The Note: Warren stays in center of Democratic fights

For a candidate of the left, Elizabeth Warren sure seems like a central figure.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

For a candidate of the left, she sure seems like a central figure.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues to define the Democratic primary race. She’s tangling with billionaires and her fellow frontrunners -- and the possibility that she will win the nomination is now contributing to the expansion of the 2020 field itself.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick -- her friend, ally and fellow Bay Stater -- is now in the race, warning about both “nostalgia” for the old days of politics and the vision that it’s “our way -- our big idea or no way.”

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg could be right behind him. Some of his fellow billionaires, meanwhile, are blasting Warren as “disgraceful” and “the worst in politicians”; former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted a snarky insult, “Maybe tribalism is just in her DNA.”

With the next debate less than a week away, former Vice President Joe Biden’s public sparring with Warren continues, while Sen. Bernie Sanders lays groundwork for his own distinctions to arise. The leader in one new poll in Iowa this week, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has been positioning himself against Warren for weeks to get to that point.

“It’s possible to be competitors without being enemies,” Patrick told ABC News’ Whit Johnson on Thursday in New Hampshire.

The stretch ahead will test that proposition. Warren continues to occupy the center of gravity in the race -- a source that alternately energizes and terrifies Democrats.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told his colleagues on Thursday that they were “complicit” in gun violence if they failed to act and refused to legislate.

He was on the Senate floor urging his Republican colleagues to bring up a gun safety bill for a vote that passed in the House but has been sitting still in the Senate, when -- mid-sentence -- he was handed a note informing him of yet another school shooting.

"How can we turn the other way? How can we refuse to see that shooting in real time, demanding our attention?" he asked, frustrated with the continuous circle of finger-pointing between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr acknowledged that a legislative package seeking to address the nation’s gun violence crisis has been sitting in the White House and at the feet of Republicans since early September. Barr indicated it was likely going nowhere.

Speaking to reporters, Barr publicly blamed the policy stalemate on the impeachment inquiry, as did White House staffers after news broke of the shooting in Southern California.

The hiccup there, of course, is that President Donald Trump, months ago, would not sign off on the plan once the NRA weighed in, and Republicans in the Senate have refused to vote on something that Trump has not blessed.

Barr did announce a new federal initiative this week to find places for coordination between the federal government and local law enforcement. The push lacked teeth, but got him out and talking. And talking, for now, seems to be the only Washington response.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Despite his late entry to the 2020 race, Patrick is far from unknown among his Democratic primary rivals. He even told ABC News that he spoke with two of the current front-runners -- Biden and Warren -- prior to his campaign announcement. But now, Patrick must introduce himself as a candidate to voters.

In an interview with ABC News’ Johnson, Patrick said his entry into the race was meant “to offer a way back to a sense of common cause and common destiny.” But while Patrick is branding himself as a unifying force, there’s no denying that political friction among the Democrats persists.

Patrick saw that tension unfold firsthand when current Rep. Ayanna Pressley beat out long-term Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano, whom Patrick endorsed in last year’s midterm election cycle. Pressley went on to establish herself as one of the new faces of the Democratic party and recently endorsed Warren’s presidential bid. Meanwhile, Patrick has not been shy about his ties to former President Barack Obama -- but neither has Biden. And, as Patrick preaches a message of party unity, so are other established candidates, including Buttigieg.

Patrick won't make it to next week's debate stage, where he could have publicly carved out his political space. It's possible he won't make it to the December debate, either. That leaves the former Massachusetts governor with just over two months to pave the unique 2020 path he says exists for his campaign.

ONE MORE THING

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was abruptly recalled from her post overseas, will testify Friday in the second public impeachment hearing. After fielding questions from impeachment investigators behind closed doors last month, she's expected to detail her account of efforts to publicly discredit her and remove her from her post by some of the president's political allies. Check here for live updates throughout the day.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News’ Katherine Faulders, who tells us what to expect from Friday’s impeachment testimony on the Hill. Then, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein explains why former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is taking an unorthodox approach to his 2020 presidential run. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch appears before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence beginning at 9 a.m. on Capitol Hill.
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., files for the New Hampshire primary and holds a rally at 8:30 a.m. in Concord, New Hampshire, on Friday. He then attends campaign events in New Hampshire and Nevada throughout the weekend.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., attends an endorsement event with National Nurses United at 1:30 p.m. in Oakland on Friday. He then holds a rally at 12:30 p.m. in Los Angeles on Saturday.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., attends the “Long Beach Welcomes Kamala Harris” event at 8:25 p.m. in Long Beach, California, on Friday. She then attends the “Equality California LGBTQ Reception” at 9:30 p.m. in Long Beach on Friday.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participates in a tailgate at Kinnick Stadium at 11:30 a.m. in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday.
  • Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang deliver remarks at the California Democratic Party’s Presidential Forum beginning at 4 p.m. in San Francisco on Saturday.
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock hosts a house party at 3 p.m. (CST) in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday. Later, he participates in a meet-and-greet event at 5:30 p.m. in Grinnell, Iowa, on Sunday
  • Yang hosts a rally at 3 p.m. in Las Vegas on Sunday.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., former Vice President Joe Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., Harris, Klobuchar, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Sanders, former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Yang attend the Nevada State Democratic Party’s “First In The West” dinner at 7 p.m. in Las Vegas on Sunday.
  • Bennet attends campaign events in New Hampshire throughout the weekend.
  • Biden travels to Washington, Oregon and Nevada for campaign events throughout the weekend.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, attends campaign events in New Hampshire throughout the weekend.
  • Warren leads town halls in Iowa and Nevada this weekend.
  • 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 Monday for the latest.