Biden still slidin’

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On the roster: Biden still slidin’ - Steyer sticking around - Pelosi rides to rescue - SupCo back in session - So fresh you can taste the squeak

BIDEN STILL SLIDIN’
IBD:Elizabeth Warren has taken a narrow lead over Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the October IBD/TIPP Poll found. Both candidates continue to lead in a head-to-head matchup against President Trump, though Biden had a more comfortable lead, outside the margin of error. Elizabeth Warren had the support of 27%, with Joe Biden backed by 26% and Bernie Sanders a distant third at 10%. Support for South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg climbed to 7% from 5%. No other candidate polled more than 3%. The October IBD/TIPP Poll showed continued momentum for Warren. Last month's poll had shown support for Warren jumping to 24% from 17%. Meanwhile, Biden's support saw further erosion, after slipping to 28% in September from 30% in August. Sanders, whose nomination prospects could suffer after his heart attack last week, saw support fall after registering 12% the prior two months.”

Biden expands lead in South Carolina - Fox News: “Joe Biden increases his lead in the Palmetto State, as a growing number of South Carolina Democratic primary voters want a candidate who can defeat President Trump. The former vice president is ahead by 29 points, according to a Fox News Poll. That’s up from a 21-point lead in July. Biden captures 41 percent support among Democratic primary voters (+6 points since July), Elizabeth Warren trails with 12 percent (+7), and Bernie Sanders gets 10 percent (-4). … Kamala Harris receives 4 percent, down from 12 percent. Tom Steyer, who entered the race in July, also gets 4 percent. Cory Booker (3 percent) and Pete Buttigieg (2 percent) held steady. All others receive 1 percent or less. South Carolina holds its Democratic primary February 29, 2020.  … Biden [has] large leads among blacks (+41 points), men (+31), and voters over age 45 (+38).”

Trump trails Dems in Wisconsin - Fox News: “Wisconsin voters are unhappy with how things are going in the country, oppose the border wall, think tariffs hurt the economy, and disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. … Joe Biden bests Trump by 9 points (48-39 percent) and has the only lead outside the poll’s margin of error. Bernie Sanders is up by 5 over Trump (45-40) and Elizabeth Warren has a 4-point edge (45-41). In each case, the remaining 13-14 percent of undecided/third-party voters is enough to shift the race either way. Trump receives 41 percent support or less in each of the matchups -- well below the 47 percent he won the Badger State with in 2016. At the same time, none of the Democrats hit 50 percent.”

Have you tried turning your campaign off, then turning it back on? - NYT: “At campaign events this past week, Ms. [Kamala] Harris debuted a fresh stump speech focused on the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump, an issue in which her campaign believes she is uniquely suited to lead as a former prosecutor. She began each of the rallies, titled ‘Dude Gotta Go,’ with a lengthy discussion of the president’s purported crimes, and concluded by talking directly about the idea of ‘electability,’ which she described as the ‘elephant’ in the 2020 race, and the fear that the country was not ready to elect a black woman as president. … In strategic terms, her campaign’s choice to pivot to Iowa is a concession that its initial theory of the presidential race was at least partially incorrect. From the start, her longtime advisers mapped out a national strategy that highlighted primaries with more diverse electorates … while conserving resources often used in early states for television advertisements in later ones.”

STEYER STICKING AROUND
Fox Business: “The wealthiest Democrat in the 2020 race, billionaire Tom Steyer, announced Sunday that he qualified for the November debate. Steyer is worth a whopping $1.6 billion. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the runner-up with a net worth of roughly $200 million. ‘Tom is surging because he’s not part of the establishment and his message of ending the corporate takeover of our government is resonating,’ his campaign manager Heather Hargreaves said in a statement. ‘Tom is excited to continue getting out there and meeting with voters all across the country, hearing their stories, and connecting with them personally, and we are thrilled to see him on stage sharing his vision with the full country at the DNC debate in Ohio on October 15th and in November.’”

