By Chris Stirewalt, ,
Published June 23, 2016
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• Pfeiffer gloat helped get House back on border track
• Video: on the day before 9/11, Bubba talked about choice not to kill bin Laden
• Vulnerable Dems called out on costly charter flights
• Pick Six: Can you beat the pros?
• Here kitty, kitty
PFEIFFER GLOAT HELPED GET HOUSE BACK ON BORDER TRACK
Why is the House working so hard today to pass a bill to address the border crisis that is dead on arrival in the Senate and would surely face a veto from President Obama if it were to pass? Partly because White House communications boss Dan Pfeiffer has an itchy Twitter finger. Moments after House leaders scuttled a scheduled vote on a compromise bill Thursday in answer to Obama’s request of nearly $4 billion to deal with a flood of young migrants across the southern border, Pfeiffer tweeted “… the House GOP once again proves why the President must act on his own to solve problems.” Had Pfeiffer waited a bit to gloat, it might have been harder for Speaker John Boehner and his team to get members back from the exits to start working on a new compromise. The message made it clear to frustrated members just how the president planned to use their failure to advance a bill. “Exhibit A,” as one leadership aide described the tweet to Fox News First.
[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel will have the latest on the next round of border bill votes.]
Protective measures - We are told that the new bill includes an additional $35 million for border state governors to fund National Guard units as well as tougher language sought by border-security hawks to change an existing law offering sanctuary for migrant children. The measure is also said to contain a block to Obama’s threatened executive action providing indefinite amnesty to more illegal immigrants. And word is that the bill will be a good enough deal to pass today. But so what? Majority Leader Harry Reid has made it clear he intends to blockade whatever the House does other than unconditional funding. The point for the House is trying to survive the coming onslaught of executive action and hot rhetoric from the White House. Passing something – anything – that deals with the current crisis will make it a little harder for the president to exploit the current humanitarian disaster for his political and policy goals.
[In a hypothetical 2016 Senate match-up a poll from a Republican firm found Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by 10 points.]
IMPASSE BROKEN ON VETS, HIGHWAY FUNDING
President Obama is expected to sign a $10.8 billion bill to fund the Highway Trust Fund though May. He is also expected to sign a $17 billion measure aimed at reforming the Veterans Affairs Department.
Out with the old - Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: “Less than two months after his stunning primary upset and just hours after stepping down as House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives effective Aug. 18.
In with the new - New House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy lays out his approach in a WaPo op-ed: “To help restore civility, I spend a lot of time building relationships with anyone willing to work with me.”
WHITE HOUSE MAKES MUTED RESPONSE AS EBOLA FEARS GROW
Word that an American aid-worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus is being flown to the U.S. has lawmakers concerned. Health officials call the epidemic in West Africa, which has killed more than 700 people, the worst in the short history of the deadly virus. The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning advising U.S. travelers not to go to the nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. But the Obama administration says Americans face “no significant risk” and the White House has no plans to cancel a three-day U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington next week. Already under fire for its ineffectiveness in dealing with the crisis at the southern border, where a Homeland Security Inspector General reports federal agents are being exposed to communicable diseases, the White House says it is “engaged” and President Obama is getting updates.
[Not that anyone would ever, ever politicize a president’s handling of a public health concern…]
OBAMACARE GETS TOASTED IN KAISER POLL
ObamaCare is now the most unpopular since being signed into law in 2010. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of President Obama’s signature health care law, an 8 point jump since June.
Back to the bench - Fox News: “[President Obama’s] federal health care law may be headed to the Supreme Court – again. The High Court has been asked to review a July 22 ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that declared constitutional all federal subsidies granted to enrollees of the health care system.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Who was the greatest performer in American music in the last century? It would be hard to argue that it was anyone other than James Brown. Outrageous and ripe for parody in his later years, Soul Brother Number One was a one-man revolution with his blend of gospel, soul, rock and roll and, most of all, heart-stopping showmanship and dancing. The new move “Get On Up” is reintroducing America to one of its most important musical influences, the man who taught us how to “Make it Funky.” But New Yorker’s David Remnick offers a better place to start for those looking for an introduction to Brown and his nuclear-powered performances: a brief video from a 1964 teen music awards show in which Brown brought the house down and left The Rolling Stones very sorry they ever agreed to try to follow his act. Remnick writes: “These are good impersonations, even good performances, but what puts them in the shade is the real thing. And when it comes to James Brown, the real thing, in its most thrilling, compressed, erotic, explosive form, just eighteen minutes long, is also arguably the most electrifying performance in the history of postwar American music.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.4 percent//Disapprove – 55.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26 percent//Wrong Track – 64.3 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 43.7 percent// Republicans 41.2 percent
VIDEO: ON THE DAY BEFORE 9/11, BUBBA TALKED ABOUT DECISION NOT TO KILL BIN LADEN
Fox News: “Former President Bill Clinton, mere hours before the 9/11 terror attack, openly acknowledged that he turned down a chance to kill Usama bin Laden, according to a newly released recording. The former president can be heard admitting this in a speech to Australian business leaders on Sept. 10, 2001. Until now, Clinton’s eerie words had not been made public. But a businessman who had access to the nearly 13-year-old recording handed it over to Sky News Australia, which broadcast it in a report Monday. ‘I’m just saying, you know, if I were Usama bin Laden – he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him -- and I nearly got him once,’ Clinton said on the recording. ‘I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him.’ ‘And so I didn’t do it,’ he added. Clinton had recently left office at the time of the speech.”
