Why Biden excels nationally, struggles in early states
Former VP Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine and promised U.S. taxpayer aid to the Ukraine gas industry... after his son became a part of it.
**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Why Biden excels nationally, struggles in early states - Time Out: The history of Veterans Day - Rep. Peter King announces retirement - House GOP prepares for impeachment hearings - Not so golden sponge cake
WHY BIDEN EXCELS NATIONALLY, STRUGGLES IN EARLY STATES
Politico: “Joe Biden is the clear frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic race for president. Or he’s faltering, slipping into fourth place as he loses ground to Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and an ascendant Pete Buttigieg. Those alternate realities are playing out in real time — reflected in Biden’s solid standing atop national polls versus his middling performance in Iowa and New Hampshire surveys on the other. The disparity is at once a source of frustration to Biden’s team and one of hope to rivals holding out for an utter collapse by the former vice president in the two earliest nominating states. The explanations for the discrepancy run the gamut. The white Iowa and New Hampshire electorates play against Biden’s strength among ideological moderates and African Americans, some defenders argue. Skeptics say it shows that the voters watching him most closely are underwhelmed. There's the fact that Biden pulled back on early state ad spending — both on TV and digitally — while competitors ramped up. Finally, the Trump factor: The president's reelection campaign has been running anti-Biden ads on TV in Iowa and more broadly over social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.”
Biden super PAC issues memo warning in early states -Politico:“A super PAC supporting Joe Biden warned Saturday that the Trump campaign is seeking to take down the former vice president in early state contests with a barrage of negative ads. ‘Trump is spending considerable sums in the early states, particularly Iowa, in a hope to stop Biden’s momentum before he can get to the states where his coalition works to his benefit,’ Democratic strategist Steve Schale wrote in a memo obtained by POLITICO. … The memo from Unite the Country super PAC … lays out the candidate's consistent strength in national Democratic primary polls and in matchups with President Donald Trump in battleground states. It also points to Biden’s steady lead in South Carolina and Nevada, the latter two of the four early nominating state, which have a far more diverse electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire. Wins there would give Biden momentum heading into the 14 Super Tuesday primaries, the memo states.”
Klobuchar says a woman with Buttigieg's experience wouldn't make debate stage - Fox News: “Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., didn’t spare any punches on Sunday when going after fellow 2020 presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg – saying that a woman with the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s experience would not be on the debate stage. Klobcuhar, who has been polling in the middle of the still-crowded field of Democrats, argued during an appearance on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that while every candidate in her party has been more qualified to lead the country than President Trump, she doubted a woman with the same resume as Buttigieg would be given a chance at running for president. ‘Of the women on the stage, I’m focusing here on my fellow women senators, Sens. Harris and Warren and myself. Do I think we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t,’ Klobuchar said in reference to Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.”
#YangGang: Now what? - NYT: “Enthusiasm for Mr. [Andrew] Yang is probably most palpable here in New Hampshire where the entrepreneur has repeatedly polled around 5 percent, his strongest showing in an early-voting state. … All of which leaves Mr. Yang and his senior campaign staff — some of whom, before this, had never run a campaign of any kind — with a new quandary: What do we do now? … But moving forward, Mr. Yang said he wants his message to become ‘more human-based’ — perhaps a necessary shift for a candidate seeking a broader audience who has thus far focused much of his attention on robots. His vision of a ‘human-based’ campaign, he said, involves talking more about the way he thinks his signature pitch can really change lives. … The strategic pivot — the most significant in the campaign to date — is most clearly exemplified by the new television ad Mr. Yang’s team put on the air Thursday in Iowa. They spent more than $1 million on the ad buy, the kind of seven-figure sum they did not have available to them for the long first few phases of his run.”
New venue chosen for December Dem debate -Politico: “The Democratic presidential debate in December has been moved to Loyola Marymount University, after controversy over a labor fight upended plans to host the prime-time event at the University of California, Los Angeles. POLITICO and PBS NewsHour, the sponsors of the Dec. 19 debate, announced the change after the Democratic National Committee said Wednesday that UCLA would no longer serve as the venue because of an ongoing dispute between the school and its largest employee union. … Six Democratic White House contenders have so far qualified to appear on stage: Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.”
