The Hill's 12:30 Report: All eyes on Biden

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden jumps into 2020 race | Says character of 'America is at stake' | Biden's rollout plans | 'The View' to get first interview | Seven tough questions Biden will need to answer | Trump welcomes 'Sleepy Joe' to the race | Obama offers praise but no endorsement | Trump denies ordering McGahn to fire Mueller | New scrutiny on Buttigieg | Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day | Kit Kat unveiling new flavor



I have ARRIVED!  

*jazz hands*:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' MORE officially announced he is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.



Biden released a 3 1/2-minute campaign video on YouTube at 6 a.m. today. 

Important excerpt: "I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation – who we are – and I cannot stand by and watch that happen." 

Biden's core message: Trump's presidency has left the country in a state of chaos and he wants to fix it. 

Watch Biden's announcement video:



Biden's first campaign stops: Biden will not campaign immediately. His first campaign stop will happen Monday in Pittsburgh, followed by campaign stops in Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, California and New Hampshire.

Biden's first televised interview: ABC News is reporting that Biden will appear on "The View" on Friday.

Photo of Biden's 2020 logo:


It's Thursday, April 25. That's the best date, according to Miss Rhode Island in "Miss Congeniality" "because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket."  

Today is also Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Biden's age: Biden is 76 years old. His younger competitors are expected to raise concerns about his age.

The core of Biden's campaign: "Biden plans to resurrect some of his proposals from earlier bids, according to NBC News. In particular, Biden contemplated a $15 minimum wage proposal, higher taxes on investment income, no tuition for students at public colleges and universities, and a major infrastructure overhaul."

Seven big decisions Biden has to make: 

  1. Whether to support impeaching Trump
  2. Whether he should announce a running mate early
  3. Whether to endorse liberal proposals such as "Medicare for All" and free college 
  4. Whether to hold high-dollar fundraisers and accept help from super PACs
  5. How to handle allegations of inappropriate conduct with women
  6. How to defend his record -- his 36 years in the Senate gives him a long record to defend
  7. How to handle concerns about his age

Context and details for each:

Biden's baggage: Biden has been facing allegations of inappropriate behavior with women. He argued that he did not think he "acted inappropriately," but "will listen respectfully."



Getting a Trump nickname is a rite of passagePresident TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE tweeted, "Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty -- you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!"

Endorsements -- line right up: Biden has already received endorsements from several Democratic senators. Including: Sens. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (D-Del.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Democrats grill USDA official on relocation plans that gut research staff Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions MORE Jr. (D-Pa), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperFighting the opioid epidemic: Congress can't just pass laws, but must also push to enforce them Overnight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules when appointing industry leaders to science boards MORE (D-Del.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.).

A progressive group came out against Biden: Justice Democrats, a group with sway in the Democratic Party, announced its opposition to Biden's bid. The group said in a statement: "The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can't be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today."

Why Biden's video announcement was an interesting choice:


How Biden is spending his morning:


Oh wow, check out this throwback:

Here's Biden's presidential candidacy announcement from 1987. 




To quote the poetic Shaggy, 'it wasn't me.'

--> ;)

This morning, President Trump denied that he ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE

Where that claim originated: The Mueller report on the Russia investigation.

Trump tweeted: "As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn't need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself." Trump then added that he allowed Mueller to finish his work despite his opposition to the probe.



The problem with the fast rise to fame:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE's early success in the Democratic presidential primary has prompted scrutiny and rougher treatment from his rivals and the news media, creating new challenges for the rising star and his campaign." How this is playing out for Buttigieg:


Interesting tidbit -- We're all friends here:



That's a big chunk of change:

Via BBC, $835 million has been donated to repair the Notre Dame Cathedral in the aftermath of last week's fire, but French economists are suggesting that number exceeds the cost to rebuild. An estimate of the repair costs: Around $668 million, though that number is still in the air.


'Be open for IT':

Via Baltimore Business Journal's Amanda Yeager, Maryland just released a new tourism advertising campaign: "Maryland -- Open For it."



Hahaha -- that is so kind

Side-by-side screenshots of the hate mail in all caps and in lowercase: Amazing.



The House and Senate are out. 

President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence has a phone call with the prime minister of the Iraq Kurdistan Regional Government.

12 p.m. EDT: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence have lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo: There's 'no indication' Iran will change direction Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran MORE.

4:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in the Young Presidents Organization Vision and Values Conference at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C.

April 29: The Hill editor-in-chief Bob Cusack interviews Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for The Hill's Newsmaker series. Details and how to RSVP:



4:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on the South Lawn of the White House. Livestream:

9 p.m. EDT: President Trump will be interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News.



Today is National Zucchini Bread Day.


I'm supportive:

Via Refinery29, Kit Kat is releasing a new flavor for the first time in almost a decade -- Kit Kat Duos Mint and Dark Chocolate. The sad part: They won't be released until December. Photo of the new flavor:


If you're in D.C. this weekend, expect to see adults in costumes:

Via The Washington Post's "Going Out Guide," here's a list of events happening in the Washington, D.C., area this weekend. Including: "Awesome Con, Washington's answer to San Diego's Comic-Con, brings more than 70,000 costumed fans to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for a weekend-long celebration of fantasy, science-fiction and pop culture." Details and the full list of D.C. happenings:


And because this is one of the best videos I've seen in a long time, here's a chimpanzee using Instagram -- and using Instagram ~correctly~. I'm equally baffled and impressed: