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On the roster: Beto 2020 off to a rocky start - Gillibrand formally joins the 2020 race - Hogan pitches himself as a traditional Republican - Poll: Americans’ trust in Mueller is decreasing - ‘Eat mor chikin’ ad IRL
BETO 2020 OFF TO A ROCKY START
Politico: “A more disciplined candidate might not have been so sloppy, with months to prepare and adoring crowds waiting. Yet there was Beto O’Rourke, wobbling on policy, offending women with a joke about child care, frustrating local Democrats with his high-handedness and picking bewildering fights with the media. … O’Rourke’s liabilities began showing soon after he arrived in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state. On Friday, the second day of his campaign, the former Texas congressman was forced to apologize for what he called ‘really hateful’ writings from his youth… Hours later, O’Rourke was apologizing for ham-handedly joking about his wife, Amy, raising their children ‘sometimes with my help.’ … Yet he was still confronting his previous comments as recently as Sunday — after drawing criticism for remarks printed on the cover of Vanity Fair in which O’Rourke said before entering the race that he was ‘just born to be in it.’ … It was not a clean start to O’Rourke’s 2020 run. Though he benefited from nonstop media coverage, a blockbuster initial fundraising figure, and his own political acuity … O’Rourke’s opening act also laid bare disorder in his nascent campaign.”
But his fundraising is through the roof - WaPo: “Beto O’Rourke reported raising more than $6.1 million during the first 24 hours of his presidential campaign, a record-setting haul that narrowly tops the amount announced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and dwarfs everyone else in the 2020 field. O’Rourke was a fundraising juggernaut during his U.S. Senate race in Texas last year, but there were significant questions about whether that would translate to a national campaign… The answer appears to be yes. O’Rourke’s campaign said he raised $6,136,763 from donations that came from all 50 states, D.C., and every U.S. territory. ‘In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us for all of us that answers not to the PACs, corporations, and special interests but to the people,’ O’Rourke said in a statement.”
He gave Biden a lot of support to enter the race too - Politico: “The first time Beto O’Rourke praised Joe Biden, it could have been dismissed as an act of diplomacy. ‘I don’t see why not,’ the newly minted presidential candidate said Friday when asked outside a campaign stop in Washington, Iowa, whether he thought Biden should run for president. ‘I think he’s done an extraordinary job for this country as senator and as vice president. … I think very highly of him.’ Then it happened again, when an Iowan in Independence told O’Rourke, who is 46, that he wanted ‘to see some young people run for president’ and would prefer that Biden — who has 30 years on O’Rourke — stay out. O’Rourke could have let the comment hang in the air, but he came immediately to Biden’s defense. And Biden was still on his mind several hours later.”
RNC criticized over St. Patrick’s Day tweet featuring Beto - Fox News: “The Republican National Committee on Sunday tweeted out a ‘special message’ from ‘noted Irishman Robert Francis O’Rourke,’ by sending his mugshot with a leprechaun hat that was widely criticized as insensitive. O’Rourke has previously admitted to a 1998 arrest when he was 26 for drunken driving and said nothing else will come out that could be used against him during the 2020 presidential campaign. O’Rourke told supporters Sunday that there’s ‘nothing’ he hasn’t already revealed about his past that could come back to hurt his run for office. The Washington Examiner reported that several high-profile Republicans came out against the tweet. An aide for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted, ‘If you think you’re funny or clever by stereotyping and making fun of any race or nationality to score political points, you’re an idiot, and you should probably not tweet.’”
THE RULEBOOK: LESSONS FROM THE PAST
“I have thought it not superfluous to give the outlines of this important portion of history; both because it teaches more than one lesson, and because, as a supplement to the outlines of the Achaean constitution, it emphatically illustrates the tendency of federal bodies rather to anarchy among the members, than to tyranny in the head.” – Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Federalist No. 18
TIME OUT: WORDS REALLY ARE HARD
Smithsonian: “‘French fries’ might not be on the menu if not for ancient farmers, and not because we can now grow plenty of potatoes, but because it would be harder to enunciate the f sounds needed to order them. The ability to make labiodental sounds—which are sounds that require you to put your lower lip on your upper teeth, such as f and v sounds—may not have fully developed until agriculture introduced softer foods to the human diet, changing our jaws, according to an intriguing and controversial study published [on March 14] in Science. Orthodontists know that overbite … are common among people all over the world. But the study’s authors assert that such jaw structures were rarer in the Paleolithic Period, when hunter-gatherer’s rough diets demanded more force from teeth that met edge to edge. Agriculture softened our ancestors’ diets with processed gruels, stews and yogurts, and this fare led to gradually shrinking lower jaws to produce today’s overcrowded mouths.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.6 percent
Average disapproval: 53.8 percent
Net Score: -12.2 points
Change from one week ago: down 1.4 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 39% approve - 57% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve - 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 55% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 46% approve - 52% disapprove.]
GILLIBRAND FORMALLY JOINS THE 2020 RACE
USA Today: “New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made official what already was well-known Sunday, formally joining the crowded Democratic field of candidates for president in 2020. ‘I’m running for president,’ she tweeted. ‘Let’s prove that brave wins.’ Gillibrand, 52, made the announcement on Twitter with a two-and-a-half- minute campaign video titled ‘The Brave.’ She discusses ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and urges Americans in ‘the home of the brave’ to support her and her policies. Gillibrand talks about universal health care, family leave, an end to gun violence, the Green New Deal and campaign finance changes. The video concludes with the senator saying that each generation must answer the anthem's question, whether the brave will win. … Gillibrand, one of six women in the Democratic field, launched an exploratory campaign in January. Recent polling of the field shows her garnering 1 percent or less of the vote – an important number because claiming 1 percent or more would qualify her for primary debates.”
