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[Ed. note: Dear readers, We know what you are all talking about today, and trust us, so are we. But one of the central parts of our philosophy here is that rushing to judgement on complicated matters is unwise and bad for our civic health. We are going to let the matter of the Kavanaugh hearings hold over for a day. On Friday, we will have what we hope is a better informed, more complete analysis of what was said and what is likely to transpire next.]
On the roster: Dems opt to stick it out with Pelosi – Hillary to hit the trail in Florida for Gillum – Trump, Rosenstein meeting delayed to next week – House successfully avoids shutdown – Some days you’re the seal, some days you’re the kayaker
DEMS OPT TO STICK IT OUT WITH PELOSI
WaPo: “House Democrats on Wednesday took their simmering debate over the leadership of Nancy Pelosi off the front burner, agreeing to postpone until after the midterm elections an internal fight over election rules that could undermine the 16-year party leader. Pelosi’s allies cast the delay as a sign of her resilience and popularity among Democrats, even as Republicans continue to spend tens of millions of dollars across the country trying to tar Democratic candidates by associating them with Pelosi and her four-year tenure as the first female speaker. But the handful of dissidents who pushed for the rules change said they would not abandon their effort but would delay it to preserve party unity as Democrats try to retake the House majority for the first time since 2011. ‘We’re all united moving forward,’ said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who ran against Pelosi (Calif.) two years ago. ‘Let’s win, and then have the family fight after.’”
Hurd tries to walk tightrope to re-election – Texas Tribune: “… [Will Hurd] has emerged as arguably the most prominent Republican from Texas willing to split with Trump — or at least strike a different tone — on some key issues, including immigration and Russian interference in the 2016 election. It is a profile that has earned him national attention and bipartisan plaudits — and it has only hardened Democrats’ resolve this November to try to puncture the image he has crafted as a different kind of Republican. ‘It’s going to be difficult to make that case because we’ve been proving our independence for three and a half years,’ Hurd said defiantly during a recent interview in Alpine as he traveled the district. … Up against Hurd this time is Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer who made it through a spirited five-way primary in March and less-competitive runoff in May. On the stump, she is a no-nonsense prosecutor of Hurd’s claims to separation from the national Republican Party.”
Dem challenger takes heat for Washington ties – Fox News: “A Democrat running for Congress in California is drawing scrutiny because property records suggest that a home 3,000 miles away may be his primary residence. TJ Cox, a candidate endorsed by former President Barack Obama during a visit to California earlier this month, owns a home in Maryland, the Fresno Bee reported. Cox, who is running to unseat Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, purchased a $1 million Cape Cod-style home in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Bethesda, Md., in 2016, according to Montgomery County property records. The property records show Cox has paid about half his annual property taxes on the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home and has claimed it as his principal residence on state property tax records each year since. Cox also received a $692 county property tax credit on the home in the previous fiscal year. He also owns at least two homes with his wife in Fresno, Calif., according to Fresno County property records.”
GOP House candidate called out on business claims – AP: “The Republican candidate in a hotly contested Kansas congressional race acknowledged Wednesday that claims he made on the campaign trail about starting and expanding a small business in the Middle East aren’t accurate. Steve Watkins, who is running against Democrat Paul Davis for the 2nd District seat in eastern Kansas, often cited his experience starting the small business as one of his strengths in the race. Democrats hope to pick up the seat, now held by retiring GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins, even though President Donald Trump carried it by a wide margin in 2016. ‘I got out of the military, started a small business and grew it from three people to 470 people. So I know what it’s like to have to sweat it and work to make payroll, to not take any salary so you can make ends meet,’ Watkins told a Miami County GOP candidate forum in March. And in June he told supporters in Neosho that he started an engineering and security paramilitary company that worked for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bloomberg heads toward $100 million for Dem House candidates – Bloomberg: “Michael Bloomberg‘s spending on House races in the midterms has passed the $80 million he promised for the cycle and is heading toward $100 million as he sees an increasing chance for Democrats to win control, Axios has learned. … The former New York mayor is eyeing a 2020 presidential run as a Democrat. Bloomberg showed his power on the world stage yesterday with his second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum (and a companion One Planet Summit), which drew an astonishing roster that included 70 heads of state, in town for the UN General Assembly, and 200 CEOs. Spotted: Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, private equity titans Stephen Schwarzman and Larry Fink, Jeb Bush, Cindy McCain, Steve Case, Steve Rattner, Andrew Ross Sorkin and more.”
