GOP sounds more Democratic in final campaign days

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On the roster: GOP sounds more Democratic in final campaign days - I’ll Tell You What: This podcast is 0.5% Albanian - Poll: Senate, gov. races too close to call in Florida - Report: Mueller to deliver Trump probe findings after midterms - Dunkin’ chunkin’ pumkin

WaPo: “A growing number of Republican candidates are sounding a lot like Democrats as they face midterm elections, co-opting Democratic talking points on issues from health care to education funding to the #MeToo movement. Republicans around the country have begun campaigning on safeguarding insurance protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, a pillar of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — even though the GOP spent years trying to repeal the law. In Arizona, Wisconsin and elsewhere, conservative GOP incumbent governors known for clashing with teachers are now campaigning on pledges to boost teacher pay or student spending. And after the bitter fight over Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a handful of Republicans are trying to turn the #MeToo movement against Democrats, advancing accusations of sexual wrongdoing or assault against their opponents. Poll after poll shows health care as the top issue for voters. Democrats repeatedly have said that the GOP, which is intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act, will strip Americans of the core protection of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. In the campaign’s final stretch, the messaging from Republicans is in part an acknowledgment that the Democratic argument has resonated with voters. And on other issues, with their control of Congress and statehouses at risk, Republicans appear to have concluded that the best offense is a good defense.”

Trump if his party loses in November: ‘It wasn’t me!’ - AP: “Facing the prospect of bruising electoral defeat in congressional elections, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he won’t accept the blame if his party loses control of the House in November, arguing his campaigning and endorsements have helped Republican candidates. In a wide-ranging interview three weeks before Election Day, Trump told The Associated Press he senses voter enthusiasm rivaling 2016 and he expressed cautious optimism that his most loyal supporters will vote even when he is not on the ballot. He dismissed suggestions that he might take responsibility, as his predecessor did, for midterm losses or view the outcome as a referendum on his presidency. ‘No, I think I’m helping people,’ Trump said. ‘I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact.’”

Dem vets to spend millions in last weeks before Election Day - HuffPost: “A group supporting Democratic veterans is set to spend $8 million boosting veteran congressional candidates in the final weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, including a massive outlay in Florida’s hotly contested Senate race and smaller sums in key House races. The spending from is part of a yearslong strategy by the group to increase the number of Democratic veterans in Congress, a strategy that has helped elected Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and Seth Moulton (Mass.). The long-term goal? To make sure Democrats have veterans in office to help battle GOP plans to privatize veterans’ health care and wage unnecessary wars, said Jon Soltz, the group’s president. … The spending could play a crucial role in helping Democrats win House and Senate seats in areas where President Donald Trump triumphed in 2016.”

“It must in truth be acknowledged that, however these may differ in other respects, they in general appear to harmonize in this sentiment, at least, that there are material imperfections in our national system, and that something is necessary to be done to rescue us from impending anarchy.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15

History: “On this day in 1974, President Gerald Ford explains to Congress why he had chosen to pardon his predecessor, Richard Nixon, rather than allow Congress to pursue legal action against the former president. Congress had accused Nixon of obstruction of justice during the investigation of the Watergate scandal, which began in 1972. … When he assumed office on August 9, 1974, Ford, referring to the Watergate scandal, announced that America’s ‘long national nightmare’ was over. There were no historical or legal precedents to guide Ford in the matter of Nixon’s pending indictment, but after much thought, he decided to give Nixon a full pardon for all offenses against the United States in order to put the tragic and disruptive scandal behind all concerned. Ford justified this decision by claiming that a long, drawn-out trial would only have further polarized the public. Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon was condemned by many and is thought to have contributed to Ford’s failure to win the presidential election of 1976.”
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Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 42.8 percent
Average disapproval: 51.6 percent
Net Score: -8.8 points
Change from one week ago: up 2.2 points 
[Average includes: Gallup: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; ABC/WaPo: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; CNBC: 41% approve - 49% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 43% approve - 53% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
40.8 percent
Democratic average: 48.4 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 7.6 points
Change from one week ago: no change  
[Average includes: ABC/WaPo: 53% Dems - 42% GOP; CNBC: 42% Dems - 36% GOP; CNN: 54% Dems - 41% GOP; IBD: 45% Dems - 43% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 48% Dems - 42% GOP.]

