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On the roster: Sanders knocks Biden out of first – Can South Carolina resurrect Biden’s bid? – Congress zeroing in on coronavirus package – Republicans begin looking ahead to 2024 – Quality #content
SANDERS KNOCKS BIDEN OUT OF FIRST
Fox News: “Bernie Sanders pushes Joe Biden out of the frontrunner spot for the Democratic nomination, capturing a record 31 percent support among primary voters in a new Fox News Poll. This is the first 2020 Fox national poll that finds Biden not leading the Democratic race. … Sanders has gained 8 percentage points since January in the nomination race, while Biden drops into second with 18 percent, down 8 points. Close behind is Mike Bloomberg at 16 percent, up 6 points since last month and triple his 5 percent in December. Pete Buttigieg comes in at 12 percent (up 5), Elizabeth Warren at 10 percent (down 4), and Amy Klobuchar at 5 percent (up 2). … The nomination race looks almost the same when narrowed to Democratic primary voters in the 14 Super Tuesday states: Sanders remains on top with 30 percent, followed by Bloomberg at 18 percent, Biden 17 percent, Warren 11 percent, and Buttigieg and Klobuchar each get 8 percent.”
But majority thinks Trump wins – Fox News: “Among all voters, all six Democratic candidates tested top the president in trial ballots. [President Trump] trails Biden and Bloomberg by 8 points and Sanders by 7. Those are the only leads outside the poll’s margin of error. Warren (+3 points), Buttigieg (+3) and Klobuchar (+1) are barely ahead. And in each instance, there are enough undecided/third-party voters to move the race either way. Forty-two percent would vote to re-elect Trump if the election were today. That’s up from 38 percent in May 2019 and the largest share he’s received to-date. … Despite those findings, 56 percent think Trump will be re-elected. That’s up from 44 percent in October. Expectations increased among Republicans (+9 points) and Democrats (+16). Eight years ago, 52 percent thought former President Obama would be re-elected.”
Sanders opens lead on Warren’s home turf – WBUR: “With Super Tuesday just days away, a new WBUR poll finds Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders well ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her home state of Massachusetts. The poll shows Sanders is the choice of 25% of likely Democratic primary voters, while Warren is in second place with 17%. The former mayors, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg, are in a virtual tie for third at 14% and 13%, respectively. Former Vice President Joe Biden rounds out the top five at 9%. … It appears that now [Warren] faces a tough fight at home. … According to the poll, Sanders’ strength is propelled by younger Democratic voters: almost half of those under the age of 45 say they support the Vermont senator. Warren does well with highly educated voters and women — but overall, she trails Sanders by eight points.”
Sanders in striking distance of Biden in Virginia – Christopher Newport University: “With Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary days away, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Mike Bloomberg are positioned to do well, with Biden leading the field with 22% of the vote. Sanders has 17%, and Bloomberg has 13%. Although Biden is safely ahead of Bloomberg, he is within the margin of error with Sanders, and Sanders and Bloomberg are within the margin of error from each other. However, it should be noted that the survey came out of the field before the South Carolina debate and was fielded over much of the month of February, a volatile campaign period. Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren polled at 8%, Amy Klobuchar at 5% and Tom Steyer at 1% — lower than Andrew Yang at 5%, who ended his campaign while the poll was in the field. Another 13% of Virginia primary voters said they were undecided at the time of the survey.”
Warren super PAC makes $9 million Super Tuesday ad buy – Politico: “A mysterious super PAC supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign is making a late attempt to save her candidacy with a $9 million ad buy in states voting next Tuesday. Combined with the $3.25 million Persist PAC already spent in Super Tuesday states along with $2 million in Nevada and South Carolina, the shadowy group has committed over $14 million to try to buoy Warren’s candidacy. All together, Warren — who has made the corrupting influence of dark money central to her candidacy — now has the biggest super PAC advertising in the Super Tuesday states. Asked whether the group had any comment on where the money was coming from, Persist PAC’s spokesperson Joshua Karp texted back ‘no sir.’”
