Buttigieg, Klobuchar get big post-debate boost

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On the roster: Buttigieg, Klobuchar get big post-debate boost - Mulvaney increases White House misery index - Dems build cash castellation around House majority - Poll shows Gardner trailing Hickenlooper - Oh, Floyd


Fox News: “Sen. Amy Klobuchar – giddy after a lack of sleep and rave reviews for her debate performance – touted to the jam-packed crowd inside a café in New Hampshire’s capital city that she raised $1.1 million in the 24 hours after Tuesday’s Democratic presidential nomination showdown. The haul was nearly a quarter of what she brought in during the entire July-September third quarter of fundraising. Highlighting that most of the money was from small-dollar contributions, the Minnesota Democrat told reporters ‘that shows something happened, that people were watching and they responded. And that is a very big deal for us.’ As Klobuchar spotlighted her post-debate haul, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who also excelled during the showdown, reported bringing in $1.1 million in the same 24-hours following the debate. His campaign touted that Wednesday was ‘one of our biggest fundraising days yet.’”

Buttigieg draws heat from black activists over fundraiser - AP: “Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to attend a Chicago fundraiser that will be co-hosted by a former city attorney who vigorously tried to block the release of a video depicting the shooting of Laquan McDonald , a black teenager whose death at the hands of police stirred months of protest and resulted in an officer’s conviction. Steve Patton, who led Chicago’s law department under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is listed as a sponsor of the Friday event, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press. For months, Buttigieg has faced criticism over his own handling of race as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a racially divided city where decades of simmering racial tension erupted this summer when a white police officer shot and killed an African American man. … ‘He should adjust his schedule,’ said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, when asked about the fundraiser.”

Analysis finds Warren $30 trillion short on single-payer plan - Bloomberg:Elizabeth Warren took a lot of flak at this week’s Democratic presidential debate for being evasive about the taxes needed to pay for the $30 trillion Medicare for All plan she champions. There’s a reason for being vague: Her team hasn’t yet figured out how to pay for it. ‘Her taxes as they currently exist are not enough yet to cover fully replacing health insurance,’ University of California, Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez, who advised the Warren campaign… Warren -- who campaigns on the theme that she has a plan for everything -- is relying on the wealthy and big corporations to pay for her vision of restructuring American society, including funding student debt, free college, universal childcare, green energy and affordable housing plans. … But she has made the strategic decision to adopt Bernie Sanders’ government-run health care plan rather than develop one of her own. … The Warren campaign said they are continuing to review revenue options to fund Medicare for All…”

Tim Alberta: Watching the Dem debate with Michael Bennet - Politico: “The instincts that guide [Michael] Bennet—being pragmatic, deliberative, restrained—are what many Americans say are precisely what’s needed to run the White House. But now, perhaps more than ever, those instincts are the opposite of what’s needed to win the White House. Once upon a time, there was a limited return on investing in outrage and demagoguery; statesmen were in high demand no matter the supply. That’s no longer the case, and not simply because a celebrity showman named Donald Trump is president of the United States. The painful reality of this political moment slides over Bennet like a barbed-wire blanket as he flops onto the couch and kicks off his faded brown dress shoes, preparing for a three-hour reality-television show that will help determine who leads the free world. All the more irksome to Bennet is the fact that five of his fellow senators are staring back at him from beneath the bright lights; he is the only member of the ‘world’s greatest deliberative body’ seeking a promotion who is excluded from the festivities.”

David Brooks: If it’s Trump vs. Warren, then what? - WaPo: “This is a memo for the politically homeless. It’s a memo to those of us who could never support Donald Trump but think the Bernie-Squad-Warren Democratic Party is sprinting too far left. It’s a memo built around the following question: If the general election campaign turns out to be Trump vs. Warren, what the heck are we supposed to do? The first thing we could do, of course, is pray for a miracle. Maybe the Democrats will nominate one of the five B’s or the K: Biden, Buttigieg, Booker, Bennet, Bullock or Klobuchar. These candidates are pluralists, not purists. … And yet, if it comes to Trump vs. Warren in a general election, the only plausible choice is to support Warren. Over the past month Donald Trump has given us fresh reminders of the unique and exceptional ways he corrupts American life. … Politics is downstream from morality and culture. Warren represents a policy wrong turn, in my view, but policies can be argued about and reversed.”

