2016 GOP Power Index: Fiorina still rising, Paul survives


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Buzz Cut:
• 2016 GOP Power Index: Fiorina still rising, Paul survives
• Jeb heads where Bush foreign policy is an asset
• Hillary’s sins of omission
• Power Play: NRSC, DSCC spox spar
• Sleeping bull

1) Jeb Bush; 2) Scott Walker; 3) Marco Rubio; 4) Carly Fiorina [+1]; 5) Ted Cruz [-1]; 6) Rand Paul [+1]; John Kasich [-1]; 8) Ben Carson; 9) Mike Huckabee; 10) Rick Perry [previously unranked]

Scott Walker is right: Jeb Bush is still the frontrunner despite Walker’s increasing strength in national and early state polls. Bush’s expected financial advantages and name identification are enough to keep him in the top slot, but as he prepares to make his official announcement his grasp is getting more tenuous. The big weekend in Iowa reinforced the trend: Bush in his family clique and Walker the leader of the rest of the pack. And despite some dim polling news, Marco Rubio is still pretty clearly ahead of the rest of the pack in terms of his ability to make a broad appeal across party divisions

But Rubio ought to keep his eye on Carly Fiorina, who is building up some momentum. Despite starting from flat-line name identification, Fiorina has consistently impressed on the stump and recently returned from what is said to have been a successful West Coast fundraising swing. Fiorina still lags in the horse race, but if she keeps doing what she has done in early states, Rubio will have to start thinking about her as a threat. While she still struggles to be seen as a top-of-the-ticket choice rather than a running mate, she is gaining an influential following.

Rand Paul is the other gainer this week, snapping back after his domestic surveillance brinksmanship. The very best news for Paul after his Senate high-wire act last week was that nothing happened – no attacks, no lengthy interruptions of surveillance capacity, etc. Having proved to his base that he’s still their man, Paul can get back to an effort to broaden his appeal.

On the Radar – Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki

What would you say? – Give us your take on the 2016 Power Index we will share the best and brightest with the whole class. Send your thoughts to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM

Fiorina wows crowd, stays for retail – Des Moines Register: “Unlike six other candidates at Saturday’s event, the former software CEO [Carly Fiorina] waited until after her 10-minute speech to mingle with the audience. An enthusiastic group met her moments after she stepped off stage and snapped photos in front of a trailer stacked with hay bales.”

[Fiorina begins a four-day swing through New Hampshire with a fundraiser in Londonderry, N.H.]

Rubio makes JFK comparison explicit – National Journal: “But it was a new line he began road-testing in Iowa that stood out. Rubio presented the 2016 campaign as a generational pivot point, likening his vision for a “New American Century”—the tagline of his campaign—to Kennedy’s 1960 challenge to the nation to embrace a ‘New Frontier.’”

Cruz, Santorum take a pass – Rather than compete with Walker and other top-tier candidates for attention, two candidates with big Iowa aspirations stayed away from Ernst’s event. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was campaigning in North Carolina and 2012 Iowa winner former Sen. Rick Santorum was in Texas.

[Watch Fox: Chris Stirewalt joins “The Real Story” in the 2 p.m. ET hour with the latest on who’s up and who’s down in the 2016 Power Index.]

LAT: “[On Tuesday, Jeb Bush begins] an overseas tour to showcase his statesmanship and burnish his foreign policy credentials. This week, he will take a whirlwind spin through the capitals of Germany, Poland and Estonia before officially kicking off his White House bid on June 15. Bush faces an additional, unique test — differentiating his views from the foreign policies of his father, President George H.W. Bush, and his brother, President George W. Bush.”

[After going over the border to attend mass in New Hampshire Sunday, Bush is in Maine today for his mother, Barbara Bush’s 90th birthday gala.]

“Moving Soviet Union to its dissolution so fast without a shot being fired was not as easy as it looked. And solving the budget problem the way he did was not as easy as it looked. I think it was an extraordinary presidency by a man willing to spend all of his political capital for the sake of the country.” – Former Gov. John Sununu, R-N.H. on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” discussing his time as President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff. Watch here.

Walker doesn’t rule out troops in Iraq – Bloomberg: “Probable Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker says he wouldn’t rule out a full-scale American re-invasion of Iraq ‘if the national interests of this country are at stake.’ Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, the Wisconsin governor initially demurred when interviewer Jonathan Karl asked if he’d rule out a ‘full-blown U.S. re-invasion of Iraq and Syria…I don’t think we should ever send a message to our foes as to how far we’re willing to go,’ Walker said. He doesn’t think it’s necessary to send U.S. troops now, he said, but he ‘would not rule out boots on the ground.’”

“It’s interesting for the president, who called ISIS the ‘JV squad’ and Yemen a ‘success story,’ should tell someone to bone up on foreign policy.” – Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., to ABC News.

Perry keeps military front and center – After a quick stop in New Hampshire Sunday, former Texas Gov. Rick Perryheads to South Carolina today for a tour of the South Carolina military museum. Later he has a town meeting at the U.S.S. Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Perry is accompanied by Afghan war hero Marcus Luttrell.

Graham lets it rip – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was pole-axing conservative sacred cows at every turn in an appearance on CNN Sunday. His base bucklers included openness to raising taxes and a call to action on what he says is man-made climate change. But Graham had special enthusiasm for Caitlyn Jenner saying that he couldn’t, “walk in her shoes,” but wishes her well.

