Michelle Obama rejects Eric Holder’s rhetoric


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

On the roster: Michelle Obama rejects Eric Holder’s rhetoric - Time Out: Forged by the sea - Is Texas falling off the table for Dems? - The Judge’s Ruling: What if… - But he could save you 50 percent or more

MICHELLE OBAMA REJECTS ERIC HOLDER’S RHETORIC
NY Post:Michelle Obama stuck to her positive political philosophy Thursday, rejecting ex-Attorney General Eric Holder’s remark that when Republicans ‘go low,’ Democrats should ‘kick them.’ ‘Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out. If you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?’ the former first lady said on the ‘Today’ show. ‘At this point, you have to think about what are the things you’re telling your girls. Which motto do you want them to live by?’ Holder had echoed Hillary Clinton’s comment earlier this week when she called for Democrats to reject civility when dealing with Republicans in the wake of the GOP’s own lack of civility. ‘Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high,’’ Holder said Sunday at a campaign event in Georgia. ‘No. When they go low, we kick them,’ he added to applause. Holder’s and Clinton’s remarks came after the fiercely partisan fight over President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed despite accusations of sexual misconduct as a high school and college student.”

THE RULEBOOK: ‘HOLD THE PURSE’
“[The House of Representatives], in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 58

TIME OUT: FORGED BY THE SEA
History: “On this day in 1942, the American Navy intercepts a Japanese fleet of ships on their way to reinforce troops at Guadalcanal. The Navy succeeded in its operation, sinking a majority of the ships. The battle for Guadalcanal began in August, when the Marines landed in the first American offensive of the war. The ground fighting saw U.S. troops gain a decisive edge, wiping out detachments and regiments in brutal combat. The most effective Japanese counterstrikes came from the air and sea, with bombing raids harassing the Marines and threatening their dwindling supplies. But before the Japanese could reinforce their own ground troops, the Navy went to work. The battle of Cape Esperance, on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal Island, commenced at night between surface ships; all Japanese reinforcements came at night, an operation nicknamed the Tokyo Express. The Navy sank one Japanese cruiser, the Furutaka, and three destroyers, while losing only one of their own destroyers.”
 
Flag on the play? -
 Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with
your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 42 percent
Average disapproval: 53 percent
Net Score: -11 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.2 points 
[Average includes: CNN: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; IBD: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 53% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
42 percent
Democratic average: 49.6 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 7.6 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage down 0.2 points 
[Average includes: CNN: 54% Dems - 41% GOP; IBD: 45% Dems - 43% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 48% Dems - 42% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 49% Dems - 42% GOP; Pew Research Center: 52% Dems - 42% GOP.]

IS TEXAS FALLING OFF THE TABLE FOR DEMS?
Quinnipiac University: “The gender gap widens a little, but U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger in the Texas Senate race, gains no ground as Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz holds a 54 - 45 percent likely voter lead, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. Men back Sen. Cruz 62 - 37 percent as women tip to O'Rourke 52 - 46 percent. This compares to a 54 - 45 percent Cruz likely voter lead in a September 18 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University Poll, with men backing Cruz 57 - 42 percent and women divided, going 50 percent for Cruz and 48 percent for O'Rourke. Today, O'Rourke leads 93 - 7 percent among Democrats and 56 - 42 percent among independent voters. Republicans back Cruz 94 - 6 percent. O'Rourke leads 84 - 10 percent among black voters and 61 - 37 percent among Hispanic voters. White voters back Cruz 69 - 30 percent.  Among Texas likely voters who name a U.S. Senate candidate, 96 percent say their mind is made up. Cruz has a 52 - 44 percent favorability rating. O'Rourke has a divided 45 - 47 percent favorability rating.”

