**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Biden’s lead may be bigger than you think - Time Out: Baking up an American victory - White House opens door to impeachment cooperation - And after all we did to them last week…
BIDEN’S LEAD MAY BE BIGGER THAN YOU THINK
NYT: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. may lose the Iowa caucuses. But he is betting on strong support from black voters in Southern states and urban areas to help him accrue the 1,990 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. It might work. That’s because an overwhelming majority of delegates are awarded from areas more racially diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire. If Mr. Biden retains his strength with black voters, he’d have a structural advantage in the nomination race that is greater than his uneven lead in national polls suggests. Think of it this way: Candidates gain delegates based on voting in both states and districts, which are Congressional districts in all but a few places. While Iowa and New Hampshire may generate political momentum for a winner because they vote first, the two states award very few delegates. By contrast, a candidate who is popular in California, Texas and predominantly black districts in the South could pick up big shares of delegates.”
Buttigieg looks to black churches for a boost - WaPo: “Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor who has turned the heads of mostly white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, bowed his head Sunday in a church founded by ex-slaves. The Greenleaf Christian Church is pastored by the Rev. William J. Barber II. Barber’s effort to revive Martin Luther King Jr.’s last major project — the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 — has inspired a multiracial movement to oppose President Trump, with plans for an assembly and ‘Moral March on Washington’ in June 2020. Buttigieg’s decision to worship with the Disciples of Christ congregation underscored the task that awaits him as he seeks to convince voters that he can credibly lead a diverse coalition to capture the White House. … Buttigieg, an Episcopalian, has framed his faith as a counterpoint to the religious right. And scripture became the common ground between the soft-spoken mayor — clad in his signature dark suit — and the pastor with a clergyman’s collar and gold-accented clerical stole.”
Booker defends his flagging campaign, refuses PAC funds - Fox News: “2020 Democratic presidential primary hopeful Cory Booker defended his flagging campaign on Sunday and pleaded with voters to support his White House run after he swore off taking money from political action committees. ‘We need to unite and the next president has to be a healer and get us back to one nation under God,’ Booker said during an appearance on CBS’ ‘Face The Nation.’ ‘Partisanship has divided us and made tribalism. We need a leader to inspire.’ Booker is sitting in the middle of the crowded Democratic field with a campaign that is struggling to bring funds after swearing off donations from PACs. Earlier in the week, a super PAC formed to support Booker’s Democratic presidential campaign announced it was shutting down.”
One county’s election meltdown the nightmare for officials nationwide - NYT: “The snafu in Northampton County did not just expose flaws in both the election machine testing and procurement process. It also highlighted the fears, frustrations and mistrust over election security that many voters are feeling ahead of the 2020 presidential contest, given how faith in American elections has never been more fragile. The problematic machines were also used in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs — areas of Pennsylvania that could prove decisive next year in one of the most critical presidential swing states in the country. In an era where some candidates and incumbents try to challenge or discredit a close loss by questioning the system, either with unfounded allegations of voter fraud or claims of a ‘rigged’ election, the proper functioning and security of election machines have never been more crucial.”
Bullock officially out - U.S. News: “Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who sought to distinguish himself in a crowded primary field as the Democrat who can appeal to rural and red-state America, suspended his campaign for president Monday morning, saying he could no longer compete for the cash and support necessary to stay in the race. ‘While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won't be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates,’ Bullock said in a statement. … Bullock becomes the second Democrat in as many days to pull out of the presidential race, after former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania withdrew from the contest Sunday. That pares the Democratic field – once numbering more than two dozen – down to a still-crowded 16 contenders.”
THE RULEBOOK: BUT THAT’S NEVER STOPPED THEM!
“No man can be a competent legislator who does not add to an upright intention and a sound judgment a certain degree of knowledge of the subjects on which he is to legislate.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 53
TIME OUT: BAKING UP AN AMERICAN VICTORY
History: “Legend has it that on the night of December 2, 1777, Philadelphia housewife and nurse Lydia Darragh single-handedly saves the lives of General George Washington and his Continental Army when she overhears the British planning a surprise attack on Washington’s army for the following day. During the occupation of Philadelphia, British General William Howe stationed his headquarters across the street from the Darragh home, and when Howe’s headquarters proved too small to hold meetings, he commandeered a large upstairs room in the Darraghs’ house. … On the evening of December 2, 1777, Darragh overheard the British commanders planning a surprise attack on Washington’s army at Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, for December 4 and 5. Using a cover story that she needed to buy flour from a nearby mill just outside the British line, Darragh passed the information to American Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Craig the following day. … It is said that members of the Central Intelligence Agency still tell the story of Lydia Darragh…”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26 points (↓ 1.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 19.4 points (↓ 3.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.2 points (↓ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 10.2 points (↑ 2.6 points from last wk.)
Harris: 3.4 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, CNN, Monmouth University, NBC News/WSJ and ABC News/WaPo.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -9.8 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.6 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 45% approve - 52% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
WHITE HOUSE OPENS DOOR TO IMPEACHMENT COOPERATION
WaPo: “As the impeachment inquiry moves into a critical week, President Trump and his Republican allies are debating the degree to which the president should participate in a process they have spent more than two months attacking. On Sunday evening, White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone told the House Judiciary Committee in a five-page letter that Trump would not participate in its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for Wednesday. The invitation from Chairman Jerrold Nadler ‘does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process,’ Cipollone wrote. Four constitutional scholars — three chosen by Democrats, one by Republicans — are expected to testify on the standards for impeachment. Nadler (D-N.Y.) told Trump he had until 6 p.m. Sunday to notify the committee that he or his attorneys would attend; he has given Trump until Friday to decide whether to participate more broadly in the impeachment process.”
