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• Damaged goods no bargain for Democrats
• Jeb: ‘11 million people …should receive legal status’
• Rubio pushes hard for Israel amendment
• Budget brouhaha sets up ObamaCare fight
• Bare knuckles? No, just bear
DAMAGED GOODS NO BARGAIN FOR DEMOCRATS
Another day, another revelation of ethical misconduct in Clintonland. This time it’s the Boston Globe’s discovery that the largest single non-profit group in the Clinton network utterly ignored the disclosure agreement that Hillary Clinton promised would be a bulwark against corruption during her tenure as secretary of state. Foreign donations exploded during Clinton’s tenure as America’s chief diplomat, but her organization said nothing about it. At the same time, we are learning more about the astronomical overhead in the Clinton family’s charitable network. So it is no wonder that Politico reports that the donors who have funded the multi-billion-dollar enterprise – the kind of folks who go on whirlwind Africa tours with Bill Clinton – are getting queasy about the new scrutiny and the serial improprieties. Their world is shrinking down to folks like billionaire Tom Steyer, who openly embrace the Washington cash-for-influence game.
So what’s a conscientious liberal to do? The GOP is out of the question. Republicans are tumbling over themselves to seek the favor of the super PAC donor whales who are preparing to fund potentially hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of red-on-red attack ads in the coming months. This isn’t a big problem for GOP voters, though, since the members of the party widely oppose restrictions on political spending. But for liberal Democrats, these are famine times. The wife of a former president is preparing to claim by regal right their party’s nomination. She is mired in a scandal that involves boatloads of cash from unseemly sources, the violation of basic transparency standards and the destruction of huge troves of documents. To go from “hope and change” back to “no controlling legal authority” is a far fall indeed. But there’s nothing else to be done, right?
Wrong, say liberals. A fake primary is just what’s in order. While Matt Taibbi is quite right that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is about as real as it gets in Washington, the response to his declaration for president has been as phony as the bust lines at a Georgetown brunch. Others are still touting “the virtual candidate” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and her supposed ability to make the Clintons compliant. (Because people who were not bound by bulletproof language in disclosure agreements drafted by teams of lawyers can be counted on to honor backroom deals with rival politicians… ) But Sanders is really running and he is driven by a righteous ideological fire, sort of a Rick Santorum of the left – a Jeremiah warning his party of the dangers of falling away from the faith of its fathers.
Millions of pixels are being poured out about how Sanders could make things “interesting” and “shape the Democratic race.” Some of this is the lamentable but understandable product of beat writers looking for any hook on which to hang a necessary long-shot-candidate-declares write. Some of it seems sincere. Consider Jill Lawrence who is ecstatic over “an explosion of substance” on the Democratic side. Well… Yes, Clinton gave a policy talk (in which she repudiated policies set in place by her husband but without explaining any part of her head-snapping reversal), but the Democratic race still isn’t one.
Imagine if on this date the only declared candidate standing athwart Jeb Bush’s drive to the nomination was Santorum. How would Republicans feel? That’s the sinking feeling that will be setting in for Democrats over the months to come. The enormous empire built by the Clintons – plus the consequences to the party’s bench from successive midterm waves – has scared everyone out of the field except for a Jeremiah and, perhaps, a couple of guys who don’t appeal to the party’s base. Liberal Democrats may like the idea of a phony primary that nudges Clinton on ideology, but shadowboxing with a socialist senator from Vermont who is six years older than the 67-year-old presumptive nominee won’t keep Clinton busy, even for six weeks. With no race, there’s no interest. With no interest, there’s no pressure.
Reform-minded Democrats are looking for a way to make it right to coronate the woman who has more fully inhabited the Washington establishment than perhaps any national politician of her generation. Good luck in your rationalizing.
THE JUDGE’S RULING: ROUNDHEADS ON THE POTOMAC
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano looks back to the dark days of Oliver Cromwell to underscore that the Constitution is designed to not only to prevent the perception but also to prevent the reality of the tyranny of one man’s opinion: “President Barack Obama has rejected not only the theory but also the practice of due process by his use of drones launched by the CIA to kill Americans and others overseas.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Researchers and scientists announced that they found remains of the first feathered dinosaur in North America, reports Discover magazine. Though the fossils found do not have an individual name yet they are part of the Ornithomimus family meaning they look similar to the modern-day ostrich. The discovery caused a stir in the paleontology world, but gave more questions than answers, particularly on the purpose for the feathers since feathered dinosaurs are not thought to fly. A floated theory is that they used them as means of communication, or momentum when running on the ground. Regardless of the purpose, researchers are already hot on the chase for more feathered dinosaurs and the purpose for the additional feature.
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.3 percent//Disapprove – 49.2 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.1 percent//Wrong Track – 61.6 percent
JEB: ‘11 MILLION PEOPLE …SHOULD RECEIVE LEGAL STATUS’
AP:“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared Wednesday that 11 million immigrants in the country illegally should have an opportunity to stay, wading yet again into his party’s contentious immigrant debate. ‘We’re a nation of immigrants,’ Bush said at the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference that brought several hundred Hispanic evangelical leaders to Houston this week…A successful immigration overhaul is more than simply strengthening the border, Bush said, referring to ‘11 million people that should come out from the shadows and receive earned legal status.’ He said such immigrants should be required to pay taxes, work and not receive government benefits.”
