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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Thanksgiving plans for the candidates — some are staying on the trail

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are taking the Thanksgiving holiday to campaign, go hunting or fry some turkeys with their family. Kamala Harris will be active on Thanksgiving day, cheering on runners at the annual Des Moines, Iowa Turkey Trot and visiting senior citizens at Corinthian Gardens. 

Also staying in Des Moines, Amy Klobuchar will be holding a Thanksgiving dinner with family, supporters and media. Joe Biden told CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson that he'll be with family for the whole week, ahead of an eight-day bus tour starting next week. Deval Patrick, Julián Castro and Andrew Yang also said they'll be with family on the holiday.

CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman says Pete Buttigieg plans to go deer hunting the day after Thanksgiving. Asked on Monday by a reporter whether his weapon of choice was a bow or rifle, Buttigieg replied, "Bow hunting is way past my skill level. Rifle hunting probably is, too, but we're going to do it since it's Thanksgiving." 

Joe Sestak told CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro that he'll be spending his post-Thanksgiving Friday putting up Christmas decorations. "No better day," he said.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

PETE BUTTIGIEG

Buttigieg responded to an op-ed in The Root calling the millennial mayor a "lying m****r******" for his comments on education in a video interview clip that resurfaced from 2011. In the video, Buttigieg said that children need to "see evidence" that pursuing education will come with a "reward" and a "stable life."

"There are a lot of kids, especially from the lower income minority neighborhoods, who literally haven't seen it work," Buttigieg added in the clip. "There isn't somebody they know personally who testifies to the value of education." The mayor faced fierce backlash online for the comments and according to Turman, told reporters this morning that he spoke to Michael Harriott, who wrote the op-ed. 

"I think that some of the characterization to me personally is unfair. I do understand the concern," Buttigieg said. "What I said in that comment before I became mayor does not reflect the totality of my understanding then, and certainly now, about the obstacles that students of color face in our system today."

"I believe I was speaking about the need for mentorship and the need for Career Pathways but the problem is to the extent that, that feels like it's validating a narrative that sometimes blames the victim for the consequences of systemic racism, I understand why he was upset, and I understand the perspective and largely agree," Buttigieg added.

Separately Buttigieg's campaign says it has bought ad time on urban contemporary radio stations in southern Nevada, with plans to expand the ad buy to local Spanish music and talk stations. CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin says the South Bend mayor joins a handful of candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer, who have taken their campaigns to black and Hispanic drivetime audiences in the state.

KAMALA HARRIS

Harris told a group of South Carolina voters Monday that she introduced her mental health plan in the state because the need is great. 

"I think we've sadly stigmatized the issue of mental health and so, so many people experience it every day," said Harris. "I know enough to know that almost everyone here has experienced this with someone you know, work with, or love." CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell says one of the key points of Harris' plan is to "focus on vulnerable populations," which would include doubling "U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs research dollars to address and treat PTSD, military sexual trauma, and traumatic brain injury." 

In 2017, the South Carolina veteran suicide rate was significantly higher than the national suicide rate. Charleston native Stephanie Hammond is an Air Force veteran and says she loved that Harris chose to unveil the plan in her home state. "I think that that's what's needed," said Hammond. "Being a veteran myself and knowing other veterans that have come back and are dealing with some mental health issues, the unveiling of the plan is welcome in my eyes as a veteran, as well as...for the veterans that I served with, and veterans that are suffering from some mental health illnesses."

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

In his second day of campaigning, Bloomberg said his path to the presidency begins in Arizona, a state President Trump won by about 4% in 2016. 

"Arizona, as you know, is a crucial battleground state, but you don't often see presidential candidates around here. And the fact is, President Trump is about the only one who's spending any money here and in some of the other swing states around the country. And that's a big problem for our party and I am determined to change exactly that," he told reporters in Phoenix. 

Navarro says Bloomberg sees a chance for Democrats to flip the state "if we nominate somebody who makes winning here a top priority." 

The move to start in the southwestern state comes as Bloomberg has hinted that he will not compete in other early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Arizona has also been a focus of Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, who said they would include Latinos in Arizona and Florida as part of their 2020 voter mobilization.

In Phoenix, Bloomberg touted his experience as New York mayor, as well as doubling down on his stances on "Medicare for All" and a wealth tax. 

On the wealth tax, he said other countries that have used it show it does not work. On Medicare for All, Bloomberg said he supports updating Obamacare. "I don't think Medicare for All is a solution to the problem. The real answer is to take Obamacare and you can tweak it, you can make it somewhat better, you can restore some of the cuts that were taken away," he said Tuesday. "Medicare for All would destroy our hospital system, doctors wouldn't be able to make enough money to pay off their loans…The secret is people want to keep their private plans."

