The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg set for Granite State showdown

The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg set for Granite State showdown
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Election day in New Hampshire has arrived, and it’s a two-man race to take home the first-in-the-nation primary and stake a claim in the push for the Democratic nomination.


Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Biden to seek minimum wage in COVID-19 proposal MORE (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegOn The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits Buttigieg confirmation hearing slated for Thursday James Murdoch predicts 'a reckoning' for media after Capitol riot MORE are heavy favorites in tonight’s primary, with both dominating in polls of New Hampshirites over the past two weeks. The two candidates are vying to cement leads in the Democratic field.


With strong performances, as Jonathan Easley reports from the Granite State, the two are looking to separate from the pack and become the candidates to beat, while some of their rivals have seen their stock dip over the past week as the field heads into the latter half of the early state contests. 


New Hampshire Democrats are hoping the election provides some clarity into the state of the race after the debacle in Iowa produced a muddled outcome that remains unresolved. After defeating Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFor Joe Biden, an experienced foreign policy team Millennials and the great reckoning on race Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet MORE in 2016 in New Hampshire, Sanders is the favorite to once again win the state’s primary, though he holds a narrow lead over Buttigieg.


On the heels of a strong performance in Iowa, the former mayor has gone all out to win in New Hampshire. Over the past week, he has produced crowds equal to those of Sanders as he feels the wind at his back. As Jonathan points out, top finishes by Sanders and Buttigieg could force some of their rivals to rethink their presence in the race and potentially exit the race.


CNN: Sanders and Buttigieg campaigns ask for partial recanvass of Iowa caucuses results.


Final RealClearPolitics New Hampshire polling average: Sanders, 28.7 percent; Buttigieg 21.3 percent; Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGoogle completes Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: Fringe social networks boosted after Capitol attack | Planned protests spark fears of violence in Trump's final days | Election security efforts likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress US Chamber of Commerce to stop supporting some lawmakers following the Capitol riots MORE (D-Minn.), 11.7 percent; former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMissouri woman seen with Pelosi sign charged in connection with Capitol riots Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP MORE/Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo MORE (D-Mass.), 11 percent each.


The Hill: Democrats battle for New Hampshire's “undeclared” voters.


While Biden is expected to compete in the remaining early contests in Nevada and South Carolina — states where he should do well — there is doubt creeping into the minds of his allies and supporters. Specifically, they wonder if he has a path to the nomination after suffering underwhelming performances in Iowa and potentially New Hampshire, where he sits well behind Sanders and Buttigieg.


As Amie Parnes reports, allies in Biden World are disappointed in his standing in the Granite State. According to multiple polls taken in recent days, Biden polls fourth or even fifth, with allies starting to question his chances in Nevada and even winning his so-called firewall in South Carolina. Complicating his path forward is former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics NFL, politics dominate 2020 ratings MORE, who is on the rise in national polls and looms ahead on Super Tuesday. 


"It feels like a funeral," said one ally who is in regular contact with the campaign. Another longtime aide added that Biden "needs a spark, and I don't see it happening for him [Tuesday night],” though his team remains optimistic publicly.


"We believe that regardless of what happens tomorrow night, we're going to continue on with our plans to compete hard in Nevada, South Carolina, Super Tuesday and beyond," deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said at a reporter roundtable in Manchester.


Biden has long benefited from strong backing among black voters during his presidential bid. The latest Quinnipiac poll, however, showed Bloomberg cutting into that support. Among African Americans, the former vice president was favored by 27 percent in the survey, down from 49 percent in a January poll, while the former New York City mayor captured 22 percent, jumping from 7 percent last month (The Hill).





Niall Stanage: The Memo: New Hampshire spells danger for struggling candidates.


Morning Consult: New national poll: Sanders, 25 percent; Biden, 22 percent; Bloomberg, 17; Buttigieg/Warren, 11 percent each.


The New York Times: Elizabeth Warren is running her race. The real one may be passing her by.


Fox News: Bloomberg heard in 2015 audio clip defending “stop and frisk,” throwing minority kids against wall: report.


With Biden on the descent, Klobuchar is trending upward as she makes a play for a potential third-place finish in New Hampshire. After finishing in fifth place with 12.3 percent of the delegate share in Iowa, the Minnesota Democrat has prioritized a strong finish in tonight’s primary, fueled by an uptick in fundraising and state polls over the past week.


As The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports from Manchester, enthusiasm and curiosity about Klobuchar also appear to be on the rise. More than a thousand voters and supporters gathered in Nashua to see her on Sunday afternoon after more than 700 people came to see her in Manchester. Despite the fundraising bump, it will take more to keep the Minnesota senator’s campaign afloat, making a strong performance tonight a must. Her campaign ended 2019 with roughly $5 million in cash on hand. 


