Drama erupts on Planet Hillary

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Buzz Cut:
•             Drama erupts on Planet Hillary
•             Common core in spotlight for Jeb speech
•             Obama to outline ISIS war plan amid furor over terror comments
•             Can Obama and Reid keep Senate Dems in line?
•             They meant ‘ghastly’ in a good way

On the eve of one of the high holidays on Planet Hillary, the winter meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, the bitter feuding long rumored to be simmering within Democratic 2016 frontrunner’s campaign erupted. One of Hillary Clinton’s top lieutenants, David Brock, fired off a letter resigning from the board of Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC funding what is expected to be a more-than $2 billion effort to return the Clintons to the White House. WaPo reports that Brock quit in an angry letter denouncing “an orchestrated political hit job” by his rivals inside the campaign that came in the form of a brutal NYT story on Brock’s fundraising efforts and huge commissions paid to a professional buckraker. Hours later, though, Brock offered to rejoin the 12-member board and board members promised they were “working to address” Brock’s concerns. As the Clinton campaign ponders when to make it official, keeping the team together looks like a major concern.

[“The hacks think Hillary is entitled to be president. I think she is one of those people who has lost the sense of why they are in politics.” – Iowa Democratic activist Anne Kinzel talking to the WaPo.]

More money, more problems - The problem, of course, is the amount of money involved. While Hillary will not there today, her husband and daughter will be backscratching with leaders from big business and big labor in New York. And while the hundreds of millions of dollars the Clintons have raised for their foundation isn’t campaign cash, it’s all part of an empire built around the celebrity and potential return to power of the former first couple. And as the campaign prepares to file paperwork and the PACs prepare to start making larger payouts, the fight for control is evidently intensifying. Brock’s allegations read like he believes the many members of Team Obama and rival Clintonites were looking to elbow him out with allegations of impropriety right before the starting pistol fired. So ask yourself this: Do you expect these problems to get better or worse as time goes on? And here we see one of the major dangers to Clinton being without a real rival for her party’s nomination. If there is no common threat, the animosity will be directed inward.

Feel the momentum! - WashEx: “As Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., inches closer to a 2016 presidential bid, he is targeting key positions of Hillary Clinton that put him on the side of working-class Americans and anti-war advocates…‘I am giving thought to running for president of the United States,’ Sanders said at a Brookings Institution event. What’s more, he said, if he got in, he would be running ‘to win,’ not influence Clinton’s positions in a general election…”

Left wing? - Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., tweets: “Broke my elbow over the weekend at the gym. Thanks to the staff at Union Memorial, surgery went well & I'm on the road to a quick recovery.”

Orlando Sentinel: “Former Gov. Jeb Bush will host an education summit in Tallahassee on Tuesday, an event that promises a packed crowd inside and plenty of protesters outside. The free conference at Florida State University quickly filled all available seats at The Alumni Center after it was announced, with more than 200 signed up to attend and more on a waiting list. The draw is likely Bush, who is considering a run for president in 2016 and made education the hallmark of his two terms as governor. But the timing of the ‘conversation about accountability and choice’ also is very much about state politics, as it comes just ahead of the Legislature's session.”

[Right to Rise PAC is hosting a $1,000 per person lunch time fundraiser in Tallahassee with 250 guests expected at the Hotel Duval.]

Maybe not so tech savvy - Buzzfeed: “Time magazine reported on Monday that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has hired Ethan Czahor, a Santa Monica-based techie who co-founded Hipster.com, to be his chief technology officer for his political action committee, Right to Rise. After the story of his hiring broke, tweets on his Twitter account started disappearing. The Twitter account is linked from his personal website. The count this morning was 177 tweets:   And the latest tweet count is 132:  Several of the deleted tweets refer to women as ‘sluts.’”

Hello, Governor - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Monday to Friday, [Scott Walker, R-Wis.] and officials from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will meet with British business executives about potential deals in this state over the next three years. The state's strategy focuses on seeking to interest foreign investors in Wisconsin industries such as energy, aviation, water technology, biotechnology, and farming and food processing…Tom Evenson, a spokesman for Walker's campaign, said that no political advisers are accompanying him on the trade mission. The trip is being paid for with tax dollars since it is considered an official trip, and the Journal Sentinel has requested the total cost from the Walker administration.”

