2016 GOP Power Index: Trump joins the pageant


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Buzz Cut:
• 2016 GOP Power Index: Trump joins the pageant
• Post pokes Jeb for old Clintonesque conduct
• Gowdy says he may subpoena Kerry for Hillary emails
• Before death, Beau Biden said to have urged father to run
• Bro bear crashes fratastic party

1) Jeb Bush; 2) Scott Walker [+1]; 3) Marco Rubio [-1]; 4) Carly Fiorina; 5)Ted Cruz; 6) Rand Paul; 7) Ben Carson [+1]; 8) Rick Perry [-1]; 9) Mike Huckabee; 10) Donald Trump [Previously unranked]

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

Welcome Donald Trump to the 2016 GOP Power Index. But will it last? Trump has spent much of his first full week as a candidate talking about a dispute over a beauty pageant and his feud with one of the networks that was to broadcast it. For those Republicans excited that Trump is bringing smackdown-style politics to the campaign, it ought to be a worrisome thing that he has given so much focus to fighting over (and thereby promoting) his business ventures. Trump, who seemed to have leveraged the boomlet around a potential 2012 candidacy into a lucrative television contract for a reality show, has been mostly focused of late on next month’s Miss USA contest after one of his broadcast partners ducked out over comments Trump made about Mexicans. Trump and NBC profited from his 2012 non-candidacy. Will they be able to say the same of his 2016 run?

Elsewhere in the rankings, Ben Carson’s durable appeal among conservatives is impossible to deny. Carson won another straw poll over the weekend and his strength in recent polls demands attention. Meantime, the decline in support in the weeks since his announcement for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggests he is still looking for a foothold.

Dropping out of the top 10 this week is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but one assumes that it will be a temporary condition as he ramps up a campaign launch. But both he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ought to pay heed to the struggles of former governors Perry and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. With moderate Jeb Bush and conservative Scott Walker continuing to lead the ranks for governors, it will be hard to move ahead.

And speaking of Walker, he slips ahead of Marco Rubio this week as he continues to stay on the trail and score well with conservative audiences. But this week may decide his fate as tomorrow brings the start of the final budget crunch in his home state. Stay tuned….

[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.]

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

It’s the kind of conduct that keeps the Clintons in hot water: looking to cash in overseas on a family member’s official position. But in this case it was the other American political dynasty, 26 years ago. WaPo got ahold of some unhappy video for Jeb Bush from a 1989 trip to Nigeria on behalf of a company seeking a lucrative water contract with the country’s ruling military junta. The details themselves are nothing new. Bush has owned up to having some unsavory business connections as a young man starting out in business, and chalked it up to a learning experience. But the video of a 36-year-old Bush holding himself out as an envoy from his newly sworn-in father is still a bit jarring. “The fact that you have done this today,” Bush says to a group of dignitaries, “is something I will report back to [President George H.W. Bush] very quickly when I get back to the United States.”

[Bush will also visit Nephron pharmaceutical company during his visit to South Carolina today.]

Carson, Fiorina top conservative summit straw poll – Denver Post: “Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina ended up at the top of the Western Conservative Summit’s presidential straw poll Sunday in Denver — though political analysts debated how much of a boost the vote may give the candidates. Carson, a retired surgeon, won the straw poll for the second year in a row with 224 votes to beat out former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who received 201 votes. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was third with 192 votes, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was next with 100.”

Walker makes his case for electability – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “…at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver [Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., told the] audience why he thinks he would be a formidable opponent for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Wisconsin’s Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate listed three reasons. ‘To beat a name from the past, we need a name from the future,’ he said, repeating a dig he has made in the past against Republican candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Second, he said, Clinton is a consummate Washington insider. ‘We are the anti-Washington,’ he said. Finally, he said, Clinton failed to accomplish anything of substance during her term as secretary of state. ‘We’ve actually got things done,’ he said.”

Rubio’s return – (South Florida) Sun Sentinel: “The hometown crowd was chanting over and over: Marco, Marco, Marco. When the presidential candidate took the stage, he took note. ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,’ he said, then the snap. ‘My son is saying Polo, so I thank you for that.’ He was not, of course, referring to the 13th century explorer with whom he shares a first name, but the water game by the same name in which a player, with eyes closed, shouts ‘Marco’ and tries to locate and tag one of the other players after they’ve yelled ‘Polo.’ Rubio was relaxed and often turned the jokes on himself this month at his first big speech at home in Miami since his April 13 announcement that he’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination.”

Rand raises possibility of ending government-regulated marriage – In an op-ed for Time magazine expanding on Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in Friday’s landmark same-sex marriage case, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., writes, “Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party. Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.”

