**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
• Hillary to be queen of Queens?
• Why are Republicans catching Dems’ vaccine woes?
• McConnell backs Cruz plan on ObamaCare repeal
• Targeting scandal front and center for IRS boss
• Carb panic
HILLARY TO BE QUEEN OF QUEENS?
As Hillary Clinton prepares to make her official announcement of a second presidential run, Campaign Carl Cameron reports that a docking station for the mother ship will soon be revealed: “Clinton insiders say she’s now leaning toward putting her national headquarters in Long Island City in the New York City borough of Queens, and they could move in within two months.”
Hypotheticals - In latest Quinnipiac poll, voters in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida were asked about matchups between Hillary Clinton and potential Republican nominees. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich pulls into a statistical tie with 43 percent to Hillary’s 44 percent of the vote. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was in a statistical tie with Clinton in his home state, 43 percent to 44 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio lags behind by 10 points, 39 to 49 percent.
O’Malley drills Obama from the left - In a NYT op-ed, Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., writes against President Obama’s decision to allow drilling along the Atlantic coast: “To allow drilling off the Atlantic Coast is to willfully forget Deepwater’s awful lesson even as the economic, environmental and public health consequences continue to reverberate in communities along the gulf.”
[The Des Moines Register reports that O’Malley has booked at least two upcoming visits to Iowa in addition to travel to New Hampshire and South Carolina.]
WHY ARE REPUBLICANS CATCHING DEMS’ VACCINE WOES?
Katherine Miller in BuzzFeed: “But who are these people pandering to? What part, exactly, of the Republican coalition so opposes mandatory requirements that, in the context of a measles outbreak, vaccination is a compromise issue? Because here’s the truth: This is largely a liberal fringe issue. The people not vaccinating their kids against the diseases once declared defeated don’t live in South Carolina or Indiana or a particularly conservative part of Ohio or Florida. That isn’t where people are contracting the whooping cough… No, the strongholds are in places like Newport Beach, Santa Monica, and Marin County, California. The affluent, the educated, the enlightened, the ones who believe in purity and science — people in liberal enclaves are the ones rejecting one of the 20th century’s major scientific achievements.
[Marin [Calif.] Independent Journal: “At Greenwood School in Mill Valley, 61 percent of the kindergartners are partially or completely unvaccinated, according to state figures. At San Geronimo Valley Elementary in San Geronimo, 58 percent of the kindergarten children are partially or completely unvaccinated.”]
“Now, as of 2011, 19 states had “philosophical” exemptions — the way you might oppose designated hitter, except in this instance, you oppose a medical professional immunizing your child from rubella, and cool, that works. Many of those states, with a fair amount of exceptions like Texas and Louisiana, conjure the image of people hiking in fleeces. California, Vermont, Washington state, Maine, New Mexico, Colorado. These are states where one can oppose vaccination for personal reasons.
JEB JUMPS IN FOR CPAC
NRO:“[F]ormer Florida governor [Jeb Bush] will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual event hosted by the American Conservative Union and attended largely by the party’s young activists….The exact date of Bush’s remarks has yet to be determined, but the conference will take place from February 25–28 in National Harbor, Maryland. …. Several other potential 2016 candidates will join Bush at the conference, including neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas governor Rick Perry, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.”
Beltway bucks, too - Politico: “Jeb Bush [R-Fla.] is starting to shake the D.C. money tree. The former Florida governor is headed to the Beltway Feb. 17 for two fundraising events for his leadership political action committee, called Right to Rise. Bush is slated to attend a late morning and luncheon reception at BGR Group’s Washington offices. The invitation lists three levels of contributions: $10,000 for co-hosts, $5,000 for hosts and $1,000 for attendees. Another fundraiser that evening will be at Laura and Jamie Wareham’s McLean, Virginia home.”
Bushworld 3.0 - The Hill: “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has hired two experienced Republican communications operatives to advise his political action committee and potential 2016 presidential campaign. Danny Diaz and Jon Downs will become advisers to Bush’s Right to Rise PAC, an organization that could serve as the precursor to his official bid. They will likely join a campaign organization should he choose to run…Diaz was a top communications adviser to Sen. John McCain’s [R-Ariz.] campaign for the presidency in 2008, and he worked on the 2004 reelection effort of former President George W. Bush. Downs is an ad creator who has worked for Sen. Dan Sullivan [R-Alaska] and Sen. Ted Cruz [R-Texas] and is known for aggressive spots.”
