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On the roster: So far, Biden proves the skeptics wrong - Buttigieg catches Bernie in New Hampshire - Senate Dems prepare for Barr showdown - Round two: Schumer, Pelosi meet with Trump - Doggy shark doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo
SO FAR, BIDEN PROVES THE SKEPTICS WRONG
Marvel now at the power of the political narrative, as tough and resilient as an old tire.
But also oftentimes just as full of stagnant water and mosquitos.
The political press just completed a year of knocking down the chances of former Vice President Joe Biden to win the Democratic nomination – too old, too white, too male, too moderate. Now reporters find themselves confronted with a very different reality.
Not only did Biden get in the race with both feet, but he posted the best fundraising numbers of any candidate on opening day, impressed with his announcement speech and now, according to at least one poll, got a double-digit bounce.
We have certainly been among those who have looked with doubt on Biden’s chances in a party so different demographically and ideologically than the one in which he spent most of his career.
Something like six in 10 Democrats are women and something like four in 10 are from non-white ethnic minority groups. Socialism is in vogue with many young Democratic voters. Populist, anti-establishment sentiment is still rampant.
Does that sound like a party that’s going retro and picking the safe candidate?
And those concerns may yet doom Biden. After all, 54 percent of respondents in another recent poll of potential Democratic primary voters didn’t yet have a candidate. If he stops hitting his marks or if second-place Sen. Bernie Sanders starts landing more effective blows against the frontrunner, Biden could easily fulfil the forecasts of a collapse.
But the assertion by many that Biden was already maxed out his support and that the best day of his campaign would be the launch have already been proven wrong.
Moreover, Biden is doing particularly well with black voters, especially females. That punctures yet another assumption about his viability in the age of intersectional politics.
Biden still has huge hurdles to overcome, but he can say for now, at least, that’s he’s proven the skeptics (including us) wrong.
THE RULEBOOK: KEEP IT TIGHT
“In a democracy, where a multitude of people exercise in person the legislative functions, and are continually exposed, by their incapacity for regular deliberation and concerted measures, to the ambitious intrigues of their executive magistrates, tyranny may well be apprehended, on some favorable emergency, to start up in the same quarter.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 48
TIME OUT: G.W. THE O.G.
History: “In New York City, George Washington, the great military leader of the American Revolution, is inaugurated as the first president of the United States. In February 1789, all 69 presidential electors unanimously chose Washington to be the first U.S. president. In March, the new U.S. constitution officially took effect, and in April Congress formally sent word to Washington that he had won the presidency. He borrowed money to pay off his debts in Virginia and traveled to New York. On April 30, he came across the Hudson River in a specially built and decorated barge. The inaugural ceremony was performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street, and a large crowd cheered after he took the oath of office. The president then retired indoors to read Congress his inaugural address, a quiet speech in which he spoke of ‘the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.’ The evening celebration was opened and closed by 13 skyrockets and 13 cannons.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -9.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.2 points
[Average includes: WaPo/ABC News: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Gallup: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; GU Politics/Battleground: 43% approve - 52% disapprove.]
BUTTIGIEG CATCHES BERNIE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Fox News: “A new survey in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House puts former Vice President Joe Biden atop the extremely large field of Democratic presidential candidates, with one-time longshot Pete Buttigieg now statistically tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for second place. Biden has the support of 20 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released Tuesday. … Sanders, the independent senator from neighboring Vermont, stood at just over 12 percent. … The poll indicates it's not just name recognition feeding Biden's standing in the survey. Thirty-five percent of those questioned said Biden had the best chance of beating GOP President Trump in 2020. Sanders was a distant second at 13 percent.”
Biden drives home support for unions, middle class - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “There was so much focus on union workers at Joe Biden's first campaign rally on Monday that they all got their own special red wristbands and an exclusive entrance at the side of the Teamsters hall. Then they got shout-outs from the former vice president. Mr. Biden thanked the represented unions one-by-one… ‘I make no apologies,’ Mr. Biden told a wall-to-wall crowd of about 600 people at the Teamsters Local 249 union hall in Lawrenceville. ‘I am a union man.’ … So for about 30 minutes, the 76-year-old Scranton native laid out an economic vision relying heavily on the idea that corporations have broken their ‘basic bargain’ with American workers: that people who contribute to the welfare of an organization should get a share of the profits.”
Beto unveils $5 trillion climate change plan - Fox News: “Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, trailing in the polls despite a high-profile campaign launch, sought to prove his policy chops by unveiling a $5 trillion plan to battle climate change and reach net zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by 2050. … O’Rourke’s plan – his first major policy rollout since launching his presidential campaign in mid-March – calls for ‘mobilizing’ $5 trillion over 10 years to transform the nation’s aging infrastructure and spur innovation to help communities lead the fight against climate change. … The candidate says he’ll pay the bill for his plan with $1.5 trillion from ‘revenues generated by structural changes to the tax code that ensure corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share and that we finally end the tens of billions of dollars of tax breaks currently given to fossil fuel companies,’ according to his campaign’s release.”
Andrew Yang plans to give an Iowa voter $12,000 - Des Moines Register: “Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang wants to give an Iowan $1,000 every month for a year to prove a point. The point: That his plan to guarantee every citizen 18 or older a $1,000 monthly federal payment would boost the individuals and the country. He calls his plan a ‘Freedom Dividend.’ ‘I’m going to be giving a Freedom Dividend to a person or family in Iowa. That’s $1,000 a month for 12 months out of my own pocket,’ Yang, a lawyer and entrepreneur from New York, said. Iowans interested in receiving the cash, or nominating others, can apply at Yang’s website. The application process will include a telephone interview and a personal visit with Yang. He expects the Iowan designated to receive the cash will be selected in June with payments starting in July.”
