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On the roster: Time for a re-Pete? – Sanders to scale back campaign after heart surgery – Trump’s impeachment plan: Burn down the House – Senate GOP campaign arm raises record cash – Eau de Big Boy
TIME FOR A RE-PETE?
What’s so great about fourth place?
If you’re South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, quite a lot actually.
Readers have no doubt been watching Elizabeth Warren’s steady gains against front-runner Joe Biden in recent weeks. She is now just 2.4 points behind Biden in our Democratic 2020 Power Ranking. As Biden continues to struggle with the enhanced scrutiny on his family’s buck raking facilitated by Biden’s proximity to power, we expect his troubles to continue.
While Democrats are loath to publically agree with President Trump, the facts of the case of Trump’s likely impeachment reinforce Biden’s strongest negatives: That he has been around too long and is too much of a swamp creature.
We know Biden supporters are preparing to spend millions to prop up the former Delaware senator in his third presidential quest, but it is hard to imagine that Biden could persist for long in second place.
When electability is your cri de coeur it’s hard to keep voters around when you don’t look so electable.
This is good news for Warren, no doubt. But she had better be worried that it is good news come too soon. As Biden is currently experiencing, being the frontrunner is not all aviator sunglasses and waffle cones.
Warren has long enjoyed kid-glove treatment from the press, with relatively little scrutiny on her very ambitious policy proposals. She has also gotten a couple of mulligans on biographical boo-boos. That won’t last if she gets out in front. The steady diet of opposition research that will fill reporters’ inboxes will see to that.
So cast your eyes down the list. You can skip over poor Bernie Sanders who is struggling not just with his own health issues, but with the tragic loss of his daughter-in-law. The Vermont senator has said he will scale back his campaigning, and is already 10 points behind Warren and falling.
Buttigieg, though, has been climbing. Perhaps the beneficiary of the unraveling of California Sen. Kamala Harris’ misbegotten campaign or perhaps some Biden skeptics defecting, Buttigieg is a man on the move.
Certainly Sens. Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar are hoping that they would see their boats lifted by the melting of Biden’s iceberg, but Buttigieg may have the best case to make.
His fundraising haul in the third quarter says that he will have the resources to go the distance and his moderate-sounding appeal to voters would position him nicely to pick up the business-friendly Democratic donors who are terrified of either a Warren defeat or victory.
Whether Buttigieg can capitalize on the opportunity will depend on his ability to go toe-to-toe with Warren. In the first Buttigieg craze, he wasn’t able to translate interest into hard support. In a second go-around he’d have to play for keeps.
SANDERS TO SCALE BACK CAMPAIGN AFTER HEART SURGERY
WaPo: “[Bernie Sanders] visited a cardiologist Tuesday morning, and when he returned, he told reporters, ‘We’re gonna change the nature of the campaign a bit.’ ‘Probably not doing four rallies a day,’ said Sanders, who had adopted a more furious campaign schedule than many of his much younger opponents. Sanders, who has committed to releasing his medical records before the first primary votes but has not yet done so, said Tuesday he would provide the information at ‘the appropriate time.’ Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — fellow septuagenarians who join Sanders at the top of most polls — have also committed to releasing their medical records.”
Daughter-in-law, 46, killed by rare cancer – USA Today: “The daughter-in-law of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has died, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Rainè Riggs was 46. The Lee & Martin Funeral Home in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, says Riggs died Saturday, the day Sanders returned to Vermont after suffering a heart attack. Her obituary said she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. Riggs, a neuropsychologist, was married to Levi Sanders, who ran unsuccessfully for a New Hampshire congressional seat in 2018. Riggs’ obituary says she met Levi Sanders while the two worked at an emergency food shelter in Vermont. The obituary said Riggs was the director of behavioral medicine at Dartmouth Medical School for several years, and she started the Palliative Care Department for Dartmouth Medical Center. She also owned Riggs Geriatric Psychology in Windsor, Vermont. Riggs and Sanders had three children.”
