The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Big endorsement for Hillary | Bernie tops Clinton in first national poll | Trump closing in on key win | Harper Lee dies

BREAKING THIS MORNING -- HARPER LEE HAS DIED: Author Harper Lee, who wrote 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' has passed away at age 89. Read her obituary from The New York Times's William Grimes.

ANOTHER IN HRC'S CORNER -- CLYBURN ENDORSES: Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Friday endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE, giving her a boost heading into the South Carolina primary. Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, originally said he would remain neutral in the race. But after a discussion with his family, he changed his mind. More from The Hill's Lisa Hagen 

NBC's Luke Russert
Clyburn is a BIG public get for HRC, he's a close confidant of Pelosi, has huge sway within CBC and controls 1 helluva operation in SC

The Hill's Jesse Byrnes
Clyburn: "My heart has always been with Hillary Clinton, but my head had me in a neutral corner." Now formally endorsing Clinton. 

TOMORROW COULD BE YUUUGE: Polls have Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE leading second-placed Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE by 16 points in South Carolina. What a win for Trump means: Tomorrow will be a major test for Trump. A victory would copper-fasten his status as the dominant front-runner, catapult him into a significant delegate lead and make it tougher for his critics within the party to argue they have a plausible path to stopping him.

GOP delegates at stake in S.C.: 50 -- A Trump win on the scale polls are predicting would give him all 50 delegates.

Current delegate count: Donald Trump: 17; Ted Cruz: 11; Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE: 10; John Kasich: 5; Jeb Bush: 4; Ben Carson: 3

Delegates needed for the nomination: 1,237 of the 2,472 available

More from The Hill's Niall Stanage on the ground in South Carolina:

BUT WAIT -- NEW POLL CUTS TRUMP'S LEAD: Via The Hill's Tristan Lejeune, A new polls finds Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential field in South Carolina, but just by 5 points, down from a 16 point-lead a month ago. Trump: 28 percent; Ted Cruz: 23 percent; Marco Rubio: 15 percent; Jeb Bush: 13 percent; John Kasich and Ben Carson: tied at 9 percent.

It's FRIDAY -- and the D.C. streetcar is expected to open tomorrow. I'll believe that when I see it. Get excited for a spring weekend of temperatures in the 60s! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning -- and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send tips, comments, story ideas and recipes that involve avocadoes (for no other reason than I'm really craving them) to and on Facebook

THIS IS A FIRST -- SANDERS TOPS CLINTON IN NATIONAL POLL: Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar, a Fox News poll of the Democratic presidential race shows Sanders with 47 percent support to Clinton's 44 percent. That's a gain of 10 percentage points for Sanders since January. Clinton's support declined 5 points.

I PROMISE I'VE NEVER LIED: Via The Hill's Bradford Richardson, Hillary Clinton says she's always tried to be honest and doesn't believe she ever told a lie to the American people. "Well,but, you know, you're asking me to say, 'Have I ever?' I don't believe I everhave," Clinton said. "I don't believe I ever have. I don't believe I ever will."

NEW -- OOPS SHE DID IT AGAIN: Sorry, I had to say it. Britney Spears endorsed Hillary Clinton on Instagram -- then took it back and deleted the post.

THE ULTIMATE ENDORSEMENTS: The Hill's Bob Cusack and Ian Swanson have compiled a list of the major players who have the power to alter the 2016 election. They include Matt DrudgeMark Levin, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Michelle Obama is exactly who the Democrats need to win big in 2020 Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE (D-Mass.), Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director Jim Comey, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), President Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson Jr., Fox News Channel, GOP mega-donors, Hollywood and the GOP establishment.

LET'S GO TO THE ARCHIVES: Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump has touted his early opposition to the Iraq War. Last month: "I'm the only one up here, when the war of Iraq -- in Iraq -- I was the one that said don't go, don't do it, you're going to destabilize the Middle East." Flashback to 2002: On Howard Stern's show in 2002, Trump when asked if supported invading Iraq said, "Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly." 

UPDATE: Via The Guardian's Sabrina Siddiqui and Ben Jacobs, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Trump about the shift. Trump stumbled over his answer. "I could have said that." He then insisted that his past support for the war did not matter because "by the time the war started I was against it."

