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On the roster: Buttigieg catches Warren in Iowa – I’ll Tell You What: A recount? For Bevin’s sake – Report: Trump frustrated by Barr’s lack of public help – Trump threatened Sessions on Senate run – Ma’am, this isn’t ‘Knight Rider’
BUTTIGIEG CATCHES WARREN IN IOWA
Quinnipiac University: “With less than 3 months until the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic race for president in Iowa is wide open… Senator Elizabeth Warren receives 20 percent support among Iowa likely Democratic caucus- goers, with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg getting 19 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent, and former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent. … Those who consider themselves ‘very liberal’ … are divided in their top choice with Sanders getting 32 percent and Warren at 30 percent. Those who identify as ‘somewhat liberal’ … are split in their top choice between Buttigieg and Warren, with Warren at 29 percent and Buttigieg at 24 percent. Among ‘moderates and conservatives’ … it’s a close race for the top spot between Buttigieg and Biden, with Buttigieg at 19 percent and Biden at 18 percent.”
Poll finds Biden, Warren tied – Monmouth University: “Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters are divided over who they want to stand against Trump in 2020. The top contenders remain Biden (23%), Warren (23%), and Sanders (20%). In late September, these three stood at 25%, 28%, and 15%, respectively. Buttigieg garners 9% (up from 5%) and [Kamala] Harris gets 5% (same as 5% in late September). New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and entrepreneur Andrew Yang each get 3% and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar gets 2%. The remaining eight candidates included in the poll earn 1% or less.”
California Dems unhappy with Warren snubbing convention – Politico: “U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the latest Democratic frontrunner to confirm she’ll skip the California Democratic Party nominating convention in Long Beach this month, sparking sharp criticism from party chair Rusty Hicks. Hicks took to Facebook last night in a blistering post to urge Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden to ‘reconsider your misguided decision to publicly snub’ the California Democratic Convention… Biden two weeks ago indicated he would bypass the convention and TV forum… Hicks’ post is a clear indication that California Democratic Party leaders are unhappy with Warren’s decision to pass on the forum, which will clearly get less national attention now that two leading contenders are out. But strategists say that Warren’s camp clearly believe she should be spending more time in key early states like Iowa and New Hampshire as her poll numbers rise.”
Gabbard makes 10 for November debate, Klobuchar makes December stage – Politico: “Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has qualified for the November Democratic presidential debate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has made the December debate after the release of a new Iowa poll, which also featured Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden bunched within 5 points of each other at the top of the field. Klobuchar got 5 percent support in the Iowa survey from Quinnipiac University released on Wednesday. She previously hit at least 4 percent support in three other polls approved by the Democratic National Committee, according to POLITICO’s tracking, and she has accrued over 200,000 individual donors, the other threshold to make the December debate stage. She had previously qualified for the November debate. … Gabbard will join nine other candidates on the November stage: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, Tom Steyer, Warren and Andrew Yang.”
Bernie big bucks – NYT: “Bernie Sanders’s campaign plans to spend more than $30 million on TV advertising alone in the first four presidential nominating states and California, according to several people familiar with the strategy, a financial show of force that also suggests he needs to reach outside the traditional sphere of Democratic primary voters and caucusgoers for support. Mr. Sanders, the senator from Vermont, has been on the air in Iowa since early October, when his campaign spent $1.3 million on television advertising, and has bought $1 million of TV time in New Hampshire beginning Thursday. The campaign has so far largely flouted traditional politicking… But in earmarking tens of millions of dollars for television advertising between now and Super Tuesday in early March, the campaign is following a more established and analog path to accomplish what it says is the same aim.”
Meet the ‘Barnstormers for Pete’ – WSJ: “DES MOINES, Iowa—Wearing their team’s colors of blue and yellow, they arrived here from around the country at their own expense to support the Democratic presidential bid of Pete Buttigieg. Barnstormers for Pete, a grass-roots effort organized online, helped give the mayor of South Bend, Ind., one of the biggest cheering sections at a closely watched Democratic Party event Friday. Members of the group are planning to show up again in Iowa and other states early on the nomination calendar. ‘I want to contribute to his effort to win Iowa because everyone’s head will turn if he does that,’ said Laura Nibbi, a 58-year-old stay-at-home mom whose kids are in college.”
THE RULEBOOK: LOCAL YOKELS
“A local spirit will infallibly prevail much more in the members of Congress, than a national spirit will prevail in the legislatures of the particular States.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 46
TIME OUT: REDISCOVERING HARRIET
Garden&Gun: “Following Harriet, [a podcast] sponsored by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, began as a way to invite listeners to explore historic locations in Virginia that served as a backdrop for the new film Harriet, which was released on November 1 and documents the life of the famed abolitionist who led hundreds of the enslaved to freedom. Although [Harriet] Tubman was enslaved in Maryland, filmmakers used historic Virginia locations … to recreate Maryland and Philadelphia in the nineteenth century. During four episodes, podcast narrator Celeste Headlee guides listeners through Tubman’s life with the help of experts… In addition to learning about Tubman’s extraordinary work on the Underground Railroad, listeners also hear about her time leading an espionage network for the Union Army, opening a home for poor and elderly African Americans, and her work with the Women’s Suffrage Movement after the war—stories that don’t often make it into the one-page summary of her life.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.6 points (↓ 0.2 points from last wk.)
