Warren secures spot behind Biden


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On the roster: Warren secures spot behind Biden - Acosta out - Pelosi supports push to raise debt limit - Wyoming could see a Senate showdown - First Uber Eats, next Uber animal rescue 

WARREN SECURES SPOT BEHIND BIDEN
NBC News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., lead the Democratic presidential field, according to the national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll’s opening measure of the 2020 horse race. Biden gets the support of 26 percent of voters who say they will participate in next year’s Democratic primaries or caucuses, while 19 percent back Warren. They’re followed by Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who are tied at 13 percent. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets support from 7 percent of Democratic primary voters, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are at 2 percent. No other candidate gets more than 1 percent. Biden performs best among African Americans, older Democrats and those who are moderate or conservative in their political views, while Warren runs strongest with self-described liberals and those ages 18 to 49. Sanders also performs best among the youngest Democratic primary voters.”

Biden holds lead among South Carolina Democrats - Fox News: “South Carolina Democratic primary voters, more than half of whom are expected to be African American, say former Vice President Joe Biden is the best candidate to handle racial issues.  Even among black voters, he bests California Sen. Kamala Harris, who pressed Biden on the issue during the first Democratic debate.  Biden apologized for remarks he made about working with segregationist senators in the 1970s at a Saturday campaign event in Sumter, S.C. A Fox News Poll released Thursday finds Biden leading on an array of other key issues as well. Overall, Biden garners 35 percent among South Carolina Democratic primary voters in the race for the party’s nomination -- over twice the support of any other candidate.  Bernie Sanders receives 14 percent and Kamala Harris is close behind at 12 percent.”

Klobuchar rolls out policies for Alzheimer's, rural health care - Des Moines Register: “U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled her plan Friday for tackling Alzheimer's disease, protecting rural hospitals and other policies targeted at seniors in her bid to earn Iowans' caucus support. Along with three other presidential candidates, Klobuchar will appear at an AARP/Des Moines Register forum in Des Moines to address issues of importance to older voters. Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, has a history of Alzheimer's disease in her family and has championed various bills related to the ailment, or its symptoms. In 2017, she co-sponsored a bill with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, designed to boost training to help people who may wander from safety as part of their condition.”

Sanders officially puts support behind abolishing Electoral College - The Hill: “Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday night said he favored getting rid of the Electoral College. Sanders was pressed on the issue at a presidential town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens. ‘It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, so the answer is yes,’ he said. Sanders had previously made similar remarks, but stopped short of calling for abolishing the voting body. ‘Presidential elections cannot be fought out in just a dozen ‘battleground’ states,’ he told The Washington Post. ‘I believe that we need to reexamine the concept of the Electoral College.’”

Biden’s Senate records being kept secret - WaPo: “Those questions [about Biden’s time in the Senate] might be answered in the massive trove of Senate records he donated eight years ago to the University of Delaware under an agreement that they could be made public by early this year. But the records are being kept secret, following new terms the university posted on its website just before Biden made his presidential campaign official in April. Biden has sought to blunt criticism of his past actions by putting the most positive spin on them, but the limited availability of documents from his 36-year Senate career complicates a full evaluation of his record.”

DNC launches training program to recruit student volunteers - The Atlantic: “…‘Getting to Know the Community,’ is part of a new training program from the Democratic National Committee that teaches young people, mostly people of color, how to be campaign organizers. Called Organizing Corps 2020, the eight-week course is designed to school 1,000 college juniors from seven battleground states across the country. The DNC has high hopes for the student trainees: Come summer 2020, it hopes to put them to work for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. The initiative … [could] be viewed as the Democrats’ attempt to right the wrongs of 2016—a response to the pervasive criticism that the party failed to invest early, or earnestly, in communities of color; to develop young and emerging talent; and to mobilize disengaged voters from marginalized communities.”

THE RULEBOOK: GOOD TO THE CORE
“There is in every breast a sensibility to marks of honor, of favor, of esteem, and of confidence, which, apart from all considerations of interest, is some pledge for grateful and benevolent returns.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 57

TIME OUT: PREPARE TO BE ‘BLOWN AWAY’
Smithsonian: “Premiering this Friday, July 12, [‘Blown Away,’ a new Netflix reality competition,] is the first-ever competition series to focus on glassblowing. In each episode, artists create a finished piece in a matter of hours, each hoping to avoid elimination and emerge the winner, who receives a $60,000 prize and a coveted artist residency at the Corning Museum of Glass. Glass artists, as well as many art institutions, hope that the show will raise public perception of glassblowing as a fine art—a perception that has been diminishing in recent years, according to Cybele Maylone, executive director of Connecticut’s Aldrich Museum of Art… A 2015 report produced by the Glass Art Society and Chihuly Garden and Glass suggested that, despite public enthusiasm for glassmaking, galleries are concerned that young art collectors were less excited about the medium. … At the same time, glassblowing demonstrations—the ‘spectacle’ of glassmaking, as Maylone puts it—have become a popular pastime.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance
Average approval:
43.6 percent
Average disapproval: 51 percent
Net Score: -7.4 points
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: ABC News/WaPo: 47% approve - 50% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; IBD: 43% approve - 49% disapprove; Monmouth University: 42% approve - 51% disapprove.]

