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The latest political news and analysis from the campaign trail:

Bloomberg nabs endorsement from Utah's lone Democratic congressman

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah's lone Democratic member of Congress, is throwing his support behind Mike Bloomberg’s presidential bid the campaign announced Friday morning, arguing that the former New York City mayor is the candidate best positioned to heal a divided country and move beyond partisan politics.

McAdams marks Bloomberg’s sixth congressional endorsement in a span of six weeks and might help the former mayor bolster his appeal as a consensus candidate who can win over independents and disaffected Trump voters.

Michael Bloomberg speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting in Washington on Jan. 22, 2020.Patrick Semansky / AP

McAdams, a former Salt Lake City mayor, defeated Republican incumbent Mia Love in a tight race during the 2018 midterms and represents one of reddest districts held by a Democrat. 

President Trump carried Utah’s fourth congressional district by nearly seven percentage points in 2016.

During his House campaign, McAdams touted himself as a moderate Democrat — someone who would work across the aisle and focus on the issues.

In Bloomberg, the congressman said he sees a leader with familiar values and a similar aim. “Washington is full of people who talk.”

“Our country is desperately in need of a doer like Mike who puts people ahead of politics,” he said in a Bloomberg campaign release.  

"I'm honored to have the support of Congressman McAdams, a former mayor who understands the importance of getting things done," Bloomberg said. "In Utah and in Congress, he's led on the issues critical to this election, taking action to create jobs, improve education, and expand access to affordable health care for every American. I'm looking forward to working with him to bring people together and rebuild America."  

Casting aside the early-state strategy of his fellow 2020 contenders, Bloomberg has made a play — and also significant investments — in swing areas across the Midwest and in states like Texas, Florida and North Carolina. 

Despite Bloomberg's late entrance into the race, and not competing in the traditional early states, he’s made gains in national polls and has spent more than $230 million on television and radio ads so far.

Bloomberg, with help from leaders like McAdams, hopes this “Blue Wall” strategy pays off on Super Tuesday, when a large number of delegates are up for grabs in 14 states, including Utah.

Buttigieg seeks contrast with Biden and Sanders ahead of Iowa caucuses

DECORAH, Iowa — With four days until the Iowa Caucus and closing arguments setting in, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is directly contrasting himself with other top Democratic contenders. He went after Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by name Thursday arguing that it’s time for both men to make way for a new approach to governing, presenting himself as a clear alternative to potential caucus goers in the room.

Biden has suggested in the past that now is not the time for voters to take a risk on someone new. And Buttigieg took aim at those remarks. “The biggest risk we could take with a very important election coming up is to look to the same Washington playbook and recycle the same arguments and expect that to work against a president like Donald Trump who is new in kind,” he said calling on the crowd to help him “turn the page.” 

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign event in Buena Vista University in Iowa on Jan. 25, 2020.John Locher / AP

The candidate hit Sanders for his, “go all the way here and nothing else counts” approach to politics as ineffective for getting things done and cautioned against focusing on disputes of the past without an eye toward the future.

“This is no time to get caught up in reliving arguments from before,” he said. “The less 2020 resembles 2016 in our party, the better.”

In recent weeks, Sanders and Biden have sparred over Iraq war votes and Social Security. Buttigieg characterized the arguments between the two veteran lawmakers as backwards facing relics of the past.

“This is 2020 and we've got, not only to learn the lessons of the war in Iraq, but to make sure we don't get sucked into a war with Iran,” he said.

Buttigieg himself has previously criticized Biden’s “judgment” because of the former Vice President’s vote in favor of the Iraq war. He said that the conversation taking place around the issue now is different.

“My point is that we can't get bogged down or caught in those arguments without a view toward the future,” the former mayor explained. “The next president’s going to face questions and challenges that are different in kind from what ... has been litigated and argued about in the 1990s.”

On disagreements over Social Security, he noted that "Donald Trump is threatening Social Security, and announcing cuts to Medicaid today."

Buttigieg said he felt the need to call his competitors out because he sought to guarantee a “clear understanding of the different paths that we offer" ahead of the last days before the caucus.

