Gator bait: Landrieu’s gaffe bites Southern Dems

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Buzz Cut:
• Gator bait: Landrieu’s gaffe bites Southern Dems
• Power Play: Rough draft of history edition
• ‘Gotcha’ backfires on N.H. reporter
• Last chance to Pick Six!
• Don’t mess with the gnome mafia

Asked by NBC News to explain her poor chances for a fourth Senate term, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., opted instead to offer an excuse: Voters in her state are plagued by racism and sexism. “To be very, very honest with you, the South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu said. “It’s been a difficult time for [President Obama] to present himself in a very positive light as a leader. It’s not always been a good place for women to present ourselves. It’s more of a conservative place, so we’ve had to work a little bit harder on that.” Landrieu is widely expected to lose in the state’s Dec. 6 general election (Louisiana holds its primary Tuesday as most states hold their general elections), so the gaffe would seem likely to only intensify the velocity of her descent. But there will be implications beyond the Pelican State for a stumble such as this.

[Landrieu’s presumptive general election opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., offered his reaction on Thursday’s “The Kelly File”: “We’re not racist, we just all have common sense.”  Watch here.]

Stealth campaigns no more - In an election cycle in which Democratic hopes for holding the Senate have come firmly to rest on exploiting racial animus in Southern states, particularly Georgia and North Carolina, this is a gaffe with big implications beyond Landrieu’s long-shot bid to hold power. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn have both been coy about effort on their behalf to tie the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., the February 2012 shooting of a black teenager in Florida, claims of Jim Crow-style voter disenfranchisement and even lynchings to their contests. Both candidates will be forced to respond to Landrieu’s allegations, which should effectively end the ability of Nunn and Hagan to wink at black voters without offending white moderates who hold their electoral futures in their hands.

[Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., fueled the racial flames that Democrats have injected into the midterms, charging that some Republicans “believe that slavery isn’t over.” The liberal congressman’s harsh attack came a rally for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., reports Business Insider.]

Trapped - It could well be a turning point in deadlocked races. After all, how can you blame opposition to Obama on racism and then ask Obama opponents for their votes? Icky. Remember that while Nunn and Perdue are hoping black voters will surge to the polls and carry them to victory, their chances would evaporate completely without support from moderate white voters who oppose Obama but are supportive of candidates who emphasize their opposition to his policies. Remember, North Carolina is 70 percent white and Georgia is more than 60 percent white.

[WSJ: “The Democrats’ declining support among white, working-class voters began decades ago. In 1993, for example, Democrats held 36 of the 71 districts that The Wall Street Journal counted as largely white and working-class. Today, Democrats hold just 11 of 70 such districts among the House’s 435 seats.”]

AP: “Two Arkansas politicians will visit Georgia on Friday, with former President Bill Clinton appearing in Atlanta on [Democrat Michelle Nunn’s] behalf, while Fox News host Mike Huckabee will make stops in south Georgia with [Republican David Perdue.]”

[Flashback: Democrat Michelle Nunn’s father, former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., penned a scathing OpEd calling Clinton a bad role model charging he weakened the office of the president, in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Daily Caller has more.]

PRYOR CHANNELS MAYNARD G. KREBS: OBAMA IS A DRAG, MAN  “Well you know, he has been a drag. I mean, I am just going to be honest about that.” – Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in an interview Senior National Correspondent John Roberts.

[Watch Fox: Senior National Correspondent John Roberts is in Little Rock with the latest on the Arkansas Senate race.]

Cotton: ‘If you like Washington today, I’m not your candidate’ - In his closing ad Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., touts his military experience saying, “to make things right I’m ready to serve.”

[Watch Fox: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and an all-star team will set the table for Tuesday’s vote with a special America’s Election Headquarters Sunday at 8 p.m. ET]

When the dust settles Wednesday morning, what will the 2014 midterm elections be remembered for? What upsets will we be driving the headlines the day after election? With the threats of Islamists abroad and Ebola at home, Republican Brad Blakeman joins Democrat Joe Trippi to predict how the midterms will be remembered. Find out what they have say to by watching “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt,” here.

Get your shellac ready - CBS News: “Republicans continue to hold a lead in the national Congressional ballot test: 47 percent of likely voters say they will support the Republican candidate in their district, while 40 percent support the Democrat.”

