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The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus says that Democrats still support Israel despite numerous Democratic presidential candidates declining to appear at next week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual policy conference.

“I can’t speak for the presidential candidates, but what I can speak for is the House Democratic Caucus who clearly are strongly pro-Israel,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told “America’s Newsroom” Friday.

“I’ve been to Israel three times, I recognize that there’s shared values, shared strategic interests that are important.  And I think that is the perspective of the overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives.”

FAR-LEFT MOVEON.ORG ASKS 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO SKIP PRO-ISRAEL AIPAC CONFERENCE

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and many others have said they won’t be attending the AIPAC conference.

MoveOn.org called on the 2020 Democratic candidates to skip the conference, even though in the past all presidential candidates viewed the AIPAC conference as a crucial campaign stop.

Jeffries, who will speak at AIPAC said that a two-state solution supported by AIPAC was also in the best interest of Israel, Palestine and the United States.

“As far as I’m concerned, AIPAC’s position as I understand it remains to robustly support a two-state solution. I think that’s the right approach,” Jeffries said. “That’s in Israel’s best interest, that’s in the best interest of the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people, that’s in the best interest for America.”

The Democratic congressman also commented on the importance of the Mueller report and said any talk of President Trump’s impeachment was “premature.”

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“Whether the report exonerates the president, implicates the president or somewhere in between, the American people deserve transparency,” Jeffries said.

“The case should be compelling, the evidence should be overwhelming and the consensus in terms of public sentiment around impeachment should be bipartisan in nature. That’s a strong standard, that’s the right standard, that’s the standard that I agree with.”

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.

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As it attempts to hold and possibly expand upon its newly won congressional majority, the House Democrats’ campaign arm is planting an early marker in hopes of preventing primary challenges against sitting incumbents.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) – in a letter sent Friday to more than 100 political firms – clearly stated that it won’t work with, or recommend to House Democratic candidates, any vendors who help to oust incumbents.

MODERATE DEMS FUME OVER OCASIO-CORTEZ INCUMBENT HIT LIST

“The core mission of the DCCC Is electing House Democrats, which includes supporting and protecting incumbents. To that end, the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus,” the committee spelled out in a memo obtained by Fox News.

It’s common practice for both the Democratic and Republican House and Senate re-election arms to protect incumbents running for re-election. But the DCCC’s memo, sent extremely early in the election cycle, is a clear signal to Democratic political firms that the millions in contracts dished out each election by the party committee’s independent-expenditure arm will be off limits to them if they work with insurgent candidates. And that could put a big dent in a primary challenger’s ability to take on an incumbent lawmaker.

The move could help moderate Democrats running for re-election in crucial swing districts, and even some controversial liberal lawmakers.

Among those behind the memo were moderate Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and progressive firebrand Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, according to National Journal. Both lawmakers could face 2020 primary challenges.

In 2018 primaries, then-Rep. Michael Capuano of Massachusetts lost his bid for an 11th term in Congress to now-Rep. Ayanna Pressley. And socially conservative Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski nearly lost in his primary to progressive challenger Marie Newman. Both Newman and Pressley were helped in their bids by well-known political shops.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who’s become a nationally known progressive leader, defeated then-House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley running a low-budget campaign. She could face a primary challenge of her own in 2020. But she’s teaming up with a liberal group that helped her topple Crowley to now suggest a new round of primary challenges in 2020 against establishment House Democrats.

There’s a history of party committees warning political shops to stay away from primary challengers. Most recently, the House and Senate Republican re-election arms in 2014 cut off Jamestown Associates after the firm targeted GOP incumbents.

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She may have been a top supporter of firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, but Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is on the fence these days when it comes to a series of far-reaching and controversial proposals being embraced by her 2020 Democratic rivals.

The four-term Hawaii Democrat, national guard officer and Iraq War veteran appeared to push back both on calls to eliminate the Electoral College and scrap the Senate’s filibuster rule – two longstanding political traditions and institutions – in an interview Friday.

TULSI GABBARD JUMPS INTO 2020 WHITE HOUSE RACE

At the same time, Gabbard highlighted her support for reparations for descendants of slaves.

Asked about the Electoral College, Gabbard said “there are reforms that need to take place to make it so that our votes are being cast and counted and represented in the outcome of our elections. I think there are pro and cons to the existing Electoral College and to getting rid of it. What I would think would be important is for us to have a conversation about how we can best move forward.”

But Gabbard seemed to jab at fellow Democrats, saying, “I think it’s unfortunate that too often these calls for changes come about by the side that has lost or suffered as a result of the Electoral College.”

An increasing number of Gabbard’s rivals for the nomination have been supportive of scrapping the Electoral College and having the national popular vote determine the winner of presidential elections.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton topped then-Republican nominee Donald Trump by nearly 3 million votes in the 2016 election, but Trump won the presidency thanks to his convincing margin in the Electoral College.

2020 DEMOCRATS TAKE AIM AT THE SENATE FILIBUSTER

Gabbard also is not sold on scrapping the filibuster, the longstanding Senate tradition requiring 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to advance a bill, effectively allowing the minority party to block legislation.

