Fox News First

Dem turnout effort can’t turn tide

In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, students and others gather in front of Old Main at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark., to hear former President Bill Clinton, center, and Democratic political candidates speak.

In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, students and others gather in front of Old Main at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark., to hear former President Bill Clinton, center, and Democratic political candidates speak.  (AP)

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Buzz Cut:
• Dem turnout effort can’t turn tide
• Harper’s: ‘Stop Hillary’
• Power Play: What’s pushing Pressler?
• Cruz looks beyond midterms
• He figured the other fellow wasn’t using i

The message from Democrats has been the same since the end of the primary season this summer: The Obama 2012 model is coming to midterms and it’s going to save the Senate. The Obama model for re-electing a struggling incumbent requires holding down GOP base turnout and keeping Republican-leaning swing voters at home through a barrage of negative ads. Then it’s about juicing the Democratic base with the use of sophisticated targeting and expensive voter contact efforts. But as we get to the final days before the election, fresh questions arise about the strategy – first and foremost whether the blue team succeeded in the first part of the mission. The latest polling suggests that it did not.

[Watch Fox: Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel looks at the efforts on both sides to get out the vote.]

Far from disqualified - A new survey from WSJ/NBC News says that Republicans have taken their first lead among registered voters this cycle. The 2-point edge is small compared to the 5-point advantage the party enjoys among likely voters, but it is the first GOP advantage of any size in the broader measure in the 2014 race. That means there are plenty of swing voters who are still open to the GOP despite the enormous efforts made to describe that party’s candidates as birth-control snatching lunatics. The reality seems to be that Obama Democrats, as all humans are wont to do, have overestimated their own role in the 2012 result. That’s not to say the campaign wasn’t well executed, but just that the atmosphere is far, far worse for Democrats this cycle. Marginally increasing base turnout won’t work if the broad, persuadable middle is breaking against you.

GOP gets serious about early voting - WaPo: “About 43 percent of Iowa voters who have already voted are Democrats, a sign that the party is turning out voters who might otherwise have stayed home. But around 40 percent are Republicans, a dramatic improvement over the party’s performance in 2012, when just 32 percent of the early electorate was registered Republican, and 2010, when 38 percent of early voters were Republicans.”

[Interested in tracking early voting? The Election Project has a nifty Web site for that.]

Dems stake senate hopes on black, Latino voters - USA Today: “The eve of the early voting period in Louisiana, which starts Tuesday, signals the final push in a major effort by the Democratic Party to increase turnout by black voters in the midterm election … Next weekend, Congressional Black Caucus members will make church visits in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan — all states with significant numbers of black voters, and all states where Democratic ability to win or hold onto a Senate seat is threatened.”

[Always Election Day: Early voting begins today in Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia]

What’s the matter, Pookie? - “You’ve got to get your family to vote. You’ve got to get your friends to vote. You’ve got to get your coworkers to vote. You’ve got to get that cousin Pookie sitting at home on the couch – he’s watching football right now instead of being here at the rally – you’ve got to talk to him and let him know it is not that hard to exercise the franchise that previous generations fought so hard to obtain.” –President Obama during a Sunday rally for Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown.

Battlegrounds bedevil Obama Dems’ Hispanic strategy - LAT: “A record number of Latinos are eligible to vote this year, but despite the rising numbers, Latino political clout will be sharply limited in the upcoming midterm election, according to a detailed new study. … In the eight states with the closest Senate races, the Latino potential voter population averages well under half of the national average, at 4.7%. Of those states, only Colorado, at 14%, has a Latino potential voter population at or above the national average. The competitive state with the second-highest Latino share is Kansas, at 6%.”

Bubba courts black voters for Pryor - AP: “Former President Bill Clinton swept through a second Arkansas campaign swing in as many weeks Sunday, hoping to keep Democrats in power at home and in the U.S. Senate. Clinton returned to Pine Bluff, seeking the same political successes he had here in 2000 and 2002. Late-in-the-campaign rallies with predominantly black crowds helped put [Democrats] Mike Ross in the U.S. House and Mark Pryor in the U.S. Senate then, and both candidates need Clinton's help now. ‘They assume you will show up for a presidential election but won't show up’ for a midterm, Clinton said. He cited polls that he said showed that while black people comprise 16 percent of Arkansas' population, the GOP expects blacks to make up just 11 percent of voters this year.”