THE RULEBOOK: TAKE NOTE
“But all extremes are pernicious in various ways.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 35
TIME OUT: THE HISTORY OF VETERANS DAY
NYT: “On Nov. 11, 1918, the Allied nations and Germany signed an armistice ending the fighting in the Great War, which had killed more than 15 million people. A year later, King George V of England proclaimed that date Armistice Day, to be marked with two minutes of silence at 11 a.m., the hour the agreement had gone into effect. ‘King Asks British to Pause Two Minutes on Armistice Day,’ The New York Times wrote in a front-page headline on Nov. 7, 1919. Days later, the paper reported that Americans would be observing the day, too, with ceremonies around the country. In a special message to the nation in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson noted the monumental changes that the fierce and bloody war had provoked. The European Allies fought for more than four years, and the Americans for more than a year and a half. None would ever be the same. … In 1954, in response to calls for recognition of veterans of World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day. A 1968 law moved the observance of the holiday to the fourth Monday in October, but that was unpopular, and in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law moving it back to Nov. 11. The law took effect in 1978.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.6 points (↑ 1 point from last wk.)
Warren: 22.6 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.6 points (↑ 1 point from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 7.6 points (↓ 0.8 points from last wk.)
Harris: 3.2 points (↓ 0.2 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Monmouth University, NBC News/WSJ, ABC News/WaPo, Fox News and IBD.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 42 percent
Average disapproval: 55.4 percent
Net Score: -13.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 0.2 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve - 53% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 39% approve - 59% disapprove; Fox News: 42% approve - 57% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve - 56% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
REP. PETER KING ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Fox News: “Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the powerful 14-term congressman who once chaired the House Committee on Homeland Security, announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2020. King, in a statement Monday, said his ‘prime reason’ for retiring ‘was that after 28 years of spending four days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford.’ ‘This was not an easy decision. But there is a season for everything and Rosemary and I decided that, especially since we are both in good health, it is time to have the flexibility to spend more time with our children and grandchildren,’ he said. … The 75-year-old congressman said his decades in Congress have been ‘an extraordinary experience.’ He currently serves as a member of the Homeland Security Committee, which he served as chair from 2005-2006 and again from 2011-2012… King is one of several Republicans — four senators and 17 other House members — who have announced plans to not seek reelection.”
Sessions’ feels support from 11 GOP senators in open letter - Politico: “Nearly a dozen of Jeff Sessions' former GOP Senate colleagues are backing his run for Senate, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO. In an ‘open letter to conservatives’ on Sessions' candidacy for Alabama's Senate race next year, 11 Republican senators say that Sessions is a ‘man of his word. And we know he is devoted to serving the people of Alabama.’ … The letter is signed by GOP Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Deb Fischer of Nebraska. Roberts, Enzi and Isakson are all retiring this year or next. Barrasso and Blunt are the Nos. 3 and 4 GOP leaders, respectively, in the Senate GOP.”
Steve Knight eyes old seat after Katie Hill resignation -Fox News: “The two-term Republican who was ousted in 2018 by Katie Hill announced on his website Sunday that he will attempt to win back his old seat. ‘I am proud to return to public service and deliver the type of representation our district deserves,’ Steve Knight posted on his website. Hill defeated Knight by 9 points in California’s 25th District in November. Hill-- a centrist-- was seen as a rising Democratic star because the district is seen as one of a few in the state that could be carried by a Republican. Henry Olsen, a columnist in the Washington Post, wrote a piece last month that questioned whether or not the state was ‘reopening’ the doors to Republicans. He pointed out that the district was a Republican stronghold before President Trump. He also called the election—which will likely occur on March 3, a possible bellwether for Republicans.”
Kentucky Republicans losing patience with Gov. Bevin - Louisville [Ky.] Courier Journal: “Republican Senate President Robert Stivers believes Gov. Matt Bevin should concede his loss to Democrat Andy Beshear if next week's recanvas doesn't significantly change the vote totals. ‘It’s time to call it quits and go home, say he had a good four years and congratulate Gov.-elect Beshear,’ Stivers said in a brief Friday interview at the Capitol. Bevin finished 5,189 votes behind Beshear in Tuesday's gubernatorial election but has refused to concede the race, requesting a recanvas of the vote that will take place Nov. 14. … Stivers said if Bevin chooses to contest the election by calling a special session of the General Assembly and making a case that there was illegal activity, lawmakers would have to hear the dispute under the state constitution.”
