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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann
WASHINGTON — In back-to-back presidential announcements over the weekend, we witnessed two very different Democratic messages that highlight one of the main divides within the emerging 2020 field.
The first: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who portrayed herself as a fighter, a smasher, a reformer. Indeed, she mentioned the word “fight” or its variant 28 different times in her announcement speech, according to our count.
“I’m tired of hearing that we can’t afford to make real investments in child care, college, and Medicare for All. Can’t afford things that help create economic opportunity for families,” Warren said. “We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world – of course we can afford these investments. But we need a government that makes different choices, choices that reflect our values.”
The second message: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who cast herself as a bridge-builder, a healer, a uniter. In fact, the backdrop for her announcement in Minneapolis was the rebuilt I-35 bridge, which collapsed in 2007.
“Today, on an island in the middle of the mighty Mississippi, in our nation’s heartland, at a time when we must heal the heart of our democracy and renew our commitment to the common good, I stand before you … to announce my candidacy for president of the United States,” she said in the falling snow, later adding: “Let us cross the river of our divides and walk across our sturdy bridge to higher ground.”
A year from now, it will be an interesting choice for Democratic primary voters: Is the best messenger to take on Trump a fighter/smasher/reformer (a la Warren or Bernie Sanders), a bridge-builder/healer/uniter (Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke), or some kind of combination of the two (Kamala Harris or Kirsten Gillibrand)?
On “Meet the Press” yesterday, liberal activist Markos Moulitsas, founder of “Daily Kos,” said he preferred the idealist over the pragmatist. “‘Yes, we can,’ is actually a very positive messages as opposed to maybe Klobuchar or Sherrod Brown saying, ‘No, we can’t’”
But also on the program yesterday was Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. – who himself sure sounded like someone leaning towards a presidential bid – arguing that leaning in on policies like doing away with private health insurance could hurt the Democratic Party.
“Remember when President Obama said, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.’ And then, you know, a few people in America actually lost their insurance because of the way that the plan worked. Now what Democrats are saying is, ‘If you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,’ from 180 million people that get their insurance from their employer and like it, where 20 million Americans who are on Medicare advantage, and love it. That seems like a bad opening offer for me,” he said.
“I think we’d be much better off with a bill like the one I have with Tim Kaine called Medicare X, that creates a public option. It, it helps finish the work of Obamacare. And it says to America, ‘If you want to be in a public plan, you can choose to be in a public plan. If you want to keep your insurance, you can keep your insurance.’”
What say you, Democratic primary voters?
Re-upping our 2020 list
Who’s in, who’s out, and who we’re still waiting on? With Elizabeth Warren’s formal presidential announcement on Saturday, with Amy Klobuchar’s on Sunday, and with Michael Bennet sounding like a future one himself, here’s our updated list of who’s in, who’s out and who’s still thinking about a 2020 run:
Those who have filed paperwork or announced presidential bids(9)
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (who announced on Feb 10)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who formally announced on Feb 9)
- Sen. Cory Booker (who announced on February 1)
- Sen. Kamala Harris (who announced on January 21)
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (who announced her exploratory committee on January 15)
- Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro (who formally announced his decision on January 12)
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (who announced her decision to run on January 11)
- Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney (who announced his presidential bid back on July 28, 2017!!!!)
- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (who announced his exploratory committee on January 23)
The other potential candidates we’re watching (in no particular order)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas
- Former VP Joe Biden
- Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
- Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
- Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
- Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
- Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
- Outgoing Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
- Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
- Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.
Possible 2020 Dems who have declined to run (5):
- Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
- Attorney Michael Avenatti
- Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley
- Tom Steyer
- Current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Trump heads to El Paso, where residents say he’s painted an unfair and misleading picture of life on the border
At 9:00 pm ET, President Trump holds a rally in El Paso to sell his border wall. And it’s El Paso, of course, to which he referred in his State of the Union address last week:
“The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”
But as one of us writes, politicians and business leaders from border cities like El Paso say that Trump’s portrayal is unfair, misleading and exaggerated — hardly reflecting what it’s like living on the United States side of the border.
For example: “In El Paso — a city with a population of about 700,000 — violent crime has been cut in half since the 1990s, and the most up-to-date crime rate there was fewer than 400 incidents per 100,000 people.”
“That’s less than New York City’s rate of nearly 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and Washington’s rate of 1,200 violent crimes per 100,000 people.”
“The statistics also contradict Trump’s claim about El Paso’s border fencing: They show that violent crime was already on the downswing before the fencing was completed in 2009, and then it slightly increased after it was finished.”
NBC’s Jane Timm also does a fact-check on Trump’s claims about El Paso.
By the way, guess who’s holding a counter-programming event in El Paso tonight? Beto O’Rourke.
Are we really headed for another government shutdown?
Speaking of Trump’s desire for a border wall, the possibility of ANOTHER government shutdown exists – but this time, the stalemate isn’t over Trump’s wall.
