The Note: Biden brings focus to race -- and draws attacks

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16, May 7, 2019 in Henderson, Nev.PlayEthan Miller/Getty Images
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It's the biggest field of candidates in presidential primary history. But the race can already seem cozy at times.

Former Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up his first campaign visit to New Hampshire of the year, as the clear front-runner in the Democratic field and as its leading target as well.

Biden is now facing down attacks from both President Donald Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. His response to Ocasio-Cortez and her allies was defiant, if bordering on dismissive, as he defended his record on environmental issues.

PHOTO: From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib attend a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled The Trump Administrations Response to the Drug Crisis, Part II, on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images
From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib attend a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled "The Trump Administration's Response to the Drug Crisis, Part II," on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

"Everyone should calm down a bit," he said, adding, "she should look at my record."

Biden has now completed his first circuit of early-voting states in a low-key -- for Biden -- way. But he has made enough noise to force resets and recalibrations among even high-profile rivals.

The pre-announcement Biden buzz was about missed moments and confronting a long, and sometimes uncomfortable, history.

Yet a few weeks in, it's clear that Biden upended the race more than almost anyone thought would be possible.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

In Big Sky country, Montana's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is quick to talk about his love of the great outdoors and the threat climate change has posed to his state in terms of wildfires and more. But Bullock, so far, stops short of backing the most progressive and fastest-moving climate proposals offered by some of his Democratic rivals.

"I think coal, for the foreseeable future, is going to have a place in our country," he told reporters on the first day of his campaign. "We put somebody on the moon. Why can't we invest in technologies to decarbonize?"

PHOTO: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic presidential candidate, officially announces his campaign for president, May 14, 2019, at Helena High School in Helena, Mont. Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic presidential candidate, officially announces his campaign for president, May 14, 2019, at Helena High School in Helena, Mont.

Like with single-payer health care or abolishing the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the various proposals to tackle climate change and transition energy production will present a clear contrast between candidates in the crowded Democratic primary field. Progressives like Ocasio-Cortez will continue to force the issue as a potential litmus test.

Bullock, like other more moderate candidates, argues one of his priorities would be re-joining the Paris Climate Accord, the international agreement that set carbon emission reduction goals signed by President Barack Obama, but reneged on by Trump.

"We need to take significant action immediately to both mitigate the effects of fossil fuels and transition us to carbon neutral energy and that means rejoining the Paris Agreement, aggressive renewable energy and fuel efficiency standards, and significant investments in energy conservation and technology," he said in a statement late Tuesday night.

Bullock did not outright back Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal when asked about it Tuesday. In the past, he has suggested the timeframes proposed by other 2020 candidates for transitioning to 100% renewable energy production in the country might be too fast.

The TIP with Will Steakin

Where in the world is Howard Schultz? The former Starbucks CEO has recently stopped making public appearances in key states and has all but disappeared from social media, including no longer running ads on Facebook, where he's promoted the idea that voters "don't have to choose sides to be on our side."

PHOTO: Howard Schultz speaks at a Barnes and Noble bookstore about his new book From the Ground Up, Jan. 28, 2019, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Howard Schultz speaks at a Barnes and Noble bookstore about his new book "From the Ground Up," Jan. 28, 2019, in New York City.

But while the initial media blitz has stalled, those close to the former Starbucks CEO who's been flirting with an independent presidential run since January said "nothing has changed" for the centrist billionaire -- he's just recovering from back surgery.

"He's still actively considering a run," Schultz spokesperson Erin McPike told ABC News.

And regarding Schultz's recent lag in Twitter and Instagram activity, his team said social media is "always an experiment," reassuring he will be "back up soon" spreading his both-parties-are-to-blame message.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on President Donald Trump's message to Iran: "This is all about warning Iran to behave." Then ABC News Senior Transportation Correspondent David Kerley previews the House Transportation subcommittee hearing on the grounded Boeing 737 Max. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Following his New York City rally at Washington Square Park on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast https://apple.co/2Zfz5nD

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the 38th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Capitol. He has a closed meeting with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Oval Office at 2:45 p.m. Trump and first lady Melania Trump host the White House Historical Association Dinner at 7 p.m.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., will travel to Davenport, Iowa, to meet elected leaders, community members and tour flood-damaged areas.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., hosts a town hall in New Hampshire where she will discuss topics that include teacher pay and gun control at 9:30 a.m.

    Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive it every weekday.

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