By Chris Stirewalt
Published August 19, 2019
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On the roster: Trump ratings on economy start to slide - Warren puts in work for black voters - Markey may face Joe Kennedy in Senate primary - Audible: But other than that, it was great - lol wut
TRUMP RATINGS ON ECONOMY START TO SLIDE
NBC News: “The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll contains good, bad and ugly numbers for President Trump. The good: Despite his overall job-approval rating at 43 percent, Trump’s approval rating in handling the economy is much higher — at 49 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove. … The bad: The sliver of Americans who approve of Trump’s job handling — but who disapprove of his overall job performance — aren’t potential Trump voters in 2020. In fact, they back a generic Democrat over Trump, 73 percent to 5 percent. The ugly: Only 36 percent of Americans say they approve of Trump’s handling of the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton shootings… Despite those pretty grim numbers for Trump, there’s some additional good news for the president when it comes to 2020: The top Democrats vying to take on the president are more unpopular than they were in 2017-2018. … Joe Biden has seen his popularity among all adults come down to earth… Opinions of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also have dropped… And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., stands at 31 percent positive, 32 percent negative…”
Trump brushes off concerns of recession, touts strong economy - Fox News: “President Trump offered an optimistic outlook of the economy Sunday and dismissed concerns of a looming recession after losses in financial markets last week and his ongoing trade war with China that some say will determine if he wins in 2020. ‘I don't think we're having a recession,’ Trump told reporters as he returned to Washington from his New Jersey golf club. ‘We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they're loaded up with money.’ Trump has consistently touted his economic record. He continued to spread his message over Twitter on Sunday. … Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, dismissed fears of a recession and predicted the economy will perform well in the second half of 2019. … He said Trump has taught him and others that the ‘China story has to be changed and reformed.’”
Dick Cheney to appear at Trump, RNC fundraiser - WaPo: “Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event. The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as ‘special guests,’ according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The invitation does not list the official titles of Mulvaney and the president’s daughter and son-in-law, and it clarifies that ‘their participation in the event is not a solicitation of funds.’ A federal law prohibits administration officials from campaigning in their official capacities.”
THE RULEBOOK: NEAR, FAR
“It is a known fact in human nature, that its affections are commonly weak in proportion to the distance or diffusiveness of the object.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 17
TIME OUT: VROOM, VROOM
History: “On August 19, 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500. Built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, the speedway was started by local businessmen as a testing facility for Indiana’s growing automobile industry. The idea was that occasional races at the track would pit cars from different manufacturers against each other. After seeing what these cars could do, spectators would presumably head down to the showroom of their choice to get a closer look. The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.6 percent
Average disapproval: 55 percent
Net Score: -13.4 percent
Change from one week ago: down 2.2 points
[Average includes: NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve - 55% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve - 56% disapprove; IBD: 40% approve - 56% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Gallup: 42% approve - 54% disapprove.]
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WARREN PUTS IN WORK FOR BLACK VOTERS
WaPo: “At services Sunday morning, a pastor misidentified Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s husband. The day before, the man introducing Warren at the Black Church PAC presidential candidate forum in Atlanta inaccurately said she was from the ‘great state of New Hampshire.’ The mistakes were minor, but they show the Massachusetts Democrat is struggling to introduce herself to black voters, even after eight months of nonstop campaigning. Other candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, also tried to expand their appeal among nonwhite voters this weekend, as they campaigned in South Carolina and Georgia. Black voters are key to winning South Carolina, the fourth nominating contest in the Democratic calendar, along with the slew of Southern primaries where African Americans also represent large shares of the vote. Hillary Clinton won the 2016 Democratic presidential primary here because of her support among black voters.”
Biden to skip San Francisco DNC meeting - Politico: “Hundreds of Democratic National Committee delegates will be [in San Francisco] next weekend for a three-day gathering that gives them a chance to meet and hear from 13 presidential contenders — though former Vice President Joe Biden, the party’s front-runner, isn’t scheduled to be among the candidates. Biden also bypassed the last big party meeting in San Francisco — the convention of the California Democratic Party, the nation’s largest state party, which drew more than 4,000 people in June. Party officials say 13 candidates have confirmed their attendance at the events, which kick off Friday. … Biden’s campaign has announced that the former vice president will be campaigning in New Hampshire next weekend. A campaign aide said that Greg Schultz, campaign manager for Biden for President, will attend the DNC events in his place.”
