Conversations with Kamala

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On the roster: Conversations with Kamala - Buttigieg to join Mr. Sunday for Fox News town hall - Confusion clouds Biden’s 2020 campaign launch - Hogan begins 16 state visit in N.H. Tuesday - Almost paradise


We need to have a conversation about Kamala Harris.

Since her auspicious launch in late January, she has had a series of disappointments, most of which center on her inability to answer straightforward questions. 

In her segment of CNN’s town-hall-a-palooza Monday night, Harris was asked about the position of Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders that the terrorists who killed three and injured more than 250 at the 2013 Boston Marathon should be allowed to vote from prison.

Now, this isn’t a tough one for Sanders. His home state of Vermont allows incarcerated felons to vote, even those convicted of the most serious crimes. Plus, his supporters will love him unconditionally. Sanders runs second in the new Monmouth University national poll out today with 20 percent compared to probably-maybe-definitely-Wednesday-wait-Thursday-somewhere-likely candidate Joe Biden who has the backing of 27 percent of respondents.

Sanders has so far demonstrated no ability to grow his share of the Democratic vote, but neither has he lost any ground. The similarities between Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s own 2016 efforts are many, but the most significant consequence is that like Trump, Sanders has very stable support. It’s hard to see him ever getting a majority of the Democratic vote, but it’s also hard to see him dropping much below his current numbers. 

While Sanders’ views may not be that consequential for him, they will be for the other contenders. Harris walked right off a cliff Monday night following the pied piper of Vermont. 

“I think we should have that conversation,” Harris said when pressed on her vague answer about the general need for restorative justice. Even these monsters who murdered innocents? What does that conversation really look like? 

To give Harris the benefit of the doubt we’re willing to allow that she genuinely is unsure about the matter, strange as that may sound. But coming as it did in the same event when she also threw herself behind Elizabeth Warren’s call for the immediate impeachment of the president we start to get the strong impression that Harris is too eager to tell people what they want to hear. 

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg showed her up later on when the same question was put to him. “No,” he said. “I do believe that when you are, when you have served your sentence, then part of being restored to society is that you are part of the political life of this nation again and one of the things that needs to be restored is your right to vote.”


There’s a reason Harris finds herself tied with Buttigieg in third place in today’s Monmouth poll. Buttigieg is exceeding expectations. She is missing them. 

That’s not to say that there won’t be another moment for Harris, but when that comes she had better have a more complete understanding of the difference between leadership and popularity.

“The money saved from one object may be usefully applied to another, and there will be so much the less to be drawn from the pockets of the people.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 13

Atlantic:Bap. That’s how Damon Runyon, reporting on Game 1 of the 1923 World Series, Giants versus Yankees, for the New York American, records the sound of Casey Stengel connecting with a pitch from ‘Bullet JoeBush. Bat meets ball, the essential atomic encounter—and Runyon puts the sound of it, the briefest, most prodigious syllable, right in the center of his column. Everything leads to it, everything spins out of it. Bap! Writers, those nonjocks, know this moment too. … The surprise and delight of The Great American Sports Page, John Schulian’s selections from a century’s worth of newspaper columns about baseball, boxing, football, gymnastics, and (in one case) swimming the English Channel, is how often it happens—how often the writers connect, how often the prose approaches the condition of flat-out poetry. … That stuff is largely gone now. …Sports commentary in 2019 is forensic, polyphonic, multiplatformed.”

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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: down 0.8 points 
[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.]

