The president in no rush to sign off on a border deal aimed at avoiding another government shutdown; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.
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On the roster: Fox News poll: Voters want a border compromise – I’ll Tell You What: It tastes like Calvinism – Weld said to be readying primary challenge for Trump – Bullock edges toward 2020 run with Iowa visit – Pound hound renowned
FOX NEWS POLL: VOTERS WANT A BORDER COMPROMISE
Fox News: “A sizable majority of voters favors a broad immigration deal that includes a border barrier, non-barrier security measures, and humanitarian aid. At the same time, support for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border stands its highest since 2015. The number favoring the wall inched up for the second time in two months to 46 percent, according to the latest Fox News Poll. It was 43 percent last month during the government shutdown and 39 percent in September. The high mark was 50 percent in November 2015. Currently, 50 percent oppose the wall, down one point since January. … Even so, the shutdown didn’t damage the president’s numbers. Both his job approval and his personal favorable rating are within a point or two of where they have been for months. Forty-three percent of voters have a favorable view of Trump, down three points from 46 percent in December. His negative rating went up two points to 54 percent. That puts his favorable rating underwater by 11 points.”
Trump expected to sign small ball deal on wall – WSJ: “President Trump is likely to sign the border-security deal lawmakers reached this week that would keep the government open past Friday, according to people familiar with his plans, marking a potential concession by the president on his demands for border-wall funding. Mr. Trump is expected to sign the deal unless there are any late additions, the people familiar with his plans said. A day earlier, in a cabinet meeting, Mr. Trump said the bill was ‘not doing the trick’ and that he planned to try to amend it. ‘It’s always nice to negotiate a little bit, right?’ he said. Senior Republican lawmakers said it wasn’t realistic to reopen negotiations at this point, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) urged the president to sign the bill, calling it a ‘pretty good deal.’ Administration officials cautioned that no final decisions had been made, saying the White House was still reviewing the plan but that Mr. Trump was likely to sign the deal.”
Trump: ‘Wall is very, very on its way’ – Fox News: “President Trump reiterated his pledge on Wednesday that the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be built, while slamming the ‘radical left’ for fueling attacks against police officers in the country. Speaking to a group of law enforcement officers at the Major County Sheriffs and Major Cities Chiefs Association Joint Conference in Washington, D.C., Trump promised that ‘the wall is coming’ as he plans to review the bipartisan border security proposal from Congress that would avoid another government shutdown. ‘As we review the new proposal from Congress, I can promise you this – I will never waver from my sacred duty to defend this nation and its people,’ Trump said. ‘We will get the job done. The wall is very, very on its way, it’s happening.’ The president has until Friday to sign the agreement and avoid another government shutdown, but White House officials cautioned on Wednesday that they have yet to receive full legislative language.”
Debt skyrockets past $22 trillion – USA Today: The national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, a milestone that experts warned is further proof the country is on an unsustainable financial path that could jeopardize the economic security of every American. The Treasury Department reported the debt hit $22.012 trillion, a jump of more than $30 billion in just this month. The national debt has been rising at a faster rate following the passage of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax-cut package a little more than a year ago and as the result of congressional efforts to increase spending on domestic and military programs. The nation has added more than $1 trillion in debt in the last 11 months alone. ‘Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable but accelerating,’ said Michael A. Peterson, chief executive officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization working to address the country’s long-term fiscal challenges.”
