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Buzz Cut:
• First in Fox News First: Swing state poll shows Hillary between Barack and a hard place
• Shadowboxing on the Strip
• Ben Carson and the media apocalypse
• Trumpublicans dig in against Ryan
• ‘Happy and nice bearded gentlemen’

FIRST IN FOX NEWS FIRST: SWING STATE POLL SHOWS HILLARY BETWEEN BARACK AND A HARD PLACE
Can Hillary Clinton get past her own party in time to start to remedy her woes with general election voters?

A new swing-state poll, which will be released ahead of her first debate appearance of her second presidential campaign, suggests she had better hurry up.

The survey, conducted for the pro-GOP group American Crossroads by pollsters Vox Populi, polled voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia and found Clinton struggling.

Clinton’s deficit to a generic Republican nominee remained basically unchanged at 14 points. The group also tried a ballot test with Biden and found him lagging a generic Republican by 12 points.

Clinton’s net favorability stayed low, but ticked up 2 points to a net negative 23 points. That’s four points worse than last month and 10 points worse than when the monthly poll began in July.

On the question of trust, it was more of the same from last month. She was viewed as to some degree untrustworthy by 60 percent of respondents at least to some degree trustworthy by 33 percent.

The telephone survey included 1,204 registered voters. You can get the full results here.

Shadowboxing on the Strip - So how does Hillary Clinton get away from her own party and start resetting for a bruising general election? Her debate performance tonight on CNN will offer some clues.

With a talk show host anchor who said he was “uncomfortable” with promoting “some sort of a face off,” a musical number from a 1990s flashback favorite and a prohibitive frontrunner facing a pack of challengers who trail her by 20 points, this debate has all the markings of an exhibition bout meant to make the champ look good.

While it’s possible that one of the other candidates could go off on Clinton or create some kind of uproar, this promises to be shadowboxing.

What Clinton really has to be worried about is how to deal with the man who isn’t there – no matter how badly CNN wishes Joe Biden would parachute in.

As President Obama looks to cement his legacy as a transformative liberal leader, Clinton has been racing to get to his, and by extension, Biden’s, left on key issues.

The question for Clinton is that having been pushed so far left and with her general-election numbers mired in a multi-faceted scandal, will her cold war with Obama and Biden leave her unable to win the White House?

Poll: Hillary still number one, but… - Fox News polling potentate Dana Blanton writes about the new national Fox News Poll out today: “Vice President Joe Biden trails Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, yet he looks more electable than the former secretary of state against top Republicans. … Clinton remains the front-runner among Democratic primary voters (45 percent), with Bernie Sanders (25 percent) and Biden (19 percent) behind her by about 20 percentage points. That’s almost identical to where things stood three weeks ago. In hypothetical 2016 matchups with top-tier Republicans, Clinton trails all the Republicans tested. She trails Ben Carson by 11 points and Donald Trump by 5 points. Jeb Bush has a 4-point edge over Clinton, while Carly Fiorina is up by 3 points. Biden fares better. He leads Trump by 13 points and tops Bush by 5 points. Biden is preferred over both Fiorina and Carson by 4 points. And Biden narrowly bests Marco Rubio by 1 point.”

[Watch Fox: Fox News poll results for the Republican side will be released at 6 p.m. ET on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”]

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Some of the greatest victories for the Union during Civil War came at the ballot box and not the battlefield. It was on this day in 1863 that the leading “copperhead” Democrat, Rep. Clement Vallandigham, was trounced in his bid for Ohio governor. Vallandigham and his wing of the party had made gains in 1862 amid setbacks for Abraham Lincoln’s war strategy. Democrats hoped that Northern distress over mounting casualties could sweep the party, decimated by the departure of the rebel states, back into power. Vallandigham’s bid for Ohio governor could have crippled the war effort and set the stage for Lincoln’s defeat the following year. But Vallandigham was trounced. In a final failure for his party, Vallandigham managed to get an immediate truce with the Confederacy included in the 1864 platform, making manifest what Lincoln’s party had only been able to hint at before. You can get the full take on the Democrat who crashed his own party here.

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POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve 44.9 percent//Disapprove – 49.9 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction 26.6 percent//Wrong Track – 63.7 percent

BEN CARSON AND THE MEDIA APOCALYPSE
Did you hear? Ben Carson believes the apocalypse is upon us! Call Kirk Cameron, because the rapture is here! Whoo-boy, what a kook…

Wait. What’s that? Carson was actually talking about the Iranians? Oh. Never mind.

In a Sunday interview with Sharyl Attkisson, Ben Carson was asked about his faith and if he believed the “end of days” was near, Carson responded, “You could guess that we are getting closer to that,” before elaborating further, “You do have people who have a belief system that sees this apocalyptic phenomena occurring and that they are a part of it, who would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if they gained possession of them.”

But the headlines didn’t say Carson was talking about Iran and the nuclear deal. Instead it made him sound like a street-corner preacher saying we’re headed towards the end of the world.

Notice a trend here? The willful misunderstandings of Carson’s remarks about dealing with mass shooters or about fascists and gun control reveal a cottage industry in the clickbait media. Carson, who’s meandering speaking style and past stunners certainly invite misunderstandings, has taken the place of Donald Trump and before him of Sarah Palin in the liberal press as the fodder for the “A Republican said something crazy about a hot-button issue and you won’t believe what happened next” variety of internet rubbish.

