Centrist strategy first casualty of Hillary email scandal

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Buzz Cut:
• Centrist strategy first casualty of Hillary email scandal
• God, mammon and Jeb’s careful straddle in San Francisco
• Woof
• Baier Tracks: Reid’s revealing answer
• Whatburger is so good it is kind of an emergency

Hillary Clinton
’s email scandal means nothing to voters! It is settled conventional wisdom! The campaign has declared that it means nothing to voters! The surveys were in, and revealed that Americans didn’t care about the story but rather, according to her campaign, that “People very much want to know what the campaign is going to be about ... what is she going to do about student loan costs, for example?”

Yeah. About that…

The polls were taken too soon and done before voters had marinated in the fact that one of its major party’s presumptive nominees had destroyed evidence that she says would exonerate her. (Weird, right?) But now we get a picture of how defining of a struggle this will be for Clinton.

She has until May 1 to decide whether or not to answer questions from Congress about why she built a secret email system before taking the job as secretary of state, maintained it in contravention of all the obvious rules and then destroyed more than 30,000 emails and wiped the server after both the legislative and executive branches of government asked her to turn over what she had kept hidden.

And it’s not just Congress, but also that than an inspector general will be rooting around to explain why Clinton explicitly broke the rules and raise new questions about how Clinton and her team were able to conceal from those charged with policing such practices an evasion so widely known among upper echelons of the government, all the way to the president himself.

The new Quinnipiac poll shows that not only is the scandal having its effect on Clinton’s chances to return to the White House, but that it has damaged her core brand with voters: “Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, Florida voters say 50 - 41 percent and Pennsylvania voters say 49 - 44 percent. Ohio voters are divided as 47 percent say yes and 46 percent say no.”

This is a big step down from last month, mirrored in a substantial downgrade in her personal favorability ratings. Part of this is because she has reemerged from her cocoon as elder stateswoman bestride the globe and reminded Americans that she is one of the most divisive, polarizing and partisan figures of her generation. This is all part of falling to earth. But the emails provide the most pungent reminder imaginable of those traits.

Clinton’s campaign bets that this can all eventually be turned into a positive as the first female major-party nominee is subject to what will be a years-long effort by unpopular congressional Republicans to dig through her documents. That’s not a bad bet. But the process of getting there will have a dire effect on Clinton’s planned strategy for returning to the White House.

An inhabitant of a “warm purple space” seeking the presidency in the name of rolling back partisanship, in the name of “inclusive prosperity” does not engage in partisan siege warfare over document secrecy. The second act of Clinton’s presidential campaign – the first being a blighted book launch – shows a candidate who will be very much bound by her past and by the vicious partisan warfare in which the current Democratic president has been engaged.

De Blasio could be key surrogate for Clinton - Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be in Brooklyn today with Chirlane McCray, wife of New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, to encourage parents to speak to their infant children. Clinton is expected by many to put her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, De Blasio’s fast-gentrifying, ultra-liberal home borough. De Blasio, a hero of self-styled “progressive” Democrats is heading to Iowa next month in what could be a timely trip to bolster Clinton’s outreach to the Democratic base.

The Hill: “Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) struck a populist tone on a swing through New Hampshire on Tuesday, arguing Republicans are in the pocket of big banks while Democrats are intimidated by them. Speaking in Bedford, N.H., at the New England Council’s Politics and Eggs gathering, a fired-up O’Malley railed against the ‘powerful and wealthy special interests’ whose prerogative he said ‘threatens the national interest, threatens the national economy, and threatens to wreck the homes, the livelihoods and the hopes of Americans.’ ‘I was on the front lines, and so were you,’ O’Malley declared. ‘The activity that took place on Wall Street and led to this crash might have happened far from our states, but the damage happened in every neighborhood. Millions of jobs. Millions of homes. And instead of following through on the reforms that the American people expected of us, we backed off.’”

Hits GOP support for Indiana law - AP: “Likely Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley says it’s ‘shameful’ for Republicans to support an Indiana law that critics see as legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians…‘I think it's shameful that presidential candidates in this day and age would try to give cover to a law that is sweeping across a lot of Republican-governed states,’ he said, and that would ‘give license to the discrimination of gay and lesbian people.’ He said: ‘It’s not who we are as a country.’”