Tight, tight, tight in Nevada - NYT:Jacky Rosen is a U.S. representative from the Third District, first elected in 2016 [has] 36% favorable rating; 43% unfavorable; 21% don’t know. Dean Heller is the incumbent, first appointed in 2011 [has] 42% favorable rating; 44% unfavorable; 14% don’t know. Democrats see this as one of their best opportunities to flip a Senate seat. Mr. Heller won his election in 2012 by one percentage point, and he is the only Republican senator up for re-election in 2018 representing a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Mr. Heller memorably said in October 2016, weeks before the presidential election, that he was ‘100 percent against Clinton, 99 percent against Trump.’ But facing a tight race, he has gradually moved closer to the president, and last month received his endorsement. If this has improved Mr. Heller’s standing with Trump’s core supporters, other voters remain a question mark, in a state where the president’s approval rating is usually around 40 percent and Hispanics make up more than a quarter of the population.”

Too much money is a bad thing for Dems…? - Roll Call: “Record-breaking campaign hauls in House races across the country have left some nominees with an enviable conundrum: How can they possibly spend all the money? At least 60 House Democratic candidates reportedly raised more than $1 million each in the third quarter of the campaign cycle that ended Sept. 30, eye-popping sums that defy even the most optimistic of projections. But with Nov. 6 less than a month away, some political observers have wondered publicly whether a candidate could have too much cash. That was the question from the Twitterverse when Roll Call reported last week that Democrat Amy McGrath had raised an astounding $3.65 million in the third quarter — one of the largest sums reported so far — in her bid against Republican Rep. Andy Barr in Kentucky’s 6th District. … Democratic strategists say the fundraising hauls could pose a real challenge to any campaign, especially in areas where the money goes a lot further. The way a campaign responds to the largesse could be a clear indication of how well — or how poorly — it is run.”

GOP consider Heitkamp handled, her allies think differently - Politico: “Republicans say they’re on the cusp of delivering a knockout blow to North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp — and virtually ending Democrats’ hopes of winning the Senate. Heitkamp is down in public polls by a significant margin, and most political handicappers think Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) is the favorite to beat her. If she goes down, Democrats would basically have to run the table in every other battleground race to take the chamber. Republicans have had Heitkamp losing by double digits in their private polling for weeks, according to a GOP strategist working on Senate races. … In an interview on Wednesday, Heitkamp acknowledged she’s facing an uphill battle but hinted that she believes Cramer could still self-immolate, pointing to his comments on sexual harassment and a new trade deal with Canada. … And her allies assert that Heitkamp is far from done. They point to her universal name ID, retail campaign skills and her surprise win in 2012 despite being down in the polls. In a state of just 750,000 people, and where perhaps 150,000 votes could win the race, winning over even 15,000 voters in the next month could make the difference, they argue.”

Dems put hopes for House majority in two Minnesota suburbs - The Hill: “Democrats seeking to knock off Republican incumbents in two critical districts in the Twin City suburbs have put a dying art at the center of their campaigns: The town hall meeting. Dean Phillips, the Democrat challenging Rep. Erik Paulsen, and Angie Craig, who is seeking to unseat Rep. Jason Lewis, have pledged to hold regular town hall meetings if they are elected. Both say Paulsen and Lewis have largely avoided constituents in public settings during heated debates over repealing the Affordable Care Act and the Republican tax cut bill. If we win, say Phillips and Craig, constituents will have a chance to unload on us if they desire. Whether voters in Minnesota can be moved to back the two Democratic challengers over the GOP incumbents on the promise of more town hall meetings is unclear.”

McConnell stands by Murkowski’s re-election in Alaska - WaPo: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) remains unbeatable in her home state despite her opposition to Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination — a view at odds with President Trump. ‘She’s about as strong as you can possibly be in Alaska. Nobody’s going to beat her,’ McConnell told the Associated Press as part of a wide-ranging interview. Murkowski, whose seat is on the ballot in 2022, last week voted against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination and voted ‘present’ on the final confirmation vote, calling Trump’s nominee ‘a good man’ but ‘not the right man for the court at this time.’ That prompted Trump to predict that Murkowski — the only GOP senator to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination — would go down in defeat if she runs for reelection. In a brief telephone interview Saturday with The Washington Post, Trump said voters in Alaska ‘will never forgive’ Murkowski.”

