The Note: Bernie Sanders’ compliment from Trump and monster fundraising

PHOTO: Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a presidential campaign rally at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., June 7, 2016.PlayAFP/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Bernie Sanders raises $4M in 1st day of campaign

The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks

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In 2016, as the two men who were both trying to beat Hillary Clinton, it seemed then-candidate Donald Trump thought of Bernie Sanders as the enemy of my enemy, and, thus maybe, his friend.

It was fascinating though to see the president pay the senator from Vermont a compliment Tuesday in response to Sanders announcement that he was running for the Democratic nomination again, especially since the president has occasionally called Sanders "Crazy Bernie" and recently upped his anti-socialism rhetoric in an apparent jab at the senator.

“I like Bernie,” Trump said on Tuesday. “I wish Bernie well. It will be interesting to see how he does. I think what happened to Bernie maybe was not so nice. I think he was taken advantage of. He ran great four years ago, and he was not treated with respect by Clinton.”

PHOTO: Sen. Bernie Sanders announces that he is running for president in a video posted to YouTube on Feb. 19, 2019. Bernie Sanders/YouTube
Sen. Bernie Sanders announces that he is running for president in a video posted to YouTube on Feb. 19, 2019.

Obviously, if things go Sanders' way, he'll take on the president directly.

In 2016, Sanders pulled no punches against Trump and has not wavered since. Then and now, he's repeatedly called the president a racist, a pathological liar and a demagogue.

But make no mistake, it was not just a common rival that linked Sanders and Trump in the last go-around. Both also made the American worker a campaign focal point.

On bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, reworking trade deals and fighting powerful economic interests in this country, the two men could sound alike.

One thing that has definitely changed between 2016 and 2020: Sanders will get more attention and scrutiny for everything he says and how he says it.

The RUNDOWN with Adam Kelsey

Sanders' campaign launch Tuesday gave the Democratic primaries its highest-profile -- or at least its most-recognizable -- name yet. But the senator's substantial 2016 following is no guarantee of front-runner status this cycle.

It's unassailable that the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist's strength three years ago has pulled the party to the left, but the mass of his 2020 rivals who support his once-immoderate proposals, such as Medicare for all, free college tuition and an increase of the highest marginal tax rates, now provide issue voters with a greater diversity of choice. It's no longer a binary decision between the establishment Clinton and the outsider Sanders.

PHOTO: Sen. Bernie Sanders participates in a reenacted swearing-in with his wife Jane OÃ?Meara Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 3, 2013 in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILE
Sen. Bernie Sanders participates in a reenacted swearing-in with his wife Jane OÃ?Meara Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 3, 2013 in Washington.

While a few polls in the past few months have shown Sanders, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, at the top of the Democratic field, the electorate may be far more undecided than it seems. In a late-January ABC News/Washington Post poll with an open-ended query for Democrats about their 2020 support -- asked without a response-prompting candidate list -- only 44 percent responded with a name. Within that group, Sanders finished third with 4 percent, behind Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. Oddly, 4 percent also named Trump as their choice for the Democratic nominee.

All that being said, Sanders is leading in one metric: First-day fundraising. By the end of the day, the campaign reported donations totaling more than $4 million from 150,000 people in all 50 states, guaranteeing him a spot in June's first primary debate, which will provide him the chance to continue to pitch to the approximately 56 percent of Democrats without a preference.

In comparison, Harris raised $1.5 million on the day she announced her run.

The TIP with Molly Nagle

There was no mention of former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 plans at his conversation at Penn Biden Center Tuesday afternoon, but his comments on the current administration's policies could give telling insight into what could motivate him to run.

PHOTO: Former Vice president Joe Biden speaks at the University of Pennsylvania, Feb. 19, 2019, in Philadelphia. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Former Vice president Joe Biden speaks at the University of Pennsylvania, Feb. 19, 2019, in Philadelphia.

Biden, who hasn't been shy about criticizing the current administration, weighed in on the "hysteria" at the southern border and the Trump administration's immigration and asylum policies.

"It's about xenophobia," he said. "This is not healthy."

Biden also raised concerns about the cool reception Vice President Mike Pence received during his remarks on foreign policy at the Munich Security Conference Saturday, and the implications it could have for the U.S. globally.

"When he said 'I'm here on behalf of the President of the United States of America,' he got the exact same reaction I just got -- dead silence," Biden said to some laughter. "No, I'm serious -- this is worrisome. This isn't about Democrat or Republican. It really isn't. It was a deafening silence. The conclusion was that the United States cannot be counted on any longer."

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, who runs down the New York Times report about Trump and former acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker. Then, ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks explains why Sen. Bernie Sanders has a leg up as he begins his second run for the presidency. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" Podcast. Trump confidant Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, will be ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl's guest on the Powerhouse Politics podcast. Ruddy weighs in on all things Trump and whether there are leadership changes in store. https://apple.co/21V9721

FiveThirtyEight's "Politics" Podcast. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced Tuesday that he is running for president again. The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast team describes what his paths to both success and failure in the 2020 Democratic primary could look like. In a crowded field, it's possible he could rely on his bedrock of support from 2016. Winning with a broad coalition of Democratic voters might be a more difficult task. https://apple.co/2mKrhcF

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Presidential candidate and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, appears on ABC's "The View" at 11 a.m.
  • Trump will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 12:30 p.m. He will meet with and participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with the Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria at 1:50 p.m. and 2:10 p.m., respectively.
  • The North Carolina State Board of Elections continues its public evidentiary hearing into possible election fraud in the 2018 general election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District at 10 a.m. in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Editor's note: This story has been revised to reflect that, as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump called Bernie Sanders a derisive nickname.

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