“This is a conversation I think that’s important for the American people to have,” she said.

Gabbard added that it’s “important for us to look at how we solve this or make changes that are not based on partisanship. Often it is the party that is in the minority that is calling for bringing about those changes and then once they get into the majority, they say ‘no, absolutely not. We’re not going to change this.’”

At the moment, the filibuster is actually helping Senate Democrats, enabling its members to slow or stall legislation that the GOP Senate majority and Trump White House might support. The president himself has called for an end to the filibuster, only to be met with opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Democrats hoping to pass a sweeping progressive agenda if they win back the White House are concerned their proposals could get bottlenecked in the Senate, where the Democrats have a shot at winning back control — but have little chance of grabbing a 60-member, filibuster-proof majority.

While Gabbard has reservations about eliminating the Electoral College and the Senate’s filibuster, she’s on board with another controversial idea being pushed by some primary rivals – financial reparations for descendants of slaves.

“I’ve actually co-sponsored a bill – HR40 in the House of Representatives – that would put together a commission that would look at the damage that has occurred because of our country’s dark history with slavery and to figure out what is the best way to bring about those reparations,” she told Fox News. “I think we need to bring about reparations, it’s really a question of what is the right way and how.”

Gabbard was interviewed during a jam-packed three-day swing through New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

The Granite State was Sanders country in the 2016 Democratic primary. The independent senator from neighboring Vermont crushed Hillary Clinton in the state’s primary, launching him into a marathon battle with the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.

Asked how she could compete in New Hampshire for Sanders supporters, Gabbard quickly answered that “this is about something … much bigger than just one person.”

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In some of his most revealing comments on why he decided against running for president, moderate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg cited his age — but also took aim at the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

"To start a four-year job, or maybe an eight-year job, at age 79 may not be the smartest thing to do. But if I think if I thought I could win, I would have,” the 77-year-old billionaire media mogul explained.

SCHULTZ SAYS NO ROOM FOR CENTRISTS IN EITHER MAJOR PARTY

“I just couldn’t see a path to where I could get the nomination,” Bloomberg said Thursday while speaking at the Bermuda Executive Forum in New York City. “It’s just not going to happen on a national level for somebody like me starting where I am unless I was willing to change all my views and go on what CNN called ‘an apology tour.’”

While he’s poured millions of his own money into combating climate change and battling gun violence, the Democrat turned Republican turned independent who last year re-registered as a Democrat suggested that he was simply more moderate than the ever-growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, many of whom are increasingly moving to the left.

Pointing to 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s likely to jump into the White House race next month, Bloomberg said, "Joe Biden went out and apologized for being male, over 50, white.”

“He apologized for the one piece of legislation which is actually a pretty good anti-crime bill, which if the liberals ever read it, most of the things they like would be in that bill. They should have loved that. But they didn’t even bother to read it. You’re anti-crime, you must be anti-populist,” Bloomberg added as he took a shot at progressives.

IT’S BIDEN, SANDERS, HARRIS, AND O’ROURKE IN 2020 POLL

And he also jabbed at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who last week declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination and quickly raised an eye-popping $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate.

"And so everybody else, Beto, whatever his name is, he’s apologized for being born,” said Bloomberg, which brought laughter from the audience. “I mean, I don’t mean to be unkind. And a lot of people love him and say he’s a smart guy, and some day if he wins I’d certainly support him."

Bloomberg seriously considered launching a presidential bid, and earlier this year he made campaign-style swings through the early voting primary and caucus states. But he announced on March 5 that he would not run for the White House.

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In some of his most revealing comments on why he decided against running for president, moderate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg cited his age — but also took aim at the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

"To start a four-year job, or maybe an eight-year job, at age 79 may not be the smartest thing to do. But if I think if I thought I could win, I would have,” the 77-year-old billionaire media mogul explained.

SCHULTZ SAYS NO ROOM FOR CENTRISTS IN EITHER MAJOR PARTY

“I just couldn’t see a path to where I could get the nomination,” Bloomberg said Thursday while speaking at the Bermuda Executive Forum in New York City. “It’s just not going to happen on a national level for somebody like me starting where I am unless I was willing to change all my views and go on what CNN called ‘an apology tour.’”

While he’s poured millions of his own money into combating climate change and battling gun violence, the Democrat turned Republican turned independent who last year re-registered as a Democrat suggested that he was simply more moderate than the ever-growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, many of whom are increasingly moving to the left.

Pointing to 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s likely to jump into the White House race next month, Bloomberg said, "Joe Biden went out and apologized for being male, over 50, white.”

“He apologized for the one piece of legislation which is actually a pretty good anti-crime bill, which if the liberals ever read it, most of the things they like would be in that bill. They should have loved that. But they didn’t even bother to read it. You’re anti-crime, you must be anti-populist,” Bloomberg added as he took a shot at progressives.

