Lucky Rubio gets perfect timing for foreign policy plan


April 15, 2015: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks in Washington.

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Buzz Cut:
• Lucky Rubio gets perfect timing for foreign policy plan
• Calendar alert: Nevada close to dumping caucus
• Dems drub Obama on trade, sexism
• Hillary in hiding
• It’s enough to give you a case of the dismals

It may be better to be lucky than good, but if you want to be president, you’d better be both. Marco Rubio demonstrates again today that he may be the luckiest politician since Barack Obama. Rubio has had his big speech today in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations on the books since long before Jeb Bush fell into trouble on the Iraq war. But as it happens, Rubio gets the biggest possible stage for an appeal to the foreign policy establishment at exactly the moment those folks are thinking more about the prospect of Republicans nominating a third Bush. Hawks like Charles Krauthammer and others have long been intrigued by Rubio and now he has the moment for the message that they long to hear. Like when Hillary Clinton raised the juxtapositional value and lessened the scrutiny of Rubio’s presidential announcement, the guy is just plain lucky.

The advance text from Rubio’s big speech shows him to be every bit in the mold of George W. Bush on the war with Islamist militants but without the baggage of the last name. While Jeb Bush campaigns in Nevada today he will have another chance to tidy up his misunderstanding of Megyn Kelly’s “knowing what we know now” question about Iraq. It instantly became a litmus test question for the entire GOP field. But for Rubio is starting from Jump Street. He was a 31-year-old freshman in the Florida House when the U.S. Senate was wrangling with the Iraq war authorization. As Eliana Johnson explains, it’s been quite a journey since Rubio went from Huckabee-backing foreign policy neophyte to a favorite of the hardline foreign policy establishment.

The question now is whether Rubio is good as well as lucky. The GOP establishment was reminded again this week of why they have misgivings about Bush. He was top-drawer in the interview, but as his slip showed, he has almost no room for error, especially on the issue central to his chances. But as Rubio continues to rise, so will the scrutiny on his record and his finances. The NYT’s scalpel work on Rubio this weekend was only an initial incision. But in this moment, as Jeb is trying to get bestride his horse, Rubio’s opening looks bigger than ever.

Cruz: ‘of course’ Iraq was a mistake – The Hill: Ted Cruz is breaking from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) about whether or not he would have ordered the U.S. military into its eight-year war in Iraq. ‘Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn’t go into Iraq,’ the Texas Republican told The Hill on Tuesday.”

Christie rips – Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., slammed Bush Tuesday on the Iraq war and, by inference, for being evasive, telling CNN: “I want to directly answer your question because that’s what I do.”

‘Clinton Cash’ author moving ahead on Jeb probe – Peter Schweizer shed some light on his previous statement that he was exploring Jeb Bush’s finances in the same way he has shredded the Clintons on their post-presidential buckraking. Schweizer told radio host Hugh Hewitt that his research is underway and he expects to know by mid-September whether there’s enough evidence to build as case against Bush. “And look, we are in the middle of the investigation. I would tell you that if there was nothing there, we would have stopped the investigation,” Schweizer said. “I think we’re finding some interesting, compelling things. But I don’t want to create the impression that we have decided that we know what we’ve found.”

Power Play: Base drumming Bush – With groups on the right, like ForAmerica, hammering Jeb Bush on electability and his campaign backing off in Iowa, what’s the way forward for an establishment-backed candidate who’s struggling with electability concerns? Chris Stirewalt lays it all out in 60 seconds. WATCH HERE.

Reno Gazette-Journal: “Nevada’s caucus system for presidential nominees is on shaky ground after senators approved a measure seeking to replace it with a primary election. Senators voted 11-9 on Tuesday to approve SB421, with Democrats opposing. The measure now moves to the Assembly. The bill would preserve Nevada’s influential position as one of the earliest states to nominate a presidential candidate. But it would change the selection process from a gathering of only the most motivated party activists to a regular election among all voters.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, along with fellow Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, take the top spots in the American Conservative Union’s annual congressional rankings both at 100 percent support of conservative positions. The list bases candidates on issues the ACU supports and doesn’t support, and also gives points for those who announce they are in favor of an ACU position. Other top senators on the list include Republican presidential contenders Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., both at 96 percent staying steady from last year’s ranking. Potential Republican contender Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., didn’t fare so well at 74 percent, but showed improvement from last year’s spot at 68 percent.

