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On the roster: Trump puts ‘battle’ back in battleground campaigning – Biden’s August fundraising booms – Trump pulls TV spots as cash advantage fades – Markey looks to hold off challenge from Kennedy – Is that you, George Jetson??
TRUMP PUTS ‘BATTLE’ BACK IN BATTLEGROUND CAMPAIGNING
USA Today: “President Donald Trump arrived in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday to survey damage from a week of violent protests over the police shooting of an unarmed Black man – a trip some officials say may further stoke demonstrations. Trump told reporters he was traveling to Wisconsin to meet members of law enforcement and the National Guard who ‘put out the flame immediately.’ ’It’s just been a great state – great people and we’re going to get it straightened out,’ Trump told reporters after deplaning Air Force One in Waukegan, Illinois, before traveling to nearby Kenosha. ‘Violence has stopped since the time the National Guard came — literally when they set their foot on this location it stopped,’ Trump said. National Guard troops were in Kenosha starting last Monday, the day before Tuesday’s deadly shooting of two protesters.”
Offered defense of accused vigilante killer – Politico: “President Donald Trump on Monday portrayed the gunman charged with murdering two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., as a victim, suggesting that the Illinois teenager was acting in self-defense. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for shooting during [a] protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Video of Rittenhouse at the protests showed him carrying an assault rifle and telling someone on the phone that ‘I just killed somebody,’ according to the criminal complain against him. He was taken into custody the following day. The criminal complaint said he killed a man, Joseph Rosenbaum, after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse and tried to grab his gun. A group of protesters chased after Rittenhouse, yelling that he had shot someone. But speaking at a White House news conference on Monday, Trump suggested that the protesters were the instigators, out to get Rittenhouse, and that he was acting in self-defense.”
Residents on edge – NYT: “Kenosha braced for President Trump’s visit on Tuesday, with streets closed, commuter trains to Chicago halted, helicopters buzzing overhead and a heavy presence of armored vehicles in the city throughout the morning. Activists promised that demonstrations and marches would meet Mr. Trump when he arrived Tuesday afternoon. The family of Jacob Blake, the man shot by a police officer more than a week ago, organized a community gathering in the place he was shot.”
THE RULEBOOK: DOMINO EFFECT
“[The people of America] have seen, too, that one legislative interference is but the first link of a long chain of repetitions, every subsequent interference being naturally produced by the effects of the preceding.” – James Madison, explaining why the American people were weary of fluctuating policy, Federalist No. 44
TIME OUT: SUNKEN TREASURE
History: “[On this day in 1985] Seventy-three years after it sank to the North Atlantic ocean floor, a joint U.S.-French expedition locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic. The sunken liner was about 400 miles east of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic, some 13,000 feet below the surface. Efforts to locate and salvage the Titanic began almost immediately after it sank. But technical limitations—as well as the sheer vastness of the North Atlantic search area—made it extremely difficult. American oceanographer and former Navy officer Robert D. Ballard, who was based out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, led his first search expedition in 1977, which was unsuccessful. In 1985, along with French oceanographer Jean-Louis Michel, Ballard again set out to locate the wreck, this time with an experimental, unmanned submersible called the Argo, developed by the U.S. Navy. The Argo traveled just above the ocean floor, sending photographs up to the research vessel Knorr.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] 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 [email protected]
BIDEN’S AUGUST FUNDRAISING BOOMS
NYT: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to report a record-breaking haul of donations for August, raising more than $300 million between his campaign and his shared committees with the Democratic Party, according to two people familiar with the matter. The sum would shatter past monthly records as small donors have poured money into Mr. Biden’s coffers, especially since the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, and big contributors, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, have given checks that can be as large as $721,300. In a sign of the financial momentum behind Democrats, ActBlue, the main site that processes donations to the party, reported the second-biggest fund-raising day in its history on Monday, with more than $35 million donated. A majority of Mr. Biden’s August total came from online grass-roots donors, according to another person familiar with the figures.”
Voter panel sees race stable post-conventions – LAT: “President Trump’s support has eroded among key groups of voters who backed him in 2016 — a major reason why he continues to trail former Vice President Joe Biden and a prime motivator for the president’s reelection strategy of emphasizing violent disorder in the nation’s cities. Trump’s decline among parts of his 2016 base is a chief finding so far from the USC Dornsife Daybreak Poll, which tracked voter preferences daily four years ago and is doing so again this year. Overall, Trump has lost support from about 9% of voters who backed him in 2016, the poll finds. The poll shows no major shift in the race during the last two weeks, belying much speculation that the back-to-back national political conventions and violence in Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis., might have changed what has been an unusually stable contest.”
