The Hill's 12:30 Report: What to watch as Super Tuesday unfolds

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: What to watch as Super Tuesday unfolds | Five key states | What each candidate needs | Biden gets bounce in new polls | Sanders poised to win most delegates | Bloomberg's spending, organization put to the test | Fed cuts rates amid coronavirus fears | Trump says it's not enough | Trump to visit NIH | Lawmakers face crunch on surveillance reforms, coronavirus funding




As voters in 14 states and a U.S. territory head to the polls today, 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 got a bump with Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Congress must fill the leadership void The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask MORE (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrat concedes in California House race MORE both dropping out and endorsing his bid.

Yikes, what a difference of a few weeks can make: "All of this was stupendous news for Biden, whose campaign was all but left for dead after he performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire. He's now emerging as the clear rival to 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.) for the Democratic nomination." (Via The Hill's Amie Parnes)

A likely outcome tonight:  Sanders is expected to win the most delegates tonight.  Why -- well, because of California and Texas: "[Sanders] should win California in blowout fashion, and he's maintained a healthy lead in polls of Texas throughout the early voting period, when more than 1 million people cast ballots in the Democratic primary." (Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley)

When the polls close: Between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST. Here's a list by state:



The final FiveThirtyEight Super Tuesday forecast shows Biden and Sanders each likely to win seven states today.  


It's Tuesday. 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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Tidbit -- A CNN team ended up at the same restaurant as Biden and Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke on Texas reopening: 'Dangerous, dumb and weak' Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House O'Rourke slams Texas official who suggested grandparents risk their lives for economy during pandemic MORE: 



Sanders: "Sanders goes into Super Tuesday as the front-runner. But he needs to solidify his advantage in key ways."

Biden: "His main goals are notching some wins and stopping Sanders from opening up a huge delegate lead."

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg: "Bloomberg needs to somehow get past Biden on Super Tuesday -- an objective that has been greatly complicated by the former vice president's South Carolina victory." 

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.): "Survival is the name of the game for Warren."

Reasoning for each from The Hill's Niall Stanage:



California -- With 415 delegates, the most of any state

Texas -- With 228 delegates up for grabs, the second most of any state

Massachusetts -- Warren's home state. If she doesn't perform well there, she will likely be done.

Virginia -- Because of 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. "Bloomberg has visited Virginia seven times, more than any other Super Tuesday state. The campaign has eight offices across the commonwealth, including in the Republican-leaning strongholds of Danville and Roanoke. More than 80 Bloomberg staffers are dispersed throughout Virginia."

Alabama -- "African American voters make up a large share of the Democratic vote in Alabama, making the state critical for candidates looking to appeal to a voting group that is widely considered the backbone of the Democratic Party." 

Reasoning for each from The Hill's Julia Manchester:



Fed cuts interest rates:

The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates this morning amid fears of economic turmoil around the coronavirus.

The interest rate cut: The Fed cut rates by 0.5 percentage points.

From The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC): "The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity. In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point, to 1 to 1‑1/4 percent."


REACTION FROM 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 -- NOT ENOUGH!:

The president tweeted, "The Federal Reserve is cutting but must further ease and, most importantly, come into line with other countries/competitors. We are not playing on a level field. Not fair to USA. It is finally time for the Federal Reserve to LEAD. More easing and cutting!"




On the docket before spring break:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, Congress has less than 10 working days to reauthorize surveillance programs and pass emergency funding to deal with the coronavirus before leaving for a mid-March break.

When Congress is leaving town: March 13

Where legislation stands: "Despite the urgency, there is no clear path for legislation to get through both chambers and to President Trump's desk. Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day GOP senators: More relief needed now Top Republican says Trump greenlit budget fix for VA health care MORE (R-Mo.), a member of leadership, said senators did not get clarity in a closed-door leadership meeting about how they would move the two forthcoming bills by next Friday." 






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

11 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence met with members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

12:30 – 2:15 p.m. EST: Senators meet for weekly caucus luncheons. Vice President Pence attends both luncheons. The Senate's full schedule today:

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

3:15 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence tour the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory in Bethesda, Md. 

4:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence leads a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting.



11 a.m. EST: President Trump spoke at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence participate in a roundtable briefing at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Livestream:

5:30 p.m. EST: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing.



Today is National Mulled Wine Day!


And because you made it this far, here's a wombat chomping on some grass: