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On the roster: Biden campaign on Trump rallies: ‘People will die’ - Bibi returns the favor for Trump - Down-ballot Dems break with Biden on door-to-door - House moderates release bipartisan relief plan - Don’t try to rob Blue Thunder
BIDEN CAMPAIGN ON TRUMP RALLIES: ‘PEOPLE WILL DIE’
Politico: “Joe Biden’s campaign manager forcefully defended the Democratic nominee’s pandemic-altered campaign activities, asserting Tuesday that ‘people will die’ because of rallies held by President Donald Trump that shirk safety precautions aimed at preventing transmission of the novel coronavirus. In a POLITICO Playbook interview, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon pointed to indoor campaign rallies Trump held this week, in direct contradiction with the coronavirus guidelines of his own administration, as well as a packed event on the South Lawn of the White House where Trump is celebrating the normalization of relations between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. … ‘People will die because of these types of events and that's from the president of the United States,’ she asserted. … Despite Biden generally approving of the diplomatic breakthrough being commemorated at the White House on Tuesday, she said, Trump ‘continues to just suggest that we aren't in the middle of a pandemic and it’s really problematic but so emblematic of his lack of leadership and what we are going to continue to stay focused on.’”
Race still tight in N.C. while Biden gets a boost in Wis. - CNN: “The race for the presidency is near even in North Carolina and Democratic nominee Joe Biden holds a lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS in the battleground states. Among likely voters in North Carolina, 49% support Biden, 46% Trump. In Wisconsin, likely voters break 52% for Biden to 42% for Trump. The results suggest North Carolina voters see some strength in each candidate. Likely voters there divide over which candidate would better handle the top issues in the campaign, with Trump holding an advantage on handling the economy (52% to 45% among likely voters) and Biden ahead on handling the coronavirus pandemic (52% to 46%) and racial inequality in the US (53% to 41%). … In Wisconsin, on the other hand, Biden has an edge over Trump on all but two of those tested matchups, and on those where Biden does not have an edge, neither does Trump.”
Poor showing with veterans holds Trump back in Florida - Monmouth University: “Joe Biden holds a 3 to 5 point lead over Donald Trump in Florida, depending on a range of likely voter models. The Monmouth University Poll finds Biden with a large lead among Latino voters, but also suggests there are some possible signs of strength for Trump among older voters in this group. However, Biden has a sizable advantage in solidly Democratic areas of the state as well as more competitive counties. Trump holds a smaller than usual lead for a Republican incumbent among the large veteran vote contingent. The poll also finds widespread voter support for ballot measures to raise the minimum wage and to change the state primary election process. Among all registered voters in Florida, the race for president stands at 50% for Biden and 45% for Trump. … Voter intent includes 41% who say they are certain to vote for Biden (versus 40% who say they are not at all likely to support the Democrat) and 38% who are certain to support Trump (versus 49% who are not at all likely).”
Wisconsin justices dash GOP hopes for ballot snarl - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court kept the Green Party's presidential ticket off the ballot Monday, disappointing party members but ensuring more than a million absentee ballots will be sent to voters Thursday as required by state law. The ruling also bolsters hopes for Democrats, who feared presidential nominee Joe Biden could lose a small share of his votes to the liberal third party. Republicans had hoped the Green Party would shave just enough votes from Biden's total to give President Donald Trump a victory this fall in a state he narrowly won in 2016. Justice Brian Hagedorn broke with his fellow conservatives to form a majority with the court's liberals that kept Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins off the ballot. The majority found Hawkins and his running mate, Milwaukee native Angela Walker, waited too long to bring their legal challenge.”
Big three in the blue wall among the slowest to count - Politico: “The most important states in the 2016 election are among the least likely states to count their votes and declare a winner on election night this year. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are expecting huge surges in ballots cast by mail in 2020, like most states preparing to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. But all three Midwestern battlegrounds, which President Donald Trump flipped in 2016 to win the White House after years of Democratic presidential victories there, are among the states where local election officials are not allowed to start processing mail ballots until Election Day, according to a POLITICO review of election rules in 13 key states. Mail ballot processing involves everything from opening envelopes to checking voter signatures to flattening ballots that have been crumpled or creased in transit. The procedures can be time consuming, and that will create a backlog of millions of votes set to draw out the counting process for days after the polls close. That means that the country may be waiting, along with voters in the three Midwestern states, to see whether Trump or Joe Biden carried their electoral votes — and potentially the presidency.”
