• Jeb set to debut biggest cash haul ever
• Big gay marriage hurricane about to hit GOP
• Clinton foundation: Oh, you mean that $31 million
• Power Play: Dems harden resolve against Obama trade deal
• Yes, even the trefoils
JEB SET TO DEBUT BIGGEST CASH HAUL EVER
To put Jeb Bush’s first-quarter fundraising in perspective, if it is, as expected, well over $100 million, he may have managed a 70 percent increase over Mitt Romney’s previous quarterly record, and done it a year earlier in the cycle. This is obviously very good news for Bush. For any other candidate hoping to woo big-money donors, a sum so large will make life very difficult. Just as Marco Rubio is ascending to the stratosphere and Chris Christie is getting ready to re-launch, Bush is making it clear that he’s building a Clinton-sized mother ship to take all the big-buck GOPers into orbit. The big donors who believe big money is the key to winning elections aren’t likely to try to try to top this. And for people who give to get access, they follow fundraising leaders rather than chase them. But, on the other hand, Bush is making a big gamble.
Bush is operating in a loophole within a loophole of campaign finance law. Because he is not officially a candidate and isn’t registered with federal elections officials, he can coordinate with the network of super PACs raising and, eventually, spending unlimited sums on his behalf. Other candidates, even the still-technically undeclared Scott Walker, are bound by elections rules related to their current positions. Bush is free to raise and direct the PAC because he is doing so as a private citizen. And because Bush is pioneering a new role for his PAC, it will need all of this and money and much more. But as soon as Bush declares himself a candidate, he will have to sever ties to PAC world. Bush is raising all of this money to hand over to Mike Murphy and say “see you after Election Day.”
Sums so vast provide a lot of cushion for mistakes in judgment. Plus, with this much cash behind him, Bush can start nudging other candidates out of the race. Ideological candidates relying on small-dollar donations won’t scare off easily, others, though, may decide they’d rather not endure having a $1 billion flamethrower in their faces. But Bush is debuting his nine-figure quarter at a moment when the country is very much talking about the dangers and improprieties of funny money and politicians. Team Jeb argues that the only way to beat Clinton cash is with more cash. Perhaps, but the narrative of two rival political families exploiting loopholes to fight a nuclear war of campaign spending won’t exactly stir the hearts of the Republican (or Democratic) base.
1) Jeb Bush; 2) Marco Rubio [+1]; 3) Scott Walker [-1]; 4) Ted Cruz; 5) Rand Paul; 6) Carly Fiorina [+1]; 7) Mike Huckabee [-1]; 8) Chris Christie; 9) John Kasich; 10)Rick Perry
On the Radar - Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham
[Watch Fox: Chris Stirewalt joins “The Real Story” in the 2 p.m. ET hour with the latest on who’s up and who’s down in the 2016 Power Index.]
Campaigning for Jeb, Dubya escalates anti-Obama rhetoric - Bloomberg: “In a closed-door meeting with Jewish donors Saturday night, former President George W. Bush delivered his harshest public criticisms to date against his successor on foreign policy, saying that President Barack Obama is being naïve about Iran and the pending nuclear deal and losing the war against the Islamic State... Bush then went into a detailed criticism of Obama’s policies in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the chaos in Iraq. On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a ‘strategic blunder.’”
But will keep it behind closed doors - WaPo: “‘He said that one of the challenges his brother is going to have is that the country doesn’t like dynasties,’ recalled David Volosov, a RJC member from Silver Spring, Md...”
Jewish GOPers up for grabs - David Drucker writing from Vegas, baby: “Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday during the group's annual spring meeting at The Venetian hotel and casino, wowed the gathering and has quickly - and unexpectedly - established himself as a player for Jewish Republican support, particularly among the grassroots…But the coalition is an Establishment-oriented group. The board and other senior leaders, who include mega donors like Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer, consist of veteran GOP insiders, including former ambassadors appointed by President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush.”
There’s niche, and then there’s niche - Sen. Rand Paul is in Brooklyn, New York today for a lunch with Jewish leaders National Society for Hebrew Day Schools.
Rubio running away with the ‘pundit primary’ - The Hill: “On newspaper pages and online, the pundit primary is heating up in the Republican Party. The views of conservative columnists such as George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Stephen Hayes, and Jonah Goldberg will shape the way donors and party leaders view the 2016 candidates... The Florida senator is running away with this contest”
Walker makes secret prosecutions a campaign issue - Milwaukee Sentinel Journal:“In a swing through the crucial presidential state of Iowa this weekend, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took the rare step of lashing out at prosecutors who had probed his campaign by questioning whether their tactics were constitutional. In an equally unusual turn, prosecutors fired back by calling Walker's comments inaccurate, offensive and defamatory - with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm suggesting Walker could be criminally charged for lying. They said Walker should call for the release of sealed court records so the public could know more about the investigation and raids on people's homes, but Walker gave that notion little heed...His remarks on the investigation into his campaign were made as the Wisconsin Supreme Court mulls whether to let prosecutors revive their investigation.”
[Walker gives the keynote address at the National Tank Trucker Carriers conference today in Boston, Massachusetts.]
On a warm summer’s evening... - The Hill: “Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) in an interview broadcast Sunday argued that President Obama’s default strategy for dealing with Iran was surrender. ‘I wouldn’t mind playing poker with this guy, because he tends to fold all the time,’ Walker told host John Catsimatidis on his New York radio show…”
Carly courts big bucks in NYC - Carly Fiorina attends a private function at the home of Georgette Mosbacher, CEO of Borghese, a cosmetic line and Republican fundraiser, in New York City.
Michigan Gov. Snyder moves toward a run - WSJ: “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made a surprise pivot toward an influential group of Jewish Republicans convening here this weekend, leaving some with the impression the two-term governor could jump into a crowded GOP presidential field. Mr. Snyder attended a private dinner Thursday night at the home of Sheldon Adelson, the owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS +0.24%, who is hosting the annual Republican Jewish Coalition meeting at his Venetian Resort Hotel. Mr. Snyder also made a presentation at that influential group’s board meeting Friday.”
Kasich: All or nothing - The Hill: “Should Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) launch a 2016 presidential bid, it would be exclusively for the Oval Office. ‘This is not like, ‘Well let me try and if it doesn’t work I’ll try again or if it doesn’t work I’ll be vice president or something,’ Kasich told CNN’s Gloria Borger…”
Texas tough - Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry introduces “Lone Survivor” author Marcus Luttrell at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for a leadership forum today.
BIG GAY MARRIAGE HURRICANE ABOUT TO HIT GOP
WaPo: “Republican presidential hopefuls are struggling with how to position themselves on same-sex marriage, an issue that is bedeviling a party hoping to avoid social controversies as the 2016 election approaches. Rapidly changing public opinion has forced much of the field to recalibrate their pitches. Early front-runners have sought balance between the GOP base and the broader electorate - saying that they have no problem with gay people but oppose a national right to gay marriage and favor strong legal protections for business owners who do not want to serve same-sex ceremonies. It is a difficult task, with the perils on stark display last month in Indiana. Republican state lawmakers encountered criticism when they tried to strengthen religious-liberties laws in the face of legal same-sex marriage in that state. With support for same-sex marriage hovering around 60% percent nationally, opponents also risk being labeled bigots.”
Cruz’s dinner host apologizes for hospitality - NYT: “Ian Reisner, one of the two gay hoteliers facing boycott calls for hosting an event for Senator Ted Cruz, [R-Texas] who is adamantly opposed to gay marriage, apologized to the gay community for showing ‘poor judgment.’ Mr. Reisner put the apology on Facebook, where a page calling for a boycott of his properties, the gay-friendly OUT NYC hotel and his Fire Island Pines holdings, had gotten more than 8,200 ‘likes’ by Sunday evening... ‘I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights,’ Mr. Reisner said.”
Rubio: no constitutional right to gay marriage - CBN News: “In a one-on-one interview with The Brody File in Des Moines Iowa this weekend, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio says there is NO constitutional right to gay marriage. ‘It doesn’t exist. There is no federal constitutional right to same sex marriage. There isn’t such a right. You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex.’”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
This weekend marked the 54th anniversary of the patent for Robert Noyce’s silicon transistor – the microchip that has changed the world in ways large and small. In honor of the occassion, Esquire republished Tom Wolfe’s 1983 piece on the rise of the tech town, and how Noyce, the preacher's son from Iowa, shaped the town’s image. Silicon Valley, what had once been a grove of apricot trees turned into a phrase kids heard so frequently they, “...grew up thinking it was the name on the map.” If you have never done yourself the favor of reading the story, treat yourself.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.8 percent//Disapprove – 49.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.9 percent//Wrong Track – 61.0 percent
CLINTON FOUNDATION: OH, YOU MEAN THAT $31 MILLION
Fox News: “The Clinton Foundation acknowledged Sunday that the nonprofit group ‘made mistakes’ in IRS filings and defended its disclosure of controversial contributions from a Canadian financier, following days of intense public scrutiny about foundation finances. ‘We made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them,’ foundation executive Maura Pally wrote on the foundation website. ‘And [we] have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future.’ The donations were called into question last week by Peter Schweizer, author of the soon-to-be-released book ‘Clinton Cash.’ Schweizer found Canadian financier Frank Giustra gave $31.1 million to the foundation after a 2005 uranium-mine deal he made in Kazakhstan, with former President Clinton at his side. The deal eventually led to one that gave Russia access to U.S. uranium deposits.”
