The TAKE with Rick Klein
Michael Bloomberg's problem is the same as his promise: He's a general-election candidate in a primary-campaign world.
The former New York City mayor's solution would be, in part, to short-circuit the early primary process and wait until the Democratic race goes national. There's no guarantee that Democrats want what he's offering -- or that the race will still be competitive by the time voters get a chance to choose his potential message.
As Bloomberg hits more filing deadlines this week -- the next step is getting his name on the ballot in Arkansas on Monday -- his intention to not contest the first four states would be a bet on the Democratic Party's inability to sort out its divisions cleanly.
Getting in late -- think Wesley Clark, Fred Thompson and Rick Perry -- has seldom worked in the modern era. Nor has skipping early contests, as Bloomberg's predecessor as mayor, Rudy Giuliani, can attest.
There are few factors arguing that this time might be different. Bloomberg combines pragmatic centrism with pockets deeper than any candidate -- including President Donald Trump -- has brought to a campaign.
As Bloomberg nears a final decision, it comes with the knowledge that he's not necessarily the candidate his adopted party is craving in 2019 and 2020.
In the short term, at least, he plays into the party's divisions more than offering quick solutions that get Democrats closer to their ultimate goal: defeating Trump.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
With 84 days until the first votes of the 2020 primary season are cast, the number of Democrats in the running remains in the double digits, and some are growing increasingly sharp-elbowed as they wait for the field to narrow.
One candidate facing scrutiny is South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who reportedly "annoys" his rivals, according to a New York Times story published over the weekend. On the trail in New Hampshire, Buttigieg brushed off questions about other candidates being "triggered" by the attention he's receiving, but the sentiment seemed to linger.
When Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who was cited in the Times story, was asked if she thought Buttigieg was qualified to be president, she said a woman with his level of experience wouldn't make it on the debate stage.
"Of the women on the stage -- I'm focusing here on my fellow women senators, Sen. Harris, Sen. Warren and myself -- do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don't," Klobuchar said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Maybe we're held to a different standard."
Buttigieg isn't alone. Another -- former -- mayor is facing an outpouring of backlash, too. As Bloomberg gets his political ducks in a row this week, he'll also have to fend off criticism from rivals accusing him of using his money to skip ahead in the primary process.
But unlike Buttigieg, who still has two opportunities to take on all of his rivals on the debate stage this year, Bloomberg is still working out the hypotheticals of his run and won't have the same chance to hash out differences until next year -- if at all.
The TIP with Christopher Donato
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., made her first trip to Iowa this past weekend, campaigning with Sen. Bernie Sanders. The pair sat down exclusively with ABC News and discussed their admiration for the each other.
Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News' Rachel Scott that she has personally "admired the senator's leadership," which led to her endorsement of Sanders' presidential bid.
She said she ended up making the endorsement over his progressive rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren because Sanders' "history and commitment is unique." She said that Sanders has always remained committed to certain issues.
The independent senator from Vermont also expressed his admiration for the congresswoman, joking that he didn't want her to hear it because her "head will explode," prompting Ocasio-Cortez to laugh. Sanders added the he didn't know "of any person … who in the course of less than one year … has had more of an impact on American politics as a freshman member of congress than she has," adding that she's "an inspiration."
While Ocasio-Cortez is too young to be a vice presidential contender, Sanders wouldn't rule out Ocasio-Cortez having a cabinet position, saying that "she will play a very, very important role, no question, in one way or the other."
ONE MORE THING
As the impeachment inquiry continues in Washington, prosecutors in New York are quietly continuing to investigate Rudy Giuliani, sources told ABC News. Pierre Thomas, Aaron Katersky and Jack Date have the very latest.
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Monday morning's episode features a preview of the first public impeachment hearings with ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran. Then ABC News' Rachel Scott talks about the state of the Democratic presidential primary and her interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.