The Hill's 12:30 Report: Crunch time for Dems ahead of South Carolina, Super Tuesday

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Crunch time for Dems ahead of South Carolina, Super Tuesday | Sanders surges in new California poll | Sanders camp puts focus on Super Tuesday states | Biden seeks revival in SC | WHO raises coronavirus threat to highest level | Mulvaney says virus coverage aimed at hurting Trump | Stocks open with steep loses | GOP grows more worried about economy | Trump holding SC rally tonight | Leap Day deals



It's all about that base, 'bout that base, no trouble:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (I-Vt.) is putting a focus on key Super Tuesday states that will vote just three days after South Carolina's primary, underscoring how he believes a good night on March 3 could make him the runaway favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders has already visited all but a handful of the 14 Super Tuesday states..."


Where Sanders is campaigning through Tuesday:

Friday and Saturday: Massachusetts

Saturday night: Virginia

Sunday: California

Monday: Utah and Minnesota

Tuesday: Vermont

Keep in mind: South Carolina votes tomorrow. 



The latest Los Angeles Times-Berkeley IGS poll has Sanders at 34 percent support.

The others: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting MORE (D-Mass.) with 17 percent, former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report MORE with 12 percent, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 11 percent, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE with 8 percent and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) with 6 percent.

The full poll:


Joeeeeeeeey B!!:

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineBipartisan senators introduce bill to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program Overnight Defense: National Guard chief negative in third coronavirus test | Pentagon IG probing Navy's coronavirus response | Democrats blast use of Russia deterrence funds on border wall Overnight Defense: Navy secretary nominee: Service in 'rough waters' after 'failure of leadership'| Senate fails to override Trump's Iran war powers veto| Top Armed Services Republican expects to address Pentagon border wall funds in defense policy bill MORE (D-Va.) just announced his endorsement of Biden 

Kaine said in a statement: "Democrats have many good public servants and admirable people running for President. I will vote in the Virginia presidential primary for Joe Biden." 



Via The Hill's Niall Stanage in Conway, S.C.:


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The coronavirus threat level has been raised to 'very high':

The World Health Organization (WHO) just increased the threat assessment of the coronavirus to "very high," urging governments to take it seriously.

From WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: "The continued increase in the number of cases, and the number of affected countries over the last few days, are clearly of concern."

Ghebreyesus added: "We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities," he said. "As long as that's the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus, if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts."


I'm not making it about us. It ~is~ about us:

White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump taps Brooke Rollins as acting domestic policy chief Navarro fuels tariff speculation: 'Bill has come due' for China Top Trump policy adviser Joe Grogan to leave post MORE accused the media covering the coronavirus in a way to make the Trump administration look bad.

How so: "[Mulvaney] accused the press of peddling a false narrative about the administration 'scrambling' to contain the virus, saying he briefed Congress with other top health officials six weeks ago. He accused the media of ignoring the coronavirus until now because publications were too preoccupied with Trump's impeachment before that, which he called a 'hoax.'"

Mulvaney on the virus's threat: He "downplayed the threat of the coronavirus but acknowledged likely school closures and disruptions to public transportation in the United States as a result of the outbreak."

Where Mulvaney made these comments: At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday morning in National Harbor, Md.



Switzerland is banning gatherings with more than 1,000 people until at least March 15.


This morning -- another drop in the stock market:

Via The Hill's Sylvan Lane, stocks opened this morning with steep losses after a coronavirus correction.

The numbers: "The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank by more than 700 points at the start of Friday trading, falling 2.8 percent. The S&P 500 index also fell 2.8 percent, while the Nasdaq composite took a loss of 2.7percent." 

For context: "All three major indexes have fallen more than 10 percent below their most recent peaks, which is the formal threshold for a correction. Wall Street has suffered its worst week of losses since the 2007-08 financial crisis as public health officials warn of a likely coronavirus outbreak within the U.S." 




But what about the roaring '20s?:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Republicans who have been counting on a roaring economy to power President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE and GOP congressional candidates on Election Day are growing nervous because of the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus."

What a difference a few weeks can make: "Earlier this month, GOP senators were riding high after Trump's acquittal on impeachment charges in the Senate. Now they're wrestling with predictions of an economic slowdown that could upend the political calculus for 2020."

How this could play out:


Tidbit in South Carolina:  



In northwest Washington, D.C.:  



The House is in. The Senate is out.

9:30 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence leaves Washington, D.C. and flies to West Palm Beach, Fla.

10:30 ­– 11:30 a.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

12:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the Club for Growth Annual Economic Conference. 

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisNursing homes need increased staffing, not legal immunity The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask Florida set to proceed with 70-team youth baseball tournament this weekend MORE (R) to discuss the response to the coronavirus.

4:10 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves the White House and flies to North Charleston, S.C.

6:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at an NRCC Florida Republican Delegation Dinner in Longboat Key, Fla. 

9:35 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

10:30 p.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House.

Saturday: South Carolina's presidential primary.

3 p.m. EST Monday: The Senate returns.

Tuesday: Super Tuesday.

Thursday, March 5: President Trump will participate in a Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pa. This morning's announcement:



2:30 p.m. EST:  Sanders campaigns in Columbia, S.C. Livestream:

7 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a reelection campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C. Livestream:



Today is National Chocolate Souffle Day.


Leap Day deals:

Via USA Today, here's a list of specials for Leap Day. This is a pretty solid list:


And because it's almost a weekend, here's a dog who insists on having no plans: