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On the roster: Biden tries to turn tables on Trump – Trump to campaign at riot scene – Mega-donors recruit GOP ad whiz to sink Biden – Dems tout huge registration gains – Aquaman wanted for questioning
BIDEN TRIES TO TURN TABLES ON TRUMP
WTAE: “Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made a campaign stop in the Pittsburgh area on Monday. Biden spoke at Carnegie Mellon University’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute location at Hazelwood Green. Biden discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and his other plans for America in Hazelwood on Monday afternoon. Biden forcefully condemned the violence at recent protests while also blaming President Donald Trump for fomenting the divide that’s sparking it. He’s dismissing his presidential opponent as incapable of tackling the violence himself. ‘He doesn’t want to shed light, he wants to generate heat, and he’s stoking violence in our cities,’ Biden said during remarks in Pittsburgh Monday. … Biden went on to denounce rioting, looting and arson at recent protests. ‘It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted,’ he said. The speech marks a new phase of the campaign as Biden steps up his travel…”
Backing fracking – Fox Business: “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Monday he does not intend to ban fracking if he wins the November election, countering repeated claims from President Trump that his opponent would destroy Pennsylvania’s fracking and fossil fuel industries. ‘I am not banning fracking,’ the former vice president said during a speech from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. ‘Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking no matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me.’ Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a technique of extracting natural gas from the shale rock. … The method is controversial and is often criticized by climate activists and Democrats During a March primary debate, Biden — when Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke of his own proposal to eliminate fracking entirely — said ‘so am I. No more — no new — fracking.’ But Biden’s campaign said he misspoke and that his position was unchanged: he supports banning new oil gas and permits, including fracking, on federal land.”
Are swing state visits in time? – Politico: “The balancing act over the riots and police misconduct marks a new, intensifying phase of the election. Both campaigns are preparing for a burst of activity: Biden plans to break his monthslong hold on travel to swing states in the coming weeks, with stops expected initially in Wisconsin and Michigan in addition to Pennsylvania. He’s also looking to appear in Minnesota and Arizona soon. But even as he and his running mate Kamala Harris cautiously plot a return to the road — a trip to Wisconsin could come as soon as later this week — some Democrats are expressing frustration that the ticket declined to visit Kenosha in the immediate aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting. Some party members were already irritated that Biden did not give his convention speech in Milwaukee last week. ‘Biden needed to be here already. Democrats largely are not even part of the conversation here,’ said Terrance Warthen, who is active in Kenosha County government…”
TRUMP TO CAMPAIGN AT RIOT SCENE
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “President Donald Trump says he will visit Kenosha on Tuesday to meet with law enforcement and survey damage from recent unrest, but Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian are urging him to reconsider. No details about Trump’s visit were available Sunday, but a range of Wisconsin Democrats criticized the president’s move as political and something that could inflame tensions, while local Republicans welcomed it as a potential morale boost. Evers wrote to Trump ‘to respectfully ask you to reconsider’ the visit because Kenosha was still in the process of healing after seeing a video of Jacob Blake, 29, shot in the back seven times at point-blank range by Kenosha Police Department Officer Rusten Sheskey; and other videos of Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, shooting and killing two people and wounding another during the ensuing protests and civil unrest.”
Police seek killer in latest race riot murder – Oregonian: “A 48-year-old man who was accused of carrying a loaded gun at an earlier downtown Portland protest is under investigation in the fatal shooting Saturday night of a right-wing demonstrator after a pro-Trump rally. Michael Forest Reinoehl calls himself an anti-fascist and has posted videos and photos of demonstrations he attended since late June, accompanied by the hashtags #blacklivesmatter, #anewnation and #breonnataylor. … Aaron Danielson, a supporter of the [pro-Trump] group Patriot Prayer, was shot in the chest and died in the street. It was soon after most cars in a caravan of supporters of President Donald Trump had left the city’s downtown streets. Reinoehl’s posts indicate he attended many protests in Portland that began three months ago after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis under the knee of a police officer.
