Welcome to the Thunderdome, Elizabeth Warren


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On the roster: Welcome to the Thunderdome, Elizabeth Warren - Pelosi still not biting on impeachment vote - Gallup: Majority now supports removing Trump from office - Bevin recovers in Kentucky poll - Sláinte, Mr. Bradley

WELCOME TO THE THUNDERDOME, ELIZABETH WARREN

WaPo: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose steady stream of plans have propelled her to the top of the Democratic presidential field, came under sustained attack for the first time during a raucous primary debate here Tuesday that revealed Democrats’ ongoing public struggle to define their beliefs and choose a standard-bearer to take on President Trump. Warren (Mass.) faced direct challenges from several of the 11 other candidates onstage, who took her on over her policies, her fitness to serve as commander in chief and her willingness to question the motives of Democrats who support less transformational ideas. … The focus on Warren deflected attention from others facing scrutiny entering Tuesday’s debate, which was hosted by CNN and the New York Times. Former vice president Joe Biden went for long stretches without surfacing… Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, showed no signs of lingering health trouble.”

Klobuchar, Buttigieg shone through - National Review: “The October Democratic presidential-primary debate finally brought a genuine surprise, in that a pair of second-tier candidates who were in danger of being forgotten woke up, smelled the coffee, and brought their A-games: Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Considering how other second-tier candidates have turned in good performances in past months and seen little movement in the polls, this may not be a turning point in the race for either candidate. But in a way-too-long, often-boring debate that was stuck in the middle of an otherwise jam-packed news environment, Klobuchar and Buttigieg managed to stand out.”

Sanders and Warren have deep pockets as Biden burns cash - AP: “Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren don’t just lead the Democratic presidential primary in fundraising. They’ve stockpiled millions more than their rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who burned through money at a fast clip over the past three months while posting an anemic fundraising haul. Sanders held $33.7 million cash on hand on his third-quarter fundraising report. Warren had $25.7 million during the same period, while South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg came next $23.3 million. Biden, meanwhile, held just $8.9 million, a small fraction of what his leading rivals have at their disposal. With the first votes of the Democratic contest just months away, the candidates are entering a critical and expensive period when having an ample supply of cash can make or break a campaign. Biden’s total raises questions about his durability as a front-runner.”

Squad to endorse Sanders - Fox News: “Three members of the so-called ‘Squad’ of far-left freshman members of Congress are lining up behind Sen. Bernie Sanders for president. Fox News has learned that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will appear with Sanders on Saturday in Queens, N.Y., at a ‘Bernie’s Back’ rally designed to generate excitement for the senator’s campaign following his recent heart procedure. Rep. Ihan Omar, D-Minn., will also endorse the candidate, Fox News confirmed. In addition, CNN reported that Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., will endorse Sanders as well. It was not immediately clear if Omar and Tlaib will appear at Saturday's event. … The endorsements would be a significant blow to the campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren…”

Steyer spending stupendous - WSJ: “Billionaire Tom Steyer appeared on the Democratic presidential debate stage for the first time Tuesday night, but voters in early states have already seen him on TV thousands of times. Mr. Steyer, who new federal filings show has poured nearly $48 million of his own money into his long-shot bid, is dominating television screens in the first four states that will hold nominating contests early next year. Since entering the race in July, Mr. Steyer has spent more than $26 million on TV ads, airing more than 53,000 spots in markets that reach Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada voters, data from ad-tracking firm Kantar/CMAG shows. All told, that is more than six times as many as the rest of the Democratic field combined.”

THE RULEBOOK: DEMOCRACY AND CHILL 
“Where the whole power of the government is in the hands of the people, there is the less pretense for the use of violent remedies in partial or occasional distempers of the State.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 21

TIME OUT: AN INVENTOR’S SLAP SHOT
Smithsonian: “Invented by Frank Zamboni, the eponymous ice-clearing machine celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. He applied for his first U.S. patent in 1949, for this innovative idea that totally transformed winter sports by giving chopped-up ice surfaces a fresh-frozen smoothness in a matter of minutes. ‘At the time, he was just trying to address a need of his,’ says Frank Zamboni, the inventor’s grandson and now president of the Zamboni Company. ‘He saw a need for the ice rink he owned with his brother and cousins… Instead of taking 1 1/2 hours to clean the ice, that was time somebody could be paying to skate on it.’ Contrary to popular belief, the Zamboni machine was not invented in Canada—the place of snow and ice—but in Southern California—the land of sun and fun. … As time went on, he saw a need to quickly clean the ice, so he started improvising with war-surplus equipment.”

