**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Netroots make it rain for Bernie: $6M in one day - I’ll Tell You What: Off topic - Trump campaign’s new look is corporate, complex - Bombshell testimony in N.C. House race inquest - ‘What can you do?’
NETROOTS MAKE IT RAIN FOR BERNIE: $6M IN ONE DAY
Fox News: “Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised nearly $6 million since launching his 2020 bid for the White House -- a day ago. The independent senator from Vermont’s presidential campaign announced Wednesday morning that they received an eye-popping $5.9 million in contributions in the 24 hours since 7 a.m. Tuesday, when Sanders officially announced his candidacy. The campaign touted that 223,047 individuals made contributions, averaging nearly $27 per person just like during his 2016 bid. The haul was the product of an aggressive fundraising push by the Sanders campaign, with emails and texts asking for contributions late into Tuesday evening. One email, hitting inboxes around 9 p.m. ET, pointed out that ‘as the clock ticks toward midnight, we’re pretty close to reaching a pair of milestones we frankly didn’t think would be possible on day one.’ The large fundraising haul is more than double the $1.5 million Sen. Kamala Harris of California … raised last month…”
Could Klobuchar outdo Schultz? - WaPo: “Former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz appears to believe he could perform well in a presidential race with voters turned off by President Trump and those fearful that the Democratic Party is moving too far left. … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) might be able to change those numbers. While Schultz believes he has ideas and solutions to the problems concerning moderate voters, Klobuchar has actually been able to communicate them when asked, in addition to having a policy record on many of these topics, winning her support from both sides of the aisle. During a CNN town hall Monday, she put some meat on the bones of ideas that are popular — or at least of interest — to left-leaning voters. … Schultz did not fare as well when asked to address similar issues at his town hall and has not done much to answer lingering questions since.”
Beto as beta? - AP: “Beto O’Rourke said Tuesday that he hasn’t ruled out being a 2020 vice presidential candidate — even as he plans to decide in the next 10 days if he’ll seek the presidency. Answering a question in Spanish about the possibility of being another candidate’s running mate, the Democratic former Texas congressman answered in Spanish: ‘I’m going to consider every way to serve this country. And, yes, that will include anything.’ … He said in English that he may yet opt to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican whip, in 2020. … Advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a White House run of his own, said in December that they’d approached O’Rourke’s camp about his being a vice presidential candidate. O’Rourke said then that he’d not spoken to Biden, and his camp hasn’t dismissed the idea since.”
Tim Ryan warns party perceived as ‘hostile to business’ - Fox News: “Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who is considering a 2020 presidential run, said Wednesday that his party has to be ‘very careful’ not to appear too anti-business as it tries to win back the White House. ‘I think we’ve got to be very careful. We come off sometimes as hostile to business,’ the Ohio congressman lamented as he spoke with Fox News and two New Hampshire news organizations on Wednesday. … Ryan, who raised his national profile with an unsuccessful leadership challenge against Nancy Pelosi in 2016, said Wednesday he’s ‘getting close’ to making his own decision on whether to run for president. … Ryan spoke during a three-day swing through the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire. The trip is full of private meetings with leading Democratic state and local lawmakers, rainmakers and union leaders.”
Infighting continues over location of 2020 Democratic convention - AP: “Leaders in three major cities are in a last-minute scramble to win the 2020 Democratic National Convention, an event that could funnel millions of dollars into the local economy and put them at the center of the political world for one week next summer. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is choosing among Houston, Miami and Milwaukee. In recent weeks, some Democrats have privately suggested Milwaukee would get the nod… But since then, a fierce debate has unfolded behind the scenes… [Perez is] insisting that each finalist still has a legitimate chance to win and that he would decide by the end of February. Perez has promised a convention that showcases the nominee and gives the Democratic ticket an opportunity to unify the party after what’s expected to be a bruising, wide-open primary fight.”
THE RULEBOOK: TWO IF BY SEA
“When a nation has become so powerful by sea that it can protect its dock-yards by its fleets, this supersedes the necessity of garrisons for that purpose…” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 24
TIME OUT: THE ABSTRACT IN REFLECTIONS
NatGeo: “[Photographer Jodi Cobb’s] mission was to document [Venice’s] vulnerability to water—the threat of flooding and how the Venetians were trying to prevent it. [Cobb] made a few photographs of the reflections, but [she] was there to investigate the only unknown: Would Venice vanish underwater? Those reflections held no clues. … The reflections in the canals inexplicably enticed [her]. [Cobb] often stopped to photograph them, confounding [her] young Italian assistant who knew the magazine did not publish abstract images and thought [she] was just wasting time. … When the assignment was over, [Cobb] didn’t show those reflection pictures to anyone. … Five years later [she] found them … [and as she] began to edit, strange creatures emerged from the depths of the images: bizarre mythical beasts, cartoon characters, carnival masks, snakes, and gargoyles. They had been there all along, waiting for my imagination to bring them to life.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 0.8 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve - 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve - 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve - 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 57% disapprove.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: OFF TOPIC
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss relatable moments on the campaign trail, the importance of civics and expensive naps. Plus, Dana goes through the mailbag and Chris answers trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
TRUMP CAMPAIGN’S NEW LOOK IS CORPORATE, COMPLEX
Politico: “President Donald Trump is assembling a sprawling, corporate-style reelection campaign with 10 divisions reporting to a single senior adviser, campaign manager Brad Parscale — a top-down structure that represents everything Trump’s improvisational 2016 effort was not. … The campaign has hired more than 30 full-time staffers so far and has begun building out a surrogate network devoted exclusively to putting pro-Trump talking heads on TV and radio and in newspaper op-eds — a move that reflects Trump’s fixation with how he’s portrayed in the media. … The setup has the hallmarks of a more traditional campaign associated with a president running for reelection. But coming from this ad-lib president — whose 2016 effort was wracked by constant infighting that spilled into the press, no apparent organizational structure, and unclear lines of authority — it marks a major departure from business as usual.
