Hillary's classified count piles up

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Buzz Cut:
• Hillary’s classified count piles up
• Health worries detailed
• How press, politicos get Planned Parenthood wrong
• Black pastors contradict Trump’s account of meeting
• Raking in that cheddar

Fox News: “The latest batch contains 328 emails deemed to have classified information. According to the State Department, that brings the total number with classified information to 999. The emails in question were deemed classified before their release by the department – and the former secretary of state has said all along she never sent emails with material marked classified at the time. But the large number of emails containing now-classified material further underscores how much sensitive information was crossing her private server, a situation her critics have described as a security risk…Her email practices are also the subject of a federal investigation.”

Health worries detailed - The newly released emails reveal that Clinton insiders appeared to be more concerned about her health than they let on in public following the secretary of state’s December 2012 concussion. Top Clinton aide Philippe Reines consulted everyone from former Senator (and doctor) Bill Frist to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the impact of concussions. An email exchange released last month showed Clinton confidant Huma Abedin expressed concern to a co-worker that her boss was “often confused.”

Confused state - National Review: “The latest e-mails further underscore that confusion. On January 27, Clinton sent an e-mail to top aide Cheryl Mills and State Department undersecretary Patrick Kennedy. ‘The Brits have just called for their citizens to leave Somalia. What’s our position?’ she asked. Kennedy gently replied that the American government ‘[has] a long-time published travel warning against all travel to Somalia. It was last update [sic] on 12/26/12.’… In a January 25, 2013 e-mail titled ‘Benghazi,’ she appeared unaware that the department was warning Americans not to travel to the embattled Libyan city. ‘Since the Brits, Germans and Dutch have told their citizens to leave Benghazi, why aren’t we doing the same?’ she asked her top staff, citing a report from NPR. Kennedy explained that the department had already told American citizens not to travel to Benghazi on January 2 — a warning they had reiterated on January 24, just one day before her e-mail.”

Telling her what she wants to hear - Emails also reveal how Clinton’s sycophants pounced on critics of her 2013 appearance before a Senate committee hearing in which Clinton dismissed questions about the motivation the Benghazi attackers bellowing “What difference, at this point, does it make?” When Mark Penn, Clinton’s 2008 political strategist wrote her saying “I don’t think the emotion in the hearing works to your advantage -- looks more like they rattled you on something no one outside the crazy right blamed you for anyway” top aide Philippe Reines brushed Penn’s concerns aside, emailing Clinton: “Mark’s analysis is that it repeats the same flawed assumption that underpinned his advice in 2008; namely, that being yourself is risky.” “BINGO!!” Clinton responded.

Warren bides her time, skips Hillary fundraiser - ABC News: “[T]he progressive lawmaker from Massachusetts, was the only female Democratic senator who wasn’t at Monday’s D.C.] endorsement event and fundraiser for Clinton’s presidential campaign. Warren, who many thought would run for president herself, has so far declined to back anyone in the primary.”

On this day in 1934, Bolshevik hero and military leader Sergey Kirov was assassinated in his office on orders from Joseph Stalin. The already paranoid Stalin saw Kirov’s rise to leader of the Communist Party in Leningrad as a new provocation, despite Kirov’s long support for Stalin. Historians also believe that Kirov’s hedonistic lifestyle was an embarrassment to Stalin’s push for ascetic conformity in the new workers’ paradise. Stalin was publicly supportive of his old comrade, proffering – and then deferring – promotions to high office in Moscow. But all the while, Stalin was plotting. With the help of one of Kirov’s security deputies, Stalin found an assassin to take out his could-be rival. Of the millions Stalin killed, Kirov’s death still stands out. The murder was the pretext that Stalin would use to launch the next and most dramatic round of the purge of his enemies from within Soviet government and life. The enemies of the revolution, Stalin said, were responsible for Kirov’s murder and needed to be rooted out.  How right he was…

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 42.4 percent//Disapprove – 51.9 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.3 percent//Wrong Track – 64.3 percent

NYT: “During the meeting on Monday, black ministers challenged [Donald] Trump over his record, and suggested he apologize for his incendiary language, according to those who attended. In an interview afterward, Mr. Trump described ‘great love in the room’ and a wide-ranging, two-hour discussion of black unemployment, police shootings and deficiencies of urban education. ‘They liked me, and I liked them,’ he said.”

