Joseph Pinion and Mark Levine weigh in on Biden's recent blunders and his ability to go head-to-head with Trump in 2020.
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On the roster: Three-way lead shows 2020 volatility – G7 summit wraps with mixed signals, unclear results – Dem candidates must decide to Trump or not to Trump – Trump gains another primary challenger – Sounds a-trout-cious
THREE-WAY LEAD SHOWS 2020 VOLATILITY
Monmouth University: “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden are currently bunched together in the national Democratic presidential preference contest. Movement in the latest Monmouth University Poll – positive for Warren and Sanders, negative for Biden – suggests the 2020 presidential nomination process may be entering a volatile stage. The poll results also suggest that liberal voters are starting to take a closer look at a wider range of candidates, while moderates are focusing on those with the highest name recognition. … The poll finds a virtual three-way tie among Sanders (20%), Warren (20%), and Biden (19%)… Compared to Monmouth’s June poll, these results represent an increase in support for both Sanders (up from 14%) and Warren (up from 15%), and a significant drop for Biden (down from 32%). … Biden lost support over the past two months among Democrats who call themselves moderate or conservative (from 40% to 22%) with the shift among these voters accruing to both Sanders (from 10% to 20%) and Warren (from 6% to 16%).”
Dem candidates must decide to trump or not to trump – AP: “Political strategists and recent history suggest there may be more risk than reward for candidates wishing to fight Trump on his terms. But Democratic primary voters, energized and enraged by Trump’s turbulent presidency, are increasingly calling for the candidates to fight fire with fire. … Most of the leading candidates have called for Trump’s impeachment. Virtually all of them have openly called him a racist.Joe Biden is the notable exception on both. The former vice president and early Democratic front-runner has sidestepped both questions as he works to maintain an optimistic outlook while highlighting the gravity of Trump’s leadership. Others, likeWarren and Kamala Harris, generally lean into charged language against Trump only when asked. Bernie Sanders, however, seizes on Trump’s behavior in his standard stump speech.”
DNC raises cyber concerns for virtual caucusing – Bloomberg: “The Democratic National Committee has raised substantial cybersecurity concerns over virtual caucusing, potentially dooming the effort just five months before Iowa begins its process of choosing a presidential nominee. At a closed-door session of the Rules and By-Laws Committee [last] Thursday, the DNC told the panel that experts convened by the party were able to hack into a conference call among the committee, the Iowa Democratic Party and Nevada Democratic Party, raising concerns about teleconferencing for virtual caucuses, according to three people who were at the meeting. For the first time the DNC is requiring states that hold caucuses instead of primary elections to offer voters a way to participate without showing up at sites across the state. Iowa and Nevada are building a teleconference system for 2020, and Alaska plans a phone and web-based operation. The state parties are waiting for final approval of their plans for the February caucuses in Iowa and Nevada…”
Sanders slams McConnell at Kentucky campaign stop – Fox News: “Bernie Sanders renewed his attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a fiery rally in the top Republican's home state of Kentucky on Sunday afternoon, demanding that McConnell stop his ‘cowardice’ and ‘have the guts’ to immediately take up legislation aimed at reducing gun violence, strengthening election security and raising the federal minimum wage. The blistering address in Louisville came as national Democrats, hoping to retake not only the White House but also the Senate in 2020, increasingly have set their sights on the 77-year-old McConnell. … Sanders also made a pitch for his version of the Green New Deal while speaking in coal-producing Kentucky. Last week, Sanders turned heads by tweeting that fossil fuel executives should be prosecuted criminally for damaging the environment.”
Former Gillibrand staffers urge her to end campaign – NY Post: “It’s time for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s sputtering presidential campaign to call it quits, a friend of hers and two former aides told The Post. ‘It would be best if she decided that this was not her time,’ said one longtime Gillibrand fundraiser, who claimed the Democratic contender’s well-heeled supporters want her to remain in the US Senate. ‘Most people that I talk to are very happy with her as their senator and don’t want her to give up her Senate seat and don’t see any realistic traction for her.’ As Gillibrand struggles to get 130,000 individual donors to qualify for the third Democratic debate in Houston next month, it’s unclear if she’s hearing the message from those who have worked with her.”