THE RULEBOOK: ONLY FEARSOME FORCE
“The most sanguine advocates for three or four confederacies cannot reasonably suppose that they would long remain exactly on an equal footing in point of strength, even if it was possible to form them so at first; but, admitting that to be practicable, yet what human contrivance can secure the continuance of such equality?” – John Jay, Federalist No. 5
TIME OUT: DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK
Rolling Stone: “Harry Nilsson is in the midst of an unlikely comeback. Netflix’s new hit series Russian Doll … features his charming ‘Gotta Get Up’ on endless loop. This has sparked interest in the Seventies singer-songwriter, and spawned articles informing viewers just who sings ‘that song’ from the show. But in his day, Nilsson was far from obscure. When the Beatles were asked who their favorite American artist was at a 1968 press conference, John Lennon and Paul McCartney didn’t hesitate before naming Nilsson. He wrote one of the Monkees’ greatest songs, ‘Cuddly Toy’ … and won a Grammy in 1973 for his bellowing vocal performance in ‘Without You.’ … The song … is about waking up on the right side of the bed, despite reality. The lyrics allude to nostalgia for the past and reflect on the process of aging, which stand in stark contrast to the cheerful, optimistic melody.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.2 percent
Average disapproval: 54.6 percent
Net Score: -13.4 points
Change from one week ago: up 2.8 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove; Monmouth University: 43% approve – 53% disapprove.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: IT TASTES LIKE CALVINISM
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the buzz around the Green New Deal, the growing field of 2020 Presidential candidates and meatless hamburgers. Plus, Dana goes through the mailbag and Chris answers trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
WELD SAID TO BE READYING PRIMARY CHALLENGE FOR TRUMP
Fox News: “Former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Bill Weld heads to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire on Friday to headline ‘Politics and Eggs,’ a must stop for White House hopefuls. The setting would seem appropriate, as a source close to Weld told Fox News on Wednesday that it’s likely the former governor will announce he’s taking a step toward primary challenging Republican President Trump. Weld — a very vocal Trump critic — is staying mum on what he’ll announce when he speaks at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, telling Fox News, ‘I’m not going to say what I’m going to say until I get there.’ ‘You’ve got to wait until Friday,’ he added. … Weld switched parties and ran as the Libertarian vice presidential nominee in the 2016 election. But he recently re-registered as a Republican in Canton, the suburban Boston town where he resides.”
Schultz rips Green New Deal – Fox News: “Add Howard Schultz to the small, but growing, list of potential or declared presidential contenders raising alarm over the proposed Green New Deal. The billionaire former Starbucks CEO said the sweeping proposal, which aims to transform the country’s economy to fight climate change while enacting a host of new health care and welfare programs, was ‘not realistic.’ ‘Let’s be sensible about what we're suggesting, let’s not just throw things against a wall because it’s a good slogan or we get a press release. Let’s be truthful,’ Schultz, who’s mulling an independent bid for the White House, argued during a CNN town hall on Tuesday. ‘When I see politicians start throwing things out that I know is not realistic, that is not being honest with the American people,’ he added.”
Bloomberg ready to spend a half-billion against Trump, run or no run – Politico: “Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend at least $500 million from his own pocket to deny President Trump a second term, according to Democratic operatives briefed on his plans. Bloomberg has not yet announced whether he will run in the Democratic primary. If he runs, he will use that half-billion-dollar stake — roughly $175 million more than the Trump campaign spent over the course of the entire 2016 election cycle — to fuel his campaign through the 2020 primary season, with the expectation that the sum represents a floor, not a ceiling, on his potential spending.If Bloomberg declines to seek the presidency, his intention is to run an unprecedented data-heavy campaign designed to operate as a shadow political party for the eventual Democratic nominee.”
BULLOCK EDGES TOWARD 2020 RUN WITH IOWA VISIT
Politico: “Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana will travel to Iowa at the end of the week as he further explores a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, his Big Sky Values PAC told POLITICO on Tuesday. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat who just won his 10th term in November, will escort Bullock to a series of small meetings with local Democrats in Des Moines on Friday and then Carroll and Fort Dodge on Saturday. National Journal first reported that Bullock would be in the state this week. … Even if he publicly remains coy about his ambitions, Bullock and his team have been quietly laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign. Big Sky Values PAC, for instance, has already tapped veteran operative Megan Simpson to begin organizing in Iowa, as Iowa Starting Line first reported earlier this month.”
Booker says he’d look to women first for his vice president – Fox News: “Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said finding a female running mate in 2020 will be a priority if he secures the Democratic nomination. Booker, who officially tossed his hat into the ring and declared his candidacy for president earlier this month, made the remarks Monday night during an interview on MSNBC. The high-profile senator is competing against five women in his party who have already announced they are running: Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tulsi Gabbard. Booker agreed he is ‘blessed among women in the field right now,’ before being asked if he would ‘commit to choosing a woman’ as his running mate. … ‘I’m not going to box myself in, but should I come to it, you know I’ll be looking to women first.’”