Sanders’ political revolution IRL - Politico: “In May, an Illinois man emailed firstname.lastname@example.org with a plea: Graduate students at the University of Chicago were going on strike, and he wanted Bernie Sanders’ presidential team to help. … A few days later, Sanders’ aides obliged, and then some: They used his massive email list to target his fans in the area, asking them to stand on the picket line with students. Some 100,000 texts and emails went out from the campaign, and hundreds of people showed up. The Vermont senator’s team was ready to act quickly on the stranger’s request because it dovetailed with its plan to harness his state-of-the-art digital infrastructure and grassroots army of volunteers to keep Sanders’ promise to help American workers from the campaign trail. … His moves also serve an important campaign purpose: to make clear to voters what Sanders means when he calls for a ‘political revolution.’ His advisers acknowledge that the concept is fuzzy to some Democrats and they need to clearly show how he would usher in a revolt from the White House if elected president.”
Dem voters are excited, but can’t make up their minds - Pew Research Center: “With more than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the 2020 presidential election, a majority of Democratic voters who express a preference for one of the candidates (63%) say they feel excited about several of the candidates currently vying for the party’s nomination. Far fewer (35%) say they are enthused only by their first choice for the nomination. A new survey finds that, in an open-ended question about their preferences for the party’s presidential nomination, 26% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters name Joe Biden as their first choice, 16% name Elizabeth Warren, 12% favor Bernie Sanders, while 11% back Kamala Harris and 5% favor Buttigieg. However, a quarter of Democrats do not express a preference for the nomination…”
‘It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not’ - Bloomberg: “Harris’s event on Sunday night [in the Hamptons] went head to head with one at musician Jon Bon Jovi’s house for Cory Booker. Pete Buttigieg will be in the Hamptons over Labor Day weekend. Joe Biden, who’ll be in the Hamptons next weekend, has already hit up Cape Cod, Aspen and Sun Valley, Idaho. … Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, leading lights of the Democrats’ progressive wing, weren’t around. They’ve pledged not to take big-dollar donations, at least during the primary season.”
MARKEY MAY FACE JOE KENNEDY IN SENATE PRIMARY
NYT: “Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts is considering a primary challenge next year against Senator Edward J. Markey, according to a senior Democratic official. … Mr. Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, had publicly indicated that he intended to run for re-election next year. But in a conversation this week with the Democratic official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations, Mr. Kennedy, 38, said that he was weighing a campaign against Mr. Markey, 73, and would decide in the coming weeks. A contest between the two Massachusetts lawmakers could become the nation’s most high-profile primary race and would represent another test of the Democratic Party’s old guard. And while Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Markey are both committed progressives, the race would amount to a generational showdown between a scion of the state’s most famous family and a more than four-decade-long fixture of Massachusetts politics.”
N.C. lieutenant governor launches campaign for top slot - The [Raleigh, N.C.] News & Observer: “Decrying identity politics and a loss of traditional values, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest officially launched his campaign Saturday to unseat Roy Cooper as governor of North Carolina. The Republican, in his second term as lieutenant governor, has long made it known that the governorship is in his sights, but he officially announced his intentions at a rally at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. He joins state Rep. Holly Grange of Wilmington in the Republican primary for the governor’s office. In a speech to supporters, Forest said he wanted to create a new vision for North Carolina, one that includes a stronger anti-abortion stance and a rejection of socialism, an ideology he said young people in the state have grown more favorable of.”
Pelosi warns White House proposal to cut foreign aid dollars could hurt budget deal - Politico
Report: WH, Congress say gun legislation has to happen in September or it won’t before 2020 - Axios
Pergram: The DC ‘news void,’ will change after Congress returns from recess - Fox News
Check out this profile on Mike Pompeo - New Yorker
AUDIBLE: BUT OTHER THAN THAT, IT WAS GREAT
“The whole hour for me was just a blur of what I was saying. I was hungover, I didn’t have any coffee, I was just there.” – University of Northern Iowa student Jessica Birch, the only person to attend Rep. Steve King’s town hall in Grundy County, Iowa on Saturday morning.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I absolutely loved your review of the happenings of the 60s. I lived through them myself and you are spot on. I think there is one area that has had a huge cumulative effect on our society that has not gotten any coverage, probably because it happened so gradually. During the Vietnam War many young men went into the teaching profession as that was one of the few areas where a college graduate could get a draft deferment. The result has been that from that point on conservative teachers have gone the way of the dodo bird. When I was in school before that time I had teachers and professors who I considered to be conservative. It would be extremely difficult for any student to say that today. It reminds me of how Hemingway described how he went bankrupt. ‘Slowly at first, then all at once.’ Keep up the great work.” – George Fuller, St. Louis
[Ed. note: I hear you, Mr. Fuller. But it’s not like academia was a bastion of conservatism prior to the war. I’m sure you’re right that there were some men who became teachers as a means to legally avoid service. If you didn’t have a doctor highly sensitive to the ravages of bone spurs or asthma or a patron who could help with the draft board, teaching was a way out. But one of the main reasons that certain professions have an ideological bend has always been about the people who are drawn to them. Does working in the oil industry make people conservative? Perhaps. But does the energy industry tend to attract people of like mind and from similar geographic areas like Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Appalachia? Yewbetcha. I think the same is true of academia. But I will certainly take a look at the data and report back.]
