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On the roster: Voters fired up, but Dems keep the edge – I’ll Tell You What: An adorable roast – Congress digs into Trump’s alleged improper promise – Netanyahu comes up short, scrambles for survival – Arrrrrrrrrr you ready, kids?

VOTERS FIRED UP, BUT DEMS KEEP THE EDGE
Fox News: “Fifty-nine percent of voters are extremely interested in the 2020 presidential election.  That’s a number typically only seen right before an election. It’s 27 points higher than around this same time in the last presidential cycle — and only one point off the record 60 percent extremely interested the week before Election Day in 2008. In addition, more Democrats (65 percent) than Republicans (60 percent) are extremely interested in the election and more Democrats (69 percent) than Republicans (63 percent) are extremely motivated about voting in 2020.  That helps Democratic candidates top President Donald Trump in potential head-to-head matchups. Joe Biden continues to perform best of the Democratic candidates tested, according to a new Fox News Poll.  He has the biggest lead over Trump (+14 points), is the only one to receive 50 percent support, and the only one to keep Trump under 40 percent (52-38 percent).”

Fox poll shows Bernie boost – Fox News: “Biden captures the support of 29 percent of Democratic primary voters, according to a new Fox News Poll. That’s down 2 points since last month and down 6 points since May, when he was at a high of 35 percent support. … [Bernie] Sanders climbs back into second with 18 percent (up 8 points since August), followed by Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent (down 4), forming the clearest top three candidate tier seen in this race to date. The next tier includes Kamala Harris at 7 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 5 percent, Beto O’Rourke at 4 percent, Cory Booker at 3 percent, and both Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar at 2 percent.”

Bernie shook up Iowa team too – WaPo: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) parted ways with his Iowa political director in recent weeks, his campaign confirmed Wednesday, part of a series of staff shake-ups in key early states. The campaign announced in March that Jess Mazour would be political director in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, part of a first wave of early state hires. She is no longer on the team. ‘We’ll continue to make moves that we feel best position this campaign to win,’ Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a written statement after The Washington Post reached out to the campaign about the matter. A campaign official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation said Mazour was let go in late summer and has not been replaced. Mazour, who was a high-ranking campaign aide but not the director of the Iowa effort, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The campaign did not publicly announce her departure at the time.”

Harried Harris tries to turn it around in Iowa – Politico: “Kamala Harris is putting her stumbling campaign on the line with a new Iowa-or-bust strategy: She’s shifting away from the closed-door fundraisers that dominated her summer calendar to focus on retail politicking in the crucial kickoff state. Harris huddled with top campaign officials Tuesday in Baltimore to discuss the next steps as a series of polls show her plummeting into the mid-single digits. She’s not expected to significantly alter her message. Instead, Harris is planning to make weekly visits to the state and nearly double the size of her 65-person ground operation, sources familiar with the discussions told POLITICO. The re-engagement in Iowa — where the California senator held a 17-stop bus tour in August but hasn’t returned since — is part of a broader acknowledgment inside the campaign that she hasn’t been in the early states enough. It’s designed to refocus her campaign and clarify her narrowing path to the nomination.”

THE RULEBOOK: WHY WE’RE HERE
“It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object.” – James MadisonFederalist No. 45

TIME OUT: ZIP IT
Writer Amos Barshad offers a concise fashion history of the few clothing items to truly transcend the social strata: the track suit. New Yorker: “Adidas launched its now internationally renowned tracksuit in 1967, with an ad campaign starring the West German soccer legend Franz BeckenbauerJoanne Turney, a professor of fashion at the University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art, has tracked the American embrace of the tracksuit to James F. Fixx’s ‘The Complete Book of Running,’ from 1977, which became a best-seller. Fixx evangelized running as life extension, Turney explains in her book ‘Fashion Crimes.’ This put the runner, in his tracksuit, in a ‘God-like role,’ both ‘man and superman, ego and super-ego, performing a Foucaultian battle that will ultimately result in the mastery of the mind over the weakness of the flesh.’ By the early eighties, acts from the Bronx and from Hollis, Queens, had made the tracksuit the uniform of hip-hop.”

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SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 28.2 points 
Warren: 20.2 points
Sanders: 16 points
Harris: 6.6 points
Buttigieg: 5.4 points
[Averages include: Fox News, NBC News/WSJ, CNN, ABC News/WaPo and IBD.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 54.2 percent
Net Score: -12.8 percent
Change from one week ago: up 2 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 40% approve – 55% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve – 55% disapprove.]

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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: AN ADORABLE ROAST
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates, Dana explains why she was late to the podcast taping and Chris answers some failed campaign slogan trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

CONGRESS DIGS INTO TRUMP’S ALLEGED IMPROPER PROMISE
WaPo: “The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter. Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a ‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.”

Trump denies – Politico: “‘It never ends!’ Trump wrote, complaining in another tweet that the explosive allegations were yet another example of ‘Presidential Harassment!’ The president’s denial came as the intelligence community’s inspector general briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about the complaint. Its existence first came to light earlier this week when committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) demanded it be turned over to Congress.”

KENNEDY-MARKEY PRIMARY LOOKS TO BE A DONNYBROOK 
Politico: “Rep. Joe Kennedy III will challenge Sen. Ed Markey for his Senate seat in 2020, setting up a Democratic primary battle that has the potential to divide the Massachusetts political class and draw national attention. Kennedy will formally announce his plans Saturday morning at a breakfast in East Boston, according to a source familiar with the news. In the days following the announcement, Kennedy plans to take a tour across the state, the source said. News of Kennedy’s announcement was first reported by the Boston Globe. Kennedy met with Markey on Wednesday afternoon to inform him of the news, according to the source. Markey and Kennedy have steered clear of one another since news broke that Kennedy was considering a challenge for the seat. Over the weekend, Kennedy held a meet-and-greet with activists after the state Democratic party’s annual convention to gather input on a Senate run.”