The Hill: Nevada governor: State will avoid Iowa repeat.


The Washington Post: Trump barged into the Democrats’ primary turf in New Hampshire Monday night. 


The Associated Press: Small New Hampshire town Dixville Notch votes for Bloomberg in primary.





WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: One Democrat in the Senate on Monday called the president’s new $4.8 trillion budget proposal a “political stunt” (The Hill). But Trump cast his proposed blueprint for fiscal 2021 as a starting point in legislative debates about key priorities favorable to GOP candidates during an election year.


“We’re going to have a very good budget with a very powerful military budget because we have no choice,” the president said on Monday as he unveiled his ideas for the fiscal year that begins in October. He said he will work with Congress to reduce federal spending by rooting out “waste and fraud” (The New York Times).


As The Hill’s Niv Elis reports, Trump is winning when it comes to construction of a border wall, shrugs off rising deficits, wants (in theory) a bipartisan deal to lower drug prices, would curb spending on Medicare and Medicaid, and proposes to lower taxes by another $1.4 trillion.


The Hill: Five takeaways from the president’s budget.


The upshot: The president and Congress are expected to defer major decisions about the budget until after the November elections.


> War powers: Trump’s continued authority to take military action against Iran could come to the floor as soon as Wednesday if Senate Democrats succeed in forcing a vote this week (The Hill).


> Trump’s wrath: Senate Democrats are worried enough about the president’s hostilities toward federal military and political appointees who testified during the impeachment inquiry that they’re working to erect some guard rails. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants federal inspectors general to step in, and Democrats are looking for GOP support for legislation to protect whistleblowers (The Hill).


> Acting White House chief of staff: Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - House to impeach Trump this week Democrats, GOP face defining moments after Capitol riot The Memo: GOP and nation grapple with what comes next MORE is a survivor in the West Wing. Last week, the former congressman passed the 400-day mark in one of the toughest jobs in Washington, and his mercurial boss gave him a public vote of confidence (The Hill).


> Department of Justice: Trump lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiWhat our kids should know after the Capitol Hill riot  How to stop Trump's secret pardons Trump tells aides not to pay Giuliani's legal fees: report MORE, who has conducted foreign policy as the president’s emissary, has been asked by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrJustice Dept. blasts Mexico's decision to close probe of former defense minister Acting attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report MORE to cooperate with a special “intake process in the field” to assess the origins and veracity of information Giuliani says he’s obtained about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden via Ukraine. The prevailing concern is that Russia is funneling disinformation intended to appeal to Trump by seeding it with government officials, members of Congress and the public by working through the former New York City mayor (The Washington Post).


Separately, Barr announced on Monday that the department will file multiple lawsuits against immigration sanctuary communities for what the administration will argue is unconstitutional interference with federal immigration enforcement (Fox News). It’s an issue Trump is playing up during his bid for reelection.





CORONAVIRUS: Another case of the virus was confirmed in the United States, bringing the total to 13, with the latest patient diagnosed in California after traveling from Wuhan, China, and entering mandatory quarantine. The adult patient is being treated at the University of California San Diego Medical Center (Reuters). Trump mistakenly said on Monday night that there were 11 cases of the new virus in the United States.


President Xi Jinping of China, seeking to calm public anxiety in his country, was seen for the first time since the viral outbreak wearing a medical mask in Beijing while getting his temperature taken on Monday (Reuters). The Chinese population officially returned to work on Monday after the extended Lunar New Year holiday, but much of China remained at a standstill.


The death toll has now surpassed 1,000 people, almost exclusively in mainland China (1,018 this morning), with at least 43,138 people confirmed to have the virus worldwide, according to the latest data. More people died from the disease on Monday than any other day since the virus emerged from a wildlife market in December (Reuters).


Medical specialists with the World Health Organization were permitted to enter China for the first time on Monday to provide assistance after weeks of waiting for Beijing’s approval. The global health organization today has convened a special conference in Geneva that will compare all known data and innovative techniques that can halt the epidemic. 


The latest research coming out of China says the virus can be transmitted by body fluids including saliva, urine and feces in addition to respiratory droplets in the air. “The 2019-nCoV epidemic spreads rapidly by human-to-human transmission,” according to data assessed by a group of Chinese researchers who published their findings in medRXiv.


Symptoms of infection in patients generally appear three days after infection, and of those patients who get the virus, 15 percent develop severe pneumonia, the Chinese team wrote. Seventy-one percent of the 1,099 patient records they studied indicated the patients contracted the virus from someone who had been in Wuhan, while 31 percent of those studied with the virus had been in Wuhan themselves.