Dem establishment is really, really, ready - WaPo: “A diverse cadre of big money Democratic players has directed millions of dollars into a super PAC supporting a potential presidential bid by Hillary Rodham Clinton, underscoring the extent to which the party machinery is tilting in her favor. At least 222 donors have signed up as co-chairs of Ready for Hillary’s national finance council — a commitment that requires donating or raising $25,000 each, or at least $5.55 million between them, according to a membership list obtained by The Washington Post.”
[Clinton vacation starts with a fundraiser for her family foundation, with prices for access starting at $5,000 a person and going up to $50,000 a couple.]
RUBIO, CRUZ TO STUMP FOR IOWA’S ERNST
The Des Moines Register: “Potential presidential candidate Marco Rubio will be in Iowa on Saturday as the special guest at a private fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst. GOP fundraiser Bruce Rastetter confirmed to the Register on Thursday that Rubio, a Republican U.S. senator from Florida, accepted his invitation to come to both the fundraiser for Ernst and his annual summer party Saturday…Rubio, who endorsed Ernst during the five-way GOP primary for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat and put significant resources behind her campaign, booked the Iowa trip months ago. This week, a second VIP political figure, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, made a last-minute RSVP and will attend both events as well. Cruz didn’t offer support in any of Iowa's Republican primaries this year.”
Fox News Sunday: Rubio’s immigration view - Host Chris Wallace will welcome Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, to discuss solutions to the border crisis and immigration. Then, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., will join Chris. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Fox News. Check local listings for air times in your area.
CHRISTIE WILL MAKE GRANITE STATE TRIPS ‘OFTEN’
The (N.J.) Star Ledger: “Gov. Chris Christie’s second trip to first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire will likely be followed by a third as early as September, the governor said. Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, campaigned today for a GOP gubernatorial hopeful, Walt Havenstein, and headlined fundraisers for the RGA and state Republican Party. ….‘I’m going to be up here often to help Walt (Havenstein) as much as I possibly can,’ he said.”
JEB ROLLS OUT MIDTERM GROUP
WSJ: “The fundraiser for Republican Senate candidates to be headlined by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be coordinated through a joint fundraising committee called Floridians for a Senate Majority, according to a filing Wednesday with the Federal Elections Commission. The event, scheduled for Sept. 23 in Tampa, will benefit candidates who will help determine whether the Senate swings under GOP control: Cory Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Monica Wehby in Oregon, Tom Cotton in Arkansas; and the winner of the Aug. 26 Republican primary in Alaska. … The new joint fundraising committee allows Mr. Bush to pick his own slate of candidates and allows donors to stroke one big check instead of multiple donations of $5,200 per campaign.”
-- 95 DAYS UNTIL NOV. 4 --
VULNERABLE DEMS CALLED OUT ON COSTLY CHARTER FLIGHTS
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., billed the taxpayers $8,500 last year for a four day, 1,000 mile trip across Virginia all traveled by charter flights, reports USAT. The telecom entrepreneur, who faces Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, was one of 24 senators who billed nearly $1 million to taxpayers for the luxury flights to, from or around their home states. Although Warner’s office said the flights were needed to free up 12 hours of driving time and to take him to remote areas of the commonwealth, Warner’s colleague Sen. Tim Kaine, R-Va., made a trip to the same area by car for $691. Warner is the richest member of the Senate. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who is also in a hotly contested re-election race, spent $47,000 on charter flights last year. One swing included a $5,500 from New Orleans to Lake Charles, La., a mere 200 miles apart. Landrieu’s Senate partner Sen. David Vitter reported zero charter flights saying he only flies commercial or drives around the Bayou.
