WASHINGTON — For all of the focus on special counsel Robert Mueller, climate change and Medicare for All, a much more traditional issue has resurfaced heading into next year’s presidential election: abortion.
Last week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed legislation effectively banning abortion in the state after six weeks of pregnancy — when a fetal heartbeat can be detected — joining Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio.
Alabama, meanwhile, is considering legislation that outlaws abortion at any stage.
“Lawmakers sponsoring the bans have made it clear their goal is to spark court challenges in hopes of ultimately overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion,” The Associated Press writes — ensuring that the Supreme Court remains front and center on voters’ minds when it comes to abortion.
Already, President Donald Trump and Republicans have emphasized abortion, seizing on “infanticide” when it comes to Democratic rhetoric and actions involving late-term abortions, especially for fetuses with severe abnormalities.
And now 2020 Democrats are talking abortion after Georgia’s law.
“Georgia's ‘fetal heartbeat’ law is an all-out-attack on women that will strip them of rights before many even know they are pregnant. I will fight to protect Roe v. Wade — abortion is health care,” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey tweeted last week.
“Alabama’s anti-abortion bill is dangerous and unconstitutional,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts added.
And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has declared she’ll only nominate judges who promise to protect abortion rights.
Trump rewards another authoritarian leader
Today, Trump meets at the White House with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Here’s how the New York Times has described Orban: “He has enfeebled democratic institutions, strived to achieve a Hungarian ethnic homogeneity and pulled his nation closer to the opponents of American influence, Russia and China.”
The Times says this Orban visit is more complex than its appearance suggests — it’s an attempt to persuade him to buy more American weapons and give greater priority to U.S. foreign policy interests.
And Trump’s administration has been less friendly to Orban and Hungary than the president’s rhetoric reflects.
Still, here’s what Trump’s ambassador to Hungary told the Atlantic about the president and Orban: “I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orbán has, but he doesn’t.”
Let’s roll the tape
Harris walks back health insurance statement: Remember in January when Sen. Kamala Harris of California told CNN’s Jake Tapper she favored ending private insurance — as part of her support for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill?
Well, in a follow-up almost five months later, Harris told Tapper yesterday she was talking about eliminating bureaucracy, not private insurance as a whole.
From the transcript:
HARRIS: When we were together...
HARRIS: And you will remember -- and roll the tape, please.
TAPPER: Yes, we can roll the tape.
TAPPER: Well, you support the Bernie Sanders bill, which essentially gets rid of insurance.
HARRIS: I support Medicare for All, but I really do need to clear up what happened on that stage.
TAPPER: Yes, OK.
HARRIS: It was in the context of saying, let's get rid of all the bureaucracy. Let's get all of the waste...
TAPPER: Oh, not the insurance companies?
HARRIS: No. That's not what I meant. I know it was interpreted that way. If you watch the tape, I think you'll see that there are obviously many interpretations of what I said. What I meant is, let's get rid of the bureaucracy.
So let’s roll the tape from that Jan. 28 town hall:
TAPPER: So just to follow up -- so just to follow up on that, and correct me if I'm wrong, to reiterate, you support the Medicare for All bill, I think...
TAPPER: ... initially co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders. You're also a co-sponsor onto it. I believe it will totally eliminate private insurance. So for people out there who like their insurance, they don't get to keep it?
HARRIS: Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care, and you don't have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require. Who of us has not had that situation, where you've got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, well, I don't know if your insurance company is going to cover this? Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on.
To repeat: Back in January, Harris was asked a question about people who might like their private insurance and if they’d be able to keep it. Her answer was: “Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on.”
2020 Vision: Beto raises money in the Big Apple
NBC’s Garrett Haake reports that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas is embarking on a major media and fundraising swing this week. Today, he raises money in New York City and also appears with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Tomorrow, he raises money in Houston and also appears on The View.
On the campaign trail today: Former Vice President Joe Biden stumps in New Hampshire, making stops in Hampton and Manchester… Booker also hits the Granite State… Warren attends a teachers’ union town hall in Philadelphia… O’Rourke raises money in New York… And Sanders attends a Green New Deal event in DC.
Data Download: The number of the day is … 31
That’s the margin between Biden and Sanders in a new Post and Courier-Change Research poll released Sunday.
Biden cleans up in the poll — he’s the top choice among men, women and black voters, the Post and Courier reports, with more voters excited about his candidacy than any other choice.
It’s the latest example of Biden’s supremacy in the early primary polling, built in no small part thanks to voter perception he’s the most likely candidate to defeat Trump and his success with black voters.
The Lid: Two’s company, 20 is a crowd
Be sure to check out the pod from Friday, when we looked at the requirements – and tiebreakers – to make the first Democratic debates next month.
ICYMI: New clips you shouldn’t miss
The Wall Street Journal’s team dives into the standoff between the U.S. and China over trade.
The New York Times analyzes how many (and which) candidates can book their ticket out of Iowa.
Republicans pan Rashida Tlaib for claiming Palestinians gave Israelis “safe haven” from Holocaust.
Trump agenda: I-ran, I-ran so far away
Mike Pompeo scuttled part of his Moscow trip to meet with European leaders on Iran.
Larry Kudlow admits that “both sides will suffer” from the trade war with China.
The Trump administration is supporting a Libyan warlord backed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and opposed by the U.N.-backed government.
2020: Why Bernie and Biden need each other
Why Biden and Sanders need each other.
Warren’s call to break up Big Tech prompts criticism from Booker.
Biden looks to avoid major gaffes in early rollout.
House Republicans are working to woo minority and women candidates in marquee congressional races.