By Chris Stirewalt
Published March 28, 2019
**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Beto bounces into the top tier - I’ll Tell You What: You always want a little more - House Dems weigh subpoena on Mueller report - Fox Poll: What bugs voters most about taxes? - *snort*
BETO BOUNCES INTO THE TOP TIER
Quinnipiac University: “In an early look at the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, former Vice President Joseph Biden is the choice of 29 percent of Democrats and voters leaning Democratic, with 19 percent for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 12 percent for former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California has 8 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners, the independent Quinnipiac University National Poll finds. … Democrats and Democratic leaners say 70 - 27 percent that age is not an important factor in their vote. Looking at other possible factors, these voters say: 72 - 21 percent that political ideology is an important factor; 67 - 23 percent that bipartisanship is an important factor; 71 - 24 percent that standing up to Republicans is important… It is more important that a presidential candidate be a great leader, 55 percent of all voters say, while 36 percent say it's more important for a candidate to have great policy ideas.”
Buttigieg picking up steam - Fox News: “A new national poll provides more evidence that White House contenders Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Pete Buttigieg of Indiana are on the rise in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. … Buttigieg comes in at 4 percent in the survey, several slots behind the leaders but still representing a pickup in the polls. The South Bend, Indiana mayor and Afghanistan War veteran was considered an extreme long shot for the nomination when he launched his presidential exploratory committee in January. But he's seen his star rise in recent weeks, attracting larger crowds on the campaign trail and plenty of positive coverage on the cable news networks and political media.”
He's booming in Iowa, too - Focus on Rural America: “Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar have each fallen between 4% and 5% since December. As a new entrant, Pete Buttigieg, is now tied for 6th place at 6%. Democratic caucus goers are paying much more attention to the contest now, compared to last December, and have strongly positive views of many of the contenders. Name recognition of many candidates has increased substantially in the last three months. Several candidates have also show significant increases in the proportion of voters who hold positive opinions about them, with at least a 10% increase in positive opinion seen by Cory Booker, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, and Amy Klobuchar. Pete Buttigieg, not asked about in the December survey, also shows significant positive opinion at 44%.
Klobuchar announces $1 trillion infrastructure plan - AP: “Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is pitching an infrastructure plan she says will provide $1 trillion to fix roads and bridges, protect against flooding and rebuild schools, airports and other projects. The plan announced Thursday is the first policy proposal from the Minnesota senator since she joined the 2020 race with a snowy rally not far from where the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in 2007. Klobuchar speaks often on the campaign trail about the collapse, which killed 13 people, telling voters ‘a bridge just shouldn’t fall down in the middle of America.’ The plan calls for leveraging $650 billion in federal funding through public-private partnerships, bond programs and clean-energy tax incentives. It would restart the Build America Bonds program President Barack Obama’s administration created to help stimulate the economy during the recession.”
Warren’s next target: Agribusiness - Des Moines Register: “Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking aim at some of the nation's largest agribusiness companies, such as Tyson and Bayer-Monsanto, continuing her campaign's assault on corporate consolidation. The Democratic presidential candidate's plan, released exclusively to the Des Moines Register before it was unveiled Wednesday, would address consolidation in the agribusiness industry, ‘un-rig’ the rules she says favor its largest players, and elevate the interests of family farmers. … Warren has not shied away from confronting those affected by her policies, delivering them directly to those industries' doorsteps. Just as she announced her plan to break apart the nation's largest tech companies before heading to one of the industry's largest gatherings, Warren is announcing her plan to take on corporate agriculture days before traveling to Iowa to speak at a rural issues forum.”
L.A. Mayor says California is still up for grabs - Bloomberg: “Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Democratic U.S. Senator Kamala Harris has strong support for her presidential bid in her home state of California, but she doesn’t have it locked up as her competitors aggressively campaign there. ‘Everybody’s been here,’ Garcetti said in an interview, citing visits by Democratic candidates including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whose rally on Saturday in front of the Los Angeles City Hall drew thousands of supporters. ‘California will very much be in play.’”
If you can do it from South Bend, why not Miramar, Fla.? - Miami Herald: “South Florida Mayor Wayne Messam announced that he’s running for president Thursday by releasing what may be the most meta campaign video of the young 2020 presidential cycle. Messam, the 44-year-old mayor of Miramar, dropped a two-minute biographical video intended to introduce the former Florida State Seminole wide receiver to the country. It begins with a wide-angle shot of Messam — an avid runner who grew up the son of a contract sugar cane cutter in a rural Lake Okeechobee town — running on a road along a cane field. ‘The promise of America belongs to all of us,’ Messam says. ‘That’s why I’m going to be running for president.’”
