Nevada poll puts Bernie way out in front


**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: Nevada poll puts Bernie way out in front – Time Out: In defense of Valentine’s Day – I’ll Tell You What: Money can’t buy you love – Barr jousts with Trump – Bad habits catch up with you

NEVADA POLL PUTS BERNIE WAY OUT IN FRONT
Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the presidential field by a solid margin among likely Democratic caucusgoers heading into Nevada’s four-day early voting period, but all six of the candidates actively campaigning in the state this week earned double-digit support according to The Nevada Poll. The telephone poll, conducted by WPA Intelligence on behalf of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and AARP Nevada, contacted 413 likely caucus attendees from Tuesday through Thursday. Sanders led the pack with 25 percent of respondents expressing support, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden (18 percent) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (13 percent). Businessman Tom Steyer (11 percent), former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (10 percent) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (10 percent) were clustered close behind.”

Key union won’t pick sides – Politico: “Nevada’s powerful Culinary Workers Union will not endorse in the presidential primary, while criticizing Bernie Sanders’ signature ‘Medicare for All’ proposal. In declining to pick a candidate — but calling for ‘choices’ in health care — the union created an opening for Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, two moderate Democrats with little demonstrated support in the state. And it was a further setback for Joe Biden, who has been desperate to reassert himself after two demoralizing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire. … [Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer, said,] ‘we respect every single political candidate right now,’ while singling out Biden as someone the union has known ‘for many years’ and who has ‘been our friend.’ For Buttigieg and Klobuchar, the non-endorsement represents an inroad to Latino voters in a state where both candidates were polling in single digits in January but are now coming off strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Nevada Dems to use Google Forms for early vote data, caucus results – The Nevada Independent: “Nevada Democrats will use a Google Forms-based calculator accessible through a web browser on a party-purchased iPad to transmit early caucusgoers’ presidential preferences back to their home precincts on Caucus Day and submit the final results of each caucus to the party. The new details about the calculator, released in the form of a memo by Nevada State Democratic Party Executive Director Alana Mounce on Thursday, sheds light on the new process the party has been developing after it scrapped the two apps it planned to use for the caucus in the wake of Iowa’s problem-plagued contest earlier this month. They also aim to quell frustrations from volunteers and campaigns who have felt largely in the dark over the last week about how the party was planning to carry out its first in the West caucus on Feb. 22. According to the memo, early vote data will be provided to precinct chairs on the day of the caucus both through what the party is now referring to as a ‘caucus calculator’ and a backup paper copy.”

Documents show DNC involvement in troubled Iowa caucus app – Yahoo: “While the Democratic National Committee over the past 10 days has tried to distance itself from the troubled app that threw the results of the Iowa caucuses into disarray, a copy of the contract and internal correspondence provided to Yahoo News demonstrates that national party officials had extensive oversight over the development of the technology. … In the days since the debacle, DNC Chair Tom Perez has criticized the Iowa Democratic Party, which ran the caucuses, and the developer of the app, Shadow Inc. An unaffiliated Democratic operative in Iowa provided Yahoo News with a copy of the contract between Shadow and the Iowa Democratic Party. The contract, which was signed on Oct. 14, 2019, and refers to Shadow as the ‘Consultant,’ specified that the company had to work with the DNC and provide the national party with access to its software for testing.”

Dems fret about damage from a long primary fight – Politico: “Democrats are settling in for a long and brutal presidential primary season that could conclude at the Democratic National Convention in July, raising fears that five more months of party infighting could boost the prospects of President Donald Trump. It’s not that Democrats don’t like their options. But none of the top candidates are showing any signs of budging and ‘the number of candidates is’ working to Trump’s advantage right now, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who supports former Vice President Joe Biden. … Some Democrats think the anxiety might not be such bad thing. Despite his divisive rhetoric and generally low approval ratings, Trump is an incumbent president and presides over a good economy. And after the party’s certainty that Trump was a terrible candidate in 2016 and Hillary Clinton would waltz to victory, a bit of a freak-out might be warranted.”

THE RULEBOOK: DON’T LET ‘EM DEMAGOGUE
“The danger of disturbing the public tranquillity by interesting too strongly the public passions, is a still more serious objection against a frequent reference of constitutional questions to the decision of the whole society.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 49

TIME OUT: IN DEFENSE OF VALENTINE’S DAY 
In her 1926 poem “Inventory,” Dorothy Parker offers the following: “Four be the things I’d been better without: Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.”