“I do not come to you tonight with the ability to speak Spanish. But I do speak a common language. I speak Jesus.” – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a speech to the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Huston following a speech in which Jeb Bush had spoken in English and Spanish.
Carolina whales wary – (Raleigh)News & Observer: “Jeb Bush is planning to meet privately with top donors – and potential ones – in Raleigh and Charlotte on Friday before heading to the state GOP convention in South Carolina …. Two of the state’s biggest Republican donors – former state budget director Art Pope and Raleigh businessman Bob Luddy – tell [the News & Observer] they are planning to attend. Luddy mentioned Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as ‘all excellent candidates’ along with Bush. He said he is not sure Republicans would coalesce behind Bush ‘for a variety of reasons,’ including perceived baggage from George W. Bush’s presidency. “He has a hard road to go,” Luddy said of an expected Jeb Bush campaign.”
[Bush is in Washington today for a fundraiser for his Right to Rise PAC hosted by top lobbyists and other family loyalists.]
Power Play: Will Jeb’s big bucks make the biggest difference? – There’s a lot of money sloshing around the presidential primaries campaign, but will winning the donor race make the difference? Chris Stirewalt has the answer in just 60 seconds. WATCH HERE.
CRUZ: ROMNEY LOST HISPANICS OVER ‘47 PERCENT’ NOT IMMIGRATION
Bloomberg:“[In an event with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas] advanced a theory as to why a candidate with his views can succeed with the Hispanic vote, insisting that Romney’s tough talk on immigration had nothing to do with the relatively anemic 27 percent of the Hispanic vote he mustered in his 2012 campaign. ‘The media repeatedly said the reason Mitt Romney got clobbered in the Hispanic community was because of immigration,’ Cruz said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club. ‘The data don’t bear that out,’ said Cruz, adding that Hispanics care most about the economy. ‘The Obama economy has been a disaster for the Hispanic community,’ he said. The reason Cruz Romney got ‘clobbered’ was his ‘infamous comment’ that Republicans don’t have to worry about the 47 percent of all Americans vote reliably Democratic because they feel entitled to government services. ‘I can’t think of a statement in politics I disagree with more strongly,’ said Cruz.”
Picks Iowa campaign chairman – USA Today: “Former Iowa secretary of State Matt Schultz will lead the Iowa campaign for Ted Cruz as the Texas senator seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency…Schultz currently serves as the Madison County attorney, a post voters elected him to in November.”
RUBIO PUSHES HARD FOR ISRAEL AMENDMENT
NYT: “Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, is demanding a vote on an amendment that would press Iran to recognize the state of Israel, threatening a fragile bipartisan coalition that had already fashioned a compromise bill giving Congress a voice in the Iran nuclear talks. As other Republican senators worked to persuade their colleagues to pass the bill largely unchanged, Mr. Rubio, a candidate for president, seemed determined to press a series of amendments that would significantly toughen the legislation, and if passed, would almost certainly provoke a veto by President Obama, who is already reluctant to give Congress any role in an Iran deal. ‘This is not a game,’ Mr. Rubio said. ‘This is a very serious matter.’”
[Hey, neighbor – Rubio will be on Hillary Clinton’s posh Georgetown block today for a fundraiser hosted by her neighbor, mega-donor Wayne Berman.]
WALKER BOASTS WIDEST DONOR NETWORK
NYT: “Scott Walker enters the Republican presidential race with far stronger ties to the party’s biggest fund-raisers than any other candidate besides Jeb Bush. Roughly half of the nation’s top 250 Republican donors have given money to Mr. Walker in his campaigns for Wisconsin governor, according to an Upshot analysis of Federal Election Commission records and state records. By comparison, 30 percent have given to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, 20 percent to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and 10 percent to Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.”
RAND’S RABBI FOR JEWISH VOTERS JUMPS TO WALKER
Free Beacon: “Sen. Rand Paul’s (R., Ky.) most prominent pro-Israel backer, who funded the senator’s 2013 visit to Israel, is throwing his support fully behind Gov. Scott Walker’s prospective presidential campaign, he told the Washington Free Beacon. Rich Roberts, a major Republican donor from New Jersey, has been central to Paul’s Jewish outreach efforts. The former pharmaceutical executive, who has been described in the press as one of Paul’s ‘ambassadors to the Jewish community,’ has hosted private receptions for the senator over the past few years, assisted as an informal adviser, and sponsored his highly-publicized Israel trip.”