THE RULEBOOK: ARMED AND READY
“Whether there ought to be a federal government intrusted with the care of the common defense, is a question in the first instance, open for discussion; but the moment it is decided in the affirmative, it will follow, that that government ought to be clothed with all the powers requisite to complete execution of its trust.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 23
TIME OUT: TECHNOLOGY, MAN
Time: “When Dr. Michelle Oblak, a veterinary surgical oncologist at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), first met Patches, the dachshund was suffering from a cancerous skull tumor so large, it was weighing down her head and beginning to encroach on her brain and eye socket. The tumor had to come out — but removing it would also mean removing part of Patches’ skull. So, in a North American veterinary first, according to an announcement from OVC, Oblak 3D-printed her a replacement. … [Oblak] teamed up with an engineer from Sheridan College to create a three-dimensional model of the dog’s head and tumor… Oblak enlisted ADEISS, an Ontario-based 3D-medical-printing company, to make the piece she needed. … ‘[Patches] was asleep for about five hours, and within about half an hour after surgery, Patches was alert and looking around. It was amazing,’ Oblak said in the statement. And the procedure did more than save Patches — Oblak said it could offer a blueprint for someday performing similar surgeries in humans.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 42.8 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -10 points
Change from one week ago: up 5.4 points
[Average includes: Pew Research Center: 40% approve – 55% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 49% disapprove; Gallup: 40% approve – 56% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 44% approve – 52% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 41.2 percent
Democratic average: 50.4 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 9.2 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage down 1.2 points
[Average includes: Pew Research Center: 52% Dems – 42% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 48% Dems – 41% GOP; Fox News: 49% Dems – 42% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 51% Dems – 43% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 52% Dems – 38% GOP.]
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HILLARY TO HIT THE TRAIL IN FLORIDA FOR GILLUM
The Hill: “Hillary Clinton is expected to campaign next month alongside Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, sources told The Hill on Wednesday. The sources say Clinton’s and Gillum’s teams are still ironing out the details, but they expect Clinton will appear at at least one public event with the Tallahassee mayor — and assist his campaign in other ways. The commitment indicates Clinton is still considered a valuable asset even in states where she lost during her 2016 bid for the presidency. Allies say it proves she is also a draw even with progressive candidates like Gillum, who endorsed Clinton during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and was on an early list of potential running mates. ‘She’s trying to be helpful in any way she can,’ said one longtime Clinton ally. ‘I think this is proof of those efforts. She’s doing everything she can to help Democrats in winning.’ The Hill has reached out to Gillum’s campaign for comment.”
Ellison seeks investigation into abuse allegation – WaPo: “As demand grew for further investigation into allegations that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) physically abused a former girlfriend, another Democrat joined the call for an additional inquiry: Ellison himself. In a statement Wednesday, the congressman said he would ask the House Committee on Ethics to investigate claims that he dragged his former partner Karen Monahan off a bed by her feet while yelling obscenities at her during a 2016 fight. ‘I am taking this step now because I am innocent and eager to see this entire matter resolved,’ said Ellison, who is also the Democratic nominee for Minnesota Attorney General and deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee.”
Pa. gubernatorial candidate invested his own campaign funds – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “In what stands as a legal but risky practice, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner has routinely invested campaign funds into a brokerage account, netting him a few hundred thousand dollars but raising questions about how he manages his finances. The practice came to light Wednesday morning after a user on Twitter — a Philadelphia-based lawyer representing Democrats — pointed to a line item in Mr. Wagner’s most recent campaign finance report: a loss of $631,050 characterized as a ‘decrease in value of excess campaign funds invested in brokerage account.’ Similar line items on four of Mr. Wagner’s previous reports showed he has received increases in value of invested funds totaling more than $2.9 million since the beginning of 2017 — which, along with the $600,000-plus loss and a drop of $1.4 million in May, has left him with net gains at more than $840,000. It is ‘unusual’ to see campaigns invest funds, said Aubrey Montgomery, a principal with the strategic fundraising firm Rittenhouse Political Partners.”
Poll shows Cox catching up to Newsom in California gubernatorial race – LAT: “Voter support for Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox rose enough over the summer to cut front-runner Democrat Gavin Newsom’s lead in half, according to a new poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. Newsom, California’s two-term lieutenant governor, still remains solidly ahead in the race, but Cox managed to pick up more support from independents and a smidgen of Democrats since July, the survey showed. Those gains for Cox were enough to cut Newsom’s lead to 12 percentage points, compared with 24 percentage points in July. ‘Cox has been running more as an independent and more as someone who has been complaining about the status quo,’ PPIC President and Chief Executive Mark Baldassare said. ‘That has an audience here in California.’ But Baldassare cautioned that the campaigns are just getting revved up for the November election and that Cox’s surge might not last.”