While we’re great fans of all four of those things – in the right places and proportions – we certainly understand Parker’s lament. For all her brilliant comic sharpshooting, her real romantic story was an abject tragedy.

Like Parker, many Americans have soured on the idea of romantic love. And that makes today, the feast day of Saint Valentine, a most unhappy occasion for them. The holiday is for millions an occasion to consider loss, longing and the favorite sin of our social media era, envy.

But allow us please to mount a modest defense on behalf of this much-maligned day.

It was recorded that on February 14th in perhaps the year 268 a Christian pastor called Valentine was executed by the order of Roman Emperor Claudius II. There was lots that the empire did not like about the rapidly growing Christian faith, but much of the concern centered on military preparedness. How could a faith that preached unconditional love, forgiveness and a peace “which surpasses all understanding” be compatible with the martial, conquering spirit of Rome? 

Claudius was missing his recruitment goals for the legions needed to go and pacify various Goths, Gauls and Alemanni besetting his empire from within and without. He blamed the Christians for their emphasis on family and children and banned Christian marriage. Valentine, undaunted, continued to perform the ceremonies in secret. When he was caught, the pastor was dragged before the prefect of Rome and condemned to be beaten to death and have his head cut off (not that he would have noticed by then). 

Now, there are a few contenders for the title of the real Valentine, so the world will never actually know the details of his story, which have long been intertwined with legend and folklore. But, it seems pretty clear that there was a pastor willing to pay the ultimate earthly price to celebrate and sanctify romantic love. His actions and the veneration of them is a reflection of the centrality of that love to the worldview of Christianity, and, by extension, Western Civilization. 

Americans today, like Parker a century ago, have lots of reasons to deplore romantic love. Where it is still honored, it is so often inconstant. Where it is treated as a trifling recreation, it is reduced to rutting.

But maybe save some regard for romantic love and our man Valentine today. That love is a cornerstone of our whole civilization, a thing of such might that even great empires feared its power to soften the heart and turn us away from the cruelty of war and subjugation.

We’ll give the last word on the matter to one of Parker’s contemporaries, C.S. Lewis: “If you want to make sure of keeping [your heart] intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

We wish you today and every day all of the curiosity, freckles, doubt and, yes, love, that are required to make this life the wonderful adventure it was meant to be.  

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
Buttigieg: 23
Sanders: 21
Warren: 8
Klobuchar: 7
Biden: 6
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 44 percent
Average disapproval: 51.4 percent
Net Score: -7.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.4 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 46% approve – 51% disapprove; CBS News: 43% approve – 51% disapprove; IBD: 44% approve – 51% disapprove.]

WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? 
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!

I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: MONEY CAN’T BUY YOU LOVE
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the obstacles Biden and Warren’s campaigns face going into Super Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg’s leaked audio regarding “stop and frisk,” policy and they share how New Hampshire felt like Fox News summer camp. Plus, we’ll see how much Chris knows about dead presidents. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

BARR JOUSTS WITH TRUMP 
WaPo: “Attorney General William P. Barr pushed back hard Thursday against President Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department, saying, ‘I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,’ an assertion of independence that could jeopardize his tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement official. The remarkable public rebuke of the president by a sitting member of his Cabinet arose from a crisis of confidence at the Justice Department, which had been accused this week of buckling to an angry tweet the president issued after learning of prosecutors’ initial prison recommendation for his longtime friend, Roger Stone. ‘I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,’ Barr said in an interview with ABC News, adding that such statements ‘about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending here, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.’”

Trump insists he has ‘legal right’ to intervene in DOJ cases, but has chosen not to – Fox News: “President Trump on Friday insisted he has a ‘legal right’ to intervene in criminal cases, but has so far chosen not to — amid a controversy surrounding Attorney General William Barr’s decision to overrule a recommended sentence for former Trump adviser Roger Stone. Trump quoted comments made by Barr in which the AG said: ‘The president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.’ ‘This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as president, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!’ Trump tweeted. … A person familiar with the conversations between Trump and Barr told Fox News that Barr had complained to President Trump privately ‘for weeks’ about his tweets and public statements that criticized DOJ and its branches.”

Outside team to review Flynn case – NYT: “Attorney General William P. Barr has assigned an outside prosecutor to scrutinize the criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, according to people familiar with the matter. The review is highly unusual and could trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors. Mr. Barr has also installed a handful of outside prosecutors to broadly review the handling of other politically sensitive national-security cases in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, the people said. The team includes at least one prosecutor from the office of the United States attorney in St. Louis, Jeff Jensen, who is handling the Flynn matter, as well as prosecutors from the office of the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.”

