The Note: Focus on Bloomberg could widen opening for Sanders

Iowa and New Hampshire didn't streamline the race. The week after hasn’t helped.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Iowa and New Hampshire didn't streamline the race. The week after hasn't helped, either.

Recent days have boosted the profile of a candidate who wasn't running in either of the first two states, and still won't be on the ballot for another two weeks.

All of the major Democratic candidates are anxious to take on Michael Bloomberg, at a moment that media scrutiny of his candidacy intensifies.

Tuesday morning brought a fourth poll in double-digits nationally for Bloomberg, earning him a ticket to Wednesday night’s debate in Nevada. It’s not clear who wanted him on stage more -- the former New York City mayor himself or the candidates who want to contrast themselves with him and his billions.

Among those tangling publicly with Bloomberg: Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose best-known lines are targeted at people with Bloomberg-level wealth.

But other than taking flak from Bloomberg -- whose campaign is actively calling out the so-called "Bernie Bros" for how they've treated candidates online -- Sanders is getting less attention from the other candidates than one might expect, given his finish in the first two states.

Sanders left Iowa and New Hampshire as a formidable candidate but also a potentially vulnerable one. He has the most votes so far and an army of supporters that can play anywhere, but also a huge chunk of Democratic primary voters looking for an alternative.

With the campaign going national soon, the clock may be ticking on attempts to block his road to a delegate lead. Bloomberg is playing for a middle that is crowded -- even for him.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver argued on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that a number of factors unique to this primary season made a brokered Democratic convention a "real possibility."

"Super Tuesday is just three days after South Carolina," he said. "So unless someone breaks into a commanding position before Super Tuesday, all those delegates could be split several different ways, making it hard for anyone to ever get a majority."

Several campaigns have hinted that they while they may not totally agree with Silver's assessment they are still making plans should he be right.

One strategy we may see: Candidates could start naming running mates to round out their proposed tickets. Such moves could curry favor with voters as well as party officials who will have an outsized say in the event that no one candidate secures a majority of the delegates allocated through the primary voting.

Speaking to the hosts of ABC's "The View" on Monday, one woman who has been at top of every Washington parlor-game list of veep contenders said she would, absolutely, take the job.

"Of course I want it. Of course I want to serve America. Of course I want to be a patriot and do this work," Georgia's Stacey Abrams said.

"I want to do good, and there is no stronger platform than president of the United States. And that's a position I want to one day hold," she added.

The TIP with Kendall Karson

Dueling narratives are emerging among Nevada Democrats just days before Saturday's caucuses. Hopeful state party officials and caucus site leaders have signaled that they are "ready to roll," while volunteers and precinct chairs running each site remain apprehensive towards the new procedures.

While the party is working around the clock to avoid the same fate as Iowa, volunteers' anxieties about the new reporting platform and having the manpower to match turnout -- as more than 26,000 caucusgoers have already voted early -- are becoming palpable. "I don't think it's a lack of organization I just think there aren't many volunteers, there's a lot of people like me who are very new to this process," Darla Veitch, a precinct chair in Clark County, told ABC News.

The state party rolled out a series of daily training webinars to help volunteers navigate the new reporting tool after they announced the replacement. One precinct chair who completed the training on Monday, Ruben Murillo, said he's now up to "85-90%" confident that "things will go well," before adding that he does remain concerned about the fact that during the training, "there was no actual way of going through and playing around with the calculator."

Despite the concerns, some Democrats remain adamant that Nevada won't be another Iowa. "Sometimes there are opportunities to make things more efficient but those opportunities, may not be the most reliable option. And that blew up in the face of Iowa Democrats," said Matthew DeFalco, a Democratic operative in the state and a site leader this cycle. "So, look, sometimes you gotta slow down, you gotta do things the right way, and in the end, that's the direction that we're going here."


Former national security adviser John Bolton, speaking out for the first time since the conclusion of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, discussed his upcoming book in front of an audience at Duke University Monday evening and expressed serious concerns about the White House review process that he claimed is holding up its publication.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Editorial producer John Santucci, who has the latest on the growing calls for Attorney General William Barr to resign in the wake of the revised Roger Stone sentencing recommendation. Then, ABC News Chief Medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton tells us what we need to know about the Americans who are in quarantine after being evacuated from the Japanese cruise ship infected with coronavirus.


  • Early voting continues in Nevada ahead of the state's caucuses on Saturday.
  • President Donald Trump travels to California and participates in a briefing with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and LA 2028 Organizers in Beverly Hills at 4:10 p.m., has a roundtable with supporters at 5:45 p.m. and speaks at a joint fundraising committee dinner at 6:15 p.m. He then travels to Las Vegas for the night.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at the National Domestic Workers Alliance Forum in Las Vegas at 10 a.m. (PST).
  • Tom Steyer speaks at the National Domestic Workers Alliance Forum in Las Vegas at 10:25 a.m. (PST). Later he participates in Black History Month Musical Flow at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas at 6 p.m.
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a fundraiser in Salt Lake City at 7:30 a.m. (PST). He then has a get-out-the-caucus town hall at the Durango Hills Community Center in Las Vegas at 10:45 a.m. Later he participates in the Black Law Students Association Presidential Forum at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas at 3 p.m.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has two get-out-the-early-vote rallies: at the University of Nevada-Reno at 11 a.m. (PST) and then at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, featuring performances by Miike Snow and Lykke Li, at 2:30 pm.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden has an early vote event, co-hosted by the AAPI Victory Fund, at Harbor Palace Seafood Restaurant in Las Vegas at 5:15 p.m. (PST).
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, has two town halls in Virginia: at Epicure Cafe in Fairfax at noon and at the Hofheimer Building in Richmond at 6 p.m.
  • Incumbent Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., debate for the first time ahead of the September primary election in Massachusetts at 7 p.m. The debate is hosted by WGBH News and airs on the WGBH website, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Buttigieg and Sanders each participate in a CNN town hall event in Las Vegas beginning at 8 p.m.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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