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• Rubio looks to cash in at Camp Mitt
• Kasich staffing move draws ire in S.C.
• Shadowboxing Dems set Iowa exhibition
• Coon hunting helps Ryan move trade bill
• The realtor must have forgotten to mention Shockwave
RUBIO LOOKS TO CASH IN AT CAMP MITT
Who’s up for a Cherry Coke Zero and a little flag football? If that’s your bag, then Mitt Romney’s annual gathering of politicians, policy wonks and rich people at a Utah resort is the place to be this weekend. This is the Romneysian answer to the February cattle calls for conservatives held by groups like Charles and David Koch and their donor network. Instead of golf, cigars and an emphasis on political strategy, the Romney meeting is about squeaky-clean outdoor fun and policy. But make no mistake, this is a major-league tryout with high stakes.
The one who stand to benefit most is Marco Rubio, who has seen his poll numbers retreat since his April launch but has had continuing success in making his case to establishment donors wary of Jeb Bush’s general election viability. Those are just the kind of people who will be in the mountains with Romney. When Romney opted against a 2016 run in January, he called for “the next generation of Republican leaders” to take the reins. That fits precisely with Rubio’s generational appeal to his party as a GOP JFK.
Rubio has also been putting in plenty of sweat equity to win Romney’s blessing. Rubio’s political skills plus Romney’s donor network could be just the recipe to defeat Jeb Bush. Plenty of Romney team members have ended up in Rubio’s orbit and he has the strongest case to make as a fusion candidate who can unite the donor class with the activist core.
Less likely to get Romney to pop open another pack of Peanut M&Ms is Scott Walker. Walker, more of a blunt instrument, is farther right than most of the residents of Romneyland. Plus, Walker’s book bags on Romney’s 2012 campaign. At length. But Walker’s task is no less important than Rubio’s. At a meeting of technocrats and moderate Republicans, Walker can’t afford to be seen as unready or dangerous. Just as Rubio has to stay an acceptable second choice to Walker among Iowa voters, Walker has to be broadly acceptable to the elites. Rubio is riding behind Walker when it comes to Iowa Harley tours and hog roasts, but this weekend it’s Rubio who has the home-field advantage.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are all reportedly going to be on hand and will get the chance to make their cases to the CEO set. But for them, the idea is more about getting the whale donors to hold off in backing Rubio long enough to get their own national campaigns in position.
[Watch Fox: Megyn Kelly interviews Romney ahead of the kickoff of his summit tonight on “The Kelly File” at 9 p.m. ET. Megyn, who joins other bold-face media figures at the gathering, will moderate the main event: Romney’s keynote session on Friday afternoon.]
Haven’t you always wondered what they look like in Tevas? - Also on the bipartisan guest list: Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and Obama soothsayer David Axelrod.
Who’s not there:
Bush wraps up his overseas trip this weekend ahead of his Monday announcement in Miami. He and Romney had a “gentlemanly” meeting earlier this year prior to Romney’s decision to not mount a third presidential run.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will be in Oklahoma Saturday for a state party luncheon. No surprise here.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. is in California Friday and Saturday to raise money in Newport Beach and Irvine. Paul backed Romney in 2012 over Paul’s own father, but the Kentucky senator said a few months ago that Romney should “never” run again.
Ben Carson will not attend the Romney forum either, but his campaign didn’t have a weekend plan yet, telling Fox News it would release his public schedule later today.
JEB CALLS FOR ‘SHOW OF ROBUST FORCE’ AGAINST PUTIN
AP: “The United States should consider sending thousands more U.S. troops, along with NATO forces, to Eastern Europe to match the strength Russian President Vladimir Putin is amassing in the region, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said Wednesday. Capping the two-day German leg of a European trip aimed at bolstering the former Florida governor's foreign policy credentials, Bush said Putin is ‘a bully’ who can only be contained by a show of robust force.”
Koch-backed group calls foul on Walker’s arena plan - Legislation to provide public funding for a new pro basketball arena in Milwaukee is gaining criticism from opponents on the left, predictably, but concerns from the right may make Walker pause. Wisconsin’s state director of Americans for Prosperity, David Fladeboe, said in a statement, “Government shouldn’t be in the business of financing private sports stadiums.” The group is backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch who have publicly stated their affinity for Walker. And with a recent pledge to spend more in this cycle, this stadium may be more hassle than it’s worth.
Perry PAC hits Iowa airwaves - The super PAC backing former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, highlights his bootstraps beginnings and rise through the military in a new ad.
Carly’s PAC shacks Hillary - Carly Fiorina’s super PAC has a new ad out aimed at her favorite target: Hillary. Fiorina is in Washington where she’ll deliver a speech on State of Women in America at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Annual Dinner.
[Watch Fox: Fiorina faces questions from the All-Star Panel in the Center Seat tonight on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”]
Kasich staffing move draws ire in S.C. - Kasich’s decision to hire strategists John Weaver and Fred Davis, notorious GOP Party crashers, was met with groans among many party activists. But as David Drucker reports, nowhere was the move met with more hostility than in South Carolina where the two worked to oust incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley.
[Kasich has a meet and greet with Clark County Republicans in Las Vegas.]
