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Meet the Press Blog Archive

Catch up with Meet the Press blog posts from past years leading up to May 17, 2022
Image: Illustration of photos depicting voters on line, voting booths, the Capitol, the White House and raised hands.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

Look back at our archive of previous Meet the Press blog posts.

For the latest posts from the journalists at NBC News and the NBC News Political Unit, click here.

1055d ago / 1:02 AM UTC

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti endorses Joe Biden

WASHINGTON – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, giving Biden a boost in the key Super Tuesday state of California. 

Garcetti, who had considered running for president in 2020 but decided against joining against the crowded field, said in a statement that Biden will “bring our nation and world together during these most divided and dangerous times.”

Biden and Garcetti have forged a close relationship since the mayor first took office in 2013. Biden wrote in his 2017 book that Garcetti was among those who encouraged him to run for president in 2016. While in this cycle Garcetti stayed on the sidelines as other California hopefuls as well as friends, like former Oxford classmate New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, joined the fray, he has hosted several of the candidates in Los Angeles.  

Biden joined Garcetti for tacos in California during the first weeks of his campaign, and he praised Garcetti as “one of the best mayors in the country” and “one of the most qualified people” to serve in any office.

“When he decided not to run I called him. And I said I really have mixed emotions about this,” Biden said. “He is qualified to be mayor, to be president, to be a senator, or anything that he decides. He’s total qualified.”

Garcetti told NBC News in 2018 that Biden had encouraged him to consider a 2020 run even as he was doing the same. 

Biden and Garcetti will appear together at an event in Los Angeles on Friday. Biden has been touting a growing list of endorsements as he pitches himself to Democrats as the most electable candidate to win a general election against President Trump. 

1055d ago / 5:43 PM UTC

Pete Buttigieg picks up first Congressional Black Caucus endorsement

and

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg landed his first endorsement of his presidential campaign from a member of the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday when Maryland Rep. Anthony G. Brown, announced his support for Buttigieg. 

Buttigieg has faced mounting concerns about his ability to build a diverse coalition of support, but Brown pointed to Buttigieg's experience in South Bend as proof that he can reach voters from all communities and backgrounds.

Image: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall event in Creston, Iowa, on Nov. 25, 2019.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall event in Creston, Iowa, on Nov. 25, 2019.Scott Morgan / Reuters file

“He knows the ins and outs of South Bend,” Brown told NBC News. “That only happens when you immerse yourself in your city, when you understand the people, the neighborhoods, the communities, the aspirations the challenges of your of your city.”

Brown joined Buttigieg on the campaign trail in Iowa last month where Buttigieg was confronted by a young black man about his record among African American’s in South Bend. Brown told NBC News he was impressed by the candor Buttigieg offered in his response to the young man.

“He didn't necessarily get it right, but yet it's an ongoing effort, working with a coalition of people in the community to get it right," Brown said.

And on Thursday morning, Brown appeared on MSNBC and said that he expects Buttigieg's support in the black community to "increase dramatically." 

"As Pete becomes more familiar in the African American community, just as he has had and he has done in other communities, I believe that listening to his message about empowering people, investments in education, very purposeful, targeted investments in health care particularly considering the racial disparities in health care in our country you’re going to see support increase dramatically for Pete Buttigieg," Brown said. 

Brown, a veteran of the Iraq war, also pointed to Buttigieg's foreign policy positions and military experience as critical to his decision to endorse as tensions escalated in the Middle East this week

“As we fight for the future of the soul of our country here at home, we also remain entangled in endless wars abroad and the threats to American lives and interests around the world have increased,” Brown said in a statement. “After serving three decades in the Army and Army Reserve and now as Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, I’m acutely aware that the top priority for the President should be the security and safety of our nation, which is why my choice for president is Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”

Brown will serve as a national co-chair for the Buttigieg campaign, hitting the trail over the next few weeks as the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary get underway. 

“I don't just put my name on a list,” Brown told NBC News. “I will be a surrogate for the campaign and I will travel to those communities where the campaign believes and I believe I can add the greatest value.”

This is Buttigieg’s fourth congressional endorsement following Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va., Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., and Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y. 

1056d ago / 4:10 PM UTC

New Monmouth poll leaves Yang, Steyer and Booker on outside looking in for January debate

WASHINGTON — None of the Democratic presidential hopefuls currently on the bubble for next week's debate made any strides towards qualifying for the event with the new results of Monmouth University's New Hampshire primary poll, as the top four candidates remain in a logjam at the top. 

Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden topped the poll with 20 percent and 19 percent respectively of likely New Hampshire primary voters. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., were closed behind with 18 percent and 15 percent respectively. 

Image: US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE
Democratic presidential hopefuls participate of the sixth Democratic primary debate co-hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 2019.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Then there's a significant gap between the top four and the rest of the field. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., finished with 6 percent; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and philanthropist Tom Steyer finished with 4 percent each; businessman Andrew Yang finished with 3 percent; Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet finished with 2 percent; and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker finished with 1 percent. 

The poll shows Buttigieg and Sanders both gaining steam in overall support —Buttigieg's share went up 10 points from Monmouth's last New Hampshire poll in September, while Sanders' rose 6 points. By contrast, Warren's share dropped 12 points from that September poll. 

The new results found Sanders with the highest favorable rating at 69 percent, followed by Warren's 64 percent, as well as Biden and Buttigieg both tied at 62 percent.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's 32 percent unfavorable score was higher than all other Democrats tested, followed by Biden's 29 percent, Warren's 27 percent and Steyer's 26 percent. 

The top five candidates in the poll — Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren — have all qualified for next week's Democratic presidential debate in Iowa. But the rest of the field fell short of the mark needed to move closer to securing a spot on the stage. 

Candidates need to raise money from at least 225,000 unique donors and hit a poll threshold of either 4 polls of 5 percent or two early-state polls of 7 percent in order to qualify. 

Steyer still needs two polls of at least 5 percent to qualify; Yang needs either three of at least five percent or two early-state polls at 7 percent; while Booker hasn't hit the mark in any poll.

All three have hit the donation requirement, according to their campaigns. 

While Steyer and Yang both appeared on last month's debate stage, Booker didn't qualify. 

Monmouth polled 404 likely voters between Jan. 3 and Jan. 7, and the poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. 

1056d ago / 3:41 PM UTC

Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed by youth-led climate group Sunrise Movement

WASHINGTON — Sunrise Movement, a political action organization of youth climate change activists, has endorsed Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. 

Announcing the endorsement in a video on Twitter, the group pointed to a series of natural disasters to argue that Sanders is the best candidate to immediately address a climate crisis. 

"We are seeing that the climate crisis isn't 30 or 40 or 50 years in the future, it is right now. We need a president in office who understands the immediate threat of that crisis, and Bernie Sanders is that guy," Varshini Prakash, a co-founder and the executive director of the group, said in the video. 

"We're endorsing Bernie Sanders for president because he has proven again and again and again that he understands this issue. He understands its scope, he understands the severity, he understands that it's a social-justice issue, that it's about racial and economic justice, that it's about the fight of our lives." 

The organization, which boasts 10,000 members and more than 300 chapters, voted for Sanders overwhelmingly over Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Climate change is one of the pillars of Sanders’ campaign. The senator spends time discussing what he calls “an existential crisis” during nearly every campaign stop, asking crowds to think about images they’ve seen of Australia wildfires, and recent flooding in Venice, Italy.

Image: Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Chicago on March 3, 2019.
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Chicago on March 3, 2019.Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

While the nod isn't necessarily surprising, it's a boost to Sanders' already-energized young base of support. 

Sunrise Movement activists often attend Sanders campaign events, and the senator has repeatedly singled them out when he saw their t-shirts, to commend them for their work.

In December, Sunrise Movement released a scorecard ranking the top presidential candidate’s plans to tackle climate change, in which Sanders received top marks with 183 out of 200 possible points.

The organization will be at an event with Sanders and surrogates Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., on Jan. 12 in Iowa City, Iowa to formally announce the endorsement.

1056d ago / 8:07 PM UTC

Here's where the top Democratic candidates are spending on the early-state airwaves

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, we showed you how former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and philanthropist Tom Steyer have spent more than $200 million combined on television and radio advertising. 

But that's far from the whole story.

Bloomberg isn't even competing in the early states, and while Steyer has spent more than $50 million in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina alone, he's not polling in the upper echelon of candidates in any of those states. 

Taking stock of the ad spending in the early states tells an interesting story: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are spending virtually all of their ad budget in Iowa; former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders are turning their deep pockets into huge ad budgets; and none of the top candidates are really spending on ads in Nevada yet. 

Here's a look at what the candidates expected to be on next week's debate stage are spending on television and radio ads in early states (Data through Jan. 8, 2020 courtesy of Advertising Analytics). 

Former Vice President Joe Biden 

  • Iowa: $2.7 million
  • New Hampshire: $5,429
  • Nevada: $1,329 
  • South Carolina: $15,000

Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg

  • Iowa: $7.6 million
  • New Hampshire: $1.4 million
  • Nevada: $71,000
  • South Carolina: $941,000

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar 

  • Iowa: $1.9 million
  • New Hampshire: $665,000
  • Nevada: $0
  • South Carolina: $0

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders

  • Iowa: $6.7 million
  • New Hampshire: $3.5 million
  • Nevada: $145,000
  • South Carolina: $1,640

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

  • Iowa: $3.4 million
  • New Hampshire: $0
  • Nevada: $0
  • South Carolina: $0
1057d ago / 9:25 PM UTC

Tom Perez: January Democratic debate could be moved for impeachment trial

WASHINGTON — Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said that next week's Democratic debate could be postponed if the Senate is in the midst its impeachment trial of President Trump that day. 

In an interview on MSNBC Tuesday, Perez said that "Democrats and our senators can walk and chew gum. Obviously, if there’s a trial on the 14th, then we’ll move the debate. If there’s not, then we’re gonna have the debate, and at the moment, all systems are go, and so we’re gonna move forward."

The Democratic debate is set to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa ahead of the state's caucus. Only five candidates have qualified for the debate so far, and three of those candidates will be participating in the Senate's impeachment trial: Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg have also qualified to appear at Tuesday's debate. 

1057d ago / 7:26 PM UTC

Biden: Trump is bringing America "dangerously close" to war

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Speaking at times directly to the president himself, former Vice President Joe Biden said President Donald Trump has a constitutional obligation to work with Congress and communicate to the American people his strategy for confronting Iran, while faulting him for putting the U.S. on the brink of war.

Biden, in a foreign policy address that was hastily added to his schedule on a trip to New York, explicitly sought to demonstrate the kind of presidential leadership that he said Trump was failing to offer at a moment of significant peril for the nation.

"A president who says he wants to end endless war in the Middle East is bringing us dangerously close to starting a new one,” he said. “A president who says he wants out of the region sends more than 18,000 additional troops to deal with a crisis of his own making. And an administration that claims its actions have made Americans safer in the same breath urges them to leave Iraq because of increased danger.”

Biden said he had no illusions about the threat Iran posed to the region and to the world. But he said there was “a smart way to counter them and a self-defeating way. Trump’s approach is demonstrably the latter.”

Biden focused his remarks squarely on Trump as his campaign has sought to use the escalating confrontation with Iran to underscore the former vice president’s decades of experience in foreign policy. There was no acknowledgment of or response to renewed criticism from some of his Democratic rivals of his own record, particularly his 2002 vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq.

