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Dither thou goest, Mr. President?

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Buzz Cut:
• Dither thou goest, Mr. President?
• Hillary on Syria smack talk: Sorry, not sorry
• Udall ripped for ObamaCare cover up
• Power Play: Feud could prove costly for Dems in Hawaii
• By ‘infuse freshness’ we mean ‘you’re fired’

DITHER THOU GOEST, MR. PRESIDENT?
President Obama
has made clear -- repeatedly and from the outset -- that the military strikes he has ordered in Iraq will be limited, shall set no precedent for future humanitarian actions and would not be the prelude to any larger American effort to defeat the Islamist army that controls the northwestern portion of that country. These are understandable strictures given Obama's disastrous experience with intervention and regime change in Libya as well as the attitudes of his political base. The ongoing Libya debacle and the recollections of the Iraq war make it hard for Obama to argue for more robust activity, not to mention that Obama himself was a chief author of Iraq's post U.S. occupation story. But today, more boots are on the ground in Iraq and military planners are looking into an ambitious rescue effort for trapped civilians.

[Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers weighs in on President Obama’s inattention to Iraqi Christians.]

Back and forth - This seesawing approach is a product of the president’s political and/or philosophical considerations. The principles make it hard for the mission to succeed and while the U.S. waits for Western or Arab allies to join the effort, the people Obama aims to help are dying and the U.S. looks impotent in the face of a motley Islamist army. So, Obama is now sending more troops in hopes of attaining the limited goals he set. It answers Hillary Clinton and other hawks who are pressuring the president to do more. But a few hundred more “advisors” will not satisfy Hillary & Co. Meantime, the president’s dribbling escalation antagonizes his supporters who are watching the man who continually takes credit for leaving Iraq drawn further in. Under similar pressure, Obama crawfished his way into two surges in Afghanistan and the results have been dire for all involved.

HILLARY ON SYRIA SMACK TALK: SORRY, NOT SORRY
How do you know when a politician is not sorry? One strong sign is if she puts out a press release calling attention to the underlying offense. Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a statement saying that she had called President Obama on Tuesday to explain that when she said his slogan for foreign policy was unworthy of a great nation and “not an organizing principle” and blamed his inaction in Syria for the continued unraveling of the region it was not an attempt to “attack him, his policies, or his leadership.” That’s true in the sense that it was not “an attempt” but rather a successful gambit. There was pointedly no apology mentioned. Real political contrition means letting the other person publicize the call if they choose to at all. This looks more like a campaign stunt aimed at highlighting her differences with Obama’s unpopular policies. Adding extra insult, Hillary’s spokesman used bro-talk and said the two would be “hugging it out” when they meet tonight at a huge Martha’s Vineyard bash hosted by one their party’s preeminent influence peddlers. Publicly criticizing your former boss, the sitting president, during multiple foreign policy crises is not a hug-it-out kind of moment. In an interview on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Obama’s national security spokesman, Ben Rhodes, was measured in his response to Hillary’s effrontery. But you can be sure that Team Obama will not let this go unpunished.

[A little lobbying between friends never hurt anybody, right? – While the president is celebrating tonight with the super-lobbyist set he might want to bring some employment applications. His administration has now dropped it’s much ballyhooed restrictions on employing lobbyists.]

But she sure made a convincing case against it -  Daily Caller: “Hillary Clinton now says she was a strong advocate of arming the Syrian rebels when she was secretary of state, but in a February 2012 interview, she passionately pushed back against the viability of such an opposition – even raising the specter that such a policy might be akin to supporting al-Qaida. ‘What are we going to arm them with and against what?’ she said, when pressed in a CBS interview about why the Obama administration wasn’t giving the Syrian rebels weapons to help them in their fight against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad… ‘We know that al-Qaida [leader Ayman al Zawahiri  ]is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al-Qaida in Syria? Hamas is now supporting the opposition. Are we supporting Hamas in Syria?’’’

DEMS DISAGREE ON OBAMA’S IMMIGRATION ACTIONS
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, warned liberals that President Obama’s threatened action to legalize millions of illegal immigrants, while lawful, would set a precedent for executive authority that would be hard to ever undo. “To think that the cycle will end here, and that a future president won’t claim more expansive and disturbing powers to selectively enforce the law, requires an optimism not borne out by history. In the short run, we will rejoice in the sudden deliverance of massive humanitarian relief to people who have done nothing more than try to create a better life for their families. In the long run, we may look back on it with regret.” But, not to worry says The New Republic’s Brian Beutler who argues that Obama’s unilateral action is okay because amnesty is inevitable. “Congress is very likely one to three years away from passing a law that will give permanent protection to this same class of people. But it isn't quite there yet. Under the circumstances, Obama's move wouldn't just constitute a judicious allocation of resources, but an eminently humane reprieve for the hundreds or thousands of unlucky duckies…”

[Go for it! - HuffPo reports on how a Democrat political group is pushing a legal case for sweeping action on immigration by citing instances when past presidents have given limited reprieves to selected groups of immigrants.]

