Stunner: 44 percent not proud to be American

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Buzz Cut:
• Stunner: 44 percent not proud to be American
• No baloney: Obama still says scandals are ‘phony’
• Study says ObamaCare rates set to spike
• Foreign funds fuel Clinton fortune
• Talk about an expert witness

For all of the red white and blue on display in honor of America’s soccer exploits this week, an exhaustive new Pew poll shows that actual patriotism is in the dumps. An amazing 44 percent of all respondents said they didn’t often feel proud to be American. Only 28 percent said that America was the greatest nation on earth. So how do you unite people to save the country if they’re not invested in its success? And how do you reverse a belief that is searing in its self-fulfillment? We talk a lot in America about economic, demographic and other “tipping points,” but the patriotism gap is arguably the most important of all.

Liberals care less - Pew divided their sample into different categories across the left-right political spectrum. When asked if respondents “often feel proud to be American,” a majority of strong liberals, 60 percent, said no. The only group that solidly agreed with the statement was conservatives, ranging from 72 percent to 81 percent.  About half of the respondents in the middle of the spectrum – essentially libertarians to socially conservative fiscal liberals – said they were proud to be American.

Taking exception with exceptionalism - When asked if the United States ranks above other countries, fewer than three in 10 overall said the U.S “stands above all other counties” while 58 percent said the U.S. “is one of the greatest countries, along with some others.” And 12 percent of respondents definitively said “there are other countries that are better than the U.S.” When broken down into groups, conservatives are tops on exceptionalism at 46 percent. Close behind are members of the ethnically diverse ranks of socially conservative, fiscally liberal Americans who formerly made up the Democratic base before the Obama era at 39 percent Strong liberals and libertarian-leaning young adults were least likely to see America as the greatest, 11 percent and 16 percent respectively. And 19 percent of strong liberals, the leader in this ranking, said other countries were better.

Why it matters - If the individuals in a disagreement don’t at least agree that they are trying to preserve a common endeavor, spirited debate turns into acrimony. Splitsville, man. If America is just another country with a soccer team, the extraordinary doses of patriotic grace, forbearance and sacrifice that have been required of citizens since our country’s founding don’t make sense. It’s not that the 44 percent who aren’t proud are all moving to Costa Rica, it’s that they feel less obliged to do the hard work necessary to make a system this demanding work. Politicians and public figures who intentionally exploit and deepen divisions and resentments are doing more than just creating gridlock, they’re undercutting the very idea that has lit the lamp of America’s greatness for nearly three centuries.

Rallying supporters in Minnesota the day after new revelations about wrongdoing at the IRS related to the targeting and harassment of his political enemies, President Obama doubled down on claims that the mounting scandals around his administration are fabrications. The Hill: “President Obama charged that his Republican opponents had ‘nothing to offer except cynicism and fear and frustration’ during a fundraiser Thursday in Minnesota. The fundraiser capped off a day Obama spent with Rebekah Erler, a working mother who wrote the president to detail her financial struggle. ‘It moved me,’ Obama said of the letter, adding that he only went into politics to help people like her. Obama said he remembered what it felt like to be struggling to figure out ‘how you lead a good life and raise your kids, not looking to get wildly wealthy… trying to make ends meet. That’s what we should be talking about every day in Washington,’ he said. ‘We talk about everything else. .. We talk about phony scandals. We talk about Benghazi. and we talk about polls and we talk about the tea party and we talk about the latest controversy... We don’t talk about her.’”

[Johnnie M. Walters, an IRS commissioner during former President Richard Nixon term, died Tuesday at the age of 94. Walters was best known for resigning after he refused to prosecute the people on the president’s “enemies list.”]

Washington Examiner: “National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said Thursday the federal labor-law enforcement agency was still trying to determine the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling… Pearce issued a terse statement, which said in part: ‘We are analyzing the impact that the Court’s decision has on Board cases in which the January 2012 recess appointees participated. ... The Agency is committed to resolving any cases affected by today’s decision as expeditiously as possible.’…The NLRB had previously asserted that all of the disputed rulings were valid, despite the rulings in federal court that said the board did not have the authority to make them. Potentially all those actions will now have to be re-litigated. The cases were ones decided by President Obama’s appointees Sharon Block, Richard Griffin and Terence Flynn. The ruling leaves intact rules that were made by another disputed appointee, Craig Becker.”

Pretty cocky for a guy coming off a unanimous SupCo smackdown - “You know, the suit is a stunt. But what I've told Speaker Boehner directly is if you're really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don't you try getting something done through Congress?” – President Obama speaking to ABC News discussing the looming lawsuit from House Republicans seeking to force him to enforce the laws passed by the legislative branch.

[Fox News Sunday - Host Chris Wallace welcomes Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., to discuss their view on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to overturn the president’s recess appointments. “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.]

“[The justices of the Supreme Court] concluded once and for all, that ours is not a government of one. The president tried to make it then the Supreme Court smacked him down yet again.” – Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah on “The Kelly File” with Megyn Kelly. Watch full interview here.