"Donald Trump's short-sighted America-first dogmatism has come home to roost,” he said, as the prospect of the U.S. being bogged down by another war would only further enable China and Russia to expand their “spheres of influence.”

Beyond Trump’s specific actions, Biden was strongly critical of what he characterized as an anti-democratic approach to the presidency. At one point he referred directly to him about what he said were the obligations of his job, “Mr. President — not ‘Dear Leader’ or ‘Supreme Leader,'" Biden said. 

"The American people do not want, and our Constitution will not abide, a president who rules by fiat and demands obedience," he added. 

1057d ago / 6:49 PM UTC

Sanders' dig at Biden over Iraq, trade evokes his 2016 criticism of Clinton

WASHINGTON — Engaged in a familiar dogfight atop the Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Monday lobbed attacks at former Vice President Joe Biden almost identical to ones he used against his chief 2016 rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Joe Biden voted and helped lead the effort for the war in Iraq, the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said Monday night on CNN.

“Joe Biden voted for the disastrous trade agreements, like NAFTA, and permanent normal trade relations with China, which cost us millions of jobs," he added, before asking whether those votes would play well in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, three states Clinton lost in 2016. 

The jabs on the Iraq war vote and NAFTA echo lines he used against Clinton in the heat of the 2016 primary. 

“Senator Clinton heard the same evidence I did. She voted for that disastrous war, the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of America,” Sanders said at a rally in Brooklyn in April 2016.

“Secretary Clinton and I disagree on trade policy. She supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement from NAFTA to permanent normal trade relations to China, trade agreements that has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs.”

In his recent CNN interview, Sanders also cast doubt that Biden’s record would be able to energize Democrats to defeat President Donald Trump in November.

“If we're going to beat Trump, we need turnout,” Sanders said. “And to get turnout, you need energy and excitement. And I don't think that that kind of record is going to bring forth the energy we need to defeat Trump.”

1058d ago / 5:00 PM UTC

Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have spent over $200 million combined on TV, radio advertising

WASHINGTON — If you think you’ve seen hundreds of TV ads by presidential candidates former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and philanthropist Tom Steyer this presidential cycle, you probably have.

The two Democrats have spent more than $200 million combined over the television and radio airwaves, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics. Bloomberg's dished out $142 million on ads as of Jan. 7, and Steyer kicked in an additional $67 million.

Image: Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg  addresses a crowd of community members and elected officials at the Metropolitan Room on Jan. 3, 2020 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a crowd of community members and elected officials at the Metropolitan Room on Jan. 3, 2020 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.Melissa Gerrits / Getty Images

Steyer’s ad spending has been concentrated in early nominating states like Iowa and New Hampshire, while Bloomberg has focused on the states and media markets that come after those February contests.

Image: 14 Democratic Presidential Candidates Attend Iowa Liberty And Justice Celebration
Democratic presidential candidate, philanthropist Tom Steyer speaks at the Liberty and Justice Celebration at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa on Nov. 1, 2019.Scott Olson / Getty Images

The gap between those two candidates and the rest of the field is enormous, with Sen.  Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a total of $10 million nationally as of Tuesday — followed by businessman Andrew Yang at $6.6 million, President Trump at $5.7 million, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at $3.3 million and former Vice President Joe Biden at $2.6 million.

Total TV and radio ad spending (as of Jan. 7)

  • Bloomberg: $142 million
  • Steyer: $67 million
  • Sanders: $10 million
  • Buttigieg: $10 million
  • Yang: $6.6 million
  • Trump: $5.7 million
  • Warren: $3.3 million
  • Biden: $2.6 million

Iowa TV and radio ad spending (as of Jan. 7)

  • Steyer: $11.7 million
  • Buttigieg: $7.5 million
  • Sanders: $6.5 million
  • Yang: $4.6 million
  • Warren: $3.2 million
  • Biden: $2.6 million
  • Klobuchar: $1.8 million

New Hampshire TV and radio ad spending (as of Jan. 7)

  • Steyer: $13.9 million
  • Sanders: $3.4 million
  • Bloomberg: $2.6 million
  • Yang: $1.9 million
  • Buttigieg: $1.3 million

SOURCE: Advertising Analytics

1058d ago / 2:00 PM UTC

Ahead of impeachment trial, Klobuchar campaign ramps up Iowa organizing events

DES MOINES, Iowa — With just 27 days to go until the caucuses here — and an impending impeachment trial that could keep the Democratic senators running for president in Washington for large chunks of time — the clock is ticking for campaign organizations in the Hawkeye State.

For her part, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is ramping up her team of field organizers who will join her Iowa and Minnesota surrogate campaigners this coming weekend at events spanning across all of Iowa’s 99 counties.  

The campaign recently surpassed 100 paid staffers on the ground in Iowa — with more field organizers to come — putting Klobuchar on par with the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., when it comes to their ground games.

Image: Sen. Amy Klobuchar boards her campaign bus after a stop in Humboldt, Iowa, on Dec. 27, 2019.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar boards her campaign bus after a stop in Humboldt, Iowa, on Dec. 27, 2019.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

Klobuchar, who will not participate in the organizing push, has been able to ramp up her staffing of the heels of well-received performances in the last two debates and a bump in donations. As recently as October, her Iowa staff consisted of 40 people.

The list of endorsers joining Saturday's organizing events could offer a preview of surrogates Iowans will see on the trail while Klobuchar is tied up with the impeachment trial.

Klobuchar’s husband, John Bessler will attend events on her behalf, along with former U.S. Attorney and Iowa Democratic Party Chair Roxanne Conlin, Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha, in addition to various state senators and representatives from both Iowa and Minnesota.  

The day will consist of a variety of phone banks, house parties, and canvas launches. Klobuchar’s team is calling the statewide organizing event, “The Full Klobuchar Day of Action,” a play on the term, the “Full Grassley” — the 99 county tour that Republican Senator Chuck Grassley completes every year (which Klobuchar also completed in December).  

Other campaigns have made similar intense organizing efforts, as in-person contact remains the most successful way to recruit supporters and precinct captains. Biden just campaigned with Rep. Abby Finkenauer to draw new support and Buttigieg’s caucus director is currently on a two week trip across the state to coach soon to be precinct captains. Meanwhile,  Sanders’ campaign plans to knock half a million doors in the month of January and Elizabeth Warren routinely has held “weekends of action” to reach caucus-goers. 

1058d ago / 9:45 PM UTC

Former N.H. GOP senator endorses Joe Biden

CONCORD, N.H. — Former New Hampshire GOP Sen. Gordon Humphrey announced his endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday as a part of a group of 100 New Hampshire independents who announced their support for Biden. 

Humphrey spoke with NBC News about his decision to endorse, as well as how he believes the independent vote in New Hampshire is crucial to winning the state.

“I served in the U.S. Senate for 12 years with Joe Biden,” Humphrey told NBC News. “I know him well, I respect him. I trust him to restore calm and rationality to the White House in place of temper-tantrums and tweets.”

Speaking on his decision to endorse Biden over other candidates in the race, Humphrey pointed to his former colleague's experience and ability to work with people on either side of the political spectrum.

“There is no candidate in either party who can come close to Joe Biden's experience,” Humphrey said. "He knows the legislative process, he knows that it takes both Democrats and Republicans to pass legislation to implement policy, he knows that it's vital to build consensus, and you do that by showing respect towards your adversaries and bringing everyone together. Not this kind of baiting in which Trump engages fostering hate and distrust.”

Humphrey, who told NBC News he was a Republican all of his life “until the advent of Donald Trump,” fought against Trump during 2016 in the Republican primary process and even voted against him, endorsing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which he says was a first for him.

“I just didn't want to have any part of a party that that is headed by Donald Trump,” Humphrey said. “So the day after the election, the next morning, I re-registered as an independent.”

When asked how he feels that Biden’s endorsement from independents in New Hampshire could help him appeal to more progressive voters, Humphrey said opposition to the president could unify voters. 

“I think all of us who are opposed to Trump want to replace him,” Humphrey said. “And certainly we want to pick the strongest candidate, the candidate most likely to defeat Trump. That's not going to be easy. And far and away, in my opinion, far and away Joe Biden is the strongest candidate, and the polls I think reflect that across all the spectrum of ideologies.”

On what Biden needs to do between now and the New Hampshire primary to win the state, Humphrey says “spend as much time as he possibly can here, talk to as many people as he can.”

“Most of the Democratic candidates are appealing much too far to the left of center,” Humphrey added, “and I think Biden is hitting it just right.”

1058d ago / 5:55 PM UTC

Deval Patrick and his wife discuss her cancer diagnosis in first television ad

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is launching his first television ad buy of his presidential campaign, arguing that despite his recent entry into the Democratic primary, it's "not too late." 

In the 30-second ad, shot in Boston and Patrick's hometown Chicago, he and his wife, Diane, reflect how his plan to jump into the presidential race "a year ago" was put on hold because of Diane's cancer diagnosis. 

"We fought through it, and I'm well. But now we're fighting for the future of our democracy, and I encouraged Deval to get back in it," Diane Patrick says in the ad. 

Deval Patrick follows his wife by arguing he's faced long odds before. 

“Some people say it’s too late for me to run for president. But growing up on the South Side of Chicago, people told me then what I could and couldn’t do. I’ve been an underdog my whole life, and I’ve never let that stop me," he says. 

The campaign says the six-figure television and digital buy will run across all four early nominating states, with “significant investments” in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“No other candidate has the life or leadership experience that Deval does,” Campaign Manager Abe Rakov said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share far and wide why Governor Patrick is the candidate with the record and message to defeat Trump and renew the American Dream.”

Patrick, who got into the race just before the New Hampshire filing deadline in November, spoke with reporters on Friday in Exeter, N.H. about his campaign's fundraising but did not release any specifics. He has until the end of the month to file a disclosure with the Federal Election Commission that covers his fundraising from October through December. 

“We are raising to be competitive,” Patrick said. “We are never going to compete with you know, Mayor Bloomberg, but we don't need to. I don't think this is about buying elections. It's about earning votes. And the best investment we can make is my time which is why I am spending the time I have here in New Hampshire.”

1059d ago / 4:16 PM UTC

What we know so far about the presidential candidates' Q4 numbers

WASHINGTON — With the books closed on 2019, there's still a lot we don't know about the presidential candidates' financials.

That's because candidates have until the end of the month to file their official reports with the Federal Election Commission. 

But most of the candidates have already released some top-line numbers, giving us the ability to sketch out how much money each campaign raised in 2019 (combining the estimated fourth-quarter numbers released by each campaign with how much it raised over the first three quarters of the year). 

  • President Trump: Quarters 1-3 $97.8 million + estimated quarter 4 $46 million = $143.8 million (with at least $66.3 million in transfers from affiliated committees)
  • Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders: Q1-3 $74.4m + estimated Q4 $34.5m = $108.9m (at least $12.7 million in transfers)
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Q1-3 $60.3m + estimated Q4 $21.2m = $81.5m (at least $10.4 million in transfers)
  • Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Q1-3 $51.5m + estimated Q4 $24.7m = $76.2m
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: Q1-3 $37.8m + estimated Q4 $22.7m = $60.5m
  • Businessman Andrew Yang: Q1-3 $14.5m + estimated Q4 16.5m = $31m
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Q1-3 $17.5m + estimated Q4 $11.4m = $28.9m (at least $3.6m in transfers)
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker: Q1-3 $18.5m + estimated Q4 $6.6m = $25.1m (at least $2.8m in transfers)
1059d ago / 2:38 PM UTC

Julián Castro endorses Elizabeth Warren's presidential bid

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Former Housing Sec. Julián Castro, who ended his own presidential campaign last week, has endorsed Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Castro announced the endorsement on Twitter with a video of the two candidates talking about their candidacies. 

