Biden leads in S.C. while Sanders, Steyer fight for second


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On the roster: Biden leads in S.C. while Sanders, Steyer fight for second - I’ll Tell You What: Bernie or bust? - Trump urges calm over coronavirus - Pelosi focuses on party unity, not 2020 candidates - Extra baggage service needed

BIDEN LEADS IN S.C. WHILE SANDERS, STEYER FIGHT FOR SECOND

Monmouth University: “Joe Biden stays well atop the field in South Carolina, according to the third Monmouth University Poll of likely Democratic primary voters there. Tom Steyer and Bernie Sanders are fighting for the second spot. Biden’s wide lead in the poll is underpinned by solid support among black voters in the state. Among South Carolina voters who are likely to participate in the Democratic primary on Saturday, support currently stands at 36% for Biden, 16% for Sanders, and 15% for Steyer. Candidates who currently fall below the statewide delegate viability threshold include Elizabeth Warren (8%), Pete Buttigieg (6%), Amy Klobuchar (4%), and Tulsi Gabbard (1%). Another 15% of likely primary voters remain undecided and do not lean toward any candidate at this time. In Monmouth’s October poll, 33% supported Biden, 16% Warren, and 12% Sanders. It should be noted that interviews for the current poll were conducted after the Nevada caucuses, wrapping up right before Tuesday night’s debate.”

Biden flexes support from black voters - The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier: “Former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that some of his 2020 Democratic primary rivals will have to consider exiting the race if they are unable to demonstrate an ability to win over minority voters in the upcoming South Carolina primary. ‘They would have to consider dropping out, not because I want them to or anybody else does, but because the victories and losses are going to dictate it,’ Biden said in a brief interview with The Post and Courier. ‘How do you stay in if you have demonstrated you can’t get any African American support?’ Biden added.  … Though Biden did not mention any specific opponents by name, a few other candidates have notably struggled to register significant support with African American voters in most polls, particularly U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.”

Obama steps in to stop anti-Biden ads using his voice - Bloomberg: “Former President Barack Obama asked TV stations on Wednesday to stop airing ads featuring his voice over on-screen attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden. The ads, which aim to depress African-American votes in Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic primary, are funded by the pro-Donald Trump super PAC Committee to Defend the President. They began appearing Tuesday in the state, where Biden is relying on a strong showing to revive his struggling campaign. In the ads, a clip from Obama’s reading of his 1995 memoir ‘Dreams from My Father’ is paired with unfavorable media quotes about Biden’s record on race. ‘This despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook, and it’s clearly designed to suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina by taking President Obama’s voice out of context and twisting his words to mislead viewers,’ Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said in a statement.”

Buttigieg goes delegate hunting - Politico: “Despite a brutal Super Tuesday map unlikely to hand [Pete Buttigieg] any statewide wins, the former South Bend mayor is looking to reinforce his claim as a Democratic alternative to Bernie Sanders by racking up delegates in individual congressional districts on Super Tuesday. It’s a national version of Buttigieg’s path to first place in Iowa’s state delegate race — crossing the viability threshold everywhere, pending a recount — which Buttigieg hopes to replicate on Tuesday, when 14 states weigh in on the Democratic primary, despite a splintered field and limited resources. … Buttigieg is focusing on selected districts in smaller media markets throughout the country to rack up delegates, from Austin, Texas and its suburbs to San Diego, northern Maine, and other locales where Democrats flipped House seats in 2018. But it’s a risky strategy to maintain momentum, and that risk is born out of necessity.”

Colorado is feeling the Bern - Magellan Strategies: “Senator Bernie Sanders currently leads the field in Colorado’s Democratic Presidential Primary with 27% support followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren at 15%, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 12%, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 11% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 11%. Senator Amy Klobuchar has 6% support, 3% are supporting some other candidate and 15% percent of voters are undecided or refused. When asked whether it is more important to nominate someone who can defeat President Trump or to choose someone who shares their values and personal beliefs, a clear majority of 57% believes that it is most important to choose a candidate who can win in November. Only 36% prioritize shared values and personal beliefs, though interestingly a candidate’s values are more important for a majority of voters age 18-44.”