IT’S BIDEN, SANDERS, HARRIS, AND O’ROURKE IN 2020 POLL

And he also jabbed at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who last week declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination and quickly raised an eye-popping $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate.

"And so everybody else, Beto, whatever his name is, he’s apologized for being born,” said Bloomberg, which brought laughter from the audience. “I mean, I don’t mean to be unkind. And a lot of people love him and say he’s a smart guy, and some day if he wins I’d certainly support him."

Bloomberg seriously considered launching a presidential bid, and earlier this year he made campaign-style swings through the early voting primary and caucus states. But he announced on March 5 that he would not run for the White House.

Source: Fox News Politics

It’s the talk of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Joe Biden’s top political advisers reportedly are debating whether the former vice president should launch a White House bid by pledging to choose a running mate.

BIDEN, SANDERS, REMAIN ON TOP IN LATEST 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY POLL

And that running mate, according to a report from Axios, could be Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia. The former minority leader in the state’s House of Representatives nearly became the nation’s first black female governor and the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial election in Georgia in two decades, but lost the election.

The new speculation comes after Biden and Abrams had a private sit-down earlier this month, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Abrams has been weighing her own political future, which could include a 2020 Senate bid, a 2022 run for governor again, or even possibly her own White House bid. Abrams is considered a quickly rising star in the party and earlier this year gave the Democratic response to Republican President Trump’s State of the Union address.

Abrams would bring diversity to the ticket, and some of Biden’s advisers – according to Axios – feel the move would add excitement to the former vice president’s campaign. And they feel that pointing to the 45-year old Abrams as a running mate could blunt concerns over the 76-year old Biden’s age.

BIDEN HINTS AGAIN AT 2020 WHITE HOUSE RUN

Sources close to Biden have told Fox News that the former vice president is likely next month to announce his campaign, which would be his third stab at trying to win the presidency. And the past two weeks, Biden’s publicly strongly hinted that he would be running.

While the former vice president has reportedly discussed naming a running mate early, it’s not known if he’s signed off on the suggestion of coming out of the gate with a pledge to name a number two on his ticket.

“It would certainly be something unique, something different. It would send a strong message,” said Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service and a Fox News contributor.

But there are downsides as well. The strategy could be seen as a gimmick that the former vice president needs to stand out in a large Democratic 2020 field, and Biden could be seen as having “an air of inevitability.” And it could raise the question of whether Biden feels out of step with the current political climate, concerned about decades-old political positions the longtime senator from Delaware held that now are unpopular among Democrats.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think he should feel it’s something he has to do . At the end of the day he’ll go out there and make his own case,” explained Elleithee, a senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who later served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

“He may choose to name a running mate before the end of the primary season but I don’t he needs to feel compelled to do it on day one. I think that could actually detract a bit from a bigger message,” Elleithee added.

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Add Beto O’Rourke to a growing list of Democratic presidential candidates who are considering scrapping long-standing Senate procedure in hopes of passing a sweeping progressive agenda should they make it to the White House.

Under siege is the filibuster, the longstanding Senate tradition requiring 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to advance a bill, effectively allowing the minority party to block legislation.

WHAT IS A FILIBUSTER?

“I think that that’s something that we should seriously consider,” O’Rourke told reporters on the campaign trail in New Hampshire earlier this week.

“We have to look at some of these institutional reforms, whether it’s the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the filibuster in the Senate, we’ve got to get democracy and our institutions working again,” explained the former three-term congressman from Texas.

On the same day that O’Rourke entertained the idea, a rival for the Democratic nomination also opened the door to the idea of dispatching with the filibuster.

“When you talk about changing the filibuster rule I understand that we are heading, right now, we are heading that way,” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said in an interview on "Pod Save America." “I’m going to tell you that for me that door is not closed.”

The comments mark an increasing appetite in the 2020 Democratic field for challenging longstanding political traditions and institutions — everything from the voting age to the Electoral College to the Senate filibuster. And for Booker, his comments mark a backtrack from previous statements.

Last month, Booker told NPR that he didn’t favor eliminating the filibuster. And in an interview with Politico in January – before he formally declared his candidacy – he said “we should not be doing anything to mess with the strength of the filibuster. It’s one of the distinguishing factors of this body. And I think it is good to have the power of the filibuster.”

The pro-Republican opposition research shop America Rising accused the senator of flip-flopping on the issue, saying in an email after the senator’s latest comments that “Booker has jumped on board with the latest liberal litmus test, abolishing the filibuster.”

TRUMP CALLS FOR SCRAPPING FILIBUSTER TO BUILD WALL

At the moment, the filibuster is actually helping the Democratic Party, enabling its members to slow or stall legislation that the GOP Senate majority and Trump White House might support. Trump himself has called for an end to the filibuster, only to be met with opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But McConnell lowered the threshold to confirm Supreme Court nominees to a simple majority, and other federal judges and Cabinet nominees also are no longer subject to a 60-vote threshold. The filibuster on legislation is all that remains in terms of built-in brakes in the upper chamber that could slow the majority party.