KASICH'S "CHRISTIE TOWN HALL" MOMENT: Here's a clip of an emotionally powerful moment between John Kasich and a supporter in the audience. If you haven't seen Kasich speak in person, this is worth watching.

CUE THE 'FULL ON SLUGFEST' STAGE OF THE CAMPAIGN: Via The Hill's Jesse Byrnes, Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE's elder brother rips former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonAll five living former presidents to attend hurricane relief concert The Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE in a new interview, suggesting the media are too focused debating whether the former president is a "terrible rapist" or "nice rapist." He also suggests that his brother, a self-described democratic socialist running for the Democratic presidential nomination, is "very socialist" in his view of "class warfare."

ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE: Via The Hill's Sarah Ferris, the House rejected President Obama's request for $1.8 billion to fight Zika, citing a pool of funding leftover from the Ebola virus.

SOCIAL MEDIA TIDBIT: Facebook hosted an Election Workshop for reporters yesterday at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., explaining how the social media platform is measuring mentions of candidates for the election. An interesting stat: 360,000 Facebook users in South Carolina have mentioned the election in the past seven days – with 2 million interactions. In Nevada, 150,000 users have discussed the election – with 1 million interactions.  



The New York Times's Jeremy Peters
On CNN, Jeb spokesman asked twice if Jeb will go on to Nevada if he disappoints in SC tomorrow. Won't commit.

The Daily Beast's Tim Mak
I've never seen Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Senators grill ex-Equifax CEO over stock sales Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE on the trail. Spent some time with him in D.C. Scott on the trail is dynamic/hilarious. Totally serious in D.C.

Also from Mak: Trey GowdyTrey GowdyCummings demands documents about Conway's flights with Price Dems call for 'emergency' hearing on Trump's hurricane response Democrats unveil bills to ban Cabinet members’ private jet travel MORE reminds crowd that Sen. Tim Scott is single.

Alex Conant, communications director for Marco Rubio's campaign (this is getting a lot of traction)
Wow. Cruz spokesman just called Trey Gowdy a "fool" on Fox News How is that a winning strategy in SC??



Today through Monday: The National Governors Association holds its winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

10:30 a.m.–8 p.m. EST: The public can pay their respects to the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. The Hill's Lydia Wheeler with the story:

1:30 p.m. EST: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) holds a rally in Conway, S.C.

3 p.m. EST: Donald Trump holds a rally on Pawley's Island, S.C.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Obama and Vice President Biden attend the Democratic Governors Association meeting in the Eisenhower executive office building.

6 p.m. EST: Kasich holds a rally in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

6:45 p.m. EST: Former first lady Barbara Bush campaigns with her son Jeb Bush in Central, S.C.

7 p.m. EST: Donald Trump campaigns in North Charleston, S.C. 

7:30 p.m. EST: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) campaigns at Clemson University.

9 p.m.: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) holds a rally in Henderson, Nev.

11 a.m. EST tomorrow: The funeral for Justice Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Details: 

7 a.m.–7 p.m. EST tomorrow: Polls open for South Carolina Republicans. S.C. Democrats will vote on Feb. 27.

2–8 p.m. EST tomorrow: Nevada Democrats caucus. 43 Democratic delegates are at stake. Nevada Republicans will do the same on Feb. 23. 

Sunday morning: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will join CBS's 'Face the Nation.'

Here's a full candidate schedule for the weekend from The Hill's campaign team



Today is National Chocolate Mint Day!

TO SWAY YOUR WEEKEND PLANS: The Washington Post ranked D.C. area's fast-casual pizza places through a "scientific" survey. Great, now I need pizza.

WHY I THINK ADELE AND I WOULD MAKE GREAT BESTIES: Adele walked into a Jamba Juice and had some strange requests to prank the employees. It involves her pulling out scissors, cutting grass from their display and chomping on it with a straight face. Oh, I should also mention that Ellen DeGeneres was ordering her to do these things via an earpiece.

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES: Tickets are now on sale for HBO comedian John Oliver's shows at the Kennedy Center in August. Note, when I clicked on the link this morning, I was 42nd in line to get to the page because of high demand.

And with that, here's a man who spent 20 years creating a giant garden of flowers for his blind wife to smell. The garden is so impressive, it's now a tourist attraction.

Now have a great weekend and see you Monday! Same time. Same place. 


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