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• Hillary tells Dems, press to suck it up
• Power Play: Don’t stop believin’
• Iran letter part of broadening power struggle
• Bush World steps up attacks on Walker
• Leaving their mark on the world
HILLARY TELLS DEMS, PRESS TO SUCK IT UP
Hillary Clinton had a pretty straightforward message for Democrats and the media: Suck it up. She’s all they’ve got. There’s no viable alternative to her other than a Republican president. So they will have to choose whether they will side with her or with the GOP. Clinton even said that she would much rather have been there making partisan attacks on Senate Republicans, but noooooooo… she had to speak about her emails. All of those in the media and in Congress who had cautiously suggested that Clinton should show she was innocent of wrongdoing by coming clean got a big, wet raspberry from the Democratic frontrunner. The woman who has had attendants by her side since the late 1970s offered one flimsy excuse – convenience – for having operated a secret email server for government business every day of her tenure as secretary of state. And after that, it was just plain dismissive.
“I’m like two steps short of a hoarder. So, I have an iPad, a mini-iPad, and iPhone, and a blackberry.” –Hillary Clinton courting donors in Silicon Valley last month.
Audacity of ‘nope’ - Clinton said she has already destroyed – or, in Clintonian terms, “chose not to keep” – the evidence that would corroborate her claim of transparency. And she will not allow any outside access to the servers. Poof. Hard delete, indeed. Where Richard Nixon claimed the missing minutes from his audio tapes were accidentally erased, Clinton simply said she destroyed the stuff. A tactically better choice than Nixon’s, perhaps, but it’s beyond audacious. Now Republicans can choose whether or not to subpoena the servers, which were designed to leave no traces of deleted items. But she’s not taking any chances. Investigators can now decide whether a lengthy legal fight with the Clintons, possessed of limitless resources and huge influence, is worth it for something the candidate says is already gone.
[Mollie Hemmingway offers a bluntly, brutally funny line-by-line editing of the press conference, including every question response, starting with Turkish television and all the way through Al Jazeera.]
Personal hygiene - The press conference would have been an unmitigated disaster if it were solely about making a defense to the general voting public or making the candidate more appealing. But that’s not why everyone was gathered there on the brown carpet that looked like it had been lifted right out of a motel conference room. Clinton succeeded in the most important area. The Democratic frontrunner told her party and the members of the press who crave access that they could either choose her – “trust me,” she said – or the other side, Republicans. There’s no Barack Obama walking through the door to get them off the hook this time. She’s not changing, she’s not disclosing and she’s not sorry. Clinton’s defiance won praise from some expected precincts and more will cautiously declare themselves convinced by her claim that she is a worthy investigator of herself. And the logic does sort of hold together in an odd way: If you are willing to trust her with the enormous power and privilege of the presidency, why wouldn’t you trust her to redact her own emails? If you think she had latitude to operate in secret as a cabinet secretary, imagine her in the White House. If you’re ready for Hillary, you’re ready to say she did a great job at transparency.
[“The 1990s tactics don’t work in an age where you can’t possibly spin and intimidate 300 million people.” – National Journal columnist Ron Fournier in an interview with the Daily Beast.]
She’s making a list, checking it twice - Now, Democrats and the establishment press have to decide whether there is another viable Democratic candidate or if they really and truly are stuck with the woman who dressed them down on Tuesday. She’s probably right, but with an answer that basically added up to, “Yeah, and what are you going to do about it?” Democrats, at least, may be wondering if there isn’t another way to do this. The thought that Clinton had changed this time around has been replaced with a new understanding that she is more herself than ever. And the idea that she might go away under her own steam was permanently exploded. Only a candidate would hold that event. And when you’re dealing with people who maintain their lists of enemies on spreadsheets so as to forget no grievance, you’d better choose carefully.
“I think there’s a little bit of arrogance that ‘Some of these laws apply to some lower people, but not to me, I’m Hillary Clinton.’ And I think the law nobody should be above the law in our land.” – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on “The Kelly File” Watch here.
POWER PLAY: DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’
With frontrunner Hillary Clinton mired in controversy, some Democratic eyes are turning to Vice President Joe Biden. Power Play host Chris Stirewalt tells us what Joe has going for him and what his liabilities are in a potential bid for the White House in 2016. WATCH HERE.
[Biden will be speaking today at the Hamilton Project in Washington about the economy and expanding the employment opportunities.]
Libs nudge Warren - The Hill: “Liberal groups are using the ongoing controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails to continue to push Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) toward a presidential run. A trio of groups advocating for a Warren presidential run issued statements Tuesday afternoon reiterating the reasons she needs to jump into the race.”
In the tank - Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., will be speaking at the Brookings Institute today in Washington about data driven policy making and a new approach to governing.
IRAN LETTER PART OF BROADENING POWER STRUGGLE
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., explains the open letter he and 46 other Republican Senators sent to the government of Iran in a USA Today op-ed: “The critical role of Congress in the adoption of international agreements was clearly laid out by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution. And it's a principle upon which Democrats and Republicans have largely agreed. … The Senate must approve any deal President Obama negotiates with Iran by a two-thirds majority vote. Anything less will not be considered a binding agreement when President Obama’s term expires in two years. This is true of any agreement, but in particular with the nuclear deal President Obama intends to strike with Iran. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the Obama administration has so far completely bypassed Congress in its negotiations with Iran. The administration cares little about what will win congressional approval - only complete nuclear disarmament - and more about just reaching some sort of deal.”