Politico: “Fox News will host a town hall with Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the network announced Tuesday, making him the third Democrat to sit down with the network at length. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace will moderate the town hall, which is set for May 19 and will be held in Claremont, N.H. Fox was slow to jump into the 2020 town hall game, hosting its first 2020 town hall earlier this month after ceding much of that territory to its cable rivals CNN and MSNBC, but has rolled out events with three Democratic candidates in the last three weeks. … Buttigieg’s town hall with Wallace will be Wallace’s first of the 2020 cycle. Wallace in 2016 became the first network personality to moderate a general election presidential debate, overseeing the final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

Fox News: “When, where and how Joe Biden announces his long-awaited 2020 presidential bid appears to be up in the air – still. While initial indications pointed to a Wednesday launch, the timing remains in flux, as does the location. At this stage, the only key element that seems to have crystallized is the theme for the campaign rollout. ‘The theme for the announcement is going to be ‘the battle for the soul of America,’’ said a source close to Biden’s inner circle… [Biden] is expected to open … with a message that describes the current climate in the nation and takes on Republican President Trump. … But other details surrounding the launch remain fluid, including where the former vice president goes in the hours and initial days after the declaration of candidacy. A source told Fox News … on Monday evening that plans were in flux and that Thursday appeared to be more likely for Biden’s announcement.”

Will fundraising be his biggest challenge - NYT: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is going to have to raise money like he’s never raised money before. …[O]ne of the anxiety-inducing questions hanging over his team of advisers is just how much of former President Barack Obama’s record-setting financial operation Mr. Biden will inherit now that he is setting off on his own for the first time in a decade. It is an urgent task, especially for a politician not previously known as a prolific fund-raiser. His leading rival in the polls, Senator Bernie Sanders, has amassed $26.6 million across his various political committees, including more than $10 million left over from his 2016 presidential run and 2018 re-election in Vermont. Mr. Biden begins at $0, and it would take his raising more than $100,000 every day until Christmas just to match what Mr. Sanders had banked at the start of April.”

Or will it be himself? - Politico: “…Biden is carrying with him nearly a half a century in the major leagues of American politics. When Pete Buttigieg was born, Biden was had been a U.S. senator for almost nine years. He has cast votes on conflicts in Vietnam, Nicaragua, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the confirmation of 12 Supreme Court justices and the impeachment of a president. He’s served in office when opinions on crime, abortion, race and sexuality have changed root and branch. Perhaps Biden’s biggest challenge—apart from his age itself—will be to persuade Democratic voters not to view his past through the prism of the present. It would likelier be a lot easier for Biden if he were a Republican. One of the signal features of the 2016 campaign was the capacity of GOP voters to sweep aside Donald Trump’s past, both his words and his deeds.”

 WaPo: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday he is seriously considering a primary challenge to President Trump, adding that the only reason Trump is not facing obstruction charges is that aides thwarted the president. Hogan criticized fellow Republicans in Congress and state houses across the country for not speaking out in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, which he called ‘very disturbing’ and ‘unsavory.’ ‘It’s because they’re afraid,’ Hogan told reporters. ‘There’s no profiles in courage here. They’re afraid of being primaried. They’re afraid of being tweeted about.’ … The governor said he’s been approached ‘by a lot of people and a growing number of people’ since his January inauguration about getting into the race, and he plans to visit 16 states in the next few months as he continues to ponder a run. … Tuesday’s comments, made at a must-stop event for presidential candidates, mark the governor’s most decisive remarks about whether he would challenge Trump.”

WaPo: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers Monday that there are no plans to immediately open impeachment proceedings against President Trump, rejecting calls from several Democrats to initiate steps to try to oust the president. In a rare Monday night conference call, the California Democrat stressed that the near-term strategy in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report is to focus on investigating the president and seeing where the inquiries lead. Members of Pelosi’s leadership team reaffirmed her cautious approach, according to four officials on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. ‘We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy,’ Pelosi said. But Pelosi’s message did not go over well with several Democrats, who argued that Congress has a duty to hold Trump to account with impeachment despite the political blowback Pelosi has long feared.”

Harris joins Warren’s call for impeachment - Fox News: “Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, is the latest presidential candidate to join the call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment following the release of the Mueller Report. During a televised town hall on Monday night, Harvard University student Karla Alvarado asked Harris if congressional Democrats should ‘reconsider’ their position on impeachment, something top leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, has repeatedly dismissed. Harris began by declaring that it’s ‘very clear’ that there is ‘a lot of good evidence’ in the Mueller Report that points to obstruction of justice. And although she still intends on beating Trump in the 2020 election, she expressed that Congress should proceed with impeachment.”

