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On the roster: Will Sanders pass the Nevada test? – Dems feel the cash crunch – Trump butts heads with intel team over Russia warning – Trump trolls Dems with rallies out west – There’s no ceiling on stupidity
WILL SANDERS PASS THE NEVADA TEST?
Politico: “Nevada presents the first test of [Bernie Sanders’] ability to turn out Latinos. If he does well among the key demographic — which could account for 20 percent of caucus-goers — it could provide a recipe for continued success among Latinos on Super Tuesday, in states such as California, Texas, and North Carolina. The campaign says it’s spent millions on Latino outreach in Nevada. Of the 250 staffers in the state, more than 100 of them are people of color and 76 are Latinos. Sanders is targeting Latinos on digital platforms like YouTube, Hulu, and Pandora; with mailers, TV ads, phone calls, and texting; and via old-fashioned door-knocking and community events. The campaign has held 35 of those in Spanish. Polling backs up Sanders advisers’ confidence that the efforts — crafted with the knowledge of their 2016 missteps in mind — will pay off in the first nominating contest with a diverse voting population.”
Bloomy makes ready for a contested convention – Politico: “Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him — and block Bernie Sanders — in the event of a brokered national convention. The effort, largely executed by Bloomberg’s senior state-level advisers in recent weeks, attempts to prime Bloomberg for a second-ballot contest at the Democratic National Convention in July by poaching supporters of Joe Biden and other moderate Democrats, according to two Democratic strategists familiar with the talks and unaffiliated with Bloomberg. The outreach has involved meetings and telephone calls with supporters of Biden and Pete Buttigieg — as well as uncommitted DNC members — in Virginia, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and North Carolina, according to one of the strategists who participated in meetings and calls. … It’s a presumptuous play for a candidate who hasn’t yet won a delegate or even appeared on a ballot. And it could also bring havoc to the convention…”
Harry Reid: Dem candidates need more than plurality to win nomination – WaPo: “Former Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid said Thursday that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or any presidential candidate should not get the Democratic nomination if they end the primary process in first place but are shy of the requisite majority of delegates. Reid (D-Nev.) dismissed suggestions from Sanders and his supporters that he should become the nominee if he finishes with a plurality lead ahead of the rest of the candidates but short of the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination outright. Reid even suggested that a group of moderate candidates, trailing Sanders overall, could assemble a coalition ahead of the Democratic convention in July in Milwaukee to hand the nomination to someone else.”
DEMS FEEL THE CASH CRUNCH
Politico: “Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren each started the month scraping perilously close to the bottom of their campaign bank accounts… While Sanders started February with nearly $17 million in the bank, according to campaign finance disclosures filed Thursday night, his next closest rival (nonbillionaire class) was Biden, at $7.1 million. Warren was closest to the red, with just $2.3 million left in her account, while Buttigieg ($6.6 million) and Klobuchar ($2.9 million) were in between. The cash crunch comes at a critical time in the race, with nearly one-third of the delegates available in the primary up for grabs on Super Tuesday on March 3 — and only a handful of candidates able to marshal resources to advertise to voters in those 14 states. It’s why super PACs, demonized at the beginning of the 2020 primary, are suddenly jumping in to assist most Democratic candidates, and it’s why the campaigns are now making ever more urgent pleas for financial help.”
Warren flips on super PACs as campaign struggles for cash – Fox News: “Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren is reversing her position on opposing support from outside groups such as super PACs. The progressive senator from Massachusetts had long spoken out against such political action committees — but as she attempts to mount a comeback for the nomination after disappointing third- and fourth-places finishes in the Iowa caucuses and last week’s primary in neighboring New Hampshire, respectively, she’s changing her stance. Speaking to reporters on Thursday after a stop at a campaign field office in North Las Vegas ahead of Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, Warren said: ‘If all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in, I’ll lead the charge. But that’s how it has to be. It can’t be the case that a bunch of people keep them and one or two don’t.’
S.C. poll shows Biden still ridin’ – Winthrop University: “Joe Biden remains the top choice for South Carolina voters for the Democratic Party presidential nominee but other candidates are gaining ground and nearly 1 in 5 likely voters are still undecided, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. Given the margin of error, his lead of 24% to Sanders’ 19% may be scant indeed. South Carolinians head to the polls on Feb. 29 to participate in the Democratic Party Presidential Primary. Voters in the Palmetto State do not register by party. … Of the African American voters contacted, Biden had even higher numbers, at 31%. Other candidates planning to run in the S.C. primary with support were U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 19%; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, 15%; and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 7%; and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 6%. The remaining two candidates fell under 5%. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not on the S.C. ballot.”
