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Buzz Cut:
• Well of course Hillary won
• Carly ends hot streak better off
• Whither ObamaCare?
• Power Play: Ryan, House GOP balk at shotgun wedding
• Peak Florida: Gator bite duct taped  

WELL OF COURSE HILLARY WON
Hillary Clinton
certainly won the first Democratic debate. But if she couldn’t have beaten that forlorn bunch she should have suspended her campaign immediately.

On stage were five candidates with a median age of 65, and the only current office holder isn’t even a Democrat, but rather an independent socialist who called for “political revolution” – and was seconded!

Here was Clinton facing an even weaker field than Mitt Romney in 2012 – which is saying something – with the added advantage that her supposed rivals spent as much time praising her as they did offering oblique, usually embarrassed, criticisms.

While Sen. Bernie Sanders’ fans no doubt liked what they heard about redistributing the stuffing out of Wall Street and moving toward a Scandinavian-style system (seriously), his biggest moment of the night came when he absolved Clinton of her current scandal surrounding secret servers, hidden emails and classified information – rendering it dead and buried as a consideration for her primary rivals.

But they may not even be rivals anymore, if they ever were.

The former senators, Lincoln “The Block” Chafee and Jim “Father Time” Webb, were at the wrong debate. Webb was talking about the benefits of coal, gun rights and battlefield valor in Vietnam and Chafee playing up spending controls and tax cuts – they might as well have been speaking Mandarin.

Martin O’Malley tried to confront Clinton, but appeared instead to be running for America’s assistant principal, exuding his disappointment in a condescending tone. Depending on what O’Malley’s campaign costs to run and what he can raise, he can presumably hang in until the Iowa caucuses hoping for the weather to change. But we were not looking at the man who was going to break the Clinton machine.

Unless Vice President Joe Biden gets into the race – which looks less likely after the thumping Clinton delivered to her foes and her recent uptick in the polls – Clinton is getting back on the coronation track.
But how she’s going about it matters.

Clinton’s central talking point of the night was her own gender. Americans want an outsider not an insider? She’s outside the male gender, amirite sisters? Her difference from Obama: XX chromosome, y’all! Why was she late getting back from the potty? Lady stuff, Anderson. You wouldn’t understand…

So that’s not going to cut it.

Like Romney in 2012, she lacks the trust or passion of her party’s base. So like him, she has to shackle herself to unpopular or electorally dangerous stances on issues in a bid to secure a win.

There was plenty of loose talk about topics – gun control, global warming, crime and bank regulations, to name four – that would be fine fodder for general election attack ads and talking points.

And most of all, Clinton embraced the idea of running for a third Obama term. That helps keep Biden on the sidelines, but will be a drag with persuadable voters next year.

If things are coming to a quick conclusion, she still has time to un-flip some of the flops, or at least scale them back. But if Biden burns more time on the clock and Sanders and his army keep the pressure on – and one can expect they will – she will have to wait awhile.

And the longer she has to wait to pivot, the more ungainly it will be.

Bernie rakes in $1.3 million post-debate - WaPo: “The presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said it raised $1.3 million Tuesday in the four hours after the Democratic debate began. Sanders appears to have successfully parlayed his most-talked about moment during the debate — telling Hillary Rodham Clinton that ‘the American people are sick and tired of talking about your damn e-mail’ — into a sharp uptick in donations.”

[Watch Fox: New Fox News poll numbers release on President Obama’s job rating during “Special Report with Bret Baier” 6 p.m. ET]

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Hear, hear! New Yorker: “Like many canonized works, [Henry David Thoreau’s ‘Walden’] is more revered than read, so it exists for most people only as a dim impression retained from adolescence or as the source of a few famous lines: ‘I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.’ ‘If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.’ ‘Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!’ Extracted from their contexts, such declarations read like the text on inspirational posters or quote-a-day calendars – purposes to which they are routinely put. Together with the bare facts of the retreat at Walden, those lines have become the ones by which we adumbrate Thoreau, so that our image of the man has also become simplified and inspirational. In that image, Thoreau is our national conscience: the voice in the American wilderness, urging us to be true to ourselves and to live in harmony with nature. This vision cannot survive any serious reading of ‘Walden.’”

