The Note: Bernie Sanders Steps Out

VIDEO: New Candidate Believes He Can Beat Hillary Clinton
WATCH Bernie Sanders Believes He Can Beat Hillary Clinton


--BERNIE'S BIG DAY: Vermont senator and Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders will hold a campaign kick-off event in Vermont this evening. "My hometown of Burlington and the people of Vermont have a special place in my heart," Sanders said in a statement. "There is nowhere else in the world where I would hold an event this important." According to his campaign, the event will feature free Ben and Jerry's ice cream and music by Mango Jam, the Vermont Zydeco/Cajun band. But along with the ice cream, Sanders, who describes himself as a "democratic socialist," will also be serving up some big ideas this week too. "The formal kickoff will set the stage for the campaign to come. I will lay out an 'Agenda for America' which addresses the major crises we face and a vision of a government which works for all of our people and not just the billionaire class," the senator said. The White House hopeful plans to campaign in New Hampshire and Iowa this week.

--FLASHBACK -- BERNIE BELIEVES HE CAN BEAT HILLARY: When asked by ABC's JON KARL in a recent interview whether Hillary Clinton is "really beatable" in a Democratic primary, Sanders said: "I think so, I really do. I would not hesitate in telling you that I go into this as an underdog. But we're getting support from all over this country. We're not going to be raising $1 billion or $2 billion. I don't have wealthy sponsors, so to speak, but we will raise a lot of money online. My average contribution for the Senate was $45 and I think we'll have a whole lot of people saying, "the time is now, enough is enough, the billionaires have it all, they can't control the economy and they cannot control the United States government." WATCH:

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: It's fair to predict that Democrats won't have the debate-stage space crunch Republicans are spending the summer fretting about. But this is the week where Hillary Clinton meets her company, with Sen. Bernie Sanders officially launching his campaign on Tuesday in Vermont, and former Gov. Martin O'Malley expected to do the same Saturday in Baltimore. (The fact that they each have a location that makes as much sense for them to launch from tells you about one possibly important distinction between them and Clinton.) All the same, portraying this side of the campaign as anything like the Republican free-for-all is an inaccurate comparison. Clinton is the single frontrunner, on par with an incumbent president, or at least a vice president. Until or unless someone threatens to challenge that status, the Democratic campaign will be a push to shape her candidacy, not end it. Sanders and O'Malley are decently cast for those roles, and will surely tap in to Democrats' frustrations with President Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Whether either can be more than that is what we learn in the course of the long campaign.

--HAPPENING TODAY: The State Department is expected to file its schedule for releasing Hillary Clinton's emails as requested by a judge last week. A judge requested the department release them in batches every 60 days. Today, as ABC's CHRIS GOOD notes, we should find out when that will start.



BILL AND HILLARY MAKE FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE TOGETHER SINCE CAMPAIGN LAUNCH. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a short break from the campaign trail yesterday to participate in her favorite Memorial Day tradition: the annual New Castle Memorial Day Parade in Chappaqua, New York. Clinton, who loves the parade (like "really, really, really" loves it), was joined this year by her husband, Bill Clinton -- marking their first public appearance together since the announcement of her presidential campaign. The two arrived in Clinton's famous Scooby van just before 11 a.m., when the parade was scheduled to start, and were instantly swarmed by crowds of locals, young and old, clamoring for a moment with their town's most famous couple. Hillary Clinton has attended the parade nearly every single year since she and Bill Clinton moved into the town, about an hour north of New York City, in 1999 -- and it's something she does not like to miss no matter what, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ writes.

NOTED: NOW YOU CAN BUY A HILLARY CLINTON ONESIE AND PANTSUIT TEE. "H" swag is now officially for sale. Hillary for America launched its online store this morning for supporters to buy "everyday gear" -- sweatshirts, tee-shirts, mugs, pillows, signs, etc. -- to show support for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ notes. Many of the products they're selling have the "H" logo on them. Among the offerings: "The Everyday Pansuit Tee"; "The Trailblazer Tee"; (Reads: "...let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all."); "The Future Voter Onesie"; "Stitch by Stich Throwpillow": (Reads: "A Woman's place is in the White House"). According to the campaign, all of the products offered are 100 percent American made, and the people modeling the store items are all Hillary for America staff (one exception being the onesie, which is modeled by the baby of a staff member).

5 POWERFUL QUOTES FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA ON MEMORIAL DAY. President Obama honored the sacrifice of U.S. servicemen and women today at Arlington National Cemetery, the first Memorial Day observance where the country "is not engaged in a major ground war" and the 70th since the end of World War II, the president said. ABC's BEN SIEGEL and TOM THORNTON highlight five powerful moments from the president's speech.

JOE BIDEN TAKES SELFIES WITH VETS. Vice President Joe Biden spent his Memorial Day morning taking selfies with veterans before sending them off on their annual "Ride 2 Recovery" bike ride. Over 200 wounded war vets gathered at the VP's house this morning, along with Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, for a meet-and-greet and to take pictures before the vets embarked on the "UnitedHeathcare Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Day Challenge; a five-day, 360-mile rehabilitative ride from Washington, DC to Virginia Beach." Biden posed for dozens of photos with veterans, and even called a few veterans to thank them for their service, and to wish them a Happy Memorial Day, ABC's MICHELLE MANZIONE notes.


JOHN KASICH, RULING OUT VP RUN, SAYS "I DON'T PLAY FOR SECOND." Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich said he's "getting closer" to jumping into the 2016 race for the White House, but dismissed the idea of being a vice presidential candidate should he fail to secure the GOP nomination for president. "Forget it, Jon. I don't play for second," Kasich told ABC's JONATHAN KARL on "This Week." As he weighs whether to join an already-crowded Republican field for president, Kasich said he was "very optimistic" about his potential campaign, based on his recent visits to early primary states.


@reidepstein: Graham, Pataki, Santorum & Pataki to enter 2016 race in next 10 days, but don't look for them in debates

@matthewjdowd: time for more revolution than evolution in campaigns and life.

@jimrutenberg: If SCOTUS rules vs Obamacare we will all be referring to this @ropear story about how the law was drafted repeatedly

@Schultz44: a revealing look at the WH's work outside of DC MT: @gregorykorte To get around Congress, Obama turns to city halls;

@blakehounshell: Rand Paul says he's not being unreasonable and everything is cool with him and McConnell