Hillary’s scandals sink in with voters


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Buzz Cut:
• Hillary’s scandals sink in with voters
• Senate advances NSA bill
• Baier Tracks: France faults Iran nuke deal…
• Mickey Mouse or Lion King? GOP Sixteeners gather at Disney World
• What could go wrong?

It was three months ago today that news broke about Hillary Clinton’s use of a secret email server. In that time we have been told that Clinton’s email practices wouldn’t hurt her chances and wouldn’t amount to more than “a bunch of people flapping they jaws about nothing.” Of the allegations that the former secretary of state did favors in office for donors and benefactors we have been told endlessly that without a “smoking gun” voters would not fault her. As for her effort to avoid the scandals by shunning the media in favor of canned events, it was “surprisingly effective.” But two new polls out today suggest that the toll is mounting for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

One from CNN and another from WaPo/ABC News show Clinton has sustained serious damage. The CNN poll shows Clinton at her lowest favorability rating since any time since 2001 and has her advantage over potential Republican rivals collapsing, most notably against Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and Gov. Scott Walker, with Walker closing the gap by 19 points since April to trail by only 3 points. And remember, this poll is of all adults not just registered voters, who tend to be less Democratic. In the same poll, Clinton was deemed honest by 42 percent of respondents, an 8-point slide since April.

The WaPo/ABC News poll has similar if less acrid findings for Clinton’s stature and this explains why: “Half of all Americans disapprove of the way she has handled questions about the Clinton Foundation, and 55 percent disapprove of how she has handled questions about her personal e-mails as secretary of state. Meanwhile, half also disapprove of the way she has dealt with questions about the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012…”

There’s no secret that the Clinton campaign is hoping that it can duck the questions long enough for the concerns to dissolve and stick to the scripted campaign events to prevent a gaffe that would reignite the issues. But the truth is that these attitudes will harden and deepen if they are not replaced with a new narrative. The problem for Clinton is that she can’t offer one. There are too many questions before and since her last real press conference 12 weeks ago. Rather than diminishing, the scandal grew horns with the revelations in the book “Clinton Cash.” And now we are getting ready for a congressional inquest and continued email dumps. The idea that Clinton can live in alternate universe and still be president in this one is wearing paper thin.

[Joel Gehrke takes a look at the latest Clinton Foundation tangle, this time involving Saudi Arabia’s now-defunct organization Friends of Saudi Arabia. It’s a doozy.]

Meanwhile in the swing states… NYT: “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top campaign lawyer has filed a second voter-access lawsuit accusing a Republican-led state of trying to suppress the vote — this time in Wisconsin, home to Scott Walker, the governor and likely Republican 2016 presidential candidate.”

Never mind – The group Run Warren Run is throwing in the towel. The other group looking to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., into the 2016 race, Ready for Warren, vows to press on despite the seeming accord reached between Warren and her party’s presumptive nominee.

O’Malley fighting Hillary for Hispanics – WaPo:“Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is making a special effort to target Latino voters during the first week of his presidential campaign, appearing on the Spanish-language television channel Univision, offering interviews on immigration policy to major news outlets and speaking to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce…Immigration is among the issues where O’Malley has sought to draw distinctions between himself and Hillary Rodham Clinton…In April, after Clinton announced her support for providing immigrants with limited driver’s licenses, O’Malley said he was ‘glad she’s come around to that position now, too.’”

The NSA effectively out of the business of bulk records collection, the Senate voted to cut off debate today on the House-passed Freedom Act, which puts phone records into the hands of telecom companies that the intelligence agency can obtain only through court order. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought a vote Monday night but was thwarted by an objection by 2016 candidate Sen. Rand Paul. Paul, who has been taking heavy fire for blocking attempts to salvage the NSA program, could play a last card today by delaying a Senate final vote on the measure until Wednesday. Senate security hawks are also expected to consider amendments today to toughen up the Freedom Act. Any changes would send the bill back to the House and could ignite new opposition as well as delay restoration of now dark NSA capabilities under the Patriot Act.

