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

On the roster: Trump continues to blame media for causing nation’s incivility - I’ll Tell You What: Friends in low places - Poll: The focus of midterms on Trump gives Dems edge - Florida heats up during final gubernatorial debate - Princess has it her way

WaPo:President Trump doubled down Thursday on blaming the media for the nation’s incivility, as suspicious packages sent by a suspected serial bomber continued to target Trump’s outspoken critics. ‘A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,’ the president said in a morning tweet. ‘It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!’ Trump’s tweet — which prompted sharp criticism from Democrats — was sent amid television coverage of police in New York swarming a block in Lower Manhattan after receiving reports of a suspicious package at a building where actor Robert De Niro has offices. The package was addressed to De Niro, who attacked Trump in June during a profane presentation at the Tony Awards. Investigators later found a package addressed to former vice president Joe Biden in a Delaware mail facility that was like the other pipe bombs found this week, according to a law enforcement official.”

Hundreds of US troops heading to the border to deal with migrant caravan, official says - Fox News: “Hundreds of U.S. troops are set to make their way to the southern border to help Homeland Security and the National Guard as a caravan with thousands of migrants pushes north with the goal of crossing into America, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday. The official said roughly 800 soldiers will be sent to the area to offer ‘logistical support,’ including providing tents and vehicles. It’s not immediately clear which units are being tasked with the mission as details are still being finalized. Defense Secretary James Mattis could sign the deployment orders as soon as today. There are currently 2,100 National Guard troops on the southern border assisting Homeland Security. President Trump tweeted Thursday morning that ‘I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency. They will be stopped!’ The migrant caravan as of Thursday is still in southern Mexico, more than 1,000 miles away from the nearest entry point into the U.S. Its size is estimated to be around 7,000, but many of those currently walking are suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke.”

The Judge’s Ruling: Saints preserve us - This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano writes: “In Jean Raspail's 1973 dystopian novel, ‘The Camp of the Saints,’ about 1 million poor folks from India make their way on hundreds of ships around the southern tip of Africa and up to the French Riviera. … It is brilliantly written, and the standard English translation offers compelling reading and is hard to put down. It is also rabidly racist, portraying nearly all in the West as thoughtful, intelligent and honest and nearly everyone of color as avaricious, lazy and amoral. Regrettably, the book has been seen in the West Wing of the White House. I recount this brief summary of a French literary work because I fear its unrealistic ending and harsh, racist treatment of those seeking a better world may be animating Trump administration policies about the caravan of 7,000 folks from Latin America who are in Mexico and walking toward the United States.”

“It remains to inquire how far so odious an engine of government, in its application to us, would even be capable of answering its end.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 16

Smithsonian: “On January 31, 1939, a 15-year-old Jewish girl sat down with a school notebook in a cramped apartment in a provincial town in Poland and began writing about her life. … The girl’s name was Renia Spiegel, and she and her sister, Ariana, were staying with their grandparents that August when the Germans and the Russians divided Poland. … Over the course of more than 700 pages, between the ages of 15 and 18, Renia wrote funny stories about her friends, charming descriptions of the natural world, lonely appeals to her absent parents, passionate confidences about her boyfriend, and chilling observations of the machinery of nations engaged in cataclysmic violence. … Readers will naturally contrast Renia’s diary with Anne Frank’s. Renia was a little older and more sophisticated, writing frequently in poetry as well as in prose. She was also living out in the world instead of in seclusion. Reading such different firsthand accounts reminds us that each of the Holocaust’s millions of victims had a unique and dramatic experience. At a time when the Holocaust has receded so far into the past that even the youngest survivors are elderly, it’s especially powerful to discover a youthful voice like Renia’s, describing the events in real time.”

Flag on the play? - Email us at
your tips, comments or questions.

Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 44.2 percent
Average disapproval: 52.2 percent
Net Score: -8 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.2 points 
[Average includes: USA Today/Suffolk: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve - 50% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; CBS News: 42% approve - 53% disapprove; Fox News: 47% approve - 52% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
40.8 percent
Democratic average: 49 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 8.2 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage down 0.4 points  
[Average includes: USA Today/Suffolk: 51% Dems - 43% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 41% GOP; Fox News: 49% Dems - 42% GOP; ABC/WaPo: 53% Dems - 42% GOP; CNBC: 42% Dems - 36% GOP.]