“This is a moment in particular where I think the stakes of the election are coming into focus and the differences in how each of us believe we can win and govern are also coming into focus,” he said.

As for alienating voters by going after fellow contenders days before the caucus, Buttigieg isn’t worried. “We’re competing,” he said expressing his desire to “make sure that that choice is as clear as possible, going into these final days.”

Trump campaign previews Super Bowl ads

DES MOINES, Iowa — President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign previewed the first of two Super Bowl ads on Thursday, making the argument that the country is “stronger, safer and more prosperous” under the current administration.

“America demanded change and change is what we got,” the spot opens, with a dramatic narrator and images of the president campaigning nationwide. The commercial touts wage growth, low unemployment and promises that “the best is yet to come.”

The ad, "Stronger, Safer, More Prosperous," doesn’t mention other candidates in the race and features news clips on the strong economy. The other 30-second ad won’t be seen until it actually airs during the highly-viewed game on Sunday.

“Just as the Super Bowl crowns the greatest football team, nothing says ‘winning’ like President Donald Trump and his stellar record of accomplishment for all Americans,” said Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale.

Trump will be in Iowa for his own re-election rally Thursday night ahead of a significant push from his campaign which will include surrogates on the ground in the Hawkeye State through next week's caucuses.

Earlier in the day, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign released a 60-second spot focused on gun control that, like the president's ad, will hit the airwaves during the Super Bowl

The dueling advertisements will mark the first time presidential campaigns have bought airtime during a Super Bowl, though the Trump campaign is quick to point out that they were first to reach out to the broadcaster, FOX, last fall and reserved the slot in December. Weeks after that, the Bloomberg team followed suit.

Iowa ad spending ticks up in the last week before caucuses

DES MOINES, Iowa — Ad spending in Iowa is ramping up just five days out from the caucuses. Democratic Majority for Israel, a group that campaigns against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is spending $681,000 against Sanders in Iowa in the final week of the race (Jan. 28 to Feb. 3), according to data from Advertising Analytics. 

The ad the group is airing in heavy rotation — it was on air twice within 15 minutes on local TV in Iowa — features a woman speaking to the camera saying, "I do have some concerns about Bernie Sanders’ health considering he just had a heart attack." After recovering from his heart attack, Sanders released a letter from his doctors declaring him "in good health" and "more than fit" enough to be president. 

Just a few days out from the Iowa caucuses, here is all of the ad spending in the final week of the race: Here is  (Jan. 28 to Feb. 3):

From Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 

  • Steyer: $1.4 million
  • Sanders: $1.2 million
  • Unite the Country (pro-Biden Super PAC): $992,000
  • Warren: $947,000
  • Buttigieg: $854,000
  • Klobuchar: $767,000
  • Democratic Majority for Israel: $681,000
  • Yang: $613,000
  • Biden: $530,000
  • Bloomberg: $51,000
  • Club for Growth: $34,000
  • Florida Sen. Rick Scott: $19,000
  • Delaney: $19,000

SOURCE: Advertising Analytics

Bloomberg unveils Super Bowl ad on gun violence

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ad touts his record on preventing gun violence, evoking the story of a mother whose son was shot and killed at just 20 years old. 

The ad, set to air during Sunday's Super Bowl, cost $11 million to run, according to data from the ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. President Trump's campaign is also slated to run a Super Bowl ad as well. 

In Bloomberg's ad, Calandrian Simpson Kemp tells the emotional story of the 2013 death of her son, George Kemp Jr. She then praises Bloomberg for his role in starting Moms Demand Action, a grassroots gun violence prevention group under Bloomberg's umbrella organization Everytown for Gun Safety. 

"I heard Mike Bloomberg speak, he's been in this fight for so long," Simpson Kemp says in the ad. 

"When I heard Mike was stepping into the ring, I thought, 'Now we have a dog in the fight.'"

Bloomberg's work on gun violence is one of his main selling points to a Democratic primary electorate, and it's something that the campaign says it will focus on in the coming days. 

