Clinton Steps Up Attack on GOP Field

Hillary Clinton escalated her criticism of her GOP presidential rivals during a campaign stop here in Iowa, “knocking the field of candidates on immigration reform, health care and LGBT issues while steering clear of directly attacking her Democratic primary rivals,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Clinton: “How many people running on the Republican side try to demean immigrants, insult immigrants, cast aspersions on immigrants? They know as well as we know, we are not going to deport 11 or 12 million people living here. I hear the Republican candidates — and it’s not even the most vitriolic — none of them any longer support a path to citizenship. All of them would basically consign immigrants to second-class status.”

U.S. Fighter Jets Met Russian Bombers

“The US scrambled fighter jets to intercept four Russian bombers that were flying close to the coast off California and Alaska on Independence Day,” according to the Independent.

“The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) has not said if either pair of bombers was armed. At the time of the interceptions, Russian President Vladimir Putin had called President Obama to wish him a happy July 4th.”

Golf Tournaments Dump Trump

“The PGA of America is moving its Grand Slam of Golf from Donald Trump’s golf course in Los Angeles, the first significant fallout for golf from the Republican presidential candidate’s comments on illegal Mexican immigrants,” the AP reports.

Meanwhile, Yahoo News reports that ESPN announced “that it has moved its ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic from Trump National Los Angeles to Pelican Hill Golf Club in nearby Newport Beach, Calif.”

Said ESPN: “We decided it was appropriate to change the venue, and are grateful for the opportunity to stage the event at Pelican Hill on short notice.”

How Hillary Clinton Built an Echo Chamber

Washington Post: “Presidential campaigns have for decades fed talking points to surrogates who appear on national television or introduce candidates on the stump. But the effort to script and train local supporters is unusually ambitious and illustrates the extent to which the Clinton campaign and its web of sanctioned, allied super PACs are leaving nothing to chance.”

“But asking local supporters to use talking points could undermine the organic nature of grass-roots political interactions… The super PAC’s effort also comes as Clinton struggles on the campaign trail to appear accessible and genuine. Some Democrats have long believed Clinton sounds too scripted on the stump, especially compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), her insurgent primary rival whose authenticity and liberal message are drawing thousands of Democrats to his rallies.”

New Jersey Lawmakers Try to Force Christie Resignation

“Democratic state lawmakers will soon introduce legislation that would force Gov. Chris Christie to resign from office because he is running for president,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

“State Sens. Raymond Lesniak (D) and Loretta Weinberg (D), who are expected to co-sponsor the bill, said they are fed up with Christie’s frequent absences from New Jersey this year in the run-up to last week’s announcement that he’s running for the White House. The bill would require Christie and any future governor to resign in order to run for president.”

Who Will Make the First GOP Debate?

First Read crunched the numbers from the last five national polls — two from Fox, one CNN, one NBC/WSJ, and one from Monmouth — and below are the polling averages. The first debate on August 6 is restricted to the top 10:

1. Jeb Bush – 15.4 %
2. Scott Walker – 10.8%
3. Ben Carson – 10%
4. Marco Rubio – 8.8%
5. Rand Paul – 7.6%
6. Mike Huckabee – 7.4%
7. Donald Trump – 6%
8. Ted Cruz – 4.8%
9. Rick Perry – 3.8%
10. Chris Christie – 3.6%

11. Rick Santorum – 2.2%
12. Carly Fiorina – 2%
13. John Kasich – 1.6%
14. Lindsey Graham – 1.4%
15. Bobby Jindal – 1.2%

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I find it ironic that Ted Cruz is giving lectures on Republican-on-Republican violence. I mean with all due respect, I don’t need to be lectured by Ted Cruz.”

— Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by the Dallas Morning News, calling Cruz “hypocritical” for saying he refuses to attack Republicans even though he worked to support primary challengers to incumbent Republicans in 2014.

GOP Donor Wants to Block Trump from Debates

Worried about “Republican-on-Republican violence,” top party donors are taking action with one seeking to block businessman Donald Trump from the debate stage, the AP reports.

Said Republican donor John Jordan: “Someone in the party ought to start some sort of petition saying, ‘If Trump’s going to be on the stage, I’m not going to be on there with him.’ I’m toying with the idea of it.”

IRS Won’t Challenge Role of Nonprofits in Campaigns

“As presidential candidates find new ways to exploit secret donations from tax-exempt groups, hobbled regulators at the Internal Revenue Service appear certain to delay trying to curb widespread abuses at nonprofits until after the 2016 election,” the New York Times reports.

“In a shift from past elections, at least eight Republican presidential candidates, including leading contenders like Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, have aligned with nonprofit groups set up to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters are considering a similar tactic.”

Sanders Draws Another Huge Crowd

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) drew another large crowd to a presidential campaign stop in Portland, Maine, on Monday evening, this one topping 7,500, The Hill reports.

Bangor Daily News: “What was scheduled as a town hall forum had become a full-blown rally by Monday night. Sanders’ speech was delayed by 20 minutes as organizers let in the throngs of people still awaiting entry. Estimates pegged the crowd at 8,000 to 9,000 people.”