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• Trading blows: Hillary tries to sit out Dem civil war
• Tea party spoiling for a fight with McCain
• Jeb: Obama’s best policy is domestic spying
• Could Sessions block Rubio with Walker blessing?
• Try rebooting that, dude
TRADING BLOWS: HILLARY TRYS TO SIT OUT DEM CIVIL WAR
Nothing rankles the Democratic base like free trade, and there is a whole lot of rankling going on as President Obama looks to push past deepening Democratic objections to a trade deal. The left is irate, and the party’s presumptive nominee has even voiced concerns about provisions. But can Hillary Clinton remain cryptic on the issue that helped blow up her previous presidential bid. Obama, who pummeled Clinton for her past support of a North American trade pact detested by liberals, is now in need of her support to avoid an embarrassing lame duck episode. The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote today on “fast track” legislation that would renew presidential authority to present trade deals that Congress can endorse or reject, but not amend. But many Democrats are bucking the president and could band together to block the bill. As Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid recently told reporters: “I’m not only no, I’m hell no.”
[Stop the train – A group of labor, environmental and liberal pressure groups called Coalition to Stop Fast Track is launching a seven-figure ad campaign aimed at pressuring congressional Democrats to block the Obama-backed trade deal, Politico reports.]
Obama tried to push back Tuesday, saying liberal icon Sen. Elizabeth Warren, was “wrong on this.” “I would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class,” Obama said in an NBC interview. “And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is, when you dig into the facts, they are wrong.” Gulp. But what will the party’s queen bee say? This is the first visible test of the uneasy alliance between Clinton and Obama since she publicly affirmed her quest for the presidency. She has much more to say these days on Democratic policy than the president. Leaders are taking their cues from her. Will she help the president pass legislation the likes of which he once shamed her for supporting or will she let him dangle while she plumps up her standing with the base? Get some popcorn.
[Clinton rival Martin O’Malley is stridently opposed to the TPP. And while he doesn’t mention her by name, O’Malley’s camp released a video that draws a sharp distinction between the former Maryland governor’s opposition and Clinton’s cautious skepticism.]
Ummmmm – NYT: “Mrs. Clinton was the original Elizabeth Warren, her advisers say, a populist fighter who for decades has been an advocate for families and children; only now have the party and primary voters caught up. ‘I don’t know why we have this semicollective amnesia about her past positions,’ said Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress and Mrs. Clinton’s policy director in 2008. ‘She’s following no one on these issues.’”
[Clinton today presents an award for social work to Ann Dibble Jordan, wife of famous Clinton factotum Vernon Jordan at Howard University as well as awards for women in “peace and security” (named for Clinton) at Georgetown University. ]
Marching orders: Clintonites plot strategy with Dem lawmakers – ;In what WaPo calls “an unusually early effort at coordination between Capitol Hill allies and a presidential contender, a group of top Clinton advisers led by campaign chairman John Podesta, took to the Capitol to huddle with Senate and House Democrats: “The meetings — a bid to give early assurance that her team would keep their supporters informed of the direction the campaign would take — included one-on-one sitdowns with top supporters, a presentation to the entire Senate Democratic caucus’s weekly luncheon and then a gathering for House Democrats at the Capitol Hill home of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). ‘They were plotting their strategy,’ Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said after exiting her meeting with Podesta and senior campaign staff. ‘We talked about money, organization and message.’”
[Gator-bait: Obama heads to the Everglades today to speak on global warming.]
Senate Dems outraise GOP – WashEx: “The Senate Republicans’ political arm raised $4.9 million in March as they move to build a war chest to defend their majority in 2016. They’re going to need it. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee brought in $5.3 million. The DSCC finished the first quarter of the year with more than $7.1 million in the bank and $13.7 million in operational debt left over from last cycle’s brutal midterm election that cost the Democrats nine Senate seats. The NRSC, the campaign committee operated by Senate Republicans, closed the first three months of 2015 with $5.3 million in the bank and $6 million in debt.”
Buuuuut… – The Hill: “Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has a big early money advantage over his likely Democratic opponent in the Pennsylvania Senate race heading into 2016. Toomey is one of only four Senate candidates to raise more than $2 million in the first quarter of the year. He took in $2.1 million in the first three months of 2015, bringing his total cash on hand to a strong $7.3 million. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday that former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who lost narrowly to Toomey in 2010 and is seeking a rematch, raised only $312,000 in the first quarter of 2015. Sestak has $1.7 million on hand.”