"I started my campaign off and we lived true to the idea that we want an America where everyone counts. It's the same vision that I see in you, in your campaign, in the America that you would help bring about," he says in the video as he sits across a kitchen island from Warren. 

"Nobody is working harder than you are, not only in meeting people but listening to people." 

Warren also thanked Castro in a tweet where she called him a "powerful voice for bold, progressive change." 

Warren's campaign said Castro will campaign with the senator at a Tuesday evening rally in New York City. 

1059d ago / 9:00 PM UTC

Biden gets backing from trio of swing-district Democrats

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A trio of swing-district Democrats and military veterans are endorsing Joe Biden, arguing that his presence at the top of the ticket gives the party its best chance for victory.

Two of the three — Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania and Elaine Luria of Virginia — were first elected in the 2018 blue wave, taking back Republican-held seats. The third, Rep. Conor Lamb won a hard-fought special election victory in his Western Pennsylvania district in early 2018 and then unseated a GOP incumbent in the fall after court-ordered redistricting.

Image: *** BESTPIX *** Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Campaigns In San Antonio, Texas
Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a community event while campaigning on Dec. 13, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.Daniel Carde / Getty Images

Their backing comes as Biden has increasingly pressed his case to voters that he presents the best chance of leading the party to victory up and down the ticket in November. Biden spent the weekend in Iowa campaigning with another freshman Democrat, Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who carried a Trump district in 2018.

“There are candidates that worry me in terms their ability to win Pennsylvania and their ability to win the support of working and middle class voters. I think Vice President Biden can,” Lamb said in an interview. “People know him and know he has a record of achievement. That doesn’t get swept aside easily.”

The Democrats’ all cited Biden’s foreign policy experience as another key factor in their endorsement, especially amid escalating tensions with Iran after the U.S. strike targeting Iranian Major Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Luria served in the Navy, Houlihan the Air Force and Lamb in the Marines before running for office.

Luria said foreign policy is always a major concern in her district, home to the Norfolk Navy Shipyard, a major point of departure for U.S. aircraft carriers, and NATO’s Joint Force Command.

“People here really pay close attention to that because that’s their husband, their wife, their neighbor, their child that’s in harm’s way,” Luria told NBC News. “We need someone like Joe Biden who can reset our position on the world stage, regain respect with our allies and step in on day one with the experience he has as vice president and go to work.”

"Congressional candidates in seats that allow Democrats to retain our majority in the House will not have to spend precious resources running away from the top of the ticket’s unpopular and unworkable Medicare for All plan," Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz wrote in a memo about the endorsements Sunday. "Local candidates who rely on Independent and some Republican votes to win will have a top of the ticket that represents strong, steady, stable leadership at home and abroad, strengthening the Democratic brand in the non-metropolitan regions of the country. That is why we are seeing vulnerable, frontline members increasingly supporting Joe Biden’s candidacy.”

1060d ago / 8:59 PM UTC

Bernie Sanders dings Congress on abdicating war authority, pushes for legislation on military funding

DUBUQUE, IA — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., dinged Congress for abdicating its war power authority during a town hall in Iowa on Saturday. 

"For too many years, Congress under Republican administrations and under Democratic administrations has abdicated its constitutional responsibility, it is time for Congress to take that responsibility back," Sanders said. "If Congress wants to go to war, and I will vote against that, but if Congress wants to go to war, let Congress have the guts to vote for war."

Sanders comments come on the heels of President Donald Trump authorizing an airstrike in Iraq that killed a top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Wednesday. On Saturday, Sanders called Trump's actions a "dangerous escalation" that could lead to another war in the Middle East. 

While in Iowa, the Democratic presidential candidate also pushed for Congress to vote on new legislation he plans to introduce with California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, which would block any funding for military action with Iran without Congressional approval. 

"When I return to Washington next week," Sanders said, "I believe the first course of action is for the Congress to take immediate steps to restrain president Trump from plunging our nation into yet another endless war." 

1061d ago / 5:09 AM UTC

Biden says Trump administration unprepared for "risk" of Middle East escalation

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DUBUQUE, Iowa — Joe Biden Friday accused President Trump of “an enormous escalation” of the threat of war in the Persian Gulf after he launched a surprise strike targeting a top Iranian commander, while pressing the case to Democrats that the next president must be someone who doesn’t need “on the job training.”

The former vice president, speaking in Iowa one month before the state’s leadoff caucuses, seized on a fresh foreign policy crisis to reinforce some of his principal critiques of Trump’s leadership and play up his decades of foreign policy experience.

“The threat to American lives and interests in the region and around the world are enormous. The risk of nuclear proliferation is real and the possibility that ISIS will regenerate in the region has increased, and the prospects of direct conflict with Iran is greater than it has ever been,” he said. “The question is do Donald Trump and his administration have a strategy for what comes next?”

Biden said no American mourns the loss of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds force, and that it was right to bring him to justice. But he contrasted the assassination of an official within a sovereign government with strikes against other top terrorist targets, saying Trump’s provocative action puts the U.S. potentially “on the brink of greater conflict with the Middle East.”

“Unfortunately, nothing we have seen from this administration over the past three years suggests that they are prepared to deal with the very real risk we now confront. And there's no doubt the risks are greater today because of the actions Donald Trump has taken, walking away from diplomacy, walking away from international agreements, relying on force,” he said.

Biden said Thursday’s strike was the latest in a string of “dubious” actions that have unnecessarily ratcheted up tensions in the region, including decision to unilaterally withdraw from the nuclear agreement struck by the Obama administration along with top Western allies. 

The Trump administration “said the goal of maximum pressure was to deter regional aggression, negotiate a better nuclear deal.  Thus far, they have badly failed on both accounts,” he said. “Now the administration has said the goal of killing Soleimani was to deter future attacks by Iran. But the action almost certainly will have the opposite impact.”

Biden was to have spent Friday touting the new endorsement of Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who joined him in person for the first time and will campaign with him through the weekend. But the situation in Iraq gave him a chance to underscore a key element of his closing pitch to voters — the gravity of the job for whomever replaces Trump. 

The next president is going to inherit “a nation that is divided and a world in disarray. This is not a time for on the job training,” he said.

1062d ago / 2:38 PM UTC

Klobuchar campaign raised $11.4 million in final quarter of 2019

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced Friday that her presidential campaign raised $11.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, more than double than the $4.8 million she raised in the previous quarter last year.

The campaign noted that their donations came from 145,126 individual donors and the average contribution was $32.

“It's the best quarter we've ever had. And that's a good thing, including way back to when we started before so many people were in the race," Klobuchar said during an event in Iowa on Thursday.

Image: Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks at a Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks at a Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

"So we feel good about it. I never thought I would match some of the front-runners who have, you know, long list going way back who've run for president before,” Klobuchar said.

The fourth quarter ended on Dec. 31, but candidates are not required to disclose their fundraising numbers until the filing deadline on Jan. 31.

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has announced the largest fundraising number so far, pulling in $34.5 million dollars, with former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg bringing in $24.7 million. Like Klobuchar, the fourth quarter was also former Vice President Joe Biden’s largest haul. The Biden campaign announced they raised $22.7 million. Klobuchar’s totals round out the top six fundraisers so far, falling behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s $21.2 million and businessman Andrew Yang’s $16.5 million.

1062d ago / 2:05 PM UTC

Warren reports $21 million raised in fourth quarter

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MANCHESTER, N.H. — Elizabeth Warren's campaign raised just over $21 million in the final quarter of 2019, her campaign said Friday. 

The haul puts the Massachusetts senator in the ballpark of her fellow Democratic presidential competitors — and frequent names in the top tier of the primary — Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden, who raised $24.7 and $22.7 million, respectively. However, they're all well behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on this metric, who topped the field again this quarter, hauling in more than $34 million.  

Image: Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren Campaigns In Cedar Rapids, IA
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the CSPS cultural center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Dec. 21, 2019.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

This latest round of fundraising for the Massachusetts senator is less than the $24.6 million her campaign raised int he third quarter and comes as she's lagged in some polls, especially in the all-important early state of Iowa.  

Warren's average donation was $23 from more than 443,000 donors, according to her campaign. Of the $21.2 million raised, the campaign said $1.5 million came in on the last day of 2019 alone. Several days before the close of the quarter, the campaign said it was falling short of its $20 million fundraising goal, asking for donations to help them get there. The campaign did not disclose its cash-on-hand.  

In an email to supporters, campaign manager Roger Lau once again highlighted the campaign's strategy of not doing closed door fundraisers or raising money with bundlers and donors. Warren regularly talks about this strategy on the trail, and on the debate stage, using it as a cudgel against Buttigieg during the December Democratic debate — specifically attacking him for a fundraiser he held in a wine cave.  

“I'm deeply grateful to every single person who contributed to my campaign. I didn't spend one single minute selling access to my time. To millionaires and billionaires. I did this grassroots all across the country and I'm proud of the grassroots army that we are building,” Warren told reporters Thursday, after a town hall in Concord, New Hampshire.

1062d ago / 10:17 PM UTC

Marianne Williamson cuts entire campaign staff

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NEW YORK — Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has laid off the remainder of her campaign staff, two sources confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.

Williamson’s former campaign manager Patricia Ewing and former New Hampshire state director Paul Hodes confirmed the layoffs, first reported by WMUR, to NBC News, citing financial issues. As of Tuesday, the campaign had no staffers, although it's unclear how many staffers Williamson had before the decision was made. 

Image: Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson takes the stage ahead of the second 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, on July 30, 2019.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The best-selling author and spiritual advisor struggled to gain traction in national polls despite nearly a year of campaigning in early voting states.

At its height, the campaign had 45 staffers focused on the four early-voting states. In the third quarter of 2019, the campaign raised more than $3 million, a rise from fundraising totals of $1.5 million in both the first and second quarters of last year. Williamson has not released fourth-quarter financial details yet, which are due at the end of the month.

When asked by NBC News whether or not Williamson would stay in the race through the Iowa Caucuses, Ewing only said “she might -- she’s thinking about it.”

In an email to supporters Thursday evening, Williamson wrote, "we've had a wonderful team, and I am deeply grateful for their energy and talents. But as of today, we cannot afford a traditional campaign staff." 

"I am not suspending my candidacy, however," she continued.  "A campaign not having a huge war chest should not be what determines its fate."

1062d ago / 8:37 PM UTC

End-of-year fundraising reports still hold plenty of unanswered questions

WASHINGTON — The start of the new year means a whole batch of campaign finance data, and presidential candidates are already selectively releasing numbers to paint their campaigns in the best light. 

We already know that President Trump's reelection campaign raised a staggering $46 million in the last three months of 2019, that Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Andrew Yang shattered their own personal fundraising records with $34.5 million and $16.5 million respectively. And we know that former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden netted $24.7 million and $22.7 million, respectively.

