Sanders’ national surge continues


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On the roster: Sanders’ national surge continues - Sanders pushes for Iowa recount as margin narrows - Trump rallies in Senate battleground states - Barr considering quitting over Trump’s DOJ tweets - ‘You’re not robbing s***’

SANDERS’ NATIONAL SURGE CONTINUES
WaPo: “The Post-ABC poll shows [Sen. Bernie Sanders], who got more votes in Iowa than any other candidate ahead of his narrow win in New Hampshire, with the support of 32 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters. That is an increase of nine percentage points since January. … [Joe Biden], who was at 32 percent support in January, has fallen to 16 percent in the new survey. … [Michael Bloomberg], who is skipping the first four states but has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into television ads in states with primaries in March, stands at 14 percent, up from 8 percent in January. … [Elizabeth Warren] saw no change in her national support, remaining at 12 percent. [Pete Buttigieg], despite his strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, runs fifth nationally at 8 percent, ticking up from 5 percent a month ago. [Amy Klobuchar] stands at 7 percent in the new national poll, up from just 3 percent. Buttigieg and Klobuchar face a similar challenge, which is to appeal to a broader coalition of voters in the coming two early-state contests.”

Trump trails top five Dems in head-to-head matchups - NBC News: “In the poll, Sanders gets the support of 27 percent of Democratic primary voter… Biden now gets support from 15 percent of Democratic primary voters, which is down from 26 percent last month. Bloomberg is at 14 percent (up 5 points); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also gets 14 percent (down 1 point); and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is at 13 percent (up 6 points). Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota gets support from 7 percent of Democratic primary voters, which is up 2 points since last month. … In hypothetical general-election matchups, [President Donald] Trump trails five major Democratic candidates, but all of his deficits — except against Biden — are within the poll's margin of error. Biden leads Trump nationally by 8 points, 52 percent to 44 percent. Bloomberg is ahead by 7 points, 50 percent to 43 percent. Sanders (50 percent to 46 percent) and Buttigieg (48 percent to 44 percent) hold 4-point advantages over Trump.”

Bloomy to leave comfort zone in Wednesday’s debate - WaPo: “Mike Bloomberg still introduces himself to voters on the stump by saying ‘I’m an engineer’ — an egghead identity he honed managing large organizations like the city of New York, his namesake company and a nascent presidential campaign now on track to spend more than any other in U.S. history. But Wednesday night, Bloomberg will be forced to leave his comfort zone and test his chops as a charismatic politician. When he steps onto the debate stage in Las Vegas for his first hostile and uncontrolled campaign test, there will be no management decisions to make, teleprompters to lean on or endless ad budgets to filter his image with focus-grouped messaging. In preparation, his advisers have spent much of the past week drilling him for the big jump, which could make or break the momentum he has generated with his extravagant spending. In debate prep sessions, they have armed him with comebacks for the inevitable attacks on his enormous wealth and past record, while also coaching him to move beyond his sometimes distant, wonky and diffidently logical public persona.”

Arnon Mishkin: At Las Vegas debate expect a battle between Bloomberg and other candidates - Fox News: “The opportunity for both Sanders and Warren at the debate will be that they just need to attack Bloomberg. An effective attack may help the currently flailing Warren recapture some of the magic she had last fall… With the more moderate wing of the party divided among former Vice President Joe Biden, Bloomberg, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sanders just needs to maintain his strength (and his fairly high favorability, even among Democratic voters who aren’t for him). He can do that by simply attacking Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s challenge is vastly more complicated. First, he needs to be able to respond to the anticipated attacks from the left, while also ensuring that he’s not shunted off and painted as the conservative in the race. Conservatives don’t win the Democratic presidential nomination, but moderates and sometimes liberals do.”

Sanders pulls away from AOC - WaPo: “Sen. Bernie Sanders distanced himself Tuesday from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent suggestion that compromising on health care would be acceptable, arguing that his Medicare-for-all plan is ‘already a compromise.’ The comments, coming in a televised town hall hosted by CNN, highlighted a rare difference between the senator and the congresswoman (D-N.Y.), one of his most prominent supporters — notably, over one of the central planks of his presidential campaign platform. ‘I love Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.’ … ‘But my view is that Medicare-for-all, the bill that we wrote, is in a sense already a compromise. It is a four-year transition period.’ … In an interview with HuffPost last week, Ocasio-Cortez signaled some flexibility on the senator’s signature Medicare-for-all proposal.”

Klobuchar super PAC dumps money into Nevada, South Carolina - Politico: “A super PAC supporting Amy Klobuchar is dropping a seven-figure ad buy into Nevada and South Carolina, giving the Minnesota senator a much-needed financial boost. The super PAC, called Kitchen Table Conversations, was formed late last week at a crucial moment in the race for Klobuchar, who has only days to build on her surprise third-place finish in New Hampshire before a slew of big-ticket Democratic presidential contests begin. The group plans to air TV ads on broadcast and cable stations, as well as digital platforms, in Nevada and South Carolina, starting Wednesday. The group also plans to expand into the 14 Super Tuesday states later, according to a person familiar with the ad buy.”

Buttigieg exaggerated support from black leaders - ABC News: “When Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg touted support from African American comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key last week, his campaign was forced just hours later to clarify that the actor had not officially endorsed the former South Bend mayor… [This] was not the first time the Buttigieg campaign overstated having a tie with a prominent African American figure, or black business. … Nationally, Buttigieg has support from 4% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning African-American voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released on Feb 10. That's more than Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard … but substantially less than candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg…”

SANDERS PUSHES FOR IOWA RECOUNT AS MARGIN NARROWS
WaPo: “Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign intends to request a partial recount of the Iowa caucuses, a top adviser said Tuesday, more than two weeks after the chaotic contest produced no decisive victor. The announcement came as the results further narrowed on Tuesday, following a recanvass of a small subset of precincts. The revised figures did not change the allocation of delegates to the national convention. Still, they just barely shifted projected support at the state convention, which is typically the metric used to name a winner. The Iowa Democratic Party said Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., would claim 563.207 state delegate equivalents, or SDEs, while Sanders (I-Vt.) would claim 563.127. What had been a difference of 2.774 shrank to 0.08. The razor-thin margin is likely to intensify the wrangling over the closely watched contest, which descended into chaos when a technology glitch threw off the transmission and verification of results. No numbers were posted until the following afternoon. When figures did start to trickle out, they were riddled with obvious inaccuracies. The Associated Press still has not called the race.”

Harry Reid: Iowa's problems strengthen Nevada's case to go first - NPR: “Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the man largely responsible for making his state's presidential caucuses a prominent early contest, has declined the opportunity to defend caucus systems in an interview with NPR. ‘I will talk about that after Super Tuesday, after when we get California and Texas out of the way,’ Reid said. … All eyes are on Nevada after the epic caucus blunder in Iowa earlier this month. Reid insists his state won't have the same problems. He sees an opportunity in Iowa's failing that could be used to vault Nevada into the first-in-the-nation spot next election cycle. ‘I think we have a tremendously good case now,’ Reid said, emphasizing that with its diverse population, Nevada is more reflective of the Democratic electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire, which currently precede it on the nominating calendar.”

THE RULEBOOK: READY FOR ACTION
“If one nation maintains constantly a disciplined army, ready for the service of ambition or revenge, it obliges the most pacific nations who may be within the reach of its enterprises to take corresponding precautions.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 41

TIME OUT: THE ORIGINAL BEAUTY QUEEN
Smithsonian: “On an April afternoon in 1897, thousands of women packed the Boston Theatre to see the nation’s most beguiling female entrepreneur, a 45-year-old former homemaker whose talent for personal branding would rival that of any Instagram celebrity today. She called herself Madame Yale. Over the course of several hours and multiple outfit changes, she preached her ‘Religion of Beauty,’ regaling the audience with tales of history’s most beautiful women, a group that included Helen of Troy, the Roman goddess Diana and, apparently, Madame Yale. The sermon was her 11th public appearance in Boston in recent years, and it also covered the various lotions and potions—products that Yale just happened to sell—that she said had transformed her from a sallow, fat, exhausted woman into the beauty who stood on stage: her tall, hourglass figure draped at one point in cascading white silk, her blond ringlets falling around a rosy-cheeked, heart-shaped face. Applause thundered.”

