Connect with us

Politics

Biden wins the bigger debate on party’s direction

Published

on

Biden wins the bigger debate on party’s direction

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: Biden wins the bigger debate on party’s direction – Poll shows Bernie bounce in New Hampshire – McCarthy says debt reduction top goal for House GOP – Court says Trump must answer suit claiming corruption – It’s a long way to the top if you want to block a road

BIDEN WINS THE BIGGER DEBATE ON PARTY’S DIRECTION
Finally, a real Democratic debate.

After two rounds of two-night bean bag competitions we got some tough questions, sharp distinctions and a real sense of what this race looks like.

Much of the credit does go to ABC News which, for the most part, offered challenging questions centered on the issues that matter most to Democrats who are considering their choices for next year.

But some of the credit belongs to happenstance since the Democratic National Committee’s balky, participation-trophy rules meant that the first two debates were actually glorified candidate forums featuring various odd lots.

What Democrats saw Thursday should generally be encouraging for their hopes in 2020. There were multiple credible-sounding voices, most of whom were capable of a degree of debate that seemed if not quite presidential yet, was at least in that vein.

There were exceptions. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro sounded like he was delivering sick burns in a dorm room argument. His fellow Texan, Beto O’Rourke, was not much better. They both brought with them the anger and resentment of candidates who feel they have been unfairly overlooked for their wondrous gifts.

California Sen. Kamala Harris had a different struggle. You could almost hear the shouts of her advisers telling her to be warm, relatable and personal, damnit. It got cringey and then it just got stale. Harris is a personality in search of a platform and she did not find it on Thursday night.

Speaking of performative candidates, Andrew Yang probably added to his cult following, enough so that he will be around next month and maybe even the month after that. But he also made it clear he’s not really running for president. We imagine he will have to wear a suit made out of $100 bills for the next go around.

Cory Booker may or may not be in the running for president, but he most certainly cut a fine figure as a running mate in Houston. Gone were his tears of rage, replaced with a beatific smile and an encouragement to unity. It was easy to see him as the wingman for one of the older, whiter candidates at the center of the stage.

It would be too much to say that South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg seemed presidential, but it would not be too much to say that he seemed normal, reasonable and ready. After a series of setbacks this summer, Buttigieg seemed to stabilize. He too might make a fine veep pick.

We wince at tropes like “breakout performance,” but if anyone on the stage shouldered their way into the discussion it was Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She has improved during her mostly under-the-radar campaign and seemed more at ease and more purposeful on Thursday than she had before.

Heading the other direction is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, not that it matters. Sanders’ support seems mostly to be an article of faith at this point rather than a candidate preference, so as long as he feels the Bern, his fans will too. Sounding like a bible-beating preacher (with a Brooklyn accent) a red-faced Sanders thundered at the evils of the world.

Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts, was sure-footed in most of her answers and continued her strategy of not directly engaging her rivals, an approach that has served her well to this point. But she also revealed the liabilities for a candidate who has charmed reporters by delivering reams of policy papers. Her proposals are complex, costly and packed with controversial positions. 

Warren wanted you to see her as a girl of modest means who grew into a school teacher who now can bring her simple, home-spun wisdom to bear on the confounding problems of a complicated world. That didn’t quite hold up. Warren can expect additional scrutiny not just on her proposals but also on the tidy biographical picture she has painted.

And what to say about Joe Biden? The Democrats’ frontrunner certainly didn’t do himself any harm, and in fact, managed to put the quietus on questions about his age and alleged incapacity. There were no major gaffs and he even managed a couple of spin moves, even if his footwork was gingerly.

Biden’s greatest success of the summer was revealed on Thursday. Democrats had been considering the question of whether an Obamian restoration was a good enough policy goal. Castro, O’Rourke and Sanders were clear that Barack Obama’s legacy is not a worthy summit for Democrats to seek. Echoing the language of long-shot ideologues throughout history, they assured listeners that anyone on the stage would win next fall and that the real issue was getting someone elected who is sufficiently radical. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul would have been proud.

But that’s not where Democrats’ heads are. Whether it is moderation for the sake of electability or for its own sake, the party’s voters have made it clear that they are not interested in what’s new or what’s radical. And no one could say that Biden is either of those things. Just ask him what’s in his record collection.

That admission on the parts of other candidates on the stage is a boon to Biden who has draped himself in the regalia of the 44th president. In 2008 it was “hope and change” for 2020 it’s fear and nostalgia.

As long as Biden can keep taking punches and remember his footwork, he will be hard to knock out.

