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On the roster: GOP wants to pare $600 corona unemployment bonus – Trump stumps in North Carolina as polls sour – Biden veep chief reportedly trying to tank Harris – Don’t Be Cruel
GOP WANTS TO PARE $600 CORONA UNEMPLOYMENT BONUS
Bloomberg: “Senate Republicans propose cutting supplemental unemployment benefits to $200 weekly from $600 until states are able to create a system that would provide 70% of a laid-off worker’s previous pay up to a state-set cap, according to two people familiar with the plan. The plan, which was agreed to by the Trump administration, calls for a two-month transition and then allows states to apply for a waiver for up to two additional months if they can’t implement the new calculation, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn’t been made public. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans set to release a series of bills that represent the $1 trillion GOP plan for a new virus stimulus package after the Senate convenes [today] at 4:30 p.m. in Washington, despite persistent divisions among his fellow Republicans. That will mark the starting point for negotiations with Democrats, who’ve previously proposed a $3.5 trillion package.”
Pelosi scoffs – AP: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday assailed Republican ‘disarray over a new pandemic relief package as the White House suggested a narrower effort might be necessary, at least for now. … Both Mnuchin and Meadows said earlier Sunday that narrower legislation might need to be passed first to ensure that enhanced unemployment benefits don’t run out for millions of Americans. … Pelosi criticized the hold-up on the GOP side. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion relief package a couple of months ago, with the aim of jump-starting negotiations. Republicans abruptly halted rollout of their bill last week amid differences between senators and the White House. ‘They’re in disarray and that delay is causing suffering for America’s families,’ Pelosi said. She declined to say whether she could accept 70% of wages in place of the now-expired $600 weekly benefit. ‘Why don’t we just keep it simple?’ she asked, referring to a flat dollar amount.”
Grumble, grumble, grumble – Axios: “Frustration among many Senate Republicans, not to mention Democrats, toward the White House has hit a fever pitch, with many lawmakers — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — admitting they could break for the August recess without a stimulus bill. The Senate left for the weekend Thursday evening without even circulating a draft bill that McConnell says will be used as a starting point for negotiations — and many blame the White House. Multiple GOP Hill aides involved in the stimulus negotiations tell me they feel Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have undermined the legislative process. ‘They came in at the back end with a ton of unrealistic requests, like zeroing out funding for testing and forcing the FBI building into the package,’ one congressional aide said. (The president initially wanted a line in the bill to build a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. )”
THE RULEBOOK: TOTES MCGOATS
“If there are such things as political axioms, the propriety of the judicial power of a government being coextensive with its legislative, may be ranked among the number.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 80
TIME OUT: WHAT A PRO
NYT: “Regis Philbin, the talk- and game-show host who regaled America over morning coffee with Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa for decades, and who made television history in 1999 by introducing the runaway hit ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ died on Friday night. He was 88. … In a world of annoyances, Mr. Philbin was the indignant Everyman, under siege from all sides — by the damned computers, the horrible traffic, the inconsiderate people who were always late. There was no soap in the men’s room. Hailing a cab was hopeless. Losing a wallet in a rental car? Fuhgeddaboudit! Even his own family was down on him for buying a chain saw! … From faceless days as a studio stagehand when television was barely a decade old, to years of struggle as a news writer, TV actor and sidekick to Joey Bishop, Mr. Philbin, with patience, determination and folksy, spontaneous wit, climbed to pre-eminence relatively late in life on talk and game shows.”
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NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 40.6 percent
Biden: 51.8 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 11.2 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↓ 0.4 points, Trump no change in points
[Average includes: Fox News: Trump 41% – Biden 49%; ABC/WaPo: Trump 44% – Biden 54; Quinnipiac University: Trump 37% – Biden 52%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 40% – Biden 51%; Monmouth University: Trump 41% – 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: 40.8 percent
Average disapproval: 56.4 percent
Net Score: -15.6 points
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.2 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 45% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 40% approve – 58% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 36% approve – 60% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 42% approve – 56% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve – 54% 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.
TRUMP STUMPS IN NORTH CAROLINA AS POLLS SOUR
WXII: “President Donald Trump is coming to North Carolina to visit a biotech facility involved in work to create a coronavirus vaccine. The Monday afternoon trip to Morrisville is Trump’s first public event in the state since the eve of the March 3 presidential primary. The FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center that he’ll tour is manufacturing key components of a vaccine candidate developed by another company. It’s all part of the federal government’s efforts to get a vaccine ready next year. Trump won North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes in 2016 by nearly 4 percentage points. The state is considered a presidential battleground this fall, too. A scaled-down version of the Republican National Convention is still set for Charlotte next month. Trump pulled his acceptance speech from there after conflict with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over convention safety. The convention festivities headed to Jacksonville, Florida, but Trump pulled the plug on that venue last week.”