[Today, Trump sits down with New Hampshire’s NH1 News Network to talk about his plan to deal with the national debt. You can watch here at 5 p.m. ET.]

Numbers crunched - What’s the deal with the disparity among polls on Donald Trump’s performance? David Drucker dives into the data.

Cruz fires at Rubio foreign policy, but ducks on immigration - Bloomberg sat down with Sen. Ted Cruz on the campaign trail where he knocked rival Sen. Marco Rubio’s foreign policy record saying, “Senator Rubio emphatically supported Hillary Clinton in toppling [Muammar] Qaddafi in Libya. I think that made no sense.” But the Texas senator still ducked when asked about legal status for illegal immigrants: “Cruz deflected and attacked Democrats as soft on illegal immigration. Asked in a follow-up if he’d be willing to address the question of what to do about the undocumented population once all the security measures he has proposed…Cruz pivoted to insisting he’ll prioritize securing the border and stopping illegal immigration.”

Smack talked - Ahead of his appearance at a Donald Trump rally in Georgia, onetime 2012 GOP frontrunner Herman Cain took to his website to respond to onetime 2016 frontrunner Jeb Bush’s barbs about Cain’s failed bid: “If you want to say I had a ‘fall,’ go ahead, I guess. You can’t fall when you’ve never gotten any higher than the floor in the first place, and that’s the state of the Jeb Bush campaign. A guy with his name, his money and the team behind him should be one of the top-tier contenders, and he should certainly not be letting Donald Trump wipe the floor with him if Trump is as unserious and unqualified as Bush would have you believe.”

[Bush has a new ad out in the New Hampshire and Boston television markets featuring Medal of Honor recipients.]

“While I have heard Ted Cruz is brilliant and seen his eloquence and debate skill, I don’t believe he can win the general election.  He faces the Hillary problem of being rather unlikeable.  He wasn’t liked in Texas.  He is not liked because of his very public stunts like shutting down the government.  Those are the things the general electorate identify him with.” – Anna Kingry

“Carson is still a strong second in the latest Real Clear Politics reporting but now you have him at the back of the pack with Bush. What’s the deal Chris?” – Alan Utter

“Marco Rubio still is the best as far as knowledge, he speaks from the hip, he can work with both sides of the aisle. Cruz is just sounding like a debater…The only one I think would be ready for president other than Rubio is Trump.” – Peggy McCormack

On “The Kelly File,” Chris Stirewalt and Howard Kurtz talked with Megyn Kelly about the political and media malpractice they’ve seen in the wake of a weekend shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. Watch here.

Who said it? - “Last I checked we don't have a rubber shortage in America. When I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents and voila!” Click here to find out.

Christmastime can be a bedeviling season for conservatives. But take heart. “The Christmas Virtues” is a new book of humorous, insightful and meditative essays and articles from beloved conservative writers including Mollie Hemingway, Jonah Goldberg, Stephen F. Hayes, and P.J. O’Rourke. And if you want to hear the authors on the topic, join them at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington on Monday for a forum featuring, no doubt, some seriously ugly sweaters. Register here.

Hamilton Spectator: “A Niagara Regional Police officer has been sentenced to a total of four months in custody after being convicted of three of six charges related to a cheese smuggling operation. Const. Scott Heron was charged in September 2012 following an investigation into an operation involving the purchasing cases of cheese in bulk from south of the border and bringing it into Fort Erie without declaring the cheese or paying duty. Once in Canada, the cheese was sorted and prepared for distribution to a variety of restaurants in the region. At the time of the arrest, the NRP said there was significant money to be made from the operation. Police say about $200,000 worth of cheese was smuggled in, generating a profit of about $165,000.”

“The idea that the terrorists attacked in Paris because they wanted to prevent the leaders of the world of having a meeting over the rise of the ocean in a hundred years is simply absurd.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

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