[Poll: Security rules – A new CNN poll says 6 in 10 Americans back a renewal of the NSA bulk collection program, a bi-partisan sentiment according to the survey.]

Rand’s ISIS Plan – Rand Paul, R-Ky., backs off his claim that Republican hawks created ISIS and refocuses blame on the Iraq war. Paul outlines his strategy to defeat the jihadist terror group in this Manchester Union Leader OpEd.

“A day after President Obama told an Israeli reporter, ‘The best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement’ and a day after Secretary of State John Kerry called into new Iran negotiations before being rolled into surgery for a broken leg, there is a new development. The French are vocally skeptical and concerned about any Iran nuclear deal that doesn’t allow international inspectors access to Iran’s military sites and other secret facilities – something opponents on Capitol Hill have repeatedly mentioned. The French foreign minister went on to say in an interview with the WSJ that the nuclear deal, as is, would likely spark a nuclear arms races in the Middle East – another point opponents often mention.

The White House insists that Iran has agreed ‘in principle’ to inspections of military facilities, but Iran’s leaders have publicly contradicted that claim. In 2013, the same French foreign minister warned that Washington risked being ‘suckered into a fool’s game’ in the Iran talks. While Secretary Kerry is on the sidelines now trying to fix up a wobbly broken leg, it appears the French are the ones standing strong on the international stage when it comes to Iran.” –Bret Baier

For the president to use a legalistic definition, to say because he ordered major combat operations to be over that we’re not at war – that this is supposed to encourage us at tee-ball practice – is not going to cut it and the polls continue to tell us that Americans feel very unsafe, in some cases as unsafe as they were in the shadow of 9/11.” – Chris Stirewalt on “The Kelly File.” Watch here.

What about your first cup of coffee? For those trying to limit their caffeine intake to something under radioactive levels, the secret may not be stopping earlier but rather starting later. WaPo looked at the evidence and found that the habit of gulping down coffee first thing in the morning may diminish the effect of the caffeine and actually reduce energy levels. The right times appear to be the parts of the day when your body’s production of cortisol, a hormone that helps us to feel more awake and alert, typically lags. Your sunrise coffee might actually interfere with cortisol production and take you straight from a temporary chemical high right into a late-morning cortisol crash. But could you really wait until 10 a.m. for your cuppa?

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 45.7 percent//Disapprove – 49.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.4 percent//Wrong Track – 62.3 percent

Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., hosts most of the GOP field today at Walt Disney World for a jobs summit, but a few notable faces will not be in attendance. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wasn’t able to attend due to potential votes on the pending NSA legislation in Congress. Paul and Cruz had previously declined the invite, but Floridian Rubio had been set to kick off the event. Rubio instead addressed the crowd via video. This leaves former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., with all the Florida sunshine to himself. The event would have been the first time the mentor and mentee would be onstage together since the 2016 presidential race began.

[Watch Fox: Chief Political Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron reports on the Republican gathering from Orlando.]

Westward, Ho! – The Orlando Sentinel has the rundown of the day’s agenda including a list of other speakers including Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., and former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas.

Poll check – New polls from WaPo/ABC News and CNN today agree the Republican field is tight with the crowded candidate pool, but they disagree on the top five. Both have Bush, Rubio, Walker, and Huckabee in their top fives, but disagree on the standing of Carson, Cruz, and Paul.

[Watch Fox: Neil Cavuto sits down with Huckabee, Perry, Walker and Jindal in Orlando on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” at 12p.m. ET on Fox Business Network. Neil talks with Jeb Bush on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” at 4 p.m. on FNC.]

Jeb claims ‘undisputed jobs champ’ title – Bush’s super PAC released a new ad today touting his jobs creation record.

Walker ready to sign late-term abortion ban – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he’s prepared to sign a 20-week abortion ban bill that has no exception for cases of rape or incest. Asked Monday about the bill following a speech at a Boys & Girls Club event in Delavan, Walker said he would sign the measure banning the procedure after 20 weeks whether or not it had those exemptions. The Republican governor and likely presidential candidate made his comments before a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday on the fast-moving bill before committees of both the Assembly and Senate… [the bill] could reach Walker’s desk before the Senate and Assembly begin floor debate on the state budget this month.”