CAN SOUTH CAROLINA RESURRECT BIDEN’S BID?
Fox News: “Joe Biden’s down – but he’s not out. And the former vice president’s banking on a win in South Carolina’s first-in-the-south primary on Saturday to pump new life into his struggling bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The one-time unrivaled front-runner in the race was greeted by a crowd of 700 – large by Biden standards – as well as a smaller overflow group at his town hall Thursday night at Coastal Carolina University. Biden didn’t make a plea for support, but celebrity endorser Vivica A. Fox spotlighted what’s at stake in Saturday’s primary. … Throw in another metric – pumped up fundraising. Thanks to a well-received muscular prime-time debate performance on Tuesday night in Charleston, Biden’s seen a boost in fundraising, which the former vice president has struggled with this cycle. The Biden campaign touted that it brought in $1.2 million from nearly 30,000 donors in the day after the debate. And the pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country on Friday told Fox News it hauled in $2.5 million on Thursday.”
Klobuchar came out swinging at Fox News town hall – Fox News: “Calling for a ‘return to sanity’ in foreign and domestic policy, Amy Klobuchar hoped to revitalize her struggling presidential campaign at a Fox News Channel town hall in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday evening, just ahead of Saturday’s South Carolina primary and the 14 key Super Tuesday races next week. Near the bottom in the polls in South Carolina, Klobuchar came out swinging at both President Trump and Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders. She charged that the White House hasn’t done enough to contain the coronavirus outbreak, minutes after a whistleblower surfaced alleging that The Department of Health and Human Services may have recklessly exposed its own workers to the deadly virus. ‘This is such a serious matter,’ Klobuchar said, insisting that she wanted people to ‘take the politics out of it.’”
Trump to hold rally in South Carolina Friday night – The [Columbia, S.C.] State: “The day before South Carolina Democratic voters say who they want to take on President Donald Trump in November’s general election, the Republican incumbent will be in the Palmetto State. President Donald Trump has scheduled a Keep America Great Rally for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in North Charleston. The visit comes as Democratic candidates for president will be campaigning in South Carolina ahead of Saturday’s presidential primary. Trump was last in South Carolina for a criminal justice reform event at Benedict College in Columbia. Vice President Mike Pence visited the state last week.”
THE RULEBOOK: OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
“A strong sense of the value and blessings of union induced the people, at a very early period, to institute a federal government to preserve and perpetuate it.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 2
TIME OUT: HAPPY BICEN-TENNIEL
USA Today: “Google’s latest doodle features a familiar cat and grin. The tech giant is paying tribute to Sir John Tenniel, the illustrator behind the classic fictional characters of Lewis Carroll‘s renowned novels, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’ on his 200th birthday anniversary. Tenniel, born in London in 1820, gained fame as an artist at the age of 16. He submitted his first body of work, an oil painting, for an exhibition at the Society of British Artists. Tenniel went on to become a political cartoonist for a weekly magazine, Punch, in 1850. It was there he developed his unique style accompanied by his photographic memory. … His contributions to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Punch were honored in 1893 with a knighthood award. Today’s Google doodle was created by Matthew Cruickshank. … ‘I hope people are inspired to be as imaginative as Tenniel was with his work,’ said Cruickshank in a statement.”
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ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 46 percent
Average disapproval: 50.4 percent
Net Score: -4.4 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: Gallup: 49% approve – 48% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 47% approve – 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve – 51% disapprove.]
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CONGRESS ZEROING IN ON CORONAVIRUS PACKAGE
Roll Call: “Amid growing concerns about both the economic and health impacts of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, appropriators are rushing to draft an emergency spending package that could provide upward of $6 billion in aid. House and Senate appropriators are discussing a package in the range of $6 billion to $8 billion with the aim of getting it on the House floor as early as the middle of next week, several people familiar with the deliberations said. The funds would go to the departments of Health and Human Services, State, Homeland Security and Defense and possibly other agencies to fight the deadly COVID-19 disease, which has killed thousands worldwide and sent global stock markets into a tailspin this week. The sources familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition they not be identified so they could speak freely, said the legislation would provide some flexibility in spending the funds, similar to the $5.4 billion Ebola virus aid package enacted in late 2014.”
