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On the roster: Far left uniting for all-out attack to block Biden - Bloomy rankles Dems by shunning donations, debates - Trump takes Iranian off-ramp - Pelosi wants McConnell to show cards first - Don’t have to be high to back the Browns, but it helps
FAR LEFT UNITING FOR ALL-OUT ATTACK TO BLOCK BIDEN
Politico: “The progressive movement is kicking off 2020 with a full-scale, whack-a-Joe mobilization against the former vice president, marked by intensified attacks and protests designed to bloody [Joe] Biden in advance of the Iowa caucuses. The grassroots assault hit from a variety of angles, starting Monday when the Progressive Change Campaign Committee demanded Biden retract statements about sexism in politics. Hours later, the group Indivisible criticized him over his immigration plan. Then, activists aligned with the Sunrise Movement recently picketed him at a New York City fundraiser hosted by a billionaire. While Biden has taken flak from the Democratic Party’s left flank for the past year, the effort marks the first time he’s been the subject of a sustained barrage from the left, amplifying recent back-to-back broadsides from two of Biden’s top opponents, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, over Social Security and bankruptcy legislation.”
Dem establishment starts taking Bernie threat seriously - AP: “Increasingly alarmed that Bernie Sanders could become their party’s presidential nominee, establishment-minded Democrats are warning primary voters that the self-described democratic socialist would struggle to defeat President Donald Trump and hurt the party’s chances in premier House, Senate and governors’ races. The urgent warnings come as Sanders shows new signs of strength on the ground in the first two states on the presidential primary calendar, Iowa and New Hampshire, backed by a dominant fundraising operation. … But less than a month before Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, the doubters are being forced to take Sanders seriously. … ‘You need a candidate with a message that can help us win swing voters in battleground states,’ [Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel] said in an interview. ‘The degree of difficulty dramatically increases under a Bernie Sanders candidacy. It just gets a lot harder.’”
USA Today Editorial Board bops Biden on Ukraine - USA Today: “Like it or not, Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and his son Hunter have been dragged into President Donald Trump's sleazy arms-for-dirt dealings with Ukraine. Biden can't control that, but he can control how he handles questions about the matter. His responses haven't been a good look. … And when Biden was asked whether he'd comply with a subpoena as part of Trump's impeachment trial, he could have simply declined to answer a hypothetical question. Instead, he first said that he wouldn't comply with such a subpoena, undermining the Democrats' second article of impeachment — obstruction of Congress — and giving cover to Trump administration officials who've refused to testify. Then he reversed course, potentially giving comfort to Trump loyalists trying to contrive a rigged Senate trial.”
Walter Shapiro: Biden is driving a Ford - The New Republic: “Forty-five years later—after more than three decades as U.S. senator from Delaware, two failed White House bids, and eight years as vice president—Biden is running for president to become the Jerry Ford of the twenty-first century. … Biden still believes that as president he can bring back the era of ‘clean, honest fights.’ You can imagine Biden saying, with the same sincere awkwardness that Ford did after taking the oath of office, ‘Our long national nightmare is over.’ Biden’s ideology, of course, does not align with Ford’s Rotary Club Republicanism. And there is no chance that President Biden would start sporting ‘WIN’ (Whip Inflation Now) buttons or reinstall nonagenarian Henry Kissinger as secretary of state.”
Fox News to host Buttigieg town hall in Iowa - Fox News: “Fox News Channel will host a town hall with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg in Iowa on Sunday, Jan. 26, an event set to be moderated by Chris Wallace, said Fox News president and executive editor Jay Wallace on Tuesday. ‘We are pleased to host Mayor Buttigieg for the second time this election cycle for a timely town hall in the influential state of Iowa,’ Wallace said. ‘Once again, we are looking forward to providing our millions of viewers with an insightful discussion ahead of the first major contest of the primary season.’ The event will be the seventh town hall event of the current election season hosted by Fox News, and the sixth with a Democratic presidential candidate.”