THE RULEBOOK: THE PRICE IS RIGHT
“A price would be set not only upon our friendship, but upon our neutrality.” – Alexander Hamilton, explaining the benefits of the Union concerning commercial relations, Federalist No. 11
TIME OUT: GONE FISHIN’
T. Edward Nickens takes readers on a journey to Georgia’s Satilla River - Garden&Gun: “You’ll find them haunting creek banks and dark river coves where blossoms of shadbush and wild blueberry swirl through old cypress trees. That’s where the fish flash like iridescent lightning. Redbreast sunfish live in places that call to childhood memory and sandbar naps. Until you hook one on a cricket or a curly-tailed grub. Then you don’t think so much about how things used to be because you can feel the fight all the way down the rod and into the palms of your hands, and what you think about most is putting such a bellicose fish in the boat. These fish sport a blue-green back and rays of turquoise around each eye. … Most prevalent in lower Piedmont and Coastal Plain rivers and creeks from Virginia to Mississippi, redbreast sunfish live in waters where the South’s natural fabric is largely intact.”
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NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 43.6 percent
Biden: 50.6 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 7 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↓ 0.6, Trump ↑ 1 point
[Average includes: Fox News: Trump 46% - Biden 51%; Kaiser Family Foundation: Trump 43% - Biden 48%; Monmouth University: Trump 44% - Biden 51%; CNN: Trump 43% - Biden 51%; Quinnipiac University: Trump 42% - Biden 52%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)
Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 53.2 percent
Net Score: -9.4 points
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.4 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 48% approve - 51% disapprove; Kaiser Family Foundation: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; Monmouth University: 42% approve - 55% disapprove; CNN: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve - 54% disapprove.]
GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM.
BIBI RETURNS THE FAVOR FOR TRUMP
NYT: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has long owed a debt to President Trump, who has repeatedly bestowed diplomatic gifts at crucial moments as Mr. Netanyahu has battled for his political survival. Leaders of the Persian Gulf states are similarly grateful to Mr. Trump, who has embraced their governments, cracked down on their archnemesis, Iran, and defended them from intense political criticism in Washington. … And at the White House on Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu and a select group of Gulf Arab officials will be returning the favor, doing their part to repay and support Mr. Trump by participating in a signing ceremony for a pair of new accords between Israel and two Gulf nations, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, that Mr. Trump is promoting as a historic breakthrough.”
What’s exactly in the deal? - Fox News: “President Trump on Tuesday declared the ‘dawn of a new Middle East’ as he presided over the signing of two historic Middle East diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf nations. … The deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and Israel and Bahrain, involve the exchanging of ambassadors, establishment of embassies and co-operation on a range of fronts -- including trade, security and tourism. The agreements, known as the ‘Abraham Accords’ also allow Muslims to visit Islamic holy sites in Israel. Trump said the deals would form ‘the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.’ … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of both the UAE and Bahrain were present to sign the deals at the ceremony. … The leaders also signed a separate trilateral declaration of peace.”
Trump tangles with climate change amid wildfires - AP: “With the smell of California wildfires in the air, President Donald Trump on Monday ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in historic West Coast infernos and renewed his unfounded claim that failure to rake forest floors and clear dead timber is mostly to blame. The fires are threatening to become another front in Trump’s reelection bid, which is already facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest. His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in his own speech Monday said the destruction and mounting death toll across California, Oregon and Washington require stronger presidential leadership and labeled Trump a ‘climate arsonist.’ Trump traveled to Northern California to be briefed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state and federal officials. At one point, state Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot urged the president to ‘recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests.’ … Trump responded, ‘It will start getting cooler, just you watch.’”