New Hampshire GOPers see opportunity in racial unrest – WashEx: “Some Republican strategists in New Hampshire believe the state is the perfect battleground for President Trump to drive his ‘law and order’ message against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, saying many communities there are similar to Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Trump campaign selected New Hampshire for the president’s first post-convention rally. He appeared at an event in Manchester Friday. The decision to go back was made before a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake, a black man, and protests set the city’s downtown businesses ablaze. But New Hampshire Republicans say Kenosha is a facsimile of the sort of modest towns and employers that proliferate throughout their swing state, opening the possibility that voters will respond favorably to Trump’s claim that mayhem would engulf the country unchecked if Biden wins the presidency.”
Federal housing residents cry foul over RNC video – NYT: “It started with an unexpected call last week from Lynne Patton, a longtime Trump associate who oversees federal housing programs in New York. Ms. Patton told a leader of a tenants’ group at the New York City Housing Authority, the nation’s largest, that she was interested in speaking with residents about conditions in the authority’s buildings, which have long been in poor repair. Four tenants soon assembled in front of a video camera and were interviewed for more than four hours by Ms. Patton herself. Three of the tenants were never told that their interviews would be edited into a two-minute video clip that would air prominently on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention and be used to bash Mayor Bill de Blasio, the three tenants said in interviews on Friday. … The episode represents another stark example of how President Trump has deployed government resources to further his political ambitions.”
Scalise blasted for sharing doctored video of disability activist – WaPo: “Twitter flagged a video shared by the second-ranking House Republican on Saturday as ‘manipulated,’ as it spliced quotes together from an activist who speaks through computer voice assistance, making it sound as though he’d convinced Joe Biden to defund police departments. ‘I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts,’ Ady Barkan wrote to Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House minority whip, in a Sunday tweet. ‘You and your team have doctored my words for your own political gain. Please remove this video immediately. You owe the entire disability community an apology.’ The dispute came down to two words from an interview Biden gave Barkan at the start of July. Barkan, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), speaks with the use of a device that reads his eye movements and translates them to an artificial voice.”
THE RULEBOOK: THEM THAT’S GOT IT
“Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments…” – Alexander Hamilton, in his general introduction, Federalist No. 1
TIME OUT: HOME COOKING
Garden & Gun: “When thousands of Louisiana residents fled to New Orleans to escape the wrath of Hurricanes Marco and Laura, Cayman Sinclair got to work planning their meals. Since 2005, the Mandeville, Louisiana, restaurateur and caterer has responded to natural disasters the best way he knows how: feeding people. … Working in 90-degree temperatures, Sinclair and his team are filling thousands of individual boxes with meals that are delivered to hotels housing evacuees. (Though the storm has passed, many cannot return home until power and water are restored.) It’s far more tedious work than setting up a couple buffets, but self-service isn’t an option in this Covid world. Sinclair says he’s in no place to complain. Instead, he’ll follow the example of the people he feeds: Accept life’s challenges, move when necessary, and try to stay positive. ‘So many years of being around incredible people seeking shelter from storms,’ he says, ‘has changed my outlook and my life.’”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 43 percent
Biden: 51.2 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 8.2 points
Change from one week ago: Biden no change in points, Trump no change in points
[Average includes: CNN: Trump 46% – Biden 50%; ABC News/WaPo: Trump 44% – Biden 54%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 41% – Biden 50%; Fox News: Trump 42% – Biden 49%; NPR/PBS News/Marist: Trump 42% – Biden 53%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)
Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 54.6 percent
Net Score: -11.6 points
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: CNN: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 42% approve – 57% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 44% approve – 53% disapprove; Fox News: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; Gallup: 42% approve – 55% disapprove.]
GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM.
