No do-overs for Perry


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Buzz Cut:
• No do-overs for Perry
• Walker, Jeb tied but not equals in new Fox Poll
• Hillary plays to base as Dem doubts grow
• O’Malley one-ups Hillary on immigration
• Torture policy reversed

Keep a good thought for poor Rick Perry. In his road to personal political redemption, he can’t even catch a break on his announcement day. On the day that Perry had long planned to kick off his presidential do-over, the former Texas governor finds himself upstaged by Jeb Bush’s announcement of an announcement now set for June 15 and Hillary Clinton’s visit to Perry’s native Texas.

Perry’s announcement woes are a microcosm of his challenges in this cycle compared to the last one.

Four years ago, Perry had the biggest boots of any candidate other than frontrunner Mitt Romney, whom Perry would quickly surpass in national polls. Relying on that stature, Perry made a cocky move with his announcement, dissing Iowa’s then-relevant straw poll and holding an event in South Carolina. He didn’t just skip Iowa’s big weekend, he tried to overshadow it.

It didn’t sound so crazy back then. Perry was in second place and trailed frontrunner Romney by 8 points in the Fox News poll out just before his announcement in the first week of August 2011. By the end of the month, Perry was in first place, leading Romney by 8 points. Perry would hold the lead for all of the next month, sometimes with margins of almost 20 points over Romney in polls.

But after a painful September in which Perry looked flat-footed as Romney and others savaged him over immigration and Perry’s call for a Social Security overhaul, Perry fell from the top spot and never recaptured it. Conventional wisdom wrongly remembers Perry’s collapse as tied to his infamous “oops” moment at a November CNBC debate. But that was the coda to his collapse, not its cause. By then, the Fox News poll had him in fourth place with just 7 percent of the vote.

By the time Perry got to the Iowa caucuses two months later, he would finish fifth at a moment when he badly needed a solid showing. Caucus goers no doubt remembered his big-foot act from the summer and shunned him. Perry tried to cash in on his South Carolina credit line, but facing insurmountable odds, dropped out two days before the vote and endorsed Newt Gingrich for president of the United States.

This time, Perry is focused on avoiding the mistakes of the past but his situation is entirely different. Perry is in the long-shot category. He is in a tie for ninth place and drawing just 4 percent of the vote in this week’s Fox News poll. There hasn’t been a poll on Texas’ March 1 primary for nearly four months, but at that point, Perry was in fourth place with 8 percent of the vote in the state he governed for 14 years.

While Perry made his own weather four years ago, this time he is riding out storms of others’ making. Humility is almost always an attractive quality in politicians, but less so when it is so clearly merited as in Perry’s case.

Republicans were eager for a fresh-faced conservative alternative in 2012. Last time, Perry was the only credible candidate who met that definition, now Republicans have a half-dozen or so choices in that regard. With Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and others on offer, it’s hard to see the necessity of Perry in this already crowded race. And getting an elbow on announcement day from his old enemies in Bushworld shows that Perry’s payback continues.

Perry’s wife, Anita, told CNN on Wednesday the she blamed herself for pushing her husband into his first run even though he was bound for a painful and complicated back surgery and recovery. It’s a sad story for a couple and a candidate, but not a rationale for a candidacy.

[Watch Fox: Chief Political Correspondent Campaign Carl Cameron reports on the Perry announcement from Addison, Texas.]

The Fox News poll out Wednesday again yielded a tie between former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., and Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., both at 12 percent. Bush and Walker may not be dazzling with big jumps, but are showing the kind of solidity that other candidates must envy. Marco Rubio, who soared into a first place in April on the heels of his announcement, has lost ground in two consecutive surveys, dropping to sixth place with 7 points this week. The two frontrunners, though, are not exactly on equal footing. Walker scores best on overall appeal with only 8 percent saying they would never support him compared to 24 percent who say no way they would back Bush.

Rubio to headline vets events – The Florida senator will headline the first in a series of events called “Veterans and Military Town Hall” Concerned Veterans for America announced today. The series will focus on veteran and military issues in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Rubio will speak at the event on June 25.

