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• Perry raises stakes in border showdown
• Sheriff Joe takes a shot at Hillary on inequality
• Power Play: Three’s a crowd in North Carolina
• Kingston, Perdue put in last push
• No maverick when it came to candidacy
PERRY RAISES STAKES IN BORDER SHOWDOWN
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking the next step today as he is expected to order 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to defend the Rio Grande Valley amid an ongoing surge in illegal immigration. The plan, outlined in a memo leaked by a Democratic state legislator who opposes the idea, would put the troops in place over the span of a month with the aim of freeing federal immigrations and border officials to attend to the tens of thousands of migrant minors already in U.S. custody.
[Watch Fox: Texas Gov. Rick Perry holds press conference on border security at 3 p.m. ET.]
Previewed in Iowa campaign stop - Des Moines Register: “If the federal government doesn't send more troops and aid to the secure the U.S. border with Mexico, the state of Texas will act unilaterally, Gov. Rick Perry told a small crowd of veterans [in Iowa] Sunday afternoon. … When pressed later, though, he declined to offer a timeline for when the state would give up on additional federal intervention and act on its own.”
[Flashback - Watch Texas Gov. Rick Perry joust with Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume on sending troops to the border during a recent “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” appearance.]
Risks, rewards - For Perry, this represents a risky gambit. The memo says the price tag would be as much as $12 million a month, not an insignificant sum in a state that is having an testy election-year fight over spending. But Perry, having forced President Obama to meet him to discuss the border crisis during a recent fundraising jaunt through Texas, is pretty clearly looking to press his advantage. The slow-motion disaster at the boarder has left Democrats and Republicans alike calling for the president to take more urgent action than complaining about Republican unwillingness to appropriate new money for the care and housing of the juveniles. For Perry, it is also a way to solidify his position as the hawks’ favorite for 2016. As his term in office winds down after 14 years as governor – the longest of any in the nation – outbidding Obama for border security will endear him to Republican voters and further erase the marks 2012 rival Mitt Romney left in attacks on Texas’ immigration policies.
Squeeze play - For Obama, he finds himself trapped between public opinion that is squarely against his handling of the crisis and a Democratic base that is increasingly unwilling to tolerate the mass deportation of the asylum-seeking Central American youths. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is reaching out to the amnesty absolutists, as the “Run Liz, Run!” movement gets out of the starting blocks. The 2016 Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, is on the record favoring mass deportations, but for how long? With the left wing flapping and Warren ascendant, Clinton might be spurred to rethink her pro-enforcement policy. By not taking action on the border beyond demanding more money from Congress, Obama has let his party drift into some uncomfortable places.
[Warned of migrant surge, administration called it a ‘local problem’ - Fox News: “The Obama administration ignored a report to the Department of Homeland Security last year which predicted that a large number of unaccompanied children would arrive at America's southern border in the coming months, according to a published report.]
RAND FOCUSES ON ISRAEL
National Journal: “When [Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.] descended onto the Senate floor earlier this month to promote his legislation to end foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, he stood next to an outsize poster showing the names and faces of three Israeli teenagers who had just been killed. ‘Killed,’ Paul emphasized, ‘in cold blood.’ Not long after Paul stopped speaking, his political operation swung into action. His top strategist, Doug Stafford, packaged the speech into an email that landed in the in-boxes of a clutch of influential Jewish and pro-Israel Republicans across the country. The episode—the pro-Israel bill, the impassioned speech, the rapid dissemination—is a small window into the early and aggressive Jewish-outreach campaign of the junior senator from Kentucky with his eye on the White House in 2016. As Paul lays the groundwork for a presidential bid—he's already hired two top Iowa Republicans and one veteran New Hampshire strategist—few constituencies have received more attention than Jewish Republicans and pro-Israel advocates. ’”
[Watch Fox: Bret Baier interviews Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative Partytonight on “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 p.m. ET]
[Washington Times: “Ben Carson won the Western Conservative Summit’s annual presidential straw poll Sunday, capping a three-day extravaganza billed as the “rally on the right.” Mr. Carson took 22 percent of the vote, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 13 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 12 percent.]