Top culprits - Democratic New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand were the worst offenders, reports USAT. Schumer regularly spent more than $5,000 to fly to New York City, Albany, Buffalo and Rochester. Gillibrand took several chartered flights from Washington to New York cities. Both senators opted for the plane even though cheaper commercial flights and trains options. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., the second-richest Senator, charged $91,000 worth of flights in 2013 while his colleague Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. reported none.
[A total charter flight bill of $920,000 was split among 14 Republicans and 10 members of the Democratic caucus, but Democrats racked up $638,000 of the tab.]
ALEXANDER MAKES FIRST ATTACK ON CARR
Nashville Public Radio: “Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has gone out of his way to avoid saying the name of his most viable opponent in the Republican Primary, until now. When state Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) started challenging Alexander to debates, the two-term senator avoided making it look like a head-to-head race…. It’s difficult to find anywhere in print that Alexander has even said the name ‘Joe Carr.’ But now the campaign has gone on the attack, sending out mailers around Middle Tennessee that ask, ‘Can we trust Joe Carr in the United States Senate?’ A spokesman says it was time to ‘set the record straight’ on issues like Common Core education standards, which Carr has been pounding Alexander for supporting…. Carr’s camp is characterizing the flyer as a sign Alexander is worried and has again issued a debate challenge…. Alexander has run harder than some political watchers expected, including a 35-city bus tour in the lead up to Election Day August 7th.”
ROBERTS HITS WOLF ON OBAMACARE SUPPORT
Kansas City Star: “[A] New spot features a photo of [GOP challenger Milton Wolf] with his cousin, [President Obama], and portrays Wolf as cheering him on. In the latest ad in the increasingly bitter [Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas,]-Milton Wolf U.S. Senate primary in Kansas, Wolf is featured saying he wants ‘more than anything to see Barack succeed.’ Roberts, the three-term incumbent, said Wolf made the statement on Fox News in March 2010, 11 days before President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Obama is a distant relative of Wolf’s. Roberts claims that the statement shows just how two-faced Wolf is. On the one hand, the tea partier criticizes the president heavily for a myriad of reasons, including Obamacare. On the other, he roots for him.”
MISSISSIPPI DEM DRAWS CHEERS FROM MCDANIEL BACKERS
The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger: “Incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran[, R-Miss.,] told Neshoba County Fair goers Thursday ‘I accept your nomination,’ and asked those who didn't vote for him in either GOP primary to get behind him in November. Tea party supporters of his GOP opponent Chris McDaniel, who still hasn't conceded his June 24 runoff loss to Cochran, didn't interrupt Cochran as many fair goers had feared. But neither did they cheer him on. They cheered louder when Cochran's Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, spoke. … He even made a direct entreaty to the relatively small tea party/McDaniel crowd… ‘The tea party says we cannot sustain 17 trillion in debt,’ Childers said. ‘They're right. I pledge to vote for a balanced budget amendment.’”
VETERANS GROUP HIGHLIGHTS COTTON’S WORK TO FIX VA
Concerned Veterans for America is thanking Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., for his support for veterans throughout the years in a new ad. “Tom Cotton was working to fix the VA and working to improve the lives of Arkansas veterans long before it became politically popular,” the narrator said in the 30 second spot. “Thank Tom Cotton for keeping his promise and standing by our veterans.” The six-figure campaign will target Arkansas voters though TV, mail, and digital ads. Cotton hopes to unseat Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in the fall. “Representative Cotton relentlessly pursued legislation to reform the VA long before the current scandal emerged, and we fully believe he will continue to fight for veterans after it fades from the headlines,” Pete Hegseth, CEO of CVA, said in a statement.
NUNN TRIES JOKE ON MEMO DEBACLE
Savannah (Ga.) Morning News: “Michelle Nunn ...tried to shrug it off when reporters asked about [the discovery of a very embarrassing campaign memo] Thursday during a campaign stop in Macon. ‘I always thought I wanted to run an open and transparent campaign, but this has gone beyond what I anticipated or intended,’ she told them.”
WALSH: ‘I’M GOING TO FINISH’
Montana Standard: “U.S. Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he takes full responsibility for failing to cite passages in a final paper for his master’s degree but will not drop out of the U.S. Senate race over the reported plagiarism. ‘I’m not a quitter,’ the Montana Democrat and Butte native said in a telephone interview with the Standard’s editorial board. ‘When I take something on I’m going to finish.’ Walsh said earlier statements he made about facing rocket fire and explosions while serving in Iraq, and the later suicide of a fellow solider, were construed in media reports as him making excuses for not citing sources of some passages in his U.S. Army War College paper in 2007. He said his tour in Iraq and the months after his return to Montana were stressful, but none of that was an excuse for what he again said was an ‘unintentional mistake.’”