In Japan on Monday, infections aboard a Diamond Princess cruise ship surged as thousands of passengers remained quarantined (The Washington Post). Thailand today refused entry to Holland America’s cruise ship MS Westerdam, which has no known cases of infection (Reuters).


The ease of transmission in humans and the nature of global travel have complicated efforts to halt the contagion. Exhibit A: a middle-aged man from Great Britain is believed to have contracted the virus at a Singapore conference before traveling to a resort in the French Alps and then home to his residence along the southern coast of England. He came in contact with dozens of people and flew on multiple airplanes before becoming ill and being hospitalized. Doctors are trying to retrace his steps to test those who crossed his path. He infected at least five other people who also stayed at the resort in the Alps. One of those travelers flew to Majorca in Spain before being diagnosed with the virus (The Associated Press).




The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


How to see the next viral threat coming, by Gregory C. Gray, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2SeZlNo 


She’s Iran’s biggest pop star. She’s also a voice of hope demanding change, by Jason Rezaian, Global Opinions writer, The Washington Post.  https://wapo.st/2vn61Al 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features coverage at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


The House meets at 10 a.m.


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m.


The president holds a White House signing ceremony at 3:45 p.m. for the “Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act.”


Barr will address the winter gathering of the Major County Sheriffs of America at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.


Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify at 10 a.m. before the House Financial Services Committee. The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday will hear from Judy Shelton, Trump’s controversial pick to join the Federal Reserve Board, during a confirmation hearing (The Hill).


Special Olympics athletes and organization leaders will fan out across Capitol Hill today to seek lawmakers’ support for the “rights and needs of people with intellectual disabilities.” It’s the organization’s 18th annual “Capitol Hill Day,” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


The Pew Charitable Trusts at 9 a.m. hosts a newsmaker event titled “How to Bridge the Broadband Gap: A Conversation with State Leaders” at 901 E St. N.W., Washington. Registration is HERE.


This week, free tickets are available for the National Archives’s screening and panel discussion on Wednesday for “Race for the White House,” a documentary series produced by CNN that begins with “Obama v. McCain.” A moderated discussion about the 2008 race as well as current political news will include David AxelrodDavid AxelrodBiden leans on foreign policy establishment to build team Biden rolls out national security team What a Biden administration should look like MORE, an adviser to former President Obama, and Charlie Black, a political strategist for the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe best way to handle veterans, active-duty military that participated in Capitol riot Cindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona state GOP moves to censure Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake MORE (R-Ariz.). Information for the 7 p.m. event on Wednesday in Washington is HERE.


The Hill’s Campaign Report newsletter is now daily, with reporting from our colleagues on the politics team. Sign up to receive the latest news each evening in your inbox: http://www.email.thehill.com/thehillreg/thehillreg/pref.action


Amazon: The online behemoth seeks to depose Trump in connection with litigation over a $10 billion Defense Department contract the company says the president steered to competitor Microsoft because of personal animus (Fox Business). 


Theranos: Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the now-defunct blood test giant, made a renewed push Monday to dismiss charges alleging that she defrauded patients who used the company’s blood tests. Holmes and her legal team argued that the claims should be dismissed as too vague, adding that prosecutors cannot prove that people who got inaccurate test results through Theranos were actually harmed. However, prosecutors believe they have more than enough proof against Holmes and ex-Theranos President Sunny Balwani, her ex-boyfriend, saying that the two knowingly duped patients into relying on faulty means of gathering lab results. Before the Silicon Valley start-up imploded, it was valued at $9 billion. Reporting by The Wall Street Journal and investigations by the government eventually shuttered Theranos in 2018 (Bloomberg News).


State watch: Feeling lucky? Former Iowa Gov. Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE (D), who left office in 2007 and later served as Obama’s agriculture secretary, won a $150,000 Powerball lottery prize, which he claimed on Monday (The Des Moines Register). 


And finally … As some readers know, the Westminster Kennel Club in New York will name the 2020 “best in show” pooch tonight (a televised event that attracts legions of fans).


CBS News published a slideshow HERE of some of the impossibly well behaved, exotically groomed canines competing in this year’s event.


Some of those showy dogs accompanied by professional handlers in Madison Square Garden are also work dogs, The Associated Press reports


Ghost, a Norwegian buhund that competed Sunday at the nation’s premier canine event, makes weekly rounds as a therapy dog at a Delaware hospital and serves as a nonjudgmental listener for school kids learning to read. Lacey, a Labrador retriever that was entered in Westminster’s agility contest Saturday, puts in 50-hour weeks comforting patients at her owner’s child and adolescent psychiatry practice in California.”


Tune in to Fox Sports (FS1) to watch.