The TAKE with Rick Klein
If you’re looking for a new front-runner in the Democratic race, you could do worse than the old front-runner. Just don’t call him old.
A confluence of forces have vaulted former Vice President Joe Biden back to a solid position as the national front-runner in a range of polls released Wednesday, along with strong standing in the Super Tuesday giants of California and Texas.
President Donald Trump has made him the main focus of his attacks even as impeachment draws closer. Biden is also the potential beneficiary of recent scrutiny on Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- as well as Sen. Kamala Harris’ exit from the race, since that eliminated a potential major rival in South Carolina.
And Biden’s standing wasn’t shaken by the late entries of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Gov. Deval Patrick. Both candidacies were viewed as statements on Biden’s viability, or lack thereof.
One-term pledge or not -- and the answer is a definitive no, at least for now -- the concept that it would stabilize the country is a potentially powerful one for Biden.
His campaign wants to project steadiness. His poll numbers are nothing if not steady.
The RUNDOWN with Kendall Karson
Michael Bloomberg's attempts to define himself as a pragmatic alternative to the rest of the Democratic field are often thwarted by the heightened scrutiny that comes with becoming a presidential candidate, as he first has to dance around questions about his past, particularly his longstanding support for "stop-and-frisk" policing.
"We tried a lot of things; my whole focus was on reducing the murder rate, in looking back and certainly in the third term, I think it got out of hand," he conceded on Wednesday during a stop in California, one of the 16 Super Tuesday states and territories he is betting his presidency on. "Maybe I should have paid more attention, but it got out of hand when we realized that it was too much. ... And then I said, 'Look I made a mistake,' and apologized for it."
As Bloomberg referenced his rare apology -- which came a week before he announced a bid for the nation's highest office and was a stunning reversal for the former mayor who vigorously defended the policy throughout his tenure -- he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Stockton, California, Mayor Michael Tubbs, a young African American and rising Democratic star, who stepped in to defend the presidential contender as he was peppered with questions from reporters about "stop and frisk.”
"I think a leader is one who apologizes," Tubbs said, after Bloomberg scored his endorsement.
But even when he drops $10 million for vulnerable House Democrats to help them compete against a slew of GOP-backed anti-impeachment ads, shifting the focus off himself, Bloomberg is still being dogged by the ghosts of his mayoral past. It appears his unconventional pursuit of the party’s presidential nomination is left more reliant on his massive $100 million TV ad buy -- where he gets up to 60 seconds of unfettered time to frame his candidacy.
Two members of the so-called "squad,” Reps. Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley will be hitting the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Friday trying to sway young voters for two candidates over 70.
The progressive congresswomen of color are lending their political capital to support progressive 2020 hopefuls.
Omar has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders while Pressley has endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and is a co-chair for Warren’s campaign.
Omar will attend a town hall with Sanders in Manchester and cohost a rally in Nashua.
They’ll both bring their sway to young Democrats on Friday. Pressley will speak on behalf of Warren at the New Hampshire Young Democrats Granite Slate Awards. Omar will join Sanders when he, too, speaks at the awards in Manchester.
It’s the first trip to the Granite State for both members of the squad, a group that includes Sanders-endorser Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well. Pressley’s visit comes as Warren has seen a dip in the polls; in a Quinnipiac poll released earlier this week, Warren received 15% from voters, down from 28% on October.
ONE MORE THING
Gearing up for an impeachment trial in the Senate, President Donald Trump and his top advisers are considering expanding his legal team and bringing on controversial attorney and professor Alan Dershowitz, multiple sources told ABC News. Dershowitz attended an event Wednesday at the White House and was asked to speak briefly by the president ahead of signing an executive order on anti-Semitism.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning’s episode features ABC News' Aaron Katersky, who tells us why officials in Jersey City are labeling Tuesday’s shooting attack a hate crime. Then, editor-in-chief of The Forward Jodi Rudoren explains Trump’s executive order aimed at combating anti-Semitism on college campuses. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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