Start of a movement? – Newsweek: “Mississippi is considering pulling the plug on issuing marriage licenses altogether after the Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage Friday morning…Oklahoma is investigating a similar change. A bill there would allow notaries and religious leaders to sign marriage documents and strip the power from judges and clerks. Alabama already has one county that operates in this manner.”

[Paul has four “Stand with Rand” events in Nevada today, capped by a book signing in Las Vegas.]

Cruz, Rove in a tussle over Bush ties – Sen. Ted Cruz’s new book “A Time for Truth” already has Karl Rove in a bundle. Cruz says that Rove pressured him to bury an endorsement from former President George H.W. Bush for his campaign for attorney general citing that Bush was ‘too old’ to exercise sound political judgment. Rove pushed back in a blog post saying that he never questioned the elder Bush’s judgment, but did voice concern over Cruz making Bush’s support public since incumbent then-Attorney General Greg Abbott had yet to announce if he were running. Abbott was appointed to the state Supreme Court by former President George W. Bush, and Rove didn’t want the Bush family put in the position to support a challenger.

Kasich to announce July 21 – Cincinnati Enquirer: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to launch his presidential bid on July 21 in Columbus, hoping his strength in the quintessential swing state will help him win over Republican voters who aim to take back the White House in 2016. Kasich will share his presidential intentions at his alma mater, Ohio State University, said Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the governor’s 2016 effort.”

Trump says he gave up ‘hundreds of millions’ to run – “‘I’m in it to win it,’ [Donald Trump] told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘Look, I gave up a lot,’ he said. ‘I gave up hundreds of millions of dollars in deals and potential, you know things that I do.’ … ‘NBC renewed The Apprentice, because we had a great season last season,’ Trump said. ‘And they would love me not to be doing this, I will tell you right now. I mean, the top people come to my office and they said ‘please do this,’ but I’m not doing it.’ Trump added that the cost of running for president are ‘peanuts’ compared to what he could be making. ‘I’m giving up a prime time television show. I’m giving that up to do this,’ he said.”

Papers, please – The Guardian is trolling Trump on his birtherism by demanding that he release his own long-form birth certificate. So far, he’s not biting.

[Watch Fox: Senior Political Correspondent Mike Emanuel covers Trump’s remarks at the City Club of Chicago today.]

Christie touts tough talk in pre-launch video – Ahead of his Tuesday campaign kickoff, Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., released a pre-announcement video titled “Tell it Like it Is,” in which Christie talks about how he got is frank attitude. He says, ‘I know if my mom were still alive, she would say to me, ‘I taught you that in a trusting relationship, you don’t hold anything back. And if you’re going to run for president of the United States…you better tell them exactly what you’re thinking and exactly what you’re feeling.’”

[Asbury Park Press: “Hours after Christie gives a speech Tuesday at Livingston High School to announce he’s running for president, he’ll be in New Hampshire hosting a town hall.”]

Jindal tweaks: Says he’s ‘tanned, rested and ready’ – [New Orleans] Times-Picayune: “That’s the slogan on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s first official campaign shirt. And yes, ‘tanned’ is supposed to be a reference to Jindal’s brown skin tone. ‘The liberal media that developed this week was disgusting: Apparently Bobby isn’t brown enough for them,’ wrote Timmy Teepell, Jindal’s campaign manager, in an email to supporters…National media has seized on Jindal’s relationship with the Indian community, and the Jindal campaign has found some of the coverage and reporting offensive.”

Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler says Democrats blocking proposed defense funding are being “foolish” and need to get their priorities straight. The House Armed Services Committee member tells Chris Stirewalt the threats to national security don’t allow for gamesmanship. WATCH HERE.

A young Russian determined to make his mark took over his father’s jewelry store, and in less than twenty years was working for the tsar himself. In 1917, Tsar Alexander III commissioned craftsman Peter Carl Fabergé to design a bejeweled Easter egg for his bride Maria Feodorovna. The design was a white egg with a gold yolk and gold hen with the ruby pendent and imperial crown. Alexander was so thrilled he had Fabergé do an egg each year, and his son carried on the tradition resulting in a total of 50 eggs. When the Bolshevik’s overthrew the tsars the eggs were confiscated and dispersed. The Telegraph goes inside the high-stakes world of collectors in the most extravagant Easter Egg hunt in the world.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 45.6 percent//Disapprove – 50.4
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 29.0 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent

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

Wash Ex: “Rep. Trey Gowdy said Sunday he’ll summon Secretary of State John Kerry before his select committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks if he doesn’t get the documents his panel is seeking. The South Carolina Republican accused the State Department of holding back not only on a complete release of emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but also those of nine of her 10 closest aides, for more than a year. ‘I’m trying to do this the right way,’ Gowdy told CBS. ‘I’m trying to do this without the drama, just the documents. But that has not proven to be successful…I want to get this investigation over with and [Kerry] is the only thing standing between me and a completed investigation,’ said Gowdy. Gowdy said Clinton will be called to testify ‘just as soon as the Department of State decides to give me the documents that I need to have a constructive conversation with her.’”

