On the roster: Biden bungles abortion reversal – Job growth stalls on tariff fears – DNC debate kerfuffle continues – Audible: Honey Boehner don’t care – He’s got you there, sheriff
BIDEN BUNGLES ABORTION REVERSAL
WaPo: “Former Vice President Joe Biden is joining the growing ranks of Democrats calling for the overturn of a longstanding ban on federal funding of abortion, after he spent decades supporting the restrictions. Biden’s sudden shift last night illustrates the party’s growing intolerance for any moderate views on the hot-button topic. …Biden announced the change during a speech yesterday at the Democratic National Committee’s African American Leadership Council summit in Atlanta. The presidential candidate told the crowd that, in an environment where the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion is under attack in GOP-led states, he could no longer support a policy that limits funding. ‘We’ve seen state after state including Georgia passing extreme laws,’ Biden said. ‘It’s clear that these folks are going to stop at nothing to get rid of Roe.’ ‘Circumstances have changed,’ he said. Biden was under intense pressure from abortion rights groups and nearly every one of his Democratic opponents in 2020, who want to erase the ban known as the Hyde Amendment.”
How Biden’s staff rolled him – The Atlantic: “Joe Biden’s aides knew the 2020 frontrunner was going to get ripped apart over his support of the Hyde Amendment… They were frustrated that the former vice president wouldn’t change his stance, and that he wasn’t initially receptive to their concerns. … This was a tense two days in Biden’s D.C. headquarters. The candidate was caught off guard after an NBC News story published Wednesday morning attempted to nail down where he stands on abortion policy—specifically Hyde. Symone Sanders, one of Biden’s senior advisers, confronted him, she confirmed to me Thursday night, telling Biden that he was missing how his position disproportionately affected poorer women and women of color without easy access to abortion. Alyssa Milano, the actress who’s become a major online presence on issues of women’s rights as well as a friend of the Biden team, spoke by phone Wednesday to Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz, telling him the candidate needed to change.”
Voters overwhelmingly back Roe and abortion restrictions – NPR: “Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll. What the survey found is a great deal of complexity — and sometimes contradiction among Americans… Almost two-thirds of people said they were either somewhat or very dissatisfied, including 66% of those who self-identify as ‘pro-life’ and 62% of those who self-identify as ‘pro-choice.’ … A total of 77% say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe, but within that there’s a lot of nuance — 26% say they would like to see it remain in place, but with more restrictions added; 21% want to see Roe expanded to establish the right to abortion under any circumstance; 16% want to keep it the way it is; and 14% want to see some of the restrictions allowed under Roe reduced. Just 13% overall say it should be overturned.”
THE RULEBOOK: PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE
“Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15
TIME OUT: SANTANA RETURNS
Rolling Stone: “Santana launched their career half a century ago … and now, for their 25th album, they’ve created a love letter to Africa. Although Africa Speaks sounds undeniably like a Santana album, with Carlos’ fiery guitar bursts and reedy-voiced singer Buika’s Spanish-language exclamaciones, it explodes from the start with African rhythms and a unique freedom to the way the group plays the songs. … Fifty years after his ‘Soul Sacrifice’ made hippies’ jaws drop all over Woodstock, Carlos Santana’s guitar playing remains a force of nature. It’s that raw inspiration that makes Africa Speaks compelling. The group reportedly recorded some 49 songs over a 10-day session with producer Rick Rubin and picked 11 to finish off for Africa Speaks; the record is just the songs they that moved them right then and there. And for that reason, Africa Speaks is not the sort of record to listen to on headphones; you have to hear the way it springs forth from speakers, like a live performance, to fully appreciate it.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 41 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -11.4 points
Change from one week ago: up 0.2 points
[Average includes: CNN: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; CNBC: 40% approve – 50% disapprove; Gallup: 40% approve – 55% disapprove; CBS News: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve – 52% disapprove.]
