**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

Buzz Cut:
• 2016 GOP Power Index: Carson drops on security fears
• Power Play: What it takes to win New Hampshire
• Hillary gets roasted over sex assault message
• Obama says his critics are helping the enemy
• Ah, Canada…


2016 GOP POWER INDEX: CARSON DROPS ON SECURITY FEARS
Ben Carson
could only defy political gravity for so long.

As the latest Fox News poll shows, it’s been a rough week for Carson. And he can blame both his tormenter-in-chief, Donald Trump, and also the shift in voters’ focus to Islamist terrorism.

The single largest shift in the poll is Carson’s 5-point slide. The reason is no mystery. Just as Carson was weathering an intense round of character attacks from Trump, who rails against the well-liked Carson as dishonest and unstable, a more intense round of the commander-in-chief test was initiated by the Paris attacks.

Thinking about a mild-mannered physician as president is one thing in the summertime when the headlines are dominated by presidential horserace coverage. But when winter is coming on and voters are made to confront the possibility of a large-scale attack on our shores, the conversation changes.

Trump bumps up 2 points in the poll and two spots in the Power Index for his successful attacks on Carson. It may not much widen his path to the nomination, but Trump’s scorched-earth personal attacks achieved their goal here: the diminution of Ben Carson.

The big winners in this poll, as well as last week’s Bloomberg survey, are the two rising stars of the GOP field who have been atop the Power Index for several weeks: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Both have made foreign policy major parts of their appeals to voters and both take a hard line on ISIS & Co. The senators each gained 3 points to move into a tie for third.

There was some troubling news for another candidate. Carly Fiorina saw her share of the vote unchanged since the GOP debate two weeks ago. If her ability to translate strong debate performances into polling booms has run its course, Fiorina faces a tough climb from here.

1) Ted Cruz; 2) Marco Rubio; 3) Donald Trump [+2]; 4) Carly Fiorina [-1]; 5) Ben Carson [-1]; 6) Jeb Bush

On the radar -
Rand PaulChris ChristieJohn KasichMike Huckabee and Rick Santorum

What would you say? -
 Give us your take on the 2016 Power Index. We will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM

Trump: Maybe heckler deserved to be ‘roughed up’ - Alabama Live: “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Fox News on Sunday morning that a Black Lives Matter protester thrown out of his Birmingham rally perhaps deserved to be ‘roughed up’ for being ‘obnoxious.’”

Threatens independent bid - ABC News: “Republican Donald Trump on Sunday refused to rule out an independent bid for president in 2016, and he dug in on creating a database to track Muslims in the U.S. Asked on ABC’s ‘This Week’ whether he would consider a third-party run if GOP opponents try ‘to take you out,’ Trump said, ‘I will see what happens. I have to be treated fairly. If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine.’”

Rubio’s opening ad: ISIS fight a ‘civilizational struggle’ - AP: “Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio unveils his first national television campaign ad this week, focusing on the terror threat of the Islamic State group. The Florida senator appears by himself in the ad and says there is ‘no middle ground’ in America’s fight against IS because ‘these are radical terrorists who want to kill us.’ …The Rubio campaign says in a statement on Sunday that the 30-second ad will air nationwide, beginning Tuesday.”

“We need a ground force that defeats ISIS, and it should made up primarily of Arab Sunnis. That’s the only way you’re going to defeat them. They have to be defeated by Arab Sunnis themselves.” – Sen. Marco Rubio on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”

Cruz PACs staffing up Palmetto State - Bloomberg: “Keep The Promise PAC, the umbrella organization for a cluster of pro-Cruz super-PACs, is hiring 14 full-time field directors and county organizers in the Palmetto State, the group is expected to announce Monday.”

[WaPo goes under the hood on Cruz’s strategy with Christian voters.]

