The GOP battle for the speakership intensifies

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On the roster: The GOP battle for the speakership intensifies - I’ll Tell You What: This podcast is confidential - Obama returns to campaign trail with fiery speech - Kavanaugh avoids Dem traps, confirmation vote looms - Seeing quintuple

THE GOP BATTLE FOR THE SPEAKERSHIP INTENSIFIES
Politico: “To hear them tell it, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise are buddy-buddy again. Forget about a potential showdown to lead the House Republican Conference: The only thing the No. 2 and 3 House Republicans care about is saving their majority, they insist. But behind the scenes, the rivalry between the two men is as intense as ever, as the moment of reckoning to determine who will replace Paul Ryan draws closer — and the prospect of losing the House in the midterms grows. Scalise has been busy raising his national profile in ways that some McCarthy allies feel threatens the California Republican’s bid to lead the conference. In recent months, Scalise, the majority whip, has staked out several hard-line positions favored by conservatives. His moves have put McCarthy in the awkward position of having to follow Scalise or anger the far-right, whose support McCarthy needs to become speaker. Like McCarthy, Scalise has been barnstorming the country raising money for lawmakers, chits that could be quite valuable if there is an opening to lead the conference. His office frequently touts his fundraising, noting that his totals have eclipsed any previous GOP whip. Scalise’s team doesn’t spell out that McCarthy previously held the job, but the message is clear whom they’re comparing him to. Scalise, who has backed McCarthy for speaker this spring but is considering a bid if McCarthy falls short, recently hired a former political operative for ex-Speaker John Boehner to coordinate his campaign efforts. The Louisiana Republican will name Grant Saunders, Boehner's former deputy executive director, as his political director this week.”

Is the battle even worth it? -
Vanity Fair: “Ironically, if Scalise does manage to beat out McCarthy for the job, he may wind up in a worse spot: the speakership is a notoriously terrible job—one that burned out both Ryan and his predecessor. The situation has only deteriorated under Donald Trump, whose stewardship has permanently polarized Congress, and who seems incapable of working in tandem with anyone in his own cabinet, much less anyone in Republican leadership. And of course, there’s the very real possibility that Democrats will regain control of the House, eliminating Scalise’s dream job altogether. With that possibility looming in the distance, Scalise’s political machinations—which have reportedly unnerved McCarthy supporters—seem potentially pointless to G.O.P. operatives, who would have preferred a new Speaker sooner rather than later. ‘Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals,’ a Republican groused to Axios back in April, ‘and the last thing they need in this environment is six months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back.’ Unfortunately for Republicans, it seems that’s exactly what they’ll get.”

THE RULEBOOK: STILL TRUE TODAY
“There is, perhaps, nothing more likely to disturb the tranquillity of nations than their being bound to mutual contributions for any common object that does not yield an equal and coincident benefit. For it is an observation, as true as it is trite, that there is nothing men differ so readily about as the payment of money.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 7

TIME OUT: THE MORE YOU KNOW
New Yorker:Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers [created] the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, [which] is the most popular personality test in the world. … Merve Emre’s ‘The Personality Brokers’ (Doubleday) is the story of how the MBTI fell to earth. It was a long descent. … Emre’s book follows closely the account of the development of the MBTI given in Annie Murphy Paul’s ‘The Cult of Personality Testing,’ published in 2004 (a work that Emre surprisingly does not acknowledge). Both books describe Briggs and Myers as intellectually driven women in an era when career opportunities for intellectually driven women were slim. Neither one had any training in psychology or in psychiatry—or, for that matter, in testing—and neither ever worked in a laboratory or an academic institution. A third woman, Mary McCaulley, who came upon the test in 1968, the year Katharine died, was a professor of psychology at the University of Florida. She teamed up with Isabel, and was indispensable in turning the MBTI into a professional operation. But, essentially, the MBTI was home-cooked.”

Flag on the play? -
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: THIS PODCAST IS CONFIDENTIAL
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss Senator Cory Booker’s attempted violation of Senate rules, the latest House upset in Massachusetts and find out what prediction Chris nailed this week. Plus, Dana holds the mailbag and Chris faces judicial trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 39.6 percent
Average disapproval: 55 percent
Net Score: -15.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 2 points
[Average includes: Grinnell College/Selzer: 43% approve - 50% disapprove; Gallup: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; IBD: 36% approve - 56% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 38% approve - 60% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 40% approve - 56% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
40.2 percent
Democratic average: 49.4 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 9.2 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 0.4 points
[Average includes: Grinnell College/Selzer: 45% Dems - 43% GOP; IBD: 50% Dems - 39% GOP; ABC/WaPo: 52% Dems - 38% GOP; USA Today/Suffolk: 50% Dems - 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 42% GOP.]

OBAMA RETURNS TO CAMPAIGN TRAIL WITH FIERY SPEECH
Fox News: “Former President Barack Obama launched his return to the campaign trail Friday with a fiery speech accusing President Trump and the GOP of fueling ‘division and resentment’ -- but the sitting president responded with a rhetorical yawn. ‘I'm sorry, I watched but I fell asleep,’ Trump teased, speaking at a political rally minutes later for GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer in North Dakota. … The back-and-forth between the sitting and former presidents sets the stage for a battle of the mega-surrogates heading into the November midterms. Trump has promised to ramp up his campaign appearances for GOP candidates and, with Obama flexing his political muscle once again, he will have a worthy competitor. Obama's campaign season debut launches his midterm effort to rally Democrats to the polls and end Republicans' grip on power in Congress. The former president warned Friday that the stakes are high and the consequences of staying on the sidelines ‘dire.’ Delivering some of his toughest broadsides against the GOP since leaving office – and referring to Trump by name, something he used to avoid – Obama said there are certain ‘powerful and privileged’ people who want to ‘keep us angry.’”