GOP frets over Kobach effect in Kansas – WSJ: “Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach trails Democrat Barry Grissom by 10 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup for Kansas’ open Senate seat in 2020, according to internal GOP polling data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.  The previously unpublished findings reveal why some Republicans are deeply concerned that a Kobach candidacy could cost the party a Senate seat in Kansas—and why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been pushing so hard for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former congressman from Wichita, to challenge Mr. Kobach for the GOP nomination. ‘It’s laughable that anyone is taking seriously a poll on a hypothetical match-up conducted 18 months before the election and prior even to Secretary Kobach’s entry into the race,’ said Steve Drake, Mr. Kobach’s campaign manager.”

Ocasio-Cortez to face primary challenge – Fox News: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will have to get through a primary challenger if she wants to hold on to her seat in 2020. Democratic activist Badrun Khan, who has challenged Ocasio-Cortez for the Democratic nomination to represent New York’s 14th district, says on her website that she’ll provide ‘REAL Results… Not Empty Promises’ — an apparent jab at the socialist darling. When asked about Khan’s challenge, Ocasio-Cortez said: ‘I just focus on delivering for my district and doing the best job. I try not to focus too much on other folks in the field,’ according to The Hill. Khan filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Committee in July. The website for New York City’s government confirms that Khan serves on Queens Community Board 2.”

NETANYAHU COMES UP SHORT, SCRAMBLES FOR SURVIVAL
NYT: “Seizing the initiative in Israel’s postelection political gridlock, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called on his main rival, Benny Gantz, to meet immediately to discuss forming a government of national unity together. Mr. Netanyahu, facing a looming indictment in three corruption cases, is fighting for his political survival and, potentially, his freedom. His only chance of gaining immunity from prosecution would be to remain in the top office, though neither he nor Mr. Gantz emerged from Tuesday’s election with a clear path to the premiership. Mr. Gantz had already called for a unity government, but for Mr. Netanyahu, time is of the essence. He has a special hearing with the attorney general set for Oct. 2, and charges could be filed soon after. Tuesday’s redo election was Israel’s second in five months, after an April ballot also ended inconclusively.”

Trump distances himself from longtime ally – Axios: “President Trump appeared to distance himself from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today after the latter’s failure to win a parliamentary majority in Tuesday’s elections. Trump told reporters in California that he hasn’t spoken yet to Netanyahu about the election results and stressed that his administration’s relations ‘are with Israel.’ Those cool remarks are a blow to Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival. During his election campaign, Netanyahu used his personal relationship with Trump as an asset. Netanyahu used images of himself and Trump on billboards around the country and in campaign ads under the headline ‘In a different league,’ a message intended to stress his advantage when it comes to foreign policy experience. Trump gave Netanyahu his enthusiastic backing during April’s elections but offered less active public support in the run-up to this week’s vote.”

THE JUDGE’S RULING: DON’T SMILE FOR THE CAMERA
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why police surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology threaten Americans’ privacy: “The Fourth Amendment makes no such distinction among intelligence or law enforcement or governmental curiosity. Rather, the Fourth Amendment – the essence of which is the right to be left alone – was written expressly to prohibit what British police are doing to the British public and what American police and the National Security Agency are doing to the American public – commencing investigations of the innocent without suspicion. The Fourth Amendment is an intentional obstacle to government, an obstacle shown necessary by history to curtail tyrants. Could the British model happen here? Digitally, it has. Could the ubiquitous cameras be far behind?” More here.

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Congress agrees to short-term spending deal, avoids Oct. 1 shutdown – Bloomberg

Erstwhile blackface enthusiast Justin Trudeau faces campaign firestorm – The [Toronto] Star

Pergram: Cokie Roberts‘ important lesson – Fox News

Dems launch longshot bid for DC statehood at rare hearing – Fox News

Nebraska dumps populist Bryan’s statue in favor of Ponca Chief Standing Bear – Roll Call  

AUDIBLE: NAH, BRO
“I can tell you one thing: Beto O’Rourke’s not taking my guns away from me. You tell Beto that, OK?” – Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., quoted by the WSJ.

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ARRRRRRRRRR YOU READY, KIDS?
Asbury Park [N.J.] Press: ‘It’s Sept. 19 International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and we have your guide to five phrases we think should make their way back into the everyday lexicon. Try them around the office today and let us know how it goes! HORNSWAGGLE — To trick, deceive, scam. ‘I’m tired of Pam always hornswaggling everyone out of the last donut!’ CACKLE FRUIT — Chicken eggs, a rare treat for pirates at sea. ‘Hi, I’d like a sausage, pepper and cackle fruit sub for delivery, please.’ LICK-SPITTLER — A kiss-up, self-promoter. ‘Jack picked up the boss’ dry cleaning AGAIN, that lick-spittler!’ CAPE HORN FEVER — An imaginary disease used to get out of responsibilities. ‘It’s awfully coincidental Jane is sick the same time that big report is due. Must be Cape Horn Fever.’ BILGE RAT — A rodent living in the darkest, dankest part of a ship; an insult. ‘Ugggh. Howard cooked his fish in the microwave, that bilge rat!’”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“This is a gift — that we intrinsically have this sense of reverence for the Constitution. And it’s important to remember that it is a gift from the past. It is not something that we can in any way credit to ourselves.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) in an excerpt from his posthumous book, “The Point of It All.” This excerpt was published on Nov. 29, 2018 in the Washington Post.

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.