And so Democrats hoping to pass a sweeping progressive agenda if they win back the White House are concerned their proposals could get bottlenecked in the Senate, where the Democrats have a shot at winning back control — but have little chance of grabbing a 60-member, filibuster-proof majority.

“Everything stays on the table. You keep it all on the table. Don’t take anything off the table,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said when recently asked on the presidential campaign trail about scrapping the filibuster.

Candidates proposing major changes to deal with climate change also see the filibuster as a major impediment.

"I don’t believe you can be serious about saying you can defeat climate change unless you realize we need to have the filibuster go the way of history because Mitch McConnell has weaponized the filibuster," Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters on Wednesday. "You can’t be serious about having major decarbonization legislation in any near-term without removing the filibuster."

But not all of the White House contenders are on board.

“Great question…Let’s change the subject!” joked Sen. Kamala Harris of California, when asked by a voter in Iowa about her stance on the issue.

The Harris campaign tells Fox News that their candidate has “said she’s genuinely conflicted on this issue but everything is on the table.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told "Pod Save America" in January that “I think it’s useful to bring people together, and I don’t mind that you have to get 60 votes for cloture.”

“If you’re not able to get 60 votes on something, it just means you haven’t worked hard enough, talking to enough people and trying to listen to their concerns and then coming up with a solution that they can support. And so I’m not afraid of it one way or the other,” she added.

Sen. Bernie Sanders also opposes scrapping the filibuster.

"I’m not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster. I think the problem is, people often talk about the lack of comity and the anger. The real issue is that you have in Washington a system which is dominated in Washington by wealthy campaign contributors,” he said last month in an interview with CBS News.

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New Yorkers apparently don’t think too much of a native daughter who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination and a native son who’s also mulling a White House bid.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday indicated that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is the least popular among New Yorkers of all the Democrats who’ve either launched presidential campaigns or are flirting with White House runs.

DE BLASIO FIRES UP 2020 SPECULATION WITH NH VISIT

Only 24 percent of registered voters in the Empire State said they had a favorable opinion of the progressive two-term mayor, with 49 percent viewing him unfavorably. De Blasio had the highest net score of any contender in the poll.

De Blasio was also unpopular among New York City voters, at 36 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable. And he was slightly underwater (36-38 percent favorable/unfavorable) among Democrats statewide.

De Blasio recently made campaign style stops in the early primary and caucus voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, as he seriously considers a presidential bid.

“For New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll run, his statewide net favorability rating is at an all-time low since taking office in 2014,” Quinnipiac polling analyst Mary Snow highlighted.

GILLIBRAND, AHEAD OF IOWA SWING, GETS CRITICIZED FOR WORKOUT VIDEO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – who formally declared her candidacy for president last weekend – also couldn’t break even in the poll. She stood at 29 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable among registered voters statewide.

“New Yorkers aren’t cutting any slack to their own elected officials,” Snow said. “As Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand makes her presidential bid official, her net favorability score is her worst ever.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden – who’s likely to launch a presidential campaign next month – had the strongest numbers among the declared or potential White House hopefuls. Biden stood at 62 percent favorable and 24 percent unfavorable.

Not too far behind Biden stood Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s making his second straight run for the Democratic presidential nomination. The independent senator from Vermont stood at 51-38 percent favorable/unfavorable.

HARRIS RISING IN NEW 2020 POLL THAT SHOWS BIDEN AND SANDERS AT TOP

The person they’re all trying to oust from the White House, Republican President Trump, came in way underwater among New York state voters, at 28-68 percent.

The poll also indicated that freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City – the progressive firebrand  who keeps making national headlines – stood at 31 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable.

The Quinnipiac University Poll was conducted March 13-18, with 1,216 New York state voters questioned via telephone by live operators. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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Members of America’s largest autoworkers union are paying too much in dues, President Trump said Wednesday during a speech at an Ohio tank plant.

The president criticized the leadership of United Automobile Workers (UAW) and called on them to lower the membership fees for the organization’s 400,000 members.

TRUMP CALLS GM’S CEO MARY BARRA IN PUSH TO REOPEN OHIO AUTO PLANT

Trump’s remarks at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, known as the Lima Army Tank Plant, also referred to the idling of a General Motors plant in Lordstown last year. Lordstown is in eastern Ohio, about 193 miles east of Lima.

“They could’ve kept that gorgeous plant,” Trump said, according to Cleveland.com. “Lower your dues. Lower your dues.”

But employees pay dues to the union, not to General Motors, the report noted.

Just days ago, Trump criticized President Dave Green of UAW Local 1112, the chapter that represents the Lordstown workers.

"Democrat UAW Local 1112 President David Green ought to get his act together and produce. G.M. let our Country down, but other much better car companies are coming into the U.S. in droves. I want action on Lordstown fast. Stop complaining and get the job done!" the president wrote.

Green had criticized Trump’s tax cut during an interview Sunday with Fox News, saying it "incentivized corporations like (GM) to pay less taxes on profits when they bring products in from outside our borders."