“It is at least problematical, whether the decisions of this body do not, in several instances, misconstrue the limits prescribed for the legislative and executive departments, instead of reducing and limiting them within their constitutional places.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 50

AFP: “The Paris zoo's latest attraction is a brainless, eyeless, single-celled organism with no limbs or stomach but more than 700 genders. Meet the ‘blob’, also known by its scientific name Physarum polycephalum or ‘many-headed slime.’ Preceding humans on Earth by some 500 million years, the creature resembles a kind of slippery sponge. It appears stationary, but does cover ground – at a leisurely pace of up to [0.4 inches] per hour – in search of prey, such as mushroom spores, bacteria, and other microbes. From Saturday, members of the public can become better acquainted with ‘le blob’, which has taken up residence in a large tank at the zoo in Paris' Bois de Vincennes park. Named after the 1958 sci-fi horror movie ‘The Blob’ about an alien creature that crashes to Earth and devours residents of Pennsylvania, the real-life blob consists of a single cell, sometimes with many nuclei that can replicate their DNA and divide.”

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

Biden: 28.2 points (↑ 0.2 point from last wk.)
Warren: 26.4 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 13.4 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 6.2 points (↑ 0.8 points from last wk.)
Harris: 4.4 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, Fox News, IBD, Monmouth University and NBC News/WSJ.]

Average approval: 42.2 percent
Average disapproval: 54 percent
Net Score: -11.8 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.2 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 39% approve - 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve - 55% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 43% approve - 53% disapprove.]  

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WaPo: “For 39 minutes Thursday, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney turned the press briefing room into a sort of confession chamber, openly admitting to several acts that could deepen the legal predicament for the president. [Donald] Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry into whether he has abused his office for personal and political gain. … In admitting that Trump had personally intervened to award a multimillion-dollar summit to his own company, and that the president had also used taxpayer money as leverage to push a Ukrainian investigation into Democrats, Mulvaney embraced a classic Trumpian tactic: saying the quiet — and potentially illegal — part out loud. But that strategy with regard to Ukraine came in for withering criticism after Mulvaney’s appearance, and he later tried to walk back his comments. In a statement late Thursday, Mulvaney denied the quid pro quo he had previously defended as appropriate and normal.”

State Department official: Obama administration ignored Biden warnings - Fox News: “A State Department official focused on Ukraine policy told Congress this week he raised concerns about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas firm in 2015, but was rebuffed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s staff, Fox News has confirmed. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, who testified behind closed doors before committees spearheading the formal House impeachment inquiry, told congressional investigators that he had qualms about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. … A congressional source confirmed to Fox News on Friday that Kent testified that when he brought his concerns to the office of the vice president in 2016, his staff ‘blew him off’ and ignored the issue involving the younger Biden's role at the firm.”

Support steady for impeachment probe - Pew Research Center: “The new survey by Pew Research Center … finds that 54% currently approve of the House’s decision to conduct an impeachment inquiry, while 44% disapprove. Neither party engenders a great deal of confidence that they will be ‘fair and reasonable’ during the impeachment inquiry, the survey finds. About four-in-ten (43%) expect that the Republicans in Congress will be fair in handling the inquiry, while slightly more (47%) say the same about the Democrats in Congress. The survey, conducted on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, enables us to examine opinions about impeachment among the same group of respondents over the past month.”

Rick Perry announces year-end departure amid increasing scrutiny - NPR: “Secretary of Energy Rick Perry plans to leave his position at the end of the year, President Trump confirmed to reporters Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump praised Perry and said he already has a replacement in mind. ‘Rick has done a fantastic job,’ Trump said. ‘But it was time.’ Trump said that Perry's resignation didn't come as a surprise and that he has considered leaving for six months because ‘he's got some very big plans.’ Perry, 69, is one of Trump's original Cabinet members and recently has emerged as a central figure in the impeachment inquiry of Trump. Perry was part of what was dubbed ‘the three amigos’ — in addition to Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, former envoy to Ukraine — charged with managing the U.S.-Ukraine relationship after the White House removed the core of its Ukraine policy team last spring.”

