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• No shame in her game: Hillary hands out journalism prize
• Cruz echoes Obama on biography
• Dubya debuts as Jeb’s money man
• Compassionate conservative, 2.0: Kasich hits the trail
• Neighbors relieved by burglary
NO SHAME IN HER GAME: HILLARY HANDS OUT JOURNALISM PRIZE
Hillary Clinton presenting a journalism award is something like Scott Walker presenting the prize for the best AFSCME chapter. But neither she nor her hosts seemed the slightest bit embarrassed. They should have been. Having a Democratic frontrunner who is currently embroiled in a scandal involving her unprecedented efforts to conceal her activities as a cabinet official handing out the hardware and taking no questions should have been impossibly awkward. Instead, it provides a good indication of the level of scrutiny to which Clinton can expect to be subject in her campaign. She joked (or was it taunted?), “‘I am all about new beginnings: a new grandchild, another new hairstyle, a new email account.” Haw, haw. There are nearly unending questions, many of them fresh, about Clinton’s private server and her destruction of tens of thousands of emails from her time as secretary of state. Clinton is taking the final steps before the public launch of her second presidential campaign in the midst of stonewalling the press, but no one seemed to mind.
[AP: “[President Obama] and [Hillary Clinton] met privately at the White House Monday afternoon…Moments after the White House confirmed the meeting, Clinton posted a message on Twitter praising Obama's health care law…”]
Beat-sweeteners unite – Clinton talked about problems with her “relationship” with the news media, as if it were simply a misunderstanding or a matter of overcoming past mistrust. In the establishment media narrative, the question is whether the presumptive nominee will just “let her guard down” and let the people and the press see the “real her.” That’s just a bidding war among beat-sweetening reporters who are auditioning for access, implicitly promising to offer the perfect depiction of a strong-yet-nurturing-yet-funny-yet-thoughtful-yet-open-minded-yet-experienced candidate. It has nothing to do with the questions Clinton prefers to leave unanswered about her electronic antics or her buckraking from questionable sources around the globe. Nor does it address what she plans to do about the growing pressure for her to hand over her servers to a third party for review.
Flattened out - Though Charlie Cook argues today that Clinton will continue to take blows from the press, Monday’s spectacle was probably a much better indication of the kind of kid-glove treatment Clinton will mostly receive. Clinton can count on the fact that mainstream coverage of her bid will be more like that given to a new product launch from an old institution than that which should be given to an actual candidate seeking the presidency. The danger for Clinton, though, is that the media mandarins who murmured and applauded their way through her remarks are increasingly being replaced by hungrier, younger reporters at new outlets. Clinton was not able to deal with the disruptions wrought by social media in her first presidential run. The world has changed dramatically in the past eight years, and she may not be ready to meet the challenge.
Hillary never had an inspector general at State - Bloomberg: “One of the many unanswered questions of the Hillary Clinton e-mail story has been: Whose job was it to raise and address concerns about her exclusive use of a private account? According to open government advocates, it would have been the agency’s permanent, independent Inspector General—someone nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate—if such a person had existed. For five years, including all of Clinton’s time as secretary, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General never had a confirmed inspector.…By September 2013, several months after Clinton left State, the department finally had a permanent inspector, and the department recently released a report documenting how few e-mails the State Department has saved for government records.”
Immigration activists back Warren’s symbolic non-candidacy - Buzzfeed: “Some of the activists who made immigration a difficult issue for President Obama in 2014 are now signing onto the effort to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren, or some other Democrat, to challenge Hillary Clinton. …The latest participants: Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente Action, which counts 300,000 members nationwide, and Erika Andiola, a national DREAMer activist, who played a key role in the fight for Obama’s executive actions on immigration.”
O’Malley revs up core backers - WaPo: “Martin O’Malley’s leading supporters left an afternoon gathering in Baltimore on Monday more convinced than ever that he will move forward with a 2016 presidential bid, several participants in the event said. The former Maryland governor, who’s said he will probably make a decision by May, huddled with more than 150 donors and other boosters at the Baltimore Hilton for what was billed as an ‘issues conference.’”
OBAMA CHIEF OF STAFF DENOUNCES ISRAEL’S ‘50-YEAR OCCUPATION’ OF PALESTINE
NPR: “Through his chief of staff, President Obama is strongly countering rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a two-state, Israeli-Palestinian solution. ’An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state,’ Denis McDonough, President Obama's chief of staff, said Monday at the annual conference of J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel group.”
