**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**On the roster: Less than half of Dem field move on to third debate - I’ll Tell You What: Poll-apalooza – Trump digs in on China trade war – Bishop, McCready clash in N.C. special election debate – Cultured art LESS THAN HALF OF DEM FIELD MOVE ON TO THIRD DEBATENBC News: “The deadline passed at midnight Wednesday for candidates to qualify for the next Democratic presidential debate and only 10 made it, narrowing the largest field in history to a more manageable size. Gone, for now at least, are the two-night debates of June and July, since everyone can fit on one stage, one night, for next month's debate in Houston. The only real suspense came in the form of billionaire Tom Steyer, who fell one poll short of qualifying even after spending nearly $12 million on advertising to boost his campaign. … While more than 20 candidates are staying in the race, fewer and fewer are staying relevant. Only three candidates are polling at double digits (Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders). Just five are averaging support above 2 percent (California Sen. Kamala Harris; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang). Everyone else has just around 1 percent or less in polling averages.”What didn’t work out for Gillibrand – FiveThirtyEight: “It’s not hard to see why [Kirsten] Gillibrand dropped out — the writing was on the wall. … In the end, Gillibrand just couldn’t convince women voters — or most voters for that matter — that she was their candidate. But why her candidacy never picked up steam was always a little bit of a mystery. … On paper, though, Gillibrand’s campaign didn’t seem especially quixotic. She was on the national stage for more than a decade before throwing her hat in the ring, and established herself as a strong advocate for women’s rights issues such as paid family leave and sexual assault in the military. … So Gillibrand’s biggest problem may have simply been that there wasn’t a clear base for her in the Democratic electorate — at least not one for which there wasn’t also fierce competition in the rest of the primary field.”Dem Party embraces nonreligious voters in new resolution – Fox News: “The Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution Saturday praising the values of ‘religiously unaffiliated’ Americans as the ‘largest religious group within the Democratic Party.’ The resolution, which was unanimously passed at the DNC's summer meeting on Aug. 24 in San Francisco, Calif., was championed by the Secular Coalition of America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of atheists, agnostics, and humanists on public policy. The group celebrated the DNC's move as the first time a major party ‘embraced American nonbelievers.’ ‘Religiously unaffiliated Americans overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,’ said the resolution, which adds they should advocate for ‘rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values.’”THE RULEBOOK: CHANGE WITH THE TIMES“It is time now to recollect that the powers were merely advisory and recommendatory; that they were so meant by the States, and so understood by the convention; and that the latter have accordingly planned and proposed a Constitution which is to be of no more consequence than the paper on which it is written, unless it be stamped with the approbation of those to whom it is addressed.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 40TIME OUT: THE ‘UNIQUELY AMERICAN’ GAMESports Illustrated: “Anniversaries are always a good time for list-making, and as the NFL kicks off its 100th season, The MMQB [Monday Morning Quarterback] and SI [Sports Illustrated] dive into the colorful, convoluted history of the league that now dominates the sports landscape. Over the last century, professional football has evolved from a slap-dash enterprise in a handful of mid-sized American towns … to the multibillion-dollar juggernaut that rules fall Sundays… How did the NFL get from there to here? There’s no one way to cover such an expansive and deep-seeded narrative, so The MMQB approached it from three angles: 100 figures who shaped the league, 100 objects that tell its story and 100 pictures that capture its essence. There will be familiar faces … and some significant people whose influence is evident but whose names are not. … The story of the NFL isn’t always pretty—no honest narrative can avoid the darker side—but it is uniquely American.”Flag on the play? - Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.SCOREBOARD Average approval: 41.4 percentAverage disapproval: 54.4 percentNet Score: -13 percentChange from one week ago: down 0.2 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.]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: POLL-APALOOZA This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the curious case of the Monmouth poll as an outlier, one debate night in Houston and President Trump’s 2020 strategy. Plus, Dana opens up the I'll Tell You What mailbag and Chris tackles trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERETRUMP DIGS IN ON CHINA TRADE WARFox News: “President Trump, in an extensive Fox News Radio interview Thursday with Brian Kilmeade, adamantly defended his handling of the trade war with China, arguing that controversial tariffs are his ‘primary’ tool for negotiations and that they are working. ‘They’re coming to the table,’ Trump said. … ‘China wants to make a deal,’ Trump said, noting the country is losing ‘millions and millions of jobs.’ … ‘China has been ripping us off for billions and billions of dollars like babies—Obama was ripped off, Bush and Clinton—I’m doing what had to be done,’ Trump said. … ‘I said to President Xi, who is a very strong leader—he’s got a lot of strength—get rid of this fentanyl. The fentanyl is part of our trade deal, whether people like it or not.’ Trump hinted that there were talks ‘at a different level’ with China slated for Thursday, and said there are more talks scheduled.”Mnuchin says meetings will happen, just not when – Bloomberg: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said U.S. trade officials expect Chinese negotiators to visit Washington, but wouldn’t say whether a previously planned September meeting would take place. ‘We continue to have conversations. We’re planning for them to come,’ Mnuchin said Wednesday in an interview, declining to say whether the September encounter would happen. Concern about prospects for a trade breakthrough weighed on markets on Thursday. Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.4% and most Asian equity indexes traded lower, while the yen advanced.”Republicans continue to worry about economy – Politico: “Republicans have sat patiently with President Donald Trump on his tariff roller-coaster ride with China. Now they’re starting to feel queasy. Trump argues his escalating trade war will force China to the table for a deal. But his ever-rising tariffs — and his market-rattling tweets — are increasingly alarming the GOP. ‘There’s no question that trade uncertainty is contributing to the slowdown,’ said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a leading free-trader. … But particularly as the global economy cools, key Republicans say new levies on almost all Chinese goods threaten to step on the president’s good news story: A growing economy, rising wages and low unemployment. And that could have outsize effects on Republicans’ tough task of defending the Senate and the White House in 2020.”The Judge’s Ruling: Where do Trump’s tariffs leave us? – This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why the president’s claims that China will pay his tariffs are nonsense: “…Trump has been willing to engage in the type of central economic planning that he once condemned by making it more costly for Chinese businesses to sell goods to their American counterparts and American consumers. And he has done so by imposing tariffs upon American purchasers. A tariff is a sales tax that, because it has not been enacted by Congress, as the Constitution requires of all federal taxes, is unconstitutional. … Tariffs are paid by the end-user – in this case, American consumers and investors whenever we buy a product that originated wholly or in part in China.” More here.BISHOP, MCCREADY CLASH IN N.C. SPECIAL ELECTION DEBATE [Raleigh] News & Observer: “The candidates hoping to claim North Carolina’s 9th District congressional race, a do-over after evidence of widespread election fraud last fall, clashed in a Wednesday night debate over the experience and the integrity they would take to Washington. Republican Dan Bishop, a state legislator and former Mecklenburg County commissioner who is backed by President Donald Trump, said his record in office has benefited North Carolina through lower taxes and tough stands on immigration. Democrat Dan McCready, who has never held office, referred to his service in the Marines and the jobs he’s created as a solar energy investor. McCready has put health care at the center of his campaign and claimed Bishop is backed by large pharmaceutical companies. Both repeatedly accused the other of lies and distortions in the hour-long, televised debate sponsored by WBTV and The Charlotte Observer. They took questions on immigration, gun control, trade tariffs, deficits and foreign influence on elections.”Biden endorses McCready – The Hill: “Former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 White House candidate, endorsed Dan McCready, the Democrat running for a House seat in North Carolina during an upcoming special election. ‘Dan McCready is precisely the kind of leader that North Carolina deserves: one who'll put country over party, who's brought jobs to his community, and who will protect coverage for those with preexisting conditions – not dismantle it to cut taxes for the rich,’ Biden said in a statement. … Biden's endorsement comes as President Trump is set to hold a rally in the district a day before the special House election.”McSally picks up primary challenger – KNXV: “Businessman Daniel McCarthy announced his intention to run against Martha McSally in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2020 during an interview with ABC15 [Wednesday]. It has been rumored for several months that the cosmetic company executive and Glendale resident would challenge the senator, who was appointed to the position by Governor Doug Ducey in December of last year to fill the seat vacated after the passing of Senator John McCain. McCarthy comes into the race against McSally with considerable personal resources as the co-founder of The Original Makeup Eraser company and is capable of putting tens of millions into the race according to a source close to the campaign.”PLAY-BY-PLAYJames Comey violated FBI policies with memos on Trump discussions, IG report says – Fox NewsDeSantis declares state of emergency in Florida as hurricane Dorian gains force – NPRAUDIBLE: COUNTRY FIRST “If you leave an administration, you owe some silence. When you leave an administration over clear policy differences, you need to give the people who are still there as much opportunity as possible to defend the country.” – General James Mattis, Trump’s former defense secretary, explaining his belief in the duty of silence during an interview with The Atlantic. Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.CULTURED ART CTV News: “A plate of macaroni and cheese that has been perplexing the community has been turned into an art installation. On Tuesday, a photo surfaced on Reddit showing the plate sitting on a steel road barrier near King and Water streets in downtown Kitchener [Ontario, Canada]. … So far, nobody's quite sure how it got there. The following day, another user posted a photo on Kitchener's [Reddit] page as an update: the macaroni and cheese was still there. Later that day, somebody decided to turn the plate into art. A museum-like name tag appeared on the light post nearest to the light. ‘Abandoned Snack (2019) Macaroni and sundried tomato on ceramic Unknown Artist.’ It's not clear whether the labeler was the same person who left the macaroni and cheese or not. Either way, the culprit doesn't seem that interested in getting their plate back.”AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“…Intelligence is a capacity so godlike, so protean that it must be contained and disciplined.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 29, 2011.Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.