DOJ won’t pursue criminal charges against McCabe – Fox News: “The Justice Department said Friday it will not pursue criminal charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, after a nearly two-year-long investigation into accusations brought by the agency’s independent watchdog who found that he lacked ‘candor’ when questioned about leaking to the media. In a letter to McCabe attorney Michael Bromwich obtained by Fox News, Justice Department attorney J.P. Cooney said the investigation is now ‘closed.’ ‘We write to inform you that, after careful consideration, the government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client, Andrew G. McCabe,’ Cooney wrote. The DOJ added: ‘Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump to headline most expensive fundraiser yet – WaPo

Primary race to Rep. Mark Meadows takes an ugly turn – Politico

Anti-abortion activist Marjorie Dannenfelser, changes tune on Sen. Kelly Loeffler – AJC

AUDIBLE: GET THAT BREAD
“I would be down — bread is bread.” – The teenager who runs the meme Instagram account @BigDadWhip, talking about the prospects of running an ad for Michael Bloomberg.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Tune in this weekend as Mr. Sunday sits down with counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway and 2020 presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg. 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 had a pretty good roar reading about the consternation ‘down ballot’ candidates are having, being on the same ticket as Senator Sanders in November. Were they out of the country and away from the news since 2016, and not realize that Bernie has been running ever since the DNC cooked the nomination process in favor of their eventual loser? They have learned nothing since allowing a non-member of their party to run for office; and now they must await the inevitable second cooking of the nomination process to assure Bernie’s out, and Mike (the common man… yeah, right) Bloomberg outspends them all while riding a bus to Milwaukee. Or… they’re all replaced by a mystery candidate yet to be determined (but I’m sure the DNC is working on it as we speak) who will try to rally the masses. But to answer your question Chris… NO! There just ain’t enough popcorn for this show.” – James W. Herzog, Spartanburg, S.C.

[Ed. note: Don’t get too cocky, Mr. Herzog! This time four years ago the Republicans were a shambolic mess and Democrats were gleefully gloating about exactly the same things. It sure didn’t turn out the way the gleeful gloaters predicted. We know precious little about how things will look by the time the parties’ conventions have ended 27 weeks from now. Don’t let your popcorn get stale along the way!]

“Don’t you just hate when a headline says one thing and then at the very end of the story you find that the point is something else entirely? For example: ‘Social media junkies less likely to accept election results’ [from Wednesday’s Halftime Report] versus the conclusion: ‘…Americans who get most of their political news on social media display less confidence in the public’s acceptance of election results….’ So it’s not that the social media junkies are less likely to accept the results, as the headline alleges. It’s that they harbor doubts whether others will. Or is the headline correct and the article writer just lacking a talent for clarity? Or am I the only one who cares about headline and story agreement?” – Dave Riley, Kasilof, Alaska

[Ed. note: Certainly our headline could have been better, Mr. Riley. That’s a good point and I’m glad you made us aware. I might split a hair or two on your characterization of “something else entirely.” The point of the study is that social media habitués have a dimmer view about the legitimacy of future elections because the public, of which they are a part, will not accept them. Consumers of political news outside the fever swamps, however, are more confident that the results will stand. It may be that Twitter-addled respondents were thinking about their political enemies or themselves, though. So we would have been better to have made that clear in the headline.]  

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

BAD HABITS CATCH UP WITH YOU
The Guardian: “An Italian woman evaded arrest for two years by posing as a nun and hiding out in convents in northern Italy, police said this week. In a story reminiscent of the 1990s British comedy Nuns on the Run, the 47-year-old was convicted of fraud by a court in Sicily in late 2017 and sentenced in absentia to two years in prison. An arrest warrant was issued, but the woman fled the island, covered her tracks and made her way to the other end of Italy, where she found refuge by pretending to be a nun in search of hospitality in the northern regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. According to investigators who questioned some of the duped nuns, the woman phoned the convents pretending to be a ‘sister looking for help and claiming she was severely ill.’ … However, last week her luck ran out when a nun from a Benedictine convent in Gallarate in Lombardy’s Varese province grew suspicious about her identity and phoned the police.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The cliché is that if you’ve infuriated both sides, it means you must be doing something right. Sometimes, however, it means you must be doing everything wrong.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on May 11, 2017.

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.