NEW FIORINA BOOK FIRES BACK AT CRITICS OF HP TENURE
The Hill: “Carly Fiorina’s political future depends on whether she can defend her record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. The likely GOP presidential candidate is aiming to do just that in her new book Rising to the Challenge, set to be released May 5, a day after the expected launch of her 2016 campaign. Fiorina now claims the company’s decision to fire her in 2005, after a turbulent six-year tenure, was a result of a dysfunctional board of directors and not her leadership…When asked again if she thought underlying sexism contributed to her firing, she said, ‘There’s no question that women in positions of authority are scrutinized differently, criticized differently and characterized different.’ Following her departure, she said HP officials monitored her phone calls to see if she had been the one leaking the negative information…HP declined to comment for this article.”
Grabs Garcia’s backing in N.H. – Former New Hampshire Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia puts her support behind Fiorina. Garcia’s offered her backing in a Concord Monitor op-ed, saying Fiorina’s experience as a CEO and leadership in her community make her the best choice. After the piece was posted, though, Garcia was accused of lifting parts of it from Fiorina’s official biography.
[Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security, a hawkish national security group, hosts Fiorina for its first forum in New Hampshire today.]
EX-CHRISTIE AIDE TO PLEAD GUILTY IN BRIDGE SCANDAL
USA Today: “David Wildstein, who allegedly orchestrated the 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, will reportedly plead guilty to federal charges this week. Wildstein was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s second-highest ranked staffer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the fallout from the week of intentional, crippling traffic jams severely damaged Christie’s political aspirations.”
IS SNYDER SERIOUS?
The Detroit Free Press goes deep on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s intentions and chances in an already crowded 2016 GOP field: “The buzz about a possible Snyder bid for the GOP presidential nomination is expected to ramp up further when he conducts a series of media interviews while attending an event as a guest of Michael Bloomberg in New York on May 8.”
BUDGET BROUHAHA SETS UP OBAMACARE FIGHT
Senate and House Republicans announced a unified budget plan Wednesday that allows them to bypass Democrats and send legislation that repeals or revises ObamaCare to the president’s desk, while balancing the federal budget within 10 years. Though the plan is non-binding and spending bills must be passed, the proposal lays out the Republican vision of how to handle the taxpayers’ money. With the 2016 political battlefield in sight reaction was swift. Democrats called it a “gimmicky” plan that paves the way for tax break for the wealthy, while Republicans said it would make Washington “live within its means.” A vote in the House is expected Friday with the Senate following suit next week.
[Winners and losers – National Journal takes a look at the compromises leading up to the GOP budget plan]
What’s in the plan – Bloomberg: “The budget proposal spells out the Republican Party’s priorities by calling for $5.3 trillion in spending cuts to reach balance in nine years. Of this, $4.1 trillion in reductions would come from programs including entitlements like Medicare. Discretionary spending in 2016 would be limited to $1.016 trillion, while war funding would total $96 billion, far above Obama’s request. The plan allows total spending of $3.9 trillion in 2016, with a $400 billion deficit.”
Early snag on VA spending bill over war fund – The Hill: “House Republicans delayed a vote Wednesday night on their first spending bill of the year amid concerns that a controversial bipartisan amendment to eliminate use of a Pentagon war fund for military construction projects might have the votes to pass….[House] leadership decided to push back votes on the legislation…until Thursday. The amendment offered by [Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.,]… would strike provisions of the bill for military construction projects that use funds from the Pentagon’s war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account. Both Van Hollen and Mulvaney argued it represented a budgetary ‘gimmick’ to avoid spending caps established by the 2011 budget deal known as the Budget Control Act (BCA).”
MCCONNELL LAUNCHES SURPRISE OFFENSIVE ON EPA
WashEx: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to use a little-known, little-studied, little-used Clean Air Act clause to undercut a key element of the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The Kentucky Republican cited language in the Clean Air Act, the federal law under which the EPA is crafting its climate change regulation, that he said requires Congress to approve regional cap-and-trade plans and other compacts. That’s key because the EPA has touted multi-state plans as the best, most cost-efficient way to meet its proposed rule’s goals, and some states are planning to use that strategy.”
SUNDAY’S GOOD NEWS IS…
Fox News colleague Dana Perino may not always like what’s on the pages of the New York Times, but there’s one upcoming edition she is sure to like. A publishing industry source tells Fox News First that Dana’s book, “And the Good News Is…” will be number one on the NYT nonfiction bestseller list on Sunday, May 10. Not bad for a farm girl!
BARE KNUCKLES? NO, JUST BEAR
KOVK: “A [Sacramento-area] man came face-to-face with a bear outside his home. He didn’t run…Instead, he wound up and punched the bear in the face. Carl Moore is not a guy who scares easily. ‘The man or beast that I run from ain’t been born, and his momma’s already dead,’ he said. He’s 73 years old with a wiry frame and one heck of a character. And it turns out he’s also quite a bear fighter…The other week, Lacy, the dog he loves like a daughter, started whimpering outside. Carl ran out and there it was – a bear who had no idea what world it just stepped into – Carl’s world. ‘And I raised both hands in the air and I cussed at him, ‘Rrraaaaaaa! Get out of here you bastard,’ and he looked at me like ‘Go eff yourself,’ 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.