Checking in on the issues with North Carolinians - Elon University: “As N.C. voters prepare to head to the polls on March 3 to cast their ballots in this year’s presidential primary, two out of three believe political divisions have made their lives uncomfortable and that politics is likely to become even more divisive in the years to come. Social media is the most common place they find political conflicts — more than at work, with friends and family, or in various groups they belong to. … Nearly half of N.C. voters believe the economy and their own financial situations have improved during the tenure of President Donald Trump, but they are more divided on which direction the economy is heading in the near future. These are just some of the overarching themes found within the Elon University Poll’s latest survey of registered voters in North Carolina that focused on topics voters say they are most interested in this presidential election year.”

Looking ahead, Trump tied with leading Dems in N.H. - University of New Hampshire: “Nine months before the November election for President Donald Trump is statistically tied with three leading Democrats. In a hypothetical general election contest between Buttigieg and President Trump, 48% of Granite State likely voters support Buttigieg, 42% support Trump, 7% would vote for another candidate, and 3% don't know or are undecided. In a contest between Trump and Sanders, 46% support Trump, 46% support Sanders, 6% would vote for someone else, and 1% don't know or are unsure. In a contest between Trump and Biden, 46% would vote for Trump, 44% would vote for Biden, 8% would vote for someone else, and 2% don't know or are unsure. By contrast, Bloomberg struggles in a hypothetical matchup against President Trump. In such a matchup, 47% support Trump, 33% vote for Bloomberg, 16% would vote for another candidate, and 5% don't know or are unsure.”

David Wasserman: To beat Trump, Democrats may need to break out of the ‘Whole Foods’ bubble - NYT: “Last summer, Senator Elizabeth Warren electrified huge crowds at rallies in Seattle, Austin and New York. … At each stop, her trademark selfie lines were less than a mile from a Whole Foods Market, a Lululemon Athletica and an Urban Outfitters. These high-end retailers and brands, popular with urban millennials and affluent suburbanites alike, are increasingly correlated with which neighborhoods are trending blue. The drawback for Democrats? Just 34 percent of U.S. voters — and only 29 percent of battleground state voters — live within five miles of at least one such upmarket retailer, and the Democrats’ brand is stagnant or in decline everywhere else. … But the reality for Democrats is if they aren’t able to stop their slide in less elite locales, President Trump’s advantage in the Electoral College could further widen relative to the popular vote.”

[Watch Fox: Make sure to tune in tonight at 6:30 pm ET for a town hall with Sen. Amy Klobuchar in Raleigh, N.C. hosted by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.]

THE RULEBOOK: TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
“But this is not all: what at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22

TIME OUT: LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER!
History: “On February 27, 1827, a group of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebrations. The celebration of Carnival–or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent–spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season. Early French settlers brought the tradition of Mardi Gras to the U.S. Gulf Coast at the end of the 17th century. In fact, Mobile, Alabama celebrated its first carnival in 1703. However, Spanish governors later banned the celebrations. After Louisiana Territory became part of the United States in 1803, New Orleanians managed to convince the city council to lift the ban on wearing masks and partying in the streets.”

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
Sanders: 45
Buttigieg: 25
Biden: 15
Warren: 8
Klobuchar: 7
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 46 percent
Average disapproval: 50.4 percent
Net Score: -4.4 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: Gallup: 49% approve - 48% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 46% approve - 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 47% approve - 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve - 51% disapprove.]

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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: BERNIE OR BUST?
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt give performance reviews for the Democratic candidates after the tenth presidential debate, Chris looks at four scenarios for how the democratic nomination might play out and the duo discuss President Trump's reelection status amid growing concerns over the Coronavirus. Plus, Chris answers West Wing-inspired trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

TRUMP URGES CALM OVER CORONAVIRUS
AP: “President Donald Trump declared that a widespread U.S. outbreak of the new respiratory virus sweeping the globe isn’t inevitable even as top health authorities at his side warned Americans that more infections are coming. Shortly after Trump spoke Wednesday, the government announced a worrisome development: Another person in the U.S. is infected — someone in California who doesn’t appear to have the usual risk factors of having traveled abroad or being exposed to another patient. At a White House news conference, Trump sought to minimize fears as he insisted the U.S. is ‘very, very ready’ for whatever the COVID-19 outbreak brings. Under fire about the government’s response, he put Vice President Mike Pence to lead the administration’s response. Pence on Thursday named the State Department’s global health doctor to coordinate the coronavirus response. ‘This will end,’ Trump said of the outbreak. ‘You don’t want to see panic because there’s no reason to be panicked.’”

