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On the roster: Biden sailing, not sinking – The Rulebook: Never nude – Isakson resigning for health, sets up Senate battle – Did he have to buy a pack of 12 birthdays?

BIDEN SAILING, NOT SINKING 
Fox News: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is leading Democratic presidential nomination rival Sen. Bernie Sanders for second place in two new primary election polls, in the latest sign that the Vermont senator’s standing may be slipping. But in good news for Joe Biden after a recent survey indicated a slide for the front-runner as well, the former vice president maintains large leads over the Democratic Party’s progressive standard-bearers in both new national polls, which were released Wednesday morning. The surveys, by Suffolk University for USA Today and Quinnipiac University, boost the Biden campaign’s argument that another national survey released Monday indicating he’s locked in a three-way tie with Warren and Sanders was an ‘outlier.’ Biden – the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic nomination race since even before he declared his candidacy in late April – stood at 32 percent among likely Democratic primary and caucus voters nationwide in both of Wednesday’s surveys.”

Trump struggles in head-to-head matchups – Quinnipiac University: “If the 2020 presidential election were held today, 54 percent of registered voters say that they would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, while only 38 percent would vote for President Trump. Matchups against other top Democrats show: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders topping Trump 53 – 39 percent; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ahead of Trump 52 – 40 percent; California Sen. Kamala Harris beating Trump 51 – 40 percent; South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg leading with 49 percent to Trump’s 40 percent. Looking at all of the matchups, President Trump is stuck between 38 and 40 percent of the vote. These low numbers may partly be explained by a lack of support among white women, a key voting bloc that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.”

Incumbent underwater on economy for the first time – Quinnipiac University: “For the first time since President Trump was elected, more voters say that the national economy is getting worse than getting better, with 37 percent saying it is getting worse, 31 percent saying it is getting better, and 30 percent saying it is staying the same. … When asked to rate the state of the nation’s economy, 61 percent of voters say that it is excellent or good, while 37 percent say that it is not so good or poor. … Voters also say that President Trump’s policies are hurting the nation’s economy at 41 percent, while 37 percent say that they are helping, and 20 percent say that his policies make no difference.”

Poll finds Americans dread the 2020 election – USA Today: “Americans are facing the 2020 presidential election with a dominant feeling: Dread. … If the candidate they support loses, nearly four in 10 said they would have little or no confidence that the election had been conducted in a fair-and-square way, setting up what could be a debate over the legitimacy of the next president. … In the crowded Democratic contest, former Vice President Joe Biden retained a wide lead, at 32%, up 2 percentage points from the USA TODAY/Suffolk poll taken in June. But Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren moved up 4 points to second place, at 14%, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped 3 points, now at third place with 12%. … Only three other candidates received support above 2%: South Bend (Indiana) Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California Sen. Kamala Harris, each at 6%, and businessman Andrew Yang at 3%. At 2% were former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.”

Warren tries to crowd her way in – WaPo: “Elizabeth Warren does not like to talk about polls, or crowds, or ‘momentum.’ … Over the past week, Warren drew the largest crowds of her campaign. Seattle’s audience dwarfed a 12,000-head-count crowd in Minneapolis; a more hastily planned event in Los Angeles drew around 4,000. Warren, once nearly counted out of the race, can now pull out crowds comparable to Barack Obama’s in the summer of 2007 or Bernie Sanders’s in the summer of 2015. … But Warren’s crowds, never small but increasingly impressive, are complicating rival campaigns’ views of their competition. Sanders, whose ability to fill arenas four summers ago fed into his 2015 surge, has never had to contend with a primary opponent like that. And Biden, whose crowds have been noticeably smaller than Sanders’s or Warren’s in early-voting states, bristles at the idea that his competitors are bigger draws.”

THE RULEBOOK: NEVER NUDE 
“If we should not be willing to be exposed, in a naked and defenseless condition, to [Britain and Spain’s] insults and encroachments, we should find it expedient to increase our frontier garrisons in some ratio to the force by which our Western settlements might be annoyed.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 24

TIME OUT: GREEK SYSTEM  
NatGeo: “Childhood education in ancient Greece was highly dependent on one’s gender. … In the fifth century B.C., Greece’s greatest minds were preoccupied with the most effective ways to raise children. … The teaching that Isocrates praised was known by Greeks aspaideia, a term derived from pais, the Greek word for child. In ideal terms, paideia was intended to allow male children to purge the baser parts of human nature so they could achieve the highest moral state. On a pragmatic level, it also provided society with well-prepared men to take on the political and military burdens of citizenship as adults. Paideia, however, was not intended for female children. … In stark contrast to the traditional, family-centered childhood of Athens was Sparta’s rigid schooling system. Known as agoge, it was centrally organized by the state. … Whereas Athenian education imposed a strict segregation of the sexes, Spartan boys and girls trained and competed in athletics alongside one another.”

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SCOREBOARD
Average approval: 
41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -13 percent
Change from one week ago: up 0.6 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 56% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve – 53% disapprove; CNN: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve – 55% disapprove.]

