Big to-do list for Sixteeners in N.H.


April 17,2015: Former Texas governor and probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire. (Reuters)

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Buzz Cut:
• Big to-do list for Sixteeners in N.H.
• Power Play: Common Core candidates
• Will voters care for Kasich’s compassionate conservatism?
• Hillary won’t follow Obama ban on lobbyist cash
• That’s what they all say, lady

The New Hampshire primary looks wide open, which is why every top-tier candidate in the GOP field is beating a path to the Granite State today and tomorrow to audition for party activists there. The First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit kicked off today and continues into Saturday. But while many candidates have good chances to win, they have very different tasks this weekend and in New Hampshire in general.

Affirmed: Walker needs to remind voters why they like him – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is so far the man to beat in New Hampshire, but that also makes him the top target. His campaign swing through the state last month impressed voters. If Walker were to hold on to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, as polls currently suggest, he’d be hard for the GOP establishment to derail. The question now is whether early support will dissipate in an expanding field. Walker is also taking the smart step of wooing the top GOP political figure in the state, Sen. Kelley Ayotte.

[AP: “Scott Walker’s expected campaign for the White House got a boost Thursday as his former campaign managers formed a political group able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. Two former campaign managers for the Republican governor of Wisconsin said Thursday they have formed a super PAC to support Walker. It’s called Unintimidated PAC…]

Unpacking baggage: Jeb has to break with history – His family has an unhappy electoral history in New Hampshire. Can Jeb Bush start a new trend? ; Bush is off to a pretty good start as he shows himself to be accessible and relatively unguarded with voters. To accept a national front runner, especially the scion of a patrician Connecticut clan, New Hampshire voters will expect to see lots of Bush and he will have to keep taking all the tough questions. Bush picked a wise moment to ditch his low-carb diet.

[WaPo: “Presumed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush urged Republicans to move ahead with confirming Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general, but stopped short of actually endorsing her nomination.]

Other end of U.S. 1: Rubio needs to break through – WaPo: “For [Sen. Marco Rubio], the challenge on this trip is much like his broader national challenge: Find a way to get noticed and build a following as an underdog in a crowded field…. Rubio has already hired a staffer to help him break though in the first-in-the-nation primary state: Jim Merrill, a veteran campaign strategist who worked for Mitt Romney….Rubio was most recently in New Hampshire in February as he traveled the country to promote his new book. His busy Friday schedule — ;he is also doing an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation” and sitting down with the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper — ;underscores his belief that he can compete for the state.

[Wayne Berman, adviser at the investment firm Blackstone Group, will hold a fundraiser for Rubio at Berman’s Washington, D.C. home. Berman happens to be neighbors with Hillary Clinton.]

Hunting trip: Cruz looks to poach libertarians from Paul – Fox News: “The battle for the 2016 Republican nomination is on in New Hampshire, where ;presidentialcontenders ;Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have targeted the libertarian vote in hopes of winning the country’s first primary. Marco Rubio, the third GOP candidate to announce thus far, has yet to visit the state as an official presidential contender. In New Hampshire, libertarian voters represent 10 to 15 percent of the vote in a Republican primary – a percentage that could make or break a candidate’s shot at the nomination.”

[Cruz revealed to The Federalist his favorite Simpson’s episodes: “Round Springfield” and, aptly, “Treehouse of Horror VII”, in which aliens Kang and Kodos run for president.]

Got to be in it to win it: Fiorina needs to show her path – New Hampshire Republicans will buck party elders to back insurgent candidates, but they do not like to waste their votes. Carly Fiorina is getting a lot of attention as Republicans consider her potential as a foe for Hillary Clinton. As Fiorina put it, she could “put a hitch in [Clinton’s] swing” on the debate stage. But savvy New Hampshire voters will want to hear how she aims to win the Republican nomination and get to that stage. Fiorina is giving herself a good opportunity with a long interview with WMUR and some old-fashioned retail politicking.

Broader base: Huckabee’s economic imperative – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee isn’t exactly on his home turf in New Hampshire. A son of the Ozarks and a favorite of Iowa, he’s not much of a favorite of Yankees. Huckabee, though, has been rolling out his campaign with an emphasis on an aggressive approach to Islamist militants and a middle-class prosperity emphasis on domestic issues. Social issues may actually help a bit, too. Huckabee attends a breakfast with supporters in New Hampshire on Saturday then visits a gun shop and shooting range visit later in the day.

[Arkansas Online: “Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is weighing a 2016 bid for president, announced Wednesday that his nationally syndicated radio commentary will no longer be broadcast starting May 1.]

Kicking the tires: Perry likens early state campaigning to used car sales – Union Leader: “What did [former Texas Gov. Rick Perry] learn from his short-lived campaign four years ago? ‘You must spend an inordinate amount of time in New Hampshire, in Iowa, and in South Carolina,” Perry said. ‘These are unique places. I refer to it as not unlike running for county sheriff. You had better go, stay, interact, really like being around people, like doing town hall meetings, getting probed – it’s kind of like buying a used car, you know, we’re looking under the hood here, we’re going to look in the trunk, I’m going to get a Carfax.’”

All or nothing at all: Christie bets everything on New Hampshire – The candidate with the most at stake in New Hampshire is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has spent much of the week already campaigning in the state ahead of the summit. Without broad national support, Christie seems to be counting on New Hampshire to keep him in the game. In a bid to appeal to the state’s fiscally flinty nature, he’s making an entitlement overhaul his focus.

It’s all about who you know: Graham tries to replicate McCain’s success – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., isn’t a good fit for New Hampshire, except on foreign policy. He also has a friend that was a big favorite in the Granite State: 2000 primary winner Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Can Graham use his hawkish foreign policy and famous friend’s support to get in the running?