Trump looks for friends abroad, will tout NATO accomplishments - NYT: “The leaders of NATO are traveling to London this week to commemorate the alliance’s 70th birthday — but they will do so at a carefully crafted, foreshortened gathering, not at a full-blown summit meeting. The low-key celebration seems intended to avoid more awkward comments from President Trump, who nearly blew apart the last summit meeting in Brussels in July 2018, musing about quitting the alliance and walking out in the middle of a statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Normally, the 70th anniversary, like the 50th, would have been held in Washington, where the alliance’s founding treaty was signed…”
Johnson, leading in the polls, hopes Trump butts out - CNBC: “President Donald Trump’s arrival in the U.K. just 10 days before Britons head to the ballot box could spell trouble for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, political analysts told CNBC. … Britons head to the ballot box on Dec. 12 in a vote likely to decide the fate of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union and the direction of the world’s fifth-largest economy. Johnson has urged Trump not to get involved in the election, fearing he could say something that threatens to derail the Conservative Party’s campaign. ‘What we don’t do traditionally as loving allies and friends, what we don’t do traditionally, is get involved in each other’s election campaigns,’ Johnson, who’s center-right party holds a commanding lead in the latest opinion polls, told LBC radio on Friday. The prime minister also said he would walk out of trade talks with the U.S. if the health service was a precondition to negotiations.”
Mike Pence, good cop - Politico: “When Donald Trump’s reelection team shamelessly acknowledged during a World Series campaign commercial that America’s 45th president is ‘no Mr. Nice Guy,’ it was doing more than shock-and-awe advertising. Noticeably absent from the 30-second spot was the president’s genteel sidekick: Mike Pence. … For Pence to be an effective surrogate in 2020, campaign officials say his reputation must be preserved. If the goal is to build a winning coalition that includes seniors, suburban women and swing-state residents suffering from Trump fatigue, someone has to be the nice guy. … It’s the same good cop, bad cop routine voters saw in 2016, but it will be even more pronounced on the campaign trail this cycle as the president’s team works to overcome an anti-Trump animus that has seeped into suburban pockets of electorally crucial states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Much of the strategy is driven by internal data and public polling that Pence and campaign officials have paid close attention to since last year’s midterm elections…”
Over 300 Trump social media ads taken down - CBS News: “While political ads on social media do not adhere to different rules than political ads on TV, they have come under specific scrutiny because of their unique ability to disseminate – broadly and rapidly -- bad information, and the platforms' inability to properly police them. Compared to TV, online ads can spread lies at an alarming rate -- bolstered by machine-learning algorithms that can identify target audiences at enormous speed and scale. … [60 Minutes] found that over 300 video ads were taken down by Google and YouTube, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. But the archive doesn't detail what policy was violated. … The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened. [60 Minutes] found very little transparency in the transparency report.”
Supreme Court takes up first gun rights case in nearly a decade - Fox News
Pergram: Senate impeachment trial is the wildest wild card - Fox News
AUDIBLE: MULTIPLY YOUR WOES, DIVIDE YOUR ATTENTION
“Politics is not an exact science. That’s why in school I loved mathematics. Everything in mathematics was clear to me. You can solve an equation with a variable, with one variable. But here it’s only variables, including the politicians in our country.” – President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, in an interview with Time magazine.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Just saw this in the WSJ, [“Why Vinegar Pie Belongs on Your Holiday Table”]. Wonder if Chris has a memory of it, me I’m a Polish jellied pigs feet kind of guy, mom often made it at Christmas, we served it with pepper and vinegar.” – Mike Golan, Cape Cod, Mass.
[Ed. note: Great find, Mr. Golan! I have had West Virginia vinegar pie a few times and it’s far better than its novelty-sounding name implies. Vinegar pie is a desperation alternative to lemon chess pie, getting its tangy tartness from apple cider vinegar rather than harder-to-find and more expensive lemons for the custard. Much of the food we love is born of poverty or necessity — breadcrumbs to stretch scarce meat, soups and stews to make the most of every ingredient at hand, substituting local produce for those from our homelands, long braising of the toughest cuts to make them tender and delicious, etc.. Eating these dishes connects us to a past when, even for the wealthy, the kind of culinary abundance common today would have been unheard of. When we eat vinegar pie, or, in your case, some jellied trotters, we’re doing more than maintaining tradition. We’re keeping faith with our forebears and the lessons they left for us. In this case it’s about resourcefulness and a refusal to let obstacles of the moment prevent us from celebrating together.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
AND AFTER ALL WE DID TO THEM LAST WEEK…
KPIX 5: “A wild turkey gave a Bay Area driver something to be thankful for as it stopped a Livermore police officer from issuing the driver a traffic ticket. Livermore Police posted a bodycam video on their Facebook page from the officer pulling over a driver for speeding. As the officer is about to hand over the citation, a large turkey runs up unexpectedly on him. ‘You’re not getting a ticket, he doesn’t want you to get a ticket!’ the officer can be heard saying. The turkey’s act seemed to have worked–the officer ends up driving away, letting the driver go without incident. The department labeled the intervening bird ‘No Ticket Turkey.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Deterrence is inherently a barely believable bluff.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 1, 2017.
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.