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On the roster: Biden makes it all about Trump - I’ll Tell You What: Yawp or yawn - Buttigieg crowding out Beto - Senate majority may come down to Colorado - Watch parrot
BIDEN MAKES IT ALL ABOUT TRUMP
Fox News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden, in an online video Thursday, officially declared his candidacy for president in 2020, capping off weeks of intrigue and media speculation. He enters a crowded field of Democratic contenders aiming to unseat President Trump -- nearly 32 years after he announced his first campaign for president. The campaign is Biden’s third for the White House, having also unsuccessfully run in 1988 and 2008. ‘The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America -- America -- is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,’ Biden tweeted early Thursday. With the announcement, which followed months of deliberations, Biden becomes a front-runner in an incredibly crowded field of Democratic presidential contenders all vying to face off next year against Trump. … Biden is expected to follow up the announcement with his first high-dollar fundraiser in the Philadelphia home of Comcast executive David Cohen Thursday evening and appear at a local union hall in Pittsburgh on Monday.”
No easy task - FiveThirtyEight: “…Biden’s path to the nomination is [not] easy. Not by a long shot. … Arguably, in fact, media elites have the same blind spots for Biden that they had for Trump. … [T]here’s a gap between where [Bernie] Sanders is polling and where Biden is, and empirically, it’s a relevant one. Based on historical data, we estimate that candidates with high name recognition who are polling at 20 percent (Sanders) in early national polls can expect to win their nominations about 15 percent of the time, other factors held equal. But candidates who are polling at 28 percent (Biden) win their nominations something more like 35 percent of the time, or roughly twice as often. It’s also possible that Biden will get a bounce in his polls after his announcement, as Sanders did and as Kamala Harris did and as Beto O’Rourke sorta did.”
Biden tells donors he needs big bucks on day one - Politico: “On the eve of announcing his presidential bid, former Vice President Joe Biden raised the alarm about fundraising in a Wednesday conference call with top donors and supporters. ‘The money’s important. We’re going to be judged by what we can do in the first 24 hours, the first week,’ Biden told the group, according to one participant, whose recollections of the quotes were confirmed by two others on the call. ‘People think Iowa and New Hampshire are the first test,’ Biden said. ‘It’s not. The first 24 hours. That’s the first test. Those [early states] are way down the road. We’ve got to get through this first.’ Biden — noting that ‘I hate to do this’ in discussing the fundraising — said he would be flying around the country for fundraisers with the participants but urged them to do what they can as soon as possible.”
Ocasio-Cortez allies attack ‘out-of-touch’ Biden - Fox News: “A progressive political group that boosted New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's bid for Congress last year vowed to oppose former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, blasting him as part of the ‘old guard’ and accusing him of standing in opposition to the ‘center of energy’ in the Democratic Party. ‘While we're going to support the Democratic nominee, we can't let a so-called ‘centrist’ like Joe Biden divide the Democratic Party and turn it into the party of ‘No, we can’t,’’ the group Justice Democrats said Thursday. … The group added: ‘Joe Biden stands in near complete opposition to where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party today.’”
Cindy McCain denies Biden endorsement report - Fox News: “Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., responded to the reports that her family will endorse former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. McCain tweeted Wednesday: ‘Joe Biden is a wonderful man and dear friend of the McCain Family. However, I have no intention of getting involved in presidential politics.’ Her daughter, ‘The View’ host Meghan McCain retweeted the remarks. … McCain’s comment comes after a report in the Washington Examiner that said the McCain family would support Biden. The report cited sources close to the family.”
