The TAKE with Rick Klein
If South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was looking for a fight, he's found it.
And if progressives have been wondering what to make of the millennial Midwesterner, they're likely to get some answers, too.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted Buttigieg for pushing a "GOP talking point" in saying free public college shouldn't be available to wealthy families. A move to the center by the youngest presidential candidate was called out by the youngest congresswoman -- who happens to also be one of the most influential.
Ocasio-Cortez, who is backing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, knows what she's doing in raising alarms about the progressive credentials of Buttigieg. His rise in Iowa is a threat to the left every bit as much as it's a concern for former Vice President Joe Biden's candidacy.
Buttigieg advisers insist that a fight with AOC worries the Twitterverse more than it does caucus-goers. They're touting extra visibility for the TV ad that got Ocasio-Cortez to engage, where Buttigieg asserts, "I only want to make promises that we can keep."
"Everybody sort of has their turn in the barrel," he said as his bus tour got underway Saturday in Iowa.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
There was some notable bipartisan agreement on one aspect of the House impeachment process over the weekend. Two members of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Val Demings, D-Fla., and Tom McClintock, R-Calif., agreed that they thought having President Donald Trump or his lawyers participate in Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, as the rules permit, would be in the president's best interests.
Nonetheless, White House counsel informed the committee Sunday that they would not part take in the process.
"An invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process," counsel wrote in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.
The president will be at a NATO meeting Wednesday during the Judiciary Committee hearing.
Monday, House members will also be able to review a draft report from the Intelligence Committee on its findings and conclusions in the impeachment inquiry.
All told, it is set to be another busy week for Congress.
The TIP with Molly Nagle
Five stops down, 13 to go.
"I'm running to win, I'm not running to lose. I'm not running to come in third or fourth and fifth or anything like that, so I feel good about it," Biden told reporters Sunday morning.
Biden's tour has included some unannounced stops, allowing Biden to greet diner patrons, pick up some cough drops and grab a bite with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and wife Christie Vilsack, who joined Biden on the bus after recently endorsing the former vice president.
And while Biden still has five days in the state to win over support, he'll make a brief detour when he heads to Chicago for a fundraiser Monday night.
ONE MORE THING
The Democratic field was winnowed down again with two candidates falling by the wayside late Sunday and Monday. Joe Sestak, the former congressman from Pennsylvania, dropped out after drawing very limited attention. And then on Monday morning, the current governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, announced he was suspending his campaign. The governor made the first debate stage, but found little in the way of a following despite his pitch as a red-state Democrat who offered a more moderate alternative to several progressive candidates.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Foreign correspondent Ian Pannell, who explains why the weekend terror attack in London could have wide-ranging political ramifications. Then, ABC News' Katherine Faulders tells us what to look for as the House Intelligence committee report on Ukraine is released. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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