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On the roster: Trump rakes in cash with impeachment boost - I’ll Tell You What: Reading into 2020 - Sketching the paths to 270 - Sen. Collins ‘open to witnesses’ in impeachment trial - Richland’s party scene found lacking
TRUMP RAKES IN CASH WITH IMPEACHMENT BOOST
Reuters: “President Donald Trump's re-election campaign raised $46 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, a major haul that was boosted by a surge of donations in the wake of the Democrats' impeachment bid, a senior campaign official said on Thursday. The sum gives Trump a fundraising edge over a host of Democrats battling for their party's nomination, with the first contest to be held in Iowa in little more than a month. The Democratic nominee will face Trump in the November election. The Trump campaign begins the 2020 re-election year with cash on hand of $102.7 million, the official told Reuters, an amount that will help his bid to compete in more states beyond those that carried him to his improbable victory in 2016. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the campaign felt that Trump's strong fundraising was a direct result of his decision to keep his campaign apparatus alive after taking office in January 2017.”
Bernie the big winner in Dem cash race so far - NYT: “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont raised more than $34.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, his presidential campaign said Thursday, yet another display of his enduring financial might fueled by a huge base of grass-roots donors. Mr. Sanders received more than 1.8 million donations in the quarter, with an average donation of $18.53. His fourth-quarter total is larger than any candidate has raised in a single quarter so far in the primary race. And it soundly eclipsed the totals of two other candidates who have reported figures for the three-month period from Oct. 1 until Dec. 31: On Wednesday, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign said he took in more than $24.7 million in the quarter, and earlier Thursday, Andrew Yang, a little-known entrepreneur when he entered the race, said he raised $16.5 million in that period. Still, taken together, the high totals suggest the willingness of Democrats eager to defeat President Trump to open their checkbooks and donate to potential nominees.”
New Hampshire unions aren’t backing Bernie this time - Politico: “The labor unions that powered Bernie Sanders to a decisive victory here in 2016 are declining to get on board his campaign this time around — a potential warning sign for the neighbor-state senator’s hopes of a repeat performance. One of the largest labor groups, which represents more than 10,000 New Hampshire state employees, broke with its national leadership when it issued an early endorsement of Sanders in the 2016 primary. Electrical workers joined a coalition of other unions to turbocharge the Sanders turnout operation that year. Now, both organizations are remaining on the sidelines, refusing to pick a single candidate when several would suit them fine. Sanders is going to great lengths to lure their support — his campaign recently offered a free steak dinner to union members and hosted a rally for state employees who are fighting for a new contract. But nothing has moved the needle.”
What is Biden’s bare minimum in Iowa and New Hampshire? - McClatchy: “Every Democratic nominee since 1992 has won either Iowa or New Hampshire in the primary. Losing both states would carry significant risk for [Joe] Biden, who has long been viewed as the race’s frontrunner. Yet some Democrats argue strong second place finishes in those two states could be accepted as symbolic victories for Biden. Third place isn’t ideal, but could be survivable. Fourth place, on the other hand, would set off a significant amount of panic and likely ravage his frontrunner status. … ‘I think he’s on the uptick, though it’s hard to tell how much,’ said Tom Miller, the attorney general of Iowa who originally backed Steve Bullock’s candidacy and is now looking for another option to endorse this month. ‘If the four of them are pretty well bunched together, that brings the significance down somewhat, both of winning and finishing fourth.’”
Biden first to get Iowa congressional backer - Roll Call: “Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer announced Thursday that she is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential primary, becoming the first Iowa Democratic House member to back a candidate in the race. … Finkenauer’s endorsement of Biden is not a surprise. She worked for his presidential campaign in 2008 and has referenced the former vice president when describing her ideology. … Biden traveled to Cedar Rapids [in the southeastern part of the state] in 2018 to campaign for Finkenauer, a former state legislator who stressed issues including health care and labor in her campaign. She defeated GOP Rep. Rod Blum by 5 points. President Donald Trump carried Iowa’s 1st District by 3 points in 2016, making her a top Republican target in 2020.”