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JOB GROWTH STALLS ON TARIFF FEARS
WSJ: “Employers tapped the brakes on hiring in May, signaling companies are taking a more cautious approach at a time of slowing global growth and trade tensions and adding to other signs of slowing U.S. economic growth this spring. The economy added 75,000 jobs in May, marking the 104th straight month of gains, but pulling back from two months of stronger hiring, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate held steady at 3.6%, a near-50-year low. Wages were up 3.1% on the year in May. Annual pay gains appear to be stabilizing around 3% rather than accelerating in a tight labor market. Manufacturers added 3,000 workers to payrolls, continuing a weak streak for a sector most tied to trade tensions and slowing growth abroad. But state and local government payrolls, domestic in nature, fell by 19,000, which could show these employers are having a tough time finding workers in a competitive job market.”
Blue collar jobs take the hit – WaPo: “Manufacturing and construction saw anemic job growth in May with less than 5,000 jobs added in each sector, one of the clearest signs that Trump’s tariffs are having a negative impact on blue-collar sectors the president has been trying to boost. ‘The slowdown is really coming from the sectors that are most susceptible to trade tensions like manufacturing, construction, mining and logging. That does make me worried,’ said Martha Gimbel, research director for Indeed.com’s Hiring Lab.”
Tariffs have already wiped out tax cut savings for middle class – Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump’s trade wars have already wiped out all but $100 of the average American household’s windfall from Trump’s 2017 tax law. And that’s just the beginning. That last $100 in tax-cut gains could soon completely disappear — and then some — because of additional tariffs Trump has announced. If the president makes good on his threats to impose levies on virtually all imports from China and Mexico, those middle-earning households could pay nearly $4,000 more. Subtract the tax cut, and the average household will effectively be paying about $3,000 more in taxes through additional levies on the products they consume. … Here’s how the math works. Middle earners got an average tax cut of $930, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The tariffs already in effect cost the average household about $831, according to research from the New York Federal Reserve.”
But bad news for workers is good news for Wall Street – Fox Business: “Wall Street interpreted a surprisingly weak May jobs report — 75,000 jobs added instead of the 185,000 expected — as putting more pressure on the U.S. central bank to cut the federal funds rate. The Fed could act as soon as next month to cut interest rates and give the economy a boost. Besides topping 26,000, the Dow was on pace to break a six-week string of losses, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were on track to break a four-week string of declines.”
DNC DEBATE KERFUFFLE CONTINUES
WaPo: “The Democratic Party announced Thursday that it would exclude specific polls from the qualification criteria for the first Democratic presidential debate in June, a change in the official rules that could exclude Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The requirements raise yet more controversy for a debate process that Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez once described as ‘open and transparent’ but which has since fallen under intense criticism. Lesser-known candidates have said the rules are distorting the race by heightening the importance of certain campaign tactics and benefiting certain candidates, with one campaign adviser even threatening to organize rival unsanctioned debates this fall if too many candidates are excluded from the official proceedings. Some party members have also complained about being shut out of the process, which has been overseen by Perez, to qualify for events that are expected to be the highest-profile campaign gatherings yet.”
Second tier candidates feel the heat – Politico: “But if Bullock does manage to qualify before next Wednesday’s deadline, it could throw the status of other second-tier candidates into doubt, unleashing a complicated set of DNC-written tiebreaker rules that could leave another current officeholder high and dry. In order to be eligible for the debates, candidates must cross one of two thresholds: earning 1 percent in three polls approved by the DNC, or receiving donations from 65,000 people, with 200 in 20 different states. Thirteen have met both thresholds and clinched their spots. But there are at least 10 credible candidates bidding for the final seven spots — a list that includes two sitting senators, three congressmen, a governor, a former governor and the mayor of New York.”
Harris adds to Iowa team – Des Moines Register: “California Sen. Kamala Harris is scaling up her focus on Iowa, promising to bring on at least 65 paid staffers by July and launch a summer organizing push targeted at the precinct level. ‘It’s game on,’ said Harris’ Iowa campaign chairwoman, Deidre DeJear. Harris so far has lagged behind some campaigns, which have sought to aggressively add staff in the state. In April, her campaign tallied just five paid staffers here while others, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, had brought on nearly 50. She’s also made fewer visits to Iowa than many of her competitors, holding 17 events over 7 days, according to Des Moines Register data. Harris canceled her most recent Iowa trip to ensure she could vote on the disaster relief bill in the Senate, and a previous trip was derailed because of snow.”