Top health spokesperson signals desire to leave - Politico: “The health department's top spokesperson Michael Caputo called an emergency staff meeting on Tuesday to apologize for drawing negative attention to the Trump administration's health care strategy and signaled that he might be soon departing his role, according to five people with knowledge of the meeting. The departure of Caputo, who has closely controlled the health agencies' dissemination of information about coronavirus, would be a blow to the Trump administration's efforts to promote a possible vaccine, if one is approved in the fall. Caputo told staffers that his series of false accusations on Facebook Live this weekend — which included unfounded allegations that the Centers for Disease Control was harboring a ‘resistance unit’ — reflected poorly on HHS’ communications office. He blamed his recent behavior on a combination of physical health issues and the toll of fielding death threats against his family.”
DOWN-BALLOT DEMS BREAK WITH BIDEN ON DOOR-TO-DOOR
Politico: “Democrat Sara Gideon's campaign is knocking on voters’ doors in her close Senate race in Maine. So is Steve Bullock in Montana, another one of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests. Democratic candidates in state legislative races in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Louisiana are doing the same. For months, down-ballot Democrats followed Joe Biden’s lead and stopped door-to-door campaigning in an effort to prevent people from catching Covid-19 and appear more socially responsible than Republicans. President Donald Trump’s campaign and other GOP candidates, by contrast, have downplayed the pandemic and been knocking on voters’ doors for months. But with anxiety growing in the final sprint before Election Day, an increasing number of Democrats up and down the ballot are making the call to stop ceding voters’ doors to the GOP — a decision that could increase pressure on Biden’s campaign to restart the traditional election-year practice. Democratic candidates who have returned to canvassing said they are adhering to strict safety protocols, as well as asking voters if they are comfortable with their presence.”
Cunningham tries to walk back vaccine skepticism - The [Raleigh] News & Observer: “Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham said Monday that he would be ‘hesitant’ to take a coronavirus vaccine if it were developed by the end of the year, saying he would have a lot of questions about the ‘political and financial corruption’ in Washington. ‘I’m going to ask a lot of questions,’ he said. ‘I think that’s incumbent on all of us right now with the way we’ve seen politics intervening in Washington.’ Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis called Cunningham’s response ‘irresponsible.’ ‘That statement puts lives at risk and it makes it more difficult to manage a crisis that he presents to say he’s up to the task to manage,’ Tillis said. ‘We just heard a candidate for the U.S. Senate look into the camera and tell 10 million North Carolinians he would be hesitant to take a vaccine. I think that that’s irresponsible.’ Cunningham and Tillis met Monday night in the first of three U.S. Senate debates.”
Coons faces left-wing challenge in final primary of 2020 - WaPo: “Six months of partisan primaries come to an end Tuesday in Joe Biden’s home state, where Democratic Sen. Christopher A. Coons is facing a left-wing challenger and Republicans will nominate their statewide ticket. Coons, first elected in a 2010 special election to fill Biden’s expired Senate term after he became vice president, is defending his seat against Jessica Scarane, a digital strategist making her first run for office. Coons, who has derided President Trump and also challenged the Democratic Party’s far left, has aired TV spots and distributed mail that emphasize his support from Biden. It was Coons, who received a master’s degree in ethics from Yale Divinity School, who spoke of Biden’s faith at the Democratic convention… Scarane, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, has raised more than $300,000 during a campaign that’s prioritized Medicare-for-all, the Green New Deal and a housing guarantee, and has warned that the moderate Coons could block all of it.”
HOUSE MODERATES RELEASE BIPARTISAN RELIEF PLAN
Bloomberg: “A 50-member group of House Democrats and Republicans released a $1.52 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan Tuesday in a long-shot attempt to break a months-long deadlock on providing relief to the pandemic-battered U.S. economy. The Problem Solvers Caucus plan was developed over six weeks with the knowledge of the White House and leadership from both parties. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has referred to the discussions and at a House hearing this month hinted that the White House could accept a $1.5 trillion level of spending. Nonetheless, the track record of bipartisan groupings of moderates in either the House or Senate to broker major deals has been poor in recent years. And initial reactions Tuesday from leaders in both parties weren’t encouraging. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday criticized the plan after it came out, saying Democrats should not agree to less than $2 trillion. ‘I think the Problem Solvers would be lower than a responsible deal,’ he said.”