310,000 set to lose ObamaCare coverage for immigration status - WSJ: “The Obama administration moved Tuesday to cut off health insurance for up to 310,000 people who signed up through the HealthCare.gov system unless they can provide documents in the next few weeks showing they are U.S. citizens or legal residents.”

[National Journal examines how recent legal challenges could give more power to governors in the implementation of ObamaCare.]

Cut them loose - Fox News: “More than 600 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions were released by federal authorities in early 2013 in advance of the ‘sequester’ budget cuts…”

OBAMA GIVES SUCCESSORS SOMETHING TO SHOOT FOR
Washington Examiner Executive Editor Mark Tapscott is not at all impressed with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s response to criticism of an administration-wide crackdown on reporting and limitations on media access. Earnest said that President Obama “has set an historically high standard of transparency that is part of the legacy to which future presidents will aspire ...”

[Ed. note: Now, Mark, there may be broad agreement that the new standard is not “historically high,” but surely you’d allow that future presidents will aspire to it, and no doubt surpass it!]

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
Why do The Proclaimers keep a spot on your “25 Most Played” and how come you still remember all the words to “The Humpty Dance” even though you’d never admit it? Research continues to show it is the music that we grew up with that we seem to love the most. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern explains why: “Between the ages of 12 and 22, our brains undergo rapid neurological development—and the music we love during that decade seems to get wired into our lobes for good. When we make neural connections to a song, we also create a strong memory trace that becomes laden with heightened emotion, thanks partly to a surfeit of pubertal growth hormones. These hormones tell our brains that everything is incredibly important—especially the songs that form the soundtrack to our teenage dreams (and embarrassments).”

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

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 41 percent//Disapprove – 54.1 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 25.7 percent//Wrong Track – 67.2 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 42.7 percent// Republicans 41.7 percent

[Poll Watch: The latest Fox News polls on President Obama’s job approval including his handling of foreign policy relating to the situations in Ukraine, Israel, and Iraq will be released during “Special Report with Bret Baier” during the 6 pm ET hour.]

UDALL RIPPED FOR OBAMACARE COVER UP
Conservative group Americans for Prosperity has launched a six-figure ad buy in Colorado hitting Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., for trying to hide ObamaCare rate increases in the Centennial State. From the ad: “335,000 Coloradans received a cancellation notice. What did Mark Udall do? He tried to hide it...Tell Sen. Udall, stop covering up for ObamaCare, Coloradans deserve the truth.” The spot comes on the heels of a new ad from GOP nominee Rep. Cory Gardner on Tuesday that also hits Udall on the cancellations, including the one for Gardner’s own family.

LANDRIEU CAMPAIGN COULD FACE CIVIL FINES OVER TAXPAYER FUNDED FLIGHT
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., caught a flight home with President Obama last November, despite not appearing with him at his New Orleans event. But Chris Frates found Landrieu used $3,000 of taxpayer money towards a charter flight to a campaign fundraiser that same day. According to a statement from Landrieu’s campaign spokesman Fabien Levy the charter company mistakenly billed Landrieu’s senate office and the campaign noticed the error a few weeks ago. The Senate office has received a refund from the company and the campaign has paid the bill Aug. 4. Despite this, the campaign still violated federal law and could face civil fines as a result.

NUNN LAUNCHES FIRST ATTACK
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn has fired off her first attack ad against Republican David Perdue.  In the ad a narrator touts Nunn’s work as head as the volunteer organization Points of Light while claiming “Perdue’s company closed plants and moved jobs to China . David Perdue: His world doesn’t include you.” Perdue’s campaign manager, Derrick Dickey, responded to the ad in stating, “Instead of debating the issues that matter to Georgians, she is recycling old attacks against David that have already been dismissed. We expected no less from the hand-picked candidate of Barack Obama and Harry Reid.”

[The NRSC has launched its first independent expenditure ad against Nunn blasting her for being “a rubber stamp for Obama’s liberal values” and her support of ObamaCare.]

GOP GIVES LAND A HAND
As Democrats and liberal outside groups seek to give a boost to Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., in his battle against Republican Terri Lynn Land for the seat of retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the National Republican Senatorial Committee is hitting the airwaves with a $1.5 million ad buy. Conservative political action group Freedom Partners has cancelled $1 million in advertising leading up to the November midterms after Dems honed in on its backers, industrialists Charles and David Koch. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has plumped $5 million towards advertising for Michigan this fall.

