[Fox News First will be no more. What will you do when it’s out the door? On Friday morning, we’ll tell you the score.]
• For Hillary, how much Obama is too much?
• Hillary bombs Trump on national security
• Head of RNC Hispanic relations quits
• 2 x 5 = Trouble
• There goes his trip to Poland
FOR HILLARY, HOW MUCH OBAMA IS TOO MUCH?
However much President Obama has disliked his job, he has always seemed to love applying for it.
Back on the campaign trail in Indiana on Thursday, Obama argued, obliquely, for a Hillary Clinton presidency. And revisiting his preferred message of the previous presidential cycle: Don’t let Republicans reverse “progress.”
By progress, of course, Obama is referring to his own legacy, especially his health-insurance program and regulations on banks. In a lot of ways, Obama has been in legacy-protection mode for most of his presidency. So not surprisingly he seeks to cast Clinton’s candidacy in the same light.
Republicans may scoff at the notion of a president who has presided over disappointing economic growth, a muddled foreign policy, and a country in which two-thirds of voters feel things are on the wrong track to call for a continuation.
But Obama’s steadily rising popularity in the past six months is a reflection that something else is going on here, too. At about Christmastime, Obama’s approval rating was about nine points underwater in the Real Clear Politics average, and approaching levels not seen since before the Democrats midterm thrashing in 2014.
Today, Obama’s approval rating is in positive territory, and still trending upward. The reason likely has something to do with Joe Biden’s frequent exhortation to voters in 2012: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.”
Certainly Obama has benefitted from the fact that the economy has been stable and the national security scene has been relatively placid since the Islamist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. in December.
But to see why Americans are feeling better about Obama, let’s check in on how Americans are feeling about his potential replacements.
If you were a Democrat you might fret about the fact that just 44 percent of registered voters in the latest Quinnipiac University poll held a favorable opinion of your party…until you looked at the Republicans.
Just 34 percent of voters held a favorable view of the GOP, including just 25 percent of Independent voters and only about three-quarters of Republicans themselves.
The broad consensus of the electorate is that politics stinks and that this election is the most malodorous.
Obama, who has always wanted to see himself as above the political fray, has been above it all and really out of it all for months. Obama’s self-imposed neutrality in his party’s primary has given him the perfect reason in 2016 to be about as bland as a taupe suit.
But Clinton has just about completed her slo-mo thrashing of Bernie Sanders and so Obama is feeling empowered to get off the sidelines and into the game. What the president may find out, however, that like most politicians, the less they see of him, the better voters like him.
Clinton’s challenge with Obama is to make sure that Obama’s supporters see enough of the president on her side to keep the Democratic coalition intact, but not so much as to trigger another round of Obama fatigue.
Plus, voters are desperate for change. We know the facts: in the 16 presidential elections since 1952, the same party has only once kept control for three consecutive terms. And, polls continue to show that voters are hungry for change – two thirds of voters consistently say that the country is on the wrong track.
And, hovering above it all is the fact that Clinton and Obama are longtime rivals with different views on politics, policy and, most of all, which legacy will define the Democratic Party for the next generation.
As their always-fraught relationship enters its next phase – Clinton ascendant and Obama in decline – the roles are different but the challenge remains the same: keeping all the egos in check.
Good luck with that.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
How can animals travel thousands of miles and yet return to the exact same spot? The Atlantic: “Every three years, the Royal Institute of Navigation organizes a conference focused solely on animals…Scientists have sought for centuries to explain how animals, particularly migratory species, find their way with awesome precision across the globe. Examples of these powers abound. Bar-tailed godwits depart from the coastal mudflats of northern Alaska in autumn and set out across the Pacific Ocean, flying for eight days and nights over featureless water before arriving in New Zealand, seven thousand miles away…The only problem is that no one can seem to locate the compass.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +1.5 point
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.2 points
HILLARY BOMBS TRUMP ON NATIONAL SECURITY
WaPo: “[Hillary] Clinton’s campaign hopes that there are many more national-security-minded Republicans and independents who would vote for her, even grudgingly, rather than see Trump win the White House. Those voters are an important part of the audience for her case that she is fit to be commander in chief and that Trump is not. Clinton has begun making that argument more forcefully as her long primary battle grinds to a close. She will deliver what her campaign calls a major foreign policy address in California on Thursday, focused both on her ideas and leadership credentials and on what she will describe as the threat Trump poses to national security.”