Hogan: Trump looks ‘pretty weak’ for 2020 - CBS News: “Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan says that while President Trump is likely to fend off a GOP primary challenger, he may be vulnerable in the general election against the eventual Democratic nominee. ‘The issue I'm concerned about is he has a very low re-elect number, I think in the 30s, high 30s, low 40s,’ Hogan said of Mr. Trump's poll numbers in an exclusive interview with CBS News Tuesday. ‘So the chance of him losing a general election are pretty good. I'm not saying he couldn't win but he's pretty weak in the general election.’ If the president's approval ratings continue to dip heading into the campaign cycle, Hogan said the Republican Party will need to consider what his potential defeat next November could mean for GOP office holders across the country. ”
‘TOM WHO?’: HOUSE DEMS BUCK STEYER’S IMPEACHMENT DRIVE
Politico: “House Democrats are rallying behind Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler as he faces growing pressure from the left flank to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Driving the campaign is billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who is spearheading a $40 million campaign to push key House Democratic chairs investigating Trump and his administration to begin holding impeachment hearings. Steyer’s Need to Impeach PAC held a town hall in Nadler’s Manhattan district Tuesday evening, and the group is running a 30-second television ad powered by a six-figure digital buy encouraging Nadler’s constituents to press him to back immediate impeachment…. When asked about Steyer’s efforts targeting Nadler, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a fellow New York Democrat and Judiciary Committee member who also has found himself under scrutiny from the left, quipped: ‘Tom who?’”
BOMBSHELL TESTIMONY IN N.C. HOUSE RACE INQUEST
Raleigh News & Observer: “Contradicting his father, the son of Republican Mark Harris testified Wednesday that he told his father as early as 2017 he had concerns about a political operative hired to run an absentee ballot campaign in Bladen County. The testimony from John Harris contradicted suggestions by Harris and his campaign that they’d seen no red flags about McCrae Dowless, who is now at the center of allegations into voting irregularities in the 9th Congressional District. John Harris’s often dramatic testimony came on the third day of a hearing by North Carolina’s State Board of Elections that could decide the nation’s last unresolved congressional race and has drawn national attention. Mark Harris, sitting next to his wife, began crying as he watched his son’s testimony.”
Tim Carney: ‘The one trait that predicts Trump fever’ - Politico
Which Republican senators are for, or against, Trump’s national emergency declaration - WaPo
Michael Cohen prison date pushed back to May 6 - Fox News
Trump backs away from March 1 deadline for China tariffs - WSJ
Marc Short heads back to the White House, this time as Pence's chief of staff - Politico
Justice Clarence Thomas calls for SupCo to reconsider case that shields reporters - NYT
AUDIBLE: MAYBE EVEN A CUP OF COFFEE
“I would say I'm being approached from a lot of different people. And I guess the best way to put it is I haven't thrown them out of my office.” – Gov. Larry Hogan when asked if he is thinking about running for president by CBS News.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I do not understand your polling methodology and my concern is that you don't either. The polls you use have never successfully predict[ed] any election in my memory. I admit I don't know their polling pool but [I] suspect that the criteria is they must be breathing and most likely never held a paying job. Polling anybody but likely voters are of no practical use. There are polling organizations that have good predictive records but they seem to be excluded from you list.” – Paul Hill, New Bern, N.C.
[Ed. note: We don’t want to be repetitive, but we get so many letters about polling from readers that from time to time we like to talk a little about what we’re doing and why. First, we believe that in the long term it’s more useful to focus on polling averages than individual polls. We’re keenly interested in the findings beneath the surface on individual polls, but to track a race, or for now, the president’s job approval, the average is more useful. We set some pretty high standards for the polls that we use for our average, too. The surveys have to be 1) non-partisan, 2) conducted by live interviewers using a representative mix of cellular and landline numbers, 3) have a sample of sufficient size to be representative and 4) have been conducted over an appropriate period of time to capture a single snapshot of voter attitudes. At this point so far from an election it’s too soon to talk about who will be a likely voter. That’s only germane once the candidates and issues are set since the first choice many Americans is whether to participate or not. I’m not sure which surveys you mean, but I know that several of the most predictive pollsters from 2016 are included in our current average. Most of all, I would encourage you to not put too much stock in polling. It’s a useful snapshot of a moment in time and can help us see which way voters are moving and, ideally, what’s driving those moves. But they are not oracles that predict the future.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
‘WHAT CAN YOU DO?’
The [Adelaide, Australia] Advertiser: “It can get boring on test flights. Hours spent quietly winging it from point A to point B with no other purpose than testing out a new engine. But then inspiration strikes. For one pilot, that inspiration was to use the Mid North as his own personal canvas to voice how boring test flights can get. Written in letters dozens of kilometers long, the pilot spelt out the words ‘I’m bored’ during a return flight from just north of Port Broughton. The pilot, who is understood to be a recently qualified instructor at Flight Training Adelaide, left Parafield Airport in a single propeller Diamond Star plane at 8.53am on Tuesday, taking a circuitous route north. … Flight Training Adelaide director Pine Pienaar said the pilot’s actions were not condoned and that ‘apparently he got bored.’ ‘Young instructors, what can you do?’ Mr Pienaar said.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Hillaryism embodies the essence of modern liberalism. Having reached the limits of a welfare state grown increasingly sclerotic, bureaucratic and dysfunctional, the mission of modern liberalism is to patch the fraying safety net with yet more programs and entitlements.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 23, 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.