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On the roster: Biden, facing cash crunch, flips on super PAC spending – Impeachment woes for swing state GOP senators – Obama on Cummings: Being strong means being kind – Maybe try Froot Loops after your next commute
BIDEN, FACING CASH CRUNCH, FLIPS ON SUPER PAC SPENDING
NYT: “Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign effectively dropped its longstanding opposition to receiving the assistance of super PACs on Thursday, opening the door for wealthy supporters to spend unlimited amounts of money to try and lift him in the Democratic primary. The move represents a stark reversal and an implicit acknowledgment of his weakened position in the contest. He entered October with only $9 million in the bank, a fraction of his leading rivals. … As recently as a month ago, when a possible pro-Biden super PAC surfaced, his campaign denounced the effort. But on Thursday, Kate Bedingfield, his deputy campaign manager, softened that stance… ‘Let’s be clear: Donald Trump has decided that the general election has already begun,’ Ms. Bedingfield said. ‘He and his allies are already spending massive amounts of money on paid television and digital advertising to intervene directly in Democratic primaries with the goal of preventing Joe Biden, the opponent that Trump fears most, from becoming the Democratic nominee.’”
Biden still leads in Warren two-to-one in South Carolina – Fox News: “Joe Biden remains the clear front-runner in the latest poll in South Carolina – which holds the first southern primary in the race for the White House. But the former vice president’s lead is taking a hit as top-tier rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s support soars in the contest the Biden campaign sees as a firewall. Biden – who has longstanding ties in the state – stands at 33 percent among South Carolina voters likely to cast a ballot in the state’s February primary, according to a new poll from Monmouth University. That’s down 6 percentage points from Monmouth’s previous survey in the Palmetto State, which was conducted in July. Warren, the progressive senator from Massachusetts, stands at 16 percent in the survey, a jump of 7 points from July. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is in third in the new poll, at 12 percent.”
Dems nudge debate threshold to 4 percent for December – Politico: “New thresholds announced by the Democratic National Committee for the sixth debate — which will be hosted by POLITICO and PBS on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles — represent only a modest step up from the criteria for the next debate in November. But they could still seriously endanger the participation of all but the top five candidates… To make the December debate, candidates must hit 4 percent support in at least four DNC-approved polls of primary voters nationally or in early-voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina) — or, instead, they can qualify by hitting 6 percent in two approved early-state polls. Candidates must also bring in donations from 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 donors in 20 states, territories or the District of Columbia.”
Bernie’s small-donor numbers padded by repeat contributions – WSJ: “The February day that Bernie Sanders began his second Democratic presidential campaign, Christine Peloza gave him $27, the amount Mr. Sanders often boasted was the average donation in his first run. Then, she kept giving, in $3 increments, clicking donate up to 20 times a day. By the end of June, Ms. Peloza, a 34-year-old office manager at an elderly care facility in Illinois, had donated more than 850 times to Mr. Sanders… The Sanders campaign laid claim to the majority of these ‘super donors,’ the Journal found, with about 1,000 of them. The other Democrats in the race combined for at least 650 ultra-repeat givers, led by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who had at least 125. And President Trump’s re-election campaign, which began in 2017, has at least 250.”
Gabbard, facing dimming House hopes, drops re-election bid – Reuters: “Tulsi Gabbard, the last House member still in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Thursday she would not seek reelection for her Hawaii seat. ‘I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your President and Commander-in-Chief,’ she said in an announcement posted on Twitter. Gabbard’s decision clears the way for Hawaii State Senator Kai Kahele, who announced a primary challenge against her this spring. ‘I wholly respect and appreciate Congresswoman Gabbard’s decision not to pursue re-election for her Congressional seat as she pursues the Presidency,’ Kahele said in a tweet.”