“As a guy whose birth date ends in ‘1948’, I was there as witness or participant in all of the events you recaptured [in Friday’s note]. In particular, I think your ninety or so words on the Vietnam War are as concise and on-point as any I've ever read. I had been three years in NROTC by the start of my senior year in college. I wrote a letter to the CNO, dropping out and declaring that I could not carry out War Department orders for such a boondoggle of a conflict. As disciplinary action -- (I was already in the Navy Reserve) -- the Navy sent me to Newport, RI, for two years as an enlisted man. I cooperated by neither trying to flee to Canada nor applying to Divinity Schools. I think our country is a great place.” – David Murphy, Jacksonville, Fla.
[Ed. note: Well, of all the places to be punished, Newport, at least outside of the winter months, is a pretty good one!]
“To be honest, I was a little taken aback by your Halftime Report commentary (Aug 16) on the sixties--you seemed to have a grudge about everything that occurred during those years. Just to let you know, there are a quite a few of us out here who fought in the Vietnam War and who believed that the American intervention at the time was warranted and needed, just as it was in Korea 15 years earlier. Apparently you do not agree with the Truman Doctrine or the philosophy that there was a need to help prevent further spread of Communism, but there were strong beliefs supporting that in the 1950s and I don't believe those beliefs had dissipated by the 60s. Yes, we now know that, in regards to American troop deployments and the conduct of the War, that there was some unsavory deceit, some wrong decisions, and some leadership failures, but those are easy to see when you look back on it---kind of like ‘Monday Morning Quarterbacking.’ And as for your statement ‘It was a war wrongly begun, conducted and concluded’ many of us who matured during those years believed that it was the right thing for America to do at the time. Just saying!” – Col. Robert Guy (U.S. Army, Ret.), Athens, Ga.
[Ed. note: Colonel, I think you may be assuming some facts not in evidence. I wasn’t talking at all about the cause of the Vietnam conflict or whether America ought or ought not to have been involved. I didn’t touch on the legitimate reasons for the United States to be involved, and I certainly wasn’t wading into the relative merits of rollback and containment. What I was talking about was how the federal government conducted itself. The Johnson administration’s tendentious means of escalating the war, including the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, was unworthy of either the purported cause or the public trust. Wrongly begun. During the war not only did the government pile lie upon lie (i.e. phony body counts), but very often the narrow partisan ambitions of American politicians superseded the needs of our men at arms. Wrongly conducted. But worst of all was our closing act in the conflict when we left our allies to be slaughtered en masse by the N.V.A. The final indignity came with President Gerald Ford begging, unsuccessfully, Congress to keep funding in place to prevent what would amount to a mass slaughter. Wrongly concluded. As we demonstrated in Korea, the work of containing Soviet-backed Communism does not necessarily require the kinds of perfidies our government engaged in during the Vietnam War. What I hope is that as the members of the generation that fought the war (and fought over the war) reach their sunset years that we might be ready to see the conflict as a historical event worthy of clear-eyed analysis. We can talk about the good and the bad of other conflicts, including other wars of choice like the ones with Spain and Mexico, but not yet Vietnam. I think part of the reason is that criticism of the conduct of the war still triggers lots of bad feelings for the fighting men who were so wrongly shunned by their countrymen after their service. A great big part of “wrongly concluded” belong to those Americans who ignored or even denigrated the noble service of so many, including yourself. However the conflict was conducted, the failures of our leaders at the time does nothing to lessen the heroism and sacrifice exhibited by American troops.]
“Appreciate your 60s retrospective but as someone who lived through it (graduated college in 1970) I think of it with a different more optimistic spin. When I think what a mess the country is in today (fairly often these days) I remind myself of how much worse things were in the 60s and early 70's and how we as a country really did weather that storm and prosper both economically and politically. You say the crew cut long hair divide never left us, but didn't Reagan heal many wounds, win re-election by a landslide and actually make many Americans proud of what the country stood for? I think we as a country showed remarkable resilience with adherence to our core values (imperfectly for sure), and I hope after hope that we can rebound again.” – Matt Lincoln, Portia Valley, Calif.
