Scandals skewer Hillary in swing states

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Buzz Cut:
• Scandals skewer Hillary in swing states
• Rand hits back hard on abortion
• Walker: Obama has no business ‘schooling anyone’ on foreign policy
• Bloomberg adds coal to his hit list
• The road to Appomattox began with political failure

As news of another suspect foreign entanglement hits Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a new survey shows how damaging the fallout from her scandal twin-bill of secret email servers and foreign buckraking have been. A Quinnipiac University poll out today says Clinton’s lead is collapsing against leading Republican presidential candidates in the critical swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. The size of the drop from Q’s mid-February survey, coupled with gains by the entire GOP field leads the pollster to conclude, “[I]t is difficult to see Secretary Clinton’s slippage as anything other than a further toll on her image from the furor over her e-mail.” Respondents in all three states say she is not honest and trustworthy.

Nasty numbers - In matchups, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., drew 44 percent to Clinton’s 41 percent in Colorado, as he and 5 other GOP hopefuls statistically tied the Democratic frontrunner. In Iowa, Paul at 43 percent, has a numerical edge over Clinton’s 42 percent, with the rest of the field effectively tied or close. Clinton fared better in Virginia, with a 47 to 43 percent lead over Paul, her closest GOP rival.

About that email policy… - WaPo: “…Clinton has hired a longtime Google executive to oversee her likely presidential campaign's technology development and build new ways for Clinton to engage with voters, according to Democrats with knowledge of the move. Stephanie Hannon, who is Google's director of product management for civic innovation and social impact, will become the chief technology officer of the expected Clinton campaign…’

Move in day? - In a signal a campaign announcement is nearing from Hillary Clinton, sources tell Fox News some staffers for the former Secretary of State started moving into her Brooklyn, N.Y. headquarters Wednesday.

[Watch Fox: Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry is in Iowa examining the groundwork being laid by Clinton.]

During a campaign stop in Milford, N.H., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., responded to a question about a testy exchange he had with an AP reporter about abortion policy. Paul’s retort: “You go back and go ask (DNC head) Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that's just not born yet.” Paul added, “Ask her when life begins, and ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me.” Wasserman Schultz shot back responding, “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.”

Zero exceptions? - “It’s disturbing to know that the Chairwoman of the DNC supports zero protections for the life of an unborn child, not even in the final days before birth. We should be willing to protect the innocent. Do her fellow Democrats share their party chair’s position, which is out-of-step with the majority of American women?”—Republican National Committee Press Secretary, Allison Moore in a statement.

[According to the most recent Gallup Poll, only 28 percent of respondents believe abortion should be legal under “any circumstance.”]

‘People want someone who will stand up’ - During an appearance on “The Kelly File” Wednesday night Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., defended his demeanor in recent interviews telling host Megyn Kelly, “Do I think that I responded appropriately? You know, I would rather not have contentious interviews.  I would rather do 30 minutes with Charlie Rose laid back in a La-Z-Boy chair. I know, but we only get a few minutes. There’s not a lot of time for niceties.” Paul went on to say, “I think also that people want someone who will stand up and not just roll over and take it.”

The Hill: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has raised $1 million in donations through his website to a day after officially launching his presidential campaign.”

NRA snubs Christie and Rand - The Tennessean: “A dozen or so possible Republican presidential candidates are set to speak in Nashville on Friday at the National Rifle Association's annual convention — but the lineup is missing two big names. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky…Neither were invited to addresses the NRA’s Leadership Forum, NRA officials confirmed to The Tennessean. … Christie… was given a ‘C’ by the NRA in 2013, prior to his re-election. Earlier that year, Christie blasted the NRA for airing what he called a ‘reprehensible’ television ad that mentioned the daughters of President Barack Obama.”

[Why would the NRA exclude Paul, whose record on gun rights is pristine? The Daily Beast explains that it is his support for other, more conservative firearms groups.]

The Lineup at NRA: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., Dr. Ben Carson, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., reality show host Donald Trump and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Pro-military appeal in the Palmetto State- The [South Carolina] Herald: “Some prominent Palmetto State Republicans will accompany White House hopeful Rand Paul when he launches his South Carolina primary race Thursday at the U.S.S. Yorktown. For the U.S. senator from Kentucky, who is trying to dispel concerns that he is too isolationist, the choice of the aircraft carrier as a backdrop offers the chance to appeal to pro-military S.C. voters. U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., and state Sen. Tom Davis are expected to give remarks at Paul’s event. U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., will not attend but has contributed a video.”

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., shot back at President Obama’s criticism of his foreign policy experience during an appearance on “Hannity” Wednesday. “This is a guy who has the audacity to be talking about schooling anyone when it comes to foreign policy and not just about Israel and nuclear weapons,” Walker told host Sean Hannity. “The thing about that statement, a guy in the last year called ISIS, the jayvee squad, his administration continues to call Yemen a success story, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave Russia a reset button.” Watch the interview here.

Jeb goes for big bucks in Boston  - Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., heads to the Bay State today to shake the money tree at the Boston area home of his cousin, Athena Health CEO, Jonathan Bush. Founder of Carruth Capital, Christopher Egan, is co-hosting the $10,000 ticket event with Bush’s cousin.

Huckabee shoots, scores - Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., released a Web ad Wednesday comparing the threat of Islamic jihad to a rattlesnake. Huckabee appears in the ad saying: “As a kid growing up in South Arkansas, one thing I learned about rattlesnakes is you don’t get in their head and try and figure out why they want to bite you, you don’t try and have a conversation with them, you don’t negotiate with them…you take their heads off with a .410 shotgun or a hoe before they bite you.”

