The Note: Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush’s Slippery Slope

ByMichael Falcone
June 02, 2015, 8:37 AM


--FRUSTRATION WITH THE FRONT-RUNNERS: While still far ahead for her party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton faces challenges, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. She’s slipped underwater in personal favorability for the first time since her unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008, ABC’s GARY LANGER notes. She’s deeper in the hole for honesty and trustworthiness – down 5 points in just two months and 12 points in the last year. And Americans by 17- to 24-point margins disapprove of her handling of recent questions on her use of personal e-mail while secretary of state, her handling of the Benghazi attack in Libya and fundraising by her family’s foundation. Republican Jeb Bush, at the same time, has even greater difficulties with personal favorability than Clinton, and a far weaker home base. He’s lost 11 points in support for the nomination among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who are registered to vote, from a front-running 21 percent in March to 10 percent now, smack alongside Scott Walker and Rand Paul (11 percent apiece) and Marco Rubio (10 percent). Mike Huckabee has 9 percent support, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, 8 percent each. FULL POLL RESULTS:

--MARCO’S MOVING UP: Among those who are in the race, it’s Sen. Marco Rubio who’s shown the most movement – up 7 points in personal favorability, down 7 in unfavorable views, since the last ABC/Post poll completed March 29. His 10 percent support for the nomination, while underwhelming in real terms, is numerically his highest in ABC/Post polls in the past year, according to LANGER. Rubio also has the distinction of being the only one of nine potential GOP candidates tested for favorability in this poll who’s not underwater in this most basic measure of popularity. But he has fairly low recognition overall – 31-31 percent, favorable-unfavorable, with the rest up in the air.

--PERHAPS MOST ALARMINGLY FOR HER CAMPAIGN, the number who see Hillary Clinton as honest and trustworthy has dropped from 53 percent a year ago, then 46 percent two months ago, to 41 percent now. Fifty-two percent now don’t see her as honest and trustworthy, the most, again, since April 2008. And while she’s 11 points underwater on this score, Bush is +5, 45-40 percent – not better than Clinton in being seen as honest, but less bad, with more undecided. Some of this reflects the consequences of Clinton re-entering the political fray, but some is self-inflicted. Just 31 percent of Americans approve of the way she’s handled questions about her use of personal e-mail while secretary of state; 55 percent disapprove. It’s 33-50 percent, approve-disapprove, on her handling of questions on Benghazi and on her family’s foundation.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: The country just doesn't like these people. That's among the takeaways of the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, which features Hillary Clinton and nearly all of her major Republican challengers viewed more unfavorably than favorably. (Marco Rubio, at 31-31, is the only top contender not underwater; Donald Trump has an unfavorable rating of 71 percent, the highest among the names polled.) Those are tough numbers to face for any candidate, and the poll indicates damage from the campaign thus far. Clinton, for instance, faces strong disapproval for her handling of her email and stories of her personal wealth. But more remarkable about the crop of numbers is how early these perceptions have been set, and how widely they are held. This is before candidates and their allies spending hundreds of millions of dollars to trash each other on television for a year. It's a useful lesson for the would-be presidents: voters might tolerate you, but they're not in general inclined to actually like you.



--GOP CANDIDATES STORM THE SUNSHINE STATE: Republican presidential candidates have plenty of good reasons to compete in Florida this year -- 99 of them, to be exact. That's the number of delegates Florida will carry this year. And Gov. Rick Scott is hoping everyone comes to play in his delegate-rich state in 2016. Scott has invited 2016 contenders to Orlando for an economic summit at Disney World today, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. "I think everyone should compete," Scott told ABC News in a recent phone interview. "I think the one who has the best plan for the economy is going to win." Taking the stage soon after 9 a.m. in a conference center at Disney will be Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush. The goal in bringing them here, Scott said, is to focus the campaign (for a day at least) on candidates' economic plans, which Scott says will be key to winning Floridians' votes.

--NOTED: Unlike many other 2016 primaries, Florida's will be a winner-take-all contest: Whoever gets the most votes will win all the delegates. Florida will send 99 delegates to the GOP convention in 2016, third most among all states behind California and Texas. It will vote March 15, the first day states are eligible to hold winner-take-all primaries under the RNC's rules.

--HUCKABEE PREVIEW: An aide to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee passed along some excerpts of the former Arkansas governor’s remarks to The Note. On Social Security: “Unlike some in Washington who want to cut benefits for seniors, I will protect Social Security and Medicare period. These programs are not entitlements they are earned benefits. The government took that money from you involuntarily when you started working – with the promise that you’d get that money back when you retire. For the government to even think about breaking that promise is absolutely ridiculous.” On the Fair Tax: “We don’t need to tinker or adjust our 75,000 page tax code -- we need a complete overhaul. One of the best things about the FairTax is that it’s the only tax plan that abolishes the intrusive, invasive, unfair, overly complex IRS and eliminates our 75,000 page tax code. The FairTax brings trillions of dollars in offshore investment and manufacturing back to the United States -- creating millions of good jobs for American workers.”