Pact field - The Republican presidential hopefuls in the Senate, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham, all signed the letter. Frontrunners Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker both expressed their support. Others, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also endorsed the effort. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton accused the signatories of either trying to aid the enemy or harm the president.
[David Drucker has the contours of how the Obama nuke deal with Iran is shaping the 2016 race.]
“We need to be crystal clear with the leaders of Iran. Any deal that’s not approved by Congress won’t be accepted by Congress. Not now, and certainly not in the future, because Congress is focused on stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.” --Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.
Dems keep Obama war authorization on ice - Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey face questions today from a Senate panel on President Obama’s proposed Authorized Use of Military Force to defeat ISIS. A proposal that Reuters reports is stalled, chiefly due to opposition from the president’s own party.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
The Warburg Institute in London seems like any other traditional university library with floors of books and aisles of shelves. But go with the New Yorker for a tour of one of the world’s most unusual collections where the ordinary, say “Spanish Literature, Sixteenth Century” or “Biography American,” sits side by side with sections like “Magic Mirrors,” “Amulets” and “The Evil Eye.” The open nature of the Warburg is almost unheard of where the irreplaceable books are available to thumb through rather than kept in safety as in other libraries throughout Europe. Opened at the end of the 19th century by a wealthy banker’s son, the facility has expanded but the original peculiar atmosphere never changed. The future of the institute has come into question in recent years with the struggle to determine what society owes to the past and how history has evolved to match modern day expectations.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.8 percent//Disapprove – 50.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 32.3 percent//Wrong Track – 59.7 percent
BUSH WORLD STEPS UP ATTACKS ON WALKER
WaPo: “With each provocation amid [Scott Walker’s] fast rise, the [Jeb Bush] camp has grown increasingly agitated, not just by the attacks but also by what they see as a lack of scrutiny of the Wisconsin governor’s record. Bush supporters fired back on Tuesday, starting when Al Cardenas, a Miami-based lawyer and longtime Bush supporter, took to Twitter to attack Walker’s shifting positions: ‘Did u know S Walker was for path to citizenship. Now not? Did u know he was against ethanol subsidy, now he is for? Do u really know him?’ In an e-mail to The Washington Post, Bush ally Ana Navarro repeated the theme, suggesting Walker was starting to sound a bit like that most renowned of Republican flip-floppers, Mitt Romney. ‘Running for president requires having the mettle to keep your boots on, not change into flip-flops when it starts getting hot,’ Navarro said in an e-mail. ‘I think the flip-flop label hasn’t yet stuck to Walker because unlike Romney, until now he’s had a low profile nationally.’ ”
All the bold faces - The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel looks at the quickly widening scope of Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and provides a handy print-and-save roster for key positions.
Cruz message maestra heads to campaign - Texas Tribune: “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s public face to Capitol Hill, Catherine Frazier, is headed home to Houston to join his political operation. Frazier plans to leave her job as Cruz’s official Senate press secretary at the end of the month and relocate to her hometown to join the senator’s Jobs, Growth and Freedom PAC. The move indicates she will likely be part of his impending presidential campaign, should the state's junior senator follow through on a run.”
Seconds anyone? - Cruz will be courting supporters and giving his taste buds a workout in New Hampshire Sunday at the Strafford County GOP’s “Chili and Chat” and Grafton County’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Monday it’ll be The New England Council’s “Politics and Eggs Breakfast” in Manchester.
Perry promises better run in South Carolina - Greenville (S.C.) News: “A confident Rick Perry declared in Greenville Tuesday that he'll be a better presidential candidate if he runs for the White House again than he was during his first bid four years ago. Last time, Perry dropped in the polls after forgetting what he was trying to say during a televised debate and never recovered. He dropped out of the race just before South Carolina's first-in-the-South presidential preference primary in 2012. …‘I'm going to be here pretty often over the course of the next year or so,’ he said. ‘We'll probably be back for a little football in the fall would be my bet.’ Perry also said that he'll perform better if he runs for president again, a decision he said he'd make in May or June.”
[Perry will be speaking tonight at The Poinsett Club in South Carolina for a Greenville Chamber PAC reception.]
LEAVING THEIR MARK ON THE WORLD
It’s been a long, snowy winter for Northeasterners, especially for one Massachusetts couple that no doubt would have liked to have seen spring begun a little sooner. AP reports: “The imprint of a license plate in a snowbank proved to be the undoing of a couple suspected of a series of burglaries in Massachusetts. A Lakeville police officer investigating a home break-in traced the imprint to a pickup truck that matched the description of a vehicle seen at other burglaries. Chief Frank Alvilhiera told The Enterprise of Brockton on Monday that the truck was traced to a Dartmouth hotel. A search of a hotel room uncovered more than 300 stolen items, including jewelry, watches, wallets, laptops and cameras. Alvilhiera estimates the goods are worth at least $10,000. Meanwhile, Robert Beaucaire and Amy Peters face charges including breaking and entering and larceny.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I think what is going to happen on [Hillary’s] part is this: She has decided that stonewalling works. [President Obama] has shown it works on a lot of stuff. A lot of their scandals have been stonewalled and they go away…Her calculation is, ‘Yes, I will be damaged a bit with the press because of the stonewalling but infinitely less than I would be if anybody, an objective observer were to go through and look at the e-mails.’” – 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.