Warren hopes media blitz, Castro can revive sputtering campaign - Politico: “With an unusual flurry of national media appearances and the rollout of her highest profile endorsement to date — former presidential candidate Julián Castro — Elizabeth Warren is trying to give her campaign a jolt in the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses. … [As] her polling and fundraising has dipped in recent weeks, Warren has embarked on an energetic media tour… Warren’s moves to start the new year amount to an effort to shift the national narrative and give her candidacy a boost after months of bombardment from rivals that came after she rose in national and early state polls. With just under four weeks until the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses — a state in which the campaign has invested a tremendous amount of time, money and staff — the once-surging senator is working quickly to try to regain her momentum.”
Perez: Debate will be rescheduled if it conflicts with impeachment trial - Politico: “The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, said on Tuesday that the party organization would reschedule next week’s presidential primary debate in Iowa if the televised event conflicts with President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. ‘Democrats and our senators can walk and chew gum,’ Perez told MSNBC. ‘Obviously, if there’s a trial on the 14th, then we’ll move the debate. If there’s not, then we’re going to have the debate. At the moment, all systems are go, and so we’re going to move forward.’ … But the pack of Democratic candidates vying to challenge the president in November ‘are very agile, just as the American people are agile,’ Perez said Tuesday.”
BLOOMY RANKLES DEMS BY SHUNNING DONATIONS, DEBATES
Politico: “Mike Bloomberg is starting to take heat from Democratic rivals for running an imperial campaign: Using his personal fortune to finance an infinite stream of TV ads while refusing to engage his opponents and defend his record on a live debate stage. To that he says: Too bad. At a campaign stop here, the former New York mayor said he has no intention of trying to qualify for upcoming debates — even though he almost certainly could participate if he wanted to. It was his most definitive statement to date on a stance that has rankled his opponents, who chafe at his limitless war chest and feel he should have to endure the rigors of campaigning they do. Bloomberg insisted he’d like to debate if the rules allowed. But the billionaire, a latecomer to the Democratic primary, reasoned it is inappropriate for someone of his wealth to ask supporters for cash.”
Spends bigly on Super Bowl seconds - NYT: “Michael R. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has secured a 60-second advertising spot to air nationally during next month’s Super Bowl telecast, an ad buy that will most likely cost at least $10 million. Hours after The New York Times reported Mr. Bloomberg’s plans, President Trump’s re-election campaign said that it, too, had reserved 60 seconds’ worth of advertising during the game for roughly $10 million. The dueling ads on the year’s biggest night of television are evidence that the two New York billionaires are preparing for a schoolyard brawl on the national airwaves over the coming months, with each increasingly willing to dip into his vast resources — Mr. Bloomberg is spending his own fortune, and Mr. Trump has a nine-figure campaign war chest — to broadcast their messages.”
THE RULEBOOK: YOURS IS NO DISGRACE
“My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1
TIME OUT: THE COLD SNOWS OF JANUARY
History: “On January 8, 1877, Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse and his men … fight their final losing battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana. Six months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and his ally, Sitting Bull, led their combined forces … to a stunning victory over Lt. Col. George Custer and his men. … [Gen. Nelson Miles] found Crazy Horse’s camp along Montana’s Tongue River. U.S. soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns... Crazy Horse and his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge and return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, and they were reduced to fighting with bows and arrows. They managed to hold off the soldiers long enough for the women and children to escape under cover of the blinding blizzard before they turned to follow them. … On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska’s Fort Robinson and surrendered.”
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DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26.2 points (no change from last wk.)
Sanders: 18.6 points (no change from last wk.)
Warren: 16.2 points (no change from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 9.4 points (no change from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.2 points (no change from last wk.)
[Averages include: NBC News/WSJ, CNN, Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University and NPR/PBS/Marist.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 51.4 percent
Net Score: -7.6 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: NBC/WSJ: 44% approve - 54% disapprove; CNBC: 40% approve - 49% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve - 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 48% approve - 50% disapprove.]
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TRUMP TAKES IRANIAN OFF-RAMP
Fox News: “President Trump declared Wednesday that Iran ‘appears to be standing down,’ in the wake of missile strikes on American bases in Iraq that he said resulted in ‘no casualties.’ ‘The American people should be extremely grateful and happy,’ Trump said, in an address to the nation from the White House the morning after the attacks. ‘No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime.’ While the attacks marked the latest escalation with Tehran in the precarious aftermath of a U.S. drone strike that killed the top Iranian general, they appeared to open the door to reducing tensions after it became clear that no American forces were killed. Trump indicated Wednesday that he considers the nature of the strikes as a sign that Tehran has taken an off-ramp. ‘Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned,’ he said. He added: ‘No American or Iraqi lives were lost.’”
