Top Dem Senate recruit won't back Schumer

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On the roster: Top Dem Senate recruit won’t back Schumer - Time Out: The rocket’s red glare - New Q Poll: Wide support for Roe - F.A.R.T. Act draws howls - Even better than Adam Sandler…

TOP DEM SENATE RECRUIT WON’T BACK SCHUMER
Politico: ‘All over the country, Republicans are attacking vulnerable Democratic senators as pawns of Chuck Schumer, the most polarizing Democratic leader second only to Nancy Pelosi. Kyrsten Sinema, one of the party’s most-prized recruits and a keystone of Democrats’ long-shot hopes of capturing the Senate this fall, has a ready rejoinder. ‘I am not going to vote for him,’ she said matter of factly when pressed on her view of the Democratic leader. Her opposition to Schumer is just one example of how the three-term House member is carving out a center-left Senate campaign in the Republican state, hoping it’s enough to inoculate herself from the national party’s baggage and land Democrats their first Arizona Senate seat in 30 years. Sinema’s stance, revealed for the first time in a recent interview with POLITICO, is more radical than any member of the Democratic caucus, even vulnerable senators facing reelection deep in Trump country.”

Obama plumps for Pelosi at fundraiser - WashEx: “Former President Barack Obama threw his support behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a Democratic fundraiser and called for her return as Speaker of the House. ‘Nancy, I believe is one of the greatest speakers we ever had and will once again be one of the greatest speakers we ever have after we get through this cycle,’ Obama said Friday night at the fundraiser hosted at a private home in Atherton, Calif., according to Politico’s Playbook. ‘And there’s not much I could have gotten done without having Nancy there alongside of me every step of the way.’ The fundraiser brought in $2.5 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to the report.”

GOP holds House seat in wake of scandal - The Hill: “Voters in a conservative stretch of exurban and rural Texas on Saturday sent a local Republican Party activist to Congress to replace disgraced incumbent Rep. Blake Farenthold (R), who resigned amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abusive behavior. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Michael Cloud led the field of nine candidates with 54.7 percent of the vote. By winning more than half the vote, Cloud was able to avoid a runoff election and serve the rest of Farenthold’s term. Cloud is a member of the Texas Republican Party’s central committee, and a former chairman of the Victoria County Republican Party. He owns a small media production and public relations firm.”

Romney hedges on endorsing Trump for re-election - WashEx: “Mitt Romney said it is ‘too early’ to say he will support President Trump in 2020. The Utah candidate for U.S. senator further explained to MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, in an interview that aired Sunday evening, that his prior prediction that Trump will get re-elected was not an endorsement. ‘I also think Gavin Newsom will get elected [as governor] in California. That’s not something I want to see, it’s just something that’s probably going to happen,’ Romney added. Romney was also prompted to speak about whether he wants a Republican to challenge Trump in a 2020 primary. ‘There will be people who decide, I presume, to get in a Republican primary,’ he said in reply.”

Virginia Republican chairman quits - WaPo: “John C. Whitbeck resigned Saturday as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, weeks after Corey Stewart won the party’s nomination to take on Sen. Tim Kaine (D) in the November election. ‘Other political opportunities have arisen for me that I am thinking about pursuing,’ he told members of the party’s governing board at a meeting. He did not elaborate. Whitbeck has presided over a particularly dismal stretch for Virginia Republicans, who lost all three statewide offices last year and saw their overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates dwindle to the narrowest possible margin. Virginia is also the only Southern state Donald Trump lost in 2016 presidential election, and the last statewide election Republicans won there was in 2009, when Robert F. McDonnell was elected governor.”

THE RULEBOOK: LESSONS LEARNED
“The Achaean league, as it is called, was another society of Grecian republics, which supplies us with valuable instruction. The Union here was far more intimate, and its organization much wiser, than in the preceding instance.” – Alexander Hamilton and James MadisonFederalist No. 18