THE RULEBOOK: MAKE IT KNOWN
“Let the point of extreme depression to which our national dignity and credit have sunk, let the inconveniences felt everywhere from a lax and ill administration of government, let the revolt of a part of the State of North Carolina, the late menacing disturbances in Pennsylvania, and the actual insurrections and rebellions in Massachusetts, declare–!” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 6
TIME OUT: STARS ON EARTH
Atlantic: “The snow arrived at the laboratory in Munich inside Styrofoam boxes. It came from a German research station in Antarctica, where summer made the snow, whisked around in the wind like sand on a beach, easy to lift. … When the scientists analyzed the ash, they found something unusual: a radioactive form of iron. The isotope, known as iron-60, is rare on Earth. But it is produced in abundance in space, when a star, having exhausted the fuel that makes it shine, explodes. The burst releases newly forged chemical elements into the universe like tufted dandelion seeds. The radioactive iron, carried inside microscopic particles of dust, glides across space and can settle on whatever it encounters. Sometimes, it ends up here. ‘It’s actual stardust,’ says Dominik Koll, a physicist at the Australian National University who analyzed the snow. … A part of the team behind the recent discovery first detected iron-60 in 1999, on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.”
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Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 percent
Change from one week ago: up 0.8 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 41% approve – 53% disapprove; CNN: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve – 55% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve – 56% disapprove; Gallup: 41% approve – 54% disapprove.]
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G7 SUMMIT WRAPS WITH MIXED SIGNALS, UNCLEAR RESULTS
WaPo: “A global summit between President Trump and other leaders ended here without significant progress on any of the world’s most pressing issues, laying bare the widening gulf between the United States and other nations as they struggle to address issues like trade and climate change. French President Emmanuel Macron said leaders at the Group of Seven summit agreed to endorse just a one-page document of issues and then to continue working on a variety of other challenges that have proved elusive, including trade imbalances, climate change and Iran, among other things. … [Macron] said … he considered it a success that they were even able to produce a one-page document. Trump seemed pleased with the outcome. … The final day was set to be pivotal for the leaders, as they sought to cap a summit marked more by whiplash, mixed signals and surprises than by concrete results. They were unable to persuade Trump to quickly resolve his trade fight with China and instead urged him to wrap the fight up as quickly as possible.”
Trump stands firm on China trade war as talks poised to resume – Fox News: “President Trump, at a press conference on the sidelines of the G-7 summit, defended his handling of the chaotic trade war with China and said those calling for him to back down in negotiations ‘don’t have the guts.’ The president stood firm when asked about the impact his strategy with China has had on the international markets. ‘Sorry—it’s the way I negotiate,’ Trump said, while vowing that approach is seeing results. Just hours prior to his press conference, it appeared that talks could resume between the U.S. and China, when the country signaled it was seeking a ‘calm’ end to the trade war, as Asian markets crumbled and China’s currency hit an 11-year low. According to The Wall Street Journal, Chinese officials expressed interest to ‘get back to the table’ in trade negotiations, which Trump called a ‘very positive development.’”
Macron encourages meeting between Trump and Iran President Rouhani – NYT: “President Trump said on Monday that he would be open to meeting with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, and would even be willing to support short-term loans to get through Tehran through its current financial difficulties if talks open. Mr. Trump was responding to an overture by President Emmanuel Macron of France, who said that he would try to set up such a meeting in the next few weeks, to seek a resolution of decades of conflict between Iran and the United States. Mr. Macron, who said he had spoken with Mr. Rouhani, said that if the American and Iranian presidents met, ‘my conviction was that an agreement can be met,’ addressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its destabilizing actions in the Middle East. Joining Mr. Macron at a news conference at the end of the Group of 7 summit meeting, Mr. Trump expressed openness to such a meeting.”
Trump offers to host next G7 summit – LAT: “President Trump said Monday that next year’s Group of Seven summit — an annual gathering of world leaders representing powerful democracies — could take place at his own golf resort in Florida. The possibility of the summit taking place at one of Trump’s private hotels would mean the president could stand to personally profit from the conference of global leaders, although the Constitution prohibits presidents from taking payments from foreign governments. The president told reporters during an appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the conference in France that the summit would likely take place in Miami for the convenience of its international airport ‘that takes planes from everywhere.’ When asked whether he would host the G7 at the Trump National hotel in Doral, he said it’s a strong contender.”