MEGA-DONORS RECRUIT GOP AD WHIZ TO SINK BIDEN
Politico: “Senior Republicans are launching a massive super PAC this week to bolster Donald Trump’s reelection in the final stretch of the campaign — a move that comes as the president has been pummeled by Joe Biden on TV. The new organization, Preserve America, is poised to begin a $30 million advertising blitz, an amount that’s likely to escalate in the weeks to come, two people familiar with the effort told POLITICO. The super PAC is expected to draw the support of a range of GOP megadonors, including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. Preserve America will be overseen by Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican strategist who orchestrated the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth takedown of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race.”
DEMS TOUT HUGE REGISTRATION GAINS
NBC News: “Since Election Day 2016, Pennsylvania has added 922,000 new voters to the rolls, according to data from TargetSmart, a Democratic political data company. Democrats have an edge of 132,000 over Republicans in new registrations. … But the Democrats’ new registrant advantage in Pennsylvania sheds light on how Trump’s fight for the state may have gotten a bit harder in the last four years — particularly considering how much the president has focused on his voting base rather than working to expand his supporters. And other states show the same trend to varying degrees. Florida has added 2.4 million new voters since Election Day 2016, with Democrats holding an edge of 59,000 in new registrants… In Arizona, more than a million new voters have registered since 2016… Democrats hold only an 11,000-person edge in new registrations. … And North Carolina has added 1.3 million more voters to its rolls since 2016. Democrats had an edge of more than 56,000 in new registrations, while 583,000 others registered as unaffiliated.”
Trump shaved two points off of Pennsylvania deficit – Reading [Pa.] Eagle: “While former Vice President Joe Biden remains the favorite in the race for the White House, a Franklin & Marshall College poll shows him with a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania. In the latest survey released today, Biden drew support from 49% of registered state voters and 42% backed Trump. That seven-point gap has narrowed since last month when the same polling partner found the Democratic nominee led the Republican nominee by nine points. The poll reflects interviews with 681 registered voters — 321 Democrats, 272 Republicans and 88 independents. Biden holds a clear advantage over Trump in nearly all the attributes that voters are looking for in a president, particularly when it comes to character and honesty. And is notably favored on issues related to his ability to handle the coronavirus pandemic.”
Battleground states want to start counting early – CBS News
RNC, DNC dominated by Senate ads – WSJ
Pergram: The Capitol’s echoes are deafening – Fox News
AUDIBLE: SISTER ACT
“I describe her as an iron fist in [a] cashmere glove.” – Former Biden campaign aide Margaret Aitken describing Biden’s sister Valerie Biden Owens, who has been involved in every single one of the former vice president’s campaigns.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I can’t recall the location of any RNC or DNC speech from 2016 nor, in fact, from any convention since I was able to vote. If a person as engaged as I am in the political process has little concern about this, I would envision that most other voters do not care at all either. Given your extensive critique of this action, I can’t help but wonder, if indeed it is only a concern in the Beltway and whether the average voter – Republican or Democrat – really cares too much about where Vice President Pence gave his speech. I am sensitive to your concern over erosion of public trust in government, and to a degree, I think the government should not further that erosion. But from someone who considers himself a constitutional conservative, I don’t have a large degree of trust in the government anyway, which I think is how the Founders set up our republic in the Constitution. Had Senator Harris given her speech from in front of the Washington Monument, I’m not sure I would have concerned myself with it much (though I’ll freely admit that Republicans would have complained about it). Was the degree of your critique surprising? Yes, especially over an issue that I am not fretting about too much. Will I stop reading your column (as some of your other readers have said)? Of course not! I pride myself on reading from all sources whether I agree or disagree and I generally find your report insightful and balanced. I am simply chalking this one up to a ‘miss,’ and we certainly are permitted to have those from time to time.” – Adam Day, San Jose, Calif.
