The Note: Sanders hospitalization a setback at the worst time
His campaign surrogates worked hard to downplay the episode.
The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks
Regardless of how he recovers physically, it is hard to see how Sen. Bernie Sanders recovers politically from his hospitalization in Nevada this week.
His campaign surrogates worked hard overnight to downplay the episode.
"Bernie Sanders is a fighter," Rep. Ro Khanna wrote. And that is true.
Over the years, Sanders' has proven himself to be a strong, athletic man capable of three or four mega-campaign events a day -- which include hour-long speeches from him.
That pace and energy was his best retort when critics questioned his age, but that number -- 78 -- just came crashing back into the headlines.
His campaign cannot say for sure when he will be back on the trail and that uncertainty is a major blow. There is no easy or clear campaign response to something this unpredictable. A doctor's note prolongs the story and ignoring facts could look like a lack of transparency. And then there's the fact that voters know President Donald Trump likes to go after any perceived weakness. Last time he lobbed low-blows about Hillary Clinton's health.
He is the oldest candidate in a race with a lot of talk about the prospects of generational change. This moment could raise questions for former Vice President Joe Biden too, but it could not have come at a worse time for the Sanders campaign. With Sen. Elizabeth Warren surging in the polls, Sanders needed to win over new voters and that just got a whole lot harder.
The RUNDOWN with Rick Klein
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday that Trump is "scared" of the House impeachment inquiry.
But the concern among some Trump loyalists isn't that Trump is scared. It's that he's not.
In private and in public, the president is acting like someone who is convinced that he did nothing wrong. He continues to cite the White House record of his conversation with the Ukrainian president as evidence that how he acted was "perfect," while trotting out a contention that the complaint against him is a "hoax."
Trump said of Pelosi on Wednesday, "She hands out subpoenas like they're cookies."
In response to those subpoenas, the treats the president is dishing back are insults and unfounded accusations about Democrats and the whistleblower. It makes for muddier water, but might provide more clarity for Democrats as they pursue a stepped-up timetable for impeachment.
"I always cooperate," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
As the president ratchets up his anti-impeachment rhetoric against House Democrats, his campaign is following suit, using its massive fundraising war chest of now over $156 million to amplify the Trump's incendiary comments that Democrats are working to overthrow the government.
The Trump campaign launched a new ad on Wednesday blasting the impeachment inquiry as a "coup," borrowing the word from the president's twitter feed which sparked controversy earlier in the week. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted shortly before the ad's release that Democrats we're "trying to overthrow our government with a coup."
For months, the president's campaign and the Republican National Committee have worked in lockstep to drive big fundraising numbers -- pulling in $125 million in a third quarter fundraising haul with more than $308 million in the bank already this year. With a possible impeachment looming during a pivotal time ahead of the election, it will be a test to see if the funds help their message stick with voters.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.Thursday morning's episode features ABC News' Trish Turner and John Santucci who discuss how President Donald Trump is responding to the ongoing impeachment inquiry and how House SpeakerNancy Pelosi is mapping out the next few months. Then, ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks explains why Sen. Bernie Sanders' health scare could reshape the entire 2020 race. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said he would be surprised if the impeachment inquiry didn't end with a vote on articles, opening the door for a formal vote to impeach President Donald Trump. He told ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast that while he, along with other House Democrats, believe the impeachment inquiry could be finished as early as Thanksgiving, the ideal goal is to have it wrapped before the Iowa caucuses in February. http://apple.co/2Zfz5nD
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