Biden reportedly eyeing $1T January coronavirus stimulus – Fox News: “If White House officials and top Democrats are unable to overcome a monthlong impasse and pass a coronavirus stimulus deal, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden could try to move on a $1 trillion aid package in January if he wins the November presidential election. Some of Biden’s economic advisers are growing worried that the nation’s economy, ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, is worsening by the day and have raised concerns about the potential for business bankruptcies, supply chain disruptions, evictions and multibillion-dollar deficits in state and local budgets, according to Axios, which first reported the news. ‘We have always contemplated the need for additional stimulus,’ Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser to Biden, told Axios. ‘We will confront the situation we find in January.’”
Biden campaign enters video game universe – The Hill: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons users will now be able to add Joe Biden campaign yard signs to their villages. Biden’s presidential campaign released four styles of signs: the official Biden-Harris logo, the ‘Team Joe’ logo, the ‘Joe’ Pride logo and an image of aviator sunglasses shaded in red, white and blue. Players can access them by scanning QR codes through the Nintendo Switch Online app. ‘Animal Crossing is a dynamic, diverse, and powerful platform that brings communities together from across the world,’ Christian Tom, director of digital partnerships for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to The Hill. ‘It is an exciting new opportunity for our campaign to engage and connect Biden-Harris supporters as they build and decorate their islands.’”
TRUMP PULLS TV SPOTS AS CASH ADVANTAGE FADES
AP: “President Donald Trump has pulled most of his advertising from TV over the past week… The move comes as Trump’s campaign has burned through money almost as fast as it has taken it in. And after Biden drastically narrowed what was once an overwhelming cash advantage enjoyed by the president, campaign officials have acknowledged they were trying to conserve money. That’s allowed Biden an opportunity to communicate an unfiltered message to voters without competing advertising. During the month of August, Biden doubled what Trump spent, dropping about $80 million in states that included key battlegrounds such as Wisconsin, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to data from the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG. Trump’s limited spending targeted some of those states, but it was also directed to places like Iowa and Montana, which he won handily in 2016. This week he is spending about $1.6 million to Biden’s $18.3 million.”
‘Twitter Trump’ vs. humanized Trump – Politico: “The dichotomy highlights the challenge facing the GOP with nine weeks left in the campaign: How to make Trump seem more palatable to voters who may largely agree with his policies but are turned off by his tactics, while still letting Trump rile up his base. After the RNC, Republican strategists and pollsters started pushing to see a little more of Melania’s softer tone, and a little less of Donald’s hard-edged style in the campaign’s final push. But the president, aides say, won’t be changing his take-no-prisoners approach, and the first lady has shown no signs she plans to take on a bigger role with the campaign.”
Lincoln Project launches veterans’ group – Fox News: “A prominent group of Republican strategists working to defeat President Trump in November’s general election is launching a new coalition of veterans similarly opposed to the president. The Lincoln Project – in announcing the Veteran and Military Community Coalition – said that ‘our key message is very simple to this community: Donald Trump has proven to be an unfit Commander-in-Chief in every aspect of that most solemn duty. This will be compared against Joe Biden who had a son serve in Iraq and understands the military community in a unique way as one of our own.’ The announcement of the coalition was shared first with Fox News. The organization charged that ‘Trump constantly claims success and support for the military and veteran communities among his top accomplishments but his actual record is one of failure and lies.’’
Trump sweating Dems in Minnesota – Politico: “Minnesota, which once looked like a vanity project for Donald Trump, is suddenly emerging as a critical test of his effort to turn his campaign around. Interviews with more than a dozen officials and strategists from both parties in recent days depict a state in which Joe Biden is leading, but where the president is making inroads in rural Minnesota. Public surveys and internal polling by Democrats and Republicans alike in recent weeks has suggested the race is narrowing, though with Biden still ahead. In a sign of its increasingly competitive nature, Biden today will begin airing his first television ads in the state, in the Twin Cities as well as Duluth and Rochester markets. And last week, Biden included Minnesota in a list of battleground states he said he wants to visit — travel that suggests the state is far from a lock.”
MARKEY LOOKS TO HOLD OFF CHALLENGE FROM KENNEDY
AP: “Massachusetts voters are set to decide one of the higher profile battles on this year’s primary ballot — the contest pitting incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey against U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III. The 39-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, promising a new generation of leadership, is hoping to become the next Kennedy to take a seat in the U.S. Senate by ousting the 74-year-old Markey. While the two agree on many policies, each has tried to paint the other as out of touch on key issues. Kennedy has gone after Markey on the issue of racial inequity… Kennedy has also highlighted his family’s political legacy… Markey has portrayed Kennedy as a ‘progressive in name only,’ in one debate faulting him for deciding early in his career to work as a prosecutor for Michael O’Keefe, a Republican district attorney. Markey has tried to tout his progressive chops by pointing to his introduction of the Green New Deal climate change initiative.”