But Sanders is holding on to California – Monmouth University: “Bernie Sanders leads the field in California’s Super Tuesday primary, despite the fact that only 1 in 4 likely voters currently support him. The Monmouth University Poll finds that Sanders’ vote share could increase, though, if it came down to a two-person race. Latino voters are a core constituency for Sanders in the Golden State. With early ballots already rolling in, few voters say there is a high possibility they will change their candidate choice. Among California voters who are likely to participate in the March 3 Democratic primary, support currently stands at 24% for Sanders, followed by 17% for Joe Biden, 13% for Mike Bloomberg, 10% for Elizabeth Warren, and 9% for Pete Buttigieg. Support for other candidates includes Tom Steyer at 5%, Amy Klobuchar at 4%, and Tulsi Gabbard at 2%. Another 13% of likely primary voters remain undecided and do not lean toward any candidate at this time.”
Klobuchar makes a play with Super Tuesday ads – Politico: “Amy Klobuchar is launching three new ads and going up with a seven-figure TV ad buy covering half of the Super Tuesday states on Thursday, joining a small group of Democratic presidential candidates advertising in the delegate-rich primaries looming on March 3. The Minnesota senator’s campaign will start airing TV and digital ads on Thursday in Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. The campaign did not say how it will divvy up the buy among the states. Two of Klobuchar’s new ads contrast her with President Donald Trump. … The third spot features a condensed version of Klobuchar’s longtime stump speech, appealing to people who ‘feel stuck in the middle of the extremes in our politics and are tired of the noise and the nonsense,’ Klobuchar says.”
THE RULEBOOK: USE YOUR WORDS
“One thing, at all events, must be evident, that a government like the one proposed would bid much fairer to avoid the necessity of using force, than that species of league contend for by most of its opponents; the authority of which should only operate upon the States in their political or collective capacities.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 27
TIME OUT: COMRADE SEUSS
Paris Review: “Russia had a Dr. Seuss. … Name: Kornei Chukovsky. Dates: 1882 to 1969. Number of supremo-supremo classic children’s books to his credit: ten or twelve. His stuff is a lot like Green Eggs and Ham: about that long; rhymes bouncing around like popcorn; no real point in sight. … He was a young father; his son was sick … so Chukovsky wound up on a train in the middle of the night with that poor kid, age like four or something, sick and moaning. To take the kid’s mind off the horribleness, Chukovsky got him engrossed in some kind of collaborative improvisation game, rhyming like crazy around a story of a crocodile who comes to Saint Petersburg and eats a dog and then a cop or something… there’s a war … the crocodile runs around … Chukovsky’s kid was just a teeny thing, but he knew inspiration when he saw it. He forgot all about his guts and helped Mozart compose his first symphony.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 46 percent
Average disapproval: 50.4 percent
Net Score: -4.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 3 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 49% approve – 48% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 47% approve – 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve – 51% disapprove.]
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TRUMP BUTTS HEADS WITH INTEL TEAM OVER RUSSIA WARNING
NYT: “Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him. The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing. During the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump’s allies challenged the conclusions, arguing that he had been tough on Russia and that he had strengthened European security. Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying the conclusions could have been delivered in a less pointed manner or left out entirely to avoid angering Republicans.”
Taps partisan brawlers to steer spy network – Politico: “Kash Patel, a former top National Security Council official who also played a key role as a Hill staffer in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe, is now a senior adviser for new acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, according to four people familiar with the matter…. He had previously worked as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)’s top staffer on the House Intelligence Committee and was the lead author of a report questioning the conduct of FBI and DOJ officials investigating Russia’s election interference. Republicans later used the report to bolster arguments that the probe was a plot to take down President Donald Trump. Grenell, who has not served in any U.S. intelligence agency and will also continue as the U.S. ambassador to Germany, will not require Senate confirmation to serve as acting director. Nor will Patel in his new role.”
TRUMP TROLLS DEMS WITH RALLIES OUT WEST
NYT: “President Trump is not exactly a fan of life on the road. He agreed to a four-day Western trip this week on the condition that he spend every night at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. And that location had another attraction: It placed him at the current center of the 2020 presidential race — Nevada, where Democrats will vote Saturday in caucuses that could reshape the campaign. The trip was meant to showcase the president’s aggressive re-election push to drum up funds from high-dollar donors in California, a Democratic state where Mr. Trump is widely unpopular but enjoys some concentrated pockets of support. But the president believes that wherever he goes, he can force the news cycles — and political fortunes — to turn in his favor.”
