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Eyes on 2024: Tim Scott heads to Iowa to talk about ‘crisis of optimism’
Sen. Tim Scott at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on Feb. 22, 2023. Charlie Neibergall / AP

Eyes on 2024: Recapping Tim Scott’s trip to Iowa

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., headed to Iowa this week as he weighs a run for president.

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Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., became the latest possible presidential candidate to bring his message to Iowa, NBC News’ Yamiche Alcindor and Julia Jester report, mixing deep criticism of Democrats with a hope for a more optimistic future.

Diagnosing America with a “crisis of optimism,” he lamented the “the drug of victimhood and the narcotic of despair,” as well as those who “get rich and famous by feeding the empty calories of anger to people who are starving for hope.” And he minced no words when talking about Democrats, comparing the opposing party’s platform to a “blueprint to ruin America” that could have been devised by “our nation’s greatest enemy.” 

“These people who call themselves progressive are attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb. I was the teenager whose spirit would have been crushed by a culture obsessed with identity politics and racial strife,” Scott said. 

His prescription: conservative values. Noting how his grandfather “lived long enough to see his family go from cotton to Congress in his lifetime” he also said that “conservatism is my personal proof there is no ceiling in life.” 

In other campaign news…

Building the brand: A new report from Democratic strategists finds the party’s brand “pretty damaged” among blue collar voters who will be key to the Democratic coalition in 2024, per the New York Times. 

Being Pence-ive: Former Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC on Wednesday that cutting Medicare and Social Security should be “on the table for the long term.” 

Florida flattery: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis praises former President Donald Trump’s “star power” and agrees with his sentiment that the media is the enemy, according to excerpts of his new book from a new report in The Guardian. 

Balloon hits the airwaves: Kentucky GOP gubernatorial hopeful Kelly Craft is out with a new TV ad focused on China, which appears to be one of the first ads featuring an image of the Chinese surveillance balloon. Craft reserved $115,000 on the airwaves from Thursday through Sunday, per AdImpact. 

Watching the left: The Daily Beast reports that some “New York insiders” believe Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand could face a primary challenger next year, with one source telling the outlet that former Rep. Mondaire Jones hasn’t ruled out a run

Thinking about it: The Dispatch reports that former Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., is weighing a run for governor, and that former GOP state Sen. Tom Barrett is considering another run for the House in Michigan. 

Staying put: Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita told Fox59 that he will not run for governor or Senatenext year, and instead seek re-election for his current post. 

A few days to go: Democratic Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García is a frontrunner in next week’s Chicago mayoral race, and he’d make history as the city’s first Latino mayor. But the race is likely to head to an April runoff, NBC News’ Suzanne Gamboa and Matthew Mata report.