Sixteeners hail homeschooling in the Hawkeye State - Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and  Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., will take part in a discussion on homeschooling this afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa.  Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar will join Gov. Huckabee earlier in the day to promote school choice and his conservative vision for education.

[As the 2016 field converges on Iowa, the Des Moines Register is following their moves.]

AP: “Billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he is donating an additional $30 million to a Sierra Club initiative working to reduce the nation's use of coal. The Sierra Club has a goal of replacing half the nation's coal plants with renewable energy by 2017.”

The Judge’s Ruling: Unneeded solution - With respect to Indiana’s original Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano observes, “If the Indiana legislature wanted to bring back the bad old days with respect to sexual orientation and public accommodations, one can understand the firestorm it got. If it was just trying to boast that it was defending the same religious liberties the Constitution already requires it to defend, its efforts were clumsy, unnecessary and wasteful.”

For many of the planets in our solar system we have the Greeks and Romans to thank for their names. For example, Jupiter is named after Zeus and its moons for his conquests.  This holds true for nearly every planet in our solar system except for Uranus, whose names can be traced to the plays of Shakespeare. So how did the earth’s moon get such a seemingly generic name? Gizmodo explains: “The word ‘moon’ can be traced back to Old English, where it is said to have derived from the Proto-Germanic word ‘menon’, which in turn derived from the Proto-Indo-European  ‘menses,’ meaning ‘month, moon.’ This highlights how far back the association between the Moon and the passage of time goes.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 45.6 percent//Disapprove – 49.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 30.5 percent//Wrong Track – 60.8 percent

The dictum that “war is the continuation of politics by other means” has never been so true as in the American Civil War. A political conflict over slavery sewn into the very soil from which the republic would grow proved too much for our system. After two generations of civic strife, war erupted in South Carolina on April 12, 1861. It would last until this date in 1865, with the surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Va. It was Palm Sunday in a tiny, dusty hamlet, unremarkable except for its railroad depot. Some 620,000 Americans had been killed in the previous four years. And it could fairly be said that their cause of death was political failure. That’s why the sesquicentennial of the end of the Civil War ought to be a somber moment for Americans today.

We live with an increasingly failed political system and a society that shows deepening intolerance of the views of others. Public discourse of substance on any controversial topic is seemingly impossible. We are losing the tether. That’s not to say that we are on the brink of a new civil war, but it is undeniable that the path to national dissolution ran through hateful discourse and broken, insufficient politics. And that is to say nothing of the insult paid to those war dead by the individuals today who so roughly handle the institutions and culture that history show to be rare, precious and alarmingly fragile.

Appomattox 101 - Lee’s army had been on the run since the beginning of the month after it had been forced from its lines at Petersburg, Va. The once-fearsome force, a shell of its former self, was moving west to Appomattox to obtain a stockpile of desperately needed weapons and ammunition.  On April 7, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant wrote Lee prodding for surrender. “The results of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia,” Grant wrote.  He added that any further effusion of blood would be Lee’s responsibility. Lee did not yield, but did seek to find what conditions Grant would offer.

On Apr. 8, Lee had plotted one final route of escape. After initial successes on April 9, he found himself trapped. It was then Lee knew what he had to do. He telegraphed Grant seeking a meeting to discuss surrender. Fittingly, but quite by happenstance, officers chose the home of Wilmer McLean, who had moved from Northern Virginia early in the war to escape the fighting, for the parley. Grant, still wearing a mud-spattered uniform, proved to be gracious and generous in his terms of surrender.  He permitted Confederate soldiers to keep their horses for the upcoming planting season. Officers were allowed to keep their side-arms and baggage.  After receiving parole, the Army of Northern Virginia was allowed to return home without any stigma of treason. Grant also provided rations for Lee’s starving men.

Upon returning to his troops Lee said, “Men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best I could for you. My heart is too full to say more.”

Syllabus - If today’s anniversary has you in the mood to dive deeper on the topic, here are ten of the finest books on the subject of the Civil War, compiled with some kind help from readers, via Twitter. (Excluded from contention on the grounds that it is a class by itself is Shelby Foote’s 3,000-page, three-volume “The Civil War: A Narrative.” When you are ready to go to the soul of the conflict, you go there.)

*“Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee” – Michael Korda

*“Hell or Richmond” – Ralph Peters

*“Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years” – Carl Sandburg

*“Red Badge of Courage” – Stephen Crane

*“American Gothic: The Story of America’s Legendary Theatrical Family, Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth” – Gene Smith

*“Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer” – James Swanson

*“The Killer Angels” – Michael Shaara

*“Shiloh: A Novel” – Shelby Foote

*“Brady's Civil War” – Webb Garrison

*“The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters” – James McPherson

@cstirewalt would like to extend his very great thanks to contributors @GordonMerrimail @JeerzGirl72 @illini007 @CoorieFoos @jpfcolumbus @CarolynOsborn10 @driline @wiuDavid @LaganoNI @BDavis_DC @BonnieJ36234991 @kaschnee @SwanbergJeff

“They are going to try to leash [Bill Clinton] for the next year…but I like the way he says I will be in the background until the end and then they are going to unleash him. Because he does well unleashed at the end…in full flower as he was when he supported [President Obama].” –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