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SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 28.2 points (↑ 0.8 point from last wk.)
Warren: 26.4 points (↑ 1.4 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 13.4 points (↓ 1.2 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 6.2 points (↑ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Harris: 4.4 points (↓ 0.2 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, Fox News, IBD, Monmouth University and NBC News/WSJ.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 42.2 percent
Average disapproval: 54 percent
Net Score: -11.8 percent
Change from one week ago:  0.4 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 39% approve - 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve - 55% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 43% approve - 53% disapprove.]  

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PELOSI STILL NOT BITING ON IMPEACHMENT VOTE
Politico: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders will hold off on a full House vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. Democratic leadership sources caution, however, that the decision could be ‘reassessed at some point.’ The move came amid opposition from key chairmen and members of leadership, as well as a number of centrist Democrats facing tough reelection bids. Trump, White House officials and Republicans on Capitol Hill have seized on the absence of such a vote as an unacceptable break with House precedent and have vowed to resist what they describe as an illegitimate probe. But Democrats defended their current impeachment process, which has multiple House committees interviewing witnesses in private and gathering evidence related to allegations that Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pressured Ukrainian officials to begin an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son — potentially at the risk of losing U.S. military aid.”

Gallup: Majority now supports removing Trump from office - Gallup: “Public opinion on whether Trump should be impeached remains mixed, but Americans now lean slightly more in favor of impeachment and removal from office compared with where they stood in June. Currently, 52% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46% say he should not be. This is roughly the opposite of what Gallup found in June when asked in the context of special counselor Robert Mueller's investigation.”

Staffers fear White House seeking scapegoat on Ukraine call - NYT: “President Trump has for weeks sought to unmask the whistle-blower who shed light on his Ukraine dealings. But instead aides have fixated on one another: Advisers began a fact-finding review that some fear is a hunt for a scapegoat, according to White House aides and other people familiar with it. Even as the impeachment inquiry intensifies in Congress, White House lawyers are leading their own review, the people said. They are seeking to understand White House officials’ actions around Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is central to the whistle-blower’s allegation that Mr. Trump abused his power. The lawyers’ inquiry centers on why one of their colleagues, the deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg, placed a rough transcript of the call in a computer system typically reserved for the country’s most closely guarded secrets. Mr. Trump later directed that a reconstructed transcript be released amid intensifying scrutiny from House Democrats.”

Mulvaney emerges as key figure in impeachment probe - WaPo: “In late May, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney organized a meeting that stripped control of the country’s relationship with Ukraine from those who had the most expertise at the National Security Council and the State Department. Instead, Mulvaney put an unlikely trio in charge of managing the U.S.-Ukraine account amid worrisome signs of a new priority, congressional officials said Tuesday: pressuring the fledgling government in Kiev to deliver material that would be politically valuable to President Trump. The work of those ‘three amigos,’ as they came to call themselves — diplomats Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, plus Energy Secretary Rick Perry — has come to light in recent days through newly disclosed text messages and the testimony of government witnesses appearing before an impeachment inquiry in Congress.”

BEVIN RECOVERS IN KENTUCKY POLL
WYMT: “The Mason-Dixon Kentucky Poll was released early Wednesday morning, and the results are interesting. The poll shows that statewide, 46 percent of likely voters support Republican Governor Matt Bevin, while 46 percent back Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. At the beginning of the year, Beshear held a 48 percent-40 percent lead over Bevin, but the incumbent has pulled into a tie with his challenger. One percent of respondents voted for Libertarian nominee John Hicks, while seven percent were undecided. The poll also shows Bevin's GOP support grew from 67 percent in December to 77 percent. He is pulling in 22 percent of Democrat respondents for the cross-over vote, while Beshear is drawing 15 percent from Republicans. Among the Mason-Dixon poll participants, Bevin led among men, older voters and rural voters. … The poll credits some of Bevin's resurgence to President Donald Trump's popularity in Kentucky and resistance to his impeachment.”