Former Sen. Mike Gravel says he’s now ‘running to win’ - Fox News: “When former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska launched his extreme long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination at the beginning of April, he said his only aim was to push the large field of candidates further to the left by making the debate stage. Now, it appears the 88-year-old Gravel is raising his sights. He declared on Monday that like other candidates facing a steep climb to reach the White House, ‘I am running to win. Just as much as Seth Moulton, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, or Eric Swalwell are.’ Gravel’s campaign said the candidate’s now ‘in it to win it’ due to what they characterized as ‘such a strong reaction—repeatedly beating Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, and Seth Moulton in polls.’ … Despite his claims of momentum, Gravel is barely registering in most recent polls…”
SENATE DEMS PREPARE FOR BARR SHOWDOWN
Politico: “As House Democrats prepare for a clash with Attorney General William Barr over the terms of a committee hearing on Thursday, Senate Democrats are getting ready for their own showdown. Barr is set to testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he is all but guaranteed to face hostile questions from Democrats over his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Barr’s appearance will be his first before Congress since the report’s public release April 18. Although he will face a friendlier audience from Senate Republicans on the committee, his testimony will provide a blueprint for follow-up questions from Democrats and Republicans alike on the House Judiciary Committee, where he is scheduled to appear the following day. Among the areas of focus for Democrats will be the Mueller report’s details of nearly a dozen instances of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, as well as Russian election meddling.”
House Dems are ready too - Politico: “A key House committee with the power to impeach President Donald Trump is moving ahead with a Thursday hearing to question Attorney General William Barr about the Mueller report, even if the attorney general doesn’t show. The standoff took its latest turn Monday when the Judiciary Committee formally announced plans to hold a Wednesday morning vote that would authorize the panel’s Democratic and GOP counsels to split an hour of additional questioning about the special counsel’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. … By sticking with their proposed format for the hearing, Democrats are essentially daring the Justice Department to cave or fight back.”
ROUND TWO: SCHUMER, PELOSI MEET WITH TRUMP
USA Today: “Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump agreed to spend $2 trillion addressing the nation's crumbling infrastructure Tuesday, but a plan to pay for that investment was absent amid the unusual moment of bipartisanship. ‘It's clear that both the White House and all of us want to get something done on infrastructure in a big and bold way,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after meeting with Trump for about 90 minutes on Tuesday. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi entered the meeting amid an atmosphere and history of mistrust, as Congress is hammering the White House for additional information about the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Pelosi said Trump would propose specific ways to pay for the investment in three weeks. Both Trump and Democrats have previously agreed that trillions are needed to upgrade the nation's highways, bridges and airports.”
Stacey Abrams rules out 2020 Senate bid - AJC
Trump uses his pen to re-make asylum laws - NYT
Poll: Americans don’t feel personal benefits from strong economy - Monmouth University
Trump family files lawsuit against Deutsche Bank, Capital One to block House subpoenas - Reuters
What to watch for in first special election primary of the year - Roll Call
AUDIBLE: BADA-BOOM, BADA-BING… BUTTA-BOOP?
“Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look him up.” – Oprah Winfrey talking about Mayor Pete Buttigieg in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“The articles that you post in Halftime Report... do you pick them because you agree with them, or because you find them interesting, or because you want to tweak the Trump supporters? Or all three? For the life of me I can't tell sometimes and some of the time I can't even tell why you picked for any reason at all. For the most part though, I think the strictly political articles are garbage. I take articles I might agree with a grain of salt and those from liberal sources as mostly bald faced lies, totally based on them being liberal and proven liars.” – Ron Lawrence, St. Cloud, Fla.
[Ed. note: I don’t meant this with any disrespect, Mr. Lawrence, but why on earth do you read this note? If you only want articles that show you the world from one point of view, there are lots of publications that will cater to your desires. With relatively little difficulty you could create an entire media ecosystem for yourself in which you would hear, watch and read only the things that confirm your existing biases. We draw our sources from across the media landscape in order to bring you coverage and analysis that is fresh and fair. We aren’t tweaking anyone nor are we suggesting that every outlet we share is a blameless paragon of journalistic perfection. We just bring you what we think would be true, useful and elucidating each day. When I see your word choices – “garbage,” “liars” – I think maybe you read because it makes you angry, as there are people who enjoy getting hacked off. Malign passion is still passion, after all. Maybe you read, though, because at least some part of you wants to get a broader look at things. Maybe there’s some sense that nothing can grow in the bottom of a silo and you want to be out where the sun shines. Whatever brings you to our little corner of the world, you are welcome here, Mr. Lawrence. I hope you keep coming around.]
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DOGGY SHARK DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO
Sky News: “Most people seeing sharks in the shallows would get out of the sea immediately, but a group of dogs in Australia have shown they are made of stronger stuff. The bold canines were filmed splashing around in the surf seemingly playing with several sharks trying to feed off Murray Island, one of the Torres Strait Islands between Papua New Guinea and Far North Queensland. Greg MacKinnon, from Irvine, who filmed the unlikely encounter, first noticed a hubbub in the shallows and saw a group of sharks had corralled a shoal of small fish into the shallows to trap and eat them. Their feeding frenzy was interrupted by a gang of four dogs who jumped into the water and began chasing and trying to playfully bite the predators. … In the video, unseen people appear to be calling the dogs, but all the animals involved appeared unharmed after the encounter which seemed to be more fun for the canines than the big fish.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“We live in a unipolar world. The old bipolar world of the cold war has not given birth to the multipolar world that many had predicted and some insist exists today. It has given birth to a highly unusual world structure with a single power, the United States, at the apex of the international system.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for The New Republic on Jul 29, 1991.
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.