The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders top target at CPAC

The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders top target at CPAC
© Greg Nash

Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We're Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here's what we're watching today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. -- Thousands of conservatives filed into the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center at the National Harbor on Thursday for the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

Speakers included Vice President Pence, Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Trump signs major conservation bill into law MORE (R-Utah), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal MORE (R-Texas), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans GOP may face choice on tax cut or stimulus checks Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads MORE (R-Tenn.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstHillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-Iowa), House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublicans fear disaster in November Gaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker Hillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video MORE (R-La.), White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Watchdog group accuses Stephen Miller of violating Hatch Act with Biden comments Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom MORE, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosStudents at school system Pence called 'forefront' of reopening now in quarantine The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Democrats look to go on offense in debate over reopening schools MORE

The theme for this year's conference is "America vs. Socialism," and the event's speakers wasted no time painting the Democratic presidential contenders, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.) in particular, as socialists. Sanders was the only contender mentioned by name by Vice President Pence in his address to the conference. 

"It's truly astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman and JFK is actually on the verge of nominating an avowed socialist," Pence told hundreds of supporters packed into a ballroom, referring to Sanders. "Despite what the media loves to tell you, there are no moderates in this Democratic field."

The strategy of painting Democrats as socialists has not only been employed by Trump's campaign, but by Republicans looking to win a number of down-ballot races. 

"The Democrats are going to get wiped down-ballot," American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp told me. "I think they're going to get wiped no matter who they nominate.  It's not about Bernie Sanders because once again they all have the same policies, by and large." 

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-- Julia Manchester

 

READ MORE: 

One of the nation's largest labor unions is launching a $150 million anti-Trump campaign, according to The Hill's Marty Johnson.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Some of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat MORE's closest aides and allies say they're unsure if they could support Bernie Sanders if he becomes the Democratic nominee, The Hill's Amie Parnes reports.

Vulnerable Democrats are bracing for Sanders at the ticket, report The Hill's Mike Lillis and Scott Wong.

A group backing Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package MORE (D-Mass.) is sharpening its attacks against Sanders in a sign of growing tension on the progressive left. Read The Hill's Marty Johnson.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report MORE is going on the attack against Sanders, warning Democrats that Sanders's claims that he will bring new voters and young people to the polls are unfounded, reports Marty

Sanders, though, will have a lot of star power as he seeks to win the all-important California primary on Super Tuesday. Joining him at events in Los Angeles and San Jose: legendary rap group Public Enemy, comedian Sarah Silverman and iconic actor Dick Van Dyke.

 

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week endorsed Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and left the door open to supporting other Democrats in the 2020 election, in a shift for the nation's most influential pro-business lobby. Read The Hill's Alex Gangitano.

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Adam Goodman: Wanna beat Sanders? Hope he wins South Carolina

Kevin Walling: Where is Barack Obama? 

Thomas Friedman: Democrats must not nominate Sanders

Jim Naureckas: The corporate media meltdown over Sanders

 

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POLL WATCH:

MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY — SOUTH CAROLINA 

Biden: 36 percent 

Sanders: 16 percent 

Steyer: 15 percent 

Warren: 8 percent 

Buttigieg: 6 percent 

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Klobuchar 4 percent 

Gabbard 1 percent

 

ST. PETE POLLS — FLORIDA 

Biden: 34 percent 

Bloomberg: 25 percent 

Sanders: 13 percent 

Buttigieg: 8 percent 

Warren: 5 percent

Klobuchar: 4 percent 

Steyer: 1 percent 

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

There are 2 days until the South Carolina primary and 5 days until Super Tuesday.