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SCOREBOARD
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
Buttigieg: 23
Sanders: 21
Warren: 8
Klobuchar: 7
Biden: 6
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 44.8 percent
Average disapproval: 51.4 percent
Net Score: -6.6 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.8 points
[Average includes: ABC News/WaPo: 46% approve - 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 47% approve - 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve - 53% disapprove.]

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TRUMP RALLIES IN SENATE BATTLEGROUND STATES
Politico: “President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies over the next two weeks are taking him straight into the heart of the Senate battleground map. Trump’s recent and upcoming rallies are counter-programming the Democratic presidential primaries in early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. But in the next two weeks he’s also hitting Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina, a trio of states that feature vulnerable Republican senators and hold the key to the GOP maintaining control of the chamber. … The upcoming Trump rallies aren't explicitly about the Senate map, but they do underscore the significant overlap between Trump's path to a second term and Republicans' Senate strategy. The GOP senators up for reelection have embraced the president, relying on his performance atop the ticket in their states. That includes their recent handling of the impeachment trial: The most endangered GOP senators stood mostly in lockstep to guarantee Trump's acquittal.”

Team Trump sets goal for extra $1 billion to compete with Bloomy - Bloomberg: “Members of President Donald Trump’s re-election team and some of the GOP’s biggest fundraisers are discussing a new goal of raising an extra $1 billion to compete with Michael Bloomberg’s record campaign spending, according to two bundlers who have been part of the discussions. … Trump’s campaign and the RNC have boasted about their strong fund-raising, regularly declaring record hauls and comparing their numbers to those of former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election. But the prospect of facing an opponent with far more money at his disposal has forced Trump’s re-election team to consider ways to level the playing field. Republicans will look to super-PAC donors to give more, raise more money at high-dollar events headlined by Trump, and expand other efforts to bring in additional money.”

Trump camp hires Cambridge Analytica alum - Politico: “President Donald Trump’s campaign is bringing on an alum of the controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, a move likely to raise alarms among Trump critics and data privacy advocates who worry the president will push the technological envelope to get reelected in 2020. Matt Oczkowski, who served as head of product at Cambridge before it went bankrupt and shut down in 2018, is helping oversee the Trump campaign’s data program, according to two people familiar with the hire. Cambridge gained notoriety for its work on psychological voter profiling and because it allegedly improperly obtained the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users.”

BARR CONSIDERING QUITTING OVER TRUMP’S DOJ TWEETS
WaPo: “Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department. So far, Trump has defied Barr’s requests, both public and private, to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Barr had made his posture known directly to Trump. The administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigations. ‘He has his limits,’ said one person familiar with Barr’s thinking, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others, to discuss internal deliberations.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
New study reveals details of nonvoters - Politico

Tom Tiffany wins Wisconsin GOP primary to replace Sean Duffy ahead of special May election - Roll Call

AUDIBLE: BUTTI-BOOM, ROASTED
“We got the oldest president in American history. How is that working out for us right now?” – Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg referring to President Trump during CNN’s Las Vegas town hall Tuesday night.

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‘YOU’RE NOT ROBBING S***’
KAPP-KVEW: “A Yakima [Wash.] fast food employee wasn’t having it when someone tried to rob him last Saturday, according to a police report. Officers were called to the Jack In The Box on North First Street around 1 p.m. for a report of an attempted robbery that went awry for the suspect. The suspect, 37-year-old Damian McCorkle, allegedly walked to the restaurant and ordered some food. A witness said he was wearing a coat with his hands in his pockets, as if he was going to pull something out of it, and told the cashier he needed money, police said. Based on statements from witnesses at the restaurant, a police report described the encounter as follows: ‘I’m robbing you,’ the suspect said. ‘You’re not robbing s***,’ the cashier replied. ‘Yeah I am. I need the money,’ the suspect said. ‘I will beat your a**. You want to go outside and handle this?’ The suspect then left the store.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
Ronald Reagan was so self-contained and impenetrable that his official biographer was practically driven mad trying to figure him out. Donald Trump is penetrable, hourly.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.

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.