SHERIFF JOE TAKES A SHOT AT HILLARY ON INEQUALITY
From The New Yorker’s enormous profile piece on Vice President Joe Biden: “Biden had recently taken to making comments that might position him as a progressive alternative, à la Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator. ‘I have a basic disagreement,” he told me, ‘with the underlying rationale that began in the Clinton Administration about the concentration of economic wealth.’”
[From the New Yorker: “… Biden recalled visiting [Russian ruler Vladimir Putin] at the Kremlin in 2011: ‘I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, ‘It’s amazing what capitalism will do, won’t it? A magnificent office!’ And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him.’ Biden held his hand a few inches from his nose. ‘I said, ‘Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.’ ‘ ‘You said that?’ I asked. It sounded like a movie line. ‘Absolutely, positively,’ Biden said, and continued, ‘And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’ Biden sat back, and said, ‘This is who this guy is!’”
Hillary’s heft helpers - Bloomberg: “Hillary Clinton has earned at least $12 million in 16 months since leaving the State Department, a windfall at odds with her party’s call to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor. Clinton’s income since her resignation as secretary of state in February 2013 is derived mostly from her latest memoir, speeches and paid appearances at corporate retreats, according to an analysis of data compiled by Bloomberg. At least 12 organizations that previously booked President Bill Clinton -- who has been paid almost $106 million in speaking fees alone since he left the White House -- also hired his wife. Among them: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the National Association of Realtors. … Her earnings represent a fraction of the Clinton family’s total income and yet were large enough to rank her not only in the top 1 percent of the nation’s earners but in the top one-hundredth of the 1 percent.”
Bubba claims he hasn’t advised wife on 2016 run - Former President Bill Clinton, in an interview with BBC’s Newsnight, claimed that his wife has not asked him his opinion of her 2016 prospects: “We were married a very long time when she was always, in effect, deferring to my political career. I told her when she got elected to the Senate from New York that she’d given me 26 years, and so I intended to give her 26 years. Whatever she wanted to do was fine with me. If she wanted to know my opinion, I would tell her, but she had carte blanche to make whatever decisions she wanted, and tell me what I was supposed to do about it.”
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...
On this the 45 anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon, Discover’s Cory Powell, talks about a pioneering member of that long journey. “One hundred years ago this week, Robert H. Goddard received a pioneering patent for a liquid-fueled rocket–just like the one that took Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins to the moon. It was the one small step that led to one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.…Goddard’s experiments captured the imagination of both like-minded engineers and the general public–both elements that were crucial to the birth of NASA and the intensifying sequence of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs that led to human footsteps on the moon. Not that it was all smooth sailing for Goddard. In a famously nasty 1920 editorial, The New York Times ridiculed his ideas about rocketry, declaring that his claim that a rocket could fly in the vacuum of space would ‘deny a fundamental law of dynamics, and only Dr. Einstein and his chosen dozen, so few and fit, are licensed to do that.’ (On July 17, 1969, as Apollo 11 was racing moonward, the Times published a gently self-mocking correction: ‘Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.’)”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 42.2 percent//Disapprove – 52.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 25.3 percent//Wrong Track – 64.3 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 41.0 percent// Republicans 39.5 percent
POWER PLAY: THREE’S A CROWD IN NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina House speaker Thom Tillis hopes to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. this fall, but critics say Libertarian Sean Haugh is increasingly seen as a potential spoiler. In the latest installment of “Power Play,” Haugh chats with host Chris Stirewalt about why he is running and his message. Meet Haugh here.
[Power Play overtime - Republican Ron Bonjean and Democrat Chuck Rocha talk strategy on some key state-level races in Nevada and Wisconsin with national implications. The star consultants see implications for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and for both parties in 2016. Watch the Political Pros here to find out.]