THE RULEBOOK: GUT CHECK
“Let us now pause and ask ourselves whether, in the course of these papers, the proposed Constitution has not been satisfactorily vindicated from the aspersions thrown upon it; and whether it has not been shown to be worthy of the public approbation, and necessary to the public safety and prosperity.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 85
TIME OUT: LASTING LEGACY
WAMU: “There have been several stories recently highlighting the last time a Washington baseball team won a World Series. The answer most given is the Senators in 1924. Now, it’s true that the Senators were Washington’s last major league baseball team to win a World Series. But there was another very successful team to come afterward. The Homestead Grays won three Negro League World Series titles. … Now, there are plenty of reasons why baseball enthusiasts would disagree with this argument. They might say that the Grays were not exclusively a Washington team. They were founded in Pittsburgh in 1912 and didn’t start splitting time until 1940. … Like many Negro League teams, the Homestead Grays did not have a dedicated field. … Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith saw a financial benefit to letting the Grays play some of their games at his stadium in D.C.… Thus, the team became the Washington Homestead Grays.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.6 points (↓ 0.6 from last wk.)
Warren: 24.8 points (↓ 1.6 from last wk.)
Sanders: 14.6 points (↑ 1.2 from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 6.4 points (↑ 0.2 from last wk.)
Harris: 4.8 points (↑ 0.4 from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, CNN, Fox News, IBD and Monmouth University.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 55.6 percent
Net Score: -14.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.4 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 58% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve – 57% disapprove; Gallup: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve – 55% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 45% approve – 51% disapprove.]
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IMPEACHMENT WOES FOR SWING STATE GOP SENATORS
NYT: “Senate Republicans facing steep re-election races next year know the impeachment inquiry coursing steadily ahead on the other side of the Capitol will determine President Trump’s political fate. Their growing fear is that it will also determine their own. In a matter of weeks, those few senators have watched helplessly as the investigation by House Democrats has lobbed a grenade into the middle of their campaigns, putting them on the defensive amid a torrent of damaging revelations about the president’s conduct with no clear end in sight. It has tightened the squeeze they were already feeling between a political base that demands unquestioning loyalty to Mr. Trump, and the moderate swing voters who may very well decide their elections. And it is one reason that support for the president in the Republican-led Senate appears to be subtly softening, a phenomenon that some of his own advisers fear that Mr. Trump does not fully appreciate.”
Big bucks for Trump re-elect not trickling down to Senate runs – RCP: “President Donald Trump is raising record amounts of cash for his 2020 reelection. But that fundraising might isn’t spilling over to the most vulnerable Republicans fighting to hold onto their seats in a narrowly divided Senate. During the third quarter, former astronaut Mark Kelly took in $2.5 million more than Republican Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona. In Maine, state House Speaker Sara Gideon bested longtime Republican Sen. Susan Collins by over $1 million. And in Colorado, Cory Gardner, who led Senate Republicans’ campaign arm in 2018, barely outraised former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who had been in the race just five weeks before the quarter ended. The trouble for Republicans extends to states where they’re supposed to be on firmer ground. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst didn’t crack $1 million and was outraised by the leading Democrat. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis narrowly outraised Democrat Cal Cunningham…”
OBAMA ON CUMMINGS: BEING STRONG MEANS BEING KIND
ABC News: “The funeral for Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings took place in his hometown of Baltimore Friday morning. ‘Elijah Cummings came from good soil,’ former President Barack Obama said in his eulogy. ‘A leader who once said he’d die for his people even as he lived every minute for them. His life validates the things we tell ourselves about what’s possible in this country — not guaranteed, but possible.’ Obama went on to say that while hearing Cummings’ daughters speak at the funeral, ‘I was thinking I’d want my daughters to know how much I love them, but I’d also want them to know that being a strong man also means being kind, that there’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.’”
