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 LeeJustice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Trump on Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'I am so happy I can barely speak' MORE (R-Utah), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Florida sheriff asks for new leads in disappearance of Carole Baskin's former husband after Netflix's 'Tiger King' drops MORE (R-Texas), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump must cut our dependence on Chinese drugs — whatever it takes Senate passes House's coronavirus aid bill, sending it to Trump Nikki Haley expected to endorse Loeffler in Senate race MORE (R-Tenn.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstCampaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Politics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried Ernst calls for public presidential campaign funds to go to masks, protective equipment MORE (R-Iowa), House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop GOP lawmakers push back on need for special oversight committee for coronavirus aid Pelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid MORE (R-La.), White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayBiden fights for attention in coronavirus news cycle Trump says he's open to speaking to Biden about coronavirus The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden offers to talk coronavirus response with Trump MORE, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosCoronavirus bill allows DeVos to waive parts of federal special education law: NYT Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package White House slams pastor leading Cabinet Bible studies for linking homosexuality, coronavirus 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 SandersOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight 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 ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' 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 WarrenOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus 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 BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? Romney warns Trump: Don't interfere with coronavirus relief oversight 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.