The TAKE with Rick Klein
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When the name-calling fades and this moment passes, it may be the insults not delivered that have the most resonance inside the Democratic primary.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has now unleashed a torrent of criticism at President Donald Trump. In an Iowa trip that wraps up on Wednesday, Biden has called the president an "existential threat to America" who is "shredding" the nation's values and "damaging" the country.
But he was virtually silent on the Republican Party at large. Earlier in the week, Biden expressed confidence that "you're going to begin to see things change" with Republicans when Trump is off the national stage.
"These folks know better," he said at a fundraiser.
And on Tuesday, he pushed back at the notion that you need wholesale change in the type of people who lead.
"Guess what?" he told reporters after a campaign event in Iowa. "The system worked pretty damn well. It's called the Constitution. It says you have to get a consensus to get anything done."
Suffice it to say that such confidence in the GOP reverting to pre-Trump form is not shared widely among Biden's rivals. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted, "What's next? Expecting Toronto fans to cheer for the Warriors in Game 6?"
This may be an example of Biden, with his proud history of cutting bipartisan deals, staying true to himself. To a generation of Democrats disillusioned by goals not realized in the Obama-Biden era, such truth could sting.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Nothing motivates Congress like a deadline. Sometimes the institution only seems to work when under the threat of a ticking clock.
Comedian and activist Jon Stewart reminded the body of this on Tuesday during emotional testimony in the House of Representatives.
The September 11th Victims' Compensation Fund supports ailing first responders who worked at Ground Zero after the deadly terrorist attacks and some of their dependents. Several law enforcement officers, firefighters and health workers have suffered from a variety of medical problems in the nearly two decades since the towers fell. The fund helps cover medical costs, but it's set to run out of money in December 2020 after it saw an explosion of claims in the last few years. The House is moving forward this week on legislation to permanently authorize funding.
In the Senate, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said that he was optimistic the bipartisan issue would be handled. If not, he said it would be cruel.
When asked on Tuesday about Stewart's activism on the Hill, Senate Majority Leader MitchMcConnell said, "Gosh," adding that he had not looked at the issue lately, promising he'd evaluate it closely and "assumed" it would be dealt with.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
Some last-minute drama is dovetailing with Wednesday's deadline to qualify for the first debates, as Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's chances of appearing on the stage in Miami at the end of this month hinge on -- at least -- one more poll.
Hours before the deadline, Monmouth University is releasing the first 2020 poll out of Nevada, another western state, which counts for the debates -- giving Bullock a chance to prove his strength in a critical early voting state.
The first debates will be an opportunity for Democrats to break out from among the 20 contenders who have clinched a spot either by crossing the polling and/or grassroots thresholds. Only three remain on the sidelines: Bullock, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam. Bullock's quest to land on the debate stage saw a major setback last week, when the Democratic National Committee announced that two ABC News/Washington Post polls -- one of which qualified Bullock for the first debates -- would no longer be eligible polls. He has already received 1% in two qualifying polls.
While the door remains open for the popular red state governor to become the 21st qualifier and surpass the DNC's self-imposed 20-participant cap, it could potentially set up a high-stakes scenario for the DNC if 21 candidates qualify, and one will have to be cut.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce, who checks in from Iowa after Trump and Joe Biden spent time in the key 2020 state. Then ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz tells us more about Kim Jong Un's half-brother, who reportedly was working as a CIA informant before he was killed. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. George Will joins ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on the podcast to talk about baseball and books, highlighting his newest, "The Conservative Sensibility." https://bit.ly/2w091jE
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