The Washington Post: “The nation faces the real possibility of another government shutdown at the end of this week after bipartisan talks aimed at averting that outcome broke down in a dispute over immigration enforcement, lawmakers and aides said Sunday.”
A senior Democratic aide tells NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell: “Talks have broken down because Senate Republicans are refusing to compromise on limits to the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies. A deal that includes new physical barriers must all include limits on the number of ICE detention beds. If Senate Republicans won’t compromise with us on both, we can’t reach a deal.”
WaPo poll: Virginians split about whether Northam should resign
Over the weekend, a Washington Post-Schar School poll found 47 percent of Virginia residents want embattled Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to resign, while 47 percent want him to stay.
“Northam counts higher support among black residents — who say he should remain in office by a margin of 58 percent to 37 percent — than among whites, who are more evenly divided.”
Where did the negative narratives wind up in the Warren, Klobuchar announcements?
Returning to the Warren and Klobuchar 2020 announcements over the weekend, here’s where news organizations first referred to each candidate’s negative narrative — Native American controversy for Warren, staff controversy for Klobuchar:
NYT: 14th paragraph
WaPo: first paragraph
Politico: put it in headline
NYT: 8th paragraph
WaPo: 17th paragraph
Politico: 8th paragraph
RIP, Walter Jones
“Rep. Walter Jones Jr., a 13-term Republican from eastern North Carolina whose about-face on the Iraq War came to define his congressional service, died Sunday on his 76th birthday, his congressional office confirmed,” per NBC News.
Acting ICE chief defends Mississippi raids that left children abandoned, blames parents
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence defended his agency’s raids across Mississippi last week, which left many children without their parents, saying those breaking the law were ultimately the ones to blame for the separations.
“We conduct our operations with professionalism, with compassion and with humanity, and we tried our best to minimize the impact on the innocent people of this situation,” Albence said. “However, we have to enforce the law. Every law [enforcement agency] enforces the law against individuals who have broken it.”
“The parents or the individuals that are breaking the law are ultimately the ones that are responsible for placing their children in this situation,” Albence said.
For more on this story, watch NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT.
Immigration enforcement authorities raided food processing plants across Mississippi last week, picking up nearly 700 workers — most of them Latino — in what was said could be the biggest single-day, one-state sweep in U.S. history.
The raids hit seven plants, owned by five companies, in six cities, leaving numerous children without their parents. Some of the children were just starting school, forcing them to turn to strangers or distant relatives for help as they waited for answers, immigrant advocates said.
When Albence was shown a video of a young girl crying because her parents were swept up in the raid, he emphasized that the separation of children from parents was a difficult part of enforcement.
“Look, I’m a parent, most of our officers and agents are parents — some of the most difficult things that we have to do in our jobs to enforce the laws involve the separation of parents from children,” he aid. “Every law enforcement officer has to deal with that at some point in their career. Many officers, on a daily basis — when an officer goes in to arrest somebody for a crime of domestic violence, one of the children in there is going to be crying.”
As of Thursday, nearly 300 detainees had been released from custody after being processed and given dates to appear in federal immigration court, said Jere Miles, special agent in charge at Department of Homeland Security in New Orleans, which covers Mississippi. Those who remained detained were being held in Louisiana and Mississippi, officials said.
Julián Castro connects Trump rhetoric to El Paso shootings in Fox & Friends ad
In his new ad to run on Fox & Friends, presidential candidate Julián Castro tells President Donald Trump “innocent people were shot down … because they look like me.”
Castro, who is Mexican American appears in the ad, standing alone in an Iowa warehouse, directing his comments to Trump, who is a fan of the Fox show.
Castro connects incidents of racist comments by Trump to the Aug. 3 domestic terror attack by a white supremacist on Walmart shoppers in El Paso. Twenty-two people were killed and more were injured in the attack.
Police have stated that when the gunman was arrested he said he wanted to kill Mexicans. A document that authorities believe was posted before the shootings, the gunman discusses a “Hispanic invasion,” which has been seen as mirroring comments by Trump.
In the ad, Castro says straight into the camera: “President Trump: You referred to countries as sh—holes. You urged American congresswomen to ‘go to back where they came from.’ You called immigrants ‘rapists.”
“As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you, because they look like me, because they look like my family. Words have consequences. !Ya Basta! (Enough!),” he says.
Castro has intentionally stayed away from El Paso, telling an Iowa crowd that the border city did not need another presidential candidate there.
But he has been in a Twitter feud with Trump, after his twin brother and campaign manager Rep. Joaquín Castro tweeted the names of companies and their owners in San Antonio, a majority Latino city, who are Trump donors a few days after the El Paso attack. The names and their contributions are publicly available. Trump criticized the brothers in a tweet in response.
In a news release, Castro’s campaign said Castro’s ad also was in response to Trump’s criticism.
The campaign said the ad is running for a few spots on Fox & Friends in Bedminster, N.J., beginning Wednesday. The camp spent $2,775 on the ad but will spend more to run it on digital sites.