Survey finds America’s reputation abroad has declined - Pew Research Center
Pergram: How a contested election brawl could unfold on Capitol Hill - Fox News
Trump super PAC uses Russian jets in ad - Politico
Host of indoor Trump rally hit with $3,000 in fines - The Nevada Independent
Questions mount about South Dakota attorney general’s fatal car accident - Rapid City [S.D.] Journal
“A Harris administration together with Joe Biden...” – Kamala Harris said during a virtual roundtable where she quickly clarified Joe Biden will be president.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“In response to an excellent challenge from reader Ms. Chambless about ‘pathetic soft questions’ from liberal reporters, you said, ‘What I said in the podcast was that it was not the intent of those reporters to help Biden. I do not believe that when they crafted their questions they did so with malign intent to influence the election. That makes it better in the sense that they were being sincere but worse in the sense that they were oblivious.’ You are somehow making a distinction that I don’t believe exists. ‘Intent’ flows directly from bias. Whether conscious of unconscious, it is still an expression of bias and shows up in ‘pathetic soft questions.’ Making that distinction allows you to express a kindness to reporters that Ms. Chambless and I believe they do not deserve. What’s needed now, given the overwhelmingly low trust ratings these reporters have earned, is less kindness and more hard feedback. They are consistently not being professional journalists and most of us know it. As always, you remain my favorite political pundit.” – Robert White, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
[Ed. note: I would be careful when it came to underestimating Ms. Chambless’ kindness. She’s been a longtime subscriber and has always struck me with her sense of compassion and decency – and yes, kindness even to those of us, like me, who fall short of the mark. I also wonder how you think all that “hard feedback” has been working out? Republicans have long complained about press coverage, often with good cause, sometimes as an excuse for their own mistakes. But the verdict of the ages has been, indeed, that there is a left-leaning bias in the press. It would make sense because there aren’t a lot of red-state media centers and conservatives who disdain a profession seem unlikely to try to join it. Add in the fact that the major media hubs are in New York and Washington and that women have long been drawn to the communications field and you get a group of individuals with a true-blue skew. So, let’s imagine an archetype for a successful national reporter: A woman born and raised in Washington, D.C. who worked hard to get into elite schools and then fought her way up the ranks at a major media outlet starting as an intern. She’s just as likely to assume a left-leaning worldview as a man from Oklahoma in the energy business would be to assume a right-leaning worldview. It’s what they have been formed from and raised in. When our hypothetical reporter sees the world, she’s likely to have a hard time seeing things another way. So how is she going to receive your “hard feedback” when you tell her she’s a crook? When you tell her not that she is oblivious or mistaken but corruptly skewing her questions to help her preferred candidate, I suspect she will have little trouble dismissing your false accusation and writing you off as another hater who thinks she’s an “enemy of the people.” I fired a broadside against the reporters in that press conference for their “shamefully embarrassing” waste of a rare chance to question Biden, but I didn’t say they were crooked because I believe they thought they were doing a good job. Motives do matter. If someone starts a conversation with a proponent of immigration restrictions by saying his intent is racist there’s really no reason to continue. The critic won’t waste time on a bigot and the proponent won’t listen to a person who has so offensively misjudged him. The hard work of citizenship is to love each other enough to not automatically assume the worst about each other and to find those common points where we can try to rebuild consensus. Hard feedback in anything tends to be more about satisfying the teller than affecting a change in the listener. It feels good in the moment to tell people off and denigrate them. But change comes from the slow, patient work of speaking the truth in love.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
DON’T TRY TO ROB BLUE THUNDER
The Daytona Beach News-Journal: “After a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office helicopter pilot in flight was alerted by his home’s Ring camera about suspects breaking into cars in his neighborhood, he led Volusia County [Fla.] deputies to them, officials said. Three juveniles - 14, 15 and 16 - fled from deputies and ran after the tires of their escape vehicle were flattened but were caught shortly after, officials said. The juveniles are also suspects in a series of car break-ins in Deltona, said Volusia County sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office helicopter pilot was in the air around 2 a.m. on Sunday when he received an alert from his Ring camera. The video showed two suspects checking handles on vehicles while an SUV followed them through the neighborhood, Gant said. The pilot notified Volusia deputies and then located the suspect vehicle from the sky.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“And because we remain so imperfect a nation, we are in no position to dictate our professed values to others around the world.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing about the conventional wisdom about America in decline in The Weekly Standard on Oct. 19, 2009.
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.