Bipartisan worries: 84 percent of House members sign letter warning Obama on Iran - The Hill: “A letter to President Obama signed by 367 members of Congress warns that lawmakers must be satisfied that any Iranian nuclear agreement must ‘foreclose any pathway to a bomb’ before they lift sanctions against Tehran. The letter, which was drafted in early March but released on Monday, warns Obama that ‘permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation’ from Congress. ‘Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,’ reads the letter, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
The New Criterion offers the remarkable story of the Kamuzu Academy in heart of Malawi, where the country’s former dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda ordained that a preparatory school built on the Eton model would teach the classics of Greek and Latin literature. Banda is gone, as is the lavish funding that once made the school an opulent oasis. But the school remains, thanks to international funds and the patronage of local strongmen. British-educated Alexander Suebsaeng came to teach and discovered a bizarre world within a world, where American hip-hop clashes with Homer and Western weakness is overawed by Chinese electronics. It is a truly remarkable read. “Paradoxically, this evokes a powerful sense of changelessness: against what is constant, even and especially constant change, all human activity appears feeble, all ambition futile. ... In such a place, you grow accustomed to the bizarre and accept it as you accept the terrible and the wonderful.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.1 percent//Disapprove – 50.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 30.4 percent//Wrong Track – 60.4 percent
CRUZ ECHOES OBAMA ON BIOGRAPHY
David Drucker notes that in his announcement of a 2016 White House bid, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looked to transform his following among Tea Party conservatives into a broad mandate: “[I]n what aides signaled was a deliberate move by the principled yet tactical politician, Cruz used his address to emphasize the universality of his American experience, one that cuts across political, gender and class lines. The senator discussed his emotionally trying upbringing as the son of a Cuban refugee father and pioneering computer programmer mother — emphasizing how his Delaware-native mother advanced at work during a period when women were discouraged from pursuing careers.”
Paul hits Cruz on ‘winability’ - “Right now, I’m the only one that beats Hillary Clinton in certain purple states. There will be a lot of conservatives. Ted Cruz is a conservative, but it also goes to winability. And people will have to make a decision: Which is the Republican that can not only excite the base but can also bring new people into the party without giving up principles?" – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.
Right face - WaPo takes a detailed look at how, with Cruz in, the race for the GOP right is heating up: “[A]t least a half-dozen credible contenders are likely to join Cruz in competing for the hearts of conservatives. They face a labyrinth of tests of ideology and temperament, on talk radio and at tea party and faith forums, in a melee to become the hard right’s standard-bearer.”
Hillary’s camp: Cruz is good news - “Those closest to the former secretary of state have counseled patience, arguing that a core element of Clinton’s plan was to get out of the way and let the dueling wings of the Republican Party savage each other while she floats above it all, Politico reports. Cruz, they say, is Hillary’s wrecking ball.”
Cruz tipped Rubio - Politico: “Sen. Ted Cruz surprised many political observers by becoming the first official presidential candidate for 2016 on Monday. But not Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio (R-Fla.) said he got a heads-up from his conservative colleague last week that the announcement was forthcoming, and Rubio praised Cruz (R-Texas) several times during a lengthy gaggle with Capitol Hill reporters on Monday afternoon.”
Trump trolls Cruz on nativity - “Ted has just one extra level of complication… He was a Canadian and American citizen a couple of years ago. So it’s one extra level of complication that other people frankly don’t have….I hope he’s going to be Okay…but it is one extra level that he has to worry about. – Donald Trump, on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.
[There will be a Young Professionals for Cruz event tonight in New York City.]
DUBYA DEBUTS AS JEB’S MONEY MAN
Dallas Morning News: “Texas GOP donors have lined up for a Jeb Bush political committee fundraiser in Dallas on Wednesday that will include a rare political appearance by his brother. The invitation asks for donations or for attendees to raise up to $100,000 per couple. The reception on behalf of the Right to Rise Super PAC will be held at the home of bank executive Gerald Ford and his wife Kelli…The invitation, with the list of about 50 Texas supporters, indicates the millionaire-business class that have been big backers of establishment Republicans in Texas. Among those joining the event are real estate developer Woody Hunt, oil man T. Boone Pickens, attorney Mike Boone, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans, former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, former ambassador to Switzerland Pam Willeford, homebuilder David Weekley, former U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler and beer distributor John Nau. Some of the list, such as Nau and Weekley, also had been big donors to Perry as governor. Listed on the invitation is special guests Jeb Bush ‘along with President and Mrs. George W. Bush.’”