THE RULEBOOK: THANK U, NEXT
“The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men. A guaranty by the national authority would be as much levelled against the usurpations of rulers as against the ferments and outrages of faction and sedition in the community.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21
TIME OUT: ‘BACK IN THE COUNTRY DAYS’
Since it is opening day for big league baseball, we offer a little meditation from “The Summer Game” the book by greatest baseball writer of them all, Roger Angell. “Within the ballpark, time moves differently, marked by no clock except the events of the game. This is the unique, unchangeable feature of baseball, and perhaps explains why this sport, for all the enormous changes it has undergone in the past decade or two, remains somehow rustic, unviolent, and introspective. Baseball’s time is seamless and invisible, a bubble within which players move at exactly the same pace and rhythms as all their predecessors. This is the way the game was played in our youth and in our fathers’ youth, and even back then – back in the country days – there must have been the same feeling that time could be stopped. Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young. Sitting in the stands, we sense this, if only dimly. The players below us – Mays, DiMaggio, Ruth, Snodgrass – swim and blur in memory, the ball floats over to Terry Turner, and the end of this game may never come.”
[Ed. note: We wish everyone a wonderful, fun season, except the Cubs, obviously.]
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
Trump job performance
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.6 percent
Net Score: -9.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 39% approve - 55% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 48% approve - 49% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 39% approve - 57% disapprove.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: YOU ALWAYS WANT A LITTLE MORE
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt react to the no Russian collusion revelation, discuss the 2020 Trump campaign strategy and Chris dishes the secret to amazing eggs. Plus, Dana kicks off the book club with a new recommendation and hits Chris with some trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
HOUSE DEMS WEIGH SUBPEONA ON MUELLER REPORT
WaPo: “Attorney General William P. Barr is expected to miss House Democrats’ deadline to provide Congress the full report documenting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, increasing the likelihood lawmakers will subpoena the Justice Department. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that during a Wednesday phone call with Barr, the attorney general said it would be ‘weeks, not months’ before lawmakers can see the report, making it ‘apparent that the department will not meet the April 2 deadline that we set’ earlier this week. Barr would not promise that ‘an unredacted full report with the underlying documents, evidence, would be provided to Congress and to the American people,’ Nadler said. ‘We’re not happy about that, to put it mildly.’ Though Nadler would not say whether lawmakers will issue a subpoena, he told reporters that April 2 was ‘a hard deadline that we set and we mean it.’ A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
‘The resistance media weren’t ready for this’ - Atlantic: “These are turbulent times for Resistance Inc. The Robert Mueller fetishization cottage industry is collapsing. Russia conspiracy theorists are frantically tweet-storming as though their life—or livelihood—depends on it. And across liberal America, cable-news obsessives and keyboard warriors who have spent years waiting for investigators to produce a presidency-ending bombshell are in a state of open mourning.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Legal woes a-coming - This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why President Trump’s legal woes are only just beginning: “Barr's four-page summary of Mueller's 700-page report claims to have characterized fairly Mueller's principal conclusions. Yet a careful reading between the lines of those four pages reveals lawyerly language that the president does not want to hear analyzed. Though the president will not be charged with conspiracy to receive something of value from the Russians in order to affect the outcome of a political campaign (a felony), Mueller clearly found some evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence (probably the 100-plus communications, some in person, between them), but not enough evidence ‘to establish’ the conspiracy -- that is, not enough evidence to prove the existence of the conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. We know Mueller found some evidence of such a conspiracy because if he failed to find any evidence, Barr would have said so. He didn't.” More here.
FOX POLL: WHAT BUGS VOTERS MOST ABOUT TAXES?
Fox News: “According to a Fox News Poll released Wednesday, voters’ top tax concern isn’t how much they pay. Instead, they are most concerned about the rich not paying enough (34 percent) and the way the government spends the money (28 percent). About 1 in 10 say what bothers them most is the amount they pay (12 percent), too many people don’t have to pay at all (12 percent), and the complexity of the system (10 percent). Compared to 2014, the last time the question was asked, there has been an increase in voters who are troubled that the rich aren’t paying enough (+6 points). The shift in frustration comes mainly from self-identified liberals (+20) and voters under age 30 (+14 points). However, it’s not limited to traditional left-leaning groups -- voters ages 65 and over (+14), voters earning $50k and over (+11), and whites without a college degree (+9) are also increasingly bothered by the wealthy not pulling their weight.”