Second debate was heavy with personal attacks - Louisville Courier Journal: “Republican incumbent Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear had their ugliest public exchange Tuesday at the second gubernatorial debate of the fall campaign. Throughout the discussion, hosted before a raucous crowd of supporters on the University of Kentucky campus, the two rivals called each other liars and regularly interrupted one another as they were peppered with policy questions. When moderators asked about ways they would encourage students to pursue a career in public education, including the state's colleges and universities, the conversation took a turn into the gutter. … The high stakes debate touched on health care, pension reform, medical marijuana and supporting out-of-work coal miners. But it underscored how Kentucky's race for governor this year is defined by Bevin and Beshear's enmity as much as their deep differences on tackling the state's woes.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Poll shows high confidence in Supreme Court Annenberg Public Policy Center

AUDIBLE: THANKS?
“[Amy Klobuchar] had some smart answers. I’m starting not to care that she is brutal to her staff.” – Larry Sabatodirector of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, writing in Politico about the Democrats’ debate.  

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“If Trump is impeached and the Senate is mad at him, votes him out, then the GOP could have a primary too. That would take up a lot of news from the Democrats. I think we need a law for 6 months of elections, period.” – Karen Morrow, Tampa, Fla.

[Ed. note: It would be a comfort to have such constraints, it’s true. But our Constitution just wouldn’t allow for it. The government can’t tell people when they can talk about issues, therefore there’s no way to keep candidates from campaigning and reporters from reporting. I’m increasingly in favor, though, of doing away with primary elections. Our 40-year experiment with them has been a miserable bust and has unnecessarily prolonged our election calendars. Bring back conventions and spare the American people!]

“I have pretty much come to the opinion that two things will happen…one, the 2020 election is not going to be over on election night (owing to huge court battles to follow many very close races) and…two, at some point our Agitator-in-Chief is going to leave office of his own volition…having become tired of the battle and wanting to go back to his business dealings and such. What say youse (that’s a Michigan (born & raised there) UP term)?” – Rick Randell, Bradenton, Fla.

[Ed. note: I say that I know better not to say, Mr. Randell! I think there are lots of potential scenarios for 2020 that could still be in the offing. We may yet see a landslide or even, dare I say, a political realignment. As for Trump leaving early, it’s pretty hard for me to fathom. I doubt he’d give his enemies the pleasure.]

“I miss Chris’ input during events like the debates on Twitter. I understand why he left, and it is best for his happiness. But there were so many Whhhooo Doogie moments last night, I would have loved watching it with him. But since I have found Fox Nation I can see his more candid takes on the events of the day. I just cannot interact with my clever comments! I would love to have him join The Dispatch so he could participate in the discussion groups. I will send them a note to suggest his inclusion! Thank you for being so glorious. (Sorry about the Cardinals, but Charles is happy!)” – Polly Barrett, Waco, Texas

[Ed. note: Who needs an agent when he has Polly Barrett?!]

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

SLÁINTE, MR. BRADLEY
HuffPo: “A man in Dublin, Ireland, decided to inject a little humor into his funeral Saturday by playing a prank on his loved ones. Shay Bradley, a Defense Forces veteran who died Oct. 8 ‘after a long illness bravely borne’ according to his obituary, shocked then delighted funeralgoers when they suddenly heard his voice shouting from his coffin as it was being lowered into the ground. ‘Hello? Hello. Hello? Let me out!’ stunned attendees heard in a prerecorded message that also included ‘knocking’ against the coffin’s lid. … Those at the funeral can be seen giggling and wiping away tears as Bradley’s voice begins to sing: ‘Hello again, hello. Hello, I just called to say goodbye.’ His daughter Andrea Bradley told HuffPost that her father recorded the audio about a year ago — and that no one really knew about it other than her brother Jonathan and her nephew, Ben. Two days before Shay Bradley’s funeral, Jonathan Bradley decided to tell his mom and the rest of his siblings about the prank. He told them that playing the audio at the funeral was his dad’s dying wish.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“My non-baseball friends are forever puzzled by my devotion to the game. I agree entirely with them about the irrationality of fandom. … It’s ridiculous. Yet when the hometown Washington Nationals win, my mood brightens. Can’t help it.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 21, 2016.

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.