LOCAL UAW LEADER RESPONDS TO TRUMP TWEET: ‘I’M TRYING TO STAY OUT OF THE FEUD’ 

On Wednesday, Green told Fox News’ Dana Perino that he hasn’t "taken any of this personally," and that he wants legislators to work together. He said his union "just wants to better policy," and that he is trying to "stay out of the feud" between Trump and GM CEO Mary Barra.

Ohio Democrats defended Green and the union, with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke personally meeting with Green on Monday in Lordstown, the paper reported.

On his Wednesday speech, Trump also leveled larger criticism at union leaders.

“I want to deal with the people in the union, not the heads of the union, because the heads of the union are not honest people,” Trump said, according to the Washington Examiner. “They’re not honest. They’re not honest and they ought to lower your dues, by the way. They ought to stop with the dues. You’re paying too much dues.”

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The union responded by saying it has already put in place a plan for members’ dues to be lowered to their pre-2011 level as soon as the strike fund reaches $850 million, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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A bill that was recently filed in Florida’s House and Senate would allow people to get driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status.

Proposed in the Florida Legislature last month, the bill would let illegal immigrants use identifying documents like an unexpired foreign passport or a foreign birth certificate to get a license to drive.

FLORIDA BILL WOULD PUNISH PEOPLE WHO ABANDON DOGS DURING HURRICANES

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani, who sponsored the House bill, said she believes this legislation "helps to build that trust" with those who are considered "marginalized" in the state, and said it would make roads safer, according to the News Service of Florida.

“It doesn’t matter your immigration status. If you are on the roads, you should have access to a driver’s test and the ability to get car insurance," Democratic Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez said.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition stated in a news release that allowing people without proper immigration documentation the ability to obtain a driver’s license would "[cement] trust in law enforcement while protecting vulnerable communities."

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The group says that Florida drivers would experience lower insurance premiums and safer roads, and a potential increase of $4 million in state revenue "if 75 percent of Floridians currently denied licenses due to their immigration status were able to receive a driver’s license."

Those seeking a license in Florida under current state law must prove they’re U.S. citizens or resident aliens, the news service reported.

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said Wednesday that while his constituents want a transparent investigation into President Donald Trump, the call for impeachment is premature.

“I haven’t ruled it out. I said the bar is very high, we shouldn’t prejudge anything and we should wait for the evidence before we make any determination,” Khanna told "America’s Newsroom.”

“My constituents want there to be an open, aggressive investigation with all the facts to be transparent. They want to see the Mueller report released.  They want to see what’s going to happen with the Southern District of New York investigation. They want us to go through the process, I don’t think they want us to prejudge something and they understand the gravity of impeachment and that it’s a very high bar.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., downplayed impeachment earlier this month saying the president was “not worth it.”

Khanna believes a positive message for Americans is important and that that is Pelosi’s focus.

DEMOCRATS DIVIDED OVER TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

“They also care most about communities that have been left behind, what are we doing to build infrastructure, what are we doing to provide health care, what are we doing to tackle prescription drugs,” Khanna said.  “We have to have a positive agenda for the American people and I think that’s what Nancy Pelosi is focused on.”

Khanna also supported lowering the voting age to 16, something Pelosi brought up recently.

WASHINGTON COULD LOWER VOTING AGE TO 16 FOR 2020

“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” Pelosi said last week at a press conference.

“I just think that our country so desperately needs this next generation to learn about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, to have a common American identity,” Khanna said. “If we allow this to happen in high school, I think they would be much better about voting and contributing to the country.”

Source: Fox News Politics

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Beto O’Rourke is taking aim at embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming the steadfast ally of Republican President Trump “has openly sided with racists.”

The Democratic presidential candidate and former congressman from Texas – on the campaign trail in New Hampshire – also criticized negotiators ostensibly trying to end the generations-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

BETO O’ROURKE PREDICTS HE COULD WIN TEXAS IN GENERAL ELECTION

“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side. We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists,” he charged.

O’Rourke has been a critic of Israel’s longtime conservative leader, who is facing a corruption scandal at home, but the comments were some of his most pointed in describing Netanyahu. O’Rourke also jabbed at Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“On the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader. Mahmoud Abbas has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table,” he lamented.

O’Rourke – who narrowly lost his 2018 bid to unseat GOP Sen. Ted Cruz – spoke to the issue Tuesday night at Keene State College. The stop was his first kicking off a jam-packed 48-hour swing through all 10 counties of New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

WHERE BETO O’ROURKE STANDS IN THE LATEST 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY POLLS

The candidate was asked during a question and answer session with the crowd about accepting large sums of contributions from pro-Israeli lobbyists during his 2018 Senate election in Texas.

“If you’re asking if the contributions I accept connect to the policies I support, the answer is no,” he responded.

O’Rourke once again called for a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace in the Middle East. “I believe in peace and dignity and full human rights for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people. The only way to achieve that … is a two-state solution,” he emphasized.