TRUMP GAINS ANOTHER PRIMARY CHALLENGER
WaPo: “Former congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) announced Sunday that he will challenge President Trump in the 2020 primaries. It’s difficult to overstate how questionable this idea is for everybody involved. … The one-term congressman also tweeted the n-word on several occasions and carries significant personal baggage into his primary with Trump. … Perhaps nobody has gotten more mileage out of winning a single term in Congress. But even back then, Walsh was largely regarded as a fluke… His campaign was badly underfunded and disorganized, yet he emerged from a crowded primary field and found himself running in exactly the right year. Illinois Democrats redrew the districts before the 2012 election, and Walsh found himself without a winnable seat, though it would have been tough for him to hold his old district had it remained as it was. He has since parlayed that brief tenure and penchant for provocation into a career as a radio host.”
Sanford still weighing run – ABC News: “Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, is scheduled to travel to Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday as he continues to weigh a primary challenge against Trump. While former Republican congressman and radio host Joe Walsh's announced his primary challenge to Trump on Sunday, Sanford still plans to decide on running for president by Labor Day. Like Walsh, Sanford said he would take on Trump from the right and question his record on fiscal issues — just days after the Congressional Budget Office projected the federal budget deficit would top $1 trillion next year.”
EX-ARIZONA SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO TO RUN FOR HIS OLD SEAT
AP: “Nearly three years after he was voted out of office, the former metro Phoenix sheriff pardoned by President Donald Trump on a conviction related to rounding up immigrants in the country illegally is going after his old job. Republican Joe Arpaio announced his 2020 campaign for Maricopa County sheriff Sunday on the anniversary of his pardon in 2017 from Trump on the misdemeanor contempt of court conviction for disobeying an order to stop the immigration patrols. Arpaio, 87, spent 24 years as sheriff. In a statement, he pledged to enforce laws associated with the U.S.-Mexico border crimes and laws dealing with migrants coming into the country illegally. … Arpaio has called himself ‘America’s toughest sheriff’ and has previously floated the possibility of a run for office only to decide not to in the end. The only exception was his run last year for the Senate. Arpaio was among three candidates in the Republican primary election and came in last place.”
Rep. Sean Duffy announces resignation, citing baby’s heart condition – Fox News: “Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy on Monday abruptly announced plans to resign from Congress, saying his family recently learned that his soon-to-be born child has a serious heart condition. Duffy, who is married to Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy, is the father of eight children, with another due in October. Announcing his decision to step down on Sept. 23, Duffy wrote on Facebook, ‘After eight and a half years, the time has come for me to focus more on the reason we fight these battles – family.’ … Duffy said that his family ‘recently’ learned that their baby due in October ‘will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications, including a heart condition.’”
House Judiciary Committee to subpoena ex-WH aide Rob Porter amidst obstruction investigation – Politico
Pergram: Presidential administrations from both sides like to spend, but so do most Americans – Fox News
AUDIBLE: PROBS NOT
“[W]hen you have to tell people you’re electable, you’re probably not as electable as you think you are.” – Andrew Smith, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, referencing Joe Biden’s electability argument.
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WPTZ: “An average fishing day turned into a rare one for an angler on Lake Champlain. Debbie Geddes was fishing with her husband when she reeled in a fish with two mouths. She let the fish go, but not before snapping some pictures. The pictures went viral after she shared them with her co-worker Adam Facteau, who shared them on Facebook. ‘I've had messages from all over the world, like people asking about this fish and it seems like everybody's got an opinion on what is the cause of this fish having two mouths,’ Facteau said. There is no definitive answer but plenty of interesting theories including an injury from a swallowed hook or the fish being offspring of Lake Champlain's famed lake monster, Champy. ‘Good luck,’ Geddes said when asked about advice for other anglers looking to find a two-mouthed catch.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The Cold War contingent of the Democratic party essentially disappeared. As someone who had never had any illusions about either Communism or Soviet power, I gave up on the Democrats.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the National Review on Oct. 25, 2013.
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.