**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Hillary not the only Dem who doesn’t get 2016 - Power Play: All’s fair in politics and pork rinds - Putin: Election meddling claims like anti-Semitism - GOP Senators weigh taxing employee health plans - ‘Not today’
HILLARY NOT THE ONLY DEM WHO DOESN’T GET 2016
The Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nominee sounds broken these days.
A person who could, with a straight face, say, “I take responsibility for everything I got wrong, but that’s not why I lost” must be to some degree unwell.
As commentators across the ideological spectrum have come to see, Hillary Clinton’s ongoing dissembling about the 2016 election has finally veered into something like absurdist comedy.
But as Democrats quietly fume over their failed nominee’s attacks on the party itself, they should be careful. Clinton is not the only one drawing the wrong conclusions from 2016.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord probably won’t add up to much in the long term. It will further turn off college-educated and suburban voters, who were already cool toward Trump. Conversely, it will, ahem, fire up blue-collar voters, especially in Appalachia and the Midwest. Give a little, get a little.
To listen to Democrats tell it, though, this is pure political poison for Republicans. Echoing the sentiments of world leaders, American Democrats are endlessly castigating Trump for his decision.
Bear in mind during this discussion, if you will, that we are talking here about what was essentially a glorified exercise in keister covering for world leaders who couldn’t come up with a real agreement on carbon emissions. And it will take the entirety of Trump’s term to back out of this essentially phony treaty.
Yes, Trump’s move will put further enmity between himself and Western leaders but it’s not like he was excelling in that arena anyway. Trump was probably heading to zero with most of America’s traditional allies sooner or later, so what’s the big deal if he steps up the pace a little bit? As long as British Prime Minister Theresa May doesn’t stumble in her election next week, Trump can find a way to muddle through with our European allies.
But if Democrats think that this is a great issue for them in swing districts, they should pause to reconsider.
One of the main reasons Clinton lost was that her central campaign platform plank was her assertion that Trump is a creep, a jerk and a doofus. Her campaign spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the precept and ended up with the most expensive defeat in history.
You can, as Clinton did, lament the coarsening of American culture if you like, but that’s not getting you any votes in Youngstown. Hating Trump won’t get Democrats the House back.
Talking about environmental issues can work for Democrats if they, as Barack Obama did, narrowly target certain groups. Democrats seeking slots in suburban, moderate districts can benefit by talking sensibly about climate and conservation. But as a national issue, it’s a dog.
The political press is currently obsessed with the “forgotten” voters of the upper Midwest who tipped the election to Trump, but Republicans rely enormously on educated, wealthy suburbanites for their congressional majorities. They need both the honkytonk and the country club in order to win.
It’s not just Republicans who rely on a blend of more affluent voters and working-class voters. Both parties do, and always have.
The high-decibel outrage being exhibited from Democrats about the Paris Deal is probably too high even for suburban voters, who may be concerned about global warming, but not as a top-tier issue. And it definitely reinforces the negative view that working-class voters have taken of Democrats as out-of-touch elitists more concerned with being green than they are about jobs.
Clinton’s fallacious claims about 2016 sound comical. But Democrats won’t be laughing next November if they follow suit and insist on misunderstanding 2016.
THE RULEBOOK: BEST OF THE BEST
“Inquisitive and enlightened statesmen are deemed everywhere best qualified to make a judicious selection of the objects proper for revenue …” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 36
TIME OUT: COPS AND GOBBLERS
Time: “By now, the stereotype of the doughnut-loving cop is well established — but how did it start? The short answer is that police officers have long worked odd hours, but the options for food in the wee hours haven't always been plentiful. The option to pick up a doughnut dates to the years after World War II. … ‘The early-hours doughnut shop is a post-World War I phenomenon in major cities and did not spread to most of the remainder of the country until after World War II, so the stereotype of an overweight officer drinking burnt coffee and eating a glazed doughnut is a relatively recent creation,’ Paul Mullins… author of Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut, told TIME in an email. In addition, he pointed out, it matters that doughnuts are cheap: cops aren't supposed to accept any free gifts while on duty, so it makes sense that they'd decide to spend their own snack money on something affordable.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
Trump net job-approval rating: -16.6 points
Change from one week ago: -0.2 points
POWER PLAY: ALL’S FAIR IN POLITICS AND PORK RINDS
We are excited to welcome two new players to our weekly news and trivia quiz! Chris Stirewalt tests the knowledge of Fox News Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel and RealClearPolitics Associate Editor AB Stoddard. Both came in as rookies, but only one left a champion. Who will take home the pork rinds? WATCH HERE
PUTIN: ELECTION MEDDLING CLAIMS LIKE ANTI-SEMITISM
The Hill: “Vladimir Putin compared allegations that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee to anti-Semitism at a Friday panel at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. The consensus opinion of the United States intelligence agencies and global cybersecurity community is ‘disinformation,’ said Putin, which ‘reminds me of anti-Semitism and blaming the Jews.’ The panel also featured Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Moldovan President Igor Dodon and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern. … Putin took the opportunity to again deny any Russian involvement in election-related hacking and to question the need for NATO, calling it a relic of the Cold War against a Soviet Union that no longer exists. He singled out President Trump's calls for increased military spending on the part of NATO allies as particularly troubling to him. ‘If you're not intending to attack anybody, why increase your military spending?’ asked Putin.”
Kushner under fire from Bannon group for Russia ethics lapse - ABC News: “Congressional investigators are seeking to determine whether President Trump’s son-in-law was vulnerable to Russian influence during and after the campaign because of financial stress facing his family firm’s signature real estate holding. … The timing of [Jared Kushner]’s December meeting with executives from VneshEconomBank, or VEB, at the suggestion of the Russian ambassador, has also raised concerns from government watchdog groups across the political spectrum. Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, (which was founded by Trump adviser Stephen Bannon and funded in part by a Trump mega-donor, Rebekah Mercer), said the meeting ‘had conflict of interest written all over it.’”
