The Note: Biden caves to new political realities

The polling frontrunner is behind the curve and bending all the same.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It was a position former Vice President Joe Biden held for decades in public life -- part of the "middle-of-the-road position on abortion" he bragged about in the book he wrote at the start of his last campaign for president in 2008.

That's gone now, just 24 hours after his campaign offered a pretzel of an explanation of why he continued to support the Hyde Amendment, the longstanding prohibition on using federal dollars for abortions.

"Circumstances have changed," Biden said on Thursday night, as he explained why he was flipping on the issue.

Biden blamed abortion opponents for making it so that current policies disproportionately impacted minorities and disadvantaged women.

But Biden caved amid a shift inside the Democratic Party -- on abortion rights in this case, but also on a range of social justice and women's rights policies that are shaping the campaign.

So far, Biden has prided himself on conducting this race at his own pace and on his own terms. That includes at least an implicit suggestion that "Twitter Democrats" and a quick-to-condemn left do not form the core of the modern party.

Yet in this case, the polling frontrunner is behind the curve and bending all the same.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The Iowa Democratic Party will host nearly all of the 2020 candidates this weekend at an annual Hall of Fame dinner.

Call it what you will -- a parade, a cattle-call -- it is powerful when multiple candidates appear and make their pitches back to back to back.

Plus, reporters, cameras and campaigns swiveling to the swing state serves as a reminder that as much as things change, they also stay the same.

Yes, this year has a diverse slate of Democratic candidates. Yes, voter demographics will be different nationwide. Yes, Super Tuesday will include California and the first ballot at the Democratic convention will not include super-delegates. But Iowa, the first state to hold its caucus next year, still matters a whole lot and the candidates know it.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar celebrated an endorsement from an Iowa state representative this week.

Marianne Williamson signed a lease on a condo in Des Moines, and, according to her staff, moved "her stuff" to the state capital earlier this spring.

"It's been about showing her commitment to the Iowa caucuses," Williamson's state director said. "The Iowa caucuses are one of the last bastions of personal democracy. She agrees with that. We want to support the caucuses."

The TIP with Zohreen Shah

Chasten Buttigieg, 29, and Doug Emhoff, 54, are part of an exclusive group: husbands of top-tier presidential candidates. It's a rare club for men because in American history, few have made it. And these two members have bonded, their friendship appearing to have started when Emhoff publicly complemented Buttigieg on his "spouse Twitter game."

"One of the really cool things about this process is meeting the other spouses," said Emhoff, who is married to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. "Chasten and I had already been going back and forth with each other by DM, and we got along great."

The budding bromance blossomed when they met backstage at a CNN town hall and they've stayed in touch since: "We tweet back and forth and share pictures from the trail, because it's important that voters get to see the people Kamala and Pete are and, hopefully, come to love them (almost) as much as we do," Emhoff said of South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg's husband.

This weekend, they'll meet again when they speak at a Florida Democratic Party event. They've already publicly brainstormed which song should play when they walk on stage. But after that music fades, they'll be representing their partners as they each vie to be the very first man of the United States.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast Friday morning's episode features ABC News' Trish Turner, who brings us the latest on the tariff negotiations between the Trump administration and Mexico and explains why the president may be tangling with Congress on a number of fronts as he returns from Europe.


  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart Shannon, Ireland and arrive at the White House at 4:45 p.m. Friday
  • Sunday on "This Week": ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., participate in a Political Party Live Podcast.
  • Sanders participates in town hall meetings on Saturday and holds a march with McDonald's Workers Union Action Sunday.
  • Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sanders, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Cory Booker participate in the Capital City Pride Fest in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday.
  • Inslee joins Iowa Sen. Rob Hogg to discuss his climate change mission agenda on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper holds events across Iowa and unveils his rural Iowa policy platform before speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual celebration.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg makes several stops in Iowa over the weekend, including a small business tour with Mason City's Mayor Bill Schickel on Saturday.
  • Delaney participates in a 2020 Book Club event in Des Moines, Iowa Friday and travels to Orlando, Florida, to speak at the Florida Democratic Party Leadership Blue Gala on Saturday.
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock hosts meet and greets to discuss the importance of preserving access to health care and education in rural Iowa.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., hosts a women's meet-and-greet event in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday and delivers the keynote speech at the Alabama Democratic Conference Luncheon on Sunday in Montgomery.
  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers the commencement speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., travels to Hollis, New Hampshire for meet-and-greet events.
  • Hickenlooper, O'Rourke, Sanders, Delaney, Gillibrand, Buttigieg, Inslee, Booker, Bullock, Harris, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Andrew Yang, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in the 2019 Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame dinner Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
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