[Ed. note: Mr. Day, I’m glad to have you sticking around — thoughtful, curious and fair-minded folks like you make this job so much more fun. But I do think you may have misunderstood. I wasn’t talking about the political consequences of Pence’s decision. I’m sure Republicans thought it was just fine and Democrats thought it was an unpardonable breach. I did briefly discuss on Friday how the Trumpapalooza at the White House did tend to reinforce the perception of the president as self-dealing. But the point in the Pence piece wasn’t about optics, it was about what’s appropriate. As a self-described constitutional conservative, Pence certainly knew better and knew the context. You said that it would not have bothered you if the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee had acted similarly. But of course, she could not, because she could not commandeer the sites and staff of the National Park Service to help her win the election. The Trump administration could and did, and did so using the excuse of a deadly pandemic. There’s just no good way to spin abusing the privileges of office like that, especially for someone who was once celebrated for his broadside against the previous administration’s lack of humility. Pence’s point in his 2010 speech was that good stewardship of the Constitution demands more than legal compliance, but rather a deferential attitude about the use of power when questions arise and a rejection of kingly trappings. I don’t care how you vote and certainly don’t think that what Pence did is somehow disqualifying, but I do think Americans need to do better than this. As we have often written here, the major issues that confront America today are neither partisan nor programmatic in nature. Instead, we face a crisis of confidence in the American system and its institutions. We understand what the work of the parties is to win elections, which is fine. But we shouldn’t be surprised then when those parties look to use any means at their disposal to do so. But in order to continue to enjoy the gifts of self-government, we as citizens have to be willing to hold the line, even if blurring it would be in our immediate political advantage. One of the essential concepts of the American system is in making it hard to do what’s popular. Our charter enjoins the federal government from doing LOTS of things that might be popular because we believe that all people have the same God-given rights – rights that can’t be brushed aside in the name of the dictates of every moment. Claiming a prized piece of patriotic real estate for use in what was essentially a campaign ad might be popular or received with indifference, but I promise we will live to further regret what we have made of the presidency over the past decades in the name of what is popular.]
“Please keep up the good work you do. I really appreciate your balanced take on our times. Your post on VP Pence using Fort McHenry for his convention speech was brilliant. Thank you for all you do and for goodness sake please don’t despair when you get notes from those who just want you to be a mouthpiece for the current administration. The country needs more like you especially now.” – Linda Chamberlain, Hooksett, N.H.
[Ed. note: You are very kind, Ms. Chamberlain! And I most certainly do not despair. While I hate for Brianna to have to read some of the nastier ones we don’t publish, I’d say that as a whole our readers’ critiques are overwhelmingly rendered from a fair-minded place and often prove to be quite helpful. There are those folks who are angry and afraid, emotions all too commonplace in our politics today But I figure if you care enough to write a cogent criticism, even if it’s an angry one, you’re trying to stay in the space of respectful public discourse. I want to encourage that however I can and quite often find insights on how I can do my job better. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write!]
“Okay, you used the term ‘bigot’ in HR Friday, so I have to ask: Merriam-Webster defines ‘bigot’ as ‘a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices … especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.’ I certainly don’t believe the ‘especially’ clause applies to President Trump any more than it does to Kamala Harris when she opines — correctly — that we need to find a solution to police killings of ‘blacks, browns and others,’ but ignores the 51% of all such deaths over the past five years (whites). I find most social media arguments involve two folks who are definitely bigots — the former definition, before ‘especially.’ I’ve read your statement several times of the three accusations against Trump going into the RNC; I believe you meant the ‘after especially definition,’ am I correct? And ‘racist’ seems to be thrown around so readily today that it has significantly broadened its meaning to include not only those who are prejudiced again or believe blacks (especially) are inferior to whites, but also anyone who doesn’t agree with a stated agenda supporting blacks. I don’t think I’ll don my antifa scarf and backpack and head into the chanting crowds with my dictionary, but it would sure be easier for this former journalist if folks stuck to the dictionary meanings of words even if that diminished their arguments.” – Stephen J. Tock, Dwight, Ill.
