Fake campaigns don’t deserve real campaign coverage


May 19, 2015: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to small business owners at the Bike Tech cycling shop. (AP)

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Buzz Cut:
• Fake campaigns don’t deserve real campaign coverage
• Power Play: Is O’Malley just looking to be ‘secretary of second place?’
• Carly trolls Hillary so hard
• Rubio warns of Christian persecution over same-sex marriage
• At least it’s a short week

If Hillary Clinton was running a real campaign, today would be a fascinating moment for the presumptive nominee. She’s in South Carolina where she needs to make amends with black voters who not only rejected her in 2008 but rebuked her and her husband for their presumptuous approach. On the question of whether Clinton can run and win a return to the White House as an unabashed liberal, enthusiasm of black voters is a paramount consideration. But alas, she is not running a real campaign. She is instead running something more akin to a legal defense or corporate PR after an oil spill.

It would be fascinating to know whether Bill Clinton was sorry for how he treated Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., in 2008 or if Bubba now felt sheepish about bragging about being called “America’s first black president.” It would also be fascinating to hear what Hillary thought about Obama’s record on issues like black poverty and joblessness or hear her defend criticism of police and stiff drug penalties in light of the rising violence in places like Baltimore. It would be fascinating to know… if there weren’t a flock of turkey vultures circling the actual, substantive issues relating to her character and fitness for office.

We are not likely to hear her on any of those issues in part because she will be inside her dome, interacting with party officials and a curated collection of minority women small business owners.” The topic is Clinton’s enthusiastic support for equal pay for women. If anyone asks about the Clintons and their 2008 comeuppance with black voters it will be a result of a catastrophic staff failure, not the actual give and take of campaigning among real people and real reporters. Clinton isn’t even likely to be asked about an on-topic awkwardness.

If Clinton does briefly speak to reporters, the kinds of answers and laughing brush-offs she offers are worse than useless. They are simply untethered scraps of lawyer-approved defenses or just outright evasions. Painful to watch. But those who suggest that Clinton is making a mistake in not opening up herself to the press and public suppose that she could somehow answer the questions before her. She can’t talk about how her erstwhile foundation employee was trying to profit from the Libya war she sold. She can’t explain what her husband’s unreported consulting firm was doing. She can’t explain the specifics of a Russian uranium deal she helped get approved that profited one of her patrons. She certainly can’t stand by her prior claims of why she established a secret server for emails or talk at much length about the process for reviewing those she ordered destroyed.

Any substantive interview would devolve into something that sounded way too much like one of her depositions than an actual chat. And while you can “plead the Fifth” in court, you can’t use it in an interview. And so that leaves Clinton doing the only thing she can: damage control in hopes that reporters will eventually tire of covering the story and start covering a non-existent horse race. But every good reporter knows that covering a phony campaign like a real one would be malpractice.

Until she gets past her corporate damage control campaign and takes her medicine, the only apt topic for Clinton coverage are the scandals and controversies from which she is hiding.

[Watch Fox: Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry tries to press Clinton for answers, live from South Carolina.]

Power Play: Is O’Malley just looking to be ‘secretary of second place?’ – With Martin O’Malley about to launch his 2016 bid, the question is: How do you know if challenges to Hillary Clinton are real, or a float for say, a future cabinet post? Chris Stirewalt knows what to look for, and he shares his tips, in 60 seconds. WATCH HERE.

Weekly Standard: “Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina will both be campaigning in Columbia, South Carolina, on Wednesday, and the Fiorina campaign is making sure reporters know its candidate will be answering questions. Fiorina will be available to speak to the press, says deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores, shortly before speaking with Republican state legislators at the state capitol. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO will also travel to Spartanburg later in the day for another event. ‘Our events tomorrow are all open to the press,’ said Flores in an email to reporters. ‘And by open press, we mean we’ll actually take questions. That’s right. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from reporters because we believe the American people will not and should not elect a president that can’t answer for her record, won’t explain her positions or for whom the truth is whatever she can get away with.’”

An appellate court smacked down an administration bid to get President Obama’s executive amnesty program up and running while a suit from 26 states seeking to block the measure works its way through the courts. But that’s just one piece of the heavy docket on Obama’s legacy projects. In the final years of the Obama era, courts will be passing judgment on the president’s priorities. Issue by issue, WaPo examines how Obama’s legacy is in legal jeopardy: “President Obama’s second-term agenda, it seems, is in the hands of the courts. Same-sex marriage. Obamacare. Climate change. And now immigration. And in many cases, there is significant doubt about whether his signature initiatives will stand legal scrutiny.” And why? Because he was unable or unwilling to work through Congress and opted to push the limits of executive power.

Legalese – With the House suit over the president’s ObamaCare changes headed to court Thursday, National Journal points out that one of the two administrative actions being challenged delayed the law’s employer mandate–which the House voted itself to do.

