Senator Elizabeth Warren took a more direct swing at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday than she has taken at any Democrat this cycle, according to CBS News campaign reporters Zak Hudak and Musadiq Bidar.
"I am here on day two of," Warren began a speech in Ankeny, Iowa. "Michael Bloomberg is making a bet about democracy in 2020. He doesn't need people, he only needs bags and bags of money. I think Michael Bloomberg is wrong and that's what we need to prove in this election."
Warren seldom makes direct attacks on fellow Democrats, and she almost never invokes them by name. But she brought Bloomberg up a second time on Monday, in response to a question from a voter about what she would do immediately if elected to help families. "I started out talking about Michael Bloomberg because it really is a question of how we're going to run a Democratic primary...[If] it goes straight to my TV ads versus your TV ads, we have no comparative advantage come 2020," she said, before pivoting to talking points about rooting about Washington corruption.
CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry says Bloomberg responded to Warren in Virginia at the first public event since launching his presidential campaign, saying, "Look, for years I've been using my resources for the things that matter to me. I was lucky enough to build a successful company. It has been very successful, and I have used all of it to give back to help America."
But between increasingly frequent mockery of billionaires on the trail, the emergence of "billionaire tears" mugs in the Warren online store and a CNBC ad that framed Warren as the solution to the power the rich have over government, Warren has already set the groundwork to wage war on Bloomberg. Her words today further signified that Warren will use Bloomberg as a foil as the race progresses.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Joe Biden has scored the race's first endorsement of a sitting member of Congress in the early states, with the backing of Congresswoman Dina Titus. The Nevada Democrat's district in Las Vegas is ethnically diverse, opening doors for the campaign in a key battleground for the state.
Titus, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2008 and 2016, has built a record as a progressive champion in the state and dismissed the apparent gap between her and the former vice president over a key issue: "Medicare for All."
"When the vice president talks about the public option, I support that. And I see that as the first step towards getting to universal coverage. He's done it before, so I think he has more success in moving us down that line than the other candidates," Titus told CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination Sunday. Bloomberg held his first event since announcing Monday in Norfolk, Virginia, an area he says demonstrates Democrats' ability to turn red districts blue.
CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry notes that Bloomberg wasted no time in directing his attacks toward President Trump. Bloomberg called the president an "existential threat" to the nation and said he's beaten Mr. Trump before and can do it again. Though Bloomberg refrained from singling out any of his fellow Democrats when asked if he thought the current field was too weak, Bloomberg told reporters that there's a "greater risk" of re-electing Mr. Trump now and "we have to do something about Trump."
Bloomberg will continue his nontraditional campaign approach of forgoing early states and using his own personal wealth to remain competitive. On Sunday, Bloomberg announced a $37 million dollar ad buy and Monday he announced that his next campaign stop would be in Arizona.
Rounding out her 15th visit to South Carolina — the most of any other Democratic presidential hopeful to the state — California Senator Kamala Harris hosted a meet & greet in Goose Creek on Monday with "The Breakfast Club" radio show host Charlamagne tha God.
CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell says this event concludes a weekend that was packed with a town hall, church services, and local stops with Palmetto State voters. In addition to typical campaign stops, this trip also seemed to be marked by a return to sentimentality as it relates to her prosecutorial record. During a town hall in the state capital Columbia on Saturday evening, Harris was asked for a response to criticism that she's "out there to lock up black men." Harris responded, "There's not a black man I know — relative or friend — that hasn't experienced some type of injustice at the hand of law enforcement."
She went on to say that she understands that people's opinions of her being a prosecutor come from "learned experience of not trusting a system that has been informed by racism." She then added that she "appreciates" the spirit and lived experience that informs voters' perspective on the matter.
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick returned for his second swing of New Hampshire on Monday, appearing a St. Anselm's Institute of Politics storied Politics & Eggs Series. In formal remarks, Patrick challenged approximately 150 audience members to reject false choices in politics.
"If the woke leave room for the still waking, we might just find that we have the best chance in generations to build for our children an ourselves a fairer and more just, truly great America," Patrick stated. "An America that understands our greatness comes from our goodness."
Patrick announced three upcoming policy agenda pillars – a reform agenda centered on restructuring the tax system, healthcare, immigration and criminal sentencing; a democracy agenda addressing gerrymandering, voter suppression, and dark money; and an opportunity agenda focused on growth of the middle class.