But since the campaigns don't have to release their full, official fundraising reports until the end of this month, we only know what they want us to know. 

Once filed, those official reports will give us one more important glimpse under their financial hoods shortly before the Iowa caucus. 

Here are some big questions about those fundraising reports from NBC News' Political Unit. 

Will the top Democrats match Trump in cash on hand? 

It's tough to compare fundraising between the Democratic candidates and Trump's reelection for a whole host of reasons, including the size of the Democratic field, the role being played by each party committee and how early things still are in the Democratic nominating calendar. 

But there's one thing that's clear — the combined Trump/GOP effort is raising money at a historic clip, one that will both give Republicans an early advantage and put pressure on the eventual Democratic nominee to quickly match it.

One big question is whether the top-four polling Democrats can match Trump's cash on hand. 

As of Sept. 30, Sanders ($33.7 million), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ($25.7 million), Buttigieg ($23.4 million) and former Vice President Joe Biden ($9 million) had a combined $91.8 million banked. Trump's campaign had $83.2 million, although it will also benefit from the Republican National Committee's massive cash advantage over the Democratic National Committee. 

The Trump campaign says it closed 2019 with $102 million on hand. 

The Democratic cash-on-hand numbers will also be helpful for intraparty comparisons too, as to whether Biden can quell concerns about his cash reserves being markedly lower than his competitions; whether Buttigieg's big investments have left a dent in his bank account; and whether Warren's stagnant polling has prompted any change in spending. 

How dire was Kamala Harris' cash situation when she dropped out? 

When California Sen. Kamala Harris suspended her campaign last month, she blamed the decision on a recognition that her campaign "lacked the financial resources to continue."

But since her shuttered campaign will still have to file its end-of-the-year report, we'll get to see how dire the situation really was. 

As we wrote at the time, Harris' began 2019 as one of the better-fundraising candidates, and her staff size ballooned as the campaign tried to take advantage of her early momentum. But just months later, her campaign started slashing staff and cutting ad spending before ultimately shuttering altogether. 

So her forthcoming filing will paint a clearer picture of what Harris saw when she made the decision to close up shop. 

How much is Bloomberg spending? 

If billionaire Tom Steyer made a splash earlier this year with his largely self-financed bid, then former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg set off a tidal wave. 

Steyer has spent $67.4 million on television and radio ads since he jumped in in July. Bloomberg has almost doubled that ($120.9 million) in the six weeks since he launched his campaign, according to Advertising Analytics.

That's an unprecedented sum, more than every other candidate including Steyer combined. 

While we know about Bloomberg's massive ad spending, we don't know how much he's spent on other important pieces of his campaign, the staffing and on-the-ground work that makes or breaks a campaign. 

So look for his report to shed light on just how massive the Bloomberg investment really is. 

Are the struggling candidates running out of steam? 

There's an old adage about the life and death of a campaign: "A candidate doesn't drop out because they run out of ideas, they drop out because they run out of money." 

That's another reason why these forthcoming reports will be interesting — to shed light on other candidates who are struggling to stay afloat. 

It's likely that former Housing Sec. Julián Castro's end-of-year report could add some context to why he decided to close his doors less than two days after the books closed on 2019. And the reports will also show what resources candidates like Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had to begin the year. 

—Carrie Dann, Mark Murray and Melissa Holzberg contributed

1062d ago / 7:20 PM UTC

Biden raises $22.7 million in final quarter of 2019

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Powered by a surge of online donations that the campaign attributes in part to stepped-up attacks from President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign posted its strongest fundraising quarter to date. 

Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden announced in a new video posted on Twitter Thursday that they have raised $22.7 million in the fourth fundraising quarter, which is still less when compared to some of his rivals, but is a significant sum compared nonetheless. 

 

As in previous quarters, Biden finds himself trailing behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has raised an impressive $34.5 million at the end of the fundraising cycle. Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg also raised more than Biden, hauling in $24.7 million. 

But the numbers are a boost from the $15.7 million he raised last quarter, which left the campaign with only $8.9 million on hand after spending on internal resources, TV and digital ads across the early primary states.

In the second quarter of 2019, Biden raised $21.5 million, raising the most of any Democratic candidate per day in that quarter in which he launched his bid. 

His slow fundraising between July, August and September brought into question whether the Biden campaign could sustain itself throughout the primary, concerns that contributed to former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg jumping into the race. It also motivated Biden donors to mobilize a Super PAC to support the former vice president.

Senior campaign advisers had forecasted stronger numbers this quarter in part thanks to President Donald Trump’s continued attacks against Biden throughout the House impeachment investigation. 

Those advisers also say that they’ve also seen former bundlers for California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke join them since those candidates dropped out of the race.

Biden has held a total of 114 fundraisers in 2019. Late last month, the campaign announced the names of 230 bundlers who have raised more than $25,000 for Biden since he launched his campaign in late April of 2019.

1062d ago / 5:37 PM UTC

Biden scores endorsement from Iowa Rep. Finkenauer

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer Thursday became the first Democratic member of Iowa's congressional delegation to endorse a candidate in the party's presidential contest, throwing her support behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

Finkenauer, who is one of three of the state's Democratic members of Congress, is expected to join Biden on the trail as he kicks off the new year campaigning in her Eastern Iowa district. And the endorsement comes after a long, shared political history between the two.

She worked on Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign as a volunteer coordinator and was the lone Iowa Democratic candidate in 2018 to receive Biden's endorsement. Biden even appeared at a rally with Finkenauer during the closing weeks of that campaign which ended in her victory over incumbent Republican Rep. Rod Blum. 

Finkenauer represents the 1st district of Iowa, which is most of the northeast corner of the state — including Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Dubuque.  The district covers 20 counties with a high concentration of working-class voters. Fifteen of those supported Obama by double digits in 2008 and 2012, but swung to Donald Trump in 2016.

The Biden campaign noted in its announcement that the only Democratic members of Congress from any of the first four Democratic presidential nominating states who have endorsed in the presidential primary have backed Biden — Finkenauer and Nevada Rep. Dina Titus.

Biden is planning to hit 10 counties in Iowa over the next five days. 

—Marianna Sotomayor contributed

1065d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

Corey Lewandowski won't run for Senate in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H. — After months of speculation, President Trump's former 2016 campaign manager  Corey Lewandowski announced Tuesday he will not be running for Senate in New Hampshire to challenge Democrat incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Lewandowski wrote in a tweet that while he would forgo a run, his priorities remained his family and re-electing President Trump. 

Lewandowski added that he plans to endorse in the N.H. Republican primary, which so far includes Bryant “Corky” Messner, retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, and former state Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien.

Lewandowski had been having conversations with local Republican leaders about a potential run, several officials told NBC News. Multiple sources said Lewandowski would have been a “formidable” candidate had he challenged Shaheen.

Just last week, Lewandowski told local station WMUR that key factors were pointing him to run, including recent meetings with President Trump and Senate leadership.

“I've got a young family, I want to make sure I can spend time with them,” he said. “We've talked about this a lot now. I was in Washington last week with the president both Friday of last week and then Monday of this week, talking again. I talked with Senate leadership about this race to understand the resources that would be available to take on a two-term incumbent U.S. senator, looked at her voting record, realized that she no longer aligns with the values of New Hampshire, all these things are pointing us in the right direction."

The New Hampshire Democratic Party reacted to Lewandowski's announcement shortly after his initial tweet.

“While Messner, Bolduc, and O'Brien tear each other down in the contentious primary Lewandowski has left behind, Senator Shaheen will continue working across the aisle for New Hampshire, leading efforts to lower prescription drug costs and making sure veterans and their families get the benefits they deserve," said NHDP spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank. 

The New Hampshire Republican Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

1069d ago / 5:00 PM UTC

Bennet launching campaign's first New Hampshire television ad

WEST LEBANON, N.H. — Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is launching his presidential campaign's first New Hampshire television ad aimed at contrasting him with President Donald Trump. 

In the new one-minute spot, Bennet talks to the camera to argue that he's "the opposite of Trump," pitching himself as the candidate who can bridge the political divide and get results on issues like health care. 

Bennet’s campaign announced last week they need to raise $700,000 by Jan. 16 of next year to have the resources to compete in New Hampshire, including for the launch of his new ad. It says as of Friday the campaign has raised just over $165,000 toward that goal, so it will now put $60,000 into TV and digital this week. 

The campaign told NBC News it will increase its ad buy over the coming weeks as it continues to raise, and they intend to reach a six-figure buy, and that it needs to raise more to keep the ad on the air in the coming weeks. 

“Voters are asking one question in this election: Who can beat Donald Trump?” campaign spokesperson Shannon Beckham said in a statement.

“To beat Trump, we need the opposite of Trump, and Michael represents that in every way. People who are exhausted by the daily circus in the White House are looking for a candidate who will return things back to normal and start to make progress for their families."

The ad buy comes on the heels of Bennet announcing he would hold 50 town halls in New Hampshire in the final 10 weeks leading up to the state’s primary. His current tally is at 21 town halls, and with an impending impeachment trial in the Senate, the logistics of the rest are to be determined.

“I just know that New Hampshire hasn't made up its mind yet and that's why I'm here,” Bennet told reporters last week in Peterborough, NH. “I think our states are very similar and the politics are similar, and I'm hoping to do well here.”

Bennet is set to return to New Hampshire for a seven-day trip starting December 30, including hosting a first event of 2020 at 12:01 AM on January 1st.

1069d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Amy Klobuchar to hit 99th and final Iowa county on presidential campaign

ESTHERVILLE, IA — Sen. Amy Klobuchar is set to visit her 99th county in Iowa on Friday morning, completing her quest to hit every county in the state during her presidential bid. 

She’s the only presidential candidate who qualified for last month's debate stage to accomplish the feat (the only other candidate to complete the full tour is John Delaney, who’s been campaigning since 2017.)

Friday’s swing includes stops in Emmet, Kossuth and Humboldt counties - which all voted for President Trump in the 2016 general election - before heading to Des Moines to celebrate the completion of the full tour.

Emulating her habit of visiting all of her home state of Minnesota’s 87 counties, Klobuchar has emphasized the importance of meeting people in their communities on the campaign trail, touting her ability to appeal to moderate Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

Friday’s final three counties come after Klobuchar embarked on a busy four-day, 27 county bus tour last weekend. She passed through the southern edge of the state before swing up through northwest Iowa - historically conservative pockets of the state.

With just over a month until Iowa’s caucus, Klobuchar has seen her standing in the polls improve. In last month's Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll, she was the first choice for 6 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, good for fifth place. She also finished in fifth place (with 5 percent) in Monmouth University's November poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers. 

1075d ago / 5:42 PM UTC

The voters who could decide the 2020 election

WASHINGTON — In the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 48 percent of registered voters say they are certain to vote against President Trump, and 34 percent say they’re certain to vote for him.

In the middle are 18 percent of voters who say they might vote either way depending on the Democratic nominee.

Who are these 18 percent of voters — given that Trump needs to win two-thirds of them to reach the national 46 percent he won in 2016, or four-in-five of them to get to 48 percent?

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollsters call them “squishy Republicans” or “nominal Republicans.” They’re disproportionately younger men who identify as independents or moderates.