Along with the release of the ad, the Bloomberg campaign says it's going to keep highlighting the stories of gun violence survivors and will launch a multistate bus tour ahead of February's National Gun Violence Survivors Week. 

“I chose to devote the entire 60-second ad to gun safety because it matters to communities across the country and it will be a top priority for me as president,” Bloomberg said in a statement. 

“Calandrian’s story is a powerful reminder of the urgency of this issue and the failure of Washington to address it."

The eye-popping cost of the ad emphasizes how Bloomberg's significant personal wealth is a game changer for his presidential bid — he's already spent hundreds of millions more on ads than his Democratic presidential rivals. 

Bloomberg has also leveraged his relationships with mayors throughout the country during his presidential bid — his campaign announced an endorsement Thursday from Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who mentioned Bloomberg's record on gun violence prevention in announcing her endorsement in a statement provided to The Washington Post

Liz Brown-Kaiser contributed. 

Biden to pre-empt Trump rally with speech and ad on ‘character’

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to take on President Donald Trump ahead of the president's rally in Iowa Thursday, pointing out key differences between their leadership styles as he attempts to look ahead to a possible general election match-up.

During a morning speech in Waukee, Biden is expected to expand on remarks he has already debuted in his final trip through Iowa ahead of the caucuses, stressing to Iowans the urgent need to caucus for a candidate capable of defeating Trump because the country’s “character is on the ballot.”

Biden will repeat how he “doesn’t believe” America is the “dark, angry nation” Trump has made it seem with decisions like family separation, building walls or “embraces White supremacist and hate groups.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Brown & Black Forum at the Iowa Events Center on Jan. 20, 2020, in Des Moines.Andrew Harnik / AP

In a week where impeachment is dominating headlines, the speech is an effort by Biden to rise above the developments in Washington including efforts by Republicans to ensure him in ongoing proceedings. The campaign is signaling that his remarks will be “inspirational and hopeful” in hopes to showing Democrats a broader and more comprehensive critique of Trump.

“Trump desperately wants to impact the outcome of the Democratic primary, dropping into Iowa a few days before the caucus to spread a message of division, discord, and hate,” the Biden campaign said in a statement previewing Thursday’s speech. “Trump has been trying to prevent Biden from getting the nomination since the moment the VP got into the race, getting himself impeached by the House and tried in the Senate in the process.” 

Thus far the Biden campaign and the candidate have largely stayed away from responding directly to minute-by-minute developments in the Senate impeachment trial in an attempt to avoid tit-for-tat spats. But in his closing argument, just four days before the start of the primary voting season, the campaign is signaling they are ready to make this about Biden versus Trump. 

In conjunction with his Waukee speech, the Biden campaign will amplify its message about restoring America’s character in a one minute TV ad that will air across all five top media markets throughout the day. 

 

The ad stresses how precious a decision it is to choose the right president because the White House and the Oval Office is where a leader’s “character is revealed.”

“But it’s in life where your character is formed,” the narrator says as it flashes pictures of Biden’s hometown, his family and events that have shaped his life.  

Surrogates cover New Hampshire while candidates are elsewhere

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Senate impeachment trial and looming Iowa caucuses might be dominating the political discussion right now but New Hampshire voters will cast the first 2020 primary ballots in less than two weeks. 

The balancing act for the campaigns has resulted in a surge of campaign surrogates in the Granite State to make the case for their candidates. Aside from former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, no other top-tier candidates have held more than five public events in the state since the start of 2020.  

Biden surrogates: Former Secretary of State John Kerry and former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch have been heavy hitters for former Vice President Joe Biden as he makes his final case across Iowa. 

Kerry fielded questions about Biden's name being mentioned during the impeachment trial while holding a meet and greet in Biden's Manchester, N.H. field office. 

“The reason they're trying to use this Ukraine thing is purely to do a Benghazi, to do an email kind of thing,” Kerry said. “Just hammer and hammer and hammer and throw the mud, and you wait and see what happens tomorrow on the floor of the Senate with their defense.”

Lynch emphasized the importance of candidates and their supporters showing up and connecting with voters in New Hampshire. 