POWER PLAY: WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN NEW HAMPSHIRE
With three months until the first-in-the-nation presidential primary New Hampshire is the go-to spot for candidates, especially those looking for a breakout win. State GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn tells Chris Stirewalt the latest on which candidates have the best ground game, and what she thinks of the increasingly competitive Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and her Democratic challenger Gov. Maggie HassanWATCH HERE.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Fred Rogers
created something likely never to be seen on television again. His faith and training as a Presbyterian minister inspired a show for children. He didn’t talk down to them, but treated them as people in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” who had the same feelings and problems as every person regardless of age. The Atlantic describes how such a simple concept changed so many young lives: “Rogers told kids they mattered, that they were worthy of love, and that emotions were to be embraced, not buried. He spoke to children like grown-ups, and helped them tackle topics such as anger, trust, honesty, courage, and sadness…Later in Rogers’s life, he recounted the story of a child who was being abused by his biological parents…Through encountering ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’ the child began to hope that there were kind people in the world and became convinced that he too should be treated with respect. The child called an abuse hotline and was rescued. If the story doesn’t seem exceptional enough, consider that the hotline operator who answered the phone adopted the boy.”

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

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 43.4 percent//Disapprove – 52.0 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.3 percent//Wrong Track – 64.3 percent

HILLARY GETS ROASTED OVER SEX ASSAULT MESSAGE
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted Sunday that “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.” That’s more than a little problematic given the multiple women who have accused her husband of sexual misconduct over the years, women who the former first lady most certainly did not believe. Daily Caller reports: “The link in her tweet [posted in support of a controversial documentary] went to a campaign webpage on sexual assault on campus that starts with a quote from a speech Hillary gave in September: ‘I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we’re with you.’”

Dropping the Rodham - Now that her campaign has advised the publication she’d prefer to drop the “Rodham,” WaPo takes a dive into the history of Hillary’s use of her maiden name: “[I]t seems that when Clinton feels that a more traditional naming pattern might be a matter of protocol or politically advantageous -- capable of helping her play down the traits for which she is most often criticized -- she is Hillary Clinton.”

Key senator ratchets up pressure in classified doc probe - Politico: “Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is amping up his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email setup and the special work status of one of her top confidantes…On Wednesday, he issued a letter to former Clinton aide Heather Samuelson, who screened Clinton's emails as secretary of state to initially determine which ones would be turned over to the government and made available publicly, and which ones were deemed private and would later be deleted…”

[A new Pew Research Center study says just 19 percent of people trust the government, among the lowest levels in the last half-century.]

OBAMA SAYS HIS CRITICS ARE HELPING THE ENEMY
The Hill: “President Obama said Sunday that the Republicans running for president and in Congress continue to respond to terror attacks are doing what the terrorists want them to do….‘Prejudice and discrimination helps ISIL and undermines our national security,’ Obama said.”

Obama approval drops on ISIS policy - Fox News: “A Fox News national poll released Sunday finds Democrats and Republicans united against President Obama’s plan to accept Syrian refugees -- as most voters think at least one will be a terrorist who will launch a successful attack here...The current situation has pushed the president’s job rating to a low point for the year. Forty percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing, while 54 percent disapprove. It was 45-50 percent earlier this month.”

Top Dem hits Obama on ISIS - CBS News: “The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has critical words for President Obama’s plan to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria  ‘This has gone on too long now. And it has not gotten better. It’s gotten worse,’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ Sunday’…. ‘I don’t think the approach is sufficient to the job.’”

AH, CANADA…
WaPo: “In studios across the nation, as many as 20 million Americans practice yoga every day. Few worry that their downward dogs or warrior poses disrespect other cultures. But yoga comes from India, once a British colony. And now, at one Canadian university, a yoga class designed to include disabled students has been canceled after concerns the practice was taken from a culture that ’experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy,’ according to the group that once sponsored it. In a telephone interview with The Washington Post, Jennifer Scharf, who taught the class for up to 60 people at the University of Ottawa, said she was unhappy about the decision, but accepted it.”

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.