Nearly one million voters have already cast a ballot – Boston Globe: “While polls open Tuesday to decide a swath of races, about 927,000 voters have already cast ballots in the Massachusetts primary, setting up possibly the busiest — and certainly, the most unusual — state party contest in three decades. By late Monday, roughly 827,000 Democratic and 96,000 Republicans ballots had been cast, according to state data, and Secretary of State William F. Galvin said he expected between 1.2 million and 1.3 million residents alone to vote in the Democratic primary. Another 150,000 were expected in the GOP race, he said. At that level, it would mark the highest raw number of ballots cast in a state primary since 1990, when more than 1.5 million people voted. The state, now with 4.66 million registered voters, has not seen turnout top 30 percent in a state primary since 1992.”
House progressives’ next target up today – NPR: “Progressives are hoping for an upset in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District as longtime Rep. Richard Neal faces a challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. Neal, 71, is a leader in the House of Representatives, serving as chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He has been in Congress for 32 years and has the endorsement of Pelosi as well as Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who is a Republican. Morse, 31, was elected mayor of his native city at just 22. He has the support of Ocasio-Cortez, the climate group the Sunrise Movement and the Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee. Morse is campaigning on key progressive issues including Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.”
SENATE GOP, WHTE HOUSE TRY TO HAMMER OUT A DEAL
Fox News: “Senate Republicans are making progress on coronavirus relief legislation with daily talks with the White House and hope to put forth a narrow plan as soon as next week, according to the White House and one GOP leader. ‘I expect them to pass a bill, or at least put forth a bill in hopes of getting to that 60-vote threshold sometime next week,’ White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNBC Tuesday. And Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., remarked at the Capitol Tuesday morning that Senate Republicans would like to move their ‘focused, targeted’ plan for COVID-19 relief next week. … The Senate plan would be tailored to getting people back to work and kids back to school and targeting the coronavirus disease. The Republicans will ‘leave out’ the ‘many things that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi has put in her bill that are unrelated to coronavirus,’ Barrasso said. The Senate has been out on recess during August, but the GOP caucus has been holding daily calls with Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin…”
Markets bet on bailouts – WSJ: “U.S. stocks wrapped up their best month since April, continuing an extraordinary rally fueled by stimulus from Washington, signs of economic revival and progress toward a coronavirus vaccine. All three major U.S. stock indexes have climbed for five consecutive months after a brutal February and March that ended the longest bull market on record. The benchmark S&P 500 has surged 35% over that period, its largest five-month percentage gain since 1938. The index advanced 7% for the month—its best August since 1986—but ended on a downbeat note, falling 7.70 points, or 0.2%, to 3500.31 on Monday. The S&P 500 set records last week after the Federal Reserve signaled that it was likely to keep U.S. borrowing costs low for an extended period. Meanwhile, recent economic data, including July’s orders for durable goods, have surpassed economists’ expectations. The index is up 8.3% in 2020.”
Pergram: Could deadlocked Congress force government shutdown in middle of pandemic? – Fox News: “You thought August was bad this year? Well, try September. Or worse yet, October. Halloween descends on the rest of the world at the end of October. In Washington, D.C., the ghouls and goblins come out in late September. That’s because Sept. 30 is the annual deadline to fund the federal government. It’s the end of the government’s fiscal year. And, the calendar always raises the specter of a possible government shutdown. The House approved 10 of the 12 annual spending bills. It’s doubtful those measures could ever become law. The Senate hasn’t approved any bills. This leaves us with the prospect of some sort of stopgap bill to avert a shutdown. And if Congress and President Trump can’t come to terms with that, you face the worst-case scenario of all: the very real prospect of a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic. This is grim.”