Power Play: O’Malley’s march - He’s talking tougher, but with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton around, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s 2016 presidential prospects look dim. Can he change that dynamic and transfer his liberal appeal as a blue-state governor to a national campaign? Chris Stirewalt describes O’Malley’s challenge in 60 seconds. WATCH HERE.

San Francisco Chronicle:  “As a growing roster of Bay Area tech firms and CEOs joins the protest against Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — who arrives in the Bay Area on [today]  for fundraisers —  is feeling increasing heat for defending the legislation. Bush plans on banking big money from Silicon Valley for his Right to Rise Super PAC… Bay Area businesses, including Twitter, Yelp, Square and Levi Strauss & Co., along with CEOs Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Tim Cook of Apple, have come out against the law or pulled business from Indiana.”

Power struggle - Tim Carney writes: “On one side is the CEO of the world’s largest company, the president of the United States and a growing chunk of the Fortune 500. On the other side is a solo wedding photographer in New Mexico, a 70-year-old grandma florist in Washington and a few bakers.”

Kasich touts record in careful comment - Rob Nichols, spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, provided the following statement to Fox News First: “The governor is confident that, in the land of freedom, we can find a way to preserve our religious freedom and also live free from discrimination.  As a member of Congress the governor supported the 1993 federal religious freedom law signed by President Clinton on which Indiana’s law is based, and, in one of his first executive orders, he prohibited discrimination in state government employment decisions, including discrimination based on sexual orientation.  In our great, varied and diverse nation, Americans have always been able to find the right way to tolerate our differences and the governor is confident we’ll continue to successfully do that.”

Can Christie duck? - PolitickerNJ.com explores N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s silence on Indiana’s religious liberty law.

In Paul’s absence, Indiana law foes dig through past comments - Buzzfeed: “Sen. Rand Paul [R-Ky.] said he doesn’t buy into the concept of gay rights because they are defined by a gay person’s lifestyle. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever used the word gay rights, because I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior,’ the Kentucky Republican told reporters in a videotaped interview that has received little attention since it was recorded in 2013. But it’s unclear how far, and to whom, Paul extends the argument that rights cannot be defined by behavior…Does Paul believe those behaviors are protected rights? Eleanor May, a spokesperson for Paul’s 2016 re-election campaign to the U.S. Senate, said the rights that count are those in the country’s founding charter. ‘What he is saying in this video is that he does not classify rights based on behavior, but rather recognizes rights for all, as our Constitution defines it,’ May told BuzzFeed News.”

In 2012, the NYT had a thing about Republican Mitt Romney putting his dog on the roof of the family truckster for a vacation trip. In 2016, the candidate offense seems to be not having a dog. The paper today gives Page One treatment to GOP frontrunner Gov. Scott Walker’s allergy to dog dander. Dig this line from what is offered as a soft, feature piece: “Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with ‘worry,’ perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.”

Uptick for Cruz in S.C. poll - Greenville (S.C.) Observer: “A new poll of South Carolina voters shows a bump for Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz as he heads to the Upstate. Cruz captured 13 percent and is in third place in the Townhall/Gravis telephone survey, trailing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who placed first with 17 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a close second with 16 percent.”

[Cruz begins a two day swing through Iowa with stops in Sioux City and Durango today.]

Rubio who’s who -  The Tampa Bay Times gives a rundown of Rubio’s core campaign team that is in place and predominantly employed by his Reclaim America PAC.

Today being a date when fooling is celebrated, Live Science details the shocking discovery that an ancient painting often referred to as Egypt’s “Mona Lisa” may be a fake. The ‘Meidum Geese,’ as modern-day Egyptologists and art historians call it, was supposedly found in 1871 in a tomb located near the Meidum Pyramid, which was built by the pharaoh Snefru (reign 2610-2590 B.C). But a recent study of the species of the birds depicted (two of which are unlikely to have ever flown to Egypt) were among the goosey clues that led Professor Francesco Tiradritti, to conclude the painting was probably painted in the 19th century and palmed off as ancient by its discoverer. There is a silver lining though: “While Tiradritti’s research suggests the painting is a fake, a real one may be hidden underneath. ‘The only thing that, in my opinion, still remains to ascertain is what was (or ‘is’) painted under them. But that can be only established through a noninvasive analysis’ Tiradritti wrote.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 46 percent//Disapprove – 49.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 30.5 percent//Wrong Track – 60.8 percent

WashEx: “President Obama on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would undo new rules governing union elections that businesses oppose, saying they would give an advantage to unions during organizing drives. It was the second veto Obama has issued since Republicans took control of the Senate in January and the fourth of his tenure. The bill, passed by on mostly party-line votes by the House and Senate earlier in March, would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from implementing a rule, issued in December that would accelerate union elections at workplaces. In vetoing the bill, Obama called the rule a ‘modest but overdue’ change to labor elections laws…House Speaker John Boehner objected to the veto.”