DOJ, Commerce Dept. rejected House Dems’ subpoenas for census docs Thursday – Politico
Pergram: ‘GOP lawmakers avoid Mexico tariff drama with D-Day ceremonies’ – Fox News
Religious activists seek to scuttle Trump court pick – Politico
AUDIBLE: HONEY BOEHNER DON’T CARE
“The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” – Former Speaker of the House John Boehner said at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan on Thursday while sipping on a Bloody Mary.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Bret Baier will be in for Mr. Sunday. He will sit down with Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. 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
“I thoroughly enjoy your articles and have been an avid reader for several years. I particularly took interest in this article because my wife was one of those that fled the Soviets from East Prussia in early 1945. She has written memoirs of her fleeing as a 5 and 1/2 year old and also has a letter written by her grandmother about the period. What I wanted to point out was that your statement about the Soviets besieging Berlin 6 months before Allied forces landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944, is not correct. Also my understanding, from my readings, is that we made a decision to allow the Soviets to enter Berlin first. I fully understand that this one sentence was not the thrust and purpose of your article but I just wanted to point out that it is incorrect.” – Russ Hoxie, San Diego
[Ed. note: Quite right, Mr. Hoxie! I was stretching on my tiptoes to make my point about the Soviet advance. The siege of Berlin by air had been underway for months by Allied bombers, but that’s not the same as being besieged by the Soviets. I’m sorry for the error and it has been corrected online. Thanks for reading and for sharing part of your wife’s remarkable story. And yes, the Allies agreed to let Stalin’s troops take the city. But it would have been very different if the Atlantic powers wouldn’t have been in a position to have done so if need be. Magnanimity is the province of the powerful.]
“Chris, I think that is probably the best Halftime Report you have written yet! Reagan’s speech epitomizes everything great about good people and our Democratic governments. In a historical sense, the greater we can keep those ideals, the longer our country will last. Rome was 1000 years, ours is only around 250. We have much work to do. Sadly, I feel my generation (x), and those behind have forgotten the history of that day and what it means… what it turned out to be, and what could’ve been. I’m glad it turned out as it did. Thank you to the Boys of Ponte Du Hoc, and all the Veterans who helped turned the tide to VE and VJ Day.” – Andrew Witt, Morgan, Wis.
[Ed. note: I hear you, Mr. Witt. But I would also say that the members of what many call “the Greatest Generation” would have probably much rather avoided the rise of fascism, two world wars, a global depression and the Spanish flu. The astonishing peace and prosperity of the past three generations has meant that history has not taken the full measure of our generation or the ones that have followed. We have no way to know how we would measure up, and I pray that a merciful God continues to protect us. But I tend to think that we’re made of sterner stuff than you think.]
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HE’S GOT YOU THERE, SHERIFF
WRTV: “A 19-year-old Indianapolis man was arrested and charged with reckless driving after he drove the wrong way on the interstate Wednesday afternoon. Captain Robert Harris of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said De’Ante Parrish was not impaired when drove a black Chevrolet Camaro the wrong way on Interstate 70 east of Greenfield. Parrish told officers at the scene he thought it would be faster if he drove on the other side of the interstate. Harris said Greenfield Police Department Sergeant Michael Schwamberger, Hancock County Sheriff Brad Burkart and Chief Deputy Major Robert Campbell were returning from a meeting when they saw Parrish and they were able to stop him before any crashes occurred. A Facebook video taken by Matthew Riddle shows Parrish driving on the shoulder as some cars swerve to avoid him.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Yet the Sessions affair is more than just a study in character. It carries political implications. It has caused the first crack in Trump’s base. Not yet a split, mind you. The base is simply too solid for that.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.