THE RULEBOOK: LET’S GET IT STRAIGHT 
“The just imputations on our own faith, in respect to the same treaty, ought first to be removed.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 15

TIME OUT: THAT’S A LOT OF TWISTS
History: “On September 13, 1990, the drama series Law & Order premieres on NBC; it will go on to become one of the longest-running primetime dramas in TV history and spawn several popular spin-offs. According to the now-famous Law & Order formula, the first half of the hour-long program, which is set in New York City, focuses on the police as they investigate a crime–often inspired by real-life news stories–while the second part of the show centers on the prosecution of those accused of that crime. Each episode opens with a narrator stating: ‘In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.’  … On September 20, 1999, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starring Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni as a pair of New York City detectives who investigate sex-related crimes, premiered.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 29 points 
Warren: 18.6 points
Sanders: 15 points
Harris: 6.8 points
Buttigieg: 5.2 points
[Averages include: CNN, ABC News/WaPo, IBD, Quinnipiac University and USA Today/Suffolk University.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 40 percent
Average disapproval: 54.8 percent
Net Score: -14.8 percent
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 40% approve – 55% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve – 55% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 56% disapprove.]

WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? 
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!

POLL SHOWS BERNIE BOUNCE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Boston Herald: “Former Vice President Joe Biden has lost his lead in New Hampshire with U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders jumping ahead in what is now clearly a three-person race for the Democratic primary, a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll shows. Sanders tops the poll at 29% of likely Democratic primary voters. Biden comes in second with 21% of the vote and Massachusetts U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren is third in the poll with 17%. … The poll shows that the top tier of 2020 Democratic primary candidates is far ahead of the pack, with California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris landing a distant fourth with 6% of the primary vote, the FPU-Herald polls shows. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are tied at 5%.”

Yang seeks a legal loophole for campaign gimmick – NYT: “Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who has promised to provide every American adult with $1,000 a month if he is elected president, announced at the Democratic debate on Thursday that he would distribute such payments to 10 people for the next year. … But unlike earlier in his campaign, when Mr. Yang paid what he calls ‘freedom dividends’ out of his own pocket to three families, his advisers said the money for the latest round of payments would be funded by campaign donations, raising questions about whether such a giveaway violates federal election law. …To differentiate legitimate campaign expenses from personal expenses, regulators must determine whether the expense would exist even if the candidate were not running for office. Mr. Yang’s campaign said late Thursday that the planned payments would pass legal muster because they would not exist if not for the campaign.”

MCCARTHY SAYS DEBT REDUCTION TOP GOAL FOR HOUSE GOP
Roll Call: “As House Republicans kicked off a 48-hour retreat here Thursday afternoon to plot their path back to the majority, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the GOP’s top priority if it retakes the chamber in 2020 would be to address the national debt. ‘First thing we would do is make sure our debt is taken care of,’ the California Republican said. ‘This is continuing to grow.’ ‘We’ve got a majority that just has taken over, the Democrats — the first thing they did was not pass a budget. We’d pass a budget just as we did before that put us on a path to balance,’ McCarthy added. ‘We’d make sure that our entitlements are protected for our future generation because it comes into question today. Every great society has collapsed when they overextended themselves.’”

Lewis cagy on impeachment – Politico: “Rep. John Lewis has called Donald Trump an illegitimate leader and boycotted his inauguration, but he’s remained conspicuously silent on demands for the president’s impeachment. Despite his silence, advocates for Trump’s removal see the civil rights icon — a man Democrats describe as the conscience of their caucus — as a singularly powerful potential ally, one of the last publicly undecided lawmakers who could change the calculus inside the Democratic caucus. And Lewis himself says an announcement on impeachment is almost at hand. … Lewis has been closely allied with Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the years. An impeachment endorsement from Lewis would intensify questions for Pelosi, who has so far resisted calls to endorse proceedings. That’s why multiple senior lawmakers privately suggested Lewis is unlikely to back impeachment proceedings without her blessing — rendering such an endorsement unlikely.”

COURT SAYS TRUMP MUST ANSWER SUIT CLAIMING CORRUPTION 
Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump was ordered by a federal appeals court to defend a lawsuit accusing him of profiting from his presidency, a potential blow to his efforts to keep his finances secret. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York on Friday reinstated the case brought by a restaurant group that accuses the president of violating the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauses. The decision intensifies a legal threat to Trump over the mixing of his business interests with his authority as president. Unless an expanded panel of judges or the Supreme Court reverses the decision, Trump will be forced to defend his actions and open his business and personal finances to scrutiny. … He attracted fresh criticism last month when he suggested that next year’s meeting of Group of 7 leaders, to be hosted by the U.S., should be held at his resort in southern Florida.”