BIG WIN FOR WALKER AT SUPREME COURT
WaPo: “The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which it had previously kept from going into effect before November's elections. The court's decision not to review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the law was a victory for Gov. Scott Walker (R) and perhaps other states that have tightened voting procedures to require additional identification. More challenges to specific state laws are in the pipeline.”
COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE, 2.0: KASICH HITS THE TRAIL
Cincinnati Enquirer: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich is testing his potential presidential message in earnest this week, starting with a campaign trip in New Hampshire [today]. Will the trip springboard Kasich to the top of a crowded, but far from closed, GOP presidential field? Or will his presidential campaign fizzle before it kicks off? Here’s what to watch Tuesday: What is Kasich’s bedside manner as a ‘retail politicker’? …Are these Kasich’s voters? …Will he make news, the kind of news he wants to make? …Headlines often come from the most interesting thing a candidate says. Given Kasich’s potential to give a frank, free-wheeling speech, possibilities abound. Kasich will ride the momentum of his New Hampshire visit [today], positive or negative, to New York City, where he’ll give a speech Wednesday night to economists and political elite. Thursday he travels to Maine, for another balanced-budget amendment pitch.”
[Kasich’s stops will include the Politics & Eggs breakfast, followed by a question and answer session with the Nashua Chamber of Commerce and finally a stop at Politics & Pie.]
Social justice candidate - Yahoo’s Andrew Romano takes an in-depth look at Kasich’s effort to meld the social-justice doctrine of his faith with Republicanism:
“Kasich is convinced that he’s a different kind of Republican. ‘For some reason, the Lord has made me more aware of people’s problems,’ Kasich told me in West Virginia. ‘And I take that awareness seriously.’ His mission now is to convince everybody else.”
Echoes of another race, another Bush - With Kasich little known in New Hampshire, AP notes how 2016 bears similarities to his 2000 effort against another Bush: “Kasich briefly sought the 2000 presidential nomination when then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush emerged as a force in Republican politics. Kasich remembers the challenge well. ‘First of all I was a congressman, nobody knew who I was,’ he said. ‘Secondly, I didn't have a big financial base.’ Third, ‘I knew the handwriting was on the wall’ pointing to Bush winning.”
[Watch Fox: Campaign Carl Cameron is back on the trail bringing the latest from Kasich in the Granite State.]
* Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., continues his latest swing through Iowa today with numerous meet and greets at local restaurants and retail stores.
* Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is giving the keynote address today at the American Fuel and Petrochemical Association annual conference.
* Former Gov. Rick Perry will participate in a discussion with Bloomberg about the economy, energy policies, and the future of America in Houston this morning.
SOUND OFF: READERS RESPOND TO 2016 POWER INDEX
“I’m glad to see [Ted Cruz] go forward with boldness. Walking on eggshells might be politically correct, but it is a losing strategy. No one wants to see Caspar Milquetoast in the White House.” --Joel Millman
“My ideal Republican ticket for 2016 is John Kasich for president & Marco Rubio for vice-president. Both are well qualified & are from states the Republicans need to win the White House.” – Douglas Sorenson
“Marco Rubio has a history of getting things done by working across the aisle. He’s bright, articulate, and has a personal immigration story that gives him personal experience and gravitas from which to speak. He could be a very attractive Republican uniter, if he can hold his own in the shake-out process.” – John E Sutton
“While I like Ted Cruz, I believe he’s too far to the right to attract the Independent voting block come the general election. My take is a Scott Walker/Carly Fiorina ticket would be the perfect GOP foil to Hillary’s campaign. Carly could assail Hillary’s record without the claims of sexism, and you know that’s coming, and Walker has proven you can take on the union and still win three elections.” – Dave Lutter
NEIGHBORS RELIEVED BY BURGLARY
Reuters: “British police said on Monday they were hunting for thieves who broke into an apartment in northwest England and stole 38 Royal Python snakes. The non-venomous snakes, which included eight pregnant females, were taken from a house in St Helens last week, police added. Two men were spotted leaving the scene carrying two sacks. ‘This is a large collection of snakes that the victim had been gathering for a while,’ said Det. Con. Neil Henry of Merseyside Police.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“We already tried a first term senator…[Sen. Ted Cruz] talks about you have to walk the walk, rather than talk the talk, you have to have done something, but that’s not his record in the Senate…but when [Gov. Scott Walker] says I ran the state, I took on the unions, I took on the liberals and I won. It’s going to be a strong argument” –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.