[Watch Fox: Can the Dems hold on to their Senate control? Get an inside look at the deciding races and find out which way are key voters leaning on a special edition of “The Kelly File” tonight at 9 p.m. ET]

While the nation’s 19th president is mostly forgotten, and when he is recalled it is for winning the presidency in a tense showdown in the House, Rutherford B. Hayes is a hero in Paraguay. NPR explains: “Hayes took office in 1877 in the aftermath of the Triple Alliance War, a conflict that nearly destroyed Paraguay. The country lost huge chunks of territory to victorious Brazil and Argentina. Later, Argentina later tried to claim the Chaco, the vast wilderness region of northern Paraguay. At the time there was no United Nations or World Court. So the two sides asked the United States to settle the dispute — and President Hayes sided with Paraguay. The decision gave Paraguay 60 percent of its present territory and helped guarantee its survival as a nation…There is… a Paraguayan soccer team named after Hayes, while a postage stamp bears his likeness. Hayes is such a big deal that people here find it a little disappointing that most Americans are clueless about him. Ricardo Nuñez, mayor of Villa Hayes, recalls a recent trip to Washington, D.C., and how people responded when he asked them if they knew about his city's namesake. ‘They say, 'Who?’  he says, laughing. ‘Hayes? Who is Hayes?”’

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 41.9 percent//Disapprove – 54.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 27.5 percent//Wrong Track – 65.8 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 43.3 percent// Republicans – 45.3 percent

[Poll Watch: The latest Fox News Polls on races in Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio, will be released during “Special Report with Bret Baier” in the 6 p.m. ET hour]

If you’re a reporter looking to trip up a candidate during a debate, you’d better have your facts straight. WMUR’s James Pindell learned that lesson the hard way as he tried a “gotcha” on Republican Scott Brown in the final New Hampshire Senate debate on Thursday. Concord [N.H.] Monitor: “Pindell…asked Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Scott Brown about [Sullivan] county located along the Vermont border. After Brown listed tourism and ski areas as economic opportunities and said challenges include Obamacare and high electric races, Pindell jumped in. ‘I think you were talking about the North Country,’ Pindell said. ‘We’re talking about any place past Concord, actually, and the challenges of our state,’ Brown responded. ‘Sullivan County is west of Concord, not north of Concord Senator Brown, so what do you see going well there?’ Pindell asked…” You can watch the exchange via Fox News, but the overall tone was quite condescending.

Part of a theme - Pindell’s bosses gave him the opportunity to clean up the mess in a clip posted online with the interesting title “Debate Panelist Reflects on Exchange,” Pindell offered an apology: “[O]n this point, Scott Brown was right. I was wrong, I apologize to Scott Brown and to both campaigns.” But Pindell probably had Brown’s grasp of geography well in mind before the debate began. He premises a piece in in the new edition of Politico’s magazine on a wrong turn Brown that Pindell evidently  found quite revealing: “As he left a lunch at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Rochester, the second stop of the day on his ‘meet and greet’ tour, Brown took a right, when he should’ve turned left to make it to his next destination. It was a mistake, but what else to expect from a man who’d only recently swapped out his ‘Spirit of America’ Massachusetts license plates for New Hampshire’s ‘Live Free or Die.’”

[“It’s not a problem [that] [Hillary Clinton] or Scott Brown moved. The question is not where he’s from, the question is what he’s for.”—Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, during a debate Thursday night.]

Hillary hits New Hampshire - Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton will campaign for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. and Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., at a rally Sunday.

Poll: nearly a quarter of New Hampshire voters undecided – Fully 24 percent of voters remain undecided in the New Hampshire Senate race, according to a Granite State poll. WMUR: “The WMUR Granite State Poll shows [Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.] leading [Republican Scott Brown ] 50-42 percent among likely voters. That’s a 2-point increase over earlier this month, but the difference is still within the poll’s margin of error.”

[A survey from Republican firm Vox Populi has Brown leading Shaheen, 49 percent to 45 percent.]

Conservative group pours in cash to crush Shaheen - Ending Spending Action Fund is putting $1.25 million towards an ad tying Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to President Obama that will run in the final days of the campaign. “After the election, Obama admits he’ll give amnesty to over 11 million illegal immigrants, ignoring the Constitution and the law,” a narrator says. “Who will fight for our jobs and keep us safe? Shaheen? Are you kidding? Shaheen stands with Obama. Scott Brown stands with you.”