THE RULEBOOK: DIFFERENT COURSES FOR DIFFERENT HORSES
“It will not be alleged, that an election law could have been framed and inserted in the Constitution, which would have been always applicable to every probable change in the situation of the country; and it will therefore not be denied, that a discretionary power over elections ought to exist somewhere.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 59
TIME OUT: DRAFTING THE FUTURE
Nat Geo: “Although his paintings are far better known, Leonardo [da Vinci’s] wealth of manuscripts and drawings lay bare the inner workings of his genius. His fertile mind … is evoked on every one of the 7,000 sheets preserved… As the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death is commemorated this year, the artist’s notebooks are experiencing a renaissance of their own. Museums are mounting exhibitions of his sketches, and scholars are publishing new analyses, delving ever deeper into the full spectrum of his creations. Most remarkably, pages from Leonardo’s notebooks are finding their way into the hands of experts in the very fields Leonardo studied, from medicine and mechanical engineering to music. Reaching back centuries, they’re reaping fresh insights, probing Leonardo’s work to inform their own. Even as science, medicine, and technology have pushed past the boundaries of what we can do and how we can do it, Leonardo’s notebooks reveal how much we still have to learn.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 42.8 percent
Average disapproval: 52 percent
Net Score: -9.2 points
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: Fox News: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Gallup: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; GU Politics/Battleground: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve - 52% disapprove.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: YAWP OR YAWN
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the growing 2020 Democratic field, who cries more between the two of them and Dana talks sports. Plus, Dana answers thoughtful mailbag questions and see how Chris does with trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
BUTTIGIEG CROWDING OUT BETO
NYT: “In a Democratic race filled with voters who say they are hungering for a next-generation candidate, the contest between Mr. [Beto] O’Rourke, 46, and Mr. [Pete] Buttigieg, 37, is emerging as something of a parallel primary, with many voters attending events for both of them and, in some cases, agonizing over which one to support. … But it is unlikely that as the nominating contest moves past the early-voting states next year, there will be room for two white men under 50 who present themselves as mainstream progressives. Both men are fresh faces in a party that often covets newness, and each is difficult to pin down on policy, hailing from neither the establishment nor the insurgent wing and centering their appeal in biography as much as ideology. … The first votes are still more than nine months away, and Mr. O’Rourke has ample opportunity to regain momentum. But even some of the attendees at his events who were clad in Beto gear said they were unsure how to choose between him and Mr. Buttigieg.”
Mayor Pete’s secret weapon - Vanity Fair: “Buttiegieg’s sexual orientation is not a central theme of his campaign message, but it doesn’t need to be for prominent L.G.B.T. donors who have grown accustomed to supporting candidates who are friendly on their issues, but never one their own. … But before Buttigieg could even think about catching fire, he had to find a way to pay for a staff, travel, and digital advertising. He initially followed [Howard] Dean’s counsel, cracking open wallets in L.G.B.T. donor networks even if he was unable to lock down full-blown commitments from major bundlers. … It worked… Many L.G.B.T. donors who gave early to multiple candidates are now either firmly in Buttigieg’s corner or lining up to host big money events for his campaign. … In May, Buttigieg will attend a fundraising event in the Washington area hosted by lobbyist Steve Elmendorf, a top Hillary Clinton bundler who recently told CNBC that he’s fully in Buttigieg’s corner in the 2020 race.”
Beto hires big Iowa staff - Des Moines Register: “Beto O'Rourke has hired 16 people in Iowa as he works to catch up to the organizing pace set by many of the other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. O'Rourke entered the race later than many of his competitors, announcing in mid-March that he would run for president. By that time, many others had made key hires, opened field offices and dispatched volunteers and organizers across the state. ‘There’s no question that getting into the race a little bit later puts us a little bit behind in the organizing effort,’ said Norm Sterzenbach, who will lead O'Rourke's Iowa efforts as state director. ‘So we definitely are making a conscious effort to get a good, expansive team in place as quickly as possible.’”
Booker's tax returns show lucrative speaking gigs, royalties - Fox News: “Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker’s tax returns show most of his wealth stems from lucrative speaking engagements and royalties. Booker, the 2020 candidate who has yet to make a splash in the crowded Democratic field, released 10 years of tax returns on Wednesday after numerous other candidates released their records in recent weeks. The New Jersey senator reported income of $152,715 in 2018 for his salary, $22,781 in taxes which amounts to an effective tax rate of 15 percent, significantly lower than Sen. Kamala Harris’ 37 percent or Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 26 percent. Most of Booker’s wealth comes public speaking fees and royalties, including $2 million in speaking fees between 2009 and 2014, nearly $1 million in royalties from 2015 to 2017 after the release of his book, ‘United.’”
Dems focus on new voting bloc: Renters - NYT: “Renters hold little sway in Washington. They vote at lower rates than homeowners. … And their problems, if anyone considers them at all, are typically waved off as problems for local government. It’s striking, then, that several Democratic candidates for president are now approaching renters in a way they’ve seldom been treated before — as a voting bloc. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, senators from some of the most expensive housing markets in the country, have proposed substantial bills to alleviate the housing crisis. They’re not talking in gauzy terms about homeownership, the rare housing topic that usually gets a nod. They see unsustainable, raw-deal, skyrocketing rents, and they’re not hesitant to sermonize about it.”
SENATE MAJORITY MAY COME DOWN TO COLORADO
FiveThirtyEight: “Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is arguably the most endangered Republican senator running for re-election in 2020. He is one of two GOP senators defending seats in states that lean Democratic and only narrowly won his race in 2014. Gardner could also face stiff competition — more than 10 Democratic challengers have already stepped forward for the opportunity to take him on. … Ideologically-speaking, Gardner has occupied the middle lane of his party, which is good for a Republican running in a state that leans blue. But in the Senate, Gardner has voted in line with President Trump’s position more often than Colorado’s 2016 presidential result would suggest. This could be a problem for him in 2020, considering Gardner’s narrow victory in 2014 and that the Democratic nominee for president has won Colorado three times in a row. … Regardless of who faces off in the general election, the Colorado race will most likely be crucial to deciding which party wins a Senate majority.”