TIME OUT: THE ROCKET’S RED GLARE
WaPo: “Ding Yan Zhong — known to industry insiders as ‘Mr. Ding’ — has managed the flow of fireworks for a decade through the two companies he founded, Shanghai Huayang and Firstrans International. He has broadened his empire by consolidating power in China, expanding his reach into California and becoming the most important player in fireworks logistics on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Now, Ding’s control of the fireworks delivery chain is nearly complete, according to two dozen shipping and fireworks executives, more than 40,000 fireworks shipping records, numerous court documents and other sources. … Ding’s volume and fees rose just as the spectacular fireworks he delivers do, and they are passed along to U.S. consumers, paid by everyone from hobbyists buying sparkling comets at roadside stands to municipal governments buying professional-scale shells for their annual Fourth of July celebrations, according to fireworks industry officials in China and the United States.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
42 percent 
Average disapproval: 
51.4 percent 
Net Score:
 -9.4 points
Change from one week ago: 
down 0.2 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 42% approve - 53% disapprove; CNBC: 41% approve - 47% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 43% approve - 51% disapprove; CNN: 41% approve - 54% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
41.2 percent
Democratic average: 48.2 percent
Advantage: 
Democrats plus 7 points
Change from one week ago: 
Democratic advantage up 0.6 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 50% Dems - 41% GOP; USA Today/Suffolk University: 45% Dems - 39% GOP; CNN: 50% Dems - 42% GOP; Gallup: 48% Dems - 43% GOP; Monmouth University: 48% Dems - 41% GOP.]

NEW Q POLL: WIDE SUPPORT FOR ROE 
Quinnipiac University: “There is only a small gender gap as American voters agree 63 - 31 percent with the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Men agree 61 - 32 percent, while women agree 65 - 30 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University National Poll finds. Republicans disagree with Roe v. Wade 58 - 36 percent. Every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group agrees. The Supreme Court is mainly motivated by politics rather than law, American voters say 50 - 42 percent. The court is too liberal, 19 percent of voters say, as 31 percent say it is too conservative and 41 percent say it is about right. But 49 percent of voters approve of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from five mostly Muslim countries, while 46 percent disapprove. President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court should make the court more conservative, 31 percent of voters say, as 29 percent say it should make the court more liberal and 35 percent say it should keep the current balance on the court.”

Meet Trump’s potential female justices - Weekly Standard: “There are six women on the list, and one in pretty much everyone’s top five. … Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana is a Seventh Circuit judge and has been on everyone’s list of likely finalists and, at 46, is among the youngest women on the list. … Another of the favorites is the Tenth Circuit’s Allison Eid. Fifty-three years old, Eid replaced Neil Gorsuch on the federal appeals court last year. … Another former professor, Sixth Circuit Judge Joan Larsen, 49, clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia before serving as a deputy assistant attorney general under George W. Bush. … The Seventh Circuit’s Diane Sykes, 60, on the other hand, has been a likely SCOTUS nominee before. … A lesser-known contender, Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces Judge Margaret Ryan, 54, is a former Justice [Clarence Thomas] clerk… along with Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant, the youngest on the list at age 40 and a nominee to Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals who is awaiting confirmation…”

Manchin stays in the middle - W.Va. Metro News: “West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is not only in the midst of a difficult re-election campaign, he’s also a key player in the high-stakes battle over who will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. … Manchin was among several key swing vote senators called to the White House last week for a one-on-one meeting with the President. Manchin said he met with the President and two of his aides for a half-hour. Manchin said Trump asked him what kind of person he would like to see on the Court. ‘I said I’d like to see someone who is a centrist.  You give me a constitutionalist that believes in the rule of law and is centrist and moderate,’ Manchin said he told Trump.”

F.A.R.T. ACT DRAWS HOWLS 
MarketWatch: “The Trump administration has crafted a draft bill — ordered by the president — that would declare America’s abandonment of World Trade Organization rules, according to Axios, which said over the weekend that it obtained a leaked copy of the proposal. The bill essentially provides President Donald Trump — who has argued for a better position for the U.S. in big trade pacts — a license to raise U.S. tariffs at will, without congressional consent and largely outside of the international rules governed by the WTO. The bill, titled the ‘United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act,’ would give Trump unilateral power to ignore the two most basic principles of the WTO and negotiate one-on-one with any country. … And Canada reportedly began imposing tariffs Sunday on $12.6 billion worth of U.S. goods, such as ketchup and iron, in a retaliatory back-and-forth after Trump slapped fines on steel and aluminum imported into the U.S.”