During Wednesday’s New Hampshire stops, meanwhile, O’Rourke targeted sales of assault weapons, skirted his stance on late-term abortions, called for pre-K starting for four-year-olds, and acknowledged that he has a learning curve as he runs for president.

Asked during an event at Plymouth State University about his stance on assault weapons, O’Rourke repeated this belief that such firearms should be for military use only.

He pledged that if “you own something like an AR-15 and I’m your president, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly. I don’t want to take anyone’s guns from anyone in the country.”

But he said the AR-15, “which is a variant of something that was designed for battlefield use I see no reason for it to be sold into our communities.”

BETO O’ROURKE STANCE ON LATE TERM ABORTIONS

Speaking with reporters, O’Rourke was asked by Fox News how he would have voted on a controversial GOP-sponsored Senate bill that would have required doctors to provide medical care to newborns, including those born during failed abortions. Most Senate Democrats slammed the bill – which failed to reach a 60-vote threshold to advance – as politically charged.

“I would have listened to the women that I wanted to represent in the state of Texas. I would have listened to doctors and medical providers. I would have looked at the facts and understood the truth. And then I would have voted with those women to make their own decisions about their own bodies,” O’Rourke answered. But he did not say how he would have voted on the bill, which became a political lightning rod.

The answer was similar to how O’Rourke’s fielded questions about abortion since launching his presidential campaign last week. The candidate gave a hint of his support for abortion rights by adding that “I’ve seen the effects of regressive women’s health care policies in Texas, the inability to get much needed medical care… I want to make sure at a national level we don’t make those mistakes.”

As a three-term congressman representing El Paso in the House, O’Rourke supported a bill in 2017 that would have lifted most state restrictions on abortion, including waiting periods.

Abortion has become a pressing issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, with fears by the party that the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court roll back abortion rights that have existed for generations, while conservatives have accused prominent Democrats of indifference to infanticide.

March 20, 2019: Beto O'Rourke speaks at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. 

March 20, 2019: Beto O’Rourke speaks at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. 

O’Rourke also repeated his push for universal pre-kindergarten, starting at the age of four.

He said he’d partially pay for the program by asking “the very wealthiest to pay a greater share of their wealth.”

And he explained that “it’s going to cause us to spend more up front but we’re going to see much greater return economically in taxes paid down the road from people who are earning far more than they would have otherwise.”

O’Rourke raised a record-breaking $80 million during last year’s Senate campaign, and he set a new record in his White House run, hauling in $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate, the most by any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. On Wednesday, he announced that the contributions came from 128,000 individuals, with the average donation standing at $48.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who raised $5.9 million in the day after he announced his candidacy last month, had contributions from 223,000 people, with the average donation standing at $27.

While O’Rourke’s campaign cash made headlines, so did a series of missteps right out of the gate.

This past weekend O’Rourke apologized for joking at several events on Thursday and Friday that his wife Amy had been raising the couple’s three children "sometimes with my help."

Discussing the comments – which critics said spotlighted unwelcome gender stereotypes – O’Rourke promised “not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage.”

On Wednesday, O’Rourke told the crowd that “Amy and I are raising those kiddos.”

Asked if there’s a learning curve on the presidential campaign trail, he quickly answered “Yeah. Oh yeah. I am smart enough to know that there’s so much more for me to learn. The only way for me to learn that is to show up in the communities I seek to serve, and hear things from people’s perspective.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The United States is bristling at the suggestion Germany might miss its own defense spending target, which is already short of the NATO goal, prompting comments from officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

NATO countries have pledged to move toward spending 2 percent of GDP on defense and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had pledged to increase spending to 1.5 percent by 2024. Last year, at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump criticized Germany’s contribution to the NATO and Merkel countered that the European country is the organization’s "second largest providers of troops," according to The Guardian.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s budget plan, which was presented to the nation’s cabinet on Wednesday, foresaw Germany’s defense spending rising to 1.37 percent of national income in 2020, but decline to 1.25 by 2023, according to the dpa news agency, which reviewed a copy of the proposal.

NATO PLEDGES TO BOOST DEFENSE SPENDING AFTER STERN WORDS FROM TRUMP

Following the news of Germany’s expected contributions to NATO, U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell said, "NATO members clearly pledged to move towards, not away, from 2 percent by 2024. That the German government would even be considering reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 NATO Allies."

Following his comments, Wolfgang Kubicki, the deputy chairman of the left-leaning Free Democrats (FDP) said Foreign Minister Heiko Mass should declare the ambassador "persona non grata" saying Grenell interfered in the country’s sovereign affairs.

"Any U.S. diplomat who acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power must learn that our tolerance also knows its limits," Kubicki said, according to Deutsche Welle.

There is another cabinet meeting on Thursday which is expected to address the defense spending budget. Merkel said her government "could still hit the 1.5 percent target in budgets down the road," The New York Times reported.