Poll shows Michigan’s governor race getting closer – Detroit Free Press: “The race to elect Michigan’s next governor may be tightening, according to a Free Press poll. But President Donald Trump‘s unpopularity in Michigan continues to energize Democrats and hurt Republicans, including gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette and GOP congressional candidates, the poll suggests. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has an eight-point lead over Schuette, according to the poll from EPIC-MRA of Lansing. Other recently published polls have shown Whitmer, the former Senate minority leader from East Lansing, with a double-digit lead over Schuette, of Midland, who has been state attorney general since 2011. The poll commissioned by the Free Press and its outstate media partners shows Whitmer with 45 percent support, compared with 37 percent for Schuette. Another 11 percent were either undecided or refused to answer, while 2 percent said they support Libertarian Bill Gelineau and 5 percent said they support another unspecified candidate.”
TRUMP, ROSENSTEIN MEETING DELAYED TO NEXT WEEK
NYT: “White House officials said on Thursday that President Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein will meet next week to discuss Mr. Rosenstein’s future at the Justice Department. The New York Times reported on Friday that Mr. Rosenstein had suggested secretly recording Mr. Trump to document the chaos of the White House in 2017 and had raised the issue of removing the president from office. That prompted Mr. Rosenstein to tell senior White House advisers over the weekend that he was willing to resign. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said that was not his preferred outcome and that Mr. Rosenstein had denied the reports. … In a statement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said: ‘The president spoke with Rod Rosenstein a few minutes ago and they plan to meet next week. They do not want to do anything to interfere with the hearing.’ Mr. Rosenstein arrived at the White House on Thursday morning for a previously scheduled national security meeting. But even as he arrived, an aide to Mr. Trump hinted that the meeting could be rescheduled for another day.”
Report: Trump aides tell DOJ official to prepare to take over – The Hill: “White House aides this week told a senior Department of Justice official to prepare to replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following reports that Rosenstein was ready to resign, according to a New York Times report. White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly told Matthew Whitaker, the chief of staff for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, that he was next in line to replace Rosenstein if President Trump fired his deputy attorney general or if he resigned. Aides dropped the plan to bring Whitaker on board by late Monday morning, the Times reported. Trump and Rosenstein are set to meet on Thursday in a highly anticipated huddle. The president, during a freewheeling press conference Wednesday, said it is not his ‘preference’ to fire Rosenstein.”
Ryan says House Republicans should stay out of the way – Politico: “Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said he would leave embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s fate to President Donald Trump, arguing that House Republicans should stay out their dispute between the two men for now — and angering conservatives in the process. Trump’s allies in the House want to question Rosenstein this week about allegations that he discussed secretly recording Trump and using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, both of which Rosenstein denies. Some conservatives are threatening to defy Ryan and force a vote impeaching Rosenstein this week if he refuses to testify, or if leaders refuse to call him to do so.”
HOUSE SUCCESSFULLY AVOIDS SHUTDOWN
WSJ: “The House passed an appropriations bill on Wednesday that increases military spending for the next fiscal year and keeps the government open through Dec. 7, leaving the legislation in President Trump’s hands days before funding expires on Oct. 1. The president Wednesday dismissed concerns that a budget dispute would lead to a shutdown. ‘We’re going to keep the government open,’ Mr. Trump said. The bill, which passed 361-61, funds the Defense, Education, Labor and Health and Human Services departments and is the second in a set of so-called minibus appropriations bills Congress passed before the end of the federal fiscal year. The Senate already voted 93-7 to approve the measure, which boosts funding for the Defense Department by almost $20 billion, provides a 2.6% pay raise for members of the military, and $3.8 billion to fight the opioid epidemic, an increase of $2.7 billion from this year.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Why Kavanaugh vs. Ford is no way to confirm a Supreme Court justice – Fox News
U.S., Canadian negotiations to update NAFTA falter ahead of deadline – Weekly Standard
“That’s, like, probably the nicest phrase I’ve ever used.” – President Trump, referring to his use of the phrase “con job” during his Wednesday press conference in New York.
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SOME DAYS YOU’RE THE SEAL, SOME DAYS YOU’RE THE KAYAKER
WNBC: “A kayaker in New Zealand testing out a newly launched camera captured amazing video of a seal whacking a fellow kayaker in the face with an octopus. Taiyo Masuda told NBC News the group was on a GoPro-funded kayaking trip off the coast of Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island to test the company’s new Hero 7 Black camera on Sept. 22. Masuda said around lunch time, the seals began to swim around them looking for food. ‘One seal swims right next to us, having an octopus in his mouth, pops right up off the surface next to us, then tries to chew up the leg but ended up slapping our face,’ Masuda told NBC. Video shows the seal springing out of the water with the octopus clutched in its mouth, and then clobbering kayaker Kyle Mulinder in the face with its lunch. ‘That was mental,’ Masuda can be heard saying in the video.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Some legislation, like Obamacare, will be repealed. Some executive orders will be canceled. But most important will be the bonfire of the agencies. We may soon be secure not just in our puddles but our ponds.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 15, 2016.
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.