SHAHEEN TAKES HEAT FOR J STREET SUPPORT
N.H. Journal: “[The New Hampshire Republican Party is calling on] Sen. Jeanne Shaheen  [D-N.H.] and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter [D-N.H.] and Ann Kuster [D-N.H.] to return thousands of dollars in contributions received from a liberal, self-described pro-Israeli advocacy group and political action committee that has been labeled ‘radical’ by conservatives and ‘well-respected’ by a top state Democrat. According to OpenSecrets.org, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has received $4,300 from the J Street PAC in the current election cycle, while Rep. Ann Kuster has received nearly $30,000 and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has received more than $11,000… Party [spokeswoman] Lauren Zelt added, ‘It’s disgraceful that every Democrat member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation has accepted money from a radical fringe group that is attacking Israel. Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter have also taken tens of thousands of dollars from his shameful organization, and they should return these donations immediately.’’’

POWER PLAY: FEUD COULD PROVE COSTLY FOR DEMS IN HAWAII
In the latest installment of “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” Chris considers what down-ballot effects Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s, D-Hawaii, primary loss could have. Two precincts hit hardest by tropical storm Iselle will determine if Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, will hold onto his narrow lead over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, for the state’s Senate seat when they vote Friday. Could the fractures in the Democratic party present an opportunity for Republicans in the Aloha state? Watch as Chris breaks down the race in 90 seconds.

MCCONNELL DOUBLES DOWN ON WOMENS’ ISSUES
[Lexington, Ky.] Courier-Journal: “Pushing back against attacks from  [Democrat] Alison Lundergan Grimes on women's issues, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell called Tuesday for passage of a bill that would extend a program that pays to reduce the DNA test backlog in rape cases. He was joined during a press conference at a Kentucky State Police crime lab in Louisville by anti-rape activist Debbie Smith, of Virginia, for whom legislation that sends millions of dollars annually to states to reduce that backlog, was named. The Debbie Smith Act is set to expire in September.”

[Hollywood’s favorite - Kentucky Senate challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes leads the list from The Hill of Democrats hauling in the most cash from Hollywood.]

DAINES USES DEM TO FIRE BACK AT ‘FRINGE ENVIRONMENTALISTS’
In his latest ad,  Montana Senate hopeful Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., rips “fringe environmentalists” for destroying coal industry jobs. The ad features an endorsement from Democrat and retired union leader Bob Winger who blasts liberal environmentalist groups saying, “These environmentalists actually told me to retrain my membership for lesser-paying jobs!”

MCDANIEL’S CHALLENGE LIST INCLUDES HIS OWN LAWYER
Clarion-Ledger: “As  [Republican] Chris McDaniel's team continues to scour voting records to add to an expected legal challenge of his loss to [Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.] it has listed McDaniel's lead lawyer in the challenge, and his wife, as irregular votes that should be tossed out.”

MINNESOTA SENATE RACE IS NO JOKE
St. Paul [Minn.] Pioneer Press: “Businessman and first-time candidate Mike McFadden won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate Tuesday and will get the match-up with first-term Democrat Al Franken he’s been after since announcing 14 months ago… [I]n a sign of national support, [McFadden] was picked to deliver the Republican Weekly Address last Saturday. He used the time to blame Democrats for a sluggish economic recovery and to focus on energy and education as potential economic drivers. McFadden faces a prodigious fund-raiser in Franken who has been buying TV ads of his own that seek to inform voters of his work in job training, food and drug safety…The former ‘Saturday Night Live’ comic, best-selling author and talk-radio host reported bringing in close to $17 million for the election cycle as a whole and had $4.3 million in the bank as of July 23…. [Franken] won in 2008 by only 312 votes after an eight-month recount and he’s likely to be fighting what's typically a drop-off in Democratic voters in midterm election years.”

PICK SIX: LINCOLN LAND LONG SHOT TRENDING UP?
Republicans only need to gain six additional seats to gain control of the Senate. Which Democratic held seats are most likely to land in the GOP’s hand’s come November? The top picks among Fox News First readers are: Arkansas (13.6%), Montana (12%), Louisiana (11.7%), West Virginia (11.2%), South Dakota (10.6%) and North Carolina (9.9%).  Reader Fran Shaw feels the current political climate in Illinois could make a “perfect storm” for Republican assemblyman Jim Oberweis as he takes on Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Shaw observes, “Oberweis continues to climb in the polls” and points to  “Miserable education stats, increasing taxes, decreasing jobs numbers, new regulations on coal (downstate woes) [and] an unpopular [D]emocratic mayor in Chicago [Rahm Emanuel].”