Trump campaign quickly capitalizing on Soleimani killing - AP: “Donald Trump once warned Barack Obama not to ‘play the Iran card’ to boost his political prospects by starting a war. Eight years later, Trump is showing no reluctance to capitalize politically on his order to kill a top Iranian general, drawing accusations that he is weaponizing foreign policy for his campaign’s own gain. Trump’s campaign has used the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, as a cudgel against the president’s Democratic political rivals and to divert attention from his impending impeachment trial in the Senate. … The president was expected to amplify those messages on Thursday in Toledo, Ohio, during his first campaign rally since the drone strike last week. Trump’s campaign purchased ads on Facebook highlighting the Soleimani killing.”
PELOSI WANTS MCCONNELL TO SHOW CARDS FIRST
Fox News: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled to congressional Democrats late Tuesday that she plans to continue to hold onto articles of impeachment against President Trump -- for now -- demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell first release the resolution outlining the terms for a Senate trial. In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi, D-Calif., indicated she would not transmit impeachment articles to the Senate until McConnell moves to ‘immediately publish’ the resolution while accusing him of making ‘misleading claims’ about past impeachment processes to ‘justify’ Republican plans. ‘Sadly, Leader McConnell has made clear that his loyalty is to the President and not the Constitution,’ Pelosi wrote. ‘Leader McConnell has insisted that the approach under consideration is identical to those of the Clinton trial and that ‘fair is fair.’ This is simply not true.’ Democrats have pushed all along for Republicans to agree to call certain witnesses as part of the Trump impeachment trial, while McConnell has called to first start the trial -- and settle on issues like witness testimony later.”
Political affiliations don’t budge - Gallup
Wisconsin GOP rigs primary for Trump - AP
Michigan Republican John James out-raising incumbent Democrat - MLive.com
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to resign next week following guilty plea - Politico
Trump donor accused of obstruction charge connected to president’s inaugural probe - WSJ
Poll shows U.S. remains well-regarded around the globe despite dislike for Trump - Pew Research Center
AUDIBLE: WAY TO DREAM BIG…
“And so that’s why I think you’re going to see even Mitch McConnell changing some ideas or being more ― how can I say ― mildly cooperative.” – Former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a fundraiser in New York, promised a new birth of bipartisanship under his administration.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Smart of the Dems to hire another Libertarian (Chafee) to help dilute the undecided Republican voters. They have tried it before on a Virginia gubernatorial election and it worked.” – Jim King, Chesapeake, Va.
[Ed. note: Now, Mr. King… I hesitated to even publish your unfair accusation, but I did so to illustrate a point: There is a national epidemic of motive questioning in politics. What makes you think that Lincoln Chaffee is anything but sincere? If you watched his 2016 run or anything about his very unusual political career to this point you would know that he may be odd and he may be Quixotic, but he most certainly seems to be sincere. In the past 14 years he has been a Republican, an independent, a Democrat and now, it would seem, a Libertarian. Why would you accuse him of corruption for this latest turn? There are real conspiracies and there is real corruption, but they are the exceptions. Aside from being unfair, these kinds of accusations themselves invite misconduct. If we assume our opponents are always corrupt, what conduct would we condone in ourselves and those we support? Jumping to conclusions is a dangerous business, indeed.]
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DON’T HAVE TO BE HIGH TO BACK THE BROWNS, BUT IT HELPS
WOIO: “Being a professional football fan in Ohio is stressful. That’s why a petition was submitted to the State Medical Board requesting that being a fan of the Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Bengals be considered as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana prescriptions. Being a Browns or Bengals fan was one of 28 ‘conditions’ submitted to the State Medical Board during the 2019 petition window. The State Medical Board’s Medical Marijuana Committee must now decide which of the 28 petitions should be considered as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. A committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12. According to State Medical Board Director of Communications Tessie Pollock, the committee will examine subject matter reviews conducted by physicians and medical marijuana experts before recommending the petitions to the full State Medical Board for a final vote, which is anticipated to take place in the summer.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 8, 2018.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.