Beto, Booker signal toward female VP picks - NYT: “With a record number of female candidates running for president, some male Democratic contenders are signaling that a woman will be on their 2020 ticket — just not at the top. Two male candidates, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, suggested this weekend that they would pick a woman as their vice president if they won the nomination. ‘It would be very difficult not to select a woman, with so many extraordinary women who are running right now,’ Mr. O’Rourke told reporters in Iowa on Saturday night. … Announcing the demographic profile of a potential vice-presidential pick is highly unusual, especially more than 10 months before the first round of voting takes place in Iowa. The comments reflect a desire by male candidates to show that they are not taking female voters for granted, particularly as so many women mount bids of their own for the nomination. … Issues of race and gender have already emerged as a central theme of the Democratic primary race…”
2020 Dems vocalize stance on expanding Supreme Court - Politico: “After watching Mitch McConnell transform the judiciary over the past four years, liberals are demanding a bold response. And Democrats are listening. Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand told POLITICO they would not rule out expanding the Supreme Court if elected president, showcasing a new level of interest in the Democratic field on an issue that has until recently remained on the fringes of debate. The surprising openness from White House hopefuls along with other prominent Senate Democrats to making sweeping changes — from adding seats to the high court to imposing term limits on judges and more — comes as the party is eager to chip away at the GOP’s growing advantage in the courts. … Expanding the Supreme Court would amount to a historic power play by the next Democratic president and Congress, requiring an intense legislative fight and the abandonment of many judicial and congressional norms.”
HOGAN PITCHES HIMSELF AS A TRADITIONAL REPUBLICAN
WaPo: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan acknowledges that many Republicans nationwide who have heard about his potential presidential ambitions probably view him as a centrist with little hope of finding support in President Trump’s GOP. But amid growing tensions between Trump and Republican lawmakers over foreign policy and the president’s treatment of global alliances, Hogan is signaling that if he decides to wage an insurgent campaign for the GOP nomination, he would pitch himself as far more in tune with the party’s long-held values and worldview than Trump. ‘I come from the Ronald Reagan school of politics,’ Hogan said last week in a wide-ranging interview at the state capitol, shaking his head in disapproval when asked whether he shares Trump’s nationalism. He said groups such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a frequent target of Trump’s ire, are ‘critically important.’ He expressed alarm about the way the president is ‘not standing by or standing up for some of our allies,’ and he poked fun at Trump’s competence.”
POLL: AMERICANS’ TRUST IN MUELLER IS DECREASING
USA Today: “Amid signs that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference may be near its conclusion, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds that trust in Mueller has eroded and half of Americans agree with President Donald Trump's contention that he has been the victim of a ‘witch hunt.’ Support for the House of Representatives to seriously consider impeaching the president has dropped since last October by 10 percentage points, to 28 percent. Despite that, the survey shows a nation that remains skeptical of Trump's honesty and deeply divided by his leadership. A 52 percent majority say they have little or no trust in the president's denials that his 2016 campaign colluded with Moscow in the election that put him in the Oval Office. That number does reflect an improvement from previous polls. One year ago, 57 percent had little or no trust in his denials; in December, 59 percent did. Twenty-eight percent say they have a lot of trust in former FBI director Mueller's investigation to be fair and accurate. That's the lowest level to date and down 5 points since December.”
Trump backs call for Mueller report to be made public - Fox News: “President Trump on Saturday backed bipartisan calls in Congress for FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election to be made public. ‘Play along with the game!’ the president told Republicans. ‘On the recent non-binding vote (420-0) in Congress about releasing the Mueller Report, I told leadership to let all Republicans vote for transparency,’ he tweeted. ‘Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter.’ The House voted on Thursday in support of a nonbinding resolution to encourage Attorney General William Barr to release the report, amid continuing concerns in some quarters that it won't be made public. Four Republican lawmakers voted present. Since the measure is nonbinding, Mueller, Barr and Trump cannot be forced to release more information to Congress and the public than the Justice Department and federal law require.”
Former President George W. Bush talks immigration at naturalization ceremony - CBS News
Dems to use Medicare to target vulnerable senators and House members - WaPo
Pergram: ‘Behind the budget ‘gimmick’ that could help secure Trump’s border wall’ - Fox News
U.S. military to leave 1,000 troops in Syria - WSJ
Donna Brazile: ‘Why I am excited to join Fox News and take part in a civil debate’ - Fox News
“I try to just avoid ruling things out when there’s others who are in control. The Lord will get me to the right place.” – Mike Pompeo talking about his political future with The Wichita Eagle.
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‘EAT MOR CHIKIN’ AD IRL
AL.com: “After leading police on a chase across Campus Parkway in Indiana this weekend, a runaway cow crossed over three lanes of traffic before stopping at a Chick-fil-A. With traffic halted for a short while, one driver was able to capture video of the bovine on the loose. In the video … you can see the cow cross over the highway and head down a hill toward the restaurant. A police car pulls up behind the cow shortly after it crosses. … The Noblesville Police Department had some fun with the incident, posting on Facebook that they ‘ran with the bulls’ while chasing a wild bovine all over.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“You bring criminals to justice; you rain destruction on combatants. This is a fundamental distinction that can no longer be avoided.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for the Washington Post on Sept. 12, 2001.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.