[Walsh’s Republican challenger Rep. Steve Daines touts Montana as the “most beautiful state in America” and says he will bring integrity to Washington in new ad.]
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MAKES PLAY AGAINST FRANKEN
National Journal: “The U.S Chamber of Commerce will be endorsing GOP businessman Mike McFadden in the Minnesota Senate race, the latest sign Republicans view Democratic Sen. Al Franken as increasingly vulnerable. ‘I'm honored to have their endorsement. They know Minnesota is a state we can win,’ McFadden said in an interview about the pending endorsement. The endorsement will be formally announced by the chamber Monday at an event in Burnsville, Minn. McFadden has been in Washington meeting with officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week to discuss the state of the campaign.”
PICK SIX: CAN YOU BEAT THE PROS?
Republicans need to flip an additional six Senate seats from blue to red to gain control of the upper chamber. Fox News First readers think the most likely states to switch are: Arkansas (13.6%), Louisiana (11.9%), Montana (11.9%), West Virginia (11.2%), South Dakota (10.5%) and North Carolina (10.0%). In this week’s installment of Power Play: Political Pros, Host Chris Stirewalt welcomes Democratic strategist Penny Lee and Republican strategist Lauren Zelt, who make their picks and talk about changes to the list. Are your picks the same as our Political Pros? Find out here.
[Lee and Zelt also discussed the political climate surrounding House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit hitting President Obama on his ObamaCare executive actions. How will the suit and impeachment talk shape midterm races? Find out here.]
Holding out hope for Granite State - Fox News First reader and New Hampshire native Anthony Joppie wants to see Republican Scott Brown unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., but thinks Brown may be too moderate for some Granite State voters. “Many conservatives are reluctant to vote for Brown due to many of his moderate positions, particularly on social issues,” writes Joppie. “It’s unfortunate that many Republicans can’t seem to grasp that New England is one of the most liberal regions in the country and running as a hardcore conservative is a surefire way to lose. I’ll take a moderate Republican over a hardcore liberal any day.”
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
Catch a ‘#mediabuzz’ - Host Howard Kurtz will talk media coverage of the “impeachment” fracas with panelists Jonah Goldberg, Keli Goff and Lauren Ashburn. USA Today’s Christine Brennan is on to discuss ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith’s suspension for comments regarding domestic abuse, and former WaPo Jerusalem bureau chief Janine Zacharia joins the show on coverage of the conflict in Gaza. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.
CUOMO’S CORRUPTION COMMISSION WOES WORSEN
AP: “A federal prosecutor has threatened to investigate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration for allegedly encouraging potential witnesses to defend the Democratic governor’s handling of an anti-corruption commission. Cuomo’s office acknowledged Thursday having discussions with ‘relevant parties’ but declined to identify them.”
ILLINOIS GOV SINKING
Illinois Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner holds a lead against Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., in multiple polls this week. A poll conducted for a labor group showed 46 percent of voters supported Rauner and 42 percent backed Quinn, while a survey commissioned by GOP attorney general hopeful Paul Schimpf, indicated Rauner sits on a 14 point lead, 40 percent to 34 percent. A We Ask America poll, commissioned by the civic group Reboot Illinois, indicated the same margin saying Rauner leads the incumbent 47 percent to 33 percent. Quinn scoffed at We Ask America’s survey calling it “phony-baloney” and that it was too early in the race.
NOT THE ONION
A new book says Vice President Joe Biden is a big fan of skinny dipping.
HERE KITTY, KITTY
Oh, drunken Britain. In a fundraising bid familiar to American zoos, the London Zoo holds events after regular hours in which patrons are invited for a cocktail party and special access to the exhibits. But “London Zoo Lates” do it a little differently. It’s not glasses of blush wine and mini-quiches. Instead it is nine, four-hour summertime events that last year drew an estimated 55,000 attendees who spent $1.35 million. Can you guess what happened? According to The Guardian, drunken party-goers reportedly threw beer on a tiger, tried to enter the lion cage and attempted to skinny dip in the penguin pool. Westminster City Council is now investigating the summer events and reviewing its policy on selling alcohol. A spokeswoman for the zoo told the Guardian that the events are safe and a ban on alcohol is unnecessary.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The president himself has said often and publicly and on camera that he isn’t allowed to do precisely what he has said he’s ready to do in September. He said he’s against -- look, he said it is unconstitutional and in one of his ringing denunciations of doing what he’s going to do, he said, after all, we are a nation of laws. So, taking him at his word is a serious trespass on the Constitution. I wouldn’t impeach simply because it’s political suicide, but in principle, it would be an impeachable offense.”–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 here.