[Are you thinking stud farm? - “I’m like an old racehorse… put me out on the track, slap me on the rear and see if I can make it around one more time. I’m trying to get around this track one more time, because of you.”—Former President Bill Clinton during a rally for Arkansas Democrats Sunday]

Air Bubba to Louisiana today - The former president is set to campaign for embattle Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in Baton Rouge today. The 42nd president heads to Illinois later this week for campaign events in his wife’s native Chicago.

Clintons’ Southern strategy looks wobbly - The Hill: “Self-proclaimed Clinton Democrats are struggling this election cycle, and not even their powerful namesakes may be enough to save them. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried to turn on their charms to help centrist Democrats in Kentucky and Arkansas. But as candidates in both states are slipping, help from the party’s preeminent power couple is falling short. In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes has clung tightly to both Bill and Hillary Clinton as she tries to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(R). … Despite their close ties to the Clintons, their efforts to distance themselves from a deeply unpopular current president may not work.  That raises questions not only for Hillary Clinton as she ponders a 2016 White House bid, but also for the Democratic Party as it finds itself increasingly unsuccessful in the Deep South and Appalachia.”

In a scathing cover story, subtitled “Vote no to a Clinton Dynasty” Harper’s Magazine deploys liberal economist Doug Henwood to take a sharpscythe to Hillary Clinton, observing the 2016 Democratic frontrunner “…has a long history of being economical with the truth,” and while “it’s been more than 13 years since the Clintons left the White House, it’s amazing how little there is to say about Hillary’s subsequent career… “What is the case for Hillary?” Harper’s asks, “It boils down to this: She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn.  It’s hard to find any substantive political argument in her favor.” The NY Post picks up on the article here.

Takes a chance on Hagan - WSOC reports that the former first lady will stump for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in Charlotte this weekend. Hagan is in a dead heat with her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis.

Charlotte [N.C] News and Observer: “At a news conference in Charlotte on Wednesday, [Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.] repeated what she said in another debate: A travel ban should be part of a broader strategy to contain the disease…But on Friday, Hagan issued a statement calling for the administration to ‘temporarily ban the travel of non-U.S. citizens from the affected countries in West Africa’…The Tillis campaign accused Hagan of flip-flopping. ‘This should not be a partisan issue,’ the campaign said in a statement. ‘Most Americans, in both parties, support a travel ban to keep us safe and Senator Hagan should listen to the people instead of the President.”

[Citing President Obama’s reversal on appointing an Ebola czar, Howard Kurtz thinks the next about face will be a travel ban. “The president sent a similar signal when he said ‘I don’t have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe.’ That is the sound of a politician retreating, laying the groundwork for another reversal.”]

Brown blasts Shaheen over travel ban - New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown is hitting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., over not supporting a travel ban to and from West Africa to help stymie the spread of Ebola. In a letter to Shaheen, Brown writes, “This is not the time to put loyalty to President Obama and his policies above doing what's right to keep Americans safe. I ask that you exercise independent judgment and follow the lead of others in your party who have joined with Republicans to call for an Ebola travel ban.”

Putting on airs is a good way to get in trouble. It’s also a good way to get oddly spelled words. Arika Okrent catalogues some of the words that were granted extra letters in homage to supposed classical roots . For example: “Where did that sc in scissors come from? We used to spell it sissors or sizars. The classicizers of the 1500s thought the word went back to Latin scindere, to split, but it actually came to us (via French) from cisorium, “cutting implement.” The same assumption turned sithe into scythe.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 41.6 percent//Disapprove – 53.4 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.7 percent//Wrong Track – 63.7 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 43 percent// Republicans – 46.4 percent

-- 15 days until Nov. 4 --

Former South Dakota Sen. Larry Pressler left the Republican Party after 18 years in Congress and endorsed President Obama in 2008. Now he might cost the GOP a Senate majority with an independent run that has opened the door for Democrats in a state previously considered out of reach. What’s driving Pressler’s run?  Watch “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” to find out.

In her latest ad, Georgia Democratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn again uses images of former President George H. W. Bush to try to establish her bipartisan credentials. The spot also features a picture of former President George W. Bush from an event when Nunn ran the elder Bush’s Points of Light Foundation. Having already warned her against using his likeness in his campaign, the 41st president is voicing his displeasure. In a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a spokesman for the 90-year-old former president said: “Michelle and her team have been clearly, repeatedly and consistently told that President Bush did not want them to use his photo as part of this campaign. Apparently, the Nunn team feels they can repeatedly disregard the former president’s wishes, which is very disappointing because it’s so disrespectful.”