DEVAL PATRICK

Patrick will make his second two-day swing to South Carolina since launching his presidential bid this week. As previously reported by Mitchell and CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga, Patrick is expected to make a play for moderate voters in the first two early primary states. This visit comes on the heels of the hiring of Columbia, South Carolina-based political operative LaJoia Broughton to run the campaign's operation in the state. Broughton was a South Carolina lobbyist for JUUL Labs before she signed on with Patrick. 

In a phone interview earlier this month, South Carolina Democratic Party chair Trav Robertson told Mitchell that it will be interesting to see how Patrick and other newcomers to the Democratic primary race fare. "I think that it is obvious that [Patrick]—along with Michael Bloomberg think that they have a narrative or a certain viewpoint or some type of ability to add to the field," said Robertson. "This is something that we normally don't see in presidential primaries or nominating processes — people [getting] in later, rather than sooner, and so it's going to be an interesting next couple of months."

ANDREW YANG

Yang is ramping up his campaign in Nevada, naming Jenny Lehner his new political director in the state. According to CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin, Lehner previously served as finance director to the Assembly Democratic Caucus and for Chris Giunchigliani's gubernatorial bid in Nevada. She also helps run a nonprofit with Giunchigliani, who has since endorsed Elizabeth Warren.

STATE-BY-STATE

SOUTH CAROLINA

In an interview with CBS affiliate WCSC Monday afternoon, Kamala Harris said of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to run that she trusts voters to make decisions based on a candidate's record. 

"There's been a total of 25 people in the race so hey jump on in, the water's warm," joked Harris. "[I] have faith in the American voter to make decisions not based on how much money somebody has but based on their track record of doing work in service of others and in service of their community." 

Mitchell spoke with South Carolina voters to get a sense of how they're reacting to Bloomberg's run. North Charleston resident Martha Welsh, a retired university professor, thinks it's very presumptuous of him. "I am not sure why he believes he has something to offer that the collective wisdom of the other candidates wouldn't bring."

"Even though he's not running in South Carolina, he should also come here and talk to South Carolinians, find out what our issues are, what we're concerned about," said Donna Brown Newton, a Charleston County school district employee and chair of the East Cooper Democratic Party. 

Earlier this month, CBS News reported that Bloomberg apologized for his role in the New York Police Department "stop and frisk" policy that led to hundreds of thousands being stopped and searched without warrants and disproportionately targeted black and Latino populations. Welsh, who is also a Northeasterner, said that Bloomberg's apology won't be enough. "The whole 'stop and frisk' thing, just because you apologize for it now doesn't mean that it wasn't wrong at a different time," said Welsh. "It's sort of like Joe Biden apologizing for Anita Hill. It just doesn't work."

TEXAS

The 2020 strategy for the Republican Party of Texas was recently unveiled — to Texas Democrats. The Dallas Morning News reports that a draft of the GOP plan ended up in Democratic emails Monday night, and it includes a list of 12 targeted state house districts and a preliminary digital advertising plan to attack Democrats. Their strategist memo also had a clause about potential decreased GOP turnout due to "Never Trumpers," and a suggestion to prepare to target these voters to still vote for Republicans down ballot, reports Navarro.

"Given the polarizing nature of the President, I suspect some Republicans will refuse to turnout during the General Election because they don't want to vote for him, though I don't know that we will know what this universe would look like without us or a stakeholder creating a model. Regardless, I suggest we set up a contingency budget to target these folks with mailers, digital ads, and texts to encourage them to turnout for U.S. Senate, State Senate, State House, and so on," a draft obtained by CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson read.

The reveal comes as Republicans begin to shore up their defenses in Texas. President Trump has held two rallies so far this year, and the Texas GOP has previously released its own voter registration and engagement efforts. In a statement, Texas Republicans Chairman James Dickey responded to the story and said that "it's revealing that the Dallas Morning News reporter thinks that's newsworthy…We at the Republican Party of Texas are working on winning races all across Texas and growing support among both Republican and swing voters." 

A Republican National Committee spokesperson said, "President Trump enjoys historic support among Republicans. Any assertion to the contrary is simply a fool's errand."

The strategy outlined in the state party memo also includes hiring four digital field representatives across the state, buying domain names of Democratic candidates to redirect people to "negative hits," and rapid response to be deployed when national Democratic candidates come to Texas. It also says a goal is to showcase diversity within Republican candidates through video releases on social media.  

Texas Democrats aim to flip the state blue across the ballot, especially the state House in 2020. They are currently within nine seats of the majority and are looking to bring that down to eight in January's special election for House District 28. 

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