“Voters expect the candidates to come up and look them in the eye, answer the tough questions, meet them in the living rooms,” Lynch told NBC News . “It doesn't happen in big states that's one of the big advantages of New Hampshire and why we've been so important for the whole nominating process.”

Warren surrogates: Actress and activist Ashley Judd, as well as Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III have come in for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

Actress and activist Ashley Judd campaigns for Elizabeth Warren in Lebanon, N.H. on Jan. 24, 2020.Preston Ehrler / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Judd connected with the neighboring senator’s humble Midwest roots and stressed that those parts of Warren are essential. 

“We are going to tell them about her past, we are going to tell them about her family,” she told a small group of students at Dartmouth College. “We are going to tell them about her record in the Senate. You know, she can't do that right now because she's sitting there trying to impeach this crook.”

She continued, "“But we can be her legs, we can be her feet and we can be her surrogates in convincing folks who are still undecided as to why she should be our nominee for our party.”

Kennedy told NBC News that he’s been taking the time to share anecdotes about his former law professor.

“I think the stakes are pretty high for surrogates because they’re high for our country, regardless,” he said of representing Warren. “This election is going to probably be the most consequential one of my lifetime.”

Surrogates for Sanders: New Hampshire served as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' first win in 2016, and ice cream duo Ben & Jerry have been in New Hampshire to keep making the case that Sanders is voters' best bet. 

Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s, had an interesting suggestion for students at New England College who might have “better things to do” on Feb. 11.

“Take your date to the polls. Take your date to the polls and do it in the booth. Do it in the booth for Bernie! Do it in the booth for Bernie! Do it in the booth for Bernie! Have a good time,” he said after scooping ice cream. 

His counterpart, Jerry Greenfield, told NBC News he hopes to “get folks out to vote who don’t always vote.”

“Not me, us,” he said. “And in particular with him being in Washington it's an opportunity for all of Bernie supporters to be out doing more for him.”

Surrogates for Buttigieg: Newly-announced campaign co-chair for the Buttigieg campaign, N.H. Rep. Annie Kuster has been looking to excite undecideds to come out for Buttigieg in two weeks. 

Kuster said she’s been involved in presidential campaigns in NH since she was 16 years old, and this is the highest level of undecided voters she has ever seen.

“We’ve never had anything like this. Usually, we’re in the home stretch, 16 days to go we know exactly who our voters are," Kuster said. "This is very different, you’re still in persuasion mode and then trying to make sure our voters get to the polls.”

Surrogates for Klobuchar: A slew of state elected officials have been holding "office hours" on behalf of the Minnesota senator as she splits time between the impeachment trial and campaigning in Iowa. 

Doug Collins enters Georgia Senate race, setting off Republican battle

WASHINGTON — Georgia Rep. Doug Collins on Tuesday announced his bid to challenge Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in November, a move that drew immediate condemnation from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party-run organization dedicated to maintaining the Senate majority.

Loeffler was appointed by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in December to fill the remaining term of Johnny Isakson, who had resigned because of health reasons. At the time of the appointment, Collins had drawn support from allies of President Donald Trump to be Kemp's choice.

Collins became a major defender of the president during the House impeachment hearings and said in announcing his Senate bid on Fox News that he still had "a lot of work left to do to help this president finish this impeachment out." 

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, arrives for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Jan. 29, 2020.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The NRSC's executive director, Kevin McLaughlin, said that he and the organization will fully support Loeffler's re-election effort. 

“The shortsightedness in this decision is stunning. Doug Collins’ selfishness will hurt David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler and President Trump. Not to mention the people of Georgia who stand to bear the burden of it for years to come," McLaughlin said in a statement (Perdue, also a Republican, is Georgia's other senator). "All he has done is put two Senate seats, multiple House seats and Georgia’s 16 electoral votes in play."

In a tweet on Wednesday, Collins called McLaughlin's statement "fake news" from "the head of a Washington-based group whose bylaws require him to support all incumbents, even unelected ones." 

