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On the roster: Who will pass the terror test? - Hillary tries to stop Millennial meltdown - Pa. still a bright spot for Hillary -Audible: And who are the tiny mammals in this scenario? - Hey, still better than snakes
WHO WILL PASS THE TERROR TEST?
New Yorkers are breathing a sigh of relief as a suspect in a pair of bombings in the area is in custody. But with the New York bomb and stabbings at a Minnesota mall the topic of terror is back in a big way.
A highly distractible political press has been snapped back to something that matters, but will it matter to voters as the election roars into its final 50 days?
Domestic terror has been above the fold twice since the general election began in May. First was the Orlando massacre in June, which certainly captured the voting public’s attention. The polls that followed on the state and national levels showed a substantial swing in the race, an average of 5 points nationwide in favor of Hillary Clinton.
The other comparable incident came in July when a spate of shootings by police officers was followed by a military-style assault on Dallas cops, killing five.
The data is murkier about how that attack affected the race, given a multitude of other political news at the time. But it is unmistakable that Trump was doing better after Dallas than he was immediately before.
The two questions to consider as we look at the events in the New York metro area and Minnesota are first, whether they will hold public attention, and second which candidate is in a better position to take advantage if this really is a watershed moment.
Halftime Report will not speculate as to the potential next steps of the investigations. Certainly President Obama minced no words in his remarks today, talking about terrorism and even expressing satisfaction that the Minnesota attacker was shot dead.
So one does get the idea that there may be other shoes to drop on these cases.
But whether this is a two-day news flurry, or a week-long media blizzard will depend on what comes next. Given the late point in the campaign however, let’s assume that there will be some electoral consequence.
Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans certainly hoped that there will be, as he and they push hard on the notion that Obama and Clinton’s preferred policy of allowing refugees from Syria and other Muslim nations into the United States, is to blame for increased domestic terror.
“Hillary Clinton wants to allow hundreds of thousands of these same people,” said Trump on “FOX & Friends” today. You can also expect his team in Congress to shove the issue into center stage as the funding fight over the Sept. 30 fiscal cliff intensifies.
An election year government shutdown over Muslim migrants? Don’t rule it out. And as that happens, it will be a defining moment for the Republican Party for years.
Trump’s bet is that Americans are increasingly fearful of Muslim terror and have become willing to take the more drastic measures he proposes, including new barriers to entry and increased surveillance on American Muslims.
Clinton, on the other hand, is hoping that she looks like a more certain choice in uncertain times. She wants to reinforce the president’s message that though there are going to be attacks, the system is working and preventing the overwhelming majority of the burgeoning number of would-be attackers.
Look at the latest Fox News poll, which shows that despite a tie race, Clinton is up by almost 20 points on the question of who has the right temperament to be president. Also encouraging for Clinton is that she has erased her deficit to Trump on the question of who is better at handling terrorism.
She is one point ahead now, rather than the 12 points by which she trailed Trump when the general election began in May.
Again, we don’t know how many voters will be moved and for how long by this recent news. But it would seem that Trump’s best hope is for there to be a popular backlash against Muslim immigrants and that voters will believe his promise that he can stop these attacks once and for all if the government is given broader powers.
Clinton, on the other hand, will be hoping that Americans accept and believe that small-scale terror attacks are now an immutable part of life in the republic and will want a leader who will stay steady as they unfold.
Did you miss it? - The first episode of “Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What” aired Sunday and it was a hoot! You can get a little taste here, but be sure to join us Sundays through Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast here.