Warren retools message again in bid to turn race around - NYT: “With five weeks left before the Iowa caucuses, Ms. [Elizabeth] Warren is tailoring her closing message in the state to focus on rooting out Washington corruption, a potentially resonant theme with a Senate impeachment trial of President Trump expected in January. In a speech in Boston on Tuesday, she reiterated her case against corruption and asked voters to ‘imagine’ a post-Trump era; she did not delve into many policy specifics, and mentioned Medicare for all only once. Her campaign aides insist that fighting corruption has always been the message, and Ms. Warren has long argued that, more than any individual proposal, her suite of plans is rooted in an overarching vision of changing how Washington works, including reforms in campaign finance and lobbying.”
Castro calls it quits - Fox News: “Julian Castro, the former Obama housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The only Latino in the field, Castro established himself as one of the more progressive members in the primary race but had been struggling to raise money and fight his way back onto the debate stage. ‘It’s with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that I suspend my campaign for president today,’ he tweeted. ‘I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together. I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts—I hope you’ll join me in that fight.’ In a video released by the campaign, Castro said they've ‘shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people, and given a voice to those who are often forgotten.’”
Buttigieg ‘Mayor Pete’ no more - NYT: “Pete Buttigieg’s eight years in office in South Bend, Ind., ended on New Year’s Day, when a new mayor was sworn in. Mr. Buttigieg, known colloquially as Mayor Pete almost since the start of his campaign last January, joined the ranks of former office holders seeking the presidency, who sometimes seem to hope that voters don’t quite notice they have slipped from power. … In an ‘exit interview’ on Tuesday with a South Bend TV station, WNDU, Mr. Buttigieg professed to be ‘reluctant to hand over the keys’ to his office, ‘just because I love the job so much.’ His mayoral chief of staff, Laura O’Sullivan, posted a picture of him at his desk in the County-City Building at 10:42 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, captioned “final quiet moments.’’
SKETCHING THE PATHS TO 270
Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “In 2016, Hillary Clinton would have needed to flip 38 additional Electoral College votes to reach 270, thereby winning a majority in the Electoral College. Using 2016 presidential election results, we can map out the different paths that Clinton had to winning 270 electoral votes. These routes — and how far Clinton was from winning them — give us a template for how presidential candidates might plan their strategies for this November’s election. Flipping Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin is likely Democrats’ best chance at winning back the presidency. But last election’s results reveal other paths to 270 for Democrats (like Florida and Arizona) that were competitive in 2016 and could be decisive this November. Republicans have a few pickup opportunities — most notably New Hampshire — that could tip a close election in their favor.”
THE RULEBOOK: UNDER PRESSURE
“Had no external dangers enforced internal harmony and subordination, and particularly, had the local sovereigns possessed the affections of the people, the great kingdoms in Europe would at this time consist of as many independent princes as there were formerly feudatory barons.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 45
TIME OUT: A RHAPSODIC NEW YEAR
Smithsonian: “For the second year in a row, the internet has hit serious digital paydirt in the arena of cultural catch-up. As the decade changed over on January 1, thousands of once-copyrighted works from 1924 entered the public domain. Ninety-five years after their creation, these classics are finally free to use, remix and build upon without permission or payment. (See the full list here.) Among the liberated are musical compositions like George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ films like Buster Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. and books like E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. Now, anyone –from historians to recording artists to iPhone-savvy middle schoolers – can make these works and more their own with annotations, additions and modifications. They can even profit from them, if they so choose. … Every January 1 from now until 2073, 95-year-old works of art will enter the public domain. Come 2073, however, copyrights begin to expire on a 70-year timeline instead.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26.2 points (no change from last wk.)
Sanders: 18.6 points (no change from last wk.)
Warren: 16.2 points (no change from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 9.4 points (no change from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.2 points (no change from last wk.)
[Averages include: NBC News/WSJ, CNN, Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University and NPR/PBS/Marist.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 51.4 percent
Net Score: -7.6 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: NBC/WSJ: 44% approve - 54% disapprove; CNBC: 40% approve - 49% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve - 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 48% approve - 50% disapprove.]