Trump also threatens countries doing business with Iran under nuke deal - The Hill: “President Trump said Sunday that the U.S. will ‘absolutely’ sanction European companies that do business with Iran. Trump said on Fox News’s ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ that European companies will face consequences as a result of the U.S. withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. ‘Yes, of course. That’s what we’re doing. Absolutely,’ the president responded when asked if the U.S. would sanction European companies that do business with Iran. Trump announced earlier this year that he would pull the U.S. out of the pact, which offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The White House has said the U.S. will put those sanctions back into place. As a result of those sanctions, companies that do business with Iran could face penalties from the U.S. It was previously unclear if the U.S. would penalize European nations that chose to remain in the Obama-era agreement.”

Williamson: Harley’s rebellion - National Review: “Harley-Davidson, like the Pilgrims, finds itself at odds with the authorities. In this case, it is the Trump administration, which is displeased with the Motor Company’s decision to shift some additional production overseas. The proximate cause of that decision is tariffs imposed by the European Union in retaliation for tariffs imposed on European goods by the Trump administration. Trade wars cause a great deal of collateral damage. Harley-Davidson already operates facilities in Brazil, India, and Australia, and it has plans for a factory in Thailand. … What is Harley-Davidson supposed to do? Lose a few hundred million dollars while it waits for the Trump administration to get it right on trade? Because that day probably is not coming.”  

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump’s former fixer, Cohen, sends a warning to his old client - USA Today

Tim Scott: ‘The Republican Party’s Joyful Warrior’ - National Review 

North Korea pumping up weapons programs WSJ

Bolton says plan underway to dismantle Nork nuclear program in year - AP

Bid to split California into 3 states gains traction – could it really happen? Fox News

AUDIBLE: WOOF 

“This is still my only friend in town [looking down at his French bulldog, Lily.]” – Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., while talking to the LAT about his frustration with the House Republicans’ failed immigration attempts.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Nostalgic and bittersweet. I grew up in one of those small farm communities in the south. Silos and barns, brick store fronts and a red brick twelve grade school--I can see each in my mind’s eye even now. It is truly sad to see these fade, especially given the crowded, traffic-mired cities strewn with their own abandoned people and buildings and the increasingly uncivil society that has replaced them. P.S. Thank you for restoring ‘And Now, a Word from Charles...’ Like so many, I miss his trenchant wit, his ability to see and think around the corners of issues and clarity of expression. He was a national treasure, and his words are still so.” – Triche Osborne, Baton Rouge, La.

[Ed. note: Being a small town guy, I have never been entirely comfortable packed in cheek by jowl with my fellow man. Conversely, many folks in New York would probably be unnerved by living out where your closest neighbor is a mile away. That’s the beauty of a federal republic! People get to choose what kind of communities they want to live in. My concern continues to be that whatever these communities are we are placing increasingly little emphasis on forming loving relationships with the humans who reside in them.]

“Chris - your commentary [Friday was] right up there with what ‘Charles’ might have written. It was sad, brilliant, thought provoking, and just plain fabulous!!! How I wish views like yours were ‘main stream’ instead of the trash that seems to pervade all forms of media. Keep it up and God speed!!” – Marie G. Little, Viera, Fla.

[Ed. note: You are too kind! But I do know this: When we write about what we know, we tend to do a better job of it. And if I can’t claim some expertise on small town newspapers as a veteran of The Charleston Daily Mail and The Wheeling Intelligencer, then I’m not an expert at anything!]

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

EVEN BETTER THAN ADAM SANDLER…

KTVA: “Saturday afternoon, Alan and Shandy Cuellar held their fairytale wedding at the Bayshore Clubhouse in south Anchorage in front of nearly 100 of their family and friends -- and a curious moose. Just days before the wedding, Shandy went to the venue to meet with her wedding coordinator to go over the setup. As they were looking around, they noticed a moose at the pond and they both said how amazing it would be if that was the backdrop to their wedding photos. Sure enough, just before the couple’s first kiss as husband and wife, they heard something behind them. ‘I start seeing guests kind of looking that way and I’m just wondering what the commotion is and I look over and I see people kind of moving really fast and I see a moose right there.’ Shandy said the moose seemed more curious than aggressive, but everyone, including the pastor, made sure to be cautious of their surroundings.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Yes, I know that the world is going to pieces and that the prowess of three gifted players doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But I remind you that FDR wanted baseball to continue during World War II. I make no claim that elegance and grace on any field will ward off the apocalypse. But if it comes in summer, I’ll be waiting for it at Nats Park, Section 128, hard by the Dippin’ Dots.” – Charles Krauthammer writing in the Washington Post, Sept. 1, 2011.

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.