[Precedential – Who else was a freshman senator with an ideological rating way out at the tippy end of the scale? You know who.]

Gay hoteliers find repudiating Cruz insufficient for critics – Remember the hotel tycoons who hosted the dinner for Ted Cruz a few weeks ago? Well, the gay community does. Mati Weiderpass, one of the hosts, wrote an op-ed in the Observer on the harsh reaction he’s received from the gay community. He writes, “It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue.”

“I think it is important for someone to stand by what they believe. And you know what I’ve tried to do in the Senate has been really simple, it’s been tell the truth…if I’m with you, I’m really with you, if I’m not with you, I’m not with you. And I think people respect that.” – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on “The Kelly File”

Wisconsin prosecutors’ secret investigation into Walker may go before Supreme Court – National Journal: “The lawsuit stems from an investigation into whether Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with independent political groups, including the Wisconsin Club for Growth, as he fought recall campaigns in 2011 and 2012…Prosecutors in Milwaukee County opened a secret investigation in 2012 into possible coordination between Walker’s campaign and outside groups supporting him. The probe expanded to additional counties in 2013.”

Graham to follow POTUS announcement with Senate fundraiser – Just nine days after Sen. Lindsey Graham’s anticipated June 1 presidential announcement, the South Carolinian is set to hold a fundraiser for his senate reelection campaign.

Who to watch today – Carly Fiorina has the party spotlight today. She addresses the opening crowd at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting today in Scottsdale, AZ. Her address comes on the heels of a successful campaign stop in Michigan Tuesday, where she was well-received at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

What does the stunning outcome of last week’s British election mean for America’s most important ally? Manhattan Institute’s Anthony Daniels (pen name, Theodore Dalrymple) argues quite convincingly that the retention of incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron is not a sign of Britons returning to their traditional political ways but is instead a harbinger of upheavals to come: “One of Britain’s prevailing assets has been its political stability. But that stability has evaporated, probably for good—with potentially disastrous results for its financial sector, upon which it so strongly (though foolishly) depends. Terrible political problems have been conjured out of nothing except the ambition of politicians, and the country’s deeper problems—its low productivity, its abysmal cultural and educational levels—remain not only unanswered, but unremarked.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 45.6 percent//Disapprove – 49.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 29.6 percent//Wrong Track – 62.0 percent

[Watch Fox: Results of the latest Fox News poll on all things 2016, including contender favorables, primary horseraces, hypothetical matchups and the Clinton Foundation scandal. All on “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 p.m. ET]

Rebuked on his top trade priority, President Obama’s waning clout and sharp divide with his own party were laid bare Tuesday as Senate Democrats blocked consideration of the Pacific Trade deal. Despite White House downplaying the rejection as a “legislative snafu” the president – who considers the issue “personal” – will have to ratchet-up his arm-twisting to save the deal. AP: “Obama went to work soon after the vote failed to revive the issue, summoning key Democrats to the White House to discuss possible strategies. Democrats said they had agreed to drop a contentious provision aimed at cracking down on countries that manipulate their currency, though it was uncertain that would resolve the impasse.”

[Yikes – “Obama advisers say the president sees Democratic opponents of his trade agenda as just as detached from reality as Republicans in Congress who held four dozen Obamacare repeal votes…,” Politico reports.]

Obama’s attack on Warren deemed sexist – USA Today: “Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chastised President Obama Tuesday for making the fight over trade legislation ‘more personal than he needed to.’ He was responding to a reporter’s question about comments Obama made dismissing Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as another ‘politician’ and saying her criticisms of the trade deal were ‘absolutely wrong.’…[Brown] suggested Obama was being sexist by using Warren’s first name in the interview ‘when he might not have done that for a male senator.’”

