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• First in Fox News First: Poll says voters reject Taliban trade
• Hillary tries to thread needle on Afghan swap
• Power Play: Sullivan makes his case for Alaska
• Crist’s Cuban support crumbling
• Star Spangled protest
FIRST IN FOX NEWS FIRST: POLL SAYS VOTERS REJECT TALIBAN TRADE
A Fox News poll that was in the field just as news broke about President Obama’s decision to circumvent Congress to release five Afghan Islamist militant commanders in exchange for one U.S. soldier found voters worried about the consequences for the future but generally split on whether they agreed with the choice. But we haven’t seen much, if any, polling to indicate how voters feel now that details have emerged about the deal, especially allegations of desertion and even collaboration against the soldier ransomed by the president. Today, we get our first snapshot of what voters think and it’s not pretty.
Out of balance - According to results provided to Fox News First of a survey taken Wednesday and Thursday on behalf of conservative group Crossraods GPS, Vox Populi Polling found 52 percent of respondents say the administration should not have made the swap, compared to 31 percent who supported the deal. Ominously for Democrats, 49 percent said the exchange insults the efforts of soldiers who were killed. Another 50 percent said the trade will make America weaker as a country. While this is just one partisan poll, Vox Populi does seem committed to offering credible results even when they are unhappy for the red team. Pollsters will be asking these questions thousands of times today and in the days to come. If this snapshot proves accurate, coming as it does on the heels of the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs, this may prove another tipping point for the president and his party.
[A word about methodology - Vox Populli screens for what it calls “active voters” by asking respondents if they are registered and if they have voted in the past four years as well as those who have registered in the past two years. The 1,052-voter nation sample includes a mix of landlines and cell phones.]
Walkback to get back on track? - Howard Kurtz: “Perhaps the administration’s view is that giving an inch would embolden the critics and amount to an admission of failure (as we saw in the stubborn defense of both Kathleen Sebelius and Eric Shinseki). Yet the president would appear more in touch with the legitimate criticism surrounding this case in general and Bergdahl in particular. But that would amount to a walkback, and this president avoids those at all costs.”
KERRY: TALIBAN RELEASE OKAY BECAUSE U.S. COMBAT IN AFGHANISTAN ‘OVER’
Fox News: “Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday the Taliban detainees released in a prison swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could indeed return to terrorism but largely dismissed the argument that the deal will put U.S. troops further at risk. Kerry told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ the argument that troops in Afghanistan would be more at risk was ‘baloney’ now that the Taliban commanders have been released, particularly because the United States is winding down its military presence in that country. ‘Our combat role in Afghanistan is over’, Kerry said. ‘We’re going to have very few people in that kind of position.’… Cheryl Brandes, the mother of Army Pfc. Matthew Martinek, purportedly killed while searching for platoon mate Bergdahl, suggested on ‘Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace’ that the detainee release, combined with troops leaving Afghanistan, is a ‘massacre waiting to happen’ for the U.S. military personnel who will remain in the region.”