Debates set - WRAL: “U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, who is challenging Hagan for her Senate seat, have agreed to dates for two debates sponsored by the [North Carolina] Association of Broadcasters. The debates will take place on Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. WRAL-TV and WRAL.com will carry both debates live. Tillis has said he would like to debate Hagan up to 10 times, but Hagan said she would only agree to three debates. Both campaigns have also agreed to a debate co-hosted by the N.C. League of Women Voters and WECT-TV (Wilmington). That date has not been set.”
KINGSTON, PERDUE PUT IN LAST PUSH
WXIA: “The longest runoff election in Georgia history ends on Tuesday, after two months of handshakes, campaign stops and negative ads. The two candidates for the Republican Senate race will be crisscrossing the state on the final day before the polls open. Congressman Jack Kingston plans a statewide fly around with former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, who backed the congressman after she lost in the May primary. Businessman David Perdue has seven stops planned on his Monday fly around…. Turnout will be key. Before early voting ended on Friday, 119,000 people cast their ballot. That’s about 50,000 fewer people than in the primary back in May. Fewer voters, means a lower margin of error. Which is why each campaign has been honing in on its grassroots supporters. …The winner between Kingston and Perdue will be facing off against Michelle Nunn in the general election. Nunn, mind you, just raised $3.5 million in the last three months -- a lot of money to spend on ads.”
Gowdy backs Kingston – A congressman from Georgia’s northern neighbor put last-minute support behind state Rep. Jack Kingston in his race to be the GOP Senate nominee in the Peach State. According to Kingston’s camp, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., pointed to Kingston’s record of voting against wasteful spending and Wall Street bailout while his opponent, businessman David Perdue, supported part of Obama’s spending plans.
PAPA CRUZ AND DRIVES FOR CARR
Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press: “He didn’t come right out with an endorsement, but the father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was clearly on the same page with Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Carr in back-to-back speeches Saturday before hundreds of tea party activists here. Carr, a state representative from Lascassas who’s hoping to knock off Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in the Aug. 7 primary, denounced Democratic President Barack Obama as a ‘tyrant.’ In his own speech, Pastor Rafael Cruz, who fled Cuba decades ago, likened Obama to former Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro. Cruz's son, Texas’ junior senator, is beloved by many conservatives. And both men praised the writers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution as divinely inspired. So it went at the ‘We the People Rally’ sponsored by the Nashville Tea Party that drew activists from across the state….And, though many Tennessee-based tea party groups are backing Carr, he has struggled to win financial support from several national groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. But the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund is getting involved in the Tennessee race. Conservative talk radio show host Laura Ingraham, who last week declared she's ‘all in’ for Carr, is coming here Tuesday to headline a rally for him.”
Alexander ignores attacks - Memphis (Tenn.) Commercial Appeal: “State Rep. Joe Carr, the most formidable of Alexander’s six Republican primary challengers, has pummeled him relentlessly, arguing the deal-making senator is out of touch and isn’t conservative enough for Tennessee votes. Alexander’s response to Carr’s attacks has been to basically ignore him. He never mentions Carr by name on the campaign trail or in conversations with reporters. He has refused Carr’s calls for a debate, saying at this point in the campaign – early voting started Friday – that putting all seven candidates on a stage and letting them go at each other would not be of much use to voters. Alexander, 74, certainly doesn’t act like a man who’s worried that his days in office might soon be over, as tea party activists like to boast.”
BRALEY MISSED 78 PERCENT OF VETS COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Bruce Braley is getting a taste of his own medicine on absenteeism. Braley’s backers had attacked Republican nominee, state Sen. Joni Ernst, for missing votes in the state legislature. But now it’s Braley’s attendance record that is under scrutiny as Republicans hammer him for missing more than two thirds of the hearings of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee on which he serves. The Cedar Rapids Gazette checked the claim and found that while Braley had a better attendance rate for subcommittee hearings, the charge was fairly rendered. “With an absentee rate of 78 percent on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, it’s clear Braley thinks his time is better spent pushing Barack Obama’s job-killing agenda than ensuring that our veterans receive proper care from the VA,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox in a statement.