Do you have a long shot that you think is headed for the top tier? Get it on the record today! Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

PRIMARY POINTS: ON THEIR MARKS IN WISCONSIN GOV RACE, REMATCH SET IN NUTMEG STATE
Game on in Walker, Burke in Wisconsin -
Milwaukee [Wis.] Journal Sentinel: “Mary Burke cruised to victory Tuesday in the Democratic primary race for governor, setting up one of the most closely watched midterm races in the country between the former bicycle executive and Gov. Scott Walker [R-Wis.]… She didn’t bother to celebrate the long-expected win with supporters Tuesday night, instead campaigning against Walker in Stevens Point and Tomahawk.… Polling shows a tight race…Walker has a strong fundraising advantage. As of June 30, he reported having $7.6 million on hand, about triple the $2.5 million Burke had. But Burke has said she will put some of her personal wealth into the race, likely enough to dull Walker's fundraising edge.”

GOP picks Grothman to succeed Petri - Manitowoc [Wis.] Herald Times Reporter: “A conservative state senator known for speaking out against abortion, affirmative action and welfare benefits defeated two other legislators Tuesday to win the 6th Congressional District Republican Partisan Primary… Glenn Grothman from the town of Campbellsport defeated three other candidates…in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, [R-Minn.,]… Grothman will face Democrat Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris and Libertarian Gus Fahrendorf in the Nov. 4 General Election.”

Emmer gets nod to succeed Bachmann - St. Paul [Minn.] Pioneer Press: “Former state Rep. Tom Emmer, who came within a few thousand votes of becoming governor four years ago, won the Republican primary for Congress Tuesday in the state’s 6th District, putting himself in a strong position to succeed retiring conservative icon Michele Bachmann….Emmer had 69 percent of the vote with 60 percent of precincts reporting, compared with 31 percent for Anoka County Board of Commissioners chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah….Emmer will face Democrat Joe Perske, the mayor of Sartell, and Independence Party candidate John Denney in November.”

Game, set, rematch in Connecticut gov race - WTIC: “Thomas Foley has defeated John McKinney in the Republican primary race for governor… He will face current Gov. Dannel Malloy, [D-Conn.] in a general election in November… Foley, 62, is best known as a business man and as the former U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Foley ran for governor in 2010, but he lost by less than 6,500 votes to Gov. Malloy–the closest race the state has seen in more than 50 years.”

HOUSE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEES COMMENCE AIR WAR
The Hill: “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee both rolled out their first ads of the 2014 election cycle on Tuesday. The DCCC’s first independent expenditure spots attack embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Republican candidate Tom MacArthur, who's running in the swing district being vacated by retiring Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.). The NRCC takes aim at Gwen Graham (D), who's giving Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) a tough challenge in his GOP-leaning district.”

From the DCCC ad: “MacArthur ran an insurance company accused of cheating hurricane and wildfire victims. While people suffer, MacArthur walked away with $39 million. In Congress, MacArthur wants to help insurance companies jack up rates and deny people coverage. Tom MacArthur and his friends profit and we pay the price.”

From the NRCC ad: “Gwen Graham talks about the North Florida way, but she sure acts the D.C. way. Take ObamaCare: Graham never admits she’s for it but says we need to stop fighting it…We shoot straight around here. Gwen Graham doesn't. She’s the wrong way for North Florida, so why would we send her to Congress?”

Congressman shows real commitment to recycling - Weekly Standard: “New York congressman Tim Bishop has a new ad out …well, it depends on your definition of ‘new.’ The Democrat’s ad features 10 seconds of testimonials from constituents whose jobs were saved, they say, by Bishop… But voters in Bishop’s Long Island district may remember the folks at the beginning of the ad from another commercial from two years ago. The exact same testimonials, in the exact same order, begin this ad from the 2012 cycle.”

BY ‘INFUSE FRESHNESS’ WE MEAN ‘YOU’RE FIRED’
India’s National Public Radio is aiming to “infuse freshness in presentation of programmes,” so bosses there are sacking all reporters over the age of 35. The age limit was initially 30 but was later raised to 35. A government employment board put the measure on hold until Aug. 8, but the employees born before 1979 the next day, according to the Hindu Daily. After taking some heat for letting nearly 100 on-air hosts go, All India Radio told Kolkata Telegraph it will allow the fired reporters to take a test to prove they are not “too mature and boring.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The idea of turning the U.S. Air Force into an airlift, spending all of our resources on that to get, you know, to do essentially humanitarian work and social work, is a misuse of the one power in the world that can help to repel ISIS.” –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
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