Sen. Hawley to introduce coronavirus bill aimed at securing medical supply chain - Fox News: “As fears about the spread of the novel coronavirus continue to grow, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., plans to introduce legislation on Thursday aimed at securing America's medical supply chain. Hawley's office provided Fox News with a copy of the bill, entitled ‘The Medical Supply Chain Security Act,’ along with an outline of its contents. The proposal's main function would be to amend the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to have the words ‘or device’ listed, to allow the Food and Drug Administration to monitor medical device shortages with greater accuracy and efficiency. The bill would swap the words ‘shortage of a drug’ for ‘shortage of a drug or device,’ and allow the FDA to expedite the review of essential medical devices that require pre-market approval. Drug and medical device manufacturers would be obligated to provide the FDA with an annual report about their manufacturing capacity, as well.

PELOSI FOCUSES ON PARTY UNITY, NOT 2020 CANDIDATES
WaPo: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has carefully managed every aspect of building and maintaining her Democratic majority… But as many Democrats fear an existential threat to their control of the House in presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Pelosi (D-Calif.) is suddenly finding herself in the unusual role of bystander as her party’s voters choose a nominee. While a cadre of lawmakers and strategists are sounding alarms about the risks the senator from Vermont and democratic socialist would pose to down-ballot candidates, Pelosi is moving carefully publicly and privately to avoid even the perception that she is putting her thumb on the presidential scales. ‘I think whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace, and we will win the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives,’ she told reporters Wednesday morning as she entered a closed-door caucus meeting. Inside the room [according to an anonymous source] Pelosi did not mention Sanders or any other candidate by name. Instead, she sounded a call for party unity amid the presidential rancor.”

But she’s feeling the pressure to pick one - CNBC: “Democratic megadonor Bernard Schwartz has started reaching out to party leaders, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, to encourage them to back a candidate for president in order to stop the surge of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Schwartz, the CEO of BLS Investments, told CNBC that in recent days he’s been trying to speak with Pelosi and Schumer about making a pick, in the hope that voters will follow their lead and end up denying Sanders the party’s presidential nomination. … Schwartz noted he has yet to hear back from them but insisted that, with Super Tuesday under a week away, party leaders have to take a stand now before Sanders captures the nomination — and, in his view, takes down the party. ‘They have good political reasons not to endorse until the primary is over, but I think we are losing too much if we give up on this position,’ he added.”

THE JUDGE’S RULING: THE CASE OF JULIAN ASSANGE
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why the prosecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange violates the First Amendment: “The Pentagon Papers Case is a profound explication of one of the great values underlying the freedom of speech; namely, the government cannot lawfully punish those who publish truths it hates and fears. … Regrettably, the Trump administration is pretending the Pentagon Papers Case does not exist. It is manifesting that pretense in its criminal pursuit of international gadfly and journalist Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. …  A journalist is a gatherer and disseminator of facts and opinions. … The press is the eyes and ears of an informed public. … It is the height of naiveté to think that Ellsberg just dropped off the Pentagon Papers at the Times and the Post, without some coordination with those publications – coordination that the courts assume exist and implicitly protect.” More here.

PLAY-BY-PLAY
GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham joins list of those not seeking re-election - Fox News

Service Employees International Union unveils $150 million campaign to help defeat Trump - AP

Report: DNC says online ‘impersonator’ tried to contact campaigns - AP

Trump campaign to sue the New York Times over Russia op-ed - Reuters

House passes anti-lynching bill Wednesday - WaPo

AUDIBLE: STAY WOKE
“It’s a woke concept.” – Katrina Pierson, a Trump senior campaign adviser, describing the 15 “community centers” the Trump campaign will open in swing states. The centers will sell merchandise, register voters and discuss Trump policies in an effort to reach black voters.

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EXTRA BAGGAGE SERVICE NEEDED
UPI
: “Wildlife officers in Tennessee said they responded to a report about an injured bald eagle and arrived to find the raptor had merely had too much to eat and was too fat to fly. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said Wildlife Officers Nathan Ripley and Justin Pinkston responded to a location in Bulls Gap where a witness had reported an injured bald eagle on the ground. ‘They found the eagle in the woods near a road with no apparent injuries and very mobile. The officers caught the bird to inspect it and decided it had gorged itself on a meal and was temporarily unable to create enough lift to fly,’ the agency said. The officers determined the ‘too full to fly’ eagle would be able to fly on its own after taking some time to digest its meal and it was relocated to a safe spot to finish the biological process.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“If an ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country, a statesman is a man who lies from the comfort of home.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on July 31, 1995.

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.