Dems gear up for debate night two

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: Dems gear up for debate night two - 2020 Dems feel pressure of money race - Judge tosses DNC election-hacking lawsuit - Senate to face key vote on budget bill - Please use caution when opening overhead bins

Politico:Joe Biden is ready to rumble. And he needs to be, with Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris planning to come after him Wednesday night in Detroit. Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet need to put their charming Twitter repartee in front of a bigger audience, and Jay Inslee needs to terrify Americans into action. Ten candidates meet Wednesday for the second presidential debate of the summer, and they’ve all got different to-do lists for the nationally televised event. Here’s what the candidates need to accomplish in Detroit: … Both [Yang and Bennet] could stand to bring their Twitter energy to the debate stage Wednesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden and his team concluded they would rather tip their hand on his debate strategy and take it to his opponents early than get pummeled before he even got to Detroit. … California Sen. Kamala Harris brought the sizzle when she confronted Biden in the first debate… Now, she needs to defend her new health care plan and her criminal justice record — and show presidential-level command of a range of policy issues.”

Dem Party divide showcased in Tuesday debate - RCP: “The Democratic Party’s ideological divide was on full display Tuesday night as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren faced a fusillade of incoming fire from more moderate presidential contenders determined to cast their proposals as too costly and unrealistic and a sure path to reelecting Donald Trump. Warren and Sanders fended off one blitz after another from low-polling centrists who repeatedly derided their government-heavy policies as ‘fairy tale’ wish lists that would alienate swing voters, limit Americans’ freedoms and inevitably raise taxes on the middle class. … But Warren and Sanders stood their ground, unapologetically defending their proposals while making the case for a broad restructuring of the country’s health care, immigration and environmental policies as the best way to stir voters’ passions and rally them to their side.”

James Hohmann: The revolutionaries won - WaPo: “CNN treated Bernie Sanders like a front-runner and took the senator’s policy proposals seriously during Tuesday night’s debate in Detroit. It was a striking contrast from the first debate in Miami, where MSNBC focused on Joe Biden and the runner-up for the nomination in 2016 looked dispirited as he struggled to get a word in. Sanders relished being back in the spotlight, as well as the ideological combat, which underscored how much the zeitgeist of the Democratic Party has moved his way over the past four years. Biden, who appears onstage tonight for the second round, wound up never being mentioned during a debate that lasted two hours and 43 minutes. … Sanders got the breaks he needed to stay in the hunt. It helped that Elizabeth Warren, the biggest beneficiary of defections from his 2016 effort, chose not to attack him so that she could sell herself. It also worked to Sanders’s advantage that several lesser-known moderates … were eager to serve as foils.”

David French: For one night, the Democrats put the woke Olympics on hold - National Review: “[Tuesday night], the Democrats finally had a real debate. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren faced actual disagreement and actual criticism, and the Democrats’ race to the left faced real resistance. Yes, it came from the second-tier candidates, but for the first time we heard real arguments about wiping away private health insurance, border security, decriminalizing border crossings, free healthcare for illegal aliens, free college for all, and even whether the United States should adopt a no-first-use policy regarding its nuclear arsenal. … The true significance of [Tuesday’s] debate may not emerge until [Wednesday]. No doubt Joe Biden’s team watched the clash between moderates and progressives intensely. If their man can be on top of his game (a huge if), he has an opportunity to make a moderate case from the top of the leaderboard, to set the tone against his rivals to make a more popular and more electable message the dominant tone of the night.”

“The number of wars which have happened or will happen in the world will always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes, whether REAL or PRETENDED, which PROVOKE or INVITE them.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 3

Smithsonian: “Game Boy was a game-changer. When Nintendo’s handheld unit exploded on the U.S. market on July 31, 1989, it unleashed the power of video games in a transportive way. Now, players could take their games anywhere and play them to their hearts’ content—or at least until they ran out of AAA batteries. Because of its cultural importance and economic impact, Game Boy has a prominent place at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. … ‘There were others before it, but they were mostly one-function systems. Game Boy used interchangeable cartridges, like the home consoles, so you could play different games.’ [Drew Robarge, a museum specialist, said.] The 8-bit system looks dated by today’s standards: small screen with dot-matrix graphics in black and white—actually four shades of gray-green. However, it was durable and inexpensive to operate since it didn’t burn through batteries like its competition.”

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

Trump job performance
Average approval
: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 52.2 percent
Net Score: -8.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 2 points 
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 53% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve - 51% disapprove.]