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ACOSTA OUT
Fox News: “Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Friday he will be stepping down in a week over his past involvement in a highly controversial plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is now facing sex trafficking charges. Acosta came under fire this week for his role as U.S. attorney for Florida in securing a plea deal for Epstein that resulted in an 18-month sentence — he served just 13 months. … Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Monday for Acosta to step down over what she called an ‘unconscionable agreement’ with Epstein, and was soon joined by a chorus of other top-ranking congressional Democrats. Meanwhile, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee wrote to Acosta on Wednesday inviting him to testify at a July 23 hearing that will examine his actions related to Epstein. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the first 2020 Democrat to react to Acosta’s resignation, tweeting: ‘Good riddance.’”

PELOSI SUPPORTS PUSH TO RAISE DEBT LIMIT
Bloomberg: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she’s ‘convinced’ that Congress should raise the U.S. debt ceiling this month, before lawmakers leave for a six-week recess. Her declaration came after speaking with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by phone Thursday, just hours after she told reporters that the timing for Congress to act on the debt limit was uncertain. The California Democrat said she still wants to tie the debt limit to a broader agreement on overall spending levels. … Democrats and Republicans are negotiating whether they can attach the debt ceiling bill to a two-year budget deal that would avoid an automatic $126 billion cut at the end of the calendar year. Such an agreement would help the government avoid another shutdown when funding runs out Oct. 1. Pelosi said she and Mnuchin ‘have not exhausted our conversations’ and will continue talking. The two … agreed to speak again Friday morning, according to a Pelosi aide.”

Report: Budget deficit jumps 23% - AP: “The U.S. budget deficit increased by $140 billion during the first nine months of this budget year to $747.1 billion as government revenues and spending both hit records. The Treasury Department reported Thursday that the deficit for the current fiscal year through June is up 23.1% over the same period a year ago with receipts rising by 2.7% while spending increased 6.6%. The Trump administration is forecasting that the deficit for the full budget year, which ends on Sept. 30, will top $1 trillion, up from a deficit of $779 billion last year. The Congressional Budget Office is not quite so pessimistic for this year, forecasting a deficit of $896 billion this year. But the CBO projects that deficits will top $1 trillion beginning in 2022 and will remain above $1 trillion annually through 2029.”

WYOMING COULD SEE A SENATE SHOWDOWN
Politico: “Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis announced a bid for Senate in Wyoming Thursday, becoming the first Republican to jump into the race and setting up a potential clash with her successor in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney. Lummis, also a former two-term state treasurer, was first elected to the House in 2008 and retired after the 2016 election. She was the only woman to serve in the conservative House Freedom Caucus when the group first formed in 2015. … Lummis told reporters Thursday she spoke with Cheney before announcing her bid, and said the race to replace retiring Sen. Mike Enzi will be a ‘real barn-burner’ if the two women face off in a primary. ‘She needs to make her decision. I have made mine,’ Lummis said. ‘This is Wyoming's Senate seat. Nobody has dibs on it.’

Trump against a Sessions run for Senate - WaPo: “President Trump is ‘not on board’ with his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, running for the Senate, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) told the Hill on Thursday. The Alabama Senate seat is considered a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans, and Sessions’s name has been in the mix as a potential candidate who could win it. Shelby said Sessions would be a strong candidate for a seat he held before joining the Trump administration, but could ‘struggle if the president was against him.’ In conversations with Trump about the race, Shelby said Trump ‘was not encouraging’ of Sessions running. ‘How do I say it? He was not on board, okay?’ Shelby said.”

MUELLER TESTIMONY COULD BE DELAYED
Fox News: “Planning for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's highly anticipated testimony was thrown into disarray Friday as multiple sources said the hearing was delayed amid a ‘breakdown in negotiations’ -- yet others indicated it could still go forward next week as planned. Internal talks over the structure of the hearings originally scheduled for July 17 have been heating up for days, with some members complaining they might not have enough time carved out to ask questions. Sources said Friday morning the hearings will be pushed back to July 24. A senior source said there was a ‘breakdown in negotiations’ to have Mueller appear. Yet the Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee maintained: ‘At this moment we still plan to have our hearing on the 17th and we will let you know if that changes.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump backtracks, drops fight to add citizenship question to census - Politico

Trump heads to Wisconsin Friday for fundraiser - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Pergram: Politics, policy and procedure of Mueller’s upcoming Congressional testimony - Fox News

AUDIBLE: DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO
“I told myself I gotta have a relationship with this guy to help him get his mind right. Because I’m telling you, he didn't know anything about government. ... I wanted to scold him all the time.” – Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, according to the Washington Post, as reported in Tim Alberta’s new book, “American Carnage.”

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. 

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

FIRST UBER EATS, NEXT UBER ANIMAL RESCUE 
AP: “A wildlife rescue in northern Utah is commending a man who found a creative way to rescue an abandoned baby bird while out drinking with friends. Staff at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah say they received a call last weekend from a man who ‘had a few too many’ alcoholic drinks but discovered a baby lesser goldfinch struggling on the ground. About an hour later the bird arrived at the center by itself in an Uber. Staff later learned that the man had called the car as he was too intoxicated to drive. ‘While we feel we've seen it all and can't be amazed by anything, there is always SOMEONE out there to prove us wrong,’ the staff wrote on Facebook. Center director Dalyn Marthaler says the bird who they nicknamed ‘Petey’ was thin and dehydrated when he arrived. He says the bird should be released into the Utah wilderness in a few weeks.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Envy for America, resentment of our power, hatred of our success has been a staple for decades, but most particularly since victory in the cold war left us the only superpower.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for Time magazine on Nov. 9, 2003.

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.