But it wasn't only national Republican groups that argued against Collins' choice. The Senate Leadership Fund, aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the move "selfish." 

"It’s so selfish of Doug Collins to be promoting himself when President Trump needs a unified team and Senator Loeffler is such a warrior for the president," fund president Steven Law said. "As we've said before, Senator Loeffler is an outsider like Trump, not just another D.C. politician. We’ll have her back if she needs us."

Since joining the Senate, Loeffler has defended the president during the impeachment hearings and attacked those she felt were not. On Monday, Loeffler called out Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Twitter after he re-established his openness to hearing from witnesses in the impeachment trial. 

Three Democrats have announced that they are running to fill the last two years of Isakson's term: Tamara Johnson-Shealey, Matt Lieberman and Richard Dien Winfield. 

The primary is May 19, and potential candidates have until March 6 to file. The winner on Nov. 3 will have to run for re-election in 2022.

Klobuchar might not be viable at many Iowa caucus sites. Where will her supporters go?

URBANDALE, Iowa — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is depending on success in the Iowa caucus next week.

Her Democratic presidential campaign has seen a surge in the state in recent weeks (her campaign calls it “Klomentum”), with even some polls showing her at or near double-digit support in Iowa. In the latest Monmouth University poll in the Hawkeye State, released on Wednesday, Klobuchar registered at 10 percent support.

While that shows a growth in her support, it could still mean that she may not hit the crucial 15 percent viability threshold in many caucuses, and possibly statewide. 

Whether or not she can surpass that mark will be crucial both to her success and to the fortunes of other candidates. 

The Iowa caucus doles out its delegates proportionally both by congressional district and based on the statewide results. In order to be considered "viable" at a precinct and win delegates, a candidate must reach 15 percent support at each individual precinct caucus site (there are 1,679 total in Iowa this cycle).

If a candidate doesn’t reach viability after the caucusgoers make their initial picks (in what's called first alignment), supporters have the option to move to one of the viable groups (that's called realignment).

So if Klobuchar fails to hit viability in a number of precinct caucuses, her supporters' second choices could be instrumental in another candidate’s success.

The only thing is, her supporters aren’t necessarily rallying around the same second choice.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. visits with attendees at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 19, 2020.Patrick Semansky / AP file

NBC News spoke with various Klobuchar supporters across Iowa in recent days to get an idea of where her support might shift if she does fall short of viability on caucus night. 

Nancy Davis of Urbandale,  a registered Republican until a couple of weeks ago who plans to caucus for Klobuchar, doesn't have a clear second choice. 

“That’s my problem. I like Elizabeth Warren but I think she’s a little harsh. She’s got these edges to her. But when you have Biden and Bernie, they’re too old. I like Pete but I don’t know that he could sustain a national campaign either. If I’m going to do a second choice, I’m gonna have to really sit and think about it," she said. 

Sue Amosson of West Des Moines is leaning towards Klobuchar, but Elizabeth Warren is her back-up. “I do know strong women sometimes are not liked. White men are always regarded as more intelligent, I think that if a woman if strong and goes after what she believes in, she’s not liked. It’s crazy," Amosson said. 

Bill and Mary Turner of Muscatine are planning to caucus for Klobuchar but their back-up is Tom Steyer. “We love Klobuchar’s Midwest sensibility. In my mind, both Klobuchar and Steyer are non-traditional politicians," Bill Turner said.

"Amy knows how to work across the aisle and if there’s undecided voters who don’t want an insider then Tom’s the guy. But Amy knows how to get things done."

Neither of them have a plan if neither candidate is viable.

Cherie Post Dargan of Waterloo told NBC that Klobuchar is a good choice because having a woman in the White House would ensure progress on “education, pragmatic childcare, education, job training, how we turn this country around rebuilding infrastructure.”

On her second choice: “I am not opposed to Elizabeth Warren. I really admire Pete Buttigieg. And I really hope whoever is the candidate that they think long and hard about who their running mate will be; I really liked Kamala Harris. This field was an embarrassment of riches.”

Dargan caucused for Joe Biden in 2008.