Facebook nixes Russian effort to influence lefties – WaPo
Dem strategists warn that early returns may strongly favor Trump – Axios
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“[Can] you – or anybody – explain to me just what the Lincoln Project folks think they’re doing? OK, so they are essentially Never-Trumpers, but have they thought that by casting their lot with the Democrats they’re hurting not just Trump but the down-ballot candidates as well. If they have the numbers they claim, would it not have been better to hold a rump convention and select their own ‘true GOP’ candidates for President and Vice President, rather than providing ammunition to the Dems? Doing what they’re doing seems a sure-fire recipe for doing great damage to the party they claim to want to protect. Surely, there must be at least a couple of candidates from the ’16 primary field who’d give their left arm for such an opportunity – Kasich, who still thinks he should’ve been the GOP nominee in ’16, would be one, as might JEB. Any thoughts on this?” – Bob Melson, El Paso, Texas
[Ed. note: Justice William White once characterized a litigant’s request for a new reading of an existing statute as an effort “to destroy in order to save, and to save in order to destroy.” I assume that their motives are both sincerely expressed and well-intentioned. But… It seems to me that in explaining how Donald Trump won the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, the ill-conceived and poorly executed campaign of Jeb Bush has to come in for a great deal of causation. Many of the same people who orchestrated that debacle are involved in the various efforts to deny Trump a second term. The one you referenced, The Lincoln Project, has devoted itself to defeating Senate Republicans, too. This purge effort is intended to teach Republicans a lesson. This strikes me as folly as far as their stated aims go. If they help defeat moderate Sen. Susan Collins in Maine what will the lesson to remaining Republicans likely be? Moderation is a dead end. And what will it do to the nationalists like Josh Hawley of Missouri? Make them more powerful in the smaller GOP conference. The pro-Trump nationalists in the House Freedom Caucus seem to be enjoying themselves very much in the minority. They have no obligation to govern and can attack the leadership with impunity. Why would it be so different in the Senate? The rise of the nationalists in the GOP did not happen all at once, so why then would this rough justice from the Lincoln Project be likely to produce an immediate elevation of this moderate GOP in exile. I am always skeptical of those who promise to deliver structural change in fast fashion. As the old saying goes, you’re never as far down as you think you are — but that also means that you’re never as far up as you think you are, either. As is usually the case, I think a little more humility is in order here.]
“After reading a few of the recent emails essentially blasting you for not being Pro-Trump 24/7/365, I feel compelled to write and thank you for your balanced report. It is the only one I subscribe to as it nearly always carries thoughtful commentary — with links to sources — and allows a deeper dive into issues of interest. I’m not sure why some of these folks subscribe if all they want is an echo chamber of their own views. If we lose the ability to think, consider and engage in civil discussions, we will soon find ourselves no better than an average cubs fan. (Actually, that was disrespectful of me; I should have capitalized the ‘C’…). Go Cards!” – Shayne Smith, Little Rock, Ark.
[Ed. note: When it comes to the little bears that play on the North Side of Chicago, I will allow more disrespect than usual! The Redbirds are playing some pretty great baseball now that they’re out of quarantine. This is a VERY fun team to watch play the game. There is joy in Mudville, indeed. Thank you for your kind words. I think some of the folks who get mad but keep sticking around are getting more than just the satisfying warmth of hate or the excuse of “knowing what the other side is up to.” I think we have a lovely community of readers here — hundreds of thousands strong from coast-to-coast and around the globe — and they would hate to not be a part of it. You guys are a big part of the draw.]
“You don’t turn my stomach, which means that you must be doing something right in presenting fair and balanced reporting that I, as a progressive liberal, can read with equanimity. Are you aware of this Report, [Reinvent American Democracy for the 21st Century Responding to a Nation in Crisis by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences,] freely available from the American Academy? Based on two years of ‘listening groups’ from around the U. S., the Report presents specific ideas on improving our constitutional democracy so that it is more truly representative. I highly recommend this Report to you and hope that you will not only read it but also mention it in Halftime Report. Like you, I care deeply about our country and am very concerned for our government to live up to our founding ideals, as we approach the anniversary of 250 years. Thank you for the opportunity to comment and for writing your column with so much integrity.” – Sara Bhakti, Kirkland, Wash.
[Ed. note: I will certainly check it out! And while I certainly share your concerns about our system at present, I remain optimistic that by the time we reach our Semiquincentennial in six years we will look back on this troubled time as the beginning of something good.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
IS THAT YOU, GEORGE JETSON??
KABC: “A pilot landing an American Airlines jet at Los Angeles International Airport reported a bizarre and close encounter Sunday night. The pilot called air traffic control to report a man wearing a jetpack flying near the plane. Tower tapes released detail the pilot’s exchange. Pilot: ‘Tower, American 1997, we just passed a guy in a jetpack.’ Tower: ‘American 1997, OK, thank you. Were they off to your left or right side?’ Pilot: ‘Off the left side, maybe 300 yards or so, about our altitude.’ The jet was flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet at the time of the encounter. The tower then warned other approaching flights to be on the lookout for a man in the jetpack. The incident is under investigation.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Transparency, thy name is Trump, Donald Trump. No filter, no governor, no editor lies between his impulses and his public actions. He tweets, therefore he is.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 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.