Report: Gruber played key role in ObamaCare

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Buzz Cut:
• Report: Gruber played key role in ObamaCare
• O’Malley plays to base on guns
• Poll: Jeb, Rubio headed for a face-off
• Power Play:  PAC-ing a punch
• This little piggy has a new home

As President Obama’s health law teeters ahead of a Supreme Court ruling, a trove of emails show that MIT economist Jonathan Gruber – who claimed the authors of ObamaCare took advantage of the “stupidity of the American voter,” – played a much bigger role in drafting the law than previously known. Some 20,000 pages, WSJ reports, “…cover messages Mr. Gruber sent from January 2009 through March 2010…[that] show frequent consultations between Mr. Gruber and top Obama administration staffers and advisers in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Care Act. They show he informed HHS about interviews with reporters and discussions with lawmakers, and he consulted with HHS about how to publicly describe his role…

[NatJournal takes a look at the blame game shaping up ahead of the court’s ObamaCare ruling.]

“The White House has described Mr. Gruber as having a limited role in crafting the law. President Barack Obama in 2014 said Mr. Gruber was ‘some adviser who never worked on our staff.’…The emails show Mr. Gruber was in touch with key advisers such as Peter Orszag, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget… Jason Furman, an economic adviser to the president, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who was then a special adviser for health policy at OMB. One email indicates Mr. Gruber was invited to meet with Mr. Obama. In a July 2009 email, he wrote that Mr. Orszag had ‘invited me to meet with the head honcho to talk about cost control.’ In an August 2009 email, Lawrence Summers – then a top economic adviser in the administration – emailed Mr. Gruber and asked ‘if you were POTUS, what would u do now?’ Mr. Gruber responded that Mr. Obama should hold out for enough money to do universal coverage.”

LA Times: “Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley suggested Sunday that Congress had fallen under the sway of ‘white racism’ and the political force of the National Rifle Assn. in refusing to respond with new laws to a cascade of shooting incidents in recent years. Speaking before the nation’s mayors, gathered in San Francisco, O’Malley pointed to gun restrictions passed when he was governor of Maryland to ban assault weapons, enforce background checks and tighten permitting procedures -- efforts that have been blocked at the national level by Republicans, and some Democrats, in Congress.”

[Howard Kurtz takes a look at the eager political finger pointing following the Charleston shootings]

Cruz returns donations to white-supremacist group - Fox News: “Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz has returned money given to his campaign by the head of an organization linked to the suspected gunman in last week’s Charleston church shooting. The Cruz campaign said in a statement obtained by Fox News that it was returning money donated by Earl Holt III, the head of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The donations were first reported by The Guardian.”

[David Drucker maps out how the Confederate flag controversy presents political minefield for Republicans, and what South Carolinians might do to diffuse it.]

“Everyone’s being baited with this question as if somehow that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president…My position is it most certainly does not.” – Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., on NBC News

WSJ: “…The Clinton campaign is working hard to tamp down expectations for the Iowa caucuses next year. Clinton aides are telling everyone who will listen that it’s exceedingly rare for a Democratic candidate who’s not a sitting president to capture more than 50% in Iowa. The idea isn’t so much to paint Mrs. Clinton as a scrappy insurgent; it’s to beat back perceptions that she’s a wounded front-runner should she fail to demolish all comers in Iowa.”

Website washout - Daily Caller: “The Hillary Clinton campaign’s first major interactive website program has attracted little participation outside of a small group including past and present Clinton campaign staffers and volunteers. recently invited supporters to add their own annotations to Clinton’s Roosevelt Island campaign kickoff speech, to allow people to share what specific Clinton sentences and paragraphs meant to them…The site’s 126 annotations come from only 43 different accounts, many of them completely anonymous, after one week of mild annotating.”

Her address is Brooklyn but… - Sources tell POLITICO that Clinton may have her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, but she holds most of her meetings in Manhattan, and works exclusively from the Manhattan office.

[Clinton has a busy week of fundraising ahead with “Conversation with Hillary” events today in Indianapolis and Minneapolis.]