National Journal: “A new radio ad from the Republican group Now or Never PAC imagines the popular Netflix show's scheming main character, Frank Underwood, as the man who ‘hatched the plan’ for independent candidate Greg Orman to run against GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. ‘With the control of the United States Senate at stake, I simply couldn't leave this election for the voters to decide,’ the Underwood-esque narrator says in the 60-second spot… ‘So I took matters into my own hands, using whatever and whomever I had available.’ The ad goes on to say that the ‘gullible’ press helps sell Underwood's story, saying the plot is ‘to keep Senate control in the hands of Democrats.’

Wolf joins the pack - Kansas City [Kan.] Star: “Sen. Pat Roberts has picked up a luke-warm endorsement from primary opponent Milton Wolf. In a Facebook post Thursday, Wolf urged Kansans ‘to set aside our differences and vote Republican in this critical Senate race…Be assured that if Pat Roberts is to be re-elected, I will do everything in my power to hold his feet to the fire,’ Wolf wrote.

[Watch Fox: Neil Cavuto hosts a special Cost of Freedom “Dash to the Clash” with guests Iowa Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst and Sen.Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.]

Appearing on America’s Newsroom Thursday, Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst defended her decision not to sit down with The Des Moines Register editorial board, a move that Hillary Clinton slammed as “disqualifying in Iowa.” “They made it very clear in a number of editorials that they would not be supporting my candidacy. It’s better for me to be on the road visiting with Iowans than to sit in front of a board that was not going to endorse me,” she said. More.

The latest Denver Post Poll shows Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, leading Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., 46 percent to 44 percent.

During a debate Thursday, Alaska Republican Senate Candidate Dan Sullivan questioned Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, if he’d regretted running television ads during his 2008 U.S. Senate bid attacking the longtime incumbent Republican, Ted Stevens. While Begich denied running such ads, Sullivan’s campaign quickly produced a link to a Begich commercial that did, indeed, quote Alaskans criticizing Stevens.

[Watch Fox: Correspondent Dan Springer has more on Thursday’s debate and the race in Alaska from the Frontier State.]

Cruz and Romney fly in for Frontier fight - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will campaign with Republican Dan Sullivan Saturday while former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., will stump for Sullivan Monday.

U.S. News: “Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is trailing Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky’s hard-fought U.S. Senate contest. And her own pollster just said so. Mark Mellman, one of the Democratic Party’s premiere pollsters who is tracking Grimes’ race, told an attendee at a Bipartisan Policy Center event Thursday morning his candidate is behind. ‘Where you guys at on Grimes?’ a woman asked Mellman after a 90-minute panel on the midterm elections. ‘We’re not ahead. But we hope to be on Election Day,’ Mellman replied. In an e-mail exchange afterward, Mellman stressed that he never said his client was behind, but wouldn’t say whether that meant he was implying Grimes was tied with McConnell. When asked for evidence to back that up the fact his candidate was not trailing McConnell, Mellman declined.”

Mighty morphing ObamaGrimes - Washington Examiner: “The Republicans' over-arching message in the competitive Kentucky Senate race has been that a vote for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is a vote for President Obama and his agenda. To that end, the Kentucky GOP this week sent a direct-mail advertisement to ‘several hundred thousand’ voters statewide featuring a holographic image of Obama that morphs into a picture of Grimes, the sitting secretary of state.”

[Silly, silly season - Read the Fox News roundup of the weirdest, wackiest and worst of campaign ads this cycle. Ask yourself: How high do you like your monkeys?]

Today is the last day to vote on which six Senate seats you believe represent the easiest path to majority for the Republican Party. On Monday, Fox News First will publish your final Pick Six roster, so as you make your final selections here’s some help from the pros. Democrat digital guru Joe Trippi, Republican strategist Brad Blakeman and “Power Play” host Chris Stirewalt offer their picks – watch here.

Don’t count Carolina out - Based upon your email and tweets, here is the consensus among Fox News First readers: Arkansas (13.8%), Montana (13.1%), West Virginia (12.3%), South Dakota (11.9%), Louisiana (11.7%), and Alaska (9.1%). Reader  Will Farra of Indiana makes the case for the Tar Heel state, “North Carolina will flip contrary to what some people say because with the race deadlocked, it squarely comes down to turnout. [Republican Thom Tillis], being the Republican, already has the enthusiasm on his side and his supporters will be more likely to show up, plus his support from independents, to make a narrow victory.”

