Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Fox News has tweaked its debate rules a bit, and now the bottom six Republican presidential candidates will be guaranteed a spot at the “kids’ table” event next week. Under the previous rules, candidates below 1% risked exclusion.
* What’s Hillary Clinton’s position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline? For now, the Democratic frontrunner really doesn’t want to talk about it.
* In the new CNN poll, President Obama’s approval rating is up to 49%, which is of great interest to campaign insiders in both parties – the more popular the president is, the less appetite there may be next year for sweeping national changes.
* In Illinois, new results from Public Policy Polling shows Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) leading incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk (R) by six, 42% to 36%.
* On a related note, one of the Illinois GOP’s premier fundraisers is calling on Kirk to drop out of the race so the party can nominate a more competitive statewide candidate.
* And speaking of Illinois, PPP also found Scott Walker leading Donald Trump among GOP voters in the state, 23% to 18%. At 11%, Jeb Bush is the only other candidate to reach double digits.
* After a Monmouth poll found Chris Christie running eighth in New Hampshire with just 4% support, the New Jersey governor said the poll is biased against him. (Other recent polling in the Granite State also shows Christie struggling.)
* Marco Rubio’s absenteeism in the Senate is becoming a more notable problem. He’s not just missing more votes than any other senator, including the other senators running for president, but he’s also skipping private hearings and briefings on major issues.
* And while many of us consider the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” a modern classic, Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich once wrote to Blockbuster to demand the movie be pulled from shelves. “On reflection,” Kasich later wrote, he wasn’t “entirely sure that [this story] paints me in the best light.” The Ohio governor added, “In fact, it’s possible to look on my actions as the rantings of a wild man.”