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On the roster: Dems head to S.C. with all eyes on Biden – Trump plays Hamlet on Iran strike – GOP closing the door on Roy Moore – Oregon gov. sends police after fugitive GOP lawmakers – Ya heard?
DEMS HEAD TO S.C. WITH ALL EYES ON BIDEN
USA Today: “Former Vice President [Joe Biden’s] controversial comments this week about two former segregationist lawmakers is looming large as 22 White House hopefuls gather in South Carolina to make their case to voters in a state where African Americans make up the majority of the Democratic electorate. … The controversy continues to simmer even as some party faithful try to downplay the intra-party sniping ahead of this weekend’s Democratic party cattle call in Columbia, S.C. All but one of the party’s major candidates are scheduled to stump at Rep. Jim Clyburn’s ‘World Famous’ Fish Fry… ‘You must judge politicians by votes, not by association,’ said civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, a South Carolina native who traveled to the state to take part in the party gathering and launch a voter registration drive. ‘You can relate to all kinds of people, you just cannot swallow all of their venom.’”
But not Buttigieg – The Hill: “Presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) will not attend Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) candidate fish fry this weekend, and will instead stay in the city for a march following a police-involved shooting last week. Buttigieg’s campaign confirmed to The Hill that the mayor will travel from Miami, after attending the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference, to South Bend for the march on Friday evening.”
Latino leaders grouse about Biden’s on outreach efforts – Politico: “A slew of Democratic presidential contenders are scheduled to talk [today] to the nation’s largest association of Latino officials, but there’s one notable absence: Joe Biden. Biden’s decision to skip the Miami forum has unleashed new criticism that the former vice president and front-runner is taking a pivotal constituency for granted in a primary where the Latino vote could swing the outcome in several key early contests. … Biden’s absence at NALEO isn’t an isolated incident, according to operatives and organizers focused on mobilizing Latinos on the ground in key states. His campaign has offered almost no direct outreach or verbal acknowledgment of the rapidly growing Latino electorate, they say, and has made little if any inroads with the Latino community in critical swing states like Nevada or Florida.”
Bernie credits Warren surge to her gender – Fox News: “Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, weighed in on the recent surge of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, in the polls on Wednesday and suggested her campaign is catching up to his because people ‘would like to see a woman elected.’ Warren has had favorable polling in several states in the last few days, some having her topping Sanders. During an appearance on CNN, Sanders was asked why he believes Warren is on the rise and pressed on whether she is being seen to voters as a ‘more electable’ version of himself. ‘Well, I think we are running against a lot of problems,’ Sanders responded. ‘I think that there are a certain number of people who would like to see a woman elected, I understand that. There are people who would like to see somebody who was younger, and I understand that also. There are a lot of factors out there.’”
Maine moves up for ‘Super Tuesday’ primary – Portland Press Herald: “Another bill that [Democratic Gov. Jane] Mills signed late Wednesday or early Thursday, L.D. 1626, will add Maine to the list of states holding presidential primaries on ‘Super Tuesday’ next March. The push to switch to presidential primaries gained traction after some caucus locations were overwhelmed by high turnout during the 2016 presidential caucuses. ‘Presidential primaries offer a more convenient and accessible voting experience,’ bill sponsor Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, said in a statement. ‘I believe primaries will significantly increase voter participation, strengthening our democracy.’ It is unclear whether Mainers will be able to utilize the state’s new ranked-choice voting system for those March primaries or the presidential general election in November, however. A bill, L.D. 1083, to authorize ranked-choice balloting for presidential elections also got hung up in the Legislature and was shelved, for now.”
THE RULEBOOK: HEAD OF STATE, NOT AHEAD OF STATE
“The qualified negative of the President differs widely from this absolute negative of the British sovereign; and tallies exactly with the revisionary authority of the council of revision of this State, of which the governor is a constituent part.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 69
TIME OUT: ARF, ARF
Sky News: “Grey seals are capable of singing movie themes and mimicking human language, a new study has suggested. Researchers at the University of St Andrews have trained three grey seals to copy sound sequences, resulting in a several-note rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the Star Wars theme tune. The marine mammals were also found to be able to copy human speech sounds, including vowels. Lead researcher Amanda Stansbury said she was ‘amazed’ at how well the seals were able to mimic the sounds. She said: ‘Copies were not perfect but given that these are not typical seal sounds it is pretty impressive.’ But while Ms. Stansbury notes the impressiveness of the results, the research team says it doesn’t mean we will be able to have spoken conversations with seals anytime soon. Professor Vincent Janik, director of the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews, pointed out that copying language is one part, but understanding it is another.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 44.4 percent
Average disapproval: 51.8 percent
Net Score: -7.4 points
Change from one week ago: up 2 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 41% approve – 50% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve – 55% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 49% approve – 48% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve – 53% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 44% approve – 53% disapprove.]
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TRUMP PLAYS HAMLET ON IRAN STRIKE
WaPo: “President Trump ordered an attack on Iran on Thursday in retaliation for the downing of a surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz but called the operation off just before it was due to occur because it would have caused extensive casualties, he said Friday. In a series of morning tweets, Trump said he called off strikes on three Iranian sites minutes before they were to be launched because he was informed of the likely loss of life among Iranians. ‘We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,’ Trump tweeted. ‘150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it.’ Such a death toll was ‘not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,’ Trump wrote, adding: ‘I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!’”
Pergram: House Dems want new authorization for use of force – Fox News: “The U.S. may be closer to a military conflict with Iran now more than ever. But this also means that Congress could be the closest it’s come in years to considering a new resolution to authorize the use of military force. Such a proposal could end the old authorizations Congress approved in 2001 to fight in Afghanistan and a 2002 blessing to invade Iraq. Three presidents, including President Trump, have employed these Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) for a panoply of military interventions spanning nearly two decades. The operations have gone beyond the scope of just Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. has used those AUMFs to deploy military might in the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Niger. In fact, the House just approved a defense spending plan with a provision to extinguish the old AUMFs within 240 days of the measure becoming law.”
GOP CLOSING THE DOOR ON ROY MOORE
Politico: “Republicans are promising to do everything they can to obliterate Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate primary. A push is underway to get President Donald Trump involved in derailing Moore. Republicans are actively moving to recruit Jeff Sessions to run for his old seat. And GOP leaders are warning the party will jeopardize perhaps its only chance at picking up a Senate seat next year if they let Democrat Doug Jones get his favored match-up. ‘There will be a lot of efforts made to ensure that we have a nominee other than him and one who can win in November,’ said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). ‘He’s already proven he can’t.’ Added Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, ‘We’ll be opposing Roy Moore vigorously.’ Moore famously lost to Jones in 2017… His reemergence as a candidate Thursday evoked palpable disgust among Republican senators as it dawned on them they will have to confront him once again before he potentially costs them another seat.”
Fairfax credits rape charges for celebrity, considering gubernatorial run – Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said Thursday that he is ‘very hopeful…