Heitkamp, Donnelly pair up to help 2020 candidates - Axios: “Former Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, who both lost their 2018 re-election races in North Dakota and Indiana, respectively, are launching the One Country Project to help their party win back rural voters ahead of the 2020 cycle. Why it matters: Their team looked at rural votes by county and state from 2000 to 2018 and found that if Democrats don't break their performance with rural voters, they're projected to once again win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College in 2020. Their focus is primarily on Democratic Senate races and the presidential election, but they eventually want to work with races up and down the ballot in these rural areas. Heitkamp and Donnelly will work with campaigns before the election, giving them messaging, data, polling, and a strategy to break through with these voters who ‘didn’t feel that we shared their beliefs’ in past elections, Donnelly told Axios in an interview.”
THE JUDGE’S RULING: ON OBSTRUCTION, BARR IS WRONG
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains obstruction of justice: “The essence of obstruction is deception or diversion -- to prevent the government from finding the truth. To Mueller, the issue was not if Trump committed crimes of obstruction. Rather, it was if Trump could be charged successfully with those crimes. Mueller knew that Barr would block an indictment of Trump because Barr has a personal view of obstruction at odds with the statute itself. Barr's view requires that the obstructer has done his obstructing in order to impede the investigation or prosecution of a crime that the obstructer himself has committed. … So, the dilemma for House Democrats now is whether to utilize Mueller's evidence of obstruction for impeachment. They know from history that impeachment only succeeds if there is a broad, national, bipartisan consensus behind it, no matter the weight of the evidence or presence of sophisticated legal theories.” More here.
Pergram: How Congress could be facing not one, but two shutdowns - Fox News
Barr to testify to Senate on Mueller report next week - National Review
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has homes and City Hall office raided by feds - Fox News
AUDIBLE: CASHING IN
“I’ve been raising money since 1977. And I’ve never had anybody complain about not getting an invitation to a fundraiser. That shows you the depth of enthusiasm, the depth of relationships that the vice president has built over the years.” – Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell talking to the Daily Beast about the clamor for invitations to Joe Biden’s first fundraiser.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“You mentioned Ms. Harris might think about the difference between leadership and popularity next time she is onstage w/ hard questions coming her way. I would have to agree. I think it might be interesting if you and Brianna came up with the Ten Traits of Effective Presidential Leadership and then figure out how to pose a question to each candidate, early on, as to how he/she intends to demonstrate those Traits if elected. What say youse all (used to live in MI…diction from the Land of Yoopers)?” – Rick Schuknecht, Bradenton, Fla.
[Ed. note: I like it, Mr. Schuknecht! This is also something I will talk about with Dana Perino on “I’ll Tell You What.”]
“Chris, Which do you think would be more helpful for a potential voter to pick a President, review of the tax returns or have them produce a list of their potential cabinet positions? It seems to me, that electing a president is a lot like getting married, you don't just marry the bride you also marry the whole family. You keep writing and I will keep reading.” – Michael Strader, Toccoa, Ga.
[Ed. note: I think your point about cabinet members is an excellent one, Mr. Strader. It would present a challenge in terms of actually assembling the cabinet since it’s different to be asked to accept an actual spot versus a hypothetical one from a candidate. But even just choosing, say, a secretary of state and an attorney general could go a long way. Those things, though, are very different than the question of tax returns. Presidential candidates release their tax returns to demonstrate that they are not corrupt – that the money they have earned was lawful and does not come from sources that could prove compromising in office. I guess if you made me choose between the two, I’d have to go for transparency and accountability over cabinet composition.]
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WaPo: “A parrot was taken into custody Monday after nearly spoiling a raid while playing lookout for two crack-dealing suspects by repeatedly yelling, ‘Mamãe, polícia!’ according to Brazilian police in the state of Piauí. The phrase means, ‘Mama, police!’ Police encountered the unnamed parrot at the home of the two alleged crack cocaine dealers, perched inside a small brick one-story home with a windowless facade, Brazil’s R7 news channel reported. As police searched for the suspects, it seemed the lime-green bird knew exactly what to do. ‘He must have been trained for this,’ one officer involved in the operation said of the parrot’s attempt to interfere with law enforcement, the Guardian reported. ‘As soon as the police got close he started shouting.’ The bird’s efforts were not successful, however.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I don't think either [Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are] defensible. It is a question of how skillfully the other uses it.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) said on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Oct. 7, 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.