Politico: “Democrats are building a financial bulwark around their House majority that’s going to be tough for Republicans to breach in 2020. Thirty-three of the 44 most vulnerable House Democrats have stashed an impressive $1 million or more in the bank well before the election year even begins. And their fundraising pace is not slowing down as they gear up to defend the chamber. Federal Election Commission reports filed this week illustrate Democrats’ formidable advantage: The 44 Democrats in the most competitive seats banked a collective $59 million so far. Nearly 30 raised $500,000 or more in the third quarter, according to a POLITICO analysis of the fundraising filings. And all but six of the so-called ‘frontliners’ have at least half a million more banked than their challengers, if they have any challenger at all. … The GOP is struggling to adapt to a changing landscape; They can no longer dismiss the strong fundraising as an anomaly when it has remained steady throughout the first three quarters of 2019.”

Can anyone beat AOC? - NYT: “It is hard to imagine a scenario where Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez loses her seat next year. She has raised more than $3.4 million, is better known than some presidential candidates and handily won a district that is among the bluest in the nation. But that hasn’t stopped people — lots of them — from trying to unseat her. So far, eight Republicans and three Democrats have filed to run for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s seat in the Bronx and Queens. Two of the Republicans have each raised more than $420,000, even though no Republican has represented the Bronx in Congress in at least 50 years. … The campaigns also highlight a broader strategy by the Republican Party: turning voters’ resentment toward Ms. Ocasio-Cortez into a conduit for the party’s other electoral goals.”

KMGH: “New Colorado polling released Thursday shows that John Hickenlooper leads Sen. Cory Gardner in a theoretical Senate matchup next year by 11 percentage points and that a majority of Coloradans support the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The Keating Research-OnSight Public Affairs-Martin Campaigns (KOM) survey released Thursday afternoon was conducted by the Democratic pollsters Oct. 10-14 and polled 500 active statewide voters who cast ballots in 2016, 2017 or 2018 or signed up to vote since last November. The poll was weighted to be in line with voter turnout demographics and the margin of error was ±4.4% and was paid for by KOM.”

Former Republican launches Kansas Senate bid as a Democrat - The Wichita [Kan.] Eagle: “A Kansas lawmaker who left the Republican Party last year now hopes to become the first Kansas Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in decades. State Sen. Barbara Bollier launched her campaign for U.S. Senate on Wednesday by promising an independent approach. She condemned dysfunction in Washington as she seeks to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. … Bollier, of Mission Hills in Johnson County, is the fourth Democrat in the race and the ninth candidate overall – joining a sprawling field that includes Republicans Rep. Roger Marshall and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In the Democratic contest, she will have to overcome serious campaigns by former federal prosecutor Barry Grissom and Manhattan Mayor Pro Tem Usha Reddi.”

Trump boosts his struggling Miami golf resort with big federal contract - WaPo

Syria cease-fire in question after fighting, shelling reported Fox News

Trump holds Texas rally, defends Syria decision and impeachment inquiry Politico

Christianity’s decline among Americans remains rapid Pew Research Center

Britain and the EU reach new agreement, Brexit could pass on ‘Super Saturday’ WaPo

Hillary Clinton has thoughts on Tulsi Gabbard and the Kremlin WaPo

Fox Poll: Majorities have confidence in CIA, FBI, and SCOTUS Fox News

Pergram: Rep. Elijah Cummings' megaphone goes silent - Fox News

“I earned my spurs on the battlefield; Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.” – Former Defense Secretary James Mattis speaking at the Al Smith dinner in NYC Thursday night.

This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Mayor of South Bend, Ind. Pete Buttigieg. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. 