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: READING INTO 2020
Happy New Year! Maestro Jason Bonewald has stitched together the best of Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discussing their favorite books from the “I’ll Tell You What” book club. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
CALIFORNIA CLASH HIGHLIGHTS DEMS’ CHALLENGE
LAT: “The new, blue Orange County [Calif.] is a cause celebrated among Democratic presidential candidates. Vermont Sen. Sanders has addressed cheering Disneyland Resort employees. Businessman Andrew Yang visited twice last year. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a recorded message to the O.C. Democrats’ annual awards dinner praising their gains. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar addressed a packed town hall in August… Lesser known is the ongoing fight between progressive and moderate Democrats in Orange County for the party’s soul. To outsiders, the rift is befuddling. After decades in the political wilderness, why risk the Orange County Democrats’ historic wins? But the divide between moderates (generally wealthier, older and white) and progressives (younger, forged in the social justice battles of the last decade and Latino-led) is real. And it mirrors the debate across the U.S. among Democrats about whether a more centrist or more leftist candidate has the best chance to defeat Trump in 2020.”
Sean Trende forecasts redistricting winners and losers - RCP: “The Census Bureau released its final intercensal estimates of United States population on Monday. These are figures released every year to track the flow of population in the United States, and to give an idea of what to expect in the decennial count. They are important because the 2020 census will determine the next congressional reapportionment. By looking at the estimates, we can get a sense of how things are likely to turn out the following year. … Using the current apportionment formula (known as the Method of Equal Proportions), we can estimate the following changes: Texas should gain three seats; Florida should gain two; North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Montana and Oregon should gain one each. Alabama, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island should each lose a seat.”
Lewandowski’s a dud for Senate run - Politico: “President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, announced today he will not run for Senate in New Hampshire next year. Lewandowski had been considering a run against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who is seeking a third term in 2020, since August. He promoted a potential campaign website during his televised, defiant testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in September and spent the next few months publicly mulling the race.”
SEN. COLLINS ‘OPEN TO WITNESSES’ IN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
Politico: “Sen. Susan Collins said that she is ‘open to witnesses’ in the forthcoming Senate impeachment trial and criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for working closely with the White House. ‘I think it's premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the Chief Justice to both sides,’ Collins told Maine Public Radio on Monday. The Maine Republican’s remarks on witnesses comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) remain at an impasse over the terms of the Senate impeachment trial. … Democrats are hoping that Republicans like Collins will back their demands. But Republicans in recent weeks have favored deciding on witnesses later after the House managers — the lawmakers House Democrats pick to act as prosecutors — and the president present their case.”
Rudy says he’s raring to testify - NBC News: “President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he'd be willing to testify at his client's Senate trial, but he would ‘love’ to represent Trump in the proceedings. ‘I would testify, I would do demonstrations, I'd give lectures, I'd give summations, or I'd do what I do best, I'd try the case. I'd love to try the case,’ Giuliani told reporters as he made his way into a New Year's Eve celebration at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Tuesday night. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, suggested that he'd lead the president's defense with a prosecution. ‘I don't know if anybody would have the courage to give me the case, but if you give me the case, I will prosecute it as a racketeering case, which I kind of invented anyway,’ he said, referring to his pioneering use of racketeering laws to take down New York mob leadership in the 1980s.”
THE JUDGE’S RULING: OFFICE POOL 2020
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano shares his office pool questions and answers for 2020. Play along here!
Pompeo cancels trip to Ukraine to monitor protests in Iraq - NYT
Trump plans to attend World Economic Forum in Davos, after skipping in 2019 - CNBC
Trump signs bill to provide funding to help eliminate backlog in rape kit testing - ABC News
AUDIBLE: CRAZY, BUT IT JUST MIGHT WORK
“We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity and dispatch. As the new year begins, and we turn to the tasks before us, we should each resolve to do our best to maintain the public’s trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law.” – Chief Justice John Roberts’s in his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“We had a few hours of spring weather here in Kasilof, AK on the penultimate day of the year. But the balmy and brief 40° has dropped to 7° as the fireworks fade, with a forecast of minus 4° for the first night of the new decade. In a few days, I will follow the snow geese to our wintering habitat on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Until then and while winging southwards, what better way for fellow truth- and word-lovers to survive the cold and dark than opening your gift of a reading list which will nourish and enrichen us while taking longer to digest than a Thanksgiving feast! Best wishes to you all for a peaceful and prosperous year, decade and lifetime. Thank you for what you do.” – Dave Riley, Kasilof, Alaska
[Ed. note: Honk, honk, Mr. Riley! Safe travels and happy reading. Thanks for your continued support.]
