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 ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump rally: 'The time has come again' to fight for democracy Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' The Memo: Democrats debate Trump response – 'Being righteous and losing sucks' 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 TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE leading second-placed Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz calls for 'every penny' of El Chapo's criminal enterprise to be used for Trump's wall after sentencing Conservatives defend Chris Pratt for wearing 'Don't Tread On Me' T-shirt Google official denies allegations of ties to China 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 RubioTrump may intervene in Pentagon cloud-computing contract: report Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants 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 WarrenNew CDC overdose estimates are nothing to celebrate 2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Democratic Houston councilwoman announces Senate bid 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 SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar #IStandWithIlhan trends after crowd at Trump rally chants 'send her back' MORE's elder brother rips former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMilitary spending has many points of contention: Closing overseas bases isn't one of them More adult Twitter users follow Obama than Trump: survey Pro-impeachment Democrats wary of Al Green's floor vote push 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 ScottSanford calls for 'overdue conversation' on debt as he mulls Trump challenge The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm 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 GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyCummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump Our sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower 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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