Bernie to strategically end midterm tour in California - Politico: “When Bernie Sanders ends his midterm election campaign tour at the end of October, it's no coincidence that his last stop will be in California. Democratic presidential contenders are quietly moving to exploit a newfound opening here, created by the state’s decision to move up its primary to March 2020. As a result of the new primary date, California elections officials will start mailing ballots to voters about the same day Iowa Democrats caucus. Millions of ballots will be cast here before New Hampshire voters go to the polls. The significance of the calendar change is becoming increasingly apparent, with Sanders recently scheduling a campaign appearance in a noncompetitive House district in Oakland in late October, Joe Biden rallying Democrats in Orange County last week, and Kamala Harris, California’s junior senator, likely to conduct a swing through her home state just before Election Day.”

McConnell: No GOP senator will replace Sessions - AP: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that if President Donald Trump decides to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his replacement won’t be a Senate Republican. Some of Trump’s allies have suggested he will replace Sessions, whom he has repeatedly criticized, after the midterm elections. Sen. Lindsey Graham has been the subject of speculation about the job, but Graham said this week he has no interest. In an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday, McConnell said any replacement to Sessions is ‘not going to come from our caucus, I can tell you that.’ He cited the Republicans’ thin, 51-49 Senate majority. McConnell wouldn’t say whether the Senate would insist that Sessions’ replacement would protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.”

THE JUDGE’S RULING: WHAT IF…
This week, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano asks what if the whole purpose of an independent judiciary is to be anti-democratic?: “What if its job is to disregard politics? What if its duty is to preserve the liberties of the minority -- even a minority of one -- from the tyranny of the majority? What if that tyranny can come from unjust laws or a just law's unjust enforcement? What if we have a right to insist that judges be neutral and open-minded rather than partisan and predisposed to a particular ideology? What if presidential candidates promise to nominate judges and justices who they believe will embrace certain ideologies?” More here.

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Rosenstein meeting with House Judiciary postponed - CNN

Stocks volatile after Wednesday’s plunge - Fox Business

I mean… yeah? Hoyer eyes majority leader position - Politico

Pelosi plans to go after Trump’s taxes if Dems take majority - San Francisco Chronicle

Read this piece about our colleague Martha MacCallum: ‘We Have a Lot of Different Voices’ - Hollywood Reporter

AUDIBLE: ONLY SOME
“I really had very little heat, other than the natural haters, of which there are obviously some.” – President Trump discussing the criticism he received for holding a rally Wednesday night during Hurricane Michael.

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

BUT HE COULD SAVE YOU 50 PERCENT OR MORE
BuzzFeed News: “On Wednesday, Dr. [Claire] Simeone was out for lunch when she got an unexpected phone call from the monk seal hospital where she works. When she answered her phone, she didn't hear anyone on the other end. … So she hung up. Then she got another call. And another call. But no one said anything on the other end. After getting nine calls in 15 minutes … [she] hopped in her car and drove back to the hospital. When she arrived … by this time several other people had called her to ask why they were getting incessant phone calls from the hospital. She called Hawaiian Telcom, the state's phone provider, to ask what was happening. The phone company confirmed that a ‘bazillion calls’ were coming from one line and asked Dr. Simeone to check every phone in the hospital. … Finally, she walked into the laboratory, where she discovered the (adorable) culprit: a gold dust day gecko. … Apparently, it was quite easy for the colorful gecko to make so many calls because it was a touchscreen phone.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“A quarter-century later, we face the same temptation, but this time under more challenging circumstances. Worldwide jihadism has been added to the fight, and we enjoy nothing like the dominance we exercised over conventional adversaries during our 1990s holiday from history. We may choose repose, but we won’t get it.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 1, 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.