[Graham will appear exclusively on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” on the heels of his speech at the First-in-the-Nation Summit this weekend. Also on the show is Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. The show airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for air times in your area.]

Common Core educational standards are front and center on presidential punch lists and both parties have contenders supporting the program. Chris Stirewalt sits down with the National Journal’s Lauren Fox and Bob Cusak, editor in chief of The Hill to discuss how the thorny topic will the figure into the 2016 picture for the likes of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. WATCH HERE

[Watch Fox: ;Campaign Carl Cameron reports on New Hampshire’s GOP cattle call ;from Nashua]

45 years ago today, earth’s inhabitants collectively held their breath as Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert hurtled through the upper atmosphere toward the Pacific Ocean. A drama that began four days earlier with an onboard explosion followed by the words “Houston we’ve had a problem,” gripped the world’s attention. As the astronauts and NASA ground teams overcame numerous hurtles to bring the crippled spacecraft home, their progress was followed by a hopeful and prayerful public. A final uncertainty – whether their heat shield would hold up during a fiery re-entry – kept the world watching in suspense. After a torturing communication blackout, mission control and crowds in places like New York’s Grand Central Station burst into applause at the sight of the spacecraft Odyssey, under blossoming parachutes, as it drifted to a gentle splashdown in the warm Pacific waters.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – ;44.8 percent//Disapprove – 49.9 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.9 percent//Wrong Track – 60.7 percent

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is preparing to run for president. He’s getting ready to launch his campaign apparatus and before he heads to New Hampshire this weekend, he’s heading down to campaign in South Carolina. Can the former congressman who was forced to abandon a 2000 bid use his new status as swing-state governor to push his way into a crowded field? That will largely depend on whether Republicans are ready for a candidate who is preaching a social justice doctrine and wielding scripture like a Jesuit.

Kasich points to tax cuts in his home state to bolster his conservative bona fides, but supports Common Core, a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and expanding Medicaid. “I’ve cut taxes in Ohio,” he told CNN in February. “That’s kind of conservatism.” He defended his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio with: “Mathew 25 says that it’s about how you treat the widowed, how you treat the poor” adding, “[T]he conservative movement is you don’t just kick people to the shadows, or push them off the side of the road.”

At a GOP governors meeting in November, Kasich called Common Core “common sense” and said he wouldn’t oppose eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants, because “We’ve got to think about what’s going to bring about healing.” And influential conservatives at a NY dinner last month weren’t happy when Kasich answered health policy wonk Avik Roy’s question about Medicaid being a top-down government program with: “Maybe you think we should put them in prison. I don’t. I don’t think that’s a conservative position….I think rehabbing them, getting them on their feet, training them and getting them jobs, is a conservative position.” Kasich’s contrast to the bulk of the GOP field, makes for a singular challenge and makes him a standout target for critics.

[#mediabuzz – Guests including Kathleen Parker, Jeff Greenfield and Joe Concha join host Howard Kurtz to sort through all the latest on the race for the White House. #mediabuzz airs Sunday at 11 am and 5 pm ET.]

The Weekly Standard: “There’s one issue Hillary Clinton won’t flip-flop on: accepting money from lobbyists. The Huffington Post reports: ‘Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will accept donations from lobbyists and political action committees, a difference in policy from the man she’s hoping to replace, President Barack Obama. The Clinton campaign confirmed that there would be no prohibition on such donations, after The Huffington Post was tipped off by two lobbyists supportive of the former secretary of state’s run for the White House…’ As the liberal website correctly points out, Clinton’s position on this issue is the same as it was in 2008. ‘The approach is consistent with the one Clinton took in her last White House run in 2008. But it differs from what Obama did that same year and four years later.’”

O’Malley slams Hillary as flip flopper – The Hill: “Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, on Thursday delivered a shot at Hillary Clinton, suggesting she flip-flopped on gay marriage and immigration reform. O’Malley was asked about his potential rival’s stances on those issues at an event hosted by The Guardian newspaper at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. ‘I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,’ O’Malley said, according to a report in the Guardian. ‘I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls…Leadership is about making the right decision, and the best decision before sometimes it becomes entirely popular,’ he added.”

How much money? That much money – Bloomberg Politics: “Hillary Clinton is planning to name Gary Gensler, a former top federal financial regulator and strong advocate for strict Wall Street rules, as the chief financial officer of her campaign, according to a Democrat familiar with the decision.”

[Hillary Clinton is slated to make her first appearance in the Granite State since launching her campaign next Monday and Tuesday, reports Josh McElveen of WMUR. Clinton will meet with elected officials, and host a series of roundtables with students and small business leaders.]

Budget progress, a Medicare fix, Obama compromising on Iran. With Republicans now in control, is there an outbreak of functionality in Congress? Lauren Fox and Bob Cusak join Chris Stirewalt to take their measure of what is and what is not getting done in Washington. WATCH HERE

AP: “State police say a woman blames her coffee-drinking pet parrot for distracting her moments before she crashed her car into a guardrail in Pennsylvania. Troopers from Uniontown say the 35-year-old woman was driving on a South Union Township road just before 5 p.m. Tuesday when she noticed the bird pecking at the lid of her coffee cup. The woman says she struck the guardrail when she glanced down to see what the bird was doing. The woman told police that the bird likes to drink coffee – and they also found bird seed in a cup holder next to the coffee and a few feathers nearby. Police say the woman broke her arm and had facial cuts because her air bag deployed. The bird was safely removed from the vehicle.”

“This is [Hillary Clinton’s] ;Marie Antoinette cake tour. She’s sampling the cake among the people to whom she deigns to dine and chat.” – 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.

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 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.