Over half of House Democrats favor Trump impeachment inquiry: Full list
Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Alex Moe and Kyle Stewart
Here are the 120 House Democrats — more than half the 235-member caucus — who support impeachment or beginning an impeachment inquiry. The list includes 16 of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment proceedings would begin. One independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, also favors starting an inquiry, bringing the total number of House members who back that move to 121.
- Alma Adams, N.C.
- Peter Aguilar, Calif.
- Nanette Barragán, Calif.
- Joyce Beatty, Ohio
- Don Beyer, Va.
- Earl Blumenauer, Ore.
- Lisa Blunt Rochester, Del.
- Suzanne Bonamici, Ore.
- Brendan Boyle, Penn.
- Julia Brownley, D-Calif.
- G.K. Butterfield, N.C.
- Salud Carbajal, Calif.
- Tony Cardenas, Calif.
- Andre Carson, Ind.
- Sean Casten, Ill.
- Joaquin Castro, Texas
- Judy Chu, Calif.
- David Cicilline, R.I. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Katherine Clark, Mass. (Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus)
- Yvette Clarke, N.Y.
- William Lacy Clay, Mo.
- Emanuel Cleaver, Mo.
- Steve Cohen, Tenn. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Gerry Connolly, Va. (Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee)
- Jason Crow, Colo.
- Danny K. Davis, Ill.
- Madeleine Dean, Penn. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Peter DeFazio, Oregon (Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)
- Diana DeGette, Colo.
- Suzan Del Bene, Wa.
- Val Demings, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Mark DeSaulnier, Calif.
- Ted Deutch, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee, chairman of House Ethics Committee)
- Lloyd Doggett, Texas
- Mike Doyle, Penn.
- Eliot Engel, N.Y. (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee)
- Veronica Escobar, Texas (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Adriano Espaillat, N.Y.
- Dwight Evans, Penn.
- Marcia Fudge, Ohio
- Ruben Gallego, Ariz.
- John Garamendi, Calif.
- Jesús García, Ill.
- Jimmy Gomez, Calif.
- Al Green, Texas
- Raul Grijalva, Ariz. (Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee)
- Denny Heck, Wa.
- Brian Higgins, N.Y.
- Jim Himes, Conn.
- Jared Huffman, Calif.
- Sheila Jackson Lee, Tex. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Pramila Jayapal, Wash. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Robin Kelly, Ill.
- Joe Kennedy III, Mass.
- Dan Kildee, Mich. (chief deputy whip of House Democratic caucus)
- Derek Kilmer, Wa.
- Ann Kirkpatrick, Ariz.
- Annie Kuster, N.H.
- Rick Larsen, Washington
- Brenda Lawrence, Mich.
- Barbara Lee, Calif.
- Andy Levin, Mich.
- Mike Levin, Calif.
- Ted Lieu, Calif. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Alan Lowenthal, Calif.
- Nita Lowey, N.Y. (Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee)
- Tom Malinowski, N.J.
- Carolyn Maloney, N.Y.
- Doris Matsui, Calif.
- Betty McCollum, Minn.
- Jim McGovern, Mass. (Chairman of the House Rules Committee)
- Grace Meng, N.Y.
- Gwen Moore, Wis.
- Seth Moulton, Mass.
- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Fla. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Grace Napolitano, Calif.
- Joe Neguse, Colo. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Donald Norcross, N.J.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y.
- Ilhan Omar, Minn.
- Christopher Pappas, N.H.
- Bill Pascrell, N.J.
- Donald Payne, N.J.
- Scott Peters, Calif.
- Chellie Pingree, Me.
- Mark Pocan, Wis.
- Katie Porter, Calif.
- Ayanna Pressley, Mass.
- David Price, N.C.
- Mike Quigley, Ill.
- Jamie Raskin, Md. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Kathleen Rice, N.Y.
- Cedric Richmond, La. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Harley Rouda, Calif.
- Lucille Roybal-Allard, Calif.
- Bobby Rush, Ill.
- Tim Ryan, Ohio
- Mary Gay Scanlon, Penn. (Vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Jan Schakowsky, Ill.
- Kim Schrier, Wa.
- Jose Serrano, N.Y.
- Brad Sherman, Calif.
- Adam Smith, Washington (Chairman of the Armed Services Committee)
- Jackie Speier, Calif.
- Greg Stanton, Arizona (Member of the House Judiciary Committee)
- Eric Swalwell, Calif. (Member of the House Judiciary Committee, member of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)
- Bennie Thompson, Miss. (Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee)
- Dina Titus, Nev.
- Rashida Tlaib, Mich.
- Paul Tonko, N.Y.
- Norma Torres, Calif.
- Lori Trahan, D-Mass.
- Juan Vargas, Calif.
- Filemon Vela, Texas
- Nydia Velazquez, N.Y. (Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee)
- Maxine Waters, Calif. (Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee)
- Bonnie Watson-Coleman, N.J.
- Pete Welch, Vermont
- Jennifer Wexton, Va.
- John Yarmuth, Ky. (Chairman of the House Budget Committee)
- Justin Amash, I-Mich.
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