Pence goes on defense in three Senate races - Politico: “Vice President Mike Pence is going on the air in three Senate races — not so much to pump up Republican candidates but to tear down Democratic incumbents. Pence rips Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana over a range of highly charged partisan issues, from opposition to the GOP tax bill and Obamacare repeal to support for sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood funding. With Republicans facing headwinds going into the November midterms, the party is waging an intense slash-and-burn campaign aimed at disqualifying Democratic candidates. The TV spots paint Tester, Heitkamp and Donnelly — all of whom face the burden of running for reelection in states that President Donald Trump won by double digits — as profoundly out of step with their constituencies.”

California Dems Newsom, Feinstein drop to single-digit leads in latest poll - Fox News: “Two of California's best-known Democrats are slipping in the polls as the calendar advances closer to Election Day. In fact, both Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein have only single-digit leads over their opponents, the results show. In the race for governor, a Probolsky Research poll, conducted between Aug. 29-Sept. 2, shows Newsom leading Republican businessman John Cox by a mere 5 points, with 17 percent of respondents undecided, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Feinstein faces similar problems, with the poll showing her with only an 8-point advantage over progressive challenger Kevin de León. A quarter of the respondents told the pollsters they remain undecided. Both Cox and de León have cut their opponents' leads since the primaries in June. Newsom took 34 percent of the vote while Cox received 25 percent. In California's ‘jungle primary’ system, the two top finishers face off in the general election, regardless of party.”

Sen. Carper defeats progressive challenger - CBS News: “A battle between Delaware's senior senator and an upstart challenger riding an antiestablishment wave within the Democratic Party highlighted the state's primary elections Thursday. Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, 71, hasn't lost a race in more than four decades in politics, including on Thursday. He successfully defended his seat against a primary challenge from political newcomer and community activist Kerri Evelyn Harris, 38. Carper won with 64 percent of the vote. Carper, who famously says he always campaigns as if he's 20 points behind, took no chances against Harris, an Air Force veteran trying to stage one of the most shocking upsets in modern Delaware political history.”

Poll shows tied race for Georgia governor -
AJC: “The race for Georgia governor couldn’t be closer just two months before the election, as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll showed Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp deadlocked at 45 percent. The poll of likely November voters showed the two rivals are fighting to win over a sliver of the electorate: Just 8 percent of the respondents were undecided, and an additional 2 percent support Libertarian Ted Metz. The close nature of the race could be an indicator of the enthusiasm mounting behind Democrats trying to flip the state’s top office for the first time since 2002, propelled by Abrams’ embrace of progressive issues in her bid to become the nation’s first black woman elected governor.”

Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley considers run for Chicago mayor -
Roll Call: “Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley said he is considering a run for mayor of Chicago after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he would not run for re-election. ‘Who wouldn’t be interested in being mayor of Chicago?’ he told the Chicago Sun-Times. Quigley said he is considering it despite the fact he ‘loves’ his job in Congress where he sits on the Appropriations and Intelligence committees. The Democrat sat on the Cook County Board before his election to Congress and said any candidate for mayor should ‘focused on one issue or just being anti-Rahm Emanuel.’ … Quigley said he is not in a rush to make a decision. … Quigley is expected to easily win re-election in November in a district that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic.”

KAVANAUGH AVOIDS DEM TRAPS, CONFIRMATION VOTE LOOMS
Fox News: “Democrats have spent the week trying to catch Judge Brett Kavanaugh in a lie and employ old emails to cast him as a radical conservative. But as Kavanaugh’s chaotic confirmation hearing winds down Friday, Republicans say they believe Democrats failed to land the kind of fatal blow that could derail the nomination. The office of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Democrats struggled ‘to make a legitimate case’ against Kavanaugh after two days of questioning. … After grilling Kavanaugh for two days, senators on Friday are hearing from outside witnesses both supporting and opposing the nominee. This will mark the end of the hearing process. Among those invited by the Democrats on the committee is John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel who turned against the administration during Watergate. The committee, in the coming days and weeks, is expected to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation before the nomination heads to the full Senate for a final vote.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Senators reach deal on bipartisan opioid crisis package, vote next week - Politico

AUDIBLE: AND OTHER SYMPTOMS INCLUDE…?
“It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not a cause.” – Former President Barack Obama discussing political tribalism during a speech at the University of Illinois on Friday.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY

This given Sunday, Chris Wallace will sit down with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. 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.

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HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

SEEING QUINTUPLE

WDAF: “The curriculum at Rockhurst High School [in Kansas City, Mo.] isn't what's giving students and staff headaches. The headache comes as they try to tell each set of the five groups of twin brothers apart. ‘We leave it up to the imagination to figure it out, so we like to give everybody a challenge,’ said Connor Green, a freshman at Rockhurst. The freshmen class has five sets of twin brothers: the Greens, the Garretts, the Tootles, the Warns and the Joyces. It's a unique situation that each of the boys said they feel lucky to be part of. … However, [their] differences don't keep these twins from having fun at the expense of others. ‘In baseball, for pitching, I’ll pitch a few innings, and they’ll take me out. He’ll go in, and they’ll think it’s the same guy. They don’t look at the numbers so people will argue with us about that, so it’s pretty funny to watch,’ Trevor Warn said.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“[The bureaucratization of medicine] is the inevitable and inexorable result of the industrialization of everything from cloth making to food service, now extended to health care. … My argument is simple. If electronic records are such a great boon — as I believe they eventually will be — they will be adopted over time as the benefits begin to exceed costs. Let the market work. Let doctors breathe.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 4, 2015. 

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.

This article was written by Fox News staff.