First in Fox News First: America Rising pre-buttal - America Rising Squared, the policy arm of the pro-GOP America Rising PAC, reacted to Clinton’s speech preview. From AR2 Communications Director Jeremy Adler: “Hillary Clinton should only be talking about herself when it comes to a dangerous, failed foreign policy because that’s the only way to describe her record. Her disastrous decision-making on a slew of issues has been well-documented, from repeated missteps when dealing with Putin’s Russia to nonexistent planning for Libya to using a private email server for classified material that put American lives at risk, she disqualified herself from ever making foreign policy decisions on behalf of the United States again. If Hillary Clinton wants to highlight what a dangerous, risky and failed foreign policy looks like, all she has to do is look in the mirror.”
Head of RNC Hispanic relations quits - NYT: “The head of Hispanic media relations at the Republican National Committee is resigning this month in what appears to be another indication of the lingering discomfort some party officials have about working to elect Donald J. Trump president. Ruth Guerra, who is of Mexican descent and was in charge of carrying the party’s message to Hispanic voters, is joining the American Action Network, a Republican-aligned ‘super PAC,’ she confirmed in a brief interview on Wednesday.”
2 x 5 = Trouble - Fox News: “The man who set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server will assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refuse to answer questions over an open records lawsuit, according to court documents obtained Wednesday by Fox News. Bryan Pagliano declined to answer questions from watchdog group Judicial Watch during his deposition scheduled for Monday, according to his lawyers. His lawyers also asked a federal judge to block Judicial Watch from recording his deposition, writing that a written transcription should be instead be enough.”
Young voters down on the GOP but not fans of big government - WSJ
HRC raked in $40 million in May - The Hill
New poll shows tight California primary for Hillary, Bernie - NBC News
Team Clinton reviewed introductory remarks for public events to control image - AP
David Drucker explains how the GOP is still rationalizing Trump by saying he won’t change the party - WashEx
Ramesh Ponnuru makes the case for opting out of the binary choice this election - National Review
THE JUDGE’S RULING: HILLARY ON THE ROPES
A recently released report by the State Department Inspector General refutes every defense Hillary Clinton has offered to the allegation that she mishandled state secrets and adds to a cascade of legal misery, observes Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano: “She now awaits an interrogation by impatient FBI agents, which will take place soon after the New Jersey and California primaries next week. Her legal status can only be described as grave or worse than grave.”
“I’ve never been too good at math but I can figure that one out. I think he better do a little mathing.” – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in an interview with the AP.
THERE GOES HIS TRIP TO POLAND
Manchester [U.K.] Evening News: “Passport officers are investigating after a man was left looking like Hitler in his passport photo. Stuart Boyd, 50, was distraught after opening his newly arrived passport to find he looked a dead ringer for the Nazi leader. … The document arrived exactly one week later, but the former paramedic was dismayed to find his reproduced photograph made it look like he had a menacing toothbrush moustache. … ‘I was really angry when I saw it. I was distraught, really. I just thought, ‘Oh, for God’s sake, I have to have this for 10 years and they can’t even get it right. I wasn’t really sure of the process of how to change it so I posted a picture of it on Facebook.’ Friends were quick to stick the boot in. One friend, Ruth Armstrong Carooppunnen, posted on Stuart’s Facebook page: ‘That is Heil-arious!’ Another friend, Glenn Hughes, commented: ‘What’s the problem? It looks al-Reich to me.’”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. 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.