US AMBASSADOR GRENELL BLASTS GERMANY FOR CELEBRATING IRANIAN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY

Criticism of Grenell comes just weeks after he called on Berlin to scrap Nord Stream 2, “a gas pipeline being laid across the Baltic Sea to deliver gas from Russia to Germany, and threatened firms involved in the project with sanctions” Deutsche Welle reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Preet Bharara, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in an interview Tuesday that he once considered taping a phone call with President Trump shortly after the president was sworn in and at during a time that Bharara’s office was receiving investigation requests.

Bharara, who was in charge of the office that would oversee any potential probe of Trump’s New York interests, said he ultimately decided against taping the president, but was concerned about the topics he and the president could potentially discuss — and was worried that without a recording it would essentially be his word against Trump’s if details of the conversation were needed as evidence in a court case.

Bharara was fired three months into Trump’s presidency after he refused to resign along with dozens of other federal prosecutors who were holdovers from the Obama administration. He appeared on MSNBC’s "The Beat with Ari Melber" and talked about his brief and uneasy relationship with Trump that he said started with their first meeting shortly after Trump won.

He said then-President-elect Trump asked him for his personal phone number. A few weeks later Trump called him and the two shot the "breeze" for about five minutes.

Bharara said he told deputies about the call and then Trump called again two days before his inauguration. Bharara said Trump did not say anything "untoward" and did not ask him to do anything inappropriate. He said he told his staff about the call.

Bharara said it all seemed unusual.

On March 9, 2017, a few weeks after Trump was sworn in, Bharara said he was contacted by the White House secretary and was told that Trump wanted to speak to him.

"Now I thought it was different," he said. "Now we actually have the Senate-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions through whom the call would be expected to be made if it was an innocuous call. There was no heads up about it; there was no indication about what the topic would be; you started to worry about things that were going on in the world."

Bharara said at the time the call was made, he had jurisdiction over Trump’s business interests in New York and the Department of Justice protocols states that the White House cannot discuss enforcement matters with anyone other than the attorney general or possibly the deputy attorney general.

Bharara said the call left him wondering about Trump’s intentions.

Fox News reached out to the White House for comment in the early hours on Wednesday and was told to call back during office hours.

Bharara said he considered taping the president if Trump called again because he had a certain level of mistrust. He said he discussed it for about five minutes with staffers but ultimately decided against recording the president.

"In that moment we actually considered — and it sounds not as crazy as it did back then because we know about Michael Cohen recording the president and Omarosa recording the president. We considered it," Bharara said.

He said he tends to believe that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was not joking when he talked about wearing a wire. He pointed out that Trump would often bring up ex-President Clinton’s June 2016 tarmac meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a Phoenix airport.

In the first episode of his podcast, "Stay Tuned with Preet," he mentioned Trump’s alleged attempt at cultivating a relationship with him.

"I will tell you one thing, now that it’s been some months," he said. "I believe based on the information that we have on the president talking to Jim Comey relating to Michael Flynn, the information about the president talking to Jeff Sessions about the case of Joe Arpaio, and how he wanted both of those cases to go away — that had I not been fired, and had Donald Trump continued to cultivate a direct personal relationship with me, it’s my strong belief that at some point, given the history, the president of the United States would have asked me to do something inappropriate."

Fox News’ Amy Lieu contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

KEENE, N.H. – Beto O’Rourke predicts that if he wins the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he’ll take his native state of Texas in the general election.

The former congressman from El Paso also said he would “absolutely” support his campaign staff if they wanted to unionize. He also would consider lowering the federal voting age to 16, scrapping the Electoral College, increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, and eliminating the filibuster in the Senate.

WHERE BETO O’ROURKE STANDS IN THE LATEST 2020 POLL

Speaking with reporters after holding his first event in New Hampshire as a presidential candidate, O’Rourke said, "Yes I think we can win Texas. I think we’ve proven we know how to campaign. We’ve been to each one of those 254 counties. We’ve listened to the stories our fellow Texans have told us. We’ve incorporated it in the way in which we campaign.”

In his U.S. Senate run last year, O’Rourke raised $80 million in contributions and nearly defeated incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the midterm elections. O’Rourke’s campaign boosted him to Democratic Party rock-star status and launched him toward his White House bid.

Winning Texas and its 38 electoral votes would be a major coup for the Democrats. The last Democrat to take the state in a presidential election was Jimmy Carter in 1976. Republican President Donald Trump won Texas in 2016 but by a smaller margin than GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

BETO O’ROURKE’S ROLL OUT: BIG BUCKS BUT SOME STUMBLES

O’Rourke arrived in New Hampshire – the state that will hold the first presidential primary, after an eight-and-a-half-hour drive in his Dodge Caravan from State College, Pa., the home of Pennsylvania State University. He spoke and took questions from a couple of hundred people who had waited at least two hours at Keene State College. The stop was O’Rourke’s first in a 48-hour swing in which he said he would visit all 10 of New Hampshire’s counties.

Asked about lowering the voting age to 16, O’Rourke said “I’m open to the idea of a younger voting age. … There’s some merit to it.”