Top charity watchdog puts Clinton’s on ‘watch list’ - NY Post: “Charity Navigator put the foundation on its “watch list,” which warns potential donors about investing in problematic charities. The 23 charities on the list include the Rev. Al Sharpton’s troubled National Action Network, which is cited for failing to pay payroll taxes for several years. Other nonprofit experts are asking hard questions about the Clinton Foundation’s tax filings in the wake of recent reports that the Clintons traded influence for donations. ‘It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons,’ said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group once run by leading progressive Democrat and Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout.”
CW sours on Hillary - “Imagine if an assistant Secretary of State had done what Hillary Clinton – we know that she did. They'd be out of the State Department.” – Mark Halperin on ABC’s “This Week”
Capillaries tighten - Team Hillary plans to raise at least $1 billion to help get her into the White House, so why is her team on a skimpy budget? Politico reports that staffers at her Brooklyn headquarters do not have phones, instead they are being asked by campaign manager Robby Mook to use voice-over Internet service. There are also no business cards, and “Mook has told everyone to stay with supporters while traveling, and avoid hotels when possible.”
More buzzwords than a sawmill - Clinton has an op-ed in the Des Moines Register today: “When I came to Iowa, I wanted to do something a little different. No big speeches or rallies. Just talking directly with everyday Iowans. Because this campaign isn't going to be about me, it's going to be about Iowans and people across our country who are ready for a better future.”
[Las Vegas Sun: “Hillary Clinton is coming to Nevada…Clinton will arrive in Nevada May 5 as part of a "Ramp Up" period, giving locals the chance to ask her questions and share ideas. It will be the third stop on her campaign trail, following trips to Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month.”]
O’Malley shines in S.C. - Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, D-R.I., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., fired up liberal activists this weekend at the South Carolina Democratic convention. Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, sent Mudcat Saunders, a favorite of southeastern Democrats to dish out some populist red meat. Clinton did not attend and instead sent former fundraiser Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D- Va., who tried to stay on the topic of his administration of neighboring Virginia, and a video that was marred by technical difficulties.
[Watch Fox: Senior National Correspondent John Roberts talks to Former Virginia Senator, and possible Hillary rival, Jim Webb, from Iowa.]
Ouch - BuzzFeed: “And when one reporter wondered if the former governor’s speech had a ‘different message than Hillary Clinton,’ O’Malley was ready with a tart reply. ‘Was she here?’ he asked. ‘No,’ the reporter said. ‘I guess it was different in every way then.’”
2016 Democratic Power Index - 1) Hillary Clinton; 2) Martin O’Malley; 3) Jim Webb]; 4) Joe Biden; 5) Lincoln Chaffee 6) Bernie Sanders 7) Elizabeth Warren [-1]
What would you say? - Give us your take on the 2016 Power Index we will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM
POWER PLAY: DEMS HARDEN RESOLVE AGAINST OBAMA TRADE DEAL
President Obama is pushing for a big trade deal, but several Democrats are turning against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying, among other things, that the deal will do more harm to American workers, than good. Chris Stirewalt talks to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who says he has seen the devastating effects of free trade in his district. WATCH HERE
OBAMA RIFFS ON BLACK ANGER
Byron York writes: “Depending on your perspective, President Obama's performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night was either funny or filled with rage. Or perhaps it was funny about being filled with rage. Either way, there's no doubt that Obama, by incorporating comedian Keegan-Michael Key into his act, went public with the anger — specifically, the black anger — that has become part of the general conversation about Obama's time in office. Key and partner Jordan Peele do a Comedy Central routine in which Peele, playing Obama, delivers a calm, measured speech while Key, playing Obama's ‘anger translator,’ named Luther, acts out what Obama is really thinking, sputtering in rage against criticism and opposition that Obama believes is based in racism.”
[The Hill: “Obama mocked critics of his recent unilateral moves, saying he maintains ‘something that rhymes with ‘bucket list’…‘Executive action on immigration? Bucket,’ Obama said to laughs, ‘New climate regulations? Bucket.’”]
YES, EVEN THE TREFOILS
Michigan Live: “Two sisters who were missing for nearly two weeks in a remote area of the Upper Peninsula survived on Girl Scout Cookies and cheese puffs. Lee Wright, 56, and Leslie Roy, 52, were weak but otherwise seemed to be in good condition when a state police helicopter rescued them Friday from a two-track road in northern Luce County, where their Ford Explorer became stuck in deep snow on April 11. The women stayed with the vehicle, which had died earlier this week. The out-of-state residents relied on eight boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and cheese puffs for food, as well as snow for water.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“But the emails and these stories; these are self-inflicted wounds has redefined [Hillary Clinton] as controversial – you know on the edge of corruption, not trustworthy. And that's an impression that even though the details aren't known, it's going to be very hard for her to overcome.” – 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.