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

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve 45.1 percent//Disapprove – 49.6 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction 26.6 percent//Wrong Track – 63.7 percent

CARLY ENDS HOT STREAK BETTER OFF
Carly Fiorina
’s hot streak appears to be over, but she has a lot more chips in this game than she did when she started.

In the latest Fox News poll, Fiorina saw a dip in support since the September poll – dropping 4 points to sixth place overall. As New Analytics predicted in Friday’s edition of The Edge, press and public interest in Fiorina had plummeted as the glow of her debate victory faded.

But Fiorina ranks in the top five candidates of those people would “definitely vote for” at 30 percent, with 22 percent saying they need more information about her before deciding. She also hits a high mark of people who “might vote for” her at 35 percent. Fiorina still has room to grow, and voters like her.

And with the campaign announcing they raked in $6.8 million, outpacing Sen. Marco Rubio, she will have the funds to do it. Fiorina lands in third place for fundraising totals among totals released so far. And her campaign is spending carefully. She even flies coach.

Fiorina ends her hot streak with more money, better poll position and stronger organization than she began it. If she gets another good run in this month’s debate, she could really be ready to capitalize. And best of all for her, her boom was not followed by a bust as is so often for candidates in the early going.

Jeb gets top N.H. Republican - WMUR: “One of the state’s highest ranking Republican elected officials  will endorse Jeb Bush for president on Wednesday, WMUR.com has learned. State Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, will formally reveal his presidential choice when he introduces the former Florida governor at a town hall…  Morse is known as a fiscal hawk, but at the same time a pragmatic lawmaker who is open to compromise.”

[Act now and they will throw in a set of steak knives - WSJ: “In a sign of the fierce competition for new donors in the Republican presidential race, a major party fundraiser backing Jeb Bush is inviting potential supporters to meet the candidate at a reception at a private country club in Greenwich, Conn. – for free. ‘Come meet Jeb Bush as my guest,’ reads the e-mail from Leora Levy, who serves on the finance committees of the Republican National Committee and the party’s Senate and House fundraising arms.]

WHITHER OBAMACARE?
David Drucker
wonders:“Have Republicans given up on getting rid of Obamacare? It’s a poignant question when Donald Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner, supports the concept of nationalized, government-administered health care. Meanwhile, candidates with detailed plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have gained little traction for their effort. One, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, remains a long shot in the race; another, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, dropped out for lack of support soon after unveiling his proposal. ‘I would put Obamacare at the top of a list of issues that are simmering below the surface,’ Jindal campaign pollster Wes Anderson said Tuesday. ‘It’s going to be an issue.’ That appears to be the consensus of Republicans working in the trenches — that GOP primary voters will eventually get around to prioritizing where the 2016 contenders stand on President Obama’s landmark overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.”

POWER PLAY: RYAN, HOUSE GOP BALK AT SHOTGUN WEDDING
As Rep. Paul Ryan mulls a movement to draft him as speaker of the House, will Republicans unite or is more tribal bloodshed about to be spilled? Chris Stirewalt has the details, in just 60 seconds. WATCH HERE 

PEAK FLORIDA: GATOR BITE DUCT TAPED
WKMG: “SEVILLE, Fla. - A hunter who fell off his boat was bitten by a 12-foot alligator in Volusia County, officials say. … The incident occurred Sunday morning on Lake George in Seville. Volusia County fire officials said Kemp Galleneau suffered a bite to his leg around 9:45 a.m. near the 1600 block of Lake George Road. According to officials, Galleneau had a legal tag for the gator and had it next to his boat when he fell overboard. Galleneau was bitten on the left calf by the gator, which was at least 12 feet long. Dusty McDevitt and his son, Corey Beckington, 13, … were hunting for alligators on a different boat than Galleneau. The father and son then rushed over to help. They said they duct taped the man’s leg and brought over the now dead gator to the shore.”

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.