And he said he would “seriously consider” scrapping the Senate’s filibuster — a generations-old tactic for preventing a measure from coming to a vote – as well as the Electoral College and increasing the number of justices on the high court.

“We have to look at some of these institutional reforms, whether it’s the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the filibuster in the Senate. We’ve got to get democracy and our institutions working again,” he said.

Scrapping the Electoral College — an idea that some of O’Rourke’s Democratic rivals also support — is an unpopular idea in New Hampshire, a small state that sees plenty of traffic in the presidential general election thanks to its status as a battleground state.

O’Rourke arrived in the Granite State one day after independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – one of the front-runners in the 2020 Democratic field – became the first presidential candidate to unionize his campaign staff.

Asked by Fox News if he would do likewise, O’Rourke said: “Absolutely. If those who work on this campaign and who comprise what I hope will be the largest grassroots effort this nation has ever seen, want to unionize, I support that all the way.”

During a question-and-answer session with the crowd, O’Rourke was asked about accepting large sums of contributions from pro-Israeli lobbyists during his 2018 Senate campaign.

“If you’re asking if the contributions I accept connect to the policies I support, the answer is no,” he responded.

O’Rourke once again called for a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace in the Middle East.

“I believe in peace and dignity and full human rights for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people. The only way to achieve that … is a two-state solution,” he said.

But he also took aim at embattled Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu – a close ally of Trump – as well as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side. We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists,” he charged. “On the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader. Mahmoud Abbas has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table.”

O’Rourke was also asked about his commitment to reducing America’s consumption of fossil fuels.

“I support the Green New Deal. Yes, I understand that as close to 2030 as we possibly can, we have to have this economy and this country fully transitioned off a reliance on fossil fuels,” he said.

But he added that “I also drove here in a Dodge Caravan that burns gasoline. … We also have to acknowledge that we’re still using these fossil fuels right now, so there’s got to be a responsible transition.”

‘Collision course with everyday Americans’

The Republican National Committee took aim at O’Rourke.

"By embracing the Green New Deal, calling for an end to the Electoral College and supporting late-term abortions, Beto O’Rourke is on a collision course with everyday Americans who will reject his extremist views that offer no substance or solution," the RNC’s Mandi Merritt said.

O’Rourke declared his candidacy last Thursday, and immediately drew throngs of media and large crowds during a three-day swing through Iowa, the state that votes first in the presidential caucus.

The day before he arrived in New Hampshire, O’Rourke announced that he hauled in an eye-popping $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate, the most yet by any 2020 Democratic White House hopeful.

O’Rourke told Fox News that he would release updated campaign cash figures on Wednesday morning.

Carol Beckwith, a resident of nearby Fitzwilliam, N.H., told Fox News that "Beto-mania" is “coming our way.

"We haven’t had much exposure to it really, compared to other people," she said, adding that she remained undecided on whom she’ll vote for in next February’s primary.

"I want the best person for the job," she said.

But Russ Provost of Richmond, N.H., is already sold on O’Rourke, saying he’s already contributed to the Texan’s campaign.

“I watched him on TV a number of times," Provost said. "I liked his style. I want someone young. I want someone under 60 to take over the reins of this country. I don’t want older people running it anymore.

“If he could take Texas and just win the same states Hillary won, he wins."

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney thinks it’s a waste of time for candidates to talk about the Electoral College.

“I would love to get rid of the Electoral College because I don’t think it’s the right way — but it’s not changing. I think to some extent it’s a total waste of time to talk about it,” the onetime Maryland representative said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

“I’d rather talk about improving public education, creating a better health care system, lowering drug prices, investing in infrastructure.  Doing things that matter to the American people.”

TRUMP FIRES BACK AT DEMS COURT PACKING PUSH

“Every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” said another Democratic White House hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in remarks Monday at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Delaney also addressed the topic of age, and the question of whether fellow candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 77, and former Vice President Joseph Biden, 76, were too old to run, reacting to a column in The Washington Post asking if the two veteran politicians had waited too long to pursue the high office.

“I don’t think people should be telling the American people that, you know,  someone based on their age isn’t qualified to be the president.  That’s up for the American people to decide,” Delaney, 55, told McCallum.

DEMOCRATS’ CALL TO REVAMP SUPREME COURT AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE REVEAL PANIC: LARA TRUMP

The former congressman also addressed his support for capitalism, something fellow candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., did Monday on MSNBC.

“It’s crazy.  Look, I’m a capitalist.  I was an entrepreneur before I ran for office,” Delaney said. “I believe in the power of capitalism, in its ability to create jobs and innovate, but I also believe in strong social programs.”

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President Trump’s senior campaign adviser and daughter-in-law Lara Trump blasted Democrats on Tuesday, including Democratic presidential contenders, after they called for changing the Electoral College and revamping the Supreme Court.

“I think it’s very clear that people are still upset on the left that their chosen candidate did not win in 2016.  They want to find any way they can to beat Donald Trump because I think they know it’s going to be incredibly hard, almost impossible to beat this president in