Trump remains confident in preparedness, experts not so much – WaPo: “The White House official charged with leading the U.S. response to deadly pandemics left nearly two years ago as his global health security team was disbanded. Federal funding for preventing and mitigating the spread of infectious disease has been repeatedly threatened since President Trump’s election. Despite the mounting threat of a coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Trump said he has no regrets about those actions and that expertise and resources can be quickly ramped up to meet the current needs. Former federal officials and public-health experts argue that an effective response to an epidemiological crisis demands sustained planning and investment. While the administration’s response to coronavirus has been criticized in recent weeks as slow and disjointed, people in and outside the White House have warned for years that the nation is ill prepared for a dangerous pandemic.”
REPUBLICANS BEGIN LOOKING AHEAD TO 2024
Politico: “President Donald Trump is locked in a tough reelection battle, yet the Republicans looking to succeed him are already circling. … But perhaps the most overt display of ambition is on display this week here at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a rite of passage for White House aspirants eager to audition before thousands of activists whose support can be critical down the line. Those with the most prominent speaking roles — a list that includes the likes of Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — are regarded as likely 2024 contenders. At Wednesday evening’s opening reception, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley was mobbed by fans… Pete Seat, a former White House aide to George W. Bush, was on hand observing the Haley love fest. He called the annual conference a ‘proving ground’ for Republicans intent on building a national profile. … The early activity underscores how Republicans, even at this early juncture, are starting to think about life after Trump. While the president’s reelection is the GOP’s immediate priority, prominent figures in the party are beginning to position themselves for what’s next.”
Bloomberg campaign approached Andrew Yang for backing, maybe veep position – WSJ
Sen. Tim Kaine endorses Joe Biden – WaPo
Pergram: Capitol Hill is awash in concern about coronavirus, but there’s not fear – yet – Fox News
Leibovich: The political junkie runs for president – NYT
Report: Biden under probe in Ukraine for alleged link to top prosecutor’s 2016 ouster – Fox News
AUDIBLE: ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
“Well, I always say I play the role of Chuck Schumer in every meeting because you have to explain to them what the D’s want and why they’ll be able to get it. I get yelled at some and that’s fine. I have teenagers. I’m fine, I’m used to it.” – Laura Dove, the outgoing Senate Republican Party secretary, describing aspects of her job to the WaPo.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Tune in this weekend for Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace interviews former Vice President Joe Biden in his first sit-down interview with Fox News as a presidential candidate. This is the former VP’s first interview with Mr. Sunday since September 2007. 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.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
TODAY: “The video sharing app TikTok is mostly filled with Gen Zers doing funny dances and attempting silly challenges. But there’s a new TikTok star who has captured the hearts of people of all ages with his delightfully adorable cooking videos — and the internet wasn’t even around when he was born. Often clad in a brightly colored bucket hat, 81-year-old Steven Austin, better known on social media as ‘Old Man Steve,’ has quickly become a viral sensation thanks to his hilarious and wholesome content. … When asked why he started making videos, he told TODAY that he’s simply always enjoyed entertaining others. ‘I guess I’m a ham at heart,’ he said. His videos feature a variety of ‘G-rated content,’ as he calls it, including the popular ‘Cooking with Steve’ posts, where he makes dishes like frozen biscuits with peach preserves, Corn Flakes with a banana and frozen dinners from Marie Callender’s. Though simple, many of his most popular videos have amassed over 200,000 views and altogether he has over 5.2 million likes on TikTok.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“In a world of rising crime and falling standards, of broken cities and failing schools, the border collie is one of the few things that works.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 15, 1994.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.