Sanders takes aim at DNC corporate donors in new plan - Politico: “Bernie Sanders, a longtime critic of the nation’s campaign finance system, is releasing a plan Monday aimed at ending the influence of corporate cash in politics, including at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The Vermont senator pledges to put a stop to all corporate PAC contributions to the convention if he wins the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. AT&T, Facebook, Independence Blue Cross and other companies each gave seven-figure donations to the event’s host committee in 2016. … His proposal also calls for a lifetime lobbying ban on Democratic National Committee chairs and co-chairs, as well as a prohibition on them working for companies that hold federal contracts or are trying to obtain government approval for mergers or other projects.”

Dem race becomes one of uncertainty - WaPo: “Interviews with more than two dozen Democratic leaders, top strategists and former elected officials revealed that most are still holding out judgment about how — or how much — the events will shift the race. But they point to several worrying factors [about Biden, Warren and Sanders]… Others expressed skepticism that any Democrat would be able to compete against Trump’s unmatched ability to shift the public’s focus. … The shifting dynamic has already altered campaign strategies, as some trailing candidates focus on early-voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire… But for the front-running trio, the events of the last two weeks have served as a public test of how they would handle crises in a general election.”

THE RULEBOOK: KEEP IN MIND…
“…it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated…” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1

TIME OUT: THE COMEBACK OF ‘THE NATION’S RIVER’
Smithsonian: “When George Washington chose to build his Mount Vernon estate along the Potomac River, he declared the then-pristine body of water ‘the nation’s river.’ At the time, even dolphins were a common sight. In fact, as Karin Bruillard at the Washington Post reports, the porpoises were seen as far upriver as Alexandria, Virginia, in the 1840s. But by the 1960s, the river that flows through the nation’s capital had lost its luster. … Now, after almost 50 years of pollution control, clean-up and restoration efforts, researchers have catalogued well over 1,000 bottlenose dolphins living, mating, and even giving birth in the lower reaches of the river. … Over the past four years, researchers from Georgetown University’s Potomac-Chesapeake Dolphin Project have been cataloguing dolphins in the lake-like area where the Potomac joins the Chesapeake Bay, reports Bruillard for the Post. … But the most exciting development came in August, when researchers witnessed a dolphin giving birth in the river.”

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SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.2 points (↓ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Warren: 24.6 points (↑ 3.8 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 14.6 points (↓ 1.4 points from last wk.)
Harris: 4.6 points (↓ 2 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 6.2 points (↑ 0.8 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: IBD, Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Fox News and NBC News/WSJ.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 40.8 percent
Average disapproval: 53.8 percent
Net Score: -13 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2 points
[Average includes: IBD: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; Monmouth University: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; CNBC: 37% approve - 53% disapprove; Gallup: 40% approve - 56% disapprove.]  

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PELOSI RIDES TO RESCUE
WaPo: “A Democratic group with close ties to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to spend more than $1 million on ads set to begin airing this week aimed at bolstering a handful of vulnerable House Democrats as the impeachment probe unfolds. The ads from House Majority Forward, examples of which were reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention the word ‘impeachment.’ Instead, they focus solely on the accomplishments of the 11 individual lawmakers targeted in the campaign. … The campaign represents the first tranche of television ads to be aired by a group with close ties to the party establishment. House Majority Forward is an affiliate of House Majority PAC, the largest Democratic super PAC focused solely on House races. The focus on non-impeachment issues is further evidence that Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are aiming to sell a ‘walk and chew gum’ image for the party — that they can investigate and possibly impeach President Trump while also working to make progress on jobs, health care and other concerns.”

Team Trump sends Pence impeachment Dems districts - Politico: “The White House wants to make vulnerable House Democrats pay for impeachment. Starting this week, Vice President Mike Pence will embark on a national tour of congressional districts represented by Democrats who’ve come out in support of the inquiry. … Each of the districts on Pence's itinerary were won by Trump in 2016, making them potent targets for Republicans. The vice president will travel Wednesday to the southwest Iowa district of Rep. Cindy Axne, and Thursday he’s slated to visit the suburban Twin Cities district of another freshman Democrat, Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig. The vice president is then scheduled to barnstorm an array of battleground districts, including those held by Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin and Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger.”