Trump, Tillis both taking on the chin – Politico: “Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a 7-percentage-point advantage over President Donald Trump in the swing state of North Carolina, according to a new survey, with the state’s Democratic candidates for governor and Senate also leading their Republican rivals. An NBC News/Marist poll released Monday reports that a majority of North Carolina registered voters surveyed, 51 percent, support Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, while 44 percent prefer Trump. … Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, who is challenging Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, achieved 50 percent support among registered voters surveyed compared with Tillis’ 41 percent in the NBC News/Marist poll. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is seeking a second term, outperformed Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, 58-38.”
Next stop: Texas – AP: “President Donald Trump will shift his focus to American energy dominance during a stop in Texas later this week that will include his first visit to an oil rig. … Trump will also tour an oil rig in Midland, the city where former President George W. Bush was raised and where he met his wife, Laura, who was born there. While in Texas, Trump will raise money for the Republican Party and his reelection campaign at a fundraising luncheon with supporters in nearby Odessa.”
Florida and Michigan look like trouble for Trump – CNN: “With 100 days remaining until Election Day, voters in three critical battleground states swing in former Vice President Joe Biden’s way, according to new Arizona, Florida and Michigan CNN polls conducted by SSRS. In Florida (51% Biden to 46% for President Donald Trump) and Arizona (49% Biden to 45% Trump), registered voters break in Biden’s favor by single-digit margins, while in Michigan, Biden’s lead stands at 52% to 40%, matching the national average for the presidential race per the most recent CNN Poll of Polls. Trump carried all three states in 2016, with his narrowest win in any state coming from Michigan, which he carried by only 10,704 votes. The poll results are among registered voters, but when looking only at those who say they are most likely to vote in this fall’s election, support for the two candidates remains about the same.”
Supreme headaches as Team Trump works on justice list – Politico: “To give disgruntled conservatives a dash of hope after crushing Supreme Court losses on abortion and LGBTQ protections this summer, President Donald Trump made a promise: He would unveil a new list of reliably conservative jurists before presidential debate season kicked into high gear. ‘I will only choose from this list,’ he pledged in a tweet last month, describing it as ‘more important than ever’ amid threats he and his supporters perceive against religious liberty, gun ownership and abortion restrictions. The president’s tweet caught top White House aides and conservative legal figures off guard. But they quickly mobilized to review the existing 25 names and decide who should remain in contention, who should be removed and who might qualify as an acceptable addition. One month into the process, answering those questions has twisted some of Trump’s team into knots as the election quickly approaches.”
Six reasons why Trump may yet win – The Atlantic: “Facing the combined calamities of a pandemic and an economic meltdown, Trump hasn’t collapsed. His base never really grows, but neither does it crumple, keeping him competitive. ‘If Trump could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose supporters, he could also raise the dead on Fifth Avenue and not gain any supporters,’ Charles Franklin, the director of the Marquette Law School poll [said]. The pointless feuds and rage tweets, the conspiracism and obsessions all seem baked in—none of that seems to surprise the electorate anymore. He could win. He might win. Here are six reasons why.”
BIDEN VEEP CHIEF REPORTEDLY TRYING TO TANK HARRIS
Politico: “When former Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of Joe Biden’s vice presidential search committee, recently asked Kamala Harris about her ambush on Biden in the first Democratic debate, Dodd was stunned by her response. ‘She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,’ Dodd told a longtime Biden supporter and donor, who relayed the exchange to POLITICO on condition of anonymity. ‘Dodd felt it was a gimmick, that it was cheap,’ the donor said. The person added that Dodd’s concerns about Harris were so deep that he’s helped elevate California Rep. Karen Bass during the vetting process, urging Biden to pick her because ‘she’s a loyal No. 2. And that’s what Biden really wants.’ Through an aide, Dodd declined to comment. Advisers to Harris also declined to comment. … Others touted Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who earned a Purple Heart in combat, and former national security adviser Susan Rice, whom they came to know though her connections to Stanford University in the Bay Area.”
Biden’s coalition relies on Trump anxiety – AP: “Roughly three months before Election Day, a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that Biden’s supporters are less enthusiastic than Trump’s — both about the campaign itself and about their candidate — although the Democrat’s coalition may be equally motivated by anxiety. Still, the poll reveals an American public at odds with Trump on wearing masks, on balancing restrictions to stop the virus with efforts to help the economy and on fully reopening schools. And voters give Biden higher marks on many positive traits that apply to leadership in the age of the coronavirus, including honesty, capability and caring for Americans.”