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!

NYT: “Staff members for a half dozen Democratic presidential candidates did not receive their final June paycheck that month. Instead, their campaigns nudged payday into July, an accounting maneuver that obscured payroll costs and temporarily made it look like candidates had more cash on hand than they actually did. The move deferred more than $700,000 in payroll costs for candidates including Senators Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet and Govs. Steve Bullock and Jay Inslee, federal election records show. It affected more than 200 campaign aides, from the junior-most field staff in Iowa to senior national advisers. The delay also pushed paychecks into the third quarter of 2019, essentially keeping them off the books for three months until the next campaign finance reports are filed in October. That does not violate campaign laws, but it is a symptom of the high stakes of the 2020 money race and a crowded field choked with candidates struggling to stay alive ahead of this week’s second round of debates in Detroit.”

Reuters: “A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed a Democratic Party lawsuit arguing that the Russian government, President Donald Trump’s campaign and WikiLeaks carried out a conspiracy to influence the 2016 U.S. election. U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said he could not hear the claims against Russia, which were the focus of the case, because of a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity that shields foreign governments from litigation in the United States. ‘The remedies for hostile actions by foreign governments are state actions, including sanctions imposed by the executive and legislative branches of government,’ Koeltl’s written opinion said. Koeltl also said holding WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign liable for dissemination of hacked emails would infringe on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic National Committee’s computer systems were hacked during the campaign and WikiLeaks published party emails. Trump said on Twitter that the ruling was ‘yet another total & complete ... vindication & exoneration’ of him and his campaign…”

McConnell gets heated over ‘Moscow Mitch’ claims - NYT: “Senator Mitch McConnell is usually impervious to criticism, even celebrating the nasty nicknames critics bestow on him. But Mr. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is incensed by the name ‘Moscow Mitch,’ and even more miffed that he has been called a ‘Russian asset’ by critics who accuse him of single-handedly blocking stronger election security measures after Russia’s interference in 2016. Democrats had been making the case for months, but it was supercharged last week by the testimony of Robert S. Mueller III… Mr. McConnell cites several reasons for his opposition — a longstanding resistance to federal control over state elections, newly enacted security improvements that were shown to have worked in the 2018 voting and his suspicion that Democrats are trying to gain partisan advantage with a host of proposals. … Mr. McConnell said Monday that he would not be intimidated into acting on election interference.”

AP: “A hard-won, warts-and-all budget pact between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump is facing a key vote in the GOP-held Senate, with many conservatives torn between supporting the president and risking their political brand with an unpopular vote to add $2 trillion or more to the government’s credit card. The Trump-supported legislation backed by the Democratic speaker would stave off a government shutdown and protect budget gains for the Pentagon and popular domestic programs. It’s attached to a must-do measure to lift the so-called debt limit to permit the government to borrow freely to pay its bills. The vote, expected Wednesday afternoon or Thursday, is a politically tough one for many Republicans. The tea party-driven House GOP conference broke against it by a 2-1 ratio, but most pragmatists see the measure as preferable to an alternative fall landscape of high-wire deadlines and potential chaos. The government otherwise would face a potential debt default, an Oct. 1 shutdown deadline, and the return in January of across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.”

Rep. Mike Conaway becomes fifth Republican to announce retirement ahead of 2020 - Politico

Editorial Board: The 99% get a bigger raise - WSJ

“You can put that on the record that I said that’s a bunch of BS. Every party out of power says that and then nobody actually does it.” – John Findlay, the executive director of the Virginia Republican Party, discussing partisan versus non-partisan gerrymandering. Findlay was specifically calling out the claim that Democrats should be trusted to draw fair lines.

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

Fox News: “Maybe that's why passengers have to gate check their bags – the overhead compartments are filled with flight attendants. A recent Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville to Philadelphia began on an odd note when a passenger spotted a flight attendant inside the plane’s overhead compartment. According to a short video taken by passenger Veronica Lloyd, who was heading back home to Pennsylvania, the attendant can be seen resting on her side and stomach, with her feet hanging out of the compartment. While passengers are boarding, the airline employee rolls over on her stomach and seems to start talking, though the video cuts off. … ‘I think she was doing it to try and be funny and make the passengers laugh.’ Lloyd said when the woman came down from the bin she was very nice for the remainder of the flight. Southwest said in a statement to Fox News that its employees are known for their sense of humor.”

“…The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for The Weekly Standard on Oct. 19, 2009.

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.