The political deadlock in states for 2020 -NYT: “Acrimonious deadlocks have become the new normal in Wisconsin, one of three Midwestern states where Democrats ended full Republican control last year by flipping governorships. Gov. Tony Evers’s defeat of Scott Walker, whose success at pushing Wisconsin sharply to the right prompted a brief presidential bid, has given Democrats a new foothold this year in a region where they had been mostly sidelined. Yet with attention turning to the presidential election, in which Wisconsin voters are seen as playing a decisive role, divided power has given way to frustrated impasse, with little chance for either party to hold up state policymaking as the showcase it once was here. … In Wisconsin, Michigan and Kansas, Democrats’ victories last November came after a period of extraordinary, sustained Republican success. Going into the 2018 election, Republicans controlled the governor’s offices and the full legislatures in 10 of 12 Midwestern states. … Though the purpling of Midwestern statehouses since last November has served as a check on Republican power, it has hardly led to a bonanza of liberal legislating.”
HOUSE GOP PREPARES FOR IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Politico: “House Republicans are gearing up for a blockbuster showdown with Democrats as the impeachment probe enters its most visible phase yet, with GOP lawmakers and staffers from key committees plotting with leadership to launch their counterattack. To prepare for this week’s public hearings, Republican leaders have moved one of President Donald Trump’s fiercest Hill defenders to the House Intelligence Committee and have lined up an explosive witness list for the upcoming proceedings, offering some clues into their defense strategy. The transcripts released last week from closed-door interviews with impeachment witnesses also provide a window into how the GOP plans to approach the high-stakes hearings. Republicans will try to paint the Democratically led process as politically motivated and minimize Trump's role in the quest to persuade Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. And they will also try to keep the heat off Trump by attacking the Bidens and pushing other conspiracy theories about the elections.”
Mulvaney makes last-minute move to join impeachment testimony lawsuit -WaPo: “White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s last-minute effort to join a lawsuit that could determine whether senior administration officials testify in the impeachment inquiry was an unwelcome surprise to former top national security aides, highlighting internal divisions among President Trump’s advisers in the face of the probe. Former national security adviser John Bolton’s advisers and allies were taken aback to learn late Friday that Mulvaney had gone to court seeking to join a separation-of-powers lawsuit filed against Trump and the House leadership, according to people familiar with their views, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry. The suit was filed by Bolton’s former deputy, Charles Kupperman, who is asking a federal judge to determine whether a congressional subpoena takes precedence over a White House order not to comply with the inquiry. Bolton is willing to testify if the judge rules in favor of the House, The Washingon Post previously reported.”
Pergram: The ‘impeachment resolution,’ and Dems' fight over its meaning -Fox News: “It didn’t matter what that resolution was called or wasn’t called a few weeks ago. Congress has descended into impeachapalooza. There’s no quibbling about what’s consuming Capitol Hill. Some Democrats may fret about the political ramifications of impeachment. Leaders like Pelosi and Hoyer may try to parse words about impeachment, but we’re well past the point of no return now. Impeachment is now the political equivalent of the Popeye’s chicken sandwich. Nothing commands as much attention.”
Talking with the potential First Gentlemen - Politico
DACA lands before SupCo: Showdown over Trump bid to end ‘Dreamer’ program -Fox News
“Jeff Bezos, worth $150 billion, supporting Mike Bloomberg, who’s worth only $50 billion, that's real class solidarity. I’m impressed by that grassroots movement.” – Sen. Bernie Sanders, who reportedly couldn’t contain his laughter to speak, responding to reports that Jeff Bezos encouraged Michael Bloomberg to run for president, per the Des Moines Register.
Share your color commentary: Email us at and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
NOT SO GOLDEN SPONGE CAKE
KARE11: “Every school has its tradition. One of the most unique ones belongs to a school in Maine that has run an ongoing experiment for 43 years: How long can a Twinkie survive? The experiment at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine, started in 1976. During a lesson about food additives and preservatives, science teacher Roger Bennatti was asked by a student how long a Twinkie would last. Bennatti didn't know. So, of course, he tested it. … More than 43 years later, the Twinkie is still at the school… That golden cake has darkened and greyed and the spongy holes are more prevalent. But it's mostly kept it's shape. ‘The Twinkie has become much like me. It's older, it's grayer and it's more flaky,’ said Bennatti, who is now retired. … So how has it lasted this long? The obvious answer is preservatives. But even with that, a Hostess spokesperson told Reuters the modern-day Twinkie has a shelf life of 65 days.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“In everything--talent, imagination, writing, indeed, curiosity—[Thomas] Jefferson was prodigious, Continental and, hence, supremely American.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on May 22, 2000.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.