Sanders continues his roll of big crowds - Denver Post: “Breathing a progressive political fire, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ignited Colorado supporters with a blistering condemnation of billionaires and corporations, drawing a crowd of nearly 5,000 to Denver…The 73-year-old Independent spoke for an hour and hit a nerve on economic issues as he advocated for an end to income inequality as well as a higher minimum wage, pay equity for women and more government spending on infrastructure…”

Amid talk of dangerous convicted criminals on the loose in New York it seems fitting to remember the man who mastered the art of being on the run. James “Whitey” Bulger, notorious Boston mobster, became an FBI informant on organized crime in the city in exchange for immunity. Problem with that was Bulger was actually the ring-leader of his own crime ring, which he continued to operate. Bulger reported to an FBI contact, John Connolly, who had grown up in their tight-knit neighborhood of South Boston. Connolly was aware Bulger hadn’t given up a life of crime, but turned a blind eye. When authorities figured out Bulger’s side-jobs Connolly tipped him off, and Bulger went on the run. He remained on the lam for 16 years until his capture on this day in 2011.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 43.7 percent//Disapprove – 51.4
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 27.6 percent//Wrong Track – 63.4 percent

A new WSJ/NBC News poll shows a narrowing gap between GOP frontrunner Jeb Bush, and political protégé Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Seventy-five percent of Republicans say they could see themselves supporting Bush, versus 22 percent who couldn’t. The five point gain from the April’s (70 percent – 27 percent) poll shows promise for the former Florida governor’s rebranding as Jeb! instead of Jeb Bush. But for Rubio news is even better. While Bush tops the list as the candidate the most people could support, nearly a quarter of people who still say they couldn’t support him. Rubio’s support comes second in the poll at 74 percent, but only 15 of voters say they couldn’t support him. Rubio’s numbers haven’t changed since the April poll, an indication his dialogue has kept him in steady favor with voters. The poll was also conducted after Bush’s campaign officially kicked off showing that his launch didn’t give him much of a surge ahead of the competition.

Bush, Rubio in subtle jabbing dance - Miami Herald: “Bush has been an ally of Rubio’s since Rubio entered politics…Many thought Rubio would stand down for Bush in 2016. But close followers of Rubio, restless as he is relentlessly ambitious, knew that was wishful thinking. Rubio began laying the groundwork for a run almost immediately after being elected to the Senate in 2010…Publicly Bush and Rubio play gracious…seems only a matter of time until they shed the indirect attacks.”

[Ground gainers - WSJ:Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina all gained significant ground with Republican primary voters in the weeks since they announced their candidacy for the party’s presidential nomination, the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.”]

Program note: 2016 Power Index…Chris Stirewalt is away for a few days, so we’ll hold off on the Power Index until next week…stay tuned.

Jeb’s social conservative side - WashEx: “Conservative activists often tag Bush with the ‘moderate’ label. This is because of his support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legal residency for illegal immigrants and the multistate education standards known as Common Core, as well as the fact he is the son and brother of presidents that Republicans don’t necessarily remember fondly. Based on Bush’s record as governor of Florida, however, he’s hardly a squish. That’s especially true on social issues. Even in terms of temperament, Bush can be aggressive on these matters. During his speech, the presidential contender mocked politicians who profess religious faith but won’t let it impact their agenda and proudly recalled his role in the Terri Schiavo affair, among the most controversial episodes of his tenure in Tallahassee.”

Walker tax plan dispels GOP myths - National Review: “[Scott Walker’s] tax policy helps address the GOP’s biggest weakness, the perception that it is the party of the rich and doesn’t ‘care about people like me.’ Polls since 2012 have consistently shown that Americans think the economy is unfairly tilted toward the rich and that the Republicans are the party of the rich. A tax policy that essentially says America isn’t doing enough for rich people is unlikely to help the GOP nominee in 2016.”

Fiorina spoiling for feisty fight - USA Today: “Republican candidate Carly Fiorina campaigned not just for the presidency on Saturday, but for the right to get on the debate stage with her GOP opponents. The first GOP debate must include someone ‘who will not be afraid to throw punches all night,’ Fiorina told a forum of religious and social conservatives…The only woman in the GOP contest, Fiorina told members of the Faith & Freedom Coalition that she is in a unique position to attack the likely Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton.”

With so-called “dark money” a major factor in the cycle, Chris Stirewalt asks Ian Prior, Communications Director for American Crossroads, about the group’s goals and strategy for the 2016 primaries and general election. WATCH HERE.

Rand ad targets “Bailout Bush” - A new ad by the super PAC for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., targets Jeb Bush in a new ad. The comical spot focuses on the Bush family’s history of support for bailouts.

Author Robert Putnam talks about his new book “Our Kids” today at noon at the American Enterprise Institute. RSVP here.

WKYT: “A piglet that survived a semi crash near Dayton last week now has a forever home. Authorities estimated up to 1,100 piglets may have died when the semitrailer carrying 2,200 piglets overturned on an Ohio highway June 8. Many more were rounded up, but others escaped into the woods. This piglet apparently had been trapped on the wreckage after the crash and got loose when the truck was towed. His wounds were treated, and on Friday he was taken to the Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville, northwest of Columbus, where he will live out the rest of his days. Sunrise provides safe haven for over 170 previously abused, neglected, disabled and otherwise unwanted animals. The lucky little pig has been named Nathan.”

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