President Trump’s job rating with them is 55 percent (compared to 44 percent overall in the poll), they favor Republicans by 20 points in congressional preference (versus the D+7 lead overall) and a plurality of them believe Trump did something wrong regarding Ukraine — but that it doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment.

So the name of the game for 2020 is Trump trying to win as many of these squishy/nominal Republicans as possible to assemble a winning coalition, or the eventual Democratic nominee cutting into enough of these voters to deny the president that coalition.

And how do these up-for-grabs view the Democratic contenders? Check out these numbers:

1076d ago / 4:36 PM UTC

Mike Bloomberg is spending big in his presidential bid. Here’s how other self-funders fared.

WASHINGTON — Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has wasted no time putting his massive fortune to use in the race for the Democratic nomination. Worth an estimated $55 billion, the 2020 hopeful has already dwarfed his rivals by spending over $100 million on advertising since he announced his campaign just weeks ago. And Bloomberg is paying for it all himself — his website notably lacks a “donate” button, and he’s said he won’t seek any contributions.

Image: Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg speaks about his plan for clean energy during a campaign event at the Blackwall Hitch restaurant in Alexandria, Va., on Dec. 13, 2019.Olivier Douliery / AFP - Getty Images

Though he may be the wealthiest candidate in history, he’s not the only billionaire or self-funder to try his hand at presidential politics, not even in 2020.

Among Democrats, Bloomberg joins Tom Steyer, a California hedge fund billionaire who has plowed $47 million into his own campaign, according to his latest FEC filings, and garnered just enough support for three coveted debate invitations. Another multimillionaire, former congressman John Delaney, has given more than $24 million to his campaign to much less success, rarely even reaching 1 percent in national polls.

The three are spending all that money to earn a chance at challenging yet another billionaire: Donald Trump. And while Trump’s reelection effort is a fundraising juggernaut, his 2016 campaign was powered in part by his own wealth, to the tune of $66.1 million in personal contributions and loans.

Though there have long been self-funders in presidential politics, it is notable that 2020 involves so many of them. “This is by no means new,” says Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.  “As campaigns grow ever more expensive, this will continue to be a trend.”

Apart from the current president, those who have relied largely on their own wealth to win the presidency have historically come up empty-handed.

In 1992, Texas billionaire Ross Perot launched an independent bid for the White House and spent $64 million (that’s $118 million in 2020, adjusted for inflation) on his way to winning 19 percent of the popular vote, a modern record for independent candidates.

Perot famously bought 30-minute infomercials where he talked economic policy direct to camera from his desk, using charts and a pointer. During his Reform Party run four years later, Perot spent significantly less — $20 million inflation-adjusted — and saw his popular vote share decrease to just over 8 percent. 

The first time publisher Steve Forbes sought the Republican nomination, in 1996, he self-funded with an inflation-adjusted $61 million. But like his signature tax policy, his campaign fell flat. Time Magazine referred to it as “wacky, saturated with money and ultimately embarrassing to all concerned,” and he finished a distant third place with 11 percent of the total primary vote.

Undeterred, Forbes jumped back into the fray in 2000, and spent another $60 million to even meeker results: a handful of delegates and no primary victories.

The 2000s saw several very wealthy men run for president: John Kerry in 2004, Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012, and Jon Huntsman in 2012. Of the three, Romney in 2008 was the most prolific self-funder, spending $54 million in 2019 dollars, over a third of his total campaign expenditure (in 2012 he stopped self-funding). Kerry gave his campaign almost $9 million in 2019 dollars, but fundraised several hundred million more. And Huntsman loaned his campaign over $5 million, more than he raised from donors. None of the three became president.

Can Bloomberg overcome history? While he’s been successful at “buying himself a head start,” Krumholz cautions that for billionaires, “the money represents a shortcut around the hard slog of campaigning, but generally not to victory.”

1076d ago / 6:00 PM UTC

Michael Bloomberg releases first part of health care plan

LOS ANGELES — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rolled out the contours of his health care plan on Thursday, adding his voice to the issue that has defined, and vexed, the Democratic primary field all year.

Bloomberg's proposal would be a “Medicare-like” public option — which places him in step with other “moderate’ candidates in the 2020 Democratic field, like former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor of South Bend, Ind. Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. The proposal also aims to bolster the Affordable Care Act, expand coverage and cut costs of prescription drugs and health care prices. 

Image: Mike Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg waits to address a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 25, 2019.Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

The two-page plan, which Bloomberg is promoting over several campaign stops in Tennessee, is the first of a two-part health care plan. The second part will focus on public health and be released in the new year, according to the Bloomberg campaign.

Several Democrats in the 2020 field prescribe a public option as either their end goal or, in the case of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as part of a longer-term process to get to a Medicare For All system. Bloomberg, however, does not intend for Medicare for All to be the goal.

On a campaign-hosted call with reporters before the plan’s release and Bloomberg aides were clear that a public option was not a stepping stone to Medicare for All, emphasizing the realities of Congress as a key reason why.

“We’re going for a more achievable approach,” one aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan.

Aides were also clear that Bloomberg’s plan, like those of other moderates, envisions a continued role for private insurance. The campaign referred to Americans being able to keep plans they were promised.

“We’re not trying to completely rock the boat and get everyone off the plan if they like it," an aide said. 

Bloomberg proposes capping out-of-network charges at 200 percent of Medicare rates, in order to keep health care prices down. To lower the cost of prescription drugs, Bloomberg plans to empower the Health and Human Services Secretary to negotiate prices with pharmaceuticals.

The plan also seeks to expand coverage and subsidies, in addition to creating the public option. The campaign said it hasn't yet gotten a formal estimate of what the price tag will be for the entire plan, but informally puts the cost at $1.5 trillion to create the public option and expand subsidies. The campaign believes that by capping out of network charges and negotiating drug costs, the total cost could be brought to to $1 trillion. 

1077d ago / 5:24 PM UTC

Donald Glover to endorse Andrew Yang, co-host Los Angeles event

WASHINGTON — Actor Donald Glover, also known by his musical stage name Childish Gambino, will endorse 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Thursday in Los Angeles at a joint event they're calling  “The 46 Campaign.”

The collaboration campaign event takes place just hours before Yang is expected to take the debate stage at Loyola Marymount University in L.A. for the final Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019.

Image: US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE-POLITICS
Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang speaks to the press in the Spin Room following the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20, 2019.NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP - Getty Images

He will be joined on-stage by former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and billionaire activist Tom Steyer. Yang was the last candidate to qualify under the Democratic National Committee's thresholds and will be the only candidate of color on the debate stage.

“The 46 Campaign” is expected to sell collaboration merchandise in “limited quantities,” according to Glover’s Instagram story, with all proceeds going towards to the Yang campaign. Glover also noted there will not be any music at the event. 

S.Y. Lee, Yang's national press secretary, confirmed to NBC News that Glover will endorse at the event, and that the merchandise on sale will include sweatshirts, hats and posters. 

In addition to being a Golden Globe-winning actor and influential rapper, Glover has become increasingly political in his music and art in recent years. Under the stage name Childish Gambino, Glover broke onto the national political stage upon the May 2018 release of his award-winning song, “This is America.”

The anthem and its accompanying music video, which trended as the No. 1 song in the United States for three weeks, depicts stark political themes including gun violence, police brutality and the experience of being black in the United States. “This is America” went on to win four Grammy Awards that year. 

Yang has garnered a few celebrity endorsements or donations to his campaign, including actor Nicolas Cage, musician Rivers Cuomo, actor Noah Centineo, investor Sam Altman and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

1077d ago / 12:42 PM UTC

Booker ad to air during Thursday's debate

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Cory Booker. D-N.J. will not be on tonight’s debate stage, but viewers watching CNN in select markets will see the presidential candidate in his first television ad of the election cycle.

“How long are these things, 30 seconds? Are you sure we can afford this?” Booker jokes in the ad. “You're only gonna see this ad once because I'm not a billionaire. I won't be on tonight's debate stage, but that's okay because I'm going to win this election anyway. This election isn't about who can spend the most, or who slings the most mud. It's about the people.”

The 30-second spot, “Together,” will air during CNN’s simulcast of the debate in 22 markets, including the first four early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.

The cable ad buy is the first part of a half-million dollar investment in television and digital ads, originally planned solely for Iowa. It comes during what campaign manager Addisu Demissie indicated will be the best fundraising quarter yet for the campaign — Booker has raised more than $3 million since the last democratic debate.

On Saturday, Booker led the 2020 Democratic field in calling on the DNC to ease qualification thresholds for future debates.

Booker has 2 percent support in the latest NBC News/WSJ national poll released Thursday.

1078d ago / 3:42 PM UTC

Collins' decision to seek re-election puts her in middle of fight for Senate control

WASHINGTON — Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins announced Wednesday she's running for re-election, a decision setting up one of the most competitive Senate races of the 2020 cycle. 

Collins announced her decision in a letter where she framed herself as a "centrist who still believes in getting things done through compromise, collegiality, and bipartisanship."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to journalists while walking to the Senate floor on Jan. 24, 2019.Melina Mara / The Washington Post/Getty Images file

“I promised the people of Maine a decision this fall on whether I would seek reelection.  The fundamental question I had to ask myself in making my decision was this: in today’s polarized political environment, is there still a role for a centrist who believes in getting things done through compromise, collegiality, and bipartisanship? she asked. 

“I have concluded that the answer to this question is “yes,” and I will, therefore, seek the honor of continuing to serve as Maine’s United States Senator."

The decision was not a big surprise, as Collins’s campaign has already spent $1.2 million on television ads and raised almost $5.7 million so far this cycle (through September). But the Republican hadn’t officially confirmed her intentions until Wednesday.

Collins is a Senate mainstay, serving in the body since the 1996 election. But this reelection could be the toughest in her political career. 

Democrats see a narrow path toward taking the Senate in 2020, which would almost certainly include defeating Collins and could make her seat one that decides the body's balance of power. Many believe Collins is at a uniquely vulnerable point in her political career thanks in part to President Trump's languishing approval rating as well as her decision to vote in favor of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

And she'll also be right at the center of the impeachment battle as a pivotal vote in any Senate trial deciding whether to remove Trump from office. 

That's why there's been an uncharacteristically huge amount of television spending (almost $7 million) in the race already, with Democrats outspending Republicans $4.3 million to $2.7 million. 

The Democrats' top candidate is state House Speaker Sara Gideon, but she faces a primary challenge from progressive Betsy Sweet, the former head of the Maine Women's Lobby. 

1078d ago / 9:24 PM UTC

Joe Biden releases medical assessment, described as 'healthy, vigorous'

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump may call Joe Biden “sleepy,” but the former vice president’s physician states that the 77-year-old is in good health and nowhere near slowing down.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor of The George Washington University released a three-page medical summary of Biden's health on Tuesday at the request of his patient, in which he described Biden as a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., on  Dec. 8, 2019.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., on Dec. 8, 2019.Cheryl Senter / AP

There is no new notable change in Biden’s medical history based on previous medical records released during his time as vice president. Biden survived two brain aneurysms in the late 1980s — one did not rupture. And while the condition was later complicated by subsequent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, O'Connor states there are currently no serious threats to Biden’s health and medical conditions from his past are currently under control.

Biden is taking blood thinners and medication for acid reflux, cholesterol and seasonal allergies. Dr. John Torres, an NBC News medical correspondent, notes that acid reflux can occasionally cause a hoarse voice, which has become noticeable at times on the campaign trail. 