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ISAKSON RESIGNING FOR HEALTH, SETS UP SENATE BATTLE
Fox News: “Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and a longtime Georgia lawmaker, announced Wednesday that he will resign at the end of the year. In a statement, the 74-year-old Isakson cited his battle with Parkinson’s disease. ‘I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff,’ he said. … With his resignation, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, will now have to appoint a replacement for Isakson until a special election can be held in 2020. The winner of that election will serve the remaining two years of Isakson’s term, and the winner of the 2022 election will serve a full six-year term. Isakson’s retirement also means that voters in Georgia will have to cast a ballot for both of the state’s Senate seats next year as Sen. David Perdue, a Republican, is seeking a second term in office.” 

Kansas Republicans seek primary challenger to one of their own – Kansas City Star: “Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner said Tuesday that he will consider dropping out the race for U.S. Senate to instead mount a primary challenge against freshman Republican Rep. Steve Watkins after encouragement by a former Kansas governor. Former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer took the highly unusual step Tuesday of calling for LaTurner, a Republican, to drop out of the race for an open Senate seat and challenge an incumbent Republican after Watkins has spent more than a week battling a whisper campaign. Colyer, a Johnson County Republican who served as Kansas governor for 11 months, did not refer to Watkins by name in a statement calling on LaTurner to seek the seat. He noted Watkins’ lackluster fundraising and made a vague reference to poor coalition-building.”

GOP taking no chances on N.C. special House election – Politico: “[House Minority Leader KevinMcCarthy has traveled to the state to help the Republican candidate, state Sen. Dan Bishop, and has pushed his rank-and-file lawmakers to lend a hand. And as he chatted up contributors, he warned that next month’s vote is critical: Following a devastating 2018 election that demolished the House GOP majority, a win in the nationally-watched race would give the party a badly-needed morale boost. Republicans are funneling resources into the southern North Carolina district as they try to stave off an embarrassing loss in a GOP-heavy seat that President Donald Trump won in 2016 by more than 11 percentage points. With private polling showing a close race between Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready, Trump will travel to the district on Sept. 9, the night before the special election, for a rally in Fayetteville, N.C. And the White House is also planning to deploy Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., before the election.”

Constituents sweat vulnerable Democrats on impeachment – Politico: “Democrats hoping to avoid clashes over impeachment when they left Washington this summer are being confronted with a difficult reality at sometimes hostile town hall events. Voters across the country — from California to Pennsylvania to Massachusetts — grilled House Democrats on the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump at a series of events this month, regardless of whether they support or oppose the drastic measure. … Many progressive voters want Democratic leaders to move forward with impeachment immediately, the politics of it be damned, because ethics demand it; others are hammering their representatives over the possibility that impeachment would boost Trump’s reelection prospects because he would claim vindication after being acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate. … Many of the pro-impeachment voters turning out at town halls didn’t appear to be part of organized efforts…”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves wins Republican primary for governor – NYT

Trump bank tells Congress it has some of his tax returns – NYT

Facebook tries to clean up its act ahead of 2020 – Reuters

David Ignatius: The Trump era keeps getting noisier. Are people tuning out? – WaPo

Pergram: Here’s why the House and Senate engage in a parliamentary dance during lengthy respites – Fox News    

Cherokee Nation to send delegate to Congress, citing 19th century treaties – NYT

AUDIBLE: WOOF
“Where’s the democratic process? Why is the 1 percent deciding for the 99 percent?” – Patty Martin, mother to a French bulldog named Louie, in response to noise complaints about a dog park in Chevy Chase, Md. The WaPo went on scene to cover the drama over the “excessive barking” in the park that has been occurring for over a year.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, Excellent analysis of the Dem electoral chaos. However, I became distracted by the word ‘salvific,’ particularly just ahead of the idiomatic ‘glommed’ all in a beautifully constructed, paragraph-length sentence. While a charming break from reading and understanding the sentence itself, I can’t help but wonder what other almost never encountered words we may look forward to in future reports. ‘Salvific,’ really?” – Eric Hutchins, Santa Barbara, Calif.

[Ed. note: Now I may certainly be wrong, but I think of “salvific” as hardly a rarefied word. We take it from theology – “having the intent or power to save or redeem” – so maybe I have more familiarity from church/Sunday school than some others. Also, it seems like a word that hints at its own meaning, “salv” being a pretty strong directional arrow. All that said, I will endeavor… er, try to be careful about using fifty-cent words when unnecessary.]     

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DID HE HAVE TO BUY A PACK OF 12 BIRTHDAYS? 
KABC: “Costco Wholesales stores, and especially their food courts, have a certain charm that goes beyond those $1.50 hot dogs. That’s why when little Armando Martinez wanted a party for his fourth birthday – he knew just the place for the celebration. ‘He is obsessed with Costco,’ said his aunt Miriam Zakaria, who shared photos and videos of the festivities with Eyewitness News. The Costco Warehouse in Norwalk [California] shut down the food court so that Armando could invite all of his friends to celebrate his birthday with him. He even had a Costco hat and badge for the special occasion! The party included all things Costco, from tasty samples to Costco ‘membership cards.’”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“‘Optimism’ is the perfect way to trivialize everything that Reagan was or did.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 11, 2004.  

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.