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On the roster: - Rubio considers risky reelection bid - Trump: ‘something going on’ with Obama’s terrorism stance - D.C. Dem primary day brings questions for Bernie - Wedded bliss
RUBIO CONSIDERS RISKY REELECTION BID
Ten days. That’s exactly how long Sen. Marco Rubio has to decide whether or not he’ll seek reelection to his Senate seat in order to meet the state’s June 24 filing deadline to get on the ballot in November.
Since dropping out of the presidential race in March, the Florida senator has insisted repeatedly that he will be a “private citizen” come January 2017, but the massacre in his home state has changed his thinking.
As he told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday, “When it visits your home state, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country.”
But there are a lot of liabilities for Rubio in making such a change.
First, to seemingly hinge political ambitions on the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history may not come across very well, and Rubio would need to construct a careful narrative to avoid being pinned as using tragedy for opportunity.
Then there’s the fact that Rubio’s friend and current Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is currently running for the seat and Rubio’s entrance would force Lopez-Cantera out (as he and two other Republicans running indicated they would do if Rubio changed his mind).
And the possibility that Rubio could run and lose in his home state for the second time in a year is pretty politically damning.
But perhaps the most difficult hurdle for Rubio would be making the decision that every GOP senator faces this cycle: endorsing Donald Trump.
Rubio has already had to play this game even without running for reelection in an awkward series of muddled statements that seem to support Trump without actually supporting him, and continuing to be critical of him.
Being part of the reelection crowd would make Rubio’s nuanced stance on the presumed Republican nominee even tougher, as Senate colleague Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H has encountered already. And endorsing Trump at this stage when he reiterated as recently as last week that he would not trust Trump with the nuclear launch codes would seem awfully self-serving.
Despite the hurdles, polling indicates the field is still wide open in the Sunshine State. The most recent poll from Quinnipiac University shows there are no clear winners in a general election matchup between the five Republican and the two Democratic candidates. The poll does show that among the expansive field, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., performs strongest, leaving many Republican leaders concerned that the seat could flip back to blue and jeopardize their majority.
Some donors have indicated they may not contribute to Florida’s senate race unless Rubio opts in since they do not see a Republican winner among the current candidates. The National Republican Senatorial Committee doesn’t have a favored candidate to direct donations to leaving those currently competing with minimal resources in a state that requires upwards of $5 million per week to be competitive. Rubio would have the NRSC’s financing as an incumbent, and with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying Rubio’s the only candidate who can win, other donors are sure to follow, giving Rubio a hefty advantage.
But while money may be on his side to jump in, the long term political consequences could make the choice to become a private citizen more attractive for Rubio…at least until 2020.
While the shooting in Orlando has old glory flying at half-staff across much of the country, it is fitting to note that the banner that symbolizes the strength and unity of the nation was adopted on this day 1777 by the Continental Congress. An opinion piece penned this week by James F. Burns, a retired professor at the University of Florida reminds us of the essence of that strength:
“I represent the American spirit, the indomitable demand and yearning for freedom, excellence, and opportunity. I am not the flag of a ruling regime or royal family. I am the American flag, representing rights emanating from a higher and transcendent authority honored on our coinage. Look up to me as you salute or stand at attention. Pledge yourself to fulfill lofty goals symbolized by my heavenly sky-blue field for fifty stars. With red for valor and zeal and white for hope and purity, look up and salute with pride what the patriot poet hailed as a worthy star-spangled banner. May it forever wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
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Average of national presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +4.5 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.2
TRUMP: ‘SOMETHING GOING ON’ WITH OBAMA’S TERRORISM STANCE
Time: “Donald Trump suggested Monday that President Obama is oblivious to issues of terrorism—and he seemed to suggest in the process that Obama might sympathize with the suspected gunman in the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting. The unsubstantiated insinuations, in a series of interviews Monday morning, came from the Republican presidential candidate who once led calls for the release of the President’s birth certificate and has more than once indulged conspiracy theories about Obama’s faith and heritage.
On Monday, just one day after a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in Orlando—the worst mass shooting in American history—Trump said on Fox News that he believes there’s ‘something else going on.’ ‘Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,’ Trump said. ‘People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.’”
Team Hillary prepared to take on Trump’s dominant issue of terrorism - Politico: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign knows a national conversation about terrorism will take place on Donald Trump’s terms. That’s why Clinton is matching the presumptive GOP nominee speech for speech, interview for interview and sound bite for sound bite in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando. Recognizing Trump’s ability to swallow news cycles whole — and his willingness to disregard the boundaries of mainstream debate — the presumptive Democratic nominee came well-prepared Monday for the political aftermath of the worst shooting in American history. She immediately neutralized one of his prime attacks by ditching her reluctance to say ‘radical Islam’ and sought to corner the real estate developer into a conversation about specifics. It’s a good thing, many relieved Democrats said Monday, because Trump’s singular focus on terrorism and his blunt prescriptions will keep the issue on the front burner for the foreseeable future.”
D.C. DEM PRIMARY DAY BRINGS QUESTIONS FOR BERNIE
NYT: “While the outcome of the District of Columbia’s contest on Tuesday is of little consequence now that Mrs. Clinton is the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, one question is keeping the intrigue alive: What will Mr. Sanders, her remaining rival for the nomination, do next? Thus far, the only certainty is that he and Mrs. Clinton plan to hold a private meeting on Tuesday…Several people close to the senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions, say he will try to get assurances from Mrs. Clinton that she will fight for many of his campaign policy proposals, including a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, a jobs program tied to repairing the country’s infrastructure, and tuition-free public colleges and universities. At this point, Mr. Sanders is refusing to concede defeat and release his delegates to vote for Mrs. Clinton, which some think could avoid a sense of disunity at the Democratic convention.”
Hillary warns against ‘inflammatory’ rhetoric, calls for increased gun control in wake of Orlando - NPR
David Drucker explains how Trump’s response to Orlando has some in the GOP worried - WashEx
Trump revokes press credentials for WaPo - WaPo
Trump demands Clintons return $25 million from the Saudis - Politico
“You have to define the enemy to beat it. That’s a basic military strategist idea. We have to define it as radical Islamism and defeat it.” -- Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, on “Fox & Friends” today discussing President Obama’s decision not to use the term Islamic when describing terrorist attacks in Orlando.
AP: “The best man slapped the groom on the back, which is an old Cypriot wedding custom. The priest punching the best man would be an innovation. But Cyprus police said Monday they are investigating an allegation that this happened at a wedding over the weekend. Police say the victim —the groom’s 22-year-old brother — was taken to a hospital but wasn’t seriously hurt and that his family filed a complaint…The family member told The Associated Press that the wedding unraveled during the ceremony’s Dance of Isaiah, when the priest, holding the Gospel, led the couple around the altar three times. With the backslapping continuing, the irate priest put the gospel down and unleased on the brother…He said although the priest hastily abandoned the ceremony after the kerfuffle, the couple did receive a marriage certificate.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.