Andrew Turner in Des Moines is a former Booker supporter who’s now committed to caucus for Klobuchar, citing her ability to win in conservative districts. His second choice: Biden. Why? “Because he’s not a small-town mayor from a town of maybe 20,000 people.”

New Iowa poll shows Biden in the lead, but half of voters open to changing their minds

WASHINGTON — With only five days to go until the Iowa caucuses, a new Monmouth University poll shows a tight caucus race among five candidates with former Vice President Joe Biden slightly ahead. 

The poll, released Wednesday, shows Biden leading among likely Democratic caucus-goers with 23 percent support. But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg's support falls within in the margin of error with 21 and 16 percent respectively. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with 15 percent support, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, at 10 percent, round out the top five. 

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the North Iowa Events Center on Jan. 22, 2020, in Mason City, Iowa.John Locher / AP

However, only 47 percent of voters said they were "firmly" decided on their candidate while 53 percent of likely caucus-goers saying they are at least somewhat open to changing their allegiance on Feb. 3. And that could benefit Warren, who was the top second choice candidate, with 19 percent of voters saying they'd pick her after their first choice.

While second choices may not mean much in primary states, in a caucus state like Iowa that could help Warren if any of those supporters' first choices don't meet the viability requirements on the first alignment of a caucus. 

For Biden, this poll shows some more strength than other recent Iowa polls. A New York Times/Siena College poll last week showed him in third place in Iowa — behind Sanders and Buttigieg. And the last Des Moines Register/CNN poll in the state, from earlier this month, showed him in fourth place with Sanders leading the pack and followed by Warren and Buttigieg. 

This poll also documents Klobuchar's climbing strength in the state. While she has just 10 percent in this poll, her jump to double-digit support could matter on caucus night where most viability requirements to make it pass the first round are 15 percent. If Klobuchar makes the viability threshold in early rounds, that could hurt other moderate candidates like Biden who may have hoped to pick up Klobuchar supporters in later rounds. 

The Iowa caucuses take place on Monday, Feb. 3. 

New Iowa ad questions Bernie Sanders' electability, references his heart attack

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Democratic pro-Israel group will start running a television ad here Wednesday hitting Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders that references his heart attack and argues the Vermont independent senator is unelectable against President Donald Trump. 

The almost $700,000 advertising campaign, from the PAC associated with the group Democratic Majority for Israel, comes as Sanders has surged in Iowa days before Monday's first-in-the-nation caucuses. Sanders' strong standing in the polls has concerned some more moderate Democrats.

The ad features testimonials from Iowans saying they’re worried about Sanders’ ability to beat Trump, including one woman who references his heart attack.

“I like Bernie, I think he has great ideas, but Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa — they’re just not going to vote for a socialist,” says one man in the ad. "I just don't think Bernie can beat Trump."

“I do have some concerns about Bernie Sanders’ health, considering he did have a heart attack,” says a woman.

Democratic Majority for Israel’s president and CEO, longtime Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, told NBC News that the group is concerned both with Sanders’ ability to beat Trump and his views on Israel. Mellman is a longtime Democratic Party pollster who has worked for a variety of lawmakers, including former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. 

“We looked at the data and saw that he did have a possibility of getting the nomination and we thought that would be a big mistake,” Mellman said of Sanders. “It’s vitally important to defeat Donald Trump and we think Bernie Sanders is not equipped to do that.” 

Mellman said the group had been working on the ad for a “couple of weeks” and insisted it’s not part of any new coordinated effort to stop Sanders.

“We have not spoken with, coordinated, discussed this with anybody,” he said. “There may be some effort out there, but I don’t know anything about it if there is.” 

The ad is one of the first direct negative TV spots of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, which has been marked by unusual hesitancy among Democrats to go after each other. 

Sanders addressed the "political establishment" that is "running attack ads against us in Iowa" in a new video posted to Twitter Tuesday night. 

"The big money interests can run all the negative ads they want, but it's not going to work,” Sanders said in the direct-to-camera message. “Our opponents, they have endless amounts of money. But we have the people and our grassroots movement will prevail.”

Gary Grumbach contributed.