O’Connor has been Biden’s primary physician since 2009, and also released the results of Biden's most recent physical exam, which showed him to be in stable health. Notably, his doctor points out that Biden’s good health can be attributed to his decision not to smoke, drink and commitment to working out “at least five days per week.”

Critics of the former vice president’s age often suggest the septuagenarian is mentally and physically too old to be president, however, O'Connor makes no mention of any mental deficiencies, stating that Biden’s last physical showed his that his “cranial nerves and vestibular function are normal.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, two of the other septuagenarian Democratic candidates, have also released medical assessments. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has not yet released his. 

Biden has also had his gallbladder removed and has been preemptively treated for non-cancerous polyps and skin abrasions in recent years.

 

1078d ago / 8:54 PM UTC

Klobuchar to open fundraisers up to press

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will be opening up her future presidential campaign fundraisers to press starting Wednesday, her campaign tells NBC News.

Amid tensions and a growing debate over fundraising transparency among Democratic primary contenders, Klobuchar is joining candidates South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who recently decided to open up their fundraisers to press.

Amy Klobuchar speaks to moderator Craig Melvin at the Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, 2019.
Amy Klobuchar speaks to moderator Craig Melvin at the Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, 2019.Gabe Ginsberg / for MSNBC

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been doing so with a pooled press system from the beginning of his campaign. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who has made a central campaign talking point her rejection of high-dollar fundraisers, held her first campaign fundraiser in the Los Angeles area last week. While Warren did not attend in person the event was made open to press. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders does not hold fundraisers for his campaign.

Klobuchar’s campaign confirms to NBC News that they will disclose bundlers for campaign donations on her behalf, but provided no details on the timing.

For all future fundraising events, Klobuchar’s campaign will utilize a pool system for a single reporter to attend and cover fundraising events. The campaign will then distribute the pool report at the conclusion of the event.  

Klobuchar’s first fundraiser open to the press will be Wednesday in Los Angeles ahead of Thursday’s debate.

1079d ago / 2:34 PM UTC

Biden campaign responds to impeachment vote in new TV ad

Former Vice President Joe Biden 's presidential campaign is out with a new TV ad ahead of Wednesday's House vote to impeach President Donald Trump, a spot that refers to the 2020 election as a fight for America's soul. 

The one-minute cable TV ad, called “Soul of America,” will air in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina through Thursday and rebukes Trump by embracing former Vice President Joe Biden’s core message about the need to unite and restore the country’s soul. The ad buy is part of the campaign’s $6 million paid media expense in the first four early primary states.

The ad features clips of Biden’s first blistering speech against Trump delivered early this summer in Burlington, Iowa, where he strongly assailed Trump for having “no moral leadership” or interest in uniting the country. In that same speech, he went on to accuse Trump of trying to lead “with a toxic tongue” that has “publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate, racism and division.”

The ad hinges on the reminder Biden often delivers on the campaign trail about restoring the soul of America: that America has never lived up to its ideal written by Thomas Jefferson in the preamble of the Constitution, but it has never flat-out abandoned it as Trump has.

It starkly contrasts the achievements America has made despite centuries of slavery and racism, which Biden points out took true leadership to try and stamp out such malice. The ad shows famous moments in African American history before quickly pivoting to images of Trump and the flashpoints that have happened under his watch like Charlottesville.

“If we give Donald Trump four more years, this will not be the country envisioned by Washington. This will not be the nation bound together by Lincoln. This will not be the nation lifted up by Roosevelt or inspired by Kennedy,” Biden reminds. “It will not be the nation that Barack Obama proves bends towards justice.”

Though the ad never mentions the word impeachment, it makes clear on Biden’s belief that the most important and reliable place to remove Trump from office is in the ballot box next November.

“We can’t and I will not let this man be reelected President of the United States of America,” the ad ends.

1079d ago / 12:28 PM UTC

New Klobuchar Iowa ad emphasizes her roots

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Amy Klobuchar's campaign has released a new television ad touting her Midwestern roots and her “record of bringing people together.” The six-figure ad buy comes right before the next presidential debate on Thursday and will air in across multiple markets in Iowa. 

The Minnesota senator chose to target President Trump directly, saying, “If we don’t stop Donald Trump this time, shame on us. Americans deserve a President who has their back, who isn’t afraid to take on powerful forces, who has a record of bringing people together. And most importantly, who gets things done.” 

“I know what it takes to win in the Midwest,” Klobuchar adds, reiterating a point Iowans hear often in her stump speech. “It’s not flyover country to me — it’s home.” 

The ad is in line with the Minnesota senator's message on the campaign trail, where she frequently draws contrasts between her own beliefs and Trump’s policies in her attempt to cast herself as a natural opponent to the president.  

“We come from a country where no matter where you come from or who you know or where you worship or who you love that you can make it in the United States of America,” Klobuchar said at a recent event in Dubuque, Iowa. “And that's really where we begin because we have a president right now who tries to shatter those dreams. He tries to shatter those dreams every single morning when he goes after immigrants, when he goes after people of color, when he goes after people that he doesn't agree with.” 

Klobuchar, who frequently jokes that she can see Iowa from her Minnesota porch, will embark on a four-day bus tour through Iowa, vowing to hit 27 counties by the tour’s end. The campaign claims she will have hit 96 counties by the tour’s conclusion — leaving her only three short of hitting all of Iowa’s 99 counties.  

Klobuchar appears to have solidified her spot in fifth place in Iowa following the last two debates. In recent Iowa-specific polls, she garnered 10 percent in Emerson’s latest poll and 6 percent in the famed Iowa Des Moines Register poll in November.

1079d ago / 12:18 PM UTC

Buttigieg ad takes on Trump by not talking 'Trump'

DES MOINES, Iowa — Pete Buttigieg's campaign is out with a new television ad highlighting his strategy for taking on President Donald Trump, but viewers shouldn’t expect to hear the president’s name or even see him in the 30-second spot — and for Buttigieg, that’s the point.

The ad, titled “Talk About You,” opens with a graphic that reads, “Pete Buttigieg, speaking about Donald Trump,” and that three seconds is the only time Trump is mentioned by name. Throughout the rest of the ad, the president is simply referred to as “him.”

“What it's really going to take is denying him the power to change the subject,” Buttigieg says on screen as he’s speaks to a group of voters. “The more we're talking about him, the less we're talking about you,” he says as voters nod in agreement. 

Buttigieg promises the room full of people that he will, “keep our focus on what matters most, and have the discipline to make sure the conversation stays there too.” 

The ad will run statewide in Iowa beginning on Tuesday. 

While it may be focused on Trump, the ad also seeks to draw a clear distinction between Buttigieg’s approach to taking on the president and that of his opponents for the Democratic nomination. 

Some candidates have released ads that feature Trump prominently, including Former Vice President Joe Biden’s ad titled, “Laughed At.” Senator Bernie Sanders’ first TV ad of this election cycle titled, “Fights for Us,” also includes a clip of the president. 

That Buttigieg’s ad doesn't mention the president directly is no accident. A statement by the campaign announcing the ad states, “The ad highlights how Pete would take on Donald Trump by focusing on the issues that are impacting people every day — rather than keeping the focus on Donald Trump.” 

1079d ago / 8:54 PM UTC

County-to-County: Do moderate Republicans hold the key to Trump's impeachment and re-election?

WASHINGTON — As the impeachment process hurdles on through a divided Congress (and public) that seems to be ever-hardening, there is one group of voters who could make a big difference in the political equation for the 2020 election and possibly the eventual outcome of the Senate trial: moderate Republicans who have never been die-hard Trump supporters.

To gauge their reaction on the process, "Meet the Press" assembled a group of six voters who fit that bill in Kent County, Michigan to ask them if they were paying attention to the proceedings and what they were hearing from their friends and neighbors. What they responded with was a mix of disgruntlement and shoulder-shrugging inevitability.

All the members of the panel, several of whom said they do not plan to vote for the president in 2020, signaled that they were all-but-certain the impeachment proceedings would lead to an acquittal for the president. Some said they wanted to see him censured. But there was general agreement that the next step was to “bring on the election.”

Kent is a one of the five locales in the County-to-County Project NBC News launched for 2020 to track different kinds of voter communities through the next presidential election and it's important for two big reasons.

First, Kent, the home of former President Gerald Ford, has long been a bastion of what might be thought of as establishment Republicanism. It’s less diverse than the nation as whole, it’s well-educated and it has high incomes. It’s voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election from 1968 onward — except for 2008 when it narrowly voted for Barack Obama.

It was also a weak point for President Trump in 2016. Even as he carried Michigan in the election, he won Kent by the smallest margin of any Republican in last 50 years. In short, it is an ideal place to see if Trump’s support is weakening among those voters.

Second, those moderate Republicans are particularly crucial in the impeachment story right now because they are likely the only voters that could make the process bipartisan and ultimately impact the outcome of the fight. Democrats and strong Republicans are already deeply dug in on the issue.

President Trump’s time in office has been eventful in many ways, but not in the polling data. The majority of voters have made up their mind on him — for or against. Since his inauguration his job approval rating has stayed in a narrow eight-point band in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, between 47 percent and 39 percent. In October, his approval number was 45 percent.

1079d ago / 5:41 PM UTC

Andrew Yang releases public-option health care plan

MANCHESTER, NH – Andrew Yang on Monday released his health care proposal, one that creates a public option but still retains the ability for Americans to keep their private insurance. 

Yang's campaign said the plan explores  “ways to reduce the burden of healthcare on employers, including by giving employees the option to enroll in Medicare for All instead of an employer-provided healthcare plan.”

The "New Way Forward” care plan is a clear departure from his previous support for Medicare for All – still listed as one of “Andrew’s 3 Big Policies” on his campaign website homepage. The proposal instead more closely resembles the plans for a "public option" being championed by candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 

“To be clear, I support the spirit of Medicare for All, and have since the first day of this campaign. I do believe that swiftly reformatting 18% of our economy and eliminating private insurance for millions of Americans is not a realistic strategy, so we need to provide a new way forward on healthcare for all Americans,” Yang said in the release.

“As Democrats, we all believe in healthcare as a human right. We all want to make sure there is universal affordable coverage. We know we have a broken healthcare system where Americans spend more money on healthcare to worse results. But, we are spending too much time fighting over the differences between Medicare for All, “Medicare for All Who Want It,” and ACA expansion when we should be focusing on the biggest problems that are driving up costs and taking lives.”

The plan doesn't provide a total cost, or a funding source. His proposal also does not include at what age Americans can opt-in to Medicare, nor does it address the millions of Americans currently uninsured or provide information on how copays, deductibles, and premiums would be impacted for those who are insured.

The "Medicare for All" proposals by candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., envision a landscape where private insurance is rendered obsolete. Yang has changed his stance on Medicare for All over recent months, but has maintained support for keeping private insurers if they can compete in the market.

In a June conversation with a New Hampshire voter, Yang referred to himself as "pro-Medicare for All" and said he thought health care should be a "basic right." 

But by last month, he told reporters that "the difference between my approach and Senator Sanders and Senator Warren is that I disagree that everyone hates their private insurance plan." 