KDVR: “Numerous robocalls purporting to support U.S. Senate candidate Gaylon Kent went out to voters late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, but the Libertarian candidate says his campaign was not behind them… FOX31 Denver obtained a transcript of this specific call, which appears to appeal to dovish Democrats, ostensibly in support of Kent, who’s been a non-factor in the race. “Since [Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.] was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008, the United States has bombed seven countries,’ the robocall states. ‘In fact, with Mark Udall in the Senate, the U.S. has bombed more countries than it did under George Bush. Not only has Mark Udall not done anything to stop this, Mark Udall has been leading the charge to bomb Syria for years and to continue the carnage that we’re inflicting on the world.”’

Okay then, how about your favorite color - Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., asked for a do-over during a television interview with ABC’s Denver affiliate on Friday. Daily Caller: “After a series of questions on policy issues, news anchor Marc Stewart began asking Udall ‘tough questions.’ ‘Name three of the most influential books in your life,’ said Stewart. ‘The three most influential books in my life,’ Udall repeated. ‘Profiles in Courage,’ he began before stalling for several seconds. ‘Let me think. We can play this over, right? Let me re-tape this.’”

Republicans need six more Senate seats to take control of the upper chamber. Which blue seats are the most vulnerable in this year’s midterms? Here are the top picks among Fox News First readers: Arkansas (13.8%), Montana (13.2%), West Virginia (12.4%), South Dakota (12%), Louisiana (11.7%), and Alaska (8.8%).  Iowa and Colorado are part of reader Steve Donaldson’s six, but he’s also watching New Hampshire as he gets ready to make his final pre-election list.

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

[Baronial bliss - Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone will be among the election experts at the American Enterprise Institute Tuesday morning to make their midterm forecast. Want to register to attend or watch live? Click here.]

Climate Changes
Upshot says there’s a 69 percent likelihood of the GOP winning the Senate, down 2 points from Friday.

WaPo’s Election Lab forecasts that Republicans will see a net gain of eight Senate seats with a 93 percent chance they win the upper chamber, down 3 points from Friday.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gives the GOP a 62 percent chance of winning the Senate, up nearly two points from Friday.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is laying out his vision for what Republican priorities should be if they wrest control of the Senate come November. Cruz writes in a USA Today OpEd: “Republicans — poised to take control of Congress — should set our sights on three big goals to make Americans feel confident in their futures once again: jumpstart the economy, safeguard constitutional liberties, and strengthen our national security.” The Texas Senator goes on to outline “ten critical priorities for the 2015 Congress” which include embracing a pro-growth agenda, repealing ObamaCare, stopping amnesty while securing the border, reining in judicial activism, battling corruption, tax reform, a balanced-budget amendment and repealing Common Core.

Jordan decants ‘bold’ policy blend for GOP - WaPo: “Frustrated with Republicans’ lack of a comprehensive policy agenda, a multimillionaire GOP donor is pitching his own, using a political action committee to publicize a platform based on several Republican positions. ‘Since Republicans are on the precipice of possibly winning a Senate majority there has not been an articulated governing vision of specific steps to meet Americans needs,’ John Jordan, a California-based winery owner and sometimes political operation starter, said …. To promote the agenda, Jordan [began running ads Sunday] based on it through his new super PAC, Bold Agenda PAC. The ad features a women in her kitchen, talking directly to the camera about the importance of Republicans promoting ideas…”

The Florida GOP puts President Obama’s statement that his “policies are on the ballot” front and center in a new ad that highlights Democratic challenger Charlie Crist’s embrace of the president. “Charlie Crist backed Obama front the start,” the ad says. “If you liked the last six years of Barack Obama, you’d love the next four years of Charlie Crist.”

KSLA: “The Hinds County [Miss.] Sheriff's Department has arrested Devarous White for stealing a Westhaven Funeral Home vehicle during a morning funeral... ‘Once the funeral director went inside with the body to set up, he jumped in the car and took off,’ said Nathaniel Ford of Westhaven Funeral Home. Westhaven officials, gave chase to their stolen car, ‘High speed chase, 100 miles an hour,’ said Ford. ‘Our funeral directors jumped in the hearse, and tried to catch him and he was driving 90 miles an hour and the car went off and left him. Then Sheriff's department got in pursuit. The chase went down I-20 into Jackson. The driver bailed out on Camellia lane, and escaped, ducking between houses.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News.  Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.