[NOW president agrees – The Hill: National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill on Wednesday called President Obama’s critique of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sexist.]

Obama fights currency controls now – WSJ: “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and other lawmakers in the House and Senate say President Barack Obama and Republicans shouldn’t pass trade legislation needed to expedite an agreement spanning the Pacific without also allowing a vote on binding rules on currency manipulation. … The Obama administration has sought to deflect such binding rules, saying they risk souring trade talks or putting U.S. monetary policy under scrutiny.”

Buuut… – When he was running for president the first time, Obama highlighted the issue of currency manipulation and promised to take action and touted U.S. bargaining power. In an April 2008 speech to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Obama called then-President George W. Bush “a patsy” for the Chinese for not getting a currency manipulation deal.

Hillary hiding – WaPo: “Clinton’s silence on trade, coming at the worst possible time for Obama, dovetails with her transformation into a presidential candidate eager to align herself more squarely with the liberal wing of her party. In other areas in which Clinton has moved to the left — such as immigration reform and gay marriage — White House aides have been delighted that she has forcefully embraced the president’s governing record. But on trade, Clinton’s hedge has left Obama without political cover in his increasingly bitter feud with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other progressives, who have fiercely opposed the pact as a boondoggle for big business.”

Dem Sixteeners react
* Bernie Sanders – “Trade agreements should not just work for corporate America, Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry… – Statement Tuesday

* Martin O’Malley – “TPP did not move forward today thanks to your voice & the Senators who stood up. We must demand better & stop #TPP.” – via Twitter.

* Hillary Clinton no reaction.

Don’t ask – Want to ask Hillary about the trade vote? On that and a host of other issues, so would the press. The Democratic frontrunner has yet to do a formal sit down interview since announcing her candidacy on April 12 and media reports say the last time she answered a reporter question was April 21 in New Hampshire. Fox News puts the number of press questions Clinton has responded to since her campaign launch at 8, which translates to one response every three and a half days. What about Bubba? NBC reports that over the past month husband Bill has taken more than 30 questions over the course of the three interviews.

Hillary bulks up on damage control team – WSJ:“A pro-Hillary Clinton group formerly under the umbrella of Democratic opposition research group American Bridge is set to become its own super PAC in an effort to more forcefully push back on criticism of Mrs. Clinton….The group will employ an unusual strategy in doing so….[I]t doesn’t plan to make independent expenditures, which are ads explicitly advocating for or against a candidate.”

[“A federal judge is giving the State Department until September to comply with a conservative group’s request for records relating to correspondence between top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, as well as a consulting business involving former Clinton staffers,” Politico reports.]

O’Malley back to N.H. – As he nears a decision on a 2016 run, Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., has a series of events today in New Hampshire. Stops include a local diner and a business in Manchester, a fundraiser for House Democratic Caucus in Concord, a house party in Durham, and some evening campaigning with Maureen Mann, candidate for N.H. House of Representatives in Rockingham County.

​The New Hampshire town famed for casting the first ballots in every election cycle could pass the baton on to its neighbor. Dixville Notch, a town with eight registered voters and no permanent residents, has struggled in recent years to maintain the tradition. Gov. Maggie Hassan​, D-N.H., signed into legislation last year that neighboring Millsfield may also open voting at midnight. Read the WSJ’s take.

NPR looked at the state of regional slang terms in this era of homogenized American English, and the findings were as jarring the sight of a whopperjawed necessary or a taste of rampy milk. You can see if your state’s colloquialisms are on the list of endangered words. [And not to be biggity, but West Virginia is stronger than a skint mule when it comes to the best in American regional slang.] So get off your ridey-bob and check it out.

“The reason that the [Persian Gulf] state leaders aren’t coming is because what the United States is offering in return for acquiescing to an Iran deal that does what Obama has said, to make Iran a successful regional power, which is an anathema to all the Gulf states.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

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.