[Ed. note: Good question, Mr. Tock! I should first point out that, as you know, we weren’t accusing anyone of being a bigot or a racist. We were characterizing Democrats’ allegations of race-baiting and bigotry against Trump. We meant “bigot” as one who is devoted to his prejudices. We all have prejudices, but bigots are people who cling to them, as Webster’s put it, “obstinately or intolerantly.” I tend to think of a bigot as somewhat akin to a chauvinist — an unhealthy attachment to one’s preferred group or faction. A bigot might not even hold entirely negative views about others, but would act with blind preference for his or her own race while nurturing prejudices about another. Archie Bunker was a bigot. “Racist” on the other hand has a stronger connotation to my ear — one for whom race is a consuming, essential question. David Duke is a racist. Maybe mainstream Democrats see Trump as a racist, but it seems like their attacks stop short of that, so we went with “bigot” instead. But whatever you call it, it still seemed to me that the RNC effectively rebutted the claim.]
“Most polls for a coming election are off because of the random group of people who respond to a survey and many who may not vote. Think about this one: 1. Find a group of 100 people in each state who have voted in the last four presidential elections and who also voted for Bush, Obama, Obama, and Trump. Thus they are proven swing voters who picked the winner. In a state like Iowa tinker the balance between city and farm to match reality. My guess is that neither age nor income levels matter because this group swung with the tides and chose the winner. 2. Weight the 100 votes (perhaps 120 to have some alternate jurors if some disappear, die, or fail to respond) by the number of electoral votes their state of residence has. 3. Add them up. I suggest getting email addresses and reusing the same group four years hence, adding as necessary for the fallen or departed. Fox news has staff in almost every state and could assemble 100 people in a state within 7-10 days if they hop to it. What do you think?” – James T. Rohner, Port Charlotte, Fla.
[Ed. note: I’m kind of in love with this idea, Mr. Rohner. I’m afraid that it’s too late this time around to try something like this, but you have given me food for thought. What you’re talking about isn’t a poll, per se, but a kind of long-term focus group to gauge changes in voter attitudes over time, I wouldn’t limit it just to swing voters since each new election makes swing voters of different groups. And I’d also want the geographical distribution of the voters to by in synch with the electoral map. Building a panel like the one you’re describing would certainly be expensive and time consuming, but fortunately for us, the University of Southern California has already done the work. You can track here day by day the changing attitudes of a group of 6,000 voters. While it’s not the same as a poll, it’s certainly a good resource for tracking shifts. Enjoy!]
“Your rebuttals of your ‘fan mail’ have suddenly become my favorite part of reading the halftime report. I hope that your thoughtful responses to this vitriol will turn the hearts of others with similar thinking and we all become a little more tolerant to the party that we don’t associate with. Keep up the good work.” – Josh James, Port Clinton, Ohio
[Ed. note: Thank you and amen, Mr. James. It’s no coincidence that it’s my favorite part, too.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
AQUAMAN WANTED FOR QUESTIONING
Asbury Park [N.J.] Press: “An argument over a parking spot lead to a man’s arrest after he pulled a speargun from the trunk of his vehicle and pointed it at other people near the Beach Tacos restaurant, Seaside Park Police Patrolman Andrew Casole said. Bradley Rodriguez, 37, was arrested after he took the speargun out of his vehicle, loaded it and ‘pointed it in a threatening manner’ at the people he was arguing on Aug. 20, Casole said. Rodriguez’s town of residence was not immediately available on Sunday. A speargun is a fishing tool used for catching fish or underwater animals. Rodriguez was charged with aggravated assault and possession of weapon for unlawful purpose, Casole said. Police said Rodriguez is affiliated with Beach Tacos, but his relationship with the restaurant is unclear.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I leave it to the lawyers to adjudicate the legalities of unconsummated collusion. But you don’t need a lawyer to see that the Trump defense — collusion as a desperate Democratic fiction designed to explain away a lost election — is now officially dead.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing about the 2016 Trump campaign collusion with Russia in the Washington Post on July 13, 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.