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

Climate Changes
’s Upshot says there’s a 71 percent likelihood of the GOP winning the Senate, up four percent from Thursday.

WaPo’s Election Lab forecasts that Republicans will see a net gain of seven Senate seats. The forecast projects a 95 percent chance Republicans take the upper chamber, up three percent from Thursday.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gives the GOP a 68.5 percent chance of winning the Senate, up over four points from Thursday.

[#mediabuzz: Howie Kurtz previews the midterms with an all-star lineup and goes behind the scenes on the Fox News Channel’s election coverage with Executive Vice President of News Michael Clemente. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.]

WaPo: “It’s a rare find this midterm campaign: An ad from President Obama on behalf of a Democrat in danger of losing to a Republican. But that’s what you'll find in Nevada’s 4th district, where Obama just cut a radio ad for Rep. Steven Horsford (D), who is battling a late flurry of Republican outside spending against him. In the ad, released Thursday, Obama casts Horsford as a bipartisan dealmaker in Congress. ‘I know that sometimes politics can seem focused on small things. Middle class families need their leaders to do big things,’ says Obama. ‘But your congressman, Steven Horsford, hasn’t let Washington gridlock get in his way.’’’

On friendly terrain - NYT: “[President Obama’s] visit to Portland [Maine], where he also attended a closed-door fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee, is part of a final, five-state campaign swing the president is making through politically friendly areas. The itinerary keeps him far from the main battlegrounds of this year’s elections as Democrats fight to keep Senate seats in competitive states Mr. Obama carried — like Iowa, North Carolina and Colorado — and in Republican-leaning places he lost, including Alaska and Louisiana. While Rhode Island is home to a close governor’s race — a new Brown University poll found Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, preferred by 38 percent of likely voters, and Allan Fung, a Republican, backed by 37 percent — Mr. Obama has no campaign events planned after his economic speech there on Friday. ‘I’m not on the ballot this time, and this is the last election cycle in which I’m involved as president,’ he told the audience in Portland. ‘It makes me a little wistful, because I do like campaigning — it’s fun.”’

[President Obama is slated to end his five-state campaign swing on Sunday with an event to rally support for Gov. Daniel Malloy, D-Conn., who is locked in a tight race with Republican Tom Foley, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He will also campaign in Pennsylvania for Democrat Tom Wolf who is enjoying a safe lead over Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa.]

Washington Examiner: “Neither [Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas] nor [former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla.] have declared 2016 Republican presidential bids, but that won't stop the two from firing shots across the bow. The Texas Senator took a jab at the former Florida governor on Thursday, saying during an appearance on CNBC that he is too moderate to run and win votes… ‘[I]f we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a [Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.] or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result, which is millions of people will stay home on Election Day, which is what happened for all three of them,’ Cruz said. ‘And if we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president.”’

Host Chris Wallace welcomes Republican 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney to make the GOP’s closing argument. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for air times in your area.

[London] Daily Telegraph: “A series of [arguments] between pensioners over garden gnomes at a sheltered housing complex has led to claims of threats and intimidation and caused a council to ban residents from having garden ornaments. The dispute started when pensioners allegedly claimed a patch of a communal garden and decorated it with ornaments including gnomes. Police have visited the scene more than a dozen times over incidents of vandalism and intimidation. Ron Little, 80, claims he was targeted by a ‘mafia gang’ over his ornaments at the complex in Swansea, South Wales. Mr. Little said: ‘It’s a community garden and everybody is supposed to share. But it’s like a mafia here – if you cross them you are in trouble.’ He claims the [arguments] started his angina and he needed to be treated by paramedics…]

“[Russian President Vladimir Putin] is like Hitler but he’s more subtle and he’s also weaker. His objective is to say that the Cold War settlement of 1992 is dead. In that settlement, it was understood that Eastern Europe was now free and could choose Europe and be protected by NATO and the US. That was a done deal. He is undoing the deal. – Charles Krauthammer, on “Special  Report with Bret Baier.” Watch here.

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News.  Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up