“People wonder why approval ratings for Congress and for Washington in general are so low. Well, here’s one prime example: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s answer to Dana Bash when asked about his 2012 accusation on the Senate floor that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes in the past 10 years. At the time fact checkers gave Reid “Four Pinocchios” and “Pants on Fire!” for that whopper, a claim for which Reid provided zero evidence. Chris Cillizza writes at the Washington Post about the retiring senator’s retrospective reply: “‘Romney didn’t win, did he?’ Reid said in response to Bash’s question…Think about that logic for a minute. What Reid is saying is that it’s entirely immaterial whether what he said about Romney and his taxes was true. All that mattered was that Romney didn’t win.” That is a prime reason there is so much distrust for the hot air that comes out of Washington, from both parties. Senator Reid appears to be a proud serial offender in that regard.” - Bret Baier.

That escalated quickly: Schumer, Durbin spatting already - WaPo: “So much for a neat, orderly succession. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) were at odds Tuesday over the future of the Democratic whip position, just days after Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) triggered a leadership shuffle with his retirement announcement. Durbin's office said Schumer vowed to support Durbin staying on as whip, the No. 2 position in leadership. Schumer's office said he made no such assurance…According to Durbin's office, Durbin and Schumer came to an agreement during that chat in anticipation of Reid's announcement. ‘The two senators agreed to support each other, Schumer for leader, Durbin for whip,’ said Durbin spokesman Ben Marter. ‘They shook hands. That was the interaction.’ But Schumer spokesman Matt House denied that his boss agreed to back Durbin for whip. ‘That never happened, and they know it,’ House said.”

With some kind of deal to lift sanctions against Iran – or to keep talking about the prospect of talking about talking – in the offing, Eli Lake offers a timely profile of the man who has won concessions from America once considered unimaginable for the theocracy: “[Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s] ability to negotiate concessions despite Iran’s shaky past would be impressive enough for any foreign minister. But consider that he was able to do so even as his bosses in Tehran waged a successful proxy war against Western allies throughout the Middle East. In Yemen, a pro-American government fell this month to Iranian backed Houthi fighters, and prompted Saudi Arabia to launch an air war to beat them back. In Syria, Iranian support has been vital to the survival of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator Obama used to say had to go.”

[American Enterprise Institute has released its latest political report focusing on terrorism, how safe Americans feel under President Obama versus prior administrations and overall satisfaction with national security.]

“The president lifted the sanctions, just to bring Iran to the negotiating table. And we've continually given away the best cards we hold. The best approach would be to walk away now, to reinstitute the suspended sanctions and impose new sanctions to get back to a position of strength so we can negotiate a better deal.” – Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on “The Kelly File” Watch here.

[The latest Fox News polls on President Obama’s job approval, Iran nuclear talks and the war against terrorism will be released on “Special Report with Bret Baier” tonight at 6 p.m. ET.]

KMID: “An Odessa [Texas] man [is] behind bars after police say he impersonated an officer with his pick up truck. Manuel Chico is facing charges of impersonating a public servant. According to a report, Chico flashed red and white lights inside his pick up at Whataburger, trying to get other cars to let him cut the line. However, an off duty Odessa Police Department officer saw what he was doing and followed Chico to Regency Square Apartments. ‘He basically confronted the driver and asked him are you a police officer, he said no, he asked him, are you a firefighter, he said no, he asked if he used his truck for his job, he said no, he said what do you use it for? He said, sometimes I use it to run intersections,’ explains Cpl. Steve Lesueur, OPD. The Officer arrested Chico and he’s facing 3rd degree felony charges tonight. Those charges could get him up to ten years in prison all for a quick burger.”

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