Roll Call: “President Barack Obama told Congress Thursday that he has the authority on his own to send troops to Iraq indefinitely under the Constitution. ‘These forces will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed,’ Obama told lawmakers of his decision to send 300 military advisers there. ‘This action is being undertaken in coordination with the Government of Iraq and has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,’ Obama wrote in a letter to Congress. Obama does not use either the 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks nor does he cite the 2002 Iraq AUMF as justification. Both acts of Congress remain in effect today because they have no expiration date and have not been repealed.”

ObamaCare customers face steep premium hikes next year unless they opt to wade through the cumbersome marketplace again and switch plans according to a new report by Avalere Health out Thursday. But, “shopping around may not be as likely,” Kaiser Health points out, “under proposed rules also released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will automatically re-enroll the vast majority of those who are signed up for plans through the online marketplaces. Automatic re-enrollments might ease the experience, but it also will make it less likely consumers will check out other options.” Most of those insured under ObamaCare receive subsidies to lower the cost of coverage, but the plans those subsidies rates are based on will change significantly the Avalere reports says. The federal government ties subsidy rates to the second lowest cost silver-rated health insurance plan on each state exchange. In six of the nine states studied by Avalere, plans that currently serve as the benchmark for federal subsidies will lose their status next year and the subsidy calculation will change as a result. ‘The lowest cost plans in 2014 may no longer be low cost in 2015,’ said Avalere Health’s Elizabeth Carpenter.

[Storm warning - ICYMI, WaPo put a human face on how firms are cutting worker hours, delaying raises and struggling with regulations, as ObamaCare’s employer mandate nears]

On the docket: Religious freedom v ObamaCare - In perhaps the most closely-watched case of the year at the Supreme Court, justices are slated to rule Monday on a critical challenge to ObamaCare. Still reeling from Thursday’s ruling limiting President Obama’s recess appointment power, a decision striking down the requirement that companies to include birth control, including products like the “morning after pill” that pro-life adherents say are abortion drugs, for their employees.

It is human nature to want to find a trend in something, but the NYT explains why sometimes, random events can’t always be compared. “That’s So Random: Why We Persist in Seeing Streaks”: “Today, there still isn’t much evidence for a hot hand in basketball or beyond. But our belief in it is unquestionably real. Roulette players will bet on more numbers after they win than after they lose, psychologists have found. A store that issues a winning lottery ticket will tend to sell more lottery tickets afterward, economists have observed. Investors often assume that a rising stock’s price will keep rising. Time and again, we don’t want to believe that streaks can be the result of pure chance — probably because the bias appears to be deeply ingrained in our minds, researchers say.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve –  41.5 percent//Disapprove – 53.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29 percent//Wrong Track – 62.5 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42.8 percent// Republicans 41.4 percent

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has repeatedly defended her family’s enormous income in the 14 years since they left power as the fruits of “hard work.” Comparing her and her husband to Mitt Romney, Clinton said their $155 million haul since 2001 did not make them “truly wealthy” because they shield less of their income from taxes than Romney and because they amassed the funds “through dint of hard work.” So what was all that hard labor? Her husband talking to other rich people, mostly. WaPo expertly catalogues the sources of the Clinton’s fortune: “Bill Clinton has been paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world between January 2001, when he left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as secretary of state, according to a Washington Post review of the family’s federal financial disclosures. Although slightly more than half of his appearances were in the United States, the majority of his speaking income, $56.3 million, came from foreign speeches, many of them in China, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, the Post review found. The financial industry has been Clinton’s most frequent sponsor. The Post review showed that Wall Street banks and other financial services firms have hired Clinton for at least 102 appearances and paid him a total of $19.6 million.”

[Doesn’t translate - Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” will not be sold in China. Buzzfeed: “Chinese publishers have declined to purchase translation rights to Hard Choices… The book will not be sold in English either: One of China’s largest import agencies will not allow distribution of an English-language edition.”]

That was then - In its second installment on the long-lost interviews given by Bill and Hillary Clinton in the mid-1980s, the Washington Free Beacon shares the once and future first lady’s view on reporters. When she was out of power, Hillary Clinton yearned for a more aggressive press: “Even people who think they’re doing an in-depth interview, or pursuing issues, they very often are nervous about asking questions, or at least come across that way and they don’t follow through.”

[Peggy Noonan writes: “It is Mrs. Clinton’s habit to fake identification with people who’ve had real struggles by claiming she’s had them too. All humans have struggles, but hers were not material. She came from a solidly suburban upper-middle-class home, glided into elite schools, became a lawyer, married a politician who quickly rose, enjoyed all the many perks of a governor’s mansion and then the White House, and then all the perks of a senator, secretary of state and former first lady. She’s been driven in limousines and official cars almost all her adult life. For more than a quarter-century she has seen America through tinted windows.”]

In this week’s installment of “Power Play Political Pros,” host Chris Stirewalt chats with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp to consider what went wrong for Hillary Clinton’s awkward campaign rollout. How will she get back on the good foot? Find out here.

