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Buzz Cut:
• The Edge: Cruz rises high, as Carson, Jeb sink
• Power Play: When the Trump whale turns on Cruz
• New emails add to Hillary’s haunting
• Obama gun push shows lame duck feathers
• No, he’s not barking about the bacon

THE EDGE: CRUZ RISES HIGH, AS CARSON, JEB SINK
It’s election year crunch time. The preseason is over, and the formation of the race is finally taking shape. So far, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, seems to be building the strongest momentum as we head towards the Iowa caucus Feb. 1. But several others are seeing slippage as the clock runs down on their presidential timelines.

This week’s installment of The Edge from the New Analytics Company shows Cruz with the biggest jump in media mentions since last week, but The Edge’s new feature of “daily mentions” shows Donald Trump snagging the biggest day-to-day draw.

Jeb Bush experienced the most dramatic drop this week, plummeting in media mentions. In that same breath, Ben Carson continued his pre-Christmas spiral downward and comes in just behind Bush in loss of mentions this week.

Most candidates saw declines in their share of discussions as well, including: Trump, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Marco Rubio, F-Fla., Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark. And then there was Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., who experienced virtually no change at all.

The Edge “scrubs” television, radio, print, internet and social media for mentions of the 2016 candidates. The team at New Analytics has built unique tool to measure which candidates are being talked about the most and the data are compiled into a single score and provided to Fox News First.

Here are their rankings for media mentions this week, with their gain or decline from last week in brackets.

Donald Trump, 25.89 [-.02]; Ben Carson, 12.64 [-.87]; Jeb Bush, 12.11 [-1.68]; Ted Cruz, 11.45 [+.54]; Marco Rubio, 10.44 [-.14]; Chris Christie, 7.20 [no c change]; Carly Fiorina, 6.56 [+.17]; Rand Paul, 5.36 [-.12]; John Kasich, 5.21 [-.28]; Mike Huckabee, 5.12 [-.48]

Christie continues crusade on Rubio - The Hill: “GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie says rival Marco Rubio doesn’t have what it takes to go up against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, arguing she would ‘cut his heart out’ in the general election. ‘You want someone on that stage against Hillary Clinton who has been through the wars, not somebody who’s a first-term United States senator who has never had a tough race in his life,’ Christie said Wednesday on the ‘Laura Ingraham Show.’ ‘This guy’s been spoon-fed every victory he’s ever had in his life.’”

Rubio hits back - On “FOX & Friends” this morning, Sen. Marco Rubio, fired back at Chris Christie’s attacks saying, “I just don’t think that the person who’s the next president of the United States and in the Republican nomination should be someone like Chris Christie who supports common core, who has personally donated to Planned Parenthood, who got into politics to begin with in order to pass gun control, who has seen his state downgraded 6-7 times since he took over as governor and their credit rating.”

[Team Rubio released a new ad featuring the candidate throwing the old pigskin around and answering football related questions. The ad is set to air in early states during this weekend’s NFL games.]

Power Play: When the Trump whale turns on Cruz - Sen. Ted Cruz, has been playing pilot fish to Donald Trump’s whale shark throughout the cycle. But what happens to Cruz with Trump starts to turn on him? Washington Times columnist, Charles Hurt, and Washington Examiner's Senior Congressional Correspondent David Drucker give the lay of the land to Chris Stirewalt. WATCH HERE.

Trump security screens out Sanders supporters - NYT: “Want to see Donald J. Trump speak in Vermont? Then you better pledge allegiance to Mr. Trump. Several people who waited for hours outside of the Flynn Center to attend Mr. Trump’s rally in Burlington on Thursday night said that, as they passed through metal detectors, security workers asked if they were supporters of the billionaire businessman. Rowdy protesters chanted and held signs outside of the theater before Mr. Trump’s speech, and his campaign released thousands of extra tickets when it learned that supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders…were planning to come to try to steal the show…the campaign was taking measures to ensure that those who made it in were people they wanted. ‘I’m taking care of my people, not people who don’t want to vote for me or are undecided,’ Mr. Trump said through a campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks. ‘They are loyal to me and I am loyal to them.”

Trump video turns up the heat on Clinton sexual abuse - In a new video Trump links Hillary Clinton with Bill Cosby, who was recently charged with sexual assault, as well as Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky against the backdrop of Hillary Clinton’s 1995 speech on women’s rights to the United Nations.

Fox News Sunday: Trump and State of the Union - Donald Trump joins Chris Wallace to talk 2016, while White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough gives a preview of President Obama’s State of the Union address next week. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

Cruz: Birtherism is just Washington panicking - Dallas Morning News: “With Cruz surging to the top of the GOP field in Iowa, rival Donald Trump began to sow doubts about his eligibility this week. Then Sen. John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee for president, piled on…Cruz chalked up the attacks to fears that he’s on track to win the GOP nomination. ‘There’s no doubt that the Washington cartel is in full panic mode…because they are seeing on the ground conservatives uniting,’ Cruz told reporters at an airplane hangar in Webster City [Iowa] on Thursday afternoon.”

Carson says House wanted him for speaker in 2014 - The Hill: “House Republicans reached out to GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson in 2014 about replacing John Boehner as Speaker of the House, Carson told The Hill on Thursday. ‘They were looking for an alternative, they were looking for someone strong and courageous who might really be able to add some spine and some backbone,’ Carson said. ‘I was very flattered that there were several members that thought I’d fit the bill very well, but I think it played out correctly the way that it did.’”

