaramucci has signed on as Mr. Bush seeks to demonstrate to donors and others that his campaign is not flagging, despite sluggish poll numbers.”
Did Muslim group break tax-exempt rules in calling out Carson? - Daily Caller: “The largest Muslim civil rights group in the U.S. may have violated the federal tax code when its executive director last week called on retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson to drop out of the presidential race because of his comments about Muslims. … Nihad Awad, the executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), responded in a press conference last Monday, calling on Carson to end his bid for the White House. … But Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reported on Tuesday that Awad’s statement may put CAIR in violation of federal tax law. As Kelly noted, the section of the Internal Revenue Code which sets rules for non-profit — section 501(c)(3) — states that such organizations ‘are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.’”
Huckabee praises pope for meeting with Kentucky clerk - Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., praised Pope Francis for meeting with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who gained media attention for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses. Huckabee said, “The Pope recognized something that the chattering class in Washington and Wall Street will never understand—that Kim Davis followed her conscience and convictions. The Pope thanked Kim for doing so and congratulated her for her stand.”
[Check out a new blog from Fox News’ embedded campaign producers on the trail with the candidates from early state rallies to town hall meetings.]
Mitt Romney is making a rare visit to Washington today to address the grandees at the Aspen Institute. Romney has cut a lower public profile since his very public flirtation with a third presidential run that ended in January. Romney’s low-key approach has been in keeping with his stated desire to allow “one of our next generation of Republican leaders” to emerge and be well-positioned to defeat the Democratic nominee.
Romney’s remarks were interpreted at the time as a dig at then-frontrunner Jeb Bush, and in encouragement to younger candidates, particularly Marco Rubio. Rubio has embraced the mantel, hiring key-Romney aides and scooping up Romney donors. But despite recent success has still not managed to dispatch the struggling Bush, or crack into the top-tier in recent polls.
What Romney says today could stoke a not-fully-extinguished yearning in the GOP donor class for a Romneysian return. He could also offer further guidance to his backers about where they ought to be placing their bets – a move that Rubio’s team is no doubt hoping for – or Romney could offer his advice on how to deal with the party’s current frontrunner Donald Trump.
If you want a hint about how closed the door is to another Romney run check out what Anne Romney said on “Kilmeade & Friends” Tuesday: “It’s not even like we are talking about it Brain, I can say other people are talking to us about it but we, Mitt and I are not even ready to talk about it.” Not being ready to talk about it at least suggests that they might become ready…
[Watch Fox: Chief National Correspondent John Roberts is on the case in Washington today.]
GOWDY DEMURS ON LEADER GIG, PAVING WAY FOR PRICE
WaPo: “A campaign to draft … Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.), into the race for majority leader was extinguished before day’s end…. Meanwhile, the sitting majority leader, Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), moved to tighten his grip on the speaker’s chair… Congress on Wednesday is expected to approve a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through Dec. 11. …Gowdy’s spin in the spotlight came amid doubts among some members about whether the two declared candidates to succeed McCarthy should he win the speakership – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) – possess the necessary backbone and messaging savvy.… But the draft-Gowdy bid could be revived if the majority-leader contest, to be conducted by secret ballot at a date yet to be announced, takes an unexpected turn. … Gowdy, in emotional remarks, formally withdrew from a leadership race he never entered, explaining he needed to concentrate on the Benghazi probe, earning a standing ovation.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
A sea alien? Nope, just a glowing sea turtle. Researchers in the Solomon Islands were filming bioflorescence in sharks when they saw something else illuminating underneath the water. National Geographic explains: “The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle is the first reptile scientists have seen exhibiting biofluorescence—the ability to reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color. The most common colors are green, red, and orange. Biofluorescence is different from bioluminescence, in which animals either produce their own light through a series of chemical reactions, or host bacteria that give off light.” Be sure to check out the video in the article above too.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.2 percent//Disapprove – 50.2 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 26.8 percent//Wrong Track – 63.0 percent
CLINTON FOUNDATION WOOED SHADY RUSSIAN
WashEx: “Clinton Foundation officials courted a Russian billionaire to join a 2012 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, seeking the advice of State Department staff about the invitation. The well-connected charity wanted to invite Viktor Vekselberg, founder of major Russian conglomerate Renova Group, to attend the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City that year. Amitabh Desai, the foundation’s director of foreign policy, asked a top aide to Hillary Clinton if the State Department would be troubled by the invitation, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Vekselberg, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been involved in multiple corruption investigations spawned from his far-reaching commercial activities in oil, aluminum and investments. Renova Group has donated as much as $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation, donor records show.”
Hillary email dump today - Reuters: “The latest batch of emails from the private server Hillary Clinton used as U.S. secretary of state is due to be released on Wednesday, days after she lamented that months of unflattering headlines about the setup were largely out of her control. A federal judge has ordered the State Department to release all of Clinton’s work emails in monthly batches through to January 2016 after a Vice News reporter sued the department under freedom of information laws.”
Huma under oath next month - Fox News: “Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department and now a member of her presidential campaign team, will provide her closed-door deposition before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Oct. 16, Fox News has learned.”
DeBlasio to the rescue for Hillary? - WSJ:“New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office is planning a national forum on inequality with presidential candidates at a college in Iowa before the end of November, according to two people familiar with the matter. Representatives for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, both candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, said they hoped to participate. A representative for Hillary Clinton didn’t have an immediate comment.”
Music to his ears - NYT: “‘Mr. President,’ Kristian Jensen, the foreign minister of Denmark, said while addressing [Vice President Joe Biden] at a United Nations summit meeting on countering violent extremism. ‘Vice President – sorry,’ he added quickly. ‘Well, could have been! Can be! Who knows?’ Mr. Jensen continued, as a smiling Mr. Biden gazed down from the dais where he was leading the gathering. Mr. Jensen said that if Mr. Biden had some news to share, ‘please let us know.’”
KOCH GROUP CATCHES OBAMA IN EX-IM BANK FLIP-FLOP
President Obama says he doesn’t understand the Republican’s “weird reversal” on the now-defunct Export-Import Bank, but the Koch-allied group Freedom Partners new video to be released today shows what the president used to say about “crony capitalism” and the bank.
THE COMMUTE WAS FINE, EXCEPT FOR THE MILLION-BEE SWARM
FOX 25: “Upwards of a million bees were released in Garvin County, after a tractor trailer hauling them from the north, overturns…Dozens of crates were scattered along the exit ramp, of exit 72 on I-35 South. In each crate were thousands of bees…County Emergency Management Coordinator, Bud Ramming, says he’s never seen in this more than three decades on the job… Beekeepers worked through the daylight hours to capture as many as possible. Then when the sun went down, the crates of bees had to be burned to keep them from swarming people…The driver of the tractor trailer was taken to an area hospital but is expected to be okay.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The real story this week is what happened at the U.N. where [Russian leader Vladimir Putin] essentially stepped in and took over Syria. He’s now the leader…I think it was the secretary of state, who said the buildup of the Russians was doomed to fail. Two weeks later we have not only accepted it, we welcome it…” – 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 politics editor based in Washington, D.C.