THE RULEBOOK: DECISION TREE
“Whether there ought to be a federal government intrusted with the care of the common defense, is a question in the first instance, open for discussion; but the moment it is decided in the affirmative, it will follow, that that government ought to be clothed with all the powers requisite to complete execution of its trust.” – Alexander Hamilton, “Federalist No. 23”
TIME OUT: DEATH OF A DARK HORSE
On the 135th anniversary of his death, President James A. Garfield’s assassination is what he is often most remembered for in the history books. But his dramatic death was not the only major drama in his lifetime. White House: “As the last of the log cabin Presidents, James A. Garfield attacked political corruption and won back for the Presidency a measure of prestige it had lost during the Reconstruction period…At the 1880 Republican Convention, Garfield failed to win the Presidential nomination for his friend John Sherman. Finally, on the 36th ballot, Garfield himself became the ‘dark horse’ nominee. By a margin of only 10,000 popular votes, Garfield defeated the Democratic nominee, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
HILLARY TRIES TO STOP MILLENNIAL MELTDOWN
Admitting a serious deficit with millennial voters, Hillary Clinton and her campaign are starting an intense push to win back the bloc that proves so crucial to Barack Obama’s two presidential victories.
Clinton starts today with a speech at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she will talk about free community college and debt-free public universities. But will it be enough?
Polls show Clinton doing only about half as well with Millennial voters as Obama did. And with 50 days to go until Election Day, it may be time to start getting panicky.
Clinton’s team has already ramped up spending and voter outreach to this group via social media. PACs supporting Clinton have pledged $20 million to reach out to Millennial females while an anti-global warming group is spending $6 million to get Millennials in Pennsylvania to the polls.
But, Clinton can’t seem to score above the 50 percent mark with this group. And it’s not because they’re flocking to Trump. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar notes that many of these voters are flocking to third-party candidates in high numbers.
In the GW Battleground poll, 73 percent of Millennials had an unfavorable view of Trump. Yet, in the four-way race Clinton drew just 46 percent of their support meaning that although they highly dislike Trump they’re not drawn to Clinton either.
Millennials made their mark on politics as part of the Obama coalition in 2008 giving him 66 percent of those under 30-years-old voting for him. Obama did nearly as well in 2012 with 60 percent of support from that same group.
President Obama says ‘personal insult’ if black voters don’t rally for Clinton - NYT: “With Democratic leaders increasingly worried about a lack of passion for Hillary Clinton among young black voters, President Obama is rolling out a new and more personal campaign message: ‘It’s about me.’ The president told African-Americans this weekend he would consider it a ‘personal insult’ if they did not vote for Mrs. Clinton, implicitly putting his name on the line as his former secretary of state struggles to replicate the coalition that delivered him victories in 2008 and 2012.”
PA STILL A BRIGHT SPOT FOR HILLARY
Amid a slew of falling poll numbers in the past week, Hillary Clinton received some good news from the Keystone State. A new Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows Clinton up 9 points against Donald Trump in the two-way race, and 8 points in the four-way race. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson takes 14 percent of support in Pennsylvania, which is largely responsible for Clinton’s smaller advantage in the four-way race. Clinton is counting on Pennsylvania as one of the, ahem, key swing states to remain in the blue category this cycle.
As the WSJ points out, Clinton’s ability to maintain her lead her depends on continuing to overwhelm white, blue-collar voters in the middle and western part of the state with minority and college graduates in the urban and suburban areas. Clinton has deployed numerous resources in the state, most importantly her top surrogates: Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and, most importantly, President Obama, who campaigned for her in Philadelphia last week.
AUDIBLE: AND WHO ARE THE TINY MAMMALS IN THIS SCENARIO?
“I think they are dinosaurs, and I think we’re the comet in this whole equation. And I’m glad for it. I’m proud of it.” – Gary Johnson in an interview explaining his take on the two-party system and how the Libertarian Party is going to destroy it.