Speaking on immigration, Patrick underlined the legal, authorized entry of asylum seekers in the United States. "But we lump it all into the same bucket of outsiders and unwanteds," he said. "I think that needs to change."
Patrick told CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga he does not support the repeal of Section 1325 of U.S. immigration code, federal law provision criminalizing unlawful entry into the United States. "No," he responded, adding, "Well, because I think it ought to be against the law to cross the border without authorization. Asylum seeking is an authorized way to come in."
Patrick did not chime in on Bloomberg, but did comment on the state of the race during his press availability: "It's a wide open race. And the fact that folks have been in for a long time, campaigning for a long time and raising money for a long time – it is not closed. It's not resolved."
Let's clear something up: Bernie Sanders does not say he wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On the campaign trail, some at Sanders events will chant or yell "Abolish ICE!" Even an introductory speaker at an East Los Angeles rally nine days ago said part of why she supported Sanders was because he would abolish ICE, according to CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte.
The hiccup is that Sanders doesn't support getting rid of ICE or Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and that was articulated Monday in New Hampshire when the Vermont senator was asked if he would support defunding ICE and instead fund programs that support immigrant families. In response, Sanders said, "What I will commit to is redefining the role of ICE. You can call an agency whatever you want. Do we have to worry about illegal drugs? Yeah. There is a role for an agency like ICE. But not the role that they're presently performing."
This is consistent with what Sanders has said in the past. It's also consistent with his immigration plan; he supports the restructuring of ICE and would put a moratorium on deportations. But is that enough for some of his supporters who want to see the agency go? Or is it merely just semantics? And will Sanders' proposed rearranging do enough to please most voters – especially the sought-after Latino voting bloc?
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Parson will file the necessary paperwork for President Trump to appear on the Missouri ballot in 2020, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson. The filing period opens on Tuesday, but the deadline to submit the paperwork isn't until December 24th. Parson himself is facing reelection in 2020 and has become an ally of the president in a state Mr. Trump won by almost 19 points in 2016. Mr. Trump endorsed Parson in September in a tweet.
After an at-times rocky approval process that saw the scrapping of the state's proposed "tele-caucus" system, CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin says the Democratic National Committee has approved the Nevada State Democratic Party's final Delegate Selection Plan. The party estimates that the caucus could cost more than two million dollars to run after reforms to this year's contest, including an expansive and unprecedented early vote effort.
Secretary Bill Gardner has officially set the date of the New Hampshire Primary, scrawling the words "February 11" on a commemorative placard during a press conference at the Statehouse, today. The New Hampshire Primary, typically set one week after the Iowa Caucus, was widely anticipated to land on Tuesday, February 11th.
In response to criticisms lodged by presidential candidate Julian Castro, who has called for Iowa and New Hampshire to lose their "first in the nation" voting positions due to a lack of demographic diversity, Gardner acknowledged New Hampshire is less racially representative than other states. Recalling the 2007 race, Gardner said he appreciated then-Senator Obama's comments on the primary calendar. When asked in the summer of 2007 if he wished New Hampshire was more diverse, Obama quipped, "There are far too many Red Sox fans here. I'd like to see more White Sox fans."
Sganga says according to the U.S. Census 2018 report, New Hampshire is 93.2% white. New Hampshire boasts historically high voter turnout rates, with 62% of registered voters showing up at the polls for the 2016 February Primary. This cycle, New Hampshire's new voter residency law, House Bill 1264, which requires anyone who registers to vote to declare residency in the state of New Hampshire, effectively calling for voters to obtain a New Hampshire ID.
This change threatens to dampen turnout, triggering laws for motor vehicle registration that require new residents to obtain a New Hampshire license within a 60 day window or face a penalty. Pressed on whether a new voter residency law might hurt voter participation, Gardner remarked, "We are the easiest state in the country. I challenge anyone to contradict us," citing a lack of provisional ballots. "All we hear is about these poll taxes and voter suppression," Gardner continued. "It is just dishonest. And the facts show that."
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told a group of reporters that "Joe Biden is a good friend" in downtown Charleston Monday morning. At the same time, according to CBS affiliate WCSC, Graham detailed what he thinks could be the sequence of events involving Biden and his son Hunter's alleged involvement with Ukraine.