Dianne Feinstein endorses Biden, snubs Harris – Fox News: “Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced Tuesday she is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary — choosing her former longtime Senate colleague over Kamala Harris, her fellow California Democratic senator. Feinstein’s endorsement, the first major Democratic endorsement by a top legislator this campaign season, comes as Biden has been losing ground in the polls in the wake of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and a series of high-profile gaffes while on the stump. But the longtime California senator praised the former vice president for his long tenure in Washington and his work on gun control. ‘I’ve worked closely with Vice President Biden and I’ve seen firsthand his legislative ability, his statesmanship, and most importantly his moral fortitude,’ Feinstein said in a statement.”
THE RULEBOOK: SUFFICIENT RESOURCES
“I believe it may be regarded as a position warranted by the history of mankind, that, IN THE USUAL PROGRESS OF THINGS, THE NECESSITIES OF A NATION, IN EVERY STAGE OF ITS EXISTENCE, WILL BE FOUND AT LEAST EQUAL TO ITS RESOURCES.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 30
TIME OUT: ‘YESTERDAY’ CAME SUDDENLY
On this day in 1965, The Beatles’ “Yesterday” began its month-long reign as the top single in the U.S. The song, Paul McCartney’s masterwork, started as a dream. The Telegraph [U.K.]: “As McCartney explained in 1980: ‘I woke up with a lovely tune in my head. I thought, ‘That’s great, I wonder what that is?’ There was an upright piano next to me, to the right of the bed by the window. I got out of bed, sat at the piano, found G, found F sharp minor 7th – and that leads you through then to B to E minor, and finally back to E. It all leads forward logically. I liked the melody a lot but because I’d dreamed it I couldn’t believe I’d written it. I thought, ‘No, I’ve never written like this before.’ But I had the tune, which was the most magic thing.’ McCartney was living in Wimpole Street, London, at the time, at the family home of Jane Asher, who he was dating at the time.”
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DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.4 points (↑ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 25 points (↑ 2.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 14.6 points (↓ 1.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 5.6 points (↓ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Harris: 4.6 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, IBD, Monmouth University, Fox News and NBC News/WSJ.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 41.2 percent
Average disapproval: 53.4 percent
Net Score: -12.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.2 points
[Average includes: NBC/WSJ: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 40% approve – 54% disapprove; IBD: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; CNBC: 37% approve – 53% disapprove.]
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TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT PLAN: BURN DOWN THE HOUSE
Axios: “President Trump, while nervous about the historic stain of impeachment, is throwing everything he has into this fight: refusing all cooperation, running ads to profit politically, and torching every person who stands in opposition to him. When it all boils down, Trump really only trusts his own instincts. And his instincts here are the same as they were with the Mueller investigation: Fight like hell. No nuance or apology — not a hint of it. Turn the leader of the investigation (in this case, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff) into a conservative media villain. Condemn Trump enemies in the most incendiary and exaggerated language possible (treason, traitors, coup, etc.). Compared to the Mueller investigation, the Ukraine phone call appears to have more resonance with the general public. Republicans close to leadership and the White House tell Axios they’re concerned by trend lines in a Washington Post poll showing 49% of Americans think Trump should be removed from office.”
Partisan lines holding – NBC News: “A majority of Americans say the allegations that President Donald Trump asked a foreign leader to investigate 2020 rival Joe Biden are serious and need to be fully investigated, and they also believe the president hasn’t been honest and truthful about his actions. Still, the public is divided – largely along partisan lines – on whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office, with 43 percent supporting his removal given what they know today, versus 49 percent who oppose it. … According to the poll, 47 percent of Americans believe the allegations that Trump requested Ukraine’s president to look into the Bidens are either ‘quite serious’ or ‘extremely serious.’ That includes 73 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents and even 21 percent of Republicans. By contrast, a combined 28 percent dismiss the allegations as either being not serious or false and without merit. Twenty-five percent of respondents say they don’t have an opinion or are unsure.”