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
On this day in 1642 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei died leaving behind a legacy that would change how we study the universe. Galileo set out to further Nicolaus Copernicustheory that the universe was heliocentric, a decision that would cause Galileo to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and live under house arrest until his death. But death was not the end of Galileo’s adventure. The story of his burial is more complicated than most. Since he was excommunicated, Pope Urban VIII refused to allow a tomb to be built for Galileo, and he was initially buried in an unmarked grave in Florence, Italy.  Nearly 100 years after his death, Galileo’s body was moved to his final resting place in a tomb between Niccolo Machiavelli and Michelangelo at the Basilica of Santa Croce also in Florence. In the process of moving his body, someone cut off his middle finger, which is now on display, and is said to be pointing towards Rome.

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POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Republican Nomination –
Trump 35.3 percent; Cruz 20.0 percent; Rubio 11.0 percent; Carson 9.7 percent
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump – Clinton +4.8 points
Generic Congressional Vote: Republicans +0.5

NEW EMAILS ADDS TO HILLARY’S HAUNTING
Presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may have her sights set on reconstituting today’s version of the Obama coalition and burying rival Bernie Sanders’s challenge in the process, but past skeletons keep getting in her way. She is already dodging the ghosts of her husband’s sexual escapades that have raised cries of hypocrisy in a candidate championing women’s rights. Today adds another log to the fire. This one among the latest batch of emails from her tenure as secretary of state released overnight…


ABC News: “ [O]ne document dated February 27, 2011 Clinton sends an email to her top adviser, Jake Sullivan, in which she expressed surprise that a State Department staffer was using a personal email account to discuss official business. The email chain shows that a State employee named John Godfrey wrote a detailed summary of information about Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that was soon forwarded to Clinton. Jake Sullivan writes to Clinton that its ‘Worth a read. This guy is very thoughtful.’ Clinton responds by asking for whom Godfrey works. ‘Us,’ Sullivan writes back. Clinton replies: ‘Is he in NEA [Near Eastern Affairs] currently? Or was he in Embassy? I was surprised that he used personal email account if he is at State.’”

At the very least ironic, the exchange raises questions as to whether Clinton was pointing out some level of impropriety among her staff while she was engaged in the same activity.

1340 classified and counting - “The total number of classified emails found on Clinton’s personal server has risen to 1,340 with the latest release,” Fox News reports. “[O]ne email thread from June 2011 appears to include Clinton telling her top adviser Jake Sullivan to send secure information through insecure means. In response to Clinton’s request for a set of since-redacted talking points, Sullivan writes, ‘They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.’ Clinton responds ‘If they can’t, turn into nonpaper [with] no identifying heading and send nonsecure.’”

Power Play: Dealing with Bubba’s past - As the pressure builds, Hillary Clinton faces the prospect of having to answer for husband’s long history of sexual abuse claims. How should she handle it? Charles Hurt of the Washington Times and David Drucker of the WashEx discuss with Chris Stirewalt. WATCH HERE.

Bubba brushes off continued Trump attacks on sexual assault - WSJ: “Bill Clinton brushed off Donald Trump’s latest effort to draw attention to the former president’s dealings with women, suggesting the Republican presidential front-runner would have to get closer to capturing the GOP nomination to merit a response. ‘If he wins the Republican nomination, we’ll have plenty of time to talk,’ Mr. Clinton told reporters Thursday while stopping at a market in Cedar Rapids, where he tried various foods and spoke to customers. ‘I have no interest in getting involved in their politics or doing anything except trying to help Hillary.’”

Planned Parenthood to endorse Hillary - Fox News: “Planned Parenthood announced Thursday that it will endorse Hillary Clinton for president -- the controversial group’s first political endorsement in its history… The group announced the endorsement on Twitter, calling Clinton the ‘only candidate to speak up for Planned Parenthood at the debates’ and cited her legislative record of ‘expanding and protecting access to reproductive health care.’”

OBAMA GUN PUSH SHOWS LAME DUCK FEATHERS
WashFreeBeacon: President Obama spent the week defending his proposals to curb gun violence, culminating in a CNN town hall. Think about that. What else happened during the last few days that might warrant a presidential town hall?... It’s not just that every rogue actor from Kim and Putin and Castro to Maduro and Khamenei and Xi knows he has one last year to behave badly without fear of reprisal. It’s that the president and his team are isolated, aloof, detached from reality. They think a climate deal is a rebuke to terrorism. They think the response to jihad in San Bernardino is to ‘close the gun-show loophole.’”

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz and guests breakdown President Obama’s town hall on gun control Thursday evening. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.

NO, HE’S NOT BARKING ABOUT THE BACON
UPI: “Massachusetts police credited a Terrier in the rescue of another dog after the two escaped from their home. A post on the Facebook page of the police department in Orange, Mass., said one of the escaped dogs repeatedly ran up to and barked at an officer before ultimately leading him to the other dog’s location. The dogs had escaped from their home after their owner was taken to the hospital with a medical condition, prompting a police officer to search the neighborhood. ‘One of the dogs ran up to him, barking. The dog insisted that the officer follow him through a field to an embankment,’ the post read. ‘Officer Bisceglia saw that the second dog had slid on the ice, approximately 30 feet down to the bottom, and was wedged in some overgrowth.’ Firefighters and animal control were eventually able to free the second dog who suffered some minor injuries.’”

AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“This is an administration hell-bent on doing [a nuclear deal with Iran], and we will regret it for a generation.” Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up
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