In a tweet later Monday morning, Graham reiterated his earlier remarks. "I love Joe Biden as a person but we are not going to give a pass to what is obviously a conflict of interest. I believe Hunter Biden's association on the Burisma board doesn't pass the smell test," said Graham. "If a Republican was in the same position, they'd certainly be investigated!"
LaCrai Mitchell says this comes days after Graham sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents related to communications between the Bidens, other Obama administration officials, and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In an interview with CNN on Friday — in Abbeville, South Carolina — Biden said that Graham's moves are a result of him knowing that he'll have a tough road to re-election if he comes out against the president.
Biden also added that the president is "essentially holding power over [Graham] that even the Ukrainians wouldn't yield to." Biden said, "I am disappointed and, quite frankly, I'm angered by the fact, he knows me, he knows my son. He knows there's nothing to this…Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he's going to regret his whole life."
When asked what he'd say to Graham, Biden responded: "Lindsey, I'm just embarrassed by what you're doing, for you."
IN THE HOUSE
Representative Tom Emmer, chairman of the House Republican campaign arm, said the current impeachment inquiry could help their self-described "narrow path" back to the majority in 2020. On C-SPAN's Newsmakers, Emmer pointed to polling of impeachment among independents as a sign the inquiry could backfire. "The new socialist Democrat majority in the House literally gave away its majority the day it started this impeachment proceeding," he said on C-SPAN Sunday.
CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro says current national polls still show Democrat and Republican voters equally split on impeachment. House Republicans need to defend all their current seats and win at least 19 seats to regain the majority. However, Republican retirements in seats like Rep. Will Hurd's TX-23 district give some potential pickups for Democrats. Emmer and the National Republican Congressional Committee are specifically targeting the 13 Democrats that occupy districts Trump won by 6 points or more. Overall, 31 Democrats are in Trump-won districts.
"These are districts where – this is why the first-term Democrats, you hear people like Jeff Van Drew say, 'Hey let's pump the breaks on this impeachment thing,' because he knows what's coming," he said. The next big litmus test for House Republicans will be the open seat in California's 25th district, after Democrat Rep. Katie Hill announced her resignation. Currently three Democrats and seven Republicans have filed to run there, including ex-Trump aide George Papadopoulos who officially announced his campaign on 'Fox & Friends' Monday.
The primary for that seat is March 3, 2020.
IN THE SENATE
On Monday, the Democratic Party of Arkansas announced the party will not have a candidate to take on incumbent Republican Senator Tom Cotton in 2020, reports Watson. Democratic candidate Josh Mahony withdrew his name for consideration over Twitter after the filing deadline ended and cited health concerns in his family, according to the state party.
The state code allows parties to replace candidates if there is death or serious illness, but Mahony has not responded to requests to see if the state party could field another candidate. In a statement, state party Chairman Michael John Gray said, "After exhaustive and careful examination with our legal counsel and our party leaders and without additional information from Mr. Mahony, the Democratic Party of Arkansas will not be able to field a candidate for United States Senate."
In a Washington Post op-ed, the two Democratic governors that won elections this year urged national Democrats to use their campaigns as a blueprint for 2020.
"The secret sauce is not really a secret. To win, we had to reach out to people across the political spectrum, including people who voted for President Trump," wrote Kentucky's Governor-elect Andy Beshear and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. Both Democrats won very tight gubernatorial races in states President Trump won by double digits in 2016 and in races where Trump tried to use his clout to get the Republican candidate past the finish line.
"Our opponents attempted to nationalize our races, making them about the politics of Washington...this was not likely to change the outcome because the people we met on the campaign trail do not believe the politics of Washington are working for them," the two wrote.
Navarro says all Democratic gubernatorial campaigns this year, including Jim Hood's unsuccessful bid in Mississippi, kept their messaging strictly on state issues such as Medicaid expansion, jobs and education. Beshear and Edwards wrote that this agenda helped them resonate with voters across the political spectrum, which they said was necessary for vicotry.
"Talk about health care, education and jobs. Over and over...if we can remember politics is still local and deliver policies to solve problems for the families we represent, Democrats can win anywhere. Even in places that voted for the president," they wrote.