Career diplomats blocked Trump from lifting sanctions on Putin - NBC: “The Trump administration was gearing up to lift sanctions on Russia when the president took office, but career diplomats ginned up pressure in Congress to block the move, two senior former State Department officials told NBC News Thursday…”
GOP SENATORS WEIGH TAXING EMPLOYEE HEALTH PLANS
WashEx: “The Senate is weighing whether to tax employer-sponsored health plans as a way to help pay for Obamacare repeal, according to a published report. The idea is not yet included in a working draft of the Senate GOP's healthcare proposal, and comes with fraught political ramifications and strident opposition from business groups. … But any change to the tax break, which says that health insurance is not income for employees and therefore not subject to payroll taxes, would ignite opposition from major business groups.”
Burr says deal on ObamaCare cuts unlikely this summer - WSJ: “Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) said that the Senate probably won’t reach a deal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act when it returns from a recess next week, in a stark assessment of the party’s health-care prospects.”
Jobs number slumps - AP: “U.S. employers pulled back on hiring in May by adding only 138,000 jobs, though the gains were enough to help nudge the unemployment rate down to a 16 year-low. The Labor Department said Friday that the jobless rate fell to 4.3 percent the lowest level since 2001, from 4.4 percent. Still, the rate declined mainly for a less-than-encouraging reason: People stopped looking for work in May and so were no longer counted as unemployed.”
Trump praises nonexistent tax bill - CNBC: “President Donald Trump on Thursday praised a Republican tax-reform bill that ‘is moving along in Congress,’ though Congress is not yet considering a tax plan. ‘Our tax bill is moving along in Congress, and I believe it's doing very well. I think a lot of people will be very pleasantly surprised,’ the president said…”
TRUMP ASKS SUPCO TO SAVE REFUGEE BAN
NYT: “The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to revive its revised ban that limits travelers visiting the United States from six mostly Muslim countries. The move sets the stage for a constitutional showdown over the president’s authority to make national security judgments in the name of protecting Americans from terrorism. Last week, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., said President Trump’s travel ban was a product of religious animus and intolerance, and so violated the First Amendment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit split along ideological lines in its 10-to-3 decision .”
GOP GROUP TRIES TO TIE OSSOFF TO FAILED COMEDIAN
WaPo: “…Griffin appears in a political ad from a Republican super PAC, attempting to wrangle Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff into a controversy that had mostly run its course.‘Liberal extremists have gone too far,’ says a narrator in the new spot. ‘Now a celebrity Jon Ossoff supporter is making jokes about beheading the president of the United States.’ The ad is part of a $6.5 million anti-Ossoff effort waged by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a well-funded outfit tied to House GOP leaders that has previously sought to paint the Democrat seeking to represent Georgia’s 6th congressional district as a pawn of out-of-state liberal donors and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).”
Ossoff and Handel to debate - WFTV9: “WSB-TV will be hosting a live prime-time debate involving the high-profile race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The Republican candidate, Karen Handel, and Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, have agreed to participate in the only scheduled live televised debate.”
Texas Gov. Abbott signs voter ID law – Austin American-Statesman
Trump was “freelancing” when he wrongly called Philippines robbery terror attack - Newsweek
Yuge! Alec Baldwin raises big bucks for New Jersey Democrats - Philly.com
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Former Vice President Al Gore and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sit down withChris Wallace to discuss the aftermath of President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord. 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.
AUDIBLE: REASONABLE DOUBTS
“You should never slander a country that rejected you. Maybe it had its reasons.” –Peggy Noonan in her column at WSJ.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I'm confused regarding the 6th District election in GA. Jon Ossoff can't vote because he doesn't live in the 6th District. If he doesn't live there how can he run for the seat?” –Evelyn Hall, Portland, Ore.
[Ed. note: Marvelous question, Ms. Hall. The requirements for members of the House of Representatives are pretty basic. According to the Constitution, you have to be 25 years old, have been a citizen of the United States for at least seven years and are a resident of the STATE, not district, you seek to represent. Ossoff is certainly qualified to seek the seat, even as a resident of the neighboring district. Whether voters hold that against him or not is another matter.]
“How I laughed when you had to include the fact [in Thursday’s Time Out] that the spacecraft flying to the sun would be unmanned. Is that proper journalism or an admission that someone would probably ask?” – Art Fyvolent, Tampa, Fla.
[Ed. note: And you thought Sean Spicer had a rough job!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
CBS News: “Thanks to an ill-timed painting break, a water tower emblazoned with the word ‘sex’ is greeting drivers as they pass through a town in southeast Wisconsin. The gaff turned up in Sussex, a village about 20 miles northwest of Milwaukee. WTMJ-TV reports that workers painting the town's name on the water tower stopped midway through to allow the paint to dry Wednesday. They planned to finish painting the town's name Thursday. One driver, Jessica Bruss, told the Milwaukee television station she ‘almost drove off the road’ when her 8-year-old son pointed out the word as they drove past the water tower Wednesday on their way to his first baseball game. ‘Mom, why does that say sex?’ Bruss recounted her son saying. ‘I immediately thought, ‘Not today, we're not having this conversation today.’’ … Resident Chris Aykroid wrote on his website that workers made the same mistake the last time the tower was painted in 1996, warranting a mention in Playboy.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The left is showing that this has become an issue of almost religious beliefs. You could shut down every coal mine in America, the effect on the climate, on temperature, would be negligible. You couldn't even measure it.” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
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.
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 FoxNews.com. 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.