Graham introduces 20-week abortion bill today - Lindsey Graham introduces the Pain Capable Child Protection Act in the Senate today, which stipulates that abortions must be performed in the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy. Graham’s timing couldn’t be worse for senators in competitive senate seats this cycle whose vote on a highly controversial issue could give fodder to Democratic contenders.
Rand Paul is in Washington today speaking to young Republicans.
Chris Christie has events in Iowa including a midday speech on education at Iowa State University in Ames.
Ben Carson continues his two day Iowa swing with a breakfast event in Fort Dodge.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Tiny Moog Music of Asheville, N.C. made national headlines this week with news that the company’s owner was giving 49 percent of the firm to its 62 employees. As a business story, it’s a man-bites-dog classic suitable for the clickbait era – “You won’t believe what this CEO did…” But for music lovers, Moog and its eponymous product remains a big deal. The first truly electronic instrument, the Moog synthesizer used transistors to replicate the otherworldly sounds. The big breakthrough came with classical music for performances which relied on the Moog’s Theremin-like sound. Soon, popular performers got in on the act with tracks like The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe (When I Fall in Love).” But it wasn’t until the rise of prog rock in the 1970s that the Moog found its fullest flower. Groups like Yes and Emerson Lake & Palmer loved the Moog. (You can see it in action on Electric Light Orchestra’s video for “Can’t Get it Out of My Head.”) Moog was driven into bankruptcy by the rise of cheap, portable synthesizers, but was saved in recent years as younger audiences rediscovered its richer, unique sound.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.7 percent//Disapprove – 50.1
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 29.0 percent//Wrong Track – 61.6 percent
SHADOWBOXING DEMS SET IOWA EXHIBITION
Like a lopsided heavyweight bout, the Democratic Party knows that staging a primary battle where the challengers are likely to go down in the first round means pumping up the sparring events. Hence word that Hillary Clinton and rivals Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders and Jim Webb will share the stage at the 2015 Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration July 17 in Cedar Rapids. In contrast to numerous Republican multi-candidate events in the state, the Cedar Rapids gathering will be the first where the Democratic contenders will appear together, according to Iowa Democratic Party spokesman Sam Lau.
[On his second trip to Iowa since announcing his candidacy, Martin O’Malley has a trio of events in the Hawkeye State today. Bernie Sanders begins a two day tour on Friday. Jim Webb heads to Iowa next week]
Clintons clash over Bubba’s email - Fox News: “[A]t a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Denver…[Bill Clinton] said the ‘only time’ he got on the Internet was to do ‘two emails’ and order Christmas presents…The statement echoes what a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal in March -- that the ex-president had only sent two emails in his life, one to U.S. troops and the other to astronaut John Glenn. Yet, when Hillary Clinton held a press conference in March explaining her personal email use, she said her private server ‘contains personal communications from my husband and me.’”
[But who will pay the bills? - Asked if he’ll continue to rake in six-figure speaking fees if Hillary wins the White House, Bubba told Bloomberg: “No, I don’t think so.”]
Not yet - Teasing out an apparent cat-and-mouse game, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio office says he’ll be a no-show at Hillary Clinton’s campaign launch WSJ: “Mr. de Blasio, who managed Mrs. Clinton’s winning 2000 campaign for Senate and supported her 2008 presidential bid, said at an unrelated news conference that “I’ve always liked what I heard from Bernie Sanders,” the independent Vermont senator who is running for the Democratic 2016 nomination.”
[Sanders participates in Christian Science Monitor breakfast and media availability today in Washington.]
THE JUDGE’S RULING: BAIT AND SWITCH
Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano says replacing the expired section authorizing the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data under the Patriot Act with the Freedom Act has changed little. In what he calls an “insidious bait and switch,” the judge asks, “What is the value of a constitutional guarantee if the people into whose hands we repose the Constitution for safe keeping can change it as they see fit and negate the guarantee?” Read morehere.
COON HUNTING HELPS RYAN MOVE TRADE BILL
AP: “Immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Wednesday he moved from leaning ‘no’ to a solid ‘yes’ after [Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.,] assured him that trade negotiations would include no changes to immigration policy. ‘It’s actually a significant benefit because it will prohibit the negotiation of immigration provisions of any kind in any trade agreement that’s negotiated under the TPA,’ said King, who spoke for 10 to 15 minutes with Ryan during which time King spotted a raccoon heading out of his barn to prowl. That led to a discussion of raccoon hunting and guns before they reached agreement on the trade bill, King said.”
THE REALTOR MUST HAVE FORGOTTEN TO MENTION SHOCKWAVE
Springfield [Mo.] News Leader: “Four ambulances, three Greene County Sheriff's deputies, a couple of Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers, a firetruck and a few more emergency vehicles descended on a farm just east of Springfield on Monday afternoon. Authorities had received a report of a possible plane crash in the area…but what the callers — who are new to the neighborhood — thought was a plane crash…ended up being a bath for Shockwave, the jet-powered semi-truck that tops out at 376 miles per hour. Shockwave’s owner, Neal Darnell, said he raced the vehicle — which looks like a fighter plane and a semi-truck had a baby — on a dirt course last week, so the truck needed to be washed on Monday.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“This is not something that’s going to have any effect and the most shocking fact of all is what you have just enumerated is that we’ve trained exactly zero Sunnis…And our only hope would have been get the Sunnis to join us against.” – 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.