This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the latest in the saga of Senator Elizabeth Warren's heritage, updated Power Rankings from the 2018 midterms and mushroom madness. Plus, Dana answers questions from the mailbag while Chris handles trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

National Review: “Republican governor Rick Scott is ahead of Democratic senator Bill Nelson by a slim margin in the Florida Senate race, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls. It’s the first poll of the contest since the devastating Hurricane Michael ravaged the state, and Scott leads Nelson 48.6 to 47.2 percent. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they approve of the way Scott has handled hurricane response, while 21 percent say they disapprove and 18 percent say they’re unsure. Of those who say they approve of the governor’s response, 62 percent have already voted early in the Senate race. Meanwhile, the state’s gubernatorial contest also appears to be close: Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum is ahead of Republican congressman Ron DeSantis by just over one percentage point, 47 to 45.9 percent. Only 44.4 percent of those surveyed said they approve of how the Democratic mayor has handled the response to Hurricane Michael, while a little over 30 percent say they disapprove.”

Abrams in a pickle over undocumented voter comments - National Review: “[Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp’s] hopes for winning the statehouse took a serious hit when his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, seized on the fact that up to 53,000 voter-registration applications were put on hold due to the state’s ‘Exact Match’ requirement. The law requires voting applications to match with other existing government documents, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security records, as a check against fraud. But, like voter-ID laws, ‘Exact Match’ has been denounced as having a disproportionate impact on African Americans — and as secretary of state, Kemp himself is charged with enforcing the law. As a result, Abrams saw an opening to allege not just racism but the use of Kemp’s own office to tilt the election in his favor. Regarding the racism charge, Kemp could argue that he was just following a law that, beyond simply being the law, is a commonsense precaution in protecting the integrity of the vote. But the seeming conflict of interest was a blow to the Republican in what has turned out to be a highly competitive race in a red state that is, thanks to demographic changes, trending purple.”

Second debate brings out a more aggressive Beto - Texas Tribune: “In the lead-up to the U.S. Senate debate here Tuesday night, Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke heard from supporters who wanted him to take a more aggressive stance toward Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. It appears O'Rourke listened. Over the hour long event, the El Paso congressman took a series of harsher-than-usual swings at Cruz — including a couple of blows evocative of the senator's battle with Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race. ‘He’s dishonest,’ O'Rourke said of Cruz at one point. ‘That’s why the president called him Lyin’ Ted and it’s why the nickname stuck because it’s true.’ ‘It's clear Congressman O’Rourke’s pollsters have told him to come out on the attack, so if he wants to insult me and call me a liar, that’s fine,’ Cruz shot back. (O'Rourke claims not to use pollsters in his campaign.) Trump, who is coming to Houston on Monday for a rally with Cruz, fueled a number of contentious exchanges during the debate at the studios of KENS 5, the CBS affiliate in San Antonio.”

Kavanaugh chaos hangs over Feinstein’s race - Fox News: “For many Republicans nationally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., became public enemy No. 1 for her leading role in the Democrats’ failed bid to keep Justice Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court. Supporters at a recent President Trump rally even made her the new target of the familiar ‘lock her up’ chant. Meanwhile, her progressive challenger in California’s all-Democrat Senate race, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, faults her for doing too little to stop the confirmation. The chorus of criticism from both sides shows how the aftermath of the Kavanaugh fight is weighing uniquely on the senior Democrat’s political race back home. While most Democrats who opposed Kavanaugh were cheered by the base, Feinstein ended up with a lose-lose scenario – condemned by the right for airing the sexual-assault allegations and by the left for not doing so sooner. She faces a Democrat next month because California’s ‘jungle primary’ advances the top two vote-getters to the general election regardless of party – in this case, both Democrats. Despite the Kavanaugh fallout, Feinstein has retained a comfortable lead in the polls. The incumbent and her challenger are set to face off at a debate Wednesday.”