[Ed. note: My point exactly, Mr. Lincoln! We hear a lot these days about how frayed and fragile we are, but goodness gracious. Compared to the span between 1963 and 1975 we’re in extremely placid waters. My only quibble would be that it wasn’t Ronald Reagan who made Americans proud, but rather Reagan who channeled and expressed the hope and pride Americans already felt in their hearts. I think the Bicentennial Celebration helped too.]
“I love reading your column each day, but I can't get over how overt you are in your dislike for Donald Trump. Although I held my nose when I voted for him in 2016, and can't stand the way he reacts to criticism and his critics, all I need to do is look at the alternatives and I am glad I cast my vote for him. I currently live in Japan where many of my Japanese friends ask how I feel about Trump. …. When I explain to them the differences in the two parties' policies regarding open borders, sanctuary cities, abortion, identity politics, and the Democrat's embrace of socialism, they come to see how we Trump voters are left with little choice but to accept Trump with his personal flaws vs. a party that seems bent on transforming our nation into one we barely recognize. I don't want their version of America and evidently millions of others feel the same as I do.” – Michael Sudlow, Fukuoka, Japan
[Ed. note: If you think this note is overt in its dislike for the current president, Mr. Sudlow, you need to come back from Japan and take a quick tour of the American media landscape! I am sorry you feel that way, though. We’re not in the liking or disliking business when it comes to politicians and parties. You all are free to put your votes, hearts and contributions wherever you like and we care neither a farthing nor a fig. We strive every day to live up to the standard set by the narrator in Lord Byron’s “Don Juan”: My cue for any time to be terrific://For checkered as is seen our human lot//With good, and bad, and worse, alike prolific// Of melancholy merriment, to quote//Too much of one sort would be soporific;--// Without, or with, offence to friends or foes,//I sketch your world exactly as it goes.”]
“I have an idea, why not have the southern states that participated in slavery pay for reparations and/or the descendants of the slave owners to split the cost?” – Dale Meech, Beavercreek, Ohio
[Ed. note: I think the enthusiasm for federalism among many conservatives might go over Niagara on that one, Mr. Meech! I’m kidding, but there are some real limits here. It was the government of the entire United States that from 1789 to 1862 condoned slavery, and the same government that enforced the Fugitive Slave Act and upheld Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The same federal government segregated its workforce at the late date of 1913. And as for a retroactive attainder aimed at the descendants of slave owners, that one is pretty tricky, too. There may have been six or seven generations since the last legal slave owners, meaning more than 250 direct ancestors for a descendant alive today. That means one person could be a lineal descendant of a slave owner but share less than 1 percent of their DNA with that person. Moreover, they might share more DNA with a descendant of slaves. Maybe they could pay themselves? I’m not trying to make light of the serious issue of the ways in which systemic, institutionalized racism harmed black Americans, but I am saying that there is no means of assessing the costs and benefits of reparations so far presented that addresses the totality of responsibility and credit. Would we, for example, decrease one’s reparations tax assessment if they had an ancestor who fought for the Union? If the proponents of reparations ever wish to persuade Americans fully of their cause it will probably have to be an equally shared burden. But that still doesn’t resolve determining the awards. It all leads us back, invariably, to the kinds of genetic and ancestral definitions of individuals that makes Americans highly uncomfortable.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
WROC: “A bizarre story from the Greater Rochester International Airport: A security worker was caught on tape passing a note with a mean message to a traveler. As a result, she lost her job. That traveler, Neal Strassner, said the worker gave him a note as he was passing through the security checkpoint. After he passed through he began walking away and heard the worker yell back at him ‘You going to open the note?’ At that point, Neal says he opened the note, which said ‘You ugly!!!’ and the employee began bursting out in laughter, which you can see in footage from airport security cameras. … The airport worker was not an official employee of TSA or the Rochester airport, but rather an employee of VMD Corp., a Virginia-based security company. In airports throughout the country, TSA hires independent security companies through a Screening Partnership Program.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The zoo used to symbolize man’s dominion over his menacing adversaries, his competitors for living space. Tigers still roamed, and could eat you. Now the competition is over. Our rivals have either been wiped out or driven back to the bush. Except for the occasional shark dining on some intrepid surfer, the threat is gone — and with it, the thrill of conquest.”– Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for the National Review on May 8, 2015.
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.