“A small, but important correction. It is not the American Air Force at work in Syria.  It is either the American air force or it is the United States Air Force/U.S. Air Force, from which I am retired with 21 years of service. The same goes for the American army or the American navy. I agree with capitalizing proper names, but prefer that it be done properly. I'm a faithful reader, an independent politically, and I appreciate your non-partisan approach. Sometimes it feels as though we who prefer listening, thinking and discussing rationally are but drowning voices in a maelstrom of partisan fury. The Halftime Report is one of the very few media outlets that I feel I can trust to report accurately and to make projections which are supported reasonably. Thank you for the time and effort you and your team put into keeping us informed.” – Dave Riley, Kasilof, Alaska

[Ed. note: Good point, Mr. Riley! Certainly no disrespect intended. I was swerving from overuse of U.S. and ran off the other side of the road. Thank you so much for your kind words, readership and, most of all, your service.]

“Chris, I hope the new Syrian ceasefire lasts longer than your pledge to remain neutral about Trump in your Halftime Report.” – Scott Lyddon, Savannah, Ga.

[Ed. note: I’ve got to give it to you, Mr. Lyddon. That was pretty good! And since the cease fire seems to have ended before it really began, you may be now doubly right from your own perspective. I would remind you though that the goal here isn’t to be “neutral,” but rather to be useful. Fair analysis will necessarily include criticism. If there were no criticism – true neutrality – we would lose the capacity to render necessary judgments. My promise to you, however, is that I do not and will not make judgement about ideological rights and wrongs. As we wrote Thursday, we hold harmless those who either support or oppose the president’s policies in Syria. The same goes for the competing opinions about whether the president should be removed from office for leaning on the Ukrainians to investigate his political foes. Both positions are defensible and substantially irrelevant to my work. Our point Thursday was that however you feel about the policies, Trump’s chaotic governance and indiscipline is creating political liabilities. This week has been a brutal one for the administration, most of it needlessly so. I hope, whatever resentments you may hold for my rejection of neutrality, you still find the analysis useful.] 

“As much as I admire moderation in the body politic, it seems that we are rapidly approaching a choice for those of us with (R) on our voting status. I find much of the President's language and combative behavior appalling, however he is generally consistent with my views on policy. But I am APPALLED by the full throated embrace of Socialism that is occurring on the other ‘side of the aisle.’ If we ‘moderate conservatives’ sit this one out (as probably occurred with the evangelical Christians in 2012), I believe the result could be an upheaval of our American way of life, facilitated by the most massive transfer of wealth in history.” – Patsy Fields, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

[Ed. note: Well, I’ve got good news and bad news for you, Ms. Fields. The bad news is that we are indeed already in the midst of an upheaval of American life. The changes we’re seeing in how we live, work, play, worship, mate, learn and communicate are massive in scope. You would have to go back a century or more to find a moment that even comes close to the enormous societal and, consequently, political change that has wracked American society over the past 20 years. No matter how you vote, that toothpaste isn’t going back in the tube. Neither party nor any politician has the answer for dealing with all of these changes. The far left believes economic collectivism based on an ambition for social justice is the answer, while the far right champions a sort of cultural collectivism supported by economic nationalism in which the government works to engineer a new American culture to its supporters liking. Both will probably fail to achieve their highest aims. And that’s the good news. As we have done many times before, the rest of us will just have to figure it out, making it up as we go. It’s going to be bumpy, but I remain confident that it’s going to be great.]  

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

NY Daily News: “A leisurely Sunday afternoon hike on a mountain trail outside of Salt Lake City turned into an animal rescue after Floyd, a 3-year-old, 190-pound Mastiff, decided he was too tired to descend and wouldn’t budge. Around 6:30 p.m. as temperatures were dropping, rescuers were called after other hikers stumbled upon Floyd and his owner. Luckily, the all-volunteer Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team was able strap Floyd into a stretcher and carry the big fella down to the trailhead without further incident. ‘They had no hesitation whatsoever, even when they heard it was a dog,’ Sgt. Melody Gray of the Unified Police Department, which works with the sheriff’s search and rescue team, told CNN. She added the whole operation lasted about four hours.”

“What’s so remarkable is that constitutions are highly reactionary documents. The very essence of a constitution is to constrain the enthusiasms of a future that one cannot even see.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) in a column from Krauthammer’s posthumous book, “The Point of It All,” published in the Washington Post on Nov. 29, 2018.

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.