Sen. Roy Blunt: Dept. of Ed. appropriations bill won’t cut Special Olympics funding - Roll Call
GOP senators down on Shanahan’s chances to permanent Defense secretary - Bloomberg
House Dems pass gender pay gap bill Wednesday - Roll Call
Trump: DOJ, FBI to review ‘outrageous’ Jussie Smollett case - Fox News
AUDIBLE: BRUTALLY HONEST BARBARA
“The world thought I was writing this note to Bill Clinton. I am glad that I am not.” – Former First Lady Barbara Bush wrote in a letter to First Lady Melania Trump. This letter and more can be read in the book “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty” coming out April 2.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Just an additional comment to add to your response to Mr. Randell [in Wednesday’s Halftime Report.] I seem to recall a similar statement from the DOJs Inspector General concerning FBI bias, remember this gem? ‘We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions.’ It’s quite amusing to note how all the politicians conveniently 'switch' sides depending on whether they are discussing IG Horowitz's or Special Counsel Mueller's quote!!! P.S. - Love that you're trying to put the halftime back into the Halftime Report.” – Dave Kovatch, Rhodelia, Ky.
[Ed. note: As a collector of the place names of Appalachia, I couldn’t pass up your letter, Mr. Kovatch. As best I can figure, there are about 200 people who live in your community, there on the bend of the great Ohio River between Louisville to the east and Evansville, Ind. to the west. It is a beautiful place in creation, indeed. Many of my people lived in or passed through your part of the world since Stirewalts, Hentons, Laytons, Logans and other suspicious characters long, long ago started working the rivers and valleys of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. It seems to have been named for Elias Rhoades, a prominent citizen of the considerable Roman Catholic population of the area in the second half of the 19th Century. That’s fitting because Rhodelia is home to the region’s oldest Roman Catholic Church, St. Theresa’s, built in 1855. Rhodelia has a ring to it that sounds grand enough for a major commercial city but delicate enough to describe a wildwood flower. If I ever get another girl dog, I may name her Rhodelia! I grew up on the northern end of the Ohio in Wheeling, W.Va. and spent about a decade working in Charleston, W.Va. and as a newspaperman treasured the datelines of our part of the country: Toad, War, Red Jacket, Paint Creek, Fly, Big Ugly, Inez, Man, Jane Lew and on and on. Thank you for adding one more fine fish to my creel.]
“In your article about legislation for ‘dreamers,’ you use the term ‘undocumented immigrants.’ They are ‘illegal aliens,’ period! They have broken the law.” – Bob Bush, Summerfield, Fla.
[Ed. note: I suppose you could technically say that they are both of those things, Mr. Bush. I would first point out that we were sharing a Washington Post story, not our own writing in that case. My style is to use neither your freighted term nor theirs. I tend to prefer specificity. In the case of what the article calls “Dreamers,” I would say that they are “people brought to the country illegally as minors.” In general, I tend toward the term “illegal immigrants.” But sometimes we are able to discuss “migrant workers,” “people who have overstayed their visas” or the individuals’ country of origin. Again, when talking about people, specificity is more useful than generality. Your insistence on the use of the increasingly archaic “aliens” seems intended to shame or dehumanize these people. I would remind you that it is possible to favor strict enforcement of immigration laws but to do so humanely and compassionately. Especially when you are talking about people who were brought to the U.S. as children, some of whom who have never known a home other than this one, showing tenderness might cause more people to come around to the general view of supporting more restrictive policies. When you insist on using a term that other people find hurtful, you are labeling yourself more than you are labeling them.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
WDIV: “Police in the Downriver community of Rockwood [Mich.] are looking for a man accused of stealing a python by putting it down his pants. Emily Scheiwe and Callie McLeroy said they genuinely love the pets inside I Love My Pets in Rockwood. They said last week a man walked in asking about snakes and wanting to buy a rat. When Scheiwe left him alone for a moment he stole the snake by hiding it down his pants, officials said. … When workers realized Pasta the python was missing, they thought he'd escaped. They checked surveillance video and realized the man had stolen the python, police said. Video appears to show the man walking around the store for close to four minutes. He even paid $6 for the rat, but walked out with $100 worth of snake, according to officials. ‘I wouldn't be that calm with a giant python down my pants,’ a worker said. ‘That would not be me.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“We all have our ways of marking the seasons. I know it’s spring when in early April I start my morning by skipping the Washington Post front page and going right to the sports section. It’s not until I’ve fully savored the baseball box scores that I resignedly turn to politics.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 25, 2016.
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.