“Not sure there's a ‘...disdain for press freedom’ out there; no one talks about limiting what anyone in the press can say. What people want, by measuring the public's lack of trust in the media overall, is less personality and opinion in the stories the press covers. Press freedom isn't the problem... wanting to serve no more than half of your potential customers just might be - it doesn't seem like a good business plan.” – Mark Hoffman, Des Moines, Iowa
[Ed. note: Lots and lots of people talk about limiting press freedom. In fact, the example we cited – the student government at Harvard joining the effort to censure the schools’ newspaper for contacting the Department of Homeland Security for comment – was explicitly that. Every day people are discussing whether the federal government ought to regulate speech on social media platforms. This debate is all around us, right up to our ears. And as for the business plan stuff, a lot of folks have discovered that the best business plan is to feed people a steady diet of stories that reaffirm their worldview and biases. Wouldn’t it be lovely if market forces encouraged fair, dispassionate journalism? Alas… But that’s why we have the First Amendment.]
“I enjoy your analysis and instruction on polling. I hope in the future you will continue with more pithy insight on topics such as polling registered voters versus ‘likely voters,’ polling sample size, and polling sample demographics. In regards to President Trump I believe one to three points should be added to his percentages because of two factors. First, Trump supporters are subject to shaming and public ridicule, even assault, and thus will not announce their support for him. Second, there are many of us who are disgusted with his juvenile narcissistic rants (Twitter) and his impulsive actions (pull out of Syria) and relish the thought of expressing our disgust but ultimately will vote for him for a few key reasons such as judicial appointments and the economy. I would be interested to see if any pollsters are trying to quantify these factors (if in fact they exists).” – Steve Bartlett, Greenville, S.C.
[Ed. note: Polls can’t really deal with a voter’s motivations. We can draw inferences from respondents’ other answers: Things like party affiliations, likelihood to vote, issue sets, etc. Further, we don’t have any evidence to support the idea of the “shy” Trump voter in 2016. Candidates often see an uptick from their polling performance. Both Trump and Clinton outperformed their final polling averages by a few points. Late-deciding voters (or those who can’t bring themselves to confront their actual choice) slide from the undecided column to their actual choice by Election Day. My advice would be not to overcook the stew and treat polls for what they are: snapshots of public opinion at a moment in time that can provide useful evidence of electoral trends.]
“Why are the polls you publish and average show Trump’s disapproval level, all left leaning organizations? NBC/ WSJ, CNBC, CNN, QUINNIPIAC, USA TODAY? ISN’T there any middle of the road or right leaning polls out there?” – Al DiStefano, Cumming, Ga.
[Ed. note: You’ve got a pretty hard line on “middle of the road” if the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNBC and Quinnipiac University don’t qualify! But then again, it doesn’t really matter. All we care about is whether they’re telling the truth or not. I can hardly imagine any of the outlets listed or their pollsters rigging results or reporting fake numbers. You might compare it to the weather forecast. Either they’re following the science or not.]
“Chris, Thanks for the enlightenment on ‘most admired man/woman’ polls in the Halftime Report. I had read, just a few minutes before pulling up your site, the WSJ article on the Obama and Trump couples' ‘dominance’ in said polls. And my first thought was, ‘How could anyone be asked this question of who they most admired in 2019 and not instantly respond, ‘Why, Chris Stirewalt and Dana Perino, of course.’ Silly pollsters, get a real job. On to 2020!” – Mary Carol Miller, Greenwood, Miss.
[Ed. note: And with that, Dr. Miller, you have jumped into the lead for favorite “I’ll Tell You What” listener of 2020! Though I must point out that you’re only half right…]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
RICHLAND’S PARTY SCENE FOUND LACKING
KING5: “The wild west rolled through southeast Washington on New Year's Eve. An invasion of tumbleweeds blocked SR 240 for 10 hours and trapped vehicles approximately 20 miles north of Richland, Washington. There are no reports of injuries. Snow plows were called in to clear the roads and crews with the Washington Department of Transportation worked overnight to free vehicles from the prickly mess. At least one abandoned vehicle was discovered in the daylight completely engulfed in tumbleweeds. Washington State Patrol Trooper C. Thorson shared photos and video of the wild sight, saying tumbleweeds were piled 20-30 feet high in places.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The sovereignty of loved ones must be the overriding principle that guides all such decisions. We have no other way. … We thus necessarily fall back on family, or to put it more sentimentally, on love.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) in the Washington Post on July 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.