Q Poll: Support for impeachment inquiry steady – Quinnipiac University: “After another week with impeachment in the news, registered voters nationwide are still divided on impeaching and removing President Trump from office, with 45 percent saying he should be impeached and removed and 49 percent opposing the idea, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. This compares to last week’s poll, in which voters were evenly split on impeaching and removing the president 47 – 47 percent. In a poll released on September 25, before any major news about impeachment, voters were clearly against impeachment 37 – 57 percent. While nearly half of voters do not currently back impeachment, a majority of voters do still approve 53 – 43 percent of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives in order to determine whether or not to bring impeachment charges against the president. A week ago, voters approved of the inquiry 52 – 45 percent.”
Gowdy joins Team Trump – Bloomberg: “Donald Trump has enlisted former Representative Trey Gowdy to work with the White House team combating the U.S. House’s impeachment inquiry into the president, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. Gowdy, a former prosecutor from South Carolina, is not formally joining the White House staff, according to the people. He was at the White House on Tuesday, according to one person who saw him there, before an eight-page letter was issued to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declaring that Trump and the administration wouldn’t participate in the impeachment inquiry.”
What will become of Mick Mulvaney? – The Atlantic: “[Mick] Mulvaney’s uncertain status says something about Trump’s mind-set. In the face of this latest peril, and nearly 1,000 days into his tenure, he still hasn’t settled on how the West Wing should run. Confronting the impeachment threat is a West Wing staff that Trump has largely neutered. Aides have been left guessing about who’s coming and going, much less what they’re supposed to say about accusations that Trump pressured Ukraine to ferret out dirt on his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. In the two weeks since the whistle-blower complaint was released to the public, the White House still hasn’t articulated a clear legal, political, or communications strategy needed to withstand impeachment and keep Trump’s Republican support from eroding.”
Watergate lessons for GOP – FiveThirtyEight: “One complicating factor here is that if Republicans were to abandon Trump, history does not suggest that Trump loyalists would easily forgive them for joining the Democrats’ impeachment effort. Even though most Americans did eventually support removing [Richard] Nixon from office, Republican voters were mostly not part of that consensus. Days before he resigned, a Gallup poll found that only 31 percent of Republicans thought Nixon should no longer be president. And some of those supporters deeply resented their representatives for their role in ousting Nixon, which may even have contributed to the Democratic landslide in the 1974 midterm elections.”
SENATE GOP CAMPAIGN ARM RAISES RECORD CASH
WashEx: “The committee tasked with electing Republican senators amid the impeachment battle will report raising $47.7 million so far this year, an amount that is already greater than ever raised before in the year prior to an election year. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is crucial to protecting vulnerable incumbents like Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Martha McSally of Arizona. In the three-month period ending Sept. 30, the NRSC raised roughly $13.1 million, including approximately $5 million in September — and made the last payment on a $17 million debt left over from the midterm elections. The NRSC shared these figures with the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, ahead of its upcoming Federal Election Commission filing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying maintain Republican control of the Senate. Currently there are 53 GOP senators in the conference.”
Planned Parenthood preps massive 2020 spending – Fox News: “Planned Parenthood, the behemoth nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care and is the nation’s largest abortion provider, says it’s making a major investment in the 2020 elections. Planned Parenthood’s political wings – which fight for legal protections for abortion – announced Wednesday that they’ll spend $45 million backing candidates who support abortion rights in elections next year ranging from the state house level to the White House. … The group says its top priority in 2020 is to defeat and unseat President Trump. Other priorities include helping Democrats retake control of the GOP-controlled Senate and holding the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The group will target roughly 5 million voters across the country, with the spotlight on nine key swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”
Bevin looks to impeachment backlash to hold on in Kentucky – RCP: “[Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin] has pressed the pending impeachment of President Trump into his own Kentucky reelection effort. Standing outside the governor’s mansion on Friday, Bevin tied his fate to Trump’s by condemning impeachment as ‘an absolute travesty’ and calling on his Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Andy Beshear, to answer a ‘fundamental question’: Will Beshear support or oppose forcing the president from office? The Democrat doesn’t want to answer, and the ensuing drama in a 2019 race could draw a rough sketch of the electoral implications of impeachment in 2020.”
