**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Hillary: Bubble wrapped candidate – Team Trump says it’s still raising money for GOP – Dems dreary about Florida Senate race – What’s Trump D.C. stop today all about? – Maybe try ‘Czechia Classic’
HILLARY: BUBBLE WRAPPED CANDIDATE
There are bubbles, and then there is Hillary Clinton’s bubble.
As journalists pore over emails allegedly stolen from Clinton’s top advisor, John Podesta, we get some soundings on just how thick the walls are of the Democratic nominee’s private reality.
Think back to March 2015 when news broke that not only did Clinton conduct government business on a private, unsecured email account as secretary of state, but that that account was actually housed on a secret “homebrew” server at her New York home.
Worst, Clinton had actually set up the server in advance of her confirmation with the unmistakable intent to avoid prying eyes and federal records laws.
We’ve grown accustomed to these facts, but as the story was breaking it looked like it could be a devastating blow to Clinton, who had still not yet officially announced her second presidential run.
In what is purportedly an exchange between Podesta and another top Clinton adviser, Neera Tanden, the two commiserate about the handling of the server scandal.
A disbelieving Tanden allegedly wrote to Podesta to express her frustration with Cheryl Mills, a legal adviser to Clinton since the days of her husband’s impeachment: “This is a cheryl special. Know you love her, but this stuff is like her Achilles heal. Or kryptonite. she just can’t say no to this sh–. Why didn’t they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy.”
Podesta wrote back: “Unbelievable.”
“I guess I know the answer,” Tanden responded. “They wanted to get away with it.”
Good advisers are skilled at telling politicians the things they don’t want to hear. In Clinton’s case it was this: you broke the rules, mishandled national security information and are caught. You cannot brush this away. You cannot sidestep.
Because there was no one around Clinton who was apparently willing to tell her that she had to face facts and come clean about her secret server, the problem dragged on and became so much worse for her.
And it all goes back to that impulse in Clinton World: “They wanted to get away with it.”
The nature of what “it” is has changed over the decades, but at the core, the Clintons’ problems often relate to a desire to cut corners and get their way without paying the price.
The price here would have involved a public embarrassment when archives officials first requested Clinton’s emails. She would have had to say what she did and offer some rationale for it, and something that cut closer to the bone than her laughable lines about “convenience.”
It’s not unreasonable to imagine that Clinton gave away 30 points on favorability and trustworthiness because of her refusal to show even a little contrition and forthrightness.
Republicans know just what we’re talking about here as they watch their nominee close the campaign with a weeks-long fight with women who accuse him of various kinds of misconduct ranging from cruelty to sexual assault. Trump never tried to address the matters in a contrite, earnest way, but has just kept battering.
Presumably he too has found a group of advisers that tell him he’s right even when all available evidence suggests otherwise.
It’s more than a little unseemly to be looking through somebody’s electronic garbage to find private conversations as we are doing with Podesta’s emails. But there are real concerns here.
Politics draws big egos and big egos often prefer to be surrounded by sycophants. The consequences of that conduct in politics can be devastating to campaigns. The consequences in government to such airless cocoons of ego protection can be truly disastrous for the country.
THE RULEBOOK: PARTICULAR COMMENDATION
“It has been observed in a former paper, that ‘the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.’ If the justness of this observation be admitted, the mode of appointing the officers of the United States contained in the foregoing clauses, must, when examined, be allowed to be entitled to particular commendation.”– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 76
TIME OUT: ‘PRECIOUS LORD, TAKE MY HAND’
The great Mahalia Jackson was born 105 years ago today in New Orleans. Jackson, the preeminent gospel singer of the 20th century, was nearly 36 before she had her first major hit with 1947’s “Move On Up a Little Higher.” A decade later, Jackson saw major success as a crossover artist, bringing her powerful ecclesiastical style and contralto voice to secular music with Duke Ellington and others with numbers like “Come Sunday.” Jackson, an outspoken foe of institutional racism, performed for the inauguration of John Kennedy, at the 1964 March on Washington and at the funeral of Martin Luther King. Jackson’s effect on American music was unmistakable during her lifetime and even now. But to know her, just hear her sing “Amazing Grace.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
TEAM TRUMP SAYS IT’S STILL RAISING MONEY FOR GOP
NBC News: “Donald Trump’s campaign is pushing back against a new report that says Trump has all but stopped raising money for the joint fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee, insisting that the campaign is continuing to support the Republican Party. Trump finance chairman Steven Mnuchin told NBC News that the report by The Washington Post was ‘completely misleading’ and that ‘we continue to do fundraising for Trump Victory.’ The Post reported Tuesday evening that the Trump campaign has ‘wound down’ its joint fundraising effort, holding its last major fundraiser Oct. 19 in Las Vegas, and that it would still raise money online. The Post has since changed its headline but kept the contents of the story. The report caused a stir because most of the money raised through Trump Victory goes to help the Republican Party implement an effective ground game and a get-out-the-vote effort and to help candidates down the ballot.”
GOP Senate PAC dumps $25 million towards shoring up races – WSJ: “In an effort to protect the Republicans’ fragile Senate majority, a major GOP super PAC will spend an additional $25 million on behalf of the party’s most vulnerable candidates. The group, Senate Leadership Fund, is putting the investment into six Senate races where Republicans remain competitive in an effort to counter the growing fire power of Democrats, a spokesman confirmed…The fund’s primary investment will be devoted to Nevada, where it plans to spend an additional $7.5 million boosting Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican running for the seat being vacated by outgoing Minority Leader Harry Reid. The race is Republicans’ best hope of picking up a seat, which would complicate Democrats’ path to a majority. It also plans to spend $5 million in Pennsylvania, $4 million in Indiana, and smaller amounts in Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina.”