Trump, in partial reversal, leaves some troops in Syria – WaPo
European Union will wait for decision on U.K. elections before deciding on Brexit delay – Politico
Dems introduce bill to reclaim $3.6 billion in emergency funds used to build border wall – Fox News
Pergram: House GOP’s naked attempt at publicity and its potential flaws – Fox News
AUDIBLE: SOMEONE HAD TO TELL HIM
“I’ve been criticized for being old. I plead guilty. I am old.” – Bernie Sanders, speaking in Marshalltown, Iowa, per the AP.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Per your response to a question From the Bleachers in [Thursday’s] Report, Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution provides that conviction post-impeachment can result in permanent disqualification from any federal office. My recollection is that this is an issue apart from mere conviction/removal—an additional punishment the Senate may, but need not confer. Apart from that, I suppose technically anyone can RUN for President, but if subsequent to conviction and with this disqualification applied, s/he would, if somehow elected, be legally barred from actually taking office. Love your Reports, and your appearances on FNC!” – Doug Chamberlain, Hooksett, N.H.
[Ed. note: Quite right you are. The Senate could apply that further sanction. I should have been clear on that point! Thank you for pointing it out.]
“Most batches or degrees do not prepare the recipient to do anything except further education. Taxpayer tuition is for the schools/universities, not students. Maybe ‘free’ tuition for a trade school would benefit the student and the community. I have two graduate degrees and have taught college level courses.” – Jim Fullilove, Shreveport, La.
[Ed. note: America has a most distressing educational problem. College graduation rates continue to rise while high-school graduation rates continue to fall. This is a reflection of a society in which a broad elite – maybe 30 percent of the country – sees increasingly better outcomes, while the remainder is falling farther behind. It strikes me that the important work ought to be done in improving secondary education before we just punt the problem into additional years of universal education.]
“What were you thinking when you included the beloved microwave burrito along with antiquities like Fireball shots or skinny jeans? To this day, I – who travel the roads often for business – can almost always find my comfort food, the microwave burrito, at any hour at any convenience store. It is the perfect culinary treat, containing every food group, … and prepared ‘fresh’ in an aged microwave found buried at the back of the store with pre-set numbered times – as to which you must simply guess. The cheese, beans and other contents are irregularly heated in wonderful patches, and the corners of the flour tortilla without moisture become perfectly crunchy (or just hard). The last salty savory bite from the bottom of the slightly melted plastic wrapper is like the last Oreo in a pack, and it compels you to wonder how much longer to the next highway exit or rest stop, where you might consider getting just one more. Comparing this oasis treat with unproductive party primaries and anti-constitutional, anti-‘democratic republic’ zanies is just wrong.” – Ken Levine, Lionville, Pa.
[Ed. note: Mr. Levine, you are a balm to a weary mind! But what you need, sir, are pepperoni rolls. On your next sojourn southwest, hang a left at Harrisburg down to Interstate 68 and ride down to North Central West Virginia. Buy a large bag – Country Club Bakery, if possible and under no circumstances with cheese – and toss them in your passenger seat. They are the ideal companion for long drives.]
“Chris, Idea for your next book? The book is set in the future (long enough to make the premise work) but the historian is looking at our time to analyze how what happened now is affecting or has affected his time. It’s just an idea, you know where the delete key is located. Keep up the good work!” – Michael Strader, Toccoa, Ga.
[Ed. note: That could be fun! I have two projects underway right now, and they’re like federal road projects: The one that gets to the point of no return first will actually get finished!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
MAYBE TRY FROOT LOOPS AFTER YOUR NEXT COMMUTE
UPI: “Researchers in Virginia said they trained rats to drive tiny cars and learned the activity was a means of stress relief for the rodents. The scientists at the University of Richmond’s Lambert Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory said they trained two groups of rats to operate the ‘rat-operated vehicle,’ or ROV, which works by having the rats push down on a copper bar that propels the tiny car forward. The rats were rewarded with Froot Loops cereal when they drove to the end of the enclosure. Kelly Lambert, head of the laboratory and lead author of the story … said researchers analyzed the rats’ droppings and found both groups of rodents had an increase in hormones that control stress responses. … Lambert said the study could have implications for how researchers approach depression and other mental illnesses in humans.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Limited government so conceived has two indispensable advantages. It avoids inexorable European-style national insolvency. And it avoids breeding debilitating individual dependency.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in National Review on July 20, 2012.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland and Kimberly Anderson contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.