[Rubio speaks at the Connecticut GOP’s annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner in Stamford, Conn.]

Cashing in on donors dissatisfied with Jeb – WaPo: “Marco Rubio is benefiting from pockets of discontent in Jeb Bush’s sprawling money network, winning over donors who believe the 44-year-old freshman senator from Florida offers a more compelling persona and sharper generational contrast against Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

“[Jeb Bush is] a good man. He’s got to convince everyone that one more Bush is not one Bush too many. I like him a lot…I think he was a good governor. I think he’s a good guy. You know I’m not running because I have a problem with Jeb Bush. I’m running because I think I’m the best guy to defend this nation.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on “Fox & Friends”

Fiorina’s got big bucks – The Hill: “Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is worth nearly $59 million, according to financial disclosure forms released by her campaign Wednesday. The figure includes financial assets, bank accounts and property. The campaign sought to highlight that in 2012 and 2013, Fiorina and her husband, Frank Fiorina, had a 30-percent effective tax rate, which includes federal, state and local taxes, with an effective federal tax rate of 20 percent.”

Cruz sorry for mocking mourning Biden – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, made his go-to joke about Vice President Joe Biden at an event in Michigan Wednesday. Cruz said, “Vice President Joe Biden…You know the nice thing? You don’t need a punch line.” In the wake of the Vice President’s son’s recent death, however, many thought it was in bad taste. Cruz posted an apology on his Facebook page.

[Watch Fox: Sen. Ted Cruz joins Neil Cavuto on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” today at 4 p.m. ET.]

Duggars quote Huckabee in defense of their son – Fox News’ Megyn Kelly sat down with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Wednesday night to discuss the child molestation scandal that has rocked their family. The Duggars, long involved in conservative politics, received a warm embrace from presidential candidate and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., in the wake of recent revelations. Jim Bob quoted Huckabee’s statement of support saying, “But yet I think it’s been recently said that what Josh did was inexcusable but it was not unforgivable.” Huckabee posted on his Facebook after the scandal broke writing, “Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’”

Pa-tacky? – Long shot candidate and former Gov. George Pataki, R-N.Y., posted a tweet in support of the new national dialogue on transgendered issues. Pataki used this platform to yet again draw up a recently recirculated joke from Huckabee about wishing he’d posed as a transgendered teen in order to shower with girls. Pataki also took to MSNBC in furtherance of his effort to draw the higher ranked Huckabee into a spat.

In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., attends a fundraiser for Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, and holds a Town Hall meeting in Derry.

Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, begins a two day New Hampshire swing with a roundtable hosted by businesswoman and GOP activist Renee Plummer in Portsmouth.

“For all the focus given to ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Iran’s actions in Yemen, the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran and the latest provocations by China, there is not much talk about Libya. This is from a global security group tracking the latest developments there:

“The UN has announced the official Libyan Government is heading towards bankruptcy. As a result civil servants, over 50% of the country’s employed workforce, have not been paid for 2 months. If police and military services start to strike, this will only increase the chaos engulfing the country and allow ISIL to make further progress.”

A bleak update. In addition, ISIS is believed to have consolidated positions in the country and the terrorist Army we’ve seen roll through Iraq, is believed to be heading West to the Libyan port of Misrata. There are questions about the control of the Libya’s oil and gas sector while various factions inside the country are trying to fend off ISIS.

Clearly, this is one of many issues on the foreign policy front that will come up in the 2016 race with Secretary Hillary Clinton’s unique role in setting the U.S.-Libya policy.

But more importantly, it appears Libya is being added to a growing list of ungoverned or chaotic countries that are becoming Petri dishes growing new more experienced strains of radical Islamic terrorists.” – Bret Baier

The Patriot Act and the Freedom Act do away the probable cause requirements of the Constitution, says Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. And the data collection the laws authorize is too unwieldy to keep us safe. “The government’s job is to keep us free and safe. If it keeps us safe but not free, it has failed to do its job. Today it does neither.” Read more here.

