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On the roster: Michigan mammoth – Time Out: Big data, big money – Biden pulls in big cash, expands staff – Wanted: Feisty Bryant
NY Post: “Embattled Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is treating Michigan’s March 10 primary as a firewall — and possible last stand — to stem the momentum of suddenly surging rival Joe Biden. Sanders canceled a rally planned for Friday in Mississippi — which also votes next Tuesday — and will instead stump in Michigan, ceding another southern state with a huge black population to Biden, who a week earlier considered South Carolina his ‘firewall’ before a resounding victory propelled him through a near Super Tuesday sweep. Michigan is the biggest prize of the six states voting on Tuesday, with 125 delegates, followed by the state of Washington (89 delegates), Missouri (68 delegates), Mississippi (36 delegates), Idaho (20 delegates) and North Dakota (14 delegates). Sanders upset Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, but repeating that feat may not be so easy against Biden. … Biden landed the endorsement of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and immediately named her as a national co-chairwoman of his campaign. But Sanders has strong backing in the Wolverine State as well, including from Michigan’s growing Arab-Muslim population…”
Poll finds Biden with a lead – Detroit News/WDIV-TV: “Many Michigan voters who will be casting a ballot for a Democratic candidate in the primary election next week are concerned with electing someone who will beat President Donald Trump, a new WDIV/Detroit News poll found. According to the poll, Joe Biden is leading the way in Michigan. … Respondents were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable impression of Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Biden had the highest favorable to unfavorable ratio, 4.8 favorable to 1 unfavorable… Biden had a 6.7% lead over Sanders when respondents were asked who they would select of all 14 candidates who were on the ballot at the time of the survey. Joe Biden — 29.2% [and] Bernie Sanders — 22.5% … Among the absentee voters who have already cast their ballots, Biden holds a 19.4% lead over Sanders.”
Fox News to host Sanders town hall Monday – The Hill: “Fox News will host a second town hall with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday in Detroit, the network announced on Friday. The town hall for Sanders comes ahead of a crucial primary in Michigan, where Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden will vie for the state’s 125 pledged delegate haul. … The town hall will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event will be co-moderated by ‘Special Report’ anchor Bret Baier and ‘The Story’ anchor Martha MacCallum.”
THE RULEBOOK: CHA-CHING
“Money is, with propriety, considered as the vital principle of the body politic; as that which sustains its life and motion, and enables it to perform its most essential functions.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 30
TIME OUT: BIG DATA, BIG MONEY
Paris Review: “In April 1995, traders on the floor of the Pacific Exchange were in a frenzy. The jury in the O. J. Simpson trial had refused to come to court that morning. … Everyone was looking for Steve. This had nothing to do with the stocks on the ticker, and everything to do with an elaborate, parallel marketplace operated by Steve Schillinger, an independent broker, who sold futures on the side for countless things you couldn’t find at the exchange… Although Schillinger was a decent enough stockbroker, his real talent was in figuring the odds for nebulous outcomes like that of the O. J. verdict and revising them as events unfolded. … He was, in short, a bookie. … In his covert marketplace, he’d glimpsed not just his own future, but the future of gambling. That vision would lead him to become the pioneer of a multibillion-dollar industry, and then a fugitive from justice who would die in exile.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 45.6 percent
Average disapproval: 51.8 percent
Net Score: -6.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.8 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 47% approve – 52% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; Gallup: 47% approve – 51% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 47% approve – 50% disapprove.]
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BIDEN PULLS IN BIG CASH, EXPANDS STAFF
NYT: “Joseph R. Biden Jr., emboldened by his unexpectedly strong Super Tuesday performance and flush with cash, is moving to hire new aides who he hopes can quickly help him secure the Democratic presidential nomination and then guide him through the general election. … Presidential campaigns often build out larger organizations as primaries go on and when the general election nears. Mr. Biden has been particularly understaffed, holding off on hiring because of financial constraints and day-to-day uncertainty about his prospects until this week. Nowhere was that more clear than in the states he competed in on Tuesday, when he won 10 contests with little to no on-the-ground infrastructure. But with his leading moderate rivals all exiting the race and endorsing him, Mr. Biden, the former vice president, is enjoying a financial windfall as he wages a head-to-head contest with Senator Bernie Sanders. Since his victory in South Carolina on Saturday, Mr. Biden has raised over $20 million. His super PAC has also raised millions of dollars and is going on the air in Michigan and Missouri, the largest states to vote next week.”
Meanwhile Sanders struggling – AP: “It took Joe Biden’s moderate rivals just hours to unite behind his presidential campaign after they left the race. Bernie Sanders hasn’t been so fortunate. Elizabeth Warren, one of Sanders’ closest ideological allies, declined to endorse anyone after suspending her campaign on Thursday. … The dangerous silence from Warren and progressive officials across the country comes at the worst time for Sanders, who’s suddenly losing momentum in a two-man race with the former vice president as another set of high-stakes primary elections looms. … On one side, campaign manager Faiz Shakir wants to empower the pool of existing supporters, such as progressive congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, because of their organic appeal to voters. On the other, senior adviser Jeff Weaver is pushing for a wider range of endorsements to broaden Sanders’ coalition.”