Gillibrand and the women – NYT: “At a moment when women are ascendant in Democratic politics and polls show a record gender gap between the parties, Ms. [Kirsten Gillibrand] and her advisers see an opportunity to ride a wave of women’s political energy right into the White House. While multiple women are serious contenders for president for the first time in American history, Ms. Gillibrand is the only one who is making running as a woman, for women, the central theme of her candidacy. Whether her campaign is successful or not, Ms. Gillibrand’s approach will test how much views have changed on issues like discrimination, sexual harassment and female leadership, after two years of an administration that has embroiled the country in an emotional debate over gender bias.”
Warren looks to make amends at Native American conference – HuffPo: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made a surprise appearance at a Native American conference on Tuesday. Warren spoke at the National Indian Women’s ‘Supporting Each Other’ lunch, where she introduced Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, the chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah in Massachusetts. The event took place during an annual meeting of the National Congress of American Indians. Warren received a standing ovation from tribal leaders and other Native attendees as she approached the stage. … But most of her remarks were spent praising Native women, saying she was there to lift up Native voices. She specifically mentioned Reps. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) ― the first two Native women elected to Congress ― and Andrews-Maltais, who was given an award.”
Silver: ‘Everyone’s running – and that could be dangerous for the Democrats’ – FiveThirtyEight: “The crowded field developing for 2020 doesn’t necessarily imply that an anti-establishment candidate will prevail. Even when party elites don’t get their first choice, they usually get someone they can live with. But the high number of candidates does imply a higher-than-usual risk of chaos. It also implies that the ‘next-in-line’ candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, aren’t intimidating anyone. Neither Biden nor Sanders have officially entered the race yet, and it’s possible they’ll unveil a slew of endorsements when (and if) they do, which would show that the party backed them all along. But that seems unlikely. If they had strong support from party elites, we probably wouldn’t have so many other candidates already running or actively contemplating a bid…”
ANOTHER STEP CLOSER TO ENDING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Denver Post: “A Colorado bill that could help change how the country elects the president is heading to its final vote after passing out of a House committee on a party-line vote Tuesday night. The bill would add Colorado to an agreement between a growing number of states to award their Electoral College votes to whomever wins the national popular vote for president. It passed the Senate in January without a single Republican voting for it, and now heads to the House where Democrats hold a substantial majority. [The] bill would remake the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment. And third, it could impact the part of the 12th Amendment that gives Congress the power to decide the presidency if no candidate gets the 270 votes required to win the Electoral College. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have joined the national popular vote interstate compact so far, bringing with them 172 electoral votes.”
SCHUMER RECRUITS CHALLENGER FOR MCCONNELL IN 2020
Politico: “Chuck Schumer is actively recruiting a high-profile fighter pilot to take on Mitch McConnell in 2020 — a calculated act of aggression against a leading Republican foe. Schumer met with Amy McGrath, a Marine veteran-turned 2018 congressional candidate, at Democratic Party headquarters last month to pitch her on running against McConnell. McGrath listened and didn’t rule it out. The Democratic leader first contacted McGrath in December. McConnell, the longest-serving Senate GOP leader, is gearing up for a reelection fight and leaving little to chance. His political team has begun compiling opposition research on McGrath and delving into tracking footage of her. … Schumer’s offensive underscores the frayed relations between the two Senate leaders. In recent months, they have sparred bitterly on issues ranging from judicial nominees to the federal shutdown. While it’s not unprecedented for one Senate leader to try to unseat a counterpart, the recruitment mission is an unmistakable act of hostility that’s sure to ratchet up tensions.”
Cornyn, too – Texas Tribune: “Military veteran MJ Hegar, a former U.S. House candidate, is seriously considering a run for the Democratic nomination to take on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in 2020. Hegar, who served in the Air Force in Afghanistan, ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. John Carter of Round Rock last year for his Central Texas congressional seat. ‘I'm not closing the door on anything,’ she told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday. ‘I'm considering my options and weighing what's best for my family and how to best serve my community,’ she added. ‘I'm aware that I have assets. … I'd like to put those assets to use for my community.’ Those assets include her staggering fundraising capacity, as evidenced by her failed House race. Thanks to a viral biographical video, Hegar became a fundraising juggernaut and came within striking distance of winning a historically Republican seat.”