Employees hate nothing more than filling out their expense reports after a business trip, but even those with the non-cubical jobs are required to file the reports. The Atlas Obscura looks into how the super-secret file their expense reports for their…well…super-secret things. But these expense reports look a whole lot different than those of normal suits. Being a spy requires gaining the trust of contacts in the right circles, which often involve a lot of schmoozing. Reports can include booze, food, and other enjoyments (think pornography) but some operations require even odder things like, “large quantities of ballpoint pens, which [the spy] was supposed to procure for his Soviet government office.” Unfortunately for U.S. spies, though, their budget constraints are much tighter than former KGB employees who were even permitted to buy cars. Wonder what that looks like on a spreadsheet.

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 44.6 percent//Disapprove – 50.4
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 29.9 percent//Wrong Track – 62.4 percent

[Watch Fox: New Fox News polls on President Obama’s job rating, whether his economic policies have helped or hurt, and on the administration’s strategy in the fight against ISIS, all on “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 p.m. ET.]

Hillary Clinton
is slated to issue a base-boosting call on voting rights today in her latest leftward lurch. Clinton is trying to shore up support among black liberals who decry voter identification laws as the “new Jim Crow.”. The presumptive nominee is using a speech at historically black Texas Southern University to denounce voting laws in swing states North Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin as well as Texas and push states to adopt a new national standard of three weeks or more of in-person voting, including weekends and evenings.

Clinton’s speech comes as a new Fox News poll underscores how dark the clouds of scandal surrounding her have become. Fully 61 percent of respondents think it likely the Clintons were selling influence to foreign contributors to the Clinton Foundation and almost a third of likely Democratic primary voters are concerned about allegations of her dishonesty and unethical behavior. As with other recent polls, Clinton is still far ahead of her challengers but her character problems make the general election forecast look gloomy.

Drilling for cash – Clinton moves on from her speech at TSU today to continue a two day fundraising sashay across the Lone Star State

[Watch Fox: Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry is on the trail with Hillary in Houston.]

O’Malley one-ups Hillary on immigration – ABC News: “At his first campaign event since declaring his presidential campaign, it was clear that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has not ceded the Hispanic vote to Hillary Clinton…. [At a U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce forum] O’Malley said he would ‘absolutely do everything in [his] power’ to push for immigration reform within his first 100 days in office, a promise Hillary Clinton hasn’t made. And a promise President Obama broke during his first year in office…”

[WaPo: “A super PAC supporting Democrat Martin O’Malley’s presidential bid is preparing to air television ads in Iowa highlighting the former Maryland governor’s willingness to stand up to Wall Street ‘bullies.’”]

Chafee a long shot by any measure – In announcing his candidacy for the highest office in the land Wednesday, former Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee clued the country in on a major priority that has somehow been missing from the polls: Converting to the metric system. Bloomberg has the deets.

Sanders looks for Warren’s leftovers – The Hill: “White House hopeful Bernie Sanders is asking one of the groups that sought to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) into the presidential race to back his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton. Sanders (I-Vt.) reached out on Tuesday to Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive organization Democracy for America, which, along with MoveOn, ran the Run Warren Run campaign.

[Former Gov. Jim Webb, D-Va., delivers a foreign policy speech at George Mason University today.]

Fortune: “On Wednesday, at a meeting with 3,000 store employees in Fayetteville, [Ark.], top U.S. Walmart execs announced new strategies to make employees happy including new cash incentives and a looser dress code. But one strategy that elicited a particularly loud ovation from the crowd: An end to the constant loop of Celine Dion and Justin Bieber music blasted into stores from headquarters. Instead, the company is bringing back Radio Walmart after 9 years, meaning an actual DJ will keep things fresh, rather than playing the same handful of CD’s over and over as many stores did, driving countless associates (and customers, too, probably) batty.”

“Hillary has only three challengers and [Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, D-R.I.] is one of them. You know that this nomination race is a farce. She has the nomination barring an act of God and unless Senator Warren steps in…it’s over.” – 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.