Republicans see surge in House, Senate candidates – Fox News: “A record number of candidates have filed to run for office in the House and Senate, breaking last cycle’s history-making numbers from the same point in time. But unlike the 2018 midterms when the surge was driven by Democrats, the congressional boom this time is on the Republican side, according to the latest federal candidate and financial activity report obtained exclusively by Fox News. In 2019 alone, 781 Republicans filed federal paperwork to run for the House, the most ever recorded in an odd year at the Federal Election Commission. That’s up from 593 GOP candidates in 2017, when Democrats had an astounding 937 candidates at the same point. Republican candidates across the country interviewed by Fox News said they feel momentum is on their side this time. Energized by President Trump and his impeachment acquittal, congressional hopefuls are making the case that Trump needs a fighter like them in the House or else the country will succumb to ‘socialist’ Democratic plans.”
Doug Collins spurns Trump Intelligence post, will maintain his Senate primary challenge – Fox News
AUDIBLE: OH, HELLO
“As I accept all movies offered (2 so far) I accept.” – Comedian John Mulaney said in a tweet with a clip of Pete Buttigieg answering rapid-fire questions at town hall in Los Angeles on Thursday. When Buttigieg was asked, “Who would play you in a biopic?” his response was, “I’m hoping for John Mulaney.”
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
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.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“How about this scenario. Bloomberg comes out on top. Sanders runs as an independent. Democrats concede, they lost the presidency, but, with a Sanders third party bid, they have a whole lot of energized voters who go and vote and keep the House and flip the Senate. That, to me, is the worst scenario for a Republican.” – Jim Dobbyn, Traverse City, Mich.
[Ed. note: I’d say the worst case scenario for Republicans would be Democrats uniting behind an electable moderate, thumping President Trump, flipping Senate seats and expanding their House majority. As for Sanders as an independent, it would be next to impossible. By the time the primaries are over, it would be too late for him to get on the ballot nationally as an independent. Even if he could convince, say, the Green Party, to give him their nomination, sore loser laws, though legally untested, would probably make it impossible for him to run any kind of national campaign.]
“As I saw the Democratic delegate counts in today’s message, I think it is interesting that essentially all the Democratic contenders (and many in the Senate and Congress) have talked about abolishing the electoral system. Obviously they don’t like that they won the popular vote but still lost the Presidential election. But what are they using now to determine who the party’s presidential candidate will be? It seems to me to be basically a variation of the electoral system. Seems somewhat hypocritical to me. I am only guessing, but if they tried to approve a ‘popular vote winner’ system for the party nominee, there would be many small states who would not jump on the bandwagon. Am I wrong — what are your thoughts?” – Mike Vesel, Weston, Wis.
[Ed. note: Bernie Sanders certainly agrees with you! Yes, delegates are a form of indirect democracy similar to the Electoral College. And if things get weird, the democracy may get even more indirect if there isn’t a winner on the first ballot in Milwaukee. Now, I don’t think of it as hypocrisy. I don’t pay much attention to what partisans say about matters of process since we know that they will reliable argue for whichever position they believe will benefit them. I mean, they are politicians.]
“Given the debate performance all around [Wednesday], I think a more appropriate Norm Peterson reference would have been ‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear!’ at some point in the commentary.” – Tim Roshak, North Canton, Ohio
[Ed. note: Woof!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
THERE’S NO CEILING ON STUPIDITY
WOIO: “An inmate’s attempt to escape from jail ended in embarrassing fashion when she fell through the facility’s ceiling. Surveillance video from the Montgomery County Jail facility in Dayton [Ohio] captured the moment Jessica Boomershine pulled over a chair and climbed through the ceiling by removing the tiles. Other inmates can be seen watching the 42-year-old woman’s attempt and seemingly cheering her on while she ascended. After about 15 seconds, debris started to fall from the ceiling and corrections officers rushed to the area as Boomershine came crashing through. One officer grabbed onto Boomershine, who landed in a trash can instead of slamming to the floor. Jail records from Montgomery County show that Boomershine, as well as Billy Joe Farra, were being held for allegedly assaulting and robbing an 85-year-old man the two befriended at a Miamisburg casino. Boomershine faces new charges for escape and destruction of property for her attempt to flee from prison.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Longevity for a columnist is a simple proposition: Once you start, you don’t stop. You do it until you die or can no longer put a sentence together. It has always been my intention to die at my desk, although my most cherished ambition is to outlive the estate tax.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 18, 2009.
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.
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