**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: - Comey gives Hillary a closing argument - Iowa poll: Truuuuuuuuuuuuuump - Hispanic voters could pull late surge for Hillary in the Sunshine State - Any given election Sunday - ‘Balls like these’
COMEY GIVES HILLARY A CLOSING ARGUMENT
When history records the story of the 2016 election there will be a particular place of opprobrium for James Comey and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It’s usually a good sign when criminal justice officials manage to make both political parties upset. It’s often a hallmark of justice well served. But not, apparently, when it happens in a round-robin fashion.
Comey finishes the election cycle with a letter to congress about the reinvigorated investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, which essentially says: never mind!
We have talked before about what we will leave behind after the 2016 election. Lamentably, one of those things is the esteem with which Americans viewed their federal police force.
But we will leave that for another time.
Right now, what matters is the impact on the election. Is it too close to the end of voting to make a difference? Will anyone really care?
To figure that out, the first thing to examine is the effect of Comey’s first letter refreshing the investigation. Some of the perceived consequence wasn’t really from Comey at all, but rather an increase in Republican support for Donald Trump in the closing weeks of the election. As the GOP came home, by and large, the race tightened.
Comey’s letter did have some effect though.
As we look at the WaPo/ABC News tracking poll, we can see how the buffeting winds of Comeygate blew. Democrats became despondent while Republicans cheered up. When a race is as close as this one, especially in key states, voter intensity means a great deal.
It’s one thing to be a likely voter. It’s another thing to be fired up about it and telling your friends, neighbors and relatives to get out and vote. Faced with a possibility of what seemed like criminal charges, Democrats got droopy and Republicans got fired up. We saw that with voters’ favorable views of Clinton taking a hit.
But, by the end of last week, even those trends had either stopped or reversed.
So does Comey’s fourth-quarter bobble make any difference?
Look for Democratic voter intensity to jump up as the Clinton campaign touts its vindication of what the Clinton campaign will characterize as an updated version of the candidate’s famous quote: “vast right-wing conspiracy.” If you thought Team Clinton took victory laps this summer when Comey first dropped the case, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Before today’s announcement, Republicans believed that Comey had delivered Trump’s closing argument: corruption and a call to “drain the swamp.” Instead, Comey has given Clinton her talking points for the last 50 hours of the race: these Republican guys won’t stop America’s first female president.
THE RULEBOOK: TEAM OF RIVALS
“The idea of a council to the Executive, which has so generally obtained in the State constitutions, has been derived from that maxim of republican jealousy which considers power as safer in the hands of a number of men than of a single man.”– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 70
TIME OUT: PULLING FROM BEHIND
In honor of Saturday’s New York City Marathon, we look back forty years ago, in America’s bicentennial year, when event was first hosted outside Central Park to include the city’s five boroughs. NYDN: “The city was in very rough shape,” says George Hirsch, one of the founders of the New York City Marathon and the current chairman of the board for the New York Road Runners (NYRR). ‘It was on the verge of bankruptcy. Crime was sky-high.’ But despite the many civic and logistical hurdles that the race’s organizers faced in 1976, just over 2,000 runners took off from Staten Island that Sunday, Oct. 24…and made their way through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, finally finishing in Central Park near the famed Tavern on the Green restaurant…Now, four decades later, the signature marathon has more than 50,000 participants annually, athletes of all levels, from all parts of the globe, and the 26.2-mile race has become one of the most recognized international sporting events.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
IOWA POLL: TRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMP
Des Moines Register: “Donald Trump has surged to a 7-point lead over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton among Iowa voters, firmly establishing the Republican presidential nominee as the favorite to win the state’s six electoral votes on Tuesday. Trump is the top choice for 46 percent of Iowans who have already cast a ballot or plan to do so on Election Day, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, compared to 39 percent who say they’re for Clinton…Trump’s overall 46-39 advantage underscores gains he has made since the last Iowa Poll, conducted four weeks ago, in which he led by 4 points. Clinton’s share of support remains stagnant at 39 percent across the two polls, while Trump’s has risen 3 percentage points.”
But Virginia looks like a lock for Hillary - A Roanoke College poll shows Hillary Clinton with a 7-point lead over Donald Trump. Although this is a 2-point drop since the last poll when Clinton led by 9 points, it shows her margin is still strong in Old Dominion.
Hispanic voters could pull late surge for Hillary in the Sunshine State - NYT: “Hispanic voters in key states surged to cast their ballots in the final days of early voting this weekend, a demonstration of political power that lifted Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes and threatened to block Donald J. Trump’s path to the White House. In Florida, energized by the groundswell of Latino support and hoping to drive even more voters to the polls, Mrs. Clinton visited a handful of immigrant communities on Saturday and rallied Democrats in a town filled with Hispanic and Caribbean migrants…Indeed, even as she fought a rear-guard action to defend a series of more heavily white states that appear to have grown more competitive, making trips to Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton appeared to find a growing advantage in the more diverse presidential battlegrounds.”
ANY GIVEN ELECTION SUNDAY
Tune in to the Fox News Channel for special primetime coverage on the final Sunday before the election. Start your evening with “Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What” as Dana and Chris break down the latest polls with top-flight analysis from their panel and Data Dive that will drain the swamps on Florida early voting at 5 p.m. ET. Up next, “Special Report with Bret Baier” at 6 p.m. ET, “On the Record with Brit Hume” at 7 p.m. ET, “The O’Reilly Factor” at 8 p.m. and then Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.”
AUDIBLE: NERVOUS NELLIES
“I’m always nervous.” – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to CNN when asked if he’s nervous about the results of the election.
“The story of this election may be the mobilization of the Hispanic vote. So Trump deserves the award for Hispanic turnout. He did more to get them out than any Democrat has ever done.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., quoted by the New York Times.
Trusty Nate Silver lays out the real, and final, state of the race - FiveThirtyEight
Trump continues to focus on blue states as Hillary hits the battleground states on the final Sunday of the campaign - Fox News
Trump aide, son tweet about non-existent ‘assassination attempt’ - WaPo
Washington State elector says he won’t vote for Clinton - Fox News
Christie cancels N.H. trip after former aides convicted in ‘Bridgegate’ scandal - WMUR
Pence says no plans to remove Christie from transition team - Politico
Palin to campaign with Trump in Mich., N.C., joins him in N.Y. on election night - Daily Beast
Iran state television showed regular presidential debates for anti-U.S. propaganda - Mediaite
FROM THE BLEACHERS
[Ed. note: We apologize for the technical issues we’ve been having that have resulted in many loyal subscribers getting booted from our mailing list. A technological upgrade had some unfortunate side effects. We appreciate all of you who wrote in about what became of their newsletter in several days. We are sorry for the inconvenience but ask that you’d sign up again RIGHT HERE.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
‘BALLS LIKE THESE’
BBC: “A strange and beautiful sight greeted locals in the Gulf of Ob, in northwest Siberia, after thousands of natural snowballs formed on the beach. An 11-mile…stretch of coast was covered in the icy spheres. The sculptural shapes range from the size of a tennis ball to almost [3 feet] across. They result from a rare environmental process where small pieces of ice form, are rolled by wind and water, and end up as giant snowballs. Locals in the village of Nyda, which lies on the Yamal Peninsula just above the Arctic Circle, say they have never seen anything to compare to them. Russian TV quoted an explanation from Sergei Lisenkov, press secretary of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute: ‘As a rule, first there is a primary natural phenomenon - sludge ice, slob ice. Then comes a combination of the effects of the wind, the lay of the coastline, and the temperature and wind conditions. It can be such an original combination that it results in the formation of balls like these.’”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.