KOBACH GETS BOOST FROM BIG-NAME IMMIGATION FOES
Politico: “Venture capitalist Peter Thiel and conservative author Ann Coulter are slated to host a fundraising reception for Kansas Republican Kris Kobach’s Senate campaign next week. The event — to be held on Sept. 18 in New York City, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO — will provide a fundraising boost for Kobach as the former Kansas secretary of state and immigration hard-liner faces strong opposition from the Republican Party establishment. … But many GOP officials fear the controversial Kobach proved himself unelectable when he lost the governor’s race in 2018, and they are concerned that he could hand what is normally a safe Republican seat to Democrats in 2020, when Republicans are trying to protect a three-seat Senate majority. Senior Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been trying to recruit Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, into the contest.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
A loquacious Booker got the third-most talking time in debate – WaPo

Cruz says he’s preparing for another presidential run in 2024 – Christian Science Monitor  

Pergram: Democrats aren’t actually impeaching the President yet, but they are digging deep – Fox News

Trump denies rumors of naming Pompeo next national security adviser – Politico

Liz Cheney and Rand Paul get into Twitter squabble – The Hill

Hillary Clinton reads emails in performance art installation at Italian museum (really) – The Hill

AUDIBLE: WE THOUGHT BOEHNER RETIRED…
“I always look orange, and so do you.” – President Trump delivering a speech to House Republicans complaining about the quality of the light cast by newer lightbulbs.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Bill Hemmer will fill in for Mr. Sunday. He’ll sit down with Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. 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
“As far as I’ve been able to determine, the only legal firearms sales that don’t require a background check are intrastate sales between individuals. Private citizens are prohibited from selling guns to people who aren’t residents of their state under Federal law. Private citizens can’t ship firearms across state lines. Since this is intrastate commerce, wouldn’t this be a state issue rather than a Federal issue?” – Keith Tolk, Albuquerque, N.M.

[Ed. note: Over time, Mr. Tolk the federal government has asserted and been affirmed in some authority over firearms. You may not purchase a machine gun, a bazooka or a howitzer under federal law though, apparently, flame throwers are legit. Similarly to your point, I suppose that most firearms purchases that take place at licensed gun dealers are made by in-state residents. But the Feds don’t base their authority on the regulation of interstate commerce, but rather law-enforcement concerns. The effect of requiring background checks for all sales would basically be imposing the same requirements for gun dealers on individual citizens in these transactions. I’m sure there are people who argue that federal regulations around, say, automatic weapons are unconstitutional. Perhaps there’s even a case to be made. But so far courts have upheld limited federal regulation even as judges have become more adamant about individuals’ personal rights to keep and bear arms.]

“We are expats living in Peru. We are homeschooling our youngest son and daughter, ages 16 and 8. Mr. Stirewalt, what books would you recommend to help instill in our children a love for America, an appreciation of the miracle of our founding and founders?” – Erin Madsen, Peru

[Ed. note: What an adventure your family is on, Ms. Madsen! And kudos to you for wanting to educate your children in the miracle of their native country’s founding. I just finished George Will’s latest book, “The Conservative Sensibility.” Some of it is devoted to Will’s prescription for our current politics, but the overwhelming majority is about our founding and the intellectual history of the modern conservative and progressive movements. Your teenager might enjoy it. David McCullough’s “1776” is one of my favorites. It grew out of McCullough’s masterful biography of John Adams but expands out to take in the scope of that moment in time and the remarkable men and women who populated it. But what about a third grader? She may already be too old for the wonderful series Childhoods of Famous Americans. My third grader loved them and they certainly work to make the subject accessible. I’m not sure which history books you use, but I have been endlessly impressed by “The Story of the World.” I have enjoyed it along with my sons in their studies at school. Please stay in touch and tell us how your adventure in living – and in education – is going.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

IT’S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP IF YOU WANT TO BLOCK A ROAD
WSOC-TV: “Sheriff’s deputies in Montana sometimes have to coax stubborn bison off roads in an unusual way… by blasting AC/DC music. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office posted about the practice on Tuesday. ‘Being a deputy around West Yellowstone comes with unusual duties, including herding bison off the highway so no one gets hurt. When deputies respond to a bison on the road, they turn on lights and siren and encourage the animal to leave the road with an air horn. With a reluctant bison, they’ve been known to play AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells over the speakers – that usually seems to work,’ the post said.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“And because we remain so imperfect a nation, we are in no position to dictate our professed values to others around the world.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in The Weekly Standard on Oct. 19, 2009.

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.