New poll shows Menendez leading in New Jersey - Quinnipiac University: “Despite a big negative favorability rating, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, the Democratic incumbent, leads former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin, the Republican challenger, 51 - 44 percent among New Jersey likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. Only 5 percent of likely voters remain undecided, but 10 percent of voters who do name a candidate say they could change their mind by Election Day. Today's results compare to a 53 - 42 percent lead by Sen. Menendez in an October 3 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University Poll. Women and non-white voters remain the key to Menendez' support: Women back the Democrat 56 - 38 percent. Men are divided with 51 percent for Hugin and 46 percent for Menendez; The incumbent leads 63 - 28 percent among non-white voters. White voters go 52 percent for Hugin and 46 percent for Menendez; Republicans back Hugin 96 - 2 percent, as Democrats go to Menendez 92 - 6 percent. Independent voters tip to Hugin 51 - 44 percent.”

Rep. Chris Collins fundraising hits new low - Roll Call: “New York Rep. Chris Collins has seen his lead over his Democratic opponent dwindle and individual contributions to his campaign vanish since he was indicted in August on insider trading charges stemming from his investment in an Australian biotech company. The Buffalo-area Republican collected just $33,000 in campaign contributions in the third filing quarter, according to a Federal Elections Commission summary of his receipts. That’s a third of what he pulled in during the second quarter and likely to be one of the lowest third-quarter marks of any endangered incumbent this election cycle. Collins suspended his campaign for part of the third quarter after he was arrested on Aug. 8 and vowed to help another Republican onto the ballot. But he soon reversed course, announcing he would still be running and would serve if elected, after GOP officials were not able to find a viable path to replace him on the ballot. Just three individuals from inside New York’s 27th District contributed to Collins’ campaign in the third quarter — for a sum of $80.”

Donnelly tries to distance himself from ‘radical left’ in new ad - Fox News: “As his fierce battle for re-election nears a close, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly attacked the ‘radical left’ and even sought to align with President Trump and former President Ronald Reagan. In a new campaign ad, Donnelly said he supports Trump’s proposed border wall and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency – even as prominent progressive Democrats have called for it to be abolished. When the ad’s narrator said ‘socialists want to turn health care over to the government,’ Donnelly responded, ‘Over my dead body.’ The nearly 30-second spot also criticized ‘extremes on the left and right’ for advocating for cuts to defense spending. ‘I don’t want our troops in a fair fight. I want them to have the best,’ Donnelly said. ‘As President Reagan said, ‘Peace through strength.’’ The endangered Indiana senator is locked in a crucial battle for re-election with Republican Mike Braun. Fox News has ranked the race as a toss-up.”

Bloomberg: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections as he faces intensifying pressure to produce more indictments or shut down his investigation, according to two U.S. officials. Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice, according to one of the officials, who asked not to be identified speaking about the investigation. That doesn’t necessarily mean Mueller’s findings would be made public if he doesn’t secure unsealed indictments. The regulations governing Mueller’s probe stipulate that he can present his findings only to his boss, who is currently Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The regulations give a special counsel’s supervisor some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released.”

How Dennis Hof embodied 2018 politics - BuzzFeed News

Read this: ‘Was Gary Hart Set Up?’ - Atlantic

U.S. takes top spot in World Economic Forum rankings - WSJ

Dem operative for Soros-funded group arrested for ‘battery’ against Nevada GOP candidate's campaign manager - Fox News

“Oh, you know, I think it’s the Jell-O at lunch, and it’s the hip replacement Thursday.” – Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., when asked in an interview with Roll Call what his least favorite part of the Senate is.

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UPI: “Scuba divers in the Florida Keys took their Halloween spirit 30 feet below the surface for an underwater pumpkin carving contest. The contest, organized by the Amoray Dive Resort, saw the divers going 30 feet below the surface at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to carve sub-aquatic jack-o-lanterns. Participants said the task was complicated by the fact that their buoyant pumpkins kept trying to float away mid-carve. Brothers Sebastian and Gabriel Gimeno, ages 16 and 14, were declared the winners with their pumpkin carving, which portrayed a dolphin and a half moon. The Gimeno brothers were awarded a return dive trip with Amoray Dive Resort.”

“Nonetheless, [the 2016] election was not just about the social/economic divide. It was also about the ideological divide between left and right. The most overlooked factor in the election is the continuing deep and widespread dissatisfaction with Obamaism.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Nov. 10, 2016. 

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.