Unlikely outcome in Mississippi – Political pros Joe Trippi and Matt Schlapp explain Tuesday’s improbable outcome in Mississippi. How did Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss, emerge as the victor over state Sen. Chris McDaniel? Watch here.

WSJ: “Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida is planning to headline a fundraiser for at least four Republican Senate candidates, seeking to make an impact on the 2014 election while exploring the possibility of his own presidential bid in 2016. The fundraiser is scheduled for Sept. 23 in Tampa, Fla. The chosen candidates are crucial to a Republican takeover of the Senate, including Cory Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Monica Wehby in Oregon and Tom Cotton in Arkansas. The event may also benefit the winner of the Aug. 26 Republican primary in Alaska. Allies of Mr. Bush said an event of this magnitude will test the organizational skills of his team and allow him to connect with donors who could form the nucleus of his presidential fundraising network.”

Wisconsin State Journal: “Gov. Scott Walker[, R-Wis.] is not a target of the John Doe investigation into possibly illegal campaign finance coordination during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections, an attorney for the special prosecutor overseeing the probe said Thursday. However, that doesn’t mean Walker has been exonerated in the eyes of prosecutors, and he could continue to be a subject of the investigation if it is allowed to continue, legal experts said Thursday. Randall Crocker, the lawyer for special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, said that at the time the investigation was halted in early May, ‘Governor Walker was not a target of the investigation. At no time has he been served with a subpoena.’”

Ahead of a Sunday Kentucky campaign stop by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for Democratic Kentucky Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes, pro-Republican group American Crossroads is debuting an ad reminding Kentuckians of Warren’s stances, particularly in support of President Obama’s global warming regulations on the use of coal. Grimes, who has tried to distance herself from the carbon controversy, is trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November. The new ad opens with multiple comments from Warren saying, “I applaud President Obama… The EPA proposal is a powerful step.” The ad concludes saying, “Elizabeth Warren: Campaigning for Obama’s Liberal Agenda…Now campaigning for Alison Lundergan Grimes.”

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel appeared on “Hannity” Thursday night to discuss his investigation into Sen. Thad Cochran’s, R-Miss. win Tuesday. “It’s not so much a recount. We’re looking into the issue of whether or not people who participated in the June the 3rd Democratic primary crossed over into the Republican primary this Tuesday night,” McDaniel told Sean Hannity.  “And we’ve already found more than a thousand examples of that in one county alone. So we’re talking about widespread irregularities of ineligible voters that should not have been there in the first place.” McDaniel lost his primary runoff to Cochran by some 6,000 votes. Asked whether he would support Cochran in November “under any circumstances,” McDaniel said he hadn’t made up his mind.

[Since state law blocks McDaniel from a third-party or write-in candidacy (unless Cochran dies before the election) his only apparent hope to wrest control of the Senate seat is to invalidate the results of the primary.]

The Hill: “Businessman David Perdue (R) has a narrow lead over Rep. Jack Kingston (R) in Georgia’s Senate race, according to an internal poll for Perdue’s campaign obtained by The Hill. The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Wilson Perkins Allen and sent to top Perdue supporters, shows him leading Kingston by 45 percent-44 percent…Internal polls should always be viewed skeptically, and this poll seems designed to show that Perdue is still well-positioned for a win after a handful of public polls and an internal one from Kingston found the congressman with a lead in the race.”

The status quo will change dramatically in Washington if Republicans are able to gain an additional six Senate seats. Which six Democrat-held seats are the most likely GOP pickups? The current consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas, Montana, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

How targeted will political advertising be in this election and in 2016? Down to the second. Consider this from GOP firm Smart Media Group: “[The firm] and FourthWall Media, the largest independent source of cable set-top box viewing data announced today a licensing agreement that will provide second-by-second television viewing data to SMG. This viewing data will allow SMG to match specific voter segments with households from FourthWall Media’s household level television viewing data. This data will better identify the viewing habits of each desired political segment, leading to more efficient advertising spending and better targeted creative. ‘What our relationship with FourthWall Media allows is access to a large stream of near real time set top box data,’ said Kyle Roberts, CEO, Smart Media Group.  ‘This data stream can be matched with individual voter information allowing  Smart Media to know what specific programs voters prefer to view and when.’”

(Florida) Sun Sentinel: “The last time that Jeffrey Groover gave sworn testimony, he got a day pass from federal prison to lecture a U.S. Senate committee on how to stop convicted identity thieves like him from committing crimes. But the South Florida man apparently paid no heed to his own crime prevention tips that he shared with politicians on Capitol Hill in 2004. Groover testified again this week – this time in his own defense in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, trying to persuade jurors to find him not guilty of stealing identities and committing bank fraud in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The jurors obviously found his bizarre testimony less compelling than the senators once did — they took just 40 minutes Wednesday to find him guilty of all six federal charges.”

“This is a stinging rebuke to [President Obama’s] overreach in general and I think it will have implications for other cases. Remember, the argument Democrats have made up till now with [House Speaker John Boehner’s] lawsuit that is going to challenge overreach: ‘This is simply a partisan attack on the president.’ But the court is saying this is a constitutional travesty what happened in this case.” 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.