Clinton chairman fires back – In a statement Sunday, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta fired back at Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., saying “Trey Gowdy and the Republicans are clinging to their invented scandal, one that’s on life-support. Their latest witch-hunt is based on the testimony of a non-government employee and a set of documents he turned over…What, if anything at all, does this have to do with Benghazi? …If Representative Gowdy is going to continue his taxpayer-funded campaign, he needs to explain himself.”

[Jon Bon Jovi hosts an “Evening with Hillary” fundraiser for Clinton in New Jersey.]

Bernie continues standing room crowds – National Journal: “Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his call for a ‘political revolution’ back to the first-in-the-nation primary state Saturday, again drawing enthusiastic crowds who cheered his message of curbing the influence of corporate interests in politics…’It is a much more difficult thing to look the billionaire class in the eye and say: You cannot have it all,’ Sanders said during a speech and question-and-answer session at a town meeting here.”

More than a dozen sign labor petition for Bernie in Iowa – In Iowa, local labor unions are coming out in droves for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Although the movement Labor for Bernie is not directed or funded by the campaign or national labor, the group has taken off with more than 1,000 people nation-wide. Iowa members say Sanders’ attack on big money politics was a key point for their support.

“We are going to win New Hampshire. We’re going to win Iowa and I think we’re going to win the Democratic nomination, and I think we’re going to win the presidency.” – Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on ABC.

O’Malley hires Obama hand – WaPo: “Nearly a month after announcing his presidential bid, Democratic hopeful Martin O’Malley has hired a campaign manager: Dave Hamrick, who advised Barack Obama’s 2008 election team. Hamrick served as a grass-roots and voter-turnout strategist for Obama during the 2008 primaries and was a senior adviser in the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania during the general election, according to a biography on his consulting firm’s Web site.”

[O’Malley attends the National Sheriffs’ Association Presidential Forum today in Baltimore with Republican contender Ben Carson. The two-day event focuses on criminal justice reform, immigration, and mental health particularly in jail.]

WSJ: “Before his death last month, elder son Beau Biden encouraged his father to get into the race, people familiar with the matter said. And Hunter Biden told a friend in recent weeks he, too, would like to see the vice president wage one more campaign for the White House. The Biden family’s wishes add an intriguing wrinkle to a Democratic presidential race that has unfolded in unpredictable ways. But a White House official said speculation about the vice president’s political future was premature during this tough time for the family.

[Vice President Joe Biden, son Hunter and daughter-in-law attended the service Sunday for those killed in the South Carolina church shootings last week.]

Fox Business reports stalled bailout talks and the Greek government’s decision to close the country’s banks rippled through Euro markets and drove U.S. futures down . “Eurozone leaders met on Saturday in a last-ditch effort to hammer out a bailout deal, but Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras refused to meet in the middle and accept a deal that would have the nation cut pensions and raise taxes – a combination Tsipras has remained steadfast in believing would worsen the nation’s financial distress. Rather than accepting the terms of the bailout, the Greek leader, in a surprise announcement, said the offer would be taken to the Greek people in a referendum on July 5.”

Puerto Rico governor delivers dour debt news – Fox News: “Puerto Rico’s governor believes the U.S. territory will not be able to pay back its $72 billion public debt…Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla‘s spokesman, Jesus Manuel Ortiz, confirmed that the island’s government is seeking to defer payments while negotiating with creditors….The island’s debt figure is four times that of Detroit, according to the Washington Post.

AP: “A college party got a little wild when a black bear showed up. The black bear, weighing between 300 and 400 pounds, crashed the party early Saturday near the campus of Lehigh University. Emergency officials received a flood of 911 calls after the bear was spotted around 2 a.m. in south Bethlehem, about 50 miles north of Philadelphia. The bear ‘lumbered close to the party and scared the living daylights out of people,’ police Chief Mark DiLuzio said…Tyler Krieder, district officer of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said…’ The bear wasn’t any threat to anybody…It was just looking for somewhere to eat, take a break.’ The bear remains in the custody of the game commission and is doing fine, Krieder said. Pennsylvania and New Jersey authorities will discuss on which side of the river the animal will be released, he said.”

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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