Flannery O’Connor’s harsh and painful depiction of the human spirit’s journey to grace may have shocked audiences of her time, but her place as one of America’s great authors is sealed. The U.S. Postal Service announced that O’Connor will be the latest addition in the forever stamp collection with her signature peacock feathers flanking her portrait. A Georgia native and devout Roman Catholic, O’Connor is best known for her grippingly honest tales of the religious enlightenment, such as “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” a story about a family who encounters trouble on their way to a vacation home exhibits grace even in the darkest situation.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.1 percent//Disapprove – 50.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.7 percent//Wrong Track – 62.3 percent

In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., flips the debate on gay marriage saying he believes that pro-same-sex marriage activists will soon turn from labeling individuals as homophobic to labeling the entirety of Christianity and its doctrine as hateful. He said, “…Today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater…the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech and there’s a real and present danger.” Last month, Rubio said he would attend a gay wedding even if he disagreed with legalizing the marriage. Fellow candidate Ted Cruz made similar comments saying he’s never been faced with the decision before, but his view of legalizing marriage is different from his call as a Christian to love every person.

Hillary is at the bare minimum, Rubio writes In his piece on Medium, Marco Rubio writes about how Hillary Clinton is checking off the required items in her campaign to-do list. Take a look at what he thinks the people of South Carolina deserve in a candidate, here.

Walker may let Jeb, Rubio bleed each other in Florida – “I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in — other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are in some of the polls essentially tied and they are going to eat up a good amount of that financial advantage that Gov. Bush is going to have. Remember, Rick Scott spent something like $100 million running for governor there last year.”– Scott Walker in an interview with radio host Laura Ingraham.

Jeb deploys America’s favorite Bush – Former first lady Barbara Bush turns 90 on June 8 and the family is throwing a highly publicized party for her family literacy foundation. Jeb Bush and his sister, Doro Bush Koch, are will be the chairman and chairwoman of the event.

Rand blames GOP hawks for ISIS – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said this morning that weapons pushed overseas by Republicans ended up in the hands of ISIS. The Republican presidential candidate told NBC News, Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS, that hawks in our party have been arming.”

Rand’s wife holds the line on Bubba harassment charge –My point was more about the hypocrisy and the Democrat Party…this is the party that purports to be the party of women, and it was a workplace situation…It’s not criminal but it’s certainly something we would see as not appropriate in the workplace.” – Rand Paul’s wife, Kelley, talking about Bill Clinton on “The Kelly File”

[Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., travels throughout Chicago today to speak with local leaders on economic discrepancies and the problems in the justice system.]

Kasich tries his pitch down South – Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, speaks at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce in Charleston, S.C. today before continuing his journey south to Georgia for events there tomorrow.

But owls without executive experience – Weekly Standard: “‘I’ve had more than one individual say, ‘You know what, if you want to be the president of the United States, you ought to go back to your home state and be the governor and get that executive experience before you go lead this country,’‘ said [Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry]. The former governor calls the senators ‘Marco, Ted, and Rand,’ and made sure to say he has ‘great respect’ for the trio. ‘They are smart as a tree full of owls,’ said Perry, ‘These guys are very, very capable United States senators.’”

[Perry speaks at the Peoria County, Ill. Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.]

Christie lays down big N.H. bet in donor talk – WSJ: “Gov. Chris Christie told a group of New York City Republican donors that GOP hopefuls will need to win one of the first four primary states to remain viable next year, remarks that come as the large Republican field continues to grow. During a private luncheon held by hedge-fund manager Paul Singer in New York City Tuesday, Mr. Christie told several dozen donors that any Republican contender for president needs to win one of the early primary contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, according to people who attended the event. Mr. Christie has traveled repeatedly to New Hampshire this year as he weighs a potential 2016 bid. He has said he will announce a decision by the summer.”

[In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Christie said Paul and other senators opposed to the extension of current domestic surveillance programs were “siding with” Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who fled to Russia with stolen evidence that reveled the existence of a massive domestic data mining operation.]

Santorum says it’s his turn – Time: Rick Santorum was closing out his speech to the GOP’s governing class at a posh desert resort near Phoenix. His time to address the Republican National Committee coming to a close, he took a moment to remind the party’s elders of their history. ‘We stick with tradition,’ the former Senator from Pennsylvania said in early May. With restless party chairmen and activists shifting in their seats, the failed 2012 candidate made a not-so-subtle pitch for the Santorum for President, 2016 Edition, which is set to start on Wednesday. ‘Since primaries and caucuses went into effect, every Republican nominee has met one of three tests,’ Santorum said. ‘One, they were Vice President. Two, they were the son of a former President. And three, they came in second place the last time and ran again and won.’”

[Watch Fox: Chief Political Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron covers 2012 runner-up Rick Santorum’s official announcement of a second White House run from Cabot, Pa.]

Next – George Pataki,
who served as governor of New York from 1995 to 2006, plans on making his announcement tomorrow in Exeter, N.H.

A cascade of mishaps followed one Orlando area driver Monday, making the it memorable for all the wrong reasons. WKMG: “A truck driver crashed into a fire hydrant Monday in Apopka,… on Yvonne Street, causing the street to flood and opening a hole in the roadway. Neighbors said the driver pulled into a driveway after hitting the hydrant, got out and inspected the damage. The truck doors locked, however, so the driver kicked out the back window to get back into the truck, neighbors said. They added that the driver tried to leave the area but drove into the hole.”

“Republicans are going to have to come up with an alternative [on immigration]. And…the question will be, ‘Well, what’s your plan on immigration reform, if anything?’ And I think, up until now you can say ‘Well, it’s in the hands of the courts,’ but at a certain point…you’re gonna have to answer.” – 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 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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