Dems widen advantage in Arizona – NBC News: “With 100 days until the election, Democrat Joe Biden holds a 5-point lead over President Donald Trump in Arizona, with more voters saying the former vice president would do a better job handing the coronavirus pandemic and race relations, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll. Democrats also enjoy a double-digit advantage in Arizona’s key Senate contest between Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly. But more of Trump’s voters strongly back him than Biden’s supporters do, and the president holds a significant lead on handling the economy. In the new poll, 50 percent of registered voters say they would vote for Biden, while 45 percent back Trump, a difference that is within the survey’s margin of error. … Back in March, the last time NBC News/Marist measured Arizona, Biden topped the president by only 1 point, 47 percent to 46 percent.”
Officer’s account challenges White House explanation for clearing protesters – AP
Trump National Security Adviser tests positive for coronavirus – Bloomberg
Rep. John Lewis lies in state at Capitol Rotunda, as lawmakers memorialize civil rights icon – Fox News
AUDIBLE: JUST LET IT OUT
“If some people are uncomfortable, they go work out and do whatever. Some people just let out the pants.” – Michael Shimunoff, a tailor at La Moda Custom Tailors in Queens, talking about the rise in business thanks to quarantine weight gain with the NYT.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I really don’t understand why you continue to use Quinnipiac as one of your main polls. They are always such an outlier statistically and grossly over sample Democrats. (How else could they be so far below every other poll?) You would be better served using almost any other pollster. All that said, the reading of PA is statistically far off. It is skewed grossly towards the cities. I have yet to see a Biden [sign] anywhere in the state (including the burbs, and definitely not in the country), not even in the cities. You may argue that it’s because he hasn’t been formally nominated, but that would be a canard since there are plenty of ads on TV and the Internet. PA is closer than you think. The same can be said for many other states. The negative depiction by the media of Trump supporters being uneducated (I have a BA from an excellent college) only serves to suppress what is out there. Kudos, however, to your fine historical overview.” – Nemo Niemann, Elliottsburg, Pa.
[Ed. note: While I am sure that your alma mater is a fine school indeed and that your degree is a good one, I’m afraid someone has put you wrong about Quinnipiac University’s poll. (Or maybe you attended a rival school. I like the idea of students from Quinnipiac, Marist College and Monmouth University talking smack on each others’ polls.) Quinnipiac is right in the mainstream of the best of polling. Its methods are sound, its results published transparently, and its track record is sound. We assume you meant Biden “signs,” and if that’s the case, I don’t know how much stock I would put in sign distribution during the pandemic. It’s a dubious metric in any year, but especially when human contact is being prohibited.]
“I have a feeling with Trump so far back in the polls, that he will find a way to back out of the election. I just have a sense that something big is yet to happen and this is where my mind keeps going to especially since Trump hates to lose. Could Pence beat Biden? Would selecting a Tim Scott or Nikki Haley help?” – Trent Aschliman, Ossian, Ind.
[Ed. note: I don’t know if people said this stuff about Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter, but I sure don’t recall people talking this way when George H.W. Bush was in Trump’s predicament in 1992. I understand that Trump prides himself on being an agent of chaos and keeping his many enemies guessing, but this isn’t cancelling some speech in Jacksonville. You say Trump might do it because he hates to lose but trust me when I say that the biggest loss would be dropping out as an incumbent. It seems more likely that Trump is preparing to declare the results invalid, setting up a scenario in which he accepts the results (after a fashion) but continues to maintain he was cheated. I have no idea what would become of Pence in the scenario you describe, but I imagine his biggest problem would be keeping Trump’s nationalists aboard. The air would probably go out of the balloon.]
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DON’T BE CRUEL
UPI: “A Norwegian Elvis Presley impersonator broke a Guinness World Record by performing the famed singer’s catalog for 50 hours, 50 minutes and 50 seconds. Kjell Henning Bjornstad, 52, aka Kjell Elvis, started performing Thursday at a bar in Oslo, and continued to sing until he reached his goal of 50 hours, 50 minutes and 50 seconds on Saturday. Bjornstad had previously broken the record for longest Elvis Presley singing marathon in 2003, but his record was broken the next year by German singer Thomas ‘Curtis’ Gathje, whose record of 43 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds stood until being challenged by Bjornstad this month. The singer, who was left hoarse following his successful Guinness World Record attempt, said it was the last time he will attempt a singing marathon world record.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Yesterday’s conventional wisdom: A wave of insurgent populism is sweeping the West, threatening its foundational institutions — the European Union, the Western alliance, even liberal democracy itself.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 27, 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.