[Choosing up - The Houston Chronicle reports that Bush’s new hires mean the end of the relationship between the presidential campaign of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Terry Nelson, the former political director for George W. Bush who is a partner of Diaz and Downs at the firm FP1 Strategies.]
“I think many candidates are at the point now where we’re starting to assess political support financial support, build a team. I am doing all those things as well. Certainly my name recognition isn't what the other candidates is because I haven't been in politics my whole life.” – Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on “The Kelly File” Watch here.
WALKER TELLS IOWANS HE’S ONE OF ROMNEY’S ‘FRESH FACES’
Des Moines Register: “In what sounded like a full-throttle campaign speech, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker went on the attack against his presumptive rivals in the presidential race, telling Iowans on a conference call Monday night that the country needs a proven leader who can take on everyone from Washington liberals to terrorists…During a question-and-answer session, a Des Moines man mentioned that when Mitt Romney officially bowed out of any 2016 speculation on Friday, the 2012 nominee said it's time for fresh leadership in the Republican party. ‘What do you think he meant by that and is that you?’ the caller asked Walker. Walker answered that he phoned Romney, ‘a good and decent man,’ on Friday. ‘I thanked him specifically for pointing that out,’ Walker said. ‘I think, you know, there's others – my friend [Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.] is about the same age and so in terms of fresh faces I guess he and I would be in a similar vein,’ Walker said.”
Hello, Wisconsin - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Gov. Scott Walker [R-Wis.] hired another group of political operatives in preparation for his anticipated presidential campaign…Kirsten Kukowski, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, will serve as ‘Our American Revival’ communications director…The Tarrance Group, which has been a key player in Walker in governor’s races, will be heavily represented. Ed Goeas, president and CEO of Tarrance, will serve as senior adviser... The data officer will be Mark Stephenson, who worked on the campaign for Iowa's new Republican U.S. senator, Joni Ernst.”
CHRISTIE HAS HILLARY’S HIGH-FLYING HABITS
NYT: “As Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey waited to depart on a trade mission to Israel in 2012, his entourage was delayed by a late arrival: Mr. Christie’s father, who had accidentally headed to the wrong airport. A commercial flight might have left without him, but in this case, there was no rush. The private plane, on which Mr. Christie had his own bedroom, had been lent by Sheldon G. Adelson, the billionaire casino owner and supporter of Israel… He has also quietly let others pay the bills. That tendency, the governor himself says he wants to ‘squeeze all the juice out of the orange,’ has put him in ethically questionable situations, taking benefits from those who stand to benefit from him.”
Sound Off: 2016 Power Index - “Still think [Mitt Romney] would be best president but recognize that the media, conservative pundits and talk show hosts will not hear of this and would beat on him constantly were he to stay in. Given that, my next pick is Scott Walker. He appears to have a strong back bone, discipline and belief in fiscal conservatism. Only time will tell.” --Nancy Jewett
“I like [Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.] no nonsense approach- he does not seem to have any baggage and is not constrained to call them as he sees them!!! Refreshing in today's political world!!!!” – Thomas Flanagan
“Though we haven't heard from him yet on the national stage, I continue to like John Kasich. Every chance I get I tell folks about his common-sense sound and how he's been doing well in Ohio (a not-so-red state). RUN, JOHN, RUN!!” –Tom Saunders
“For a man who has the courage of honest, American, truthful, do what is right and Godly convictions, who will do what is RIGHT instead of what is political and expedient - Ben Carson.” – Jim Magwood
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
“But February made me shiver. With every paper I’d deliver, bad news on the doorstep. I couldn’t take one more step,” say the lines from Don McLean’s first epic Baby Boomer coming of age saga. And it was, in fact, this day in 1959 that “the music died” when Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Ritchie Valens all perished in a plane crash en route to Fargo, N.D. The Poynter Institute looked at what was in those papers that McLean might have delivered 56 years ago.