NPR: “The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Tuesday in a legal battle with lasting implications that could dramatically affect political representation and federal funding over the next decade. The justices are weighing whether to allow the Trump administration to add a question about U.S. citizenship status to forms for the upcoming 2020 census. In multiple lawsuits brought by dozens of states, cities and other groups, three federal judges at U.S. district courts have issued rulings blocking the administration's plans for the question. It asks, ‘Is this person a citizen of the United States?’ All three judges — in New York, California and Maryland — ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' decision to include the question violated procedures for adding new census questions under administrative law.”

Judge Napolitano on census - Fox News: “Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Tuesday that as it stands, the only information that must be disclosed for the census is the total number of people who live in a residence. Napolitano appeared on ‘Fox & Friends’ on the same day the Supreme Court was to hear arguments over whether the 2020 census can include a question about citizenship, ensuring a quick review of a lower court ruling that blocked the Trump administration from doing that. ‘The government is looking to acquire information about where people live and where people who are not authorized to be here live because that has a profound effect on federal aid to cities and has a profound effect on members of Congress,’ said Napolitano.”

McConnell vows to be ‘grim reaper’ of socialist Dem proposals - Fox News

Pergram: Why House Dem leaders can't wreck the freshmen's ‘homecoming float’ - Fox News

Trump to meet with Queen Elizabeth II during June state visit - USA Today

John Cornyn to face Air Force vet MJ Hegar in 2020 Texas Senate race - Fox News

“It’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, okay?” – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., during a CNN town hall on Monday night.

“I agree with your points as to why people are not responding to surveys but you miss the main point: Robo-calls.  I don’t answer a call unless I know who is calling and therefore miss any survey that calls. If those in charge would stop all the needless interruption of Robo-calls they would get more response to their surveys. Those that do so by mail would get more response if they were not asking for money at the end of each survey.” – Tom Hamilton, New Albany, Miss.

[Ed. note: You just unintentionally explained a substantial part of our polling requirements, Mr. Hamilton! Robo-calls to cell phones are forbidden by the FCC and federal law. The ones you are getting now are operating outside of the law and using sophisticated techniques to evade detection – like cloning a number in your area code to increase the chances that you will pick up. That’s why we don’t use pollsters who use robo-calls, like Rasmussen. They can’t call cell phones and have to rely on landlines plus their own system of online surveys to try to compensate for the missing cell phone users. Only live callers can do the job right, and the live callers have to be competent and well-trained for the work. That’s why we tend to avoid partisan polls since the interviewers may have motives beyond just getting honest opinions. The scourge of unwanted robo-calls will be with us as long as we have telephones, but there are new efforts underway for a more intense crackdown on those who are still breaking the rules. We will keep you posted.]     

“I just read your response about Congress spending more time in DC and had to laugh. We have a saying in Texas where our legislature is in session for 140 days every two years: It would be better if they were in session for 2 days every 140 years.” – Pat Conroy, West Lake Hills, Texas

[Ed. note: Zing!]

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AP: “A man who says he fled an Austrian prison over a decade ago has turned himself in to police in Salzburg, telling them he was fed up with living in Spain's Canary Islands. Police said the 64-year-old, carrying two suitcases, went to police at Salzburg's railway station Saturday night and told them he was a fugitive prisoner who had just arrived from Munich Airport. They said in a statement Monday that he told officers he had spent the past 10 ½ years on Tenerife, a popular vacation island, and wanted to return home because ‘Tenerife is not as nice as it used to be and he had lived there long enough.’ Police verified that he had fled a prison in eastern Austria. He was taken to a Salzburg jail.”

“There is excellence, and there is greatness — cosmic, transcendent, Einsteinian. We know it when we see it, we think. But how to measure it?” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for Time magazine on July 1, 2002.

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.