Here are more details from Yang's plan:

  • Control the cost of life-saving prescription drugs, through negotiating drug prices, using international reference pricing, forced licensing, public manufacturing facilities, and importation.
  • Invest in technologies to finally make health services function efficiently and reduce waste by utilizing modernized services like telehealth and assistive technology, supported by  measures such as multi-state licensing laws.
  • Change the incentive structure by offering flexibility to providers, prioritizing patients over paperwork, and increasing the supply of practitioners.
  • Shift our focus and educating ourselves in preventative care and end-of-life care options.
  • Ensure crucial aspects of wellbeing, including mental health, care for people with disabilities, HIV/AIDs detection and treatment, reproductive health, maternal care, dental, and vision are addressed and integrated into comprehensive care for the 21st century.
  • Diminish the influence of lobbyists and special interests in the healthcare industry that makes it nearly impossible to draft and pass meaningful healthcare reform.  
1081d ago / 10:36 PM UTC

Michael Bennet says Biden, Buttigieg stole his health care plan

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PITTSBURGH – In a rare clash between the candidates over health care, former Vice President Joe Biden last week accused South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of stealing his proposal to build on the Affordable Care Act with a public option. On Saturday, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said Biden and Buttigieg took their public option plans from him. 

“I’ve been robbed blind by everybody!” Bennet told NBC News on Saturday, after the MSNBC Public Education Forum. “I mean if Mayor Pete sole it from Joe Biden, Joe stole it from me."

Bennet co-sponsored his Medicare-X plan, which would create a public option, in 2017. 

One of the signature policy debates of the Democratic primary has been the most effective way to expand access to health care and lower costs – either through building on the Affordable Care Act or transitioning to a fully public system like Medicare For All. Biden has gone on the offensive against Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her Medicare for All proposal, calling it unrealistic and unaffordable. 

But during his bus tour of Iowa last week, Biden he turned his attention to Buttigieg, who also has proposed a plan that includes a public option.

“He stole it,” Biden told reporters at the time. 

Buttigieg countered that he had been discussing a public option since before Biden even entered the race, and plans like his and Biden’s were hardly new in the Democratic Party. 

Bennet said it was his they were modeling their own plans on. 

“As Bernie says over and over again, he's the guy who wrote the damn bill on Medicare for All. Well, I'm the guy that wrote the damn bill on the public option,” Bennet said. 

Bennet also argued that Buttigieg has flip-flopped on health care since entering the race because he had initially appeared to support Medicare for All. 

"I'm not sure where Joe Biden, was but he didn't get it done,” Bennet added. "And, I didn't need to take a poll or get ready to run for president to know what I believe about it.”

Bennet, who has struggled to break into the top tier in the Democratic field, said his policy reflected his experience running and winning in a battleground state. 

"I'm the only candidate in the race who has actually won two national elections in the swing state,” Bennet said. "When you’ve done that, you learn to say the same thing in a primary that you say in a general election. And you suck it up and tell people what you think and, and in the end I think people respect you for it even if they disagree with your particular position on any given issue."

1081d ago / 10:20 PM UTC

Pete Buttigieg will allow Netflix CEO to host fundraiser despite charter school support

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PITTSBURGH – South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg said on Saturday he will allow Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to co-host a fundraiser on his behalf, despite Hastings support for charter schools. Buttigieg made the remarks after his appearance at the MSNBC Public Education Forum. 

Buttigieg opposes federal school voucher programs. 

“I have no plans to make a change there,” Buttigieg said in response to questions about Hastings' appearance.

Hastings sits on the board of a public charter school and has donated millions of dollars to various educational institutions including charter schools. Buttigieg emphasized that his position on the issue will not change despite the views of those who contribute to his campaign. 

“There are 700,000 donors to my campaign,” Buttigieg said. “Some of them may disagree with me on some of those issues, but my stance will not change, including my support for teachers and my support for labor.”

Buttigieg recently opened his closed-door fundraisers to the press amid criticism from Democratic presidential opponents like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

In his K-12 education policy, Buttigieg proposes banning for-profit charter schools and hold public charters schools to the same level of accountability, rigor and oversight as traditional public schools. He’s also emphasized the need for the resources to be fair for schools across the board. 

Charter schools have become a hot-topic in the 2020 Democratic race, with most candidates declaring opposition to “for profit” charter schools as candidates look to earn the support of teacher’s unions.

 

1082d ago / 6:01 PM UTC

Tom Steyer staffs up in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Billionaire Tom Steyer is doubling down on the South Carolina ground game for his presidential bid and increasing the size of his campaign throughout the state.  

The Steyer campaign currently has over 60 paid directors and organizers on the ground in the state, and plans to add an additional 40 by the end of the year, according to Tiffiany Vaughn Jones, the campaign's South Carolina communications director.

Image: 14 Democratic Presidential Candidates Attend Iowa Liberty And Justice Celebration
Democratic presidential candidate, philanthropist Tom Steyer speaks at the Liberty and Justice Celebration at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa on Nov. 1, 2019.Scott Olson / Getty Images

A staff presence of over 100 will ensure that the Steyer campaign has a dominating presence in the state. As of mid-December, the Sanders campaign has the second-largest roster of staffers, with over 50 on the payroll. 

“The official title for our organizers are community organizers,” said Brandon Upson, Steyer’s National Organizing Director. “We’re hiring people specifically in the communities that they live in, have been raised in, so that they can organize their neighbors, their family members.”

One of those community organizers, Alonzo Canzater, said he decided to support the campaign after learning more about the investments Steyer himself has made to assist with the water crisis in his own backyard and sponsoring local food drives. 

For Canzater, he hopes that this personal investment means a President Steyer wouldn't forget about South Carolina voters.

“A lot of presidents, they try to use the African American community to get those votes, but once they get in there, we don’t see them. But I think Tom is going to stick to his word," Canzater said. 

Canzater likened his job to being the “face of the campaign” in South Carolina. “I go to a lot of neighborhoods I grew up in," he said, "just try to push them and encourage them to vote because their vote does count.”

While Steyer has focused on his ground game in South Carolina, other Democratic candidates continue to attack him for spending his personal fortune on staying the race.

Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand — two women senators who, together, won more than 11.5 million votes in their last elections — have been forced out of this race, while billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have been allowed to buy their way in,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote in a fundraising email earlier this month. 

Steyer campaign South Carolina state director Jonathan Metcalf pushed back on those assertions. 

“The idea of a billionaire may conjure up some image." Metcalf said. "But Tom Steyer is the first person in his family to make money. And then what did he do? He decided to give half of it away to good causes he believes in.”

Metcalf also dismissed the idea that Steyer was buying his way into the race, saying the enthusiasm of their' teams community organizers is “something you really can't put a price tag on.”

1083d ago / 3:32 PM UTC

Michael Bloomberg releases new piece of his climate change plan

WASHINGTON — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing his best to catch up in the 2020 Democratic primary plan race. On Friday, Bloomberg released a piece of his climate change program that calls for slashing emissions by 50 percent in the next 10 years, replacing all coal plants in the United States with clean power and stopping new construction of gas plants.

Image: Former New York City Mayor and possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks in Manchester, New Hampshire
Former New York City Mayor and possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks in Manchester, New Hampshire, Jan. 29, 2019.Brian Snyder / Reuters file

Friday’s proposal is part of a larger goal to get the U.S. to clean energy status “as soon as humanly possible” and “ideally before 2045 or 2050,” according to Bloomberg, who has invested millions of dollars in environmentally-friendly candidates, and causes, for years.

“The president refuses to lead on climate change, so the rest of us must,” Bloomberg said in a statement, released before he was set to hold an event in Northern Virginia to highlight the plan. “We’ve proven that you can transition to clean energy and strengthen the economy at the same time. As president, I'll accelerate our transition to a 100% clean energy economy.” 

Some other details:

  • Bloomberg’s plan aims to get to 80 percent clean electricity by the end of his second term in office (2028), by phasing out all carbon and health threatening pollution.
  • This plan, as many Democratic plans do, will also reinstate emissions standards instituted by former President Barack Obama and then rolled back by President Donald Trump.
  • He also proposes quadrupling investment in federal research and development into clean energy to at least $25 billion per year.
  • Environmental justice should be “central to decision-making” for federal agencies
  • End fossil fuel subsidies and bar fossil fuel leases on federal lands.
  • There are also incentives for clean energy projects around the U.S.
1083d ago / 11:09 AM UTC

Biden releases new Iowa ads on healthcare

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Joe Biden's campaign began running its eighth television ad in Iowa Friday morning emphasizing the candidate's focus on health care — a top issue for a majority of voters in 2020. The ad, combined with supplemental digital ads, is the latest in a $4 million investment in ad buys in Iowa from November through caucus day on February 3. 

"Protect" will air on television in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids and on Hulu’s streaming service statewide. It plays like a general election ad, directly hitting President Trump’s effort to “destroy Obamacare,” while touting Biden’s plan to build on that health law and reminding viewers that he helped pass the Affordable Care Act with President Obama “in the first place.” Biden’s health care plan would expand Obamacare by adding a public option but also allowing voters to keep their private insurance if they want it. 

"Trust" and another complementary video will run on social media platforms statewide. “Trust” features Charlene Harmon, a supporter from Ankeny, who received a cancer diagnosis but luckily had insurance that covered her recovery. Harmon credits Joe Biden’s empathy when discussing her support.

“I know he understands what we’ve been through,” Harmon says to camera. “To me, that makes him real.”

The second video is an addition to the campaign’s “On the Road with Joe” series, highlighting conversations the former vice president has on the rope line following campaign events, including an interaction where a woman from Davenport told Biden that the ACA saved her son’s life. (Differing from the previous two ads somber soundtrack, this ad also plays out under the song, “High Hopes” by Panic At The Disco!, which is notably Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s anthem on the campaign trail). 

The latter two ads emphasize the campaign’s messaging in recent weeks, which is Biden’s empathy and ability to connect with those who have suffered. Along the eight-day “No Malarkey” bus tour route through Iowa, many voters brought up Biden’s empathy as a selling factor. During the bus tour, Biden heavily stressed his commitment to strengthening rural communities by recognizing the difficulty they face in accessing quality health care.

1083d ago / 9:53 PM UTC

Michael Bloomberg releases medical assessment on health

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg released a recent assessment from his doctor on Thursday, deeming the 77-year-old to be in “outstanding health.” While Bloomberg has had some health issues, for instance atrial fibrillation, those are currently controlled with medicine.

Image: Mike Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg waits to address a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 25, 2019.Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

The release comes at a time where fellow 2020 candidates have pushed each other on transparency. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70,  — a fellow 2020 septuagenarian — released a similar medical assessment last week. Former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, have yet to release their own health updates this cycle. 

Dr. Stephen Sission of John Hopkins University saw Bloomberg in July 2019 and said in his statement, "Mr. Bloomberg is a 77-year-old man in outstanding health. There are no medical concerns, present or looming, that would prevent him from serving as President of the United States."

Sisson pointed out a few other things in his assessment of Bloomberg: 

  • Bloomberg had a coronary stent put in in 2000.
  • He takes a blood thinner and medication to control his cholesterol.
  • He’s had small skin cancers removed.
1083d ago / 8:58 PM UTC

Trump campaign says impeachment has 'ignited a flame' under the Trump base

ARLINGTON, Va. — As the House Judiciary Committee debated the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Thursday morning, his senior campaign officials were across the river in Virginia arguing the nearly two and a half month long inquiry has motivated Republicans so fiercely that it “makes our job easier in some ways.”