DEMS DREARY ABOUT FLORIDA SENATE RACE
As reports that top Senate Democrats are fighting over whether to continue funding Rep. Patrick Murphy’s efforts to unseat incumbent Republican Sen.Marco Rubio, a new Bloomberg poll shows Rubio with a 10-point advantage. Murphy’s candidacy has been an ongoing debacle for Democrats. This week the embarrassment for Murphy includes ties between his family’s construction company and Donald Trump, which Murphy previously denied. The company’s website boasts “Trump Royale” and “Trump Hollywood” as two of its featured high-rise buildings. And Murphy’s father is even featured in a photo with Trump at the groundbreaking of “Trump Hollywood” in 2007.
That Bloomberg poll also shows Donald Trump ahead by 2-points in the Sunshine State. But even as top Democrats are ready to pull funding from their Senate candidate, Hillary Clinton is going all out in the Sunshine State with a two-day visit to promote early voting, which started Monday.
WHAT’S TRUMP’S D.C. STOP TODAY ALL ABOUT?
NYT: “As his poll numbers have declined in the closing weeks of the presidential race, Donald J. Trump has begun to engage in barely veiled promotions of his business brand off the campaign trail, dragging reporters to his marquee properties in between his campaign events. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump added an abrupt appearance at the Trump National Doral, one of his gilded golf courses and resorts in Florida, ostensibly to demonstrate how many employees he has there and how much they admire him as a boss. On Wednesday, instead of spending the morning in one of the battleground states where polls show him trailing Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump planned to attend a ribbon-cutting at his elaborately remade hotel at the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.”
And then there’s Utah… – David Drucker explains: “Now, some of the same GOP insiders in Utah that confidently predicted Trump would win on Nov. 8 — despite his weakness — are projecting [an Evan McMullin] victory. The Trump campaign recognizes the danger. On Wednesday, just 13 days before Election Day and trailing in several key, traditional battleground states, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is being dispatched to Salt Lake City for a campaign rally to salvage the ticket.”
“For the most part, you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.” – Donald Trump in a newly-released 2014 interview with a prospective biographer who has shared his tapes and notes of his Trump interviews with the NYT.
Trump says he’d fight Biden: ‘I’d love that. Mr. tough guy’ – USA Today
Trump: Hillary’s Syria policy would lead to World War III – Reuters
Bill Bradley PAC goes full mushroom cloud on Trump with Ohio ad – Bloomberg
Kaine says this will be the first time he’s had a female boss if Hillary wins – The Hill
Koch-backed group lays out ObamaCare premium tracker state by state – Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce
What is the precedent for candidate’s refusing to concede? – The Hill
What is an exit poll? How do they work? – Edison Research
What makes IBD’s poll an outlier? – WaPo
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I’ve loved your show and commentary for years ever since your delightful internet TV program was still alive and well. I want to know why Evan McMullin is still not being represented in the ‘4-way’ polling numbers you list in your Scoreboard. It seems to me that this should be changed to ‘5-way’ polling since he has a chance to influence the overall outcome as much as Johnson or Stein do, especially since he is the only one of the three who is actually positioned to capture any Electoral College votes, i.e. Utah. Are we going to see him get any national cred before this election is done? Thanks.” –Scott Cornelsen, Logan, Utah
[Ed. note: Mr. Cornelsen, you and your fellow Utahans have done a great deal to elevate McMullin’s national profile. You might even help him make history by being the first candidate not from a major party, to win an electoral vote since George Wallace in 1968. As for McMullin’s absence from national polling, that is a function of how few states will feature him on their ballots. While McMullin is a certified write in candidate in many states, he is only a listed option for voters in: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia and, of course, your own Beehive State. Since so few voters will have the opportunity to vote for him, it wouldn’t be fitting to list him as a choice for all Americans.]
“Chris, I assume that Donald Trump is using his money and citizen’s donations to fly across our great country, in his personal aircraft, to various campaign stops. When the Obama’s/Biden campaign for Hillary, are they using their personal money or are the American tax payers picking up the tab?” –Wayne Gadow, Amory, Miss.
[Ed. note: A little of both, Mr. Gadow. When the president or vice president flies for political purposes, they reimburse the federal government for essentially the cost of a first-class plane ticket for their travels and those of others attending the rally or event. This can obviously not begin to defray the cost of flying Air Force One or the cost of securing transit routes and locations. On the other hand, the president doesn’t really have the opportunity to travel without security, a state-of-the-art communications array or key staffers. But even so, when presidents campaign for themselves or for others, taxpayers end up defraying plenty of the costs. The biggest benefit of course, is the symbol of the aircraft itself and the other trappings of presidential power. Those are, quite literally, invaluable.]
Share your color commentary: Email us atHALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
MAYBE TRY ‘CZECHIA CLASSIC’
The Guardian: “With its imposing statue of the Czech patron saint and wide avenues leading toward historic Prague, Wenceslas Square should be the ideal place for defining a country’s national identity – or at least its name. So when the authorities decided to tamper with Czech Republic’s official branding they may have done well to road test the idea here, where national aspirations have often been asserted, and occasionally crushed, in dramatic fashion. Yet, six months after the shorter and supposedly punchier name of Czechia was officially adopted by the country’s leaders, citizens of the central European country of 10 million people seem in little doubt over what it should be called. ‘The Czech Republic,’ answered one person after another on being asked to name their country, some greeting the question with disbelieving stares.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons 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 digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily “Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including “The Kelly File,” “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.