Tea party spoiling for a fight with McCain – Mark Meckler, one of the founders of the tea party movement, greeted Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to his bid for a sixth term with a punch. Meckler, now the head of Citizens for Self-Governance, says documents obtained by Judicial Watch re-emphasize the role McCain played in pressuring the IRS to step up scrutiny of political groups. Tea party groups are searching for a challenger to unhorse McCain in the state’s August 2016 primary.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
The Atlantic: “Let’s say, for instance, that you’re allergic to ragweed but never had seasonal allergy symptoms back at your old place. It’s still possible that you were exposed to ragweed pollen in the other city; it’s one of the most prevalent and potent allergens in the U.S. A single ragweed plant can produce 1 billion granules of pollen in a season, and even if there isn’t one near you, the pollen can travel up to 400 miles. Chances are you breathed it in at some point… In the 1950s, Americans headed to the Southwest seeking allergy relief in the desert. But now cities like Tucson and Las Vegas are just as miserable as the rest of the country…that’s because people brought non-native plants-allergic triggers-with them…”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – ;45.4 percent//Disapprove – 49.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 30.0 percent//Wrong Track – 60.4 percent
[Watch Fox: New Fox News polls on what Americans think of the Iran deal, President Obama’s job approval, and the general direction of the country. See the results tonight on “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 p.m. ET]
JEB: OBAMA’S BEST POLICY IS DOMESTIC SPYING
The Hill: “Jeb Bush, a likely presidential contender, said ;Tuesday ;that President Obama’s greatest accomplishment was keeping in place controversial spying programs at the National Security Agency. ‘I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs,’ Bush said in an interview on the Michael Medved radio show. Bush argued the NSA programs had been ‘enhanced’ under Obama, even if the president ‘never defends them or openly admits it.’ The former Florida governor said the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data was ‘an important service’ carried out in a way that protects individual civil liberties. He lauded the Obama administration for refusing to buckle under pressure from Democrats, civil liberties groups and some Republicans. ‘He has not abandoned them,’ Bush said.”
[The Constitution Project presents an award to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for work in bipartisan reforms to the legal justice system. Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., will also be honored.]
On the hustle – NYT: “According to figures from the Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time tracker, Mr. Bush has headlined 47 fund-raisers for his Right to Rise political action committee since the beginning of the year. Including fund-raisers for other conservative groups, Mr. Bush has been featured at 63 since January, dwarfing the totals of other likely candidates for the nomination.”
Could Sessions spoil Rubio’s rise with Walker blessing? – James Antle wonders whether the Senate’s fiercest fighter of amnesty for illegal immigrants could shape the race: “After being denied the Senate Budget Committee chairmanship as a platform for his populist immigration views, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions has struck back – potentially in the form of Scott Walker’s presidential campaign…”
[Wash Times: “Rep. Mo Brooks, Alabama Republican, said Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida led efforts to ‘open the floodgates’ on immigration…”]
Perry nabs top pollster – WaPo: “The super PAC supporting former Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s expected ;presidential candidacy ;has hired Glen Bolger, one of the Republican Party’s leading pollsters, as a senior strategist and pollster. … Bolger is a partner and ;co-founder of Virginia-based Public Opinion Strategies, one of the national GOP’s leading polling ;firms. Another of the firm’s partners and ;co-founders is Neil Newhouse, who is poised to work for Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s likely candidacy.”
Cruz backs off on McCain claims – The Hill: “[Sen. John McCain R-Ariz.] mocked [Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas] after the Texas senator claimed he had lobbied McCain to let U.S. troops carry their personal firearms around military installations. McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he had never heard from the 2016 presidential hopeful or his staff about the controversial topic. ‘You know, I was fascinated to hear that because I haven’t heard a thing about it from him. Nor has my staff heard from his staff,’ a jovial McCain told reporters late Monday. ‘Where did that come from? I have not a clue.’ Cruz, a Tea Party favorite from Texas, on Tuesday morning confessed he had misspoken and later formally sent a letter to McCain asking the chairman to look into the topic.”
[Rubio has picked up Mitt Romney’s former personal aide – his “body man” – from the 2012 campaign.]
Carly in for long haul in Iowa – It’s day two of five for Carly Fiorina as she continues her sweep through Iowa. She starts the day at a breakfast with the Westside Conservative Breakfast Club, then heads to a women’s book club event, and ends the day with a meet and greet.
TRY REBOOTING THAT, DUDE
Daily Mail: “Police in Colorado have cited a 37-year-old man for carrying his computer into an alley then shooting it eight times with a handgun after what authorities said had been a long battle with the uncooperative machine. Lucas Hinch, who runs an organic herb and tea shop, was cited for discharging a firearm within city limits after officers responded to a ‘shots fired’ call early on Monday evening, the Colorado Springs Police Department said in a statement. ‘Investigation revealed a resident was fed up with fighting his computer for the last several months,’ said the statement, entitled ‘Man Kills His Computer.’ ‘He took the computer into the back alley and fired eight shots into the computer with a handgun, effectively disabling it,’ it added…‘I just had it,’ Hinch told The Smoking Gun. Specifically, he said he’d had enough of the Dell XPS 410’s ‘blue screen of death.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“[The Obama administration] were deliberately deceiving the American people and the Congress, of course. Because they knew that they were only a few months away, and pretended otherwise. Why? They were pretending otherwise, because in that way, they could portray Bibi Netanyahu – who gave an accurate assessment – as an alarmist trying to stir up war…” – 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.