Carson has shown tremendous growth as a candidate and in his abilities to deal with these controversies. He doesn’t flinch. He just keeps talking through the uproar and finds his share of support larger on the other side. Can he keep walking through the fire and not get burned with GOP primary voters? Four months to the Iowa caucuses is a long stroll, and you can bet that the effort to disqualify the only black candidate in the 2016 race will intensify.

Jeb goes mainstream with health plan - WashEx:Jeb Bush is releasing a healthcare plan that would repeal President Obama’s healthcare law and replace it with a new system of health insurance tax credits, reflecting two political and policy assumptions. One, Bush has determined that a candidate cannot win the Republican presidential nomination nor can the healthcare system be truly reformed, without repealing Obamacare. Two, he has accepted that Obamacare, by expanding insurance, has shifted the debate in a way that forces Republicans to take coverage into account when crafting alternatives. By taking this approach, which his campaign announced on Monday and he plans to lay out in a Tuesday morning speech in New Hampshire, Bush has joined an emerging mainstream consensus among Republican lawmakers and thinkers, while opening himself up to attack from some on the right, notably his rival in the presidential race, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.”

Kasich doubles down on Medicaid expansion - The Hill: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich will unveil an entitlement reform package on Thursday in Nashua, setting the tone for tricky conversation about entitlement reform in the GOP presidential primary.”

Rubio says President Obama in ‘complete denial’ about Middle East - WashEx: “‘I feel sad for the country to have a president who is in complete denial about what’s happening in the Middle East,’ the Republican presidential contender told Fox News, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s moves in the Middle East. The comments follow Obama’s denial in a Sunday night CBS interview that Russia is the new leader in the region. According to the Florida senator, Putin is taking advantage of Obama’s weak Middle East policies, taking over as the major outside power in the region by claiming Moscow is more reliable than Washington.”

[Politico reports that billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson could make a Rubio endorsement by ‘the end of the month,’ which comes with a huge cash stash for the Florida senator.]

Cruz knocks fellow senators for missing votes to campaign - AP: “Without mentioning [Sen. Marco] Rubio by name, [Sen. Ted]Cruz said he had been ‘proud to lead’ the failed Republican effort last month to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood. ‘I would ask a simple question: Where were the other candidates?’ Cruz, a Texas senator, said to reporters before meeting with voters in Fort Dodge, in conservative northwest Iowa.”

READER’S REACT: 2016 POWER INDEX
“Enough is enough with the Trump, Carson, and Fiorina hype. The Donald will cause even Bernie Sanders to get elected President. Carson’s comments on gays and other issues are in the Stone Age. Fiorina’s only good at attacking Hillary and one name should make Republicans wince when Fiorina is mentioned: Barbara Boxer. Cruz would be Barry Goldwater of 2016. The best bets for winning are John Kasich and Marco Rubio. Both hail from important swing states and have their own unique traits: Kasich's record and Rubio’s charisma.” Will Farra

“When Trump finishes first and wins the Primary…will you finally put him in first place? Your rating is ridiculous.” – Rebecca Walker

“If the nomination devolves to Rubio and Cruz, Rubio wins. Why? It is clear that charm constitutes the most import element in winning elections or we would not have the incumbent. Rubio is more charming than Cruz. It’s that simple.” Frank Leister

TRUMPUBLICANS DIG IN AGAINST RYAN
Immigration activists in the GOP are drawing a harder line against the idea of Rep. Paul Ryan as a unity candidate for House speaker – evidence of how defining the issue has become for the party, particularly the quarter backing presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Ryan, a staunch social conservative who has been a hero on the right for his aggressive stances on entitlement programs, finds himself on the other side of the top issue for Trump’s wing of the party. Pro-Trump groups have been hammering Ryan, and will be using this week’s congressional recess to try to force Ryan out of the race. Trump who on Sunday had seemingly endorsed Ryan, switched on Monday, saying he was “a little concerned” about what he said was Ryan’s “very weak” stance on “amnesty.”

As Joel Gehrke reports, their chances of success are good.

Ryan has made it clear that he won’t take the gig without support from the immigration hardliners. So if they don’t want him, Ryan is likely to stay where he is. Is there any candidate who would meet the demands of the few dozen immigration absolutists but could still garner support from the two hundred other members? Not anytime soon.

[Watch Fox: Donald Trump joins “Your World with Neil Cavuto” today at 4 p.m. ET.]

‘HAPPY AND NICE BEARDED GENTLEMEN’
The Independent: “Terror police in Sweden have been called to reports of a group of bearded men in dark clothes raising a black flag above a remote castle. But instead of Isis militants, officers responding to the scene stumbled across a meeting of an international organization of beard aficionados. The Swedish chapter of the ‘Bearded Villains’ met on Saturday for a photo shoot at the ruined castle of Braehus, with members excited to be pictured with the organization’s black-and-white flag. And while the group might have looked menacing from a distance, when they got closer police found around 30 young men hugging and laughing dressed in formal clothes, not militant garb. Andreas Fransson, a Bearded Villains member [said] “[Police] told us they got a call from someone driving past on the highway, saying that there were Isis terrorists at the ruins. The police saw of course that we weren't terrorists, just very happy and nice bearded gentlemen.”

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.