Senate report details foreign meddling in 2016 election, urges Trump to take action for 2020 – Fox News
Louisiana governor’s race rocked by sexual harassment claims in final days – The [Baton Rouge, La.] Advocate
Montgomery, Ala., elects city’s first African-American mayor – Fox News
AUDIBLE: PRAIRIE DOGS ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE
“Popping your head up will only lead to bad things.” – A former senior administration official explaining why White House aides are “keeping their heads down” during this time, per Politico.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I appreciate Ellen DeGeneres’ statement about her friendship with former President George W. Bush. How have we reached this point where we can’t be friends with, or at least be civil to, those who hold a different viewpoint? … The father of Christian Rock, Larry Norman, once told a joke about witnessing to people and the ‘religious’ terminology that is often used. In the story, the Christian becomes frustrated at the end of a conversation he’s been having with a friend because the friend doesn’t understand the terms justification, sanctification, or being saved. In frustration he shouts, ‘I’m trying to tell you the Good News!’ His friend asks, ‘What’s that?’ The Christian responds, ‘You’re going to Hell!’ To which his friend replies, ‘Well, what’s the bad news?’ The point of recounting that is to state that if we hold firm convictions, that’s fine, but we need to convey them in a loving and respectful way. Our actions speak louder than our words. If we’re not mindful of that, we risk offending the person, or worse, losing the opportunity for dialogue that we seek with the other person. I believe that in matters of faith especially, that would be a bad thing. As always, I wish you and your family God’s richest blessings!” – Paul Schnier, Shoreham, N.Y.
[Ed. note: Amen, Mr. Schnier! That goes for politics, too. Persuasion leads to consensus, which leads to durable reforms. Division leads to government by plurality, which leads to lurching. Blessings to you and yours, too.]
“I fully understand your point today about the legal (‘shoot someone on 5th Ave’) and political differences (‘posting TS documents on IG’) when viewing Congress’ vested powers to impeach a sitting President. Hopefully this third time is a charm. What about this [Contributions and donations by foreign nationals.] I believe this is what your colleague Judge [Andrew Napolitano] has been referencing in his argument on recent articles and TV shows. … The difference between this and the Mueller/Russia case was that this bordered on bribery in ‘bribes, high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Mueller’s case was weak and bordered on emotion. This is a stronger case with a self-admitted crime, No? An independent voter’s perspective.” – Jai Suresh, Fremont, Calif.
[Ed. note: I hear you, Mr. Suresh. But, no matter which side you take here, the question of impeachment still isn’t about the law. The question is political, or at best, moral. It is what the members of the House (and the constituents they represent) say it is. Efforts to find specific criminal charges miss the point of the endeavor.]
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EAU DE BIG BOY
AP: “An Ohio homeowner never envisioned becoming semi-famous because of a goat butting its way into her home and taking a nap in her bathroom. … The break-in happened Friday when an escaped male goat from a farm several miles away repeatedly butted against a sliding glass door… [Jennifer Keathley’s] 18-year-old son, Logan, discovered the billy goat in the bathroom when he returned home Friday afternoon from school to find the family’s agitated German Shepherd in the driveway, broken glass on the back porch and the house reeking. … Two Ashland County Sheriff’s deputies unsuccessfully tried to coax the goat, named Big Boy, out of the home with carrots, a dog bone and grass. They eventually grabbed him by the horns and dragged him outside… The Keathleys learned their home insurance policy covers damage from bears and deer but not goats. … Despite applications of carpet deodorant and urine neutralizer, she said the odor from Big Boy’s urine still lingers.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Or more prosaically, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. Every life has such a moment. What distinguishes us is whether — and how — we ever come back.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the National Review on Aug. 17, 2007.
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.