Top Romney New Hampshire hand in for Rubio - NYT: “Senator Marco Rubio has hired a coveted former aide to Mitt Romney to oversee his political activities in the Northeast and probably in a New Hampshire campaign, signaling that he is serious about a presidential bid. Jim Merrill, who directed both of Mr. Romney’s New Hampshire primary bids, is joining Mr. Rubio’s political action committee as a senior adviser, a position that would put him at the helm of the Florida senator’s campaign in the first-in-the-nation primary state. In landing Mr. Merrill, Mr. Rubio has not only brought on a strategist with deep experience organizing in New Hampshire, but also someone who was being pursued by other Republican presidential hopefuls. Mr. Merrill, who is based in Manchester, was sought out by a number of potential candidates, including Jeb Bush…”

Cruz nabs Gingrich comms guru - Houston Chronicle: “Ted Cruz on Monday added another experienced adviser to the political operation that would be the nucleus of his expected presidential bid. Cruz's political action committee announced it had hired longtime Newt Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler as the latest addition to the shop the senator has built over the past six months as he weighs a 2016 campaign. Tyler, who will serve as a senior communications adviser to the Jobs, Growth and Freedom PAC, is at least the fourth hire in that period meant to add muscle and definition to Cruz's presidential aspirations.”

Kasich says he’s still undecided - Columbus Dispatch: “John Kasich remains in no hurry to decide whether he will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Speaking early this evening on ‘The Triv Show’ on radio station WTAM in Cleveland, Ohio's governor repeated his oft-heard remarks of late. Asked if he will seek the GOP nomination, Kasich replied, ‘All options are on the table, I just have not made a decision. It won't take me forever to decide this, but I'm not ready to decide it … I won't decide on anyone’s timeline but mine,’ the governor said…”

Pass the bacon - Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is slated to give the keynote remarks at the “Politics & Eggs” breakfast sponsored by the New England Council.

Christians for Carson - Dr. Ben Carson is the featured speaker at the Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Gala.

“First Choice is Gov. Scott Walker… He stood against agitators with courage and practiced principles to help all people. Second Choice is Rick Perry. He is a great promoter of businesses, cut taxes, and stood firm on principles.” – AnnetteConnor, Missouri

“Candidates I like are Scott Walker period. Jeb Bush is too yesterday and as a resident of Florida I don't think he was that great a governor.  He has not run election in many years and has a lot of baggage.  I would prefer not to have a senator either, we need someone who can deal with budgets.” – Pauline Foulkes, Florida

“It is refreshing to hear new ideas coming from Scott Walker who seems like the real deal at this point and very much like Ronald Reagan in that he has principles and follows through on his word.  It is very refreshing for a change.” – JanPlute, Texas

Sky News reports that following his wife Kate Gross’s passing from terminal colon cancer at just 36, Billy Boyle developed a “cancer breathalyzer” which is designed to provide almost instantaneous detection results. The device, originally intended to detect explosives, but reformatted for medical usage, is set to be introduced in clinical trials to detect lung cancer. Certain types of cancer produce unique but nearly undetectable chemical traces at an early stage prior to symptoms becoming obvious thus improving survival odds. Boyle said, “The great thing is the technology exists today. We already have the microchip, we're working on small handheld devices in [a doctor’s] office.” During her battle, Boyle and his wife discussed possible applications of his company’s technology, “You develop technologies for a reason. Sometimes it's for monetary gain. Other times it's to make a difference.” Boyle is optimistic to have the system out to the public in the next two years with ambitious goals including “to save the NHS £245m - but more importantly to save 10,000 lives.” If successful there are plans to include tests for bowel cancer, tuberculosis and asthma.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.8 percent//Disapprove – 49.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 35.3 percent//Wrong Track – 56.4 percent

Sources tell Fox News that President Obama will ask Congress Wednesday for formal authorization to use military force against ISIS, but many, including some Democrats, are concerned the request will be too timid. Such fears were deepened with the release of an interview the president gave to Vox, in which the president argued that Americans’ level of concern about terrorism was inflated by media hype. The president said that news outlets in search of ratings focused on Islamist terrorism rather than other pressing concerns, particularly global warming. In the interview, Obama also compared his role is dealing with Islamist militants to that of “a big city mayor” who has to “cut the crime rate down.” Obama also described the killing of four Jews at a Paris Kosher delicatessen in a January terror attack as having been conducted “randomly.”

“The scary part of it is, [President Obama] actually believes what he’s saying…ISIS today has a global reach. They’re not smaller, they’re bigger.” – Lt. Col. Oliver North, on “The Kelly File”

“You and I have more of a chance of dying of cancer, of a heart attack, of a traffic accident and even from gunfire than dying from an attack by ISIS. So I think what the president is saying is that he’s well-informed as to what is a real threat in this country to Americans.” – Jennice Fuentes, Democratic Strategist on “The Kelly File”

Crusader - The proposed legislation also comes in the wake of comments the president made cautioning Christians against being on “a high horse” over Islamist violence, comparing the current effort by ISIS to the violence of the Crusades, which began in 1065, and the inquisitions conducted against heresy and religious minorities that began in 1184. Appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday, former top Obama adviser David Axelrod that Obama “absolutely” knew the comments would kick off a firestorm “I think he knew what he was saying and he knew that it was provocative,” Axelrod said. “His point is: Let us not define that entire quarter of planet by the actions of extremists. Let’s isolate the extremists, just as we wouldn’t blame every Christian for the acts of some Christian, or every Jew for the acts of some Jews.”