Warren: 22.6 points (no change from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.6 points (↑ 3.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 7.6 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
Harris: 3.2 points (↓ 1.2 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Monmouth University, NBC News/WSJ, ABC News/WaPo, Fox News and IBD.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 42 percent
Average disapproval: 55.4 percent
Net Score: -13.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.2 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 45% approve – 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve – 53% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 39% approve – 59% disapprove; Fox News: 42% approve – 57% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve – 56% disapprove.]
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: A RECOUNT? FOR BEVIN’S SAKE
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the recent 2019 election results in Virginia and Kentucky, some obstacles facing Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and Chris breaks the listener review embargo. Plus, Chris tries to redeem himself with this week’s trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
REPORT: TRUMP FRUSTRATED BY BARR’S LACK OF PUBLIC HELP
WSJ: “President Trump wanted Attorney General William Barr to publicly declare that he hadn’t broken any laws during a phone call with the Ukrainian leader that is now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry, but Mr. Barr refused the request, an administration official said Wednesday. Mr. Trump’s request for Mr. Barr to hold a news conference came shortly after the White House released a rough transcript of the July 25 call. In that call, Mr. Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to undertake investigations related to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, as well as the 2016 election. Mr. Trump’s desire for such a public announcement was discussed among White House officials, who relayed it to the Justice Department, the official said.”
Bolton willing to testify if court clears way – WaPo: “Former national security adviser John Bolton is willing to defy the White House and testify in the House impeachment inquiry about his alarm at the Ukraine pressure campaign if a federal court clears the way, according to people familiar with his views. Bolton could be a powerful witness for Democrats: Top State Department and national security officials have already testified that he was deeply concerned about efforts by Trump and his allies to push Ukraine to open investigations into the president’s political rivals while the Trump administration held up military aid to that country. The former national security adviser, who abruptly left his post in September, is expected to confirm their statements and describe his conversations with Trump, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry.”
Frothy tweets come back to sting whistleblower lawyer – Fox News: “Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a ‘coup has started’ and that ‘impeachment will follow ultimately.’ Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, ‘I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president.’ Also that month, Zaid tweeted, ‘We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.’ Amid a slew of impeachment-related posts, Zaid assured his Twitter followers that ‘as one falls, two more will take their place,’ apparently referring to Trump administration employees who defy the White House. Zaid promised that the ‘coup’ would occur in ‘many steps.’”
Pence aide answers impeachment probe questions – NPR: “A top aide to Vice President Pence arrived Thursday to testify in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Jennifer Williams is a longtime foreign service officer who was assigned to be the vice president’s special adviser for Europe and Russia in the spring. She would be the first person from the vice president’s office to testify in the probe of whether the president withheld military aid from Ukraine while seeking a political favor. She will be the third person who was listening in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to testify, a White House aide confirmed to NPR’s Mara Liasson.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Trump should’ve known – This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano shares his thoughts on WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan’s latest column: “Noonan’s piece in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, she asked how history would view President Franklin Delano Roosevelt if, when asked by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for help fighting the Nazis in 1940, he had conditioned that aid on the provision of dirt on Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt’s eventual Republican opponent in the 1940 presidential election. We would be repulsed to learn this. Of course, Roosevelt never made such a Trumpian demand. … In fact, Trump should have known that the act of soliciting assistance for his campaign from a foreign government, whether directly by him or indirectly by Giuliani, is defined as criminal under federal law – a high crime, as the Constitution puts it. He also should have known that refusing to perform a lawful duty, releasing the $391 million Congress had authorized until a personal favor comes his way, is also defined in federal law as criminal – bribery, as the Constitution puts it.” More here.
TRUMP THREATENED SESSIONS ON SENATE RUN
NYT: “Jeff Sessions, the former senator from Alabama whose tumultuous tenure as President Trump’s attorney general lasted less than two years, plans to announce on Thursday that he will enter the race to reclaim his old seat in 2020, a Republican official said. Mr. Sessions has remained largely out of the public eye, and has been effectively exiled from Republican politics, since he was forced out of the Trump administration last November. … But over the last week, Mr. Trump sent word to Mr. Sessions through allies that he would publicly attack him if he ran. And Mr. McConnell recently approached Mr. Trump, asking him whether his feelings about Mr. Sessions might have improved. The president said he was very much still opposed to Mr. Sessions and would make that clear if he had to, according to a person briefed on the discussions. Several Republican officials thought that had settled the matter — until Mr. Sessions decided to run.”
