The Note: Middle stirs to life as Warren gets new scrutiny

Joe Biden suddenly has some allies and Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the most heat.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Joe Biden suddenly has some allies.

It wasn't just that the Democratic candidates for president rallied to the former vice president's defense against attacks from President Donald Trump Tuesday night. It's that a center that's been either sidelined or mostly silent stirred to life in Ohio.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren took -- by far -- the most heat from her rivals, even if it mostly came on issues that have played out before.

The scrutiny is a measure of Warren's newfound status as a front-runner, if not the front-runner, in the race. And Warren largely held her own, even while being double- and triple-teamed.

But it also means that a potentially rejuvenated Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar -- two Midwesterners -- as well as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke are now arguing for some of the same practicalities that Biden has been criticized for in the past.

A new dynamic is at play that could color the fall campaign. Despite Trump's intense criticism of Biden, the former vice president's rivals aren't picking up on the arguments the president wants them to engage in.

Instead, it could be Warren whose policies -- yes, her plans -- get additional attention. If this race comes down to Biden-Warren, neither will be fighting alone in the near term.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Sen. Bernie Sanders came into Tuesday night's debate with a lot to prove two weeks after suffering a heart attack, but he left the debate stage with some wind at his back and a strong plug for his upcoming New York City rally.

The senator's team told reporters that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., would be his special guest this Saturday and that she planned to endorse him.

As the debate wrapped, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., put out a statement endorsing the 78-year-old senator herself.

"Bernie is leading a working class movement to defeat Donald Trump that transcends generation, ethnicity, and geography," Omar wrote in her statement.

Big picture: Having some young, progressive energy from those two congresswomen could be a boon for the senator as he continues to both make his pitch broadly and hone his lines against Warren.

During the debate Warren repeatedly said, "Bernie and I," when laying out her plans -- perhaps in an attempt to remind progressive voters and fans of Sanders that she is close to the senator and his so-called "political revolution."

Sanders' team in the spin room, unsurprisingly, scoffed when asked about how she used that line over and over. They are nowhere near ready to cede the movement they credit him with building.

The TIP with Soo Rin Kim

New campaign disclosure reports -- filed while the 12 Democrats were on the debate stage in Ohio -- shed light on Trump's massive fundraising vehicles that have allowed him and the Republican Party to bring in a record-breaking $125 million for his re-election effort.

Some of the most generous checks for the president have come through Trump Victory, a big-dollar joint fundraising committee between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, that can accept as much as $360,600 per person.

Among those that have helped raise money for Trump Victory are two Trump aides-turned-Washington lobbyists. Brian Ballard bundled a total of $295,000 for the committee and Mark Osborne bundled $360,000 for the committee, according to the disclosure report filed to the Federal Election Commission.

And many of Trump's loyal wealthy donors have continued to drop big checks in the last three months. They include: $360,600 from billionaire financier and longtime friend Tom Barrack, who oversaw then-president-elect Trump's $107 million inaugural committee back in 2017, and $305,000 each from Iranian-American businessman Hushang Ansary and his wife Shahla Ansary, who together had donated $2 million to the inaugural committee. Other top donors to Trump Victory include U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco Jamie McCourt, coal mining mogul Robert Murray and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Editorial producer John Santucci who explains why President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani says he will not comply with any congressional subpoenas. Then, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein recaps the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night in Ohio.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. On Wednesday's episode, ABC News' "Start Here" host Brad Mielke and Political Director Rick Klein speak to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee and a former presidential candidate.


  • Chelsea Clinton guest co-hosts ABC's "The View" airing at 11 a.m.
  • President Donald Trump participates in the arrival of Italy's President Sergio Mattarella at the South Portico of the White House at 10:15 a.m. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Mattarella at 10:25 a.m. and then an expanded bilateral meeting at 11:05 a.m. They have a joint press conference at noon. Trump then has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 12:45 p.m. He meets with congressional leadership in a cabinet room at 3 p.m. Later, Trump delivers remarks at a reception in honor of Italy in the East Room at 6:30 p.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo travel to Turkey in the evening.
  • Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to Pompeo, is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed meeting on Capitol Hill.
  • Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford sets off on a week-long trip through 11 states titled, "Kids, We're Bankrupt and We Didn't Even Know It" from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. He's expected to make stops in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday.
  • Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., attends a small businesses and jobs event with the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce at Halligan Tavern in Derry, New Hampshire, at 8:30 a.m. (CDT) He then attends a health care event in New Boston at 4 p.m. Later he attends a town meeting organized by local Democrats at Baker Free Library in Bow at 7 p.m.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., participates in the Community College System of New Hampshire Presidential Forum at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at 1 p.m. He then has a meet-and-greet event hosted by Billy Shaheen at the Law Offices of Shaheen & Gordon in Dover at 3 p.m. Later he has a meet-and-greet event at Flight Coffee at 4:15 p.m. ​in Dover.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn., drops by a U.S. politics class at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, at 2 p.m. She then tours the Claremont Center for Recovery Resources in Claremont at 4 p.m. She has a town hall with local residents at the Londonderry Senior Center in Londonderry at 6:30 p.m. Later she stops at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester at 8:15 p.m.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden hosts a community event at the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa, at 4 p.m. (CDT)
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg attends a health care roundtable on drug pricing in Iowa at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) He then has a town hall at the Scheman Building in Ames at 6:30 p.m.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has a conversation and tour for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Wendt Regional Cancer Center in Dubuque, Iowa, at 4:40 p.m. She then has a town hall at 7 Hills Event Center at Dubuque at 6:30 p.m.
  • Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., hosts a "West Des Moines House Party" in West Des Moines, Iowa, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (CDT)
  • Hillary Clinton hosts a private dinner fundraiser at her Washington home, as a reception following the Democratic National Committee's annual Women's Leadership Forum.
  • Voter Protection Corps, a new group led by election law professionals and political strategists, launches Wednesday to catalog and analyze past voter suppression efforts, identify potential new ways the vote may be undercut in 2020, and "chart a game plan for addressing those issues in real time."
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