[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel has the latest from Capitol Hill]

Obama downplays military options in Ukraine - NYDN: “Diplomacy is the most realistic path to ending the fighting in Ukraine, President Obama said Monday — but he wouldn’t rule out military aid to Ukrainian forces battling pro-Russian rebels. During a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the President emphasized: ‘We are in absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe redrawn with the barrel of a gun.’ But he made it clear that Ukrainian forces faced an uphill battle against Russia. ‘Both Angela and I have emphasized the prospect for a military solution to this problem has always been low,’ he said.

Netanyahu may ditch House speech under pressure from Obama, Dems - Reuters: “Israeli officials are considering amending the format of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned address to the U.S. Congress next month to try to calm some of the partisan furor the Iran-focused speech has provoked. Netanyahu is due to address a joint session of Congress about Iran's nuclear program on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections, following an invitation from John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the house. …Israeli officials are considering whether Netanyahu should speak to a closed-door session of Congress, rather than in a prime-time TV address, so as to drain some of the intensity from the event, a source said. Another option is for the prime minister to make his speech at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington the same week, rather than in Congress.”

Obama to huddle with CBC on Bibi speech - The Hill: “President Obama will meet Tuesday at the White House with members of the Congressional Black Caucus [CBC], including freshman GOP Rep. Mia Love [Utah]. The meeting comes as top black leaders … are vowing to skip a March 3 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest an invitation they see as a slight to the president in the midst of high-stake nuclear talks with Iran.”

[Read the full list of Dems skipping Netanyahu speech here.]

As Senate Democrats try to reconcile themselves to life in the Senate minority, the question of how much obstructionism is appropriate are swirling around town. The conference is so far sticking together behind Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his plan to continuing insulating President Obama. But as a shutdown for the Department of Homeland Security looms, will Democrats continue to hold the line for the sake of defending the president’s executive actions granting temporary amnesty for illegal immigrants? The president argued in his interview with Vox that the Senate’s 60-vote threshold should be shelved. The thinking there is that Democrats can call for a rule that would disadvantage them now, but do so knowing that Republicans are not going to destroy the filibuster they have long championed. Then, upon retaking the Senate, Democrats could go nuclear and change the rules to shut down the GOP minority saying. The best of both worlds, right? That proposition will get trickier, though, as Republicans force more and more difficult votes. The GOP is preparing an even more generous offer on Homeland Security funding.

Heh - “We don’t see ourselves as filibustering. We’re not just stopping things to stop it. We feel that we’re actually being constructive.” – Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., talking to Politico about her votes to block Republican-backed legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

Obama Expands Immigration Via Border Security Plan Daily Caller: “President Obama’s new border security plan is being expanded to allow illegals in the United States to bring their children, their adult children, their grandchildren and even step-parents into the United States…The initial program was initially announced last November as a fix to the fast-growing wave of ‘unaccompanied alien children’ that were escorted by coyotes to the Texas border in 2014… The expanded Obama program was announced Feb. 9.”

[More surgery for Reid - WaPo: “Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid [D-Nev.] will undergo another round of surgery Wednesday to repair his eye following exercise-related injuries, his office said late Monday.”]

As former Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland weighs a Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, next year, the Ohio Republican Party isn’t waiting for an official announcement. The party is releasing this ad today “Ted Strickland?  For Senate? We kicked him out of the governor’s office after he did an ‘appalling job.’…What are Democrats and the media saying about Ted? He's ‘alienated Democrats,’ ‘yesterday's news,’ ‘flawed.’ The people who know Ted Strickland best don't want him back.”

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is set to visit France today, one of his first trips abroad after taking office in December. But as Reuters reports, the Romanian Embassy in Paris is making the new boss’ bid for a successful outing rather more challenging. In sending out electronic invitations to a reception in his honor, embassy staff accidentally attached a spreadsheet with the guest list, including some very unfortunate descriptions of guests, such as “undesirable” and “ghastly.” The embassy apologized saying, “Annotations on the document for internal use do not reflect the opinion or assessment of the Romanian embassy in Paris.” AP reports that in a second statement, the ministry said one diplomat was summoned back to Bucharest and another given a warning.

“And the idea, the line that [President Obama] and [Angela Merkel] were pushing today about how united the allies are, is itself a farce. One rule in diplomacy is if you hear people repeating over and over in public how united they are, you know that there are deep divisions. The division here is that the Europeans are scared to death.” – Charles Krauthammer on Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.

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