Questions about Sanders’ proposals rise – NBC News: “As the Democratic presidential candidate promising a political revolution, Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed new federal programs to overhaul the nation’s health care system, tackle climate change and wipe away student debt. But a budget estimate by a nonpartisan think tank provided to NBC News suggests that despite new proposals on how he would pay for them, his plans would still result in a $20 trillion budget shortfall over 10 years. NBC News asked the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to respond to an itemized list the campaign released last week explaining how the Sanders, I-Vt., intends to fund a range of his proposals, including ‘Medicare for All,’ the Green New Deal, free college and housing for all. The $20 trillion estimate is similar to a study the CRFB did of Sanders’ 2016 campaign, which estimated that his proposals then would result in a $19 trillion shortfall.”
Mishkin: Warren drops out of Democratic presidential race she defined, will lead party’s veepstakes – Fox News: “Faced with a streak of out-of-the-money showings from Iowa to Super Tuesday, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had no real choice but to drop out of the race, especially after a disappointing third-place finish in her home state. … Arguably though her campaign did the most to define the race – and enabled former Vice President Joe Biden to persist himself into being the eventual nominee. … Whether she winds up endorsing Biden before Sanders’ almost-inevitable defeat or not, she ranks as potentially the second most important factor in Biden’s ascension… It was her merciless takedown of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in Bloomberg’s first debate – that essentially eliminated the multi-billionaire from serious contention – and cleared the path for Biden to leverage his South Carolina victory into an enormous swath of Super Tuesday victories. … I’m not sure if she’s Biden’s best choice – but I am sure that the veep short-list will consist almost entirely of women, along with Senators Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – and others.”
Trump signs $8.3B coronavirus spending bill – Fox News
U.S. economy added 273,000 new jobs, unemployment rate was 3.5% in February – CNBC
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., announces re-election – Tulsa World
Texas Dems suing the state to overturn straight-ticket voting – Texas Tribune
In new “Hillary” documentary series, Bill Clinton explains Monica Lewinsky affair as managing his anxieties – NYT
“I think that’s a real problem with this online bullying and sort of organized nastiness. … I’m talking about some really ugly stuff that went on.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren calling out Sen. Bernie Sanders in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Tune in this weekend as Mr. Sunday sits down with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“[Do] you think the DNC will make or change their rules before the 2024 presidential race to require their candidate to declare themselves as a Democrat? Thus, preventing an Independent to hijack their eventual candidate.” – Sandy Henderson, Round Rock, Texas
[Ed. note: Well, Ms. Henderson, that could get a little tricky. Many states don’t have partisan voter registration. How would you know, for example, if someone from the Commonwealth of Virginia was a registered Democrat if they cannot register as anything? In 2016 Republicans tried to work around this by forcing its presidential candidates to sign a loyalty oath to the party, but this was mostly ridiculous and obviously without any legal consequence. Parties derive their power not from rules or the force of law, but by their ability to inspire loyalty and support among individuals. These are not government agencies, but rather private institutions. I will not bore you here with another diatribe against our dumb primary system, but parties worked better when they functioned more like societies with conventions and meetings and officers rather than federal departments. What I do think Democrats will do in 2024 – and probably Republicans, too – is change the way they operate their primaries. I expect to see ranked-choice voting make huge gains and a new emphasis placed on clear, reliable voting methods.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
WANTED: FEISTY BRYANT
WRAL: “A Roxboro [N.C.] woman celebrated her birthday milestone in an unusual way: She’s having her 100th birthday party in a jail cell. At Cambridge Hills Assisted Living Center, men dare not pass Ruth Bryant without getting a hug first. Bryant’s birthday makes her an official centenarian. Her friends and family gathered to celebrate had no idea there would be a slight delay in the birthday cake tradition. Sirens blared as a deputy approached the birthday girl with handcuffs, saying, ‘Are you Miss Bryant?’ She said, ‘It all depends on what you want!’ ‘Here’s what I want. I want you!’ he said. Bryant was in on the gag–including the charge leveled against her. She’d never been to jail, but in honor of her 100th birthday, she checked an item off the bucket list: Heading to jail in cuffs. Feisty Bryant ‘fought’ her arrest, playfully kicking at Roxboro deputies, who threatened to add resisting arrest and assault to the charges.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“For euphemism, dissimulation and outright hypocrisy, there is nothing quite as entertaining as the periodic Senate dust-ups over Supreme Court appointments and the filibuster.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 6, 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.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.