McConnell uses campaign ad to flex impeachment muscle - Louisville Courier Journal: “Earlier [last] week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chamber would have ‘no choice’ but to hold a trial on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office if the House votes to impeach. But in a new campaign ad on Facebook, the Kentucky Republican makes clear that any impeachment attempt will fail as long as he remains in charge of the Senate. ‘Nancy Pelosi's in the clutches of a left wing mob. They finally convinced her to impeach the president,’ McConnell says directly to the camera in a 17-second video. ‘All of you know your Constitution. The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader.’ … The McConnell campaign, according to Facebook's ‘Ad Library,’ started running the digital ad last week…”

SUPCO BACK IN SESSION
Fox News: “Now, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to launch its new term Monday, a 5-4 conservative majority could be poised to provide the White House with significant legal and political victories -- or setbacks. Such are the unusual dynamics now percolating from the nation's highest court. The justices' election-year agenda includes cases dealing with Trump's executive power over immigration, along with LGBTQ workplace discrimination, gun rights and abortion regulations. All are teed up to be argued this term, with religious liberty and health-care appeals good bets to be added to the docket. All will likely be decided in a presidential election year. ‘The court will be an issue in 2020 but that's perfectly normal. It was a huge issue in 2016, it helped get President Trump elected,’ said Paul Smith, a Georgetown University law professor who has argued 21 cases before the high court. ‘And it will be so again, precisely because it's become such an important part of our system.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump pulls back troops from northern Syria ahead of Turkish assault, Pentagon officials ‘blindsided’ - Fox News

Trump to rally for GOP candidates for governor in Louisiana Friday - KALB

Trump granted reprieve on tax return case - Fox News

Mark Kelly outraises Martha McSally for third quarter - Arizona Republic

Warren and Schumer’s 20 year history - National Journal

Pergram: Ever since impeachment inquiry was announced, it's been getting crazier out there - Fox News

Jimmy Carter recovering after fall at Georgia home - WAGA

AUDIBLE: HABITUAL LINE STEPPER
“We say, ‘Don’t cross this line.’ Okay, you crossed it. So, ‘Don’t cross this line.’ We’re finally at a point where patience is exhausted, reason is exhausted and, quite frankly, the voters are exhausted.” – Tom Rath, a longtime member of the GOP in New Hampshire, explaining the crossroads Republicans are at with the president right now, per the WaPo.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“A week ago (give or take a few days), you ran a lead article to the effect that over the months ahead you were going to soberly and impartially report the facts at every turn in the very ‘wine-dy’ (meaning curve-y)  road to the 2020 election. Your lead article [Friday] entitled ‘Trump Offers No Off Ramps to Republicans’ strikes me (after the second reading) as anything but consistent with what I understood to be your sober and impartial mission. It seems that your article is strongly slanted against Trump from beginning to end. If I am wrong, can you explain what your ‘Off Ramp’ article would have to say in order to fail your criteria of impartiality, none-emotional, none-judgmental reporting and analysis? I'm genuinely baffled.” – Eric Hutchins, Santa Barbara, Calif.

[Ed. note: I gather from your sentiments, Mr. Hutchins that you are a political supporter of the president. And I understand that for the president’s supporters these are trying, frustrating, exhausting days. If one agrees with the president that his conduct relating to Joe Biden and Ukraine has been “perfect” then what’s happening now must seem like madness. But to most observers, the president failed in his duty by entwining domestic politics with foreign policy. It’s proving to be quite damaging. Now, I don’t care who believes what. You may think Trump hung the moon or you may think Trump is Old Scratch himself. Not my problem. What I promised you on Sept. 26 was that we would not obsess over minutiae from the day to day battle between the two sides over impeachment: “You have plenty of other options for getting the latest details on what this unnamed source said or what that hearing may or may not have revealed. We’re going to stay focused on the political repercussions because that’s our job.” I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do that and not talk about what’s happening in the news. The president is getting absolutely smashed over his conduct vis-a-vis Biden. Support for impeachment has jumped hugely. Republicans are in a defensive crouch and every day one of the president’s team seems to make another blunder that makes the situation even worse. It’s a political catastrophe. It may end up actually working out for Trump and the GOP. Democrats are making plenty of errors of their own and this may all blow up in their faces. And if it does, we’ll certainly be talking about it. But right now, the president and his core supporters don’t seem to understand what a pickle he’s put them in — and the huge problems he’s creating for the GOP. Trump had just gotten out of the woods on the Mueller probe and the very next day needlessly put himself in this jackpot. The position that the president has taken — the “perfect” doctrine — does not reflect the political reality for many members of his party. They need to be able to say that they disapprove, like Democrats did a generation ago, but think America should now “move on” from a divisive distraction. It’s none of my business who wins this fight. That’s up to you. But if you’re interested in my abilities as a forecaster and analyst, it will mean hearing things that you don’t always agree with and certainly discussing matters that are bad news for your team. But it will also mean that I will tell it to you straight. That I will be fair-minded. That I will listen and admit when I’m wrong. That I will give you my thoughts without fear or favor. That we will always do our best.]