This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt look at some of the key congressional races that may determine the balance of power in the House of Representatives. Plus, snoring, teeth grinding and trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

USA Today: “A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds President Trump driving the decisions of a majority of voters who say they are determined to send a message of either support or opposition to him. That dynamic is giving Democrats an edge as the crucial campaign heads into the final stretch. A majority of those surveyed say Trump will have ‘a lot’ of impact on their congressional vote on Nov. 6 – 35 percent who are casting their ballot to show their opposition to him, 23 percent to show their support. Only one in four say the president doesn't have at least some effect on their vote. Indeed, Trump hasn't shied from making the Nov. 6 election a referendum on him, holding huge rallies in a string of red and swing states and telling the crowds that a vote for the local Senate or House candidate is ‘a vote for me.’ Midterms are often a judgment about the sitting president, but never in modern times has one campaigned so hard to make sure it is. That now translates to an advantage for Democrats on the generic congressional ballot…” 

Politico: “The second and final gubernatorial debate between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis boiled down to two issues: race and corruption. Coming in the wake of new revelations about an FBI probe that has haunted Gillum's campaign — and a series of racial controversies and racist robocalls to which Gillum has sought to tie DeSantis — the debate spoke volumes about the state of the intense campaign for Florida governor less than two weeks before Election Day. For an hour, the candidates sparred over virtually every topic, from school spending to taxes to health care to immigration to gun control. But it was all overshadowed by charges and counter-charges over radical associations, neo-Nazis and misuse of tax money. ‘I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m saying the racists believe he’s a racist,’ Gillum said in one of the most caustic exchanges of the night, during an exchange about immigration.”

New poll shows Florida gov., Senate races still too close to call - WCTV: “A recent survey of 800 likely voters in Florida shows that many of the races in the upcoming November election are still too close to call. … The state’s high-profile race for governor is within the margin of error, showing Republican Ron DeSantis leading Democrat Andrew Gillum 48% to 45%. 79% of DeSantis’ supporters say that their vote is decided, or that they probably won’t change their mind, compared with 87% of Gillum supporters. … Incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson leading Governor Rick Scott 46% to 45%. At this late stage in the race, 89% of Nelson’s supporters say that their vote is decided, compared with 86% of Scott’s supporters. Nelson is viewed favorably by 43% of likely voters and unfavorably by 41%, with 11% expressing a neutral opinion and 5% unfamiliar. Scott is viewed favorably by 45% of likely voters and unfavorably by 41%, with 11% expressing a neutral opinion and 4% unfamiliar.”

Could Dems be losing their leads in Michigan races? - Detroit Free Press: “The Democratic leads over Republicans in the Michigan races for governor and secretary of state have shrunk to 5 and 4 points respectively, and the attorney general's race is now a dead heat, according to a new poll commissioned by the Free Press and its media partners. Even in the U.S. Senate race, where the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, has been widely expected to enjoy a double-digit victory over Republican challenger John James, her lead is down to 7 points, the poll found. Stabenow led James by 23 points in a September poll by the same firm, EPIC-MRA of Lansing. … The EPIC-MRA poll is at odds with other polls that have shown a larger lead for gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer and other Democrats, including one released Monday by the Lansing-based Republican consulting firm MRG. … Whitmer, the former Senate minority leader from East Lansing, would get 46 percent of the vote if the election were held today, while Schuette, the attorney general from Midland, would get 41 percent, according to the poll.”

FiveThirtyEight: “This year’s midterm hasn’t really featured the ‘model wars’ we saw in 2014 or 2016… Instead, the various election models and forecasts have largely told the same story, one where Democrats are solid-but-not-certain favorites to win the House, and the same is true for Republicans in the Senate. But there have been some differences of opinion… Under one theory, the midterms are mostly a referendum on President Trump. This theory posits that Democrats are likely to do especially well in districts — often racially diverse and urban or suburban — that have shifted toward Democrats recently, such as the 13 districts that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 but Hillary Clinton in 2016. Conversely, Democrats might struggle to make gains, the theory would say, in the largely rural and white districts that have shifted the most toward Republicans recently — like the 21 districts that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 but Trump in 2016. A contrary theory is that midterms are mostly about reversion to the mean and about voters trying to balance power between the two political parties. Under this theory, districts that have recently swung toward Trump but were purple enough to vote for Obama in 2012 might be trouble spots for Republicans.”

Arizona representative weighs 2020 Senate run - Roll Call: “Rep. Ruben Gallego is focused on helping Democrats win in Arizona in 2018, but he’s also weighing a Senate run of his own in two years time. And he’s confident he would win a Democratic primary. The Arizona Democrat has previously said he is considering a run for the 2020 special election for the last two years of the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s term. Former GOP Sen. Jon Kyl was appointed to McCain’s seat, but he has said he plans to step down at the end of the year. ‘At the end of the day, I think we’re going to make a determination based on: Can we win? And can we make a difference for Arizona?’ Gallego said in an interview here at a local coffee shop Tuesday morning. ‘And that’s it. I’m not really worried about a primary.’ The two-term congressman from the 7th District was confident he could defeat Grant Woods, McCain’s former chief of staff and onetime state attorney general. Woods has said he is considering switching parties to run as a Democrat or independent.”