Bevin still not conceding – Lexington [Ky.] Herald Leader: “Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Wednesday did what he has done so often during his term as governor — he refused to back down. Bevin requested a recanvass in the race for governor, which Democrat Andy Beshear won by 5,189 votes, according to unofficial vote results from the Kentucky State Board of Elections. Bevin has refused to concede the election. … At the governor’s mansion Wednesday evening, Bevin refused to take questions but criticized Alison Lundergan Grimes for going on CNN while votes were being counted and claimed ‘thousands of absentee ballots were illegally counted’ and that people were turned away from the polls. He provided no evidence to back up his claims, saying instead his campaign was in the process of getting affidavits. He did not say whether he plans to formally contest the election.”
WSJ Editorial Board: ‘The anti-Republican trend’ – WSJ
It’s official: Pence files paperwork for Trump to be on New Hampshire primary ballot – WMUR
“His people argue Biden can lose Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, and win South Carolina and be fine. Okay – don’t kid a kidder. I worked on the John Edwards campaign.” – Jennifer Palmieri, a top adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016, speaking with Vanity Fair.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“A few recent polls have showed Biden to be in 4th place (although the distance from first to fourth is almost within the margin of error) in Iowa primary polls. Reporting has breathlessly focused on how bad he is doing there. I understand the importance of perception and trends, etc., but from a practical standpoint, is there really much of a difference? I seem to remember reading that the Democrats were going to go to a more proportional method for distribution of delegates. Assuming the top four in Iowa (or any other state) finish with 20, 19, 17, and 15 percent, how would that translate into delegates? And, why isn’t there more coverage of the potential chaos the Dems are going to have in Milwaukee because of their proportional plan?” – Dr. Fred MacDonald, Artesia, N.M.
[Ed. note: You’re quite right, Doc. But don’t discount the momentum a candidate could obtain from an Iowa win – especially a dark horse like Pete Buttigieg. I think that while the odds of a contested convention are low, they are certainly higher than in recent years. Milwaukee could be quite a show this summer!]
“Chris, Now that Virginia has turned blue, how come Dems are still ignoring their governor is an alleged racist with photo proof, and their lieutenant governor is an alleged rapist? Even those running for president are turning a blind eye. The #MeToo movement has been noticeably absent. Al Sharpton has been noticeably quiet? Why?” – Floyd Prophet, Kannapolis, N.C.
[Ed. note: Partisanship is a helluva drug, Mr. Prophet. One might ask why Republicans have not more openly expressed concern about the president’s dealings with Ukraine. The simple answer is that it is not in their political interests to do so. Courage has always been in short supply in the political class, but in our post-shame culture, radical self-interest seems to usually take the place of even insincere decency. Northam now has a mandate in the form of a midterm sweep for his party and will doubtless slip away largely undamaged.]
“Lexington [Kentucky] Herald Leader: ‘Trump’s inability to lift an unpopular Bevin in a state the president won by almost 30 percentage points creates a perception the president is weak as he heads into the 2020 elections and as talk of impeachment swirls in D.C.’ I beg to differ with LexKY HL. Trumps ability to lift a highly unpopular and failing candidate to within a slim margin of victory bodes well for his 2020 re-election bid. Those who support him know that he is a fighter and will back him all the way.” – Mike Tardif, Santa Ana, Calif.
[Ed. note: Trump probably did plenty of good for Bevin. We don’t really know what the contour of the race was over time, but the one really worthwhile public, non-partisan pollster in the race, Mason-Dixon, found the race essentially tied in December and again just before the vote. It’s easy to see, though, that without Trump giving him a boost, the hugely unpopular Bevin could have really tanked at the end.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
MA’AM, THIS ISN’T ‘KNIGHT RIDER’
Fox News: “Massachusetts police on Wednesday morning saved a woman who was trapped in a car … that was trapped in a truck. The Northampton PD posted a photo of a Subaru SUV that was driven into the open back of a landscaping trailer and got lodged at a 45-degree angle. After rescuing her, the uninjured driver told them that the windshield had fogged up and she didn’t see coming up ahead on the two-lane road. Police also discovered that she had an expired registration and issued her a citation for that, along with one for impeded driving. The fines for the two violations total $140. Both vehicles suffered severe damage, but no one involved required medical attention.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“[Americans] like it here. We like our McDonald’s. We like our football. We like our rock-and-roll. We’ve got the Grand Canyon and Graceland. We’ve got Silicon Valley and South Beach. We’ve got everything. And if that’s not enough, we’ve got Vegas–which is a facsimile of everything. What could we possibly need anywhere else?” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) in his speech accepting the 2004 Irving Kristol Award on Feb. 10, 2004.
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.