“Chris, I’ll keep this short and sweet: 1. Where can I find the law that prohibits a candidate from getting ‘dirt’ on his political opponent from a foreign government? 2. Why is it against the law? Don’t I as a constituent have the right to know if a candidate has broken the law regardless of where the act was committed? 3. If you can never investigate a political opponent for deeds done in a foreign country, what’s to keep someone from simply committing all of their illegal acts in a foreign country?” – Meredith Shoemaker, Sugar Land, Texas

[Ed. note: The president mustn’t do such things himself. And he especially mustn’t do them when he would be the direct beneficiary. We have a Justice Department and a Department of State. We have federal police at the FBI. We have all manner of means by which to combat corruption here and abroad. But when it’s about his political opponents, the president must do his best to stay out of it. Doing otherwise diminishes the confidence Americans have in our legal system to provide dispassionate justice. Presidents of both parties have failed this test in the past so we know how real the temptation is. But it’s not something Americans want to become normal. That’s how governments operate in places like Turkey, Russia and China: People in power use that power to stifle their rivals. I know Trump believes the system is rigged against him, but he is still the president and he must find some way to better honor that high vocation or voters will surely throw him out next year.]

“Unforced errors are the worst kind of errors, in sports and everywhere else. I am reminded of Watergate back when President Richard Nixon was running for re-election. No benefit or advantage was gained from the break-in, and Nixon won re-election in a landslide anyway. Here now President Trump is trying to compromise Joe Biden as a candidate with actions that are expected to have substantial negative consequences for the incumbent – and for what? The race for the Democratic nominee is far from over, but Biden seems to be suffering from the ‘Curse of the Early Frontrunner’ and slipping in the polls for many other reasons than those that are being brought to light from any revelations out of The Ukraine. Hindsight, but also no small amount of foresight and experience, suggests that it would have been (and is) best to ‘keep your powder dry’ for whomever is the actual nominee and not waste time and resources going after those who will not be running against you. If Joe Biden is not the eventual Democratic nominee, this may well be one of those unforced errors that may even approach the impact and magnitude of the Watergate disaster. So much for learning from our past mistakes.” – Kent Haldorson, Beaverton, Ore.

[Ed. note: That’s a very interesting take, Mr. Haldorson. I’m going to chew on it for a while. If I write on it, it will be with due credit to you, sir.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

SO FRESH YOU CAN TASTE THE SQUEAK
Fox News: “And we thought mustard ice cream was a stretch. An ice cream vendor in Ecuador is reportedly seeing demand for her new — and arguably strangest — offering. It's made using the flesh of guinea pigs. Guinea pig meat, known as ‘cuy’ in Ecuador, is typically eaten as a savory dish there and in other South American countries, like Peru and Colombia, where it's often grilled and served whole, per NPR. But María del Carmen Pilapaña, who runs a small stall near the capital of Quito, has stumbled upon a completely new preparation — and it is a hit, she tells The Associated Press. … Pilapaña makes the ice cream by cooking down the guinea pig’s meat and making a pate of sorts before blending it with milk or cream, freezing it, and serving it just like she does with her other flavors.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“As I became convinced of the practical and theoretical defects of the social-democratic tendencies of my youth, it was but a short distance to a philosophy of restrained, free-market governance that gave more space and place to the individual and to the civil society that stands between citizen and state.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the National Review on Oct. 25, 2013.

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.