LINDSEY GRAHAM JUMPS INTO PRESIDENTIAL RACE: ‘READY TO BE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ON DAY ONE.’ South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is “ready to be commander-in-chief on day one,” the Republican said, announcing his presidential bid from his hometown Monday. “I’m pretty sure no one here, including me, ever expected to hear me say, 'I’m Lindsey Graham, and I’m running for president of the United States,'" he told a cheering crowd in Central, South Carolina. "I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race. That includes you, Hillary," he said. "I know the players, I know our friends and I know our enemies alike -- but most importantly, ladies and gentlemen, they know me." Graham, a retired Air Force colonel, enters the race just as a fierce battle over national security rages in the Senate, ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY notes.

TODAY ON THE HILL: Following the IRS data breach last week in which identity thieves were able to get access last week to over 100,000 taxpayers’ online information, there will be two hearings in the Senate today. The IRS commissioner John Koskinen is scheduled to testify at both, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ notes. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing this morning with IRS officials to learn how identity thieves were able steal the information and get millions in fraudulent tax refunds. The second hearing will be held by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and focus on how to protect Americans’ personal information.

TRUMP TOOTS HIS OWN HORN. Donald Trump, who announced Monday that he’ll share his decision about running for president in two weeks, is surging in some polls -- doing so well, in fact, that right now it appears he'd make the cut for a spot on the GOP debate stage. His reaction when asked about the positive polling numbers?  "I’m the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far,” Trump told The Des Moines Register in an interview yesterday. “Nobody’s ever been more successful than me.” He continued “Romney — I have a Gucci store that’s worth more than Romney.” Despite his support for the Iowa Straw Polls, Trump suggested he wouldn't participate if too few of the top GOP primary players sit out the straw poll, ABC’s ALI DUKAKIS notes. "Well if everyone's going to drop out? What's the purpose? It loses its meaning, you understand that."

PATRIOT ACT PROVISIONS EXPIRE: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Key provisions of the Patriot Act expired at midnight Sunday, including the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' phone records. Now, the Senate is scrambling to pass legislation to reform the expired program. The Senate has now turned to considering the USA Freedom Act, legislation intended to reform the NSA's domestic surveillance program. The measure passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 338-88 last month. The Senate is expected to pass the USA Freedom Act later this week, but there could be amendments to the measure, meaning it would return to the House to be reconsidered, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ reports.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SURPRISING ADVICE FOR ASPIRING POLITICIANS. President Obama said Monday his most valuable advice for young, aspiring politicians is that “you have to be willing to lose.” “You have to be willing to lose an election, because you think there's something more important than you just winning an election,” Obama told a woman from the Philippines who was visiting the White House as part of a group of young leaders from Southeast Asian countries in the U.S. for a fellowship program. ”You should try to win. I'm not saying you should try to lose. But you have to stand for something,” Obama quickly qualified. According to ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS, Obama said yesterday that the goal of a political career should be "that you want to help people."

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST ABERCROMBIE & FITCH IN HEADSCARF CASE. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Monday that the retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when an assistant manager denied Samantha Elauf, an observant Muslim woman, a job because her headscarf violated Abercrombie’s “Look Policy,” that prohibits “caps” from being worn on the sale floor. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Abercrombie on Elauf’s behalf, but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals contended that Abercrombie was not liable because Elauf did not provide actual notice of the need for a religious accommodation during her job interview, ABC’s ALI WEINBERG and KATE SHAW write. The Supreme Court reversed that decision. In a majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Here the employer at least suspected that the practice was a religious one; its refusal to hire was motivated by the desire to avoid accommodating that practice, and that is enough."



THE BIDEN BOND BUILT ON SHARED TRAGEDIES. Vice President Joe Biden knows grief and has had more than his fair share. On Saturday night, his son Beau died at the age of 46 after battling brain cancer, leaving his wife and two children without a husband and a father. The loss echoes the reality that Beau grew up without his mother. She died, along with his baby sister, in a car crash in 1972. The elder Biden was sworn in as a first-time senator in Delaware at 4-year-old Beau’s hospital bedside. Such a loss produced a remarkable bond between father and son and the unconditional support for a promising political career for Beau. ABC’s AVERY MILLER and TOM THORNTON have more.



@amyewalter: ABC/WaPo shows Bush name problem: Twice as many think Jeb will pursue same agenda as his bro than Hillary will follow Bill's.

@McCormickJohn: Budget deficit, national defense and taxes are top issues Iowa GOP caucus-goers want to hear 2016 candudates discuss 

@kenvogel: The judge assigned to Denny Hastert's case has donated to…Denny Hastert. @joshgerstein: …

@brianjameswalsh: Obamacare will continue to be a major issue in '16 - "Many health insurers go big with initial 2016 rate requests" …

@markknoller: As WH hosts forum on use of antibiotics, CDC estimates drug-resistant bacteria cause 2 million illness & 23,000 deaths a year in the US.

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