A dead heat for Trump, Clinton in Fla. in new NYT Upshot/Siena College poll - NYT
Larry Sabato updates his map in Trump’s favor, but argues Clinton still has the best path to victory - UVA Center for Politics
Buuuuttt…National Review’s Tim Alberta explains why Trump still doesn’t have a path to 270 - NRO
Jane Goodall has unique critique on Trump debating - WashEx
Trump, Clinton schmooze foreign heads of state in N.Y. for UN meeting - Politico
Priebus threatens Republicans who won’t back Trump - Fox News
Bridgegate trial: Prosecutor says Christie knew of lane closures from the start - NYT
Didn’t have to ask for them to clap: Jeb Bush steals show with Emmys bit - Fox News
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, it is not often that I disagree with your analysis. I suspect that Mr. Trump’s former alliance with the birther folks was not the pole that vaulted him to candidacy. It is possible that, had he abandoned that silly notion prior to the convention, his margin would have been even greater. In other words, I hope you agree, it was not only the deplorables who handed him the nomination! It took some millions of non-deplorables too. No day is complete without reading the Halftime Report…you go maestro!” – Leo Rostov, Minneapolis, Minn.
[Ed. note: Certainly I agree, Mr. Rostov. Trump’s appeal went beyond the kooks and conspiracy theorists early on in this presidential cycle. As you say, millions of voters drawn in by his hardline on immigration, his white-hot rhetoric about the condition of the country and its leaders, and his gift for sucking all of the oxygen out of the political space, surpassed birtherism as his top issue. But I still don’t think he would’ve been the nominee had he not been the leading proponent of that particular conspiracy. Look at it maybe like this: If Scott Walker had become the Republican nominee we could trace it back to his successful fight against government unions in Wisconsin. To have won, Walker would have needed to broaden his appeal, but we could still say that provided the core supporters, notoriety, and most importantly, the brand that Walker would have needed. Obviously, we know that didn’t happen for Walker, but with Trump the birther bomb is what set him off and provided the core support and brand that helps him develop a broader winning coalition. Next time I’m in Minneapolis I’ll meet you at Kramarczuk’s for coffee and blini.]
“I am beyond excited they’ve decided to put ‘I’ll Tell You What’ on television. You two have off-the-charts chemistry. Here’s my concern - when the camera comes on, you’ll edit yourself. Please don’t. The lines like Bill Clinton eating up campaigning ‘like a dog rolling around in a dead deer’ are so entertaining and down-home and well, they’re just my favorite. So as Billy Joel would say, ‘Don’t go changin’…’ I’m praying this show isn’t temporary. Big hug from Oklahoma.” – Amy Williams, Inola, Okla.
[Ed. note: Well I hope you caught the first installment that included a discussion of bizarrely named places in West Virginia and a comparison of one presidential candidate to a tranquilized zoo animal. I say we’re keeping it real and certainly plan to keep doing so. Thanks to you and everybody else for all of the stunning support that you have shown. It’s what made our little podcast into this fun T.V. experiment.]
“Pres. Obama indicated he would take it as a personal insult if African Americans voted for some other than the democrat candidate. He is non-stop with his personal insult. GOOD GRIEF!!” – Ed Adams, Vincent, Ohio
[Ed. note: Well, you can understand how the first African-American president would feel possessive about African American voters. Listen to the rueful comments from former president Bill Clinton about the way in which blue-collar white voters, especially his fellow “bubbas” have shunned his party and his wife. Being a successful politician is somewhat like being the leader of a marching band. The musicians are going to follow their footwork, but look to you for cues on when to make their moves. That’s different than them following you blindly. Even the best politicians are always only a few missteps away from getting trampled by the flugelhorns.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
HEY, STILL BETTER THAN SNAKES
The Canadian Press: “A WestJet flight was grounded in Toronto after customs officers determined there were iguanas loose in the aircraft. WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart says a passenger on a flight from Cuba to Toronto was discovered to be carrying iguanas in his checked luggage. Stewart says the passenger had hidden four iguanas in his luggage but when they were discovered by customs officers in Toronto, only two of the lizards were in the suitcase. The flight crews were notified and the plane was stopped in order to have the cargo hold fumigated to prevent the escaped lizards from chewing through wires or damaging the aircraft. Stewart says the aircraft couldn’t fly on to Vancouver due to the delay, but passengers were transferred to another plane that left 50 minutes later.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.