“If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I’m into addition… I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through…I hope she has found peace. I’m a pro-life, traditional marriage kind of guy, but I’m running to be president of the United States. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on CNN.

[Graham heads home to South Carolina today to speak at the Upstate Chamber Coalition Presidential Series.]

Christie’s bridge headache not over yet – NYT: “The players at the center of the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal are not finished causing headaches for Gov. Chris Christie. The latest indication comes in a sworn statement by David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official and the admitted mastermind of the access-lane closings, that describes Mr. Christie breaking the law as he exercised a heavy hand over state politics from the front office…His statement says he has emails and further ‘documents to be produced for inspection.’”

[Christie holds a Town Hall meeting in Goffstown, N.H.]

Being online can feel like falling down a rabbit hole, right? Wrong. The New Yorker takes a look at the origin of rabbit hole and how it has developed from its original meaning into something different entirely. Rabbit hole as Lewis Carroll described in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” meant to fall into a new world or reality. Today, most people use the term as a synonym for a lengthy-distraction like a Netflix binge, or internet search that goes on for hours. There are some modern day versions of Alice’s journey into the rabbit hole, think Twitter, or Reddit, places that take us from our reality into another until we no longer remember how we got there.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 44.7 percent//Disapprove – 50.3
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.6 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent

Almost done with her ‘ramp up’ phase, aides tell WSJ of Hillary Clinton’s soon to commence policy roll out featuring “about a dozen speeches and announcements in the coming months on social and economic policy.” So should voters expect definitive positions on topics like trade or Keystone, rather than the safe panders Clinton has been making to her party’s base? Nah. The Journal reports,“[w]ith the Affordable Care Act in place, Mrs. Clinton isn’t expected to focus on health care, once a signature issue. Nor is she planning a big speech on K-12 education, where her teacher union supporters are at odds with other Democrats who want to increase teacher accountability. Advisers say she also won’t focus on foreign policy in the coming months, perhaps devoting one speech to the subject…”

“If you run a campaign trying to appeal to 60 to 70 percent of the electorate, you’re not going to run a very compelling campaign for the voters you need.”- Former Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe to NYT on Hillary’s campaign strategy.

More questions from the foundation – The Clinton Family Foundation, a smaller, charitable entity separate from the Clinton Global Initiative, donated $100,000 to a New York Times charitable fund in 2008, the same year the paper endorsed Hillary Clinton, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The endorsement surprised many due to reports the paper was leaning towards backing then-Sen. Barack Obama.

What’s that? – Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said Sunday that his former boss President Bill Clinton “has to stop the paid speeches” and start disclosing everything. “She has got to, and her husband as well, got to just put everything out, Reich told ABC News. “I mean more disclosure than any other candidate.”

[Fewer CEOs at CGI – The Clinton Global Initiative America conference, hosted Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, kicks off today in Denver. While organizers say that “controversies about the propriety and reporting of foreign government donations to the Clinton Foundation aren’t having an impact…there are fewer high-profile corporate faces on the conference panels,” Bloomberg reports.]

Hillary fails to win majority, Sanders close second in Wisconsin Dem straw poll – San Francisco Sun Times: “Hillary Clinton may have won the Wisconsin straw poll over the weekend, but her margin of victory was much closer than her lead in any of the national polls. At the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention on Saturday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had an impressive second place showing, finishing with 41 percent of the votes. Clinton won with 49 percent, but failed to get the majority. Out of the 511 delegate votes, Clinton received 252, while Sanders had 208.”

Nader says Hillary a hawk to compensate for gender – Repeat presidential candidate and Corvair foe Ralph Nader told PJMedia in an interview that he believed Clinton had become a militarist because of her gender: “Instead of taking the tradition of women of peace, and turning into a muscular waging of peace of conflict and prevention, she [Clinton] did the reverse…”

[Clinton has a fundraiser in Bethesda, Maryland today at the home of at the home of Susan Ness. A major Obama donor, Ness was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Bill Clinton in 1994.]

2016 Democratic Power Index: 1) Hillary Clinton; 2) Martin O’Malley; 3)Bernie Sanders; 4) Joe Biden; 5) Elizabeth Warren; 6) Jim Webb; 7) Lincoln Chaffee

Control of the Senate is up for grabs in 2016. Republicans want to keep it, Democrats want it back. Chris Stirewalt discusses targets and tactics with representatives of the parties senatorial campaign organizations, National Republican Senatorial Committee Communications Director Andrea Bozek and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Justin Barasky. WATCH HERE.

Pollsters fear new regulations interfere with accuracy – The Hill: “The Federal Communications Commission is catching flak from pollsters and high-profile political handicappers like Nate Silver over a new proposal to crack down on robocalls. The groups warn that restrictions to be voted on this month could increase roadblocks for those who conduct polls and survey research — two sectors that already complain that existing restrictions put an undue burden on their work.”

One bull brought a community in Georgia together last week when he fell into a well. According to WSB-TV, the townspeople used a backhoe to dig a bigger hole so the bull could safely walk out. While the humans were pleased with their rescue efforts, the bull was not impressed. The 1,500 pound animal named Boy turned out to have been asleep the entire time. When the crew had finished the animal took his sweet time coming to and getting out of his predicament.

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

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily “Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including “The Kelly File,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.

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