#2016 - Des Moines Register: “Republican Joni Ernst has gone silent while on two weeks of active duty, but her campaign has kept up a steady drumbeat in her absence. The U.S. Senate candidate cannot engage in any political activities while she’s on duty at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin until July 26, so her campaign aides have been posting photos of Republicans who say they’re ‘on duty for Joni’ while she’s away. Among those in photos tweeted by @JoniforIowa are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who did a jam-packed one-day Iowa trip on Thursday, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is Iowa now for two days of fundraising.”
DAINES TOUTS WORK FOR VETERANS IN NEW AD
Senate hopeful Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., will debut a new TV ad hitting airwaves across Montana today and focusing on his work to fight injustices challenging Montana Veterans. The 30 second spot features George Blackard, veteran from Billings, Mont., highlighting the hardships he has experienced as a veteran. “We had a situation where deceased veterans were denied grave markers at our cemetery. That’s an injustice and it should never happen,” Blackard says. “Steve Daines was one of the first people in Washington D.C. to speak out. He took swift action. He got a commitment from the VA to fix that problem.” Daines challenges incumbent Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., in November.
PICK SIX: HAWKEYES CIRCLE THE ROCKIES, AND ALASKA’S ON THE BUBBLE
Republicans have their sights set on six seats to win control of the Senate from Democrats. So which seats are most likely to flip from blue to red? Arkansas tops our current consensus among Fox News First readers with 13.5% of votes from readers, followed by Louisiana (12%), Montana (11.6%), West Virginia (11%), South Dakota (10.5%) and North Carolina (10.3%). Fox News First reader Nadine Sutham agrees that Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota will be turn-overs for the GOP. But she also points to Iowa and Colorado as two other states that could help the Republicans gain control of the Senate.
On the bubble - Just a handful of reader votes away from Pick Six membership is Alaska (9%). The Frontier State contest pits Sen. Mark Begich, a vulnerable Democrat who as a self-proclaimed “thorn in President Obama’s side,” has been running away from the president’s energy policies and ObamaCare, against the Republican challenger – most likely former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan or Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell – who emerges from the state’s primary now just one month away. Heavy outside funding has been pouring into the state, most recently a $3.5 million boost to the Begich-backing group Put Alaska First by the Senate Majority PAC, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s political action committee. While national polls show Sullivan as the GOP frontrunner, some local polls show his contest with Treadwell tightening. Throw in the wild-card factor of firebrand Joe Miller and there’s plenty of drama in the land of the midnight sun. The red state was an early and often member of our reader’s Pick Six group and could well be again. Let us know what you think.
[Chris Stirewalt talked with Alaska Republican Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan about his strategy last month. Watch here.]
Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.
DNC EDGES RNC IN JUNE FUNDRAISING
The Democratic National Committee barely outraised the Republican National Committee in June. The DNC raised nearly $9 million last month, while the RNC brought in $8.5 million in donations. With $14.4 million in the bank, the RNC has about two times as much as the DNC. In this election cycle, the RNC has outperformed the DNC, raising $132 million to the DNC’s $116 million.
NO MAVERICK WHEN IT CAME TO CANDIDACY
James Garner, an American icon for more than half a century, died at the age of 86 this weekend. His signature roles as Bret Maverick, Jim Rockford and Murphy Jones captured viewers, portraying a humble hero with a witty, gallant and warm personality. But did you know Garner, a native Oklahoman, was also a longtime political activist, dating back to his time in the Civil Rights era and a self-described “bleeding heart liberal?” In his 2011 book, Garner revealed that Democratic leaders approached him to run for governor of California in 1990, but Garner quickly put a stop to the talk of him becoming the blue team’s answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan. “There’s one difference between me and them: I know I’m not qualified,” Garner wrote.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.