Politics

Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in ‘SMEAR story’

Published

on

By

Trump rips New York Times over Kavanaugh piece, calls for resignation of anyone involved in 'SMEAR story'

President Trump blasted The New York Times over its supposed bombshell report on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling on “everybody” involved in the “smear” to resign.

“I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story, and while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony!” Trump tweeted Monday evening.

“They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation… She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!”

NEW YORK TIMES CRITICIZED FROM BOTH SIDES OVER NOW-REVISED KAVANAUGH ALLEGATIONS

Late Sunday, The New York Times walked back an explosive report about a resurfaced allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh from his college days. The piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, alleged there was corroboration of an incident in which Kavanaugh, as a college student at Yale, exposed himself to a female classmate at a party.

However, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway — who reviewed an advance copy of the book – flagged an omission and the paper eventually revised the controversial story after being lampooned on social media over the gaffe.

The update included the significant detail that several friends of the alleged victim said she did not recall the purported sexual assault. The newspaper also stated for the first time that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed, and has made no other comment about the episode.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump was asked about whether anyone from The Times should be “fired” over the controversy. He called it a “fair” question but didn’t directly give an answer.

“I think The New York Times made another terrible mistake,” Trump said. “It’s a shame that a thing like that could happen… They used to have a thing called fact-checking. They don’t have fact-checking anymore.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Politics

With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

Published

on

By

With New Mexico rally, Trump seeks to flip state won by Clinton in 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will hold one of his signature rallies on Monday night in New Mexico, a longtime Democratic stronghold his campaign has added to the list of states it hopes to win in the November 2020 election.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The last time New Mexico supported a Republican in a presidential race was 2004. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 8 percentage points three years ago.

Trump’s campaign sees an opening in the state with Latinos, who it believes will swing his way despite tough immigration policies, including a crackdown on migrants from Central America and a push to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Democrats have criticized those efforts. But a Trump campaign aide said the Republican president could win over Latinos who came to the United States legally and believe others should, too.

“Big crowd expected in New Mexico tonight, where we will WIN. Your Border Wall is getting stronger each and every day — see you in a few hours!” Trump tweeted ahead of his trip.

The campaign also views Trump’s support for the fossil fuel industry as a plus in the state, which is rich in oil and natural gas, said the campaign aide, who declined to be named. Trump is likely to discuss energy on Monday night.

Trump won the White House in 2016 with electoral votes from traditional Republican-leaning states and some surprise Democratic-leaning ones.

The Trump campaign says it wants New Mexico’s five electoral votes to augment the 306 electoral votes the president received in his first election, not create a separate path for victory. A candidate must get 270 electoral votes nationally to win.

Democrats, who did well in New Mexico during the 2018 mid-term elections, are skeptical.

“Last cycle, Democrats crushed Republicans in New Mexico because voters are fed up with President Trump’s toxic healthcare agenda and broken promises,” said David Bergstein, a communications director for the Democratic National Committee focused on battleground states.

“We take nothing for granted, but this GOP strategy looks like they’re concerned about a realistic pathway to 270 electoral votes,” he added.

Trump won electoral-vote-rich swing states such as Ohio and Florida in 2016, while also picking up Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania from Democrats.

The campaign says it is eyeing more pickups in 2020, including Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown

Continue Reading

Politics

California adds Iowa to ‘travel ban’ over refusal to fund gender transitions

Published

on

By

California adds Iowa to 'travel ban' over refusal to fund gender transitions

California announced Monday that it has added Iowa to the list of states on its ever-expanding “travel ban” list because of that state’s new prohibition against funding gender-transition surgeries under Medicaid.

The announcement by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra means that as of Oct. 4, California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.

Becerra’s authority came from a 2016 California law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bars state-funded travel to other states that undercut LGBT rights. The list already included Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

WATCH: LIBERAL POLICIES BLAMED FOR WORSENING CALIFORNIA’S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

Conservatives have called the law ineffective, inconveniencing, possibly unconstitutional and hypocritical. The state’s sports teams have turned to private funding to get around the restrictions, according to The Los Angeles Times.

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

A homeless woman smokes as she waits for city crews to clean the area near Los Angeles City Hall Monday, July 1, 2019. California is overrun with homeless individuals. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

“The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care,” Becerra said in a statement. “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.”

The brouhaha began after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in March that taxpayers could be forced to pay for gender reassignment surgery. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law effectively overriding that ruling two months later.

At the federal level, the Trump administration has disputed the idea that sex-based discrimination prohibitions under law include protections for gender identity. The Health and Human Services Department, in May, angered progressive advocates with rules that both allowed doctors not to perform certain operations and stated that “gender identity” was not protected under sex discrimination law in health care.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Categories

Recent Posts

Like Us On Facebook

Trending