Can Curbelo hold on to his seat? - NYT: “If Representative Carlos Curbelo clings to his seat in Congress come November, defying the political odds for a moderate Republican in one of the nation’s most competitive districts, it will be in part because of people like Gary Graves, the owner of a Florida Keys seafood business. His spiny lobster catch has been hit with costly tariffs as part of the White House’s trade war with China, yet he supports President Trump, and Mr. Curbelo, anyway. ‘Damn right,’ said Mr. Graves, 73. ‘To give in to the Chinese — I mean, we know what they’ve been doing to us. Why should we be stiffed?’ If Mr. Curbelo loses, it will be in part because of people like Josh Mothner, a real estate agent who has watched with alarm as health care choices for himself and his wife, a cancer survivor, have dwindled in the rural Keys. He considers the congressman a centrist too willing to go along with the president on issues like repealing the Affordable Care Act and too powerless to move his colleagues to the middle on issues like immigration and climate change.”

Cleveland.com: “Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci appears to be on his fourth campaign manager of the ongoing 2018 election cycle in Ohio. Rumors of Jayme Odom's departure as the manager of Renacci's U.S. Senate campaign have swirled in Ohio political circles for months. But a new campaign finance report Renacci's campaign filed last week offers some supporting documentation. The report shows that on July 31, Odom received a $12,079 payment, marked as ‘payroll.’ Odom, a Republican operative from Illinois whom Renacci hired as his campaign manager in February, has updated her LinkedIn page to reflect she ended her work as Renacci's campaign manager in July. Then, beginning in August, Odom's salary was reduced from $10,000 a month to $2,500 a month, according to the campaign finance report. Renacci has continued to list Odom on his campaign payroll through September, the end of the most recent campaign finance period.”

Conservative newspaper endorses Beto over Cruz - The Hill: “The Dallas Morning News on Thursday endorsed Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in his Senate race against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R). ‘The pivotal issue before our country is public leadership, and here we believe O’Rourke’s tone aligns with what is required now,’ the editorial board wrote. ‘This inclusive and hopeful tone, along with O’Rourke’s approach of starting with shared principles and working toward solutions, offset any policy differences we have with him.’”

Report: Sources say Bolton is behind Mattis resignation rumors - Foreign Policy

Grassley sends criminal referral for attorney Michael Avenatti and Kavanaugh accuser - Fox News

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says post-election vote on Trump tax cut is ‘highly unlikely’WaPo

Process for Trump Judicial nominees continues despite recess Roll Call

How Trump’s wall can help the opioid epidemic - TPP

“Look, I can be aggressive at times. I didn’t get to where I am by being a pushover, OK?” – Michael Avenatti in an interview with Time magazine. 

“How does the time our current president is spending campaigning for political candidates compare with other current presidents?” – Dale Potts, Portland, Ore.

[Ed. note: Great question, Mr. Potts! I will get back to you with some hard data as I am able, but as a general precept, President Trump is in line with what his predecessor was doing eight years ago in terms of time spent on the campaign trail. Now, Barack Obama certainly set a new precedent for how much trail time sitting presidents spent, especially compared to George W. Bush who generally tried to keep a step or two removed from the partisan fray. But by the Obama standard, Trump is well within the norm.]  

“Chris – Your obvious and consistent displeasure with the President is very much hindering your analysis. Example? Your comment: ‘The term ‘divider in chief’ has been applied to his two immediate predecessors, but Trump’s the only one who embraces it.’ Please! Show me one instance where Trump has embraced being the divider in chief. That is your bias! You have begun to lose your balance. Time to check the mirror.” – Greg Bruce, Castle Rock, Colo.

[Ed. note: Oh come now, Mr. Bruce. You may like it, and you may think it’s merited, but there’s no denying that the president exploits and deepens political divisions. He called people who opposed his most recent Supreme Court nominee “evil.” He calls Democrats the “party of crime.” He refers to reporters as “the enemy of the people.” Trump’s demagoguery is not a matter of dispute. What many Republicans hold is that it is necessary to combat a rigged system. Some even argue that by being over-the-top, Trump is beating Democrats at their own game of divisiveness. But don’t kid yourself into thinking that he’s not intentionally deepening partisan antipathies for political advantage. There’s a line between partisanship and a cult of personality. It’s primarily drawn between people who can discern flaws in their leaders and those who cannot.]    

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

KSEE: “A dog owner in Oklahoma is calling out her own pup for scheming to get free McDonald's hamburgers. Betsy Reyes of Oklahoma City says her dog, Princess, sneaks out at night and sits outside McDonald's, pretending to be a stray. Reyes shared photographic evidence of her sneaky dog sitting in the local McDonald's parking lot at night. ‘If you see my dog @ the McDonald's on shields, quit feeding her fat ass bc she don't know how to act & be leaving the house all the time to go walking to McDonald's at night,’ Reyes wrote. … She drove to McDonald's on Monday night and found Princess there, waiting to be fed. A woman was seen reaching out of her car window to throw Princess some food. … After catching Princess scamming a McDonald's customer, Reyes pulled up in her car and her pup immediately recognized her. Princess started wagging her tail…”

“Ant colonies do not have good checks and balances.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 20, 2017.

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.