[Walker has an op-ed in the Manchester Union Leader focusing on his economic record and battle with government worker unions.]

Fiorina raises big cash in New Mexico – Albuquerque Journal: “New Mexico Republicans raised more than $100,000 at a weekend dinner headlined by presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina. More than 300 people attended the annual Silver Elephant Dinner, state GOP spokesman Pat Garrett said Monday. Gov. Susana Martinez, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and House Speaker Don Tripp, R-Socorro, were among the Republican state officials who attended the shindig at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya.”

Christie PAC goes deep in home-state event – Chris Christie’s super PAC is touting big bucks from an event in Short Hills, N.J. last week. At an event of only about 30 people, the PAC confirmed it raked in over $1 million. The PAC hasn’t released its total revenue since it formed in February.

Perry wins endorsement from Chris Kyle’s widow – Former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, won over “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s widow, Tara. Perry’s PAC announced Monday that Mrs. Kyle would attend the Thursday kickoff event for Perry’s campaign in show of her support.

Graham camps out in N.H. – Newly minted presidential candidate Lindsey Graham is in New Hampshire today and Wednesday raising money and meeting voters.

“My take on your ‘Power Index’ is that Jeb Bush will remain #1 until Karl Rove allows you to drop him, which probably won’t be until several weeks after someone else takes the nomination. Rove likes the Bushes, they do what they are told.” – Peter Hess

“I live in Ohio but I can say with certainty that I can’t vote for or back either John Kasich or Jeb Bush for president. Why didn’t Republicans just tell Jeb to stay home and not run? He has zero chance of beating any Democrat but could win the nomination and the Republicans will lose again if he does, he is a Bush and a very much more liberal one at that. Same problem with Kasich.” – Brenda Luce

“The most impressive on the stump speaker is Carly Fiorina … Answers questions, has clarity of thought and is no wilting violet. President candidate, probably not, but hope she is considered as VP candidate.” – Larry Beeman

“I was very disappointed when Romney bowed out. But, with Pataki entering the race, I could be very excited about a Pataki / Rubio ticket based upon what I heard in his announcement and what I know about him.” – Pete Whiskeman

“I like the list but think [Chris Christie] and Fiorina should be higher as they ‘speak the truth no matter how painful.’ Walker should be number one as he has shown he ‘can stand tough.’” – Walt Roginski

“I sincerely believe that if the elections were held today that Ted Cruz would be first or second, not 4th or 5th, as you have placed him.” – Carol Heimbach

The Hill: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) will seek reelection to his House seat in 2016, depriving Republicans of their top recruit to take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in a swing state the GOP might need to protect its majority in the upper chamber…National Republicans had been giving Coffman a hard sell to enter the race. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met with Coffman recently to discuss the opportunity.”

(Minneapolis) Star Tribune: “Some parents are outraged after the leader of a small Minneapolis private school took about a dozen middle- and high-school-aged students on a sex education field trip to an adult novelty store late last week. ‘It’s just a major breach of trust,’ said Lynn Floyd, whose 11- and 13-year-old daughters were part of the outing to the Smitten Kitten. ‘You just can’t erase those images.’ A leader of Gaia Democratic School and the host of the field trip defended the outing, saying the visit capped a monthslong sex education class. Director Starri Hedges, who also teaches the school’s sex education class, said she wanted to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn about human sexual behavior. … Gaia is a K-12 school with a motto promising academic freedom, youth empowerment and democratic education. Parents say the school has about 25 students, including several described by administrators as transgender.”

The Patriot Act is not written in stone. It was a reaction to 9/11. We didn’t quite know how to react so we put down some rules. I think it’s a good thing it expires every once and a while so we have to debate it and adjust it.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret BaierWatch 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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