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 46.2 percent//Disapprove – 49.2 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 34.6 percent//Wrong Track – 57 percent
MCCONNELL BACKS CRUZ PLAN ON OBAMACARE REPEAL
In an alliance of co-sponsors that includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 2016 contender and tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has unveiled a bill to repeal ObamaCare. National Review: “[Cruz’s] ‘Obamacare Repeal Act’ that would repeal the Affordable Care Act ‘as if such Act had not been enacted.’ The text of Cruz’s bill to repeal the 2,700-page law, which spawned another 10,000 pages of regulations, barely runs onto the third page. It comes as Republicans have debated whether to use a procedural tactic that circumvents filibusters known as reconciliation to repeal the legislation…The bill is co-sponsored by 44 Senate Republicans, including [McConnell]… and several leading members of the Obamacare working group that is mulling the GOP’s possible response to a major anti-Obamacare lawsuit pending before the Supreme Court.”
[In WashEx, Byron York examines how ObamaCare will cause headaches for Democrats in the 2016 presidential race.]
SENATE DEMS PREPARE TO OBSTRUCT IMMIGRATION PLAN
With just 25 days until the agency runs out of money, the first major funding fight comes to a head today as the Senate takes up DHS funding bill. Roll Call: “Democrats are planning to block proceeding to a House-passed Homeland Security appropriations bill that would also negate President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. It’s a turnabout from a few months ago, when Democrats were in charge and railed against Republicans whenever they would vote to block debate on a bill…. ‘It seems our Republican colleagues are willing to shut down the government despite the fact that we have such security needs here in this country,’ [Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.] said. ‘They dislike DREAMers more than they dislike ISIS, and it’s just unbelievable.’”
Tick, tick, tick - David Drucker lays out the legislative timeline, stressing how delivery and passage of a sound budget is where the rubber meets the road for Republicans: “[T]o take Obama on and make the case that smaller governments and freer markets are better, Congressional Republicans have to pass their own budget resolution showing their own funding priorities. That means at least 218 Republicans in the House, and 51 in the Senate, are going to have to agree on a plan.”]
Battered Reid seeks to reclaim clout - Las Vegas Review-Journal: “A still battered-looking Sen. Harry Reid [D-Nevada] made a return to the Senate floor on Monday, and immediately jumped into a fray over immigration and homeland security…”
[Watch Fox: Correspondent Doug McKelway has the latest on the DHS funding battle.]
TARGETING SCANDAL FRONT AND CENTER FOR IRS BOSS
Hill sources tell Fox News that a hearing at the Senate Finance Committee today with IRS Commissioner Jon Koskinen could bring a major revelation about the agency’s missing emails relating to the scandal surrounding the agency’s targeting of President Obama’s political enemies. Koskinen’s appearance follows a week in which Congress has raised concerns over the embattled agency’s handling of ObamaCare subsidies, and whether taxpayer information may have been shared with political operatives in the White House.
[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel reports on the IRS budget clash from Capitol Hill.]
[Obama wants big funding boost for IRS - The Hill: “The president’s new budget calls for giving the IRS $12.9 billion in fiscal 2016, roughly an 18 percent increase over the $10.9 billion that Congress approved for the agency in the current fiscal year.”]
WHITE HOUSE, RED FACE
In passing along president Obama’s mistaken claim that George Washington had lived and made “booze” at the White House, Fox News First mistakenly claimed Thomas Jefferson was the first president to inhabit the executive mansion. But as astute readers Paul Ruby, Ron Gay, Joan Nugent, John W. Gibson and Alan Mizelle pointed out, President John Adams spent the final five months of his term in the still-unfinished home. Like President Obama, we should have done our homework!
It must not have been his “cheat day.” WCAU reports that a man in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby faced police questioning after sounding his apartment building’s fire alarm because of a clogged commode. But it was the circumstances of the plumbing problem that caused the most questions. The man, who was not identified by authorities, had apparently tried to flush multiple potatoes. After his toilet clogged, he reportedly called the building’s maintenance department several times. When help did not come soon enough, police say he pulled the building’s fire alarm. The fire department then evacuated the three-story building to investigate.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Look, I don’t mind if the President sends a budget which he knows is not going to achieve anything. But when he prefaces his remarks as we just saw by saying we have to put politics aside, posing again as the one person in the country who rises above partisanship and party, speaks for the national interest, it’s really grating.” – 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.