Pointing to increases in recent fundraising and new volunteers, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed that “pretty much every metric that we have” shows that the president’s base is so “frustrated” and “upset” that Democrats have “ignited a flame underneath” them with the election less than a year away.

“Any time he’s attacked, any time people try to lessen that he’s a legitimate president in any way, his voters fight back. And I think that that is a motivation,” Parscale told reporters at a 2020 briefing near their campaign headquarters in Rosslyn, Va.

That said, senior campaign officials conceded they certainly would rather not have the president impeached because they firmly believe he “did nothing wrong.” They pointed to recent campaign polling in congressional districts of vulnerable Democrats as evidence that more moderate politicians in swing districts who vote for impeachment may be voted out of office come November.

Parscale also said impeachment has helped the campaign fill up rallies easier and that interest is at an all-time high with some events garnering 80,000 to 100,000 signups for arenas that won’t accommodate more than 20,000 (at most). That level of interest, especially from potentially new voters, also helps the campaign suck up first-party data that will be critical to reaching additional voters for potential re-election.

Officials argued they are also seeing a trend in recent months from certain independent voters in battleground states who view impeachment unfavorably and see the House Democrats’ latest actions as overreach. The Trump campaign hopes to capitalize on this in at least 17 states they have identified over the next year.

“We’re really proud of where we are but we’re going to run every day like we’re behind in this race and we’re going to work very hard to try to take advantage of everything possible to get the president a chance to win re-election,” a senior aide said.

1083d ago / 5:39 PM UTC

Booker campaign plans way forward without appearing at December debate

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MANCHESTER, N.H. — On a campaign call with reporters Thursday morning, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign manager Addisu Demissie confirmed that while Booker will not appear on the December debate stage, the campaign still sees a path forward. 

“We are not expecting to meet the four-poll threshold or being on the debate stage at this point,” said Demissie.

Image: Cory Booker
Cory Booker speaks during the 2020 Gun Safety Forum hosted by gun control activist groups Giffords and March for Our Lives at Enclave on Oct. 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nev.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Demissie critically noted that there have only been four qualifying polls in the few weeks since the November debate, none of which were from one of the first four early states where the Booker campaign says it has focused its investment.

“We still see a path to victory in the Democratic nomination that does not include the December debate stage as a requirement,” he said.

In order to qualify for the December debate, candidates had to reach a polling threshold with 4 percent support in at least four national or early state polls, or 6 percent support in at least two early state polls. Booker did not meet either of those thresholds. The campaign did, however, says it did meet the donor threshold which requires candidates to raise money from at least 200,000 unique donors. Candidates have until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday to qualify.

The campaign had previously stated that not making the December debate stage would prompt reevaluation of the campaign's paths and resources. But Demissie cited the following as reasons for a way forward: a financial upswing in past couple of weeks, changes to the 2020 field, increased voter attention and strong ground organization. This is the first debate Booker will not appear at in the cycle. 

Demissie took a dig at the two billionaires in the race for buying "name recognition and polling bumps." Philanthropist Tom Steyer qualified for the debate, while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not. Bloomberg is not raising money from individual donors but registered at 5 percent in two national polls. 

Instead of heading to California for the sixth Democratic debate on Dec. 19, Booker will campaign in Nevada next Wednesday before kicking off a bus tour in Iowa on debate day. The multi-day tour will be open to the press and on the record like South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg'sformer Vice President Joe Biden's and businessman Andrew Yang's bus tours.

The campaign announced it will also "soon be making a down payment” on a TV and digital ad buy in Iowa starting at half a million dollars to double down on its efforts in the Hawkeye state. 

Booker's campaign said it has raised more than $3 million since the Nov. 20 debate, with Demissie indicating this is likely to be the candidate’s best fundraising quarter yet.

Asked if Booker would open fundraisers to the press and disclose bundlers, Demissie told a reporter, “Sure, yeah, wanna come this weekend?” adding the campaign has been working on disclosing its bundlers. 

While the December debate will likely be the last Democratic debate before the impeachment trial in the Senate begins, the Booker campaign confirmed that Booker still plans to be in Washington D.C. for the trial and “will do his job no matter the consequences.”

1084d ago / 12:39 PM UTC

Progressive climate group Sunrise Movement looks to topple three Democratic congressmen

WASHINGTON — The progressive climate group Sunrise Movement is endorsing a slate of insurgent candidates in Democratic primaries Wednesday, the group told NBC News. 

The youth-led group, which has made a name for itself since launching in 2017 with confrontational tactics and vocal support for the Green New Deal, is backing three insurgents hoping to defeat entrenched Democratic congressmen, as well as supporting a congressional candidate in a battleground Texas district currently held by a Republican.

The group is throwing its support behind 26-year-old Robert Emmons Jr., who is challenging longtime Chicago Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush. A young former President Barack Obama, in his first political campaign, unsuccessfully challenged Rush in a primary in 2000.

Sunrise is also backing Marie Newman, who is taking her second run at Chicago-area Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the last Democrats in Congress to oppose abortion rights. 

And it's endorsing Morgan Harper, a former lawyer for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who is challenging Ohio Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty.

Meanwhile, the group is also hoping for success in a swing district that is expected to be targeted by both parties next year: Texas’ 10th Congressional District, currently held by GOP Rep. Michael McCaul. Sunrise is backing Mike Siegel, who ran an under-funded campaign in last year’s midterms and came within 5 percentage points of McCaul. Next year, though, Siegel is likely to face competition for his party’s nomination.

The group previously endorsed Jessica Cisneros, who is running against moderate Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas. 

Sunrise, which has focused its activism on pushing Democrats to be more aggressive in confronting climate change, says its candidates will take action that it says establishment-backed ones won't. 

“The scientists are telling us that 2020 is our last opportunity to elect climate leaders that will immediately enact bold, transformational action over the course of the next decade to save our planet. Meanwhile, establishment politicians of both parties are complacent,” said Evan Weber, Political Director of Sunrise Movement. “These insurgent campaigns are a clear indicator of the appetite for an entire new way of doing things.”

1084d ago / 8:46 PM UTC

Andrew Yang criss-crosses Iowa in bus tour

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA — Businessman Andrew Yang embarked on a five-day bus tour across Iowa on Tuesday. The tour, billed "A New Way Forward" started in Des Moines and will travel through Grinnell, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Ames, Waverly, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Dubuque and Iowa City.

While on the bus tour, Yang will visit some of his new field offices in Grinnell and Dubuque, and attend events like “Bowling with Andrew Yang” in Davenport and playing basketball against IA-4 congressional candidate J.D. Scholten.

Yang is following the footsteps of other Democratic presidential contenders who went on bus tours to strengthen their foothold in Iowa like South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden. California Sen. Kamala Harris also completed a bus tour of Iowa before suspending her presidential campaign

Yang told reporters that he hopes this bus tour will allow him to not only meet Iowans but to have Iowans meet him and get to know him better.

“What I hope they learn from me is that I'm not a career politician so much as I am a citizen,” Yang said. “I'm a parent and a patriot who decided that we need to have a different approach to solving these problems and that the feedback mechanism between the people of Iowa and Washington, D.C. is broken.”

Yang kicked off the tour in Des Moines in front of the state capitol building in sub-freezing temperatures. Yang campaign staffers set up gas-powered heat lamps and handed out hand warmers to keep Yang supporters warm.

“This is the sort of passion and humanity that no amount of money can buy and there will be a couple other candidates who tried,” Yang said to the crowd. “But if you have money on one side and people on the other, I think people win every day of the week.”

Image: Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks on-stage during the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco
Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks on-stage during the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco on Aug. 23, 2019.Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images file

On Tuesday, Yang appeared to qualify for the next Democratic primary debate on Dec. 19. As of now, Yang is the only person of color to qualify for the stage. Yang said he was proud, but not stressed, of being the only racial minority on stage.  

“I don't feel undue discomfort, because I've been the lone person of color in any number of settings throughout my life and career, as is probably the case for many people of color who’ve been in certain environments,” Yang said. “So I'm proud, but I certainly don't feel any undue pressure.”

“And I think people will understand that I'm speaking from my own perspective,” Yang added. “I can't speak for every community of color. In a way, acknowledging that might be like one of the bigger responsibilities I might have.”

Yang's wife, Evelyn, will join him throughout the bus tour and his family will be hosting an event billed “An Honest Conversation About Autism” in Iowa city on Saturday. One of Yang’s sons is autistic.

Over the course of five days, Yang is hosting 14 events. When asked if campaigning has been taking a toll on him, Yang said that campaigning can be very difficult on both him and his family.

“It's been very hard on the family, and it's been hard on me personally,” Yang said. “My son, even for this trip he said to me, how long are you going away? And when I told him he was very sad and I hugged him.”

“And I told him a little while ago, daddy has a very big deadline," Yang added. “I told him the deadline is February 3rd, when voting starts here in Iowa.”

1084d ago / 5:52 PM UTC

Joe Biden releases two immigration-focused plans

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LAS VEGAS — Former Vice President Joe Biden released two new immigration-focused policy plans on Wednesday —  the first highlighting and building upon the work he did in former President Barack Obama's administration to help curb migration from Central America, and the second proposing immediate ways to undo President Donald Trump’s policies.

Biden’s two plans come after the campaign has tried to increase its outreach to Hispanic communities in recent weeks, like launching "Todos Con Biden." However, the campaign has had to overcome activists protesting his role in standing alongside Obama-era policy to deport 3 million undocumented immigrants and pitching more moderate immigration policies than some of his opponents.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., on  Dec. 8, 2019.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., on Dec. 8, 2019.Cheryl Senter / AP

The two plans include a first 100 days component in which Biden will undo what senior campaign advisers describe as “horrific” and “cruel and senseless” policies enacted by President Trump like the separation of parents and children at the border. He would also end for-profit detention centers.

The immigration plan promises to reform the asylum system, surge humanitarian resources to the border, end Trump’s Muslim ban and review Temporary Protected Status for those who have fled a violent country. It would also end the Trump-declared “national emergency” being used to redirect federal dollars to build the border wall. 

Biden also pledges to reinstate the DACA program, which would immediately protect and expand opportunities for DREAMers — or adults who migrated to the U.S. as young children. He will also search for “all legal options” to protect their parents, a move activists have previously blamed him and Obama for initially causing family separation. Last week on the campaign trail, Biden said he would look to revive the DAPA program even though it was struck down by the court.

However, it would require legislation to pave a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.

After the first 100 days, a Biden administration would spend his first year in office trying to tackle “four pillars”: legislative immigration reform, strengthen communities, steps to secure the border in a sensible manner and focus on the causes of migration in Central America. 

Notably, Biden's plan breaks with some of his Democratic opponents who have called for restructuring if not abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Biden instead calls for increased training and oversight of ICE and Customs and Border Protection.  

Biden often touts his ability to curb the swell of immigration from Central America after striking a deal between El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, also known as the Northern Triangle, by providing economic resources to strengthen their judicial systems and combat violence.

His new plan would redirect spending from the Department of Human Services budget, currently used on detaining asylum seekers, and commit $4 billion over four years on a Central American regional strategy.