Gotta like Lamb’s chances… – The Oklahoman: “A deceased man is headed to the general election for Edmond mayor after voters on Tuesday gave late Mayor Charles Lamb enough votes for a top-two finish with former Mayor Dan O’Neil. O’Neil garnered 3,492 votes, or 55.91 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, while Lamb took 2,038 votes, or 32.63 percent. Richard Prawdzienski received 716 votes, or 11.46 percent, according to unofficial results. O'Neil and Lamb will be on the ballot in the April 2 general election. Lamb, who died at age 72 in December shortly after filing for another term, was being promoted by some Edmond residents who opposed the other candidates on the ballot. The hope for those people is that he will be re-elected posthumously, giving the city council the authority to pick his successor.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar badgers Trump Venezuela envoy Cohen at hearing – Fox News
Cory Booker has some thoughts about the ‘American diet’ – Fox News
Tyler Cowen: ‘The Twitter Takeover of Politics Is Just Getting Started’ – Bloomberg
Bipartisan House vote against U.S. support of Saudis in Yemen war – Politico
FEMA Administrator Brock Long resigns – Fox News
AUDIBLE: INSIDE VOICE
“Okay, well let’s not share those right now.” – An aide to former Attorney General Eric Holder gaggle with reporters in Iowa after Holder said “In my own mind, I have some dates” for announcing a decision about a presidential run.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, At 60 years old, I was suddenly feeling much older after reading that we were celebrating the 110th anniversary of the birth of our greatest president. I thought, surely time must be reversing itself if I remembered correctly, I was celebrating the 160th anniversary back when I was in grade school. Although some presidents since Lincoln might try to argue the date of his birth through the some ‘alternative facts’, I'm thinking that honest Abe would want to set the record straight and clarify this as the 210th anniversary of his birth. Other than that, your explanation about his birth cabin was eye-opening. Thanks for always helping us to keep our eyes focused on what is real!” – Steve Corder, Montgomery, Ill.
[Ed. note: I am ashamed! My father, a true son of Sangamon County, would despair to know his own boy, with whom he strolled the grounds of Lincoln’s tomb trading lines from Vachel Lindsay, would make such a sloppy error. I promise it was a typo, though! For my many failings as a mathematician, even I know how to subtract. "A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,//A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl//Make him the quaint great figure that men love,//The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.”]
“What is the expiration time for comments made in the past? Why are actions [f[from]0 years ago a reason to condemn a person today? Doesn't it get overruled by the actions the rest of a person’s life? Most people have done stupid stuff when young, but that should not be dragged out of the garbage heap and thrown against people.” – David Nelson, Bloomington, Minn.
[<[Ed. note: Well, I would say that it most certainly depends on a great many things. What was the object of those comments? What was the setting and context? How do the person’s actions line up with the comments – both at the time and since then? Does the speaker repent of his or her former views? I would hate to be judged by what I said and did as a teenager. I was so often callous to the feelings of others and so selfish. But like most people, as I have run this race, I have been changed by it. What I can hope is that I will live in such a way that my fellows and my Creator will judge that I have learned – not that I am perfect, but that I have benefitted from my errors. I’m obliged to hear through arguments to the contrary, but only up to a point. What’s challenging about our era is that we are replacing the traditional codes with a new crowd-sourced morality and therefore substituting more concrete rules for abstract, subjective ones. But even in this changing time, those ancient lies do still apply: "Do right, and fear no man.”]br>Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
POUND HOUND RENOWNED
WXMI: “From West Michigan all the way to Westminster Dog Show: on Tuesday, a Kent County dog strutted across the stage at Madison Square Garden competing for ‘Best in Show’. Morgan Scandura adopted their corgi, Pogo, four years ago from a shelter hundreds of miles away. On Tuesday, her 11 year-old daughter Riley Dean, showed Pogo in the Junior Showman Finals at the Westminster Dog Show. … On Tuesday, Riley led Pogo in the ring at Madison Square Garden, competing against five other contestants all under the age of 18 and their dogs. Even though they didn’t take home the title, Scandura says the experience these two share together is worth so much more. ‘We’re here for the experience and the fun and that’s the most important thing,’ said Scandura. ‘Pogo, to go from a shelter to here at Westminster is just crazy so we’re so grateful that she’s made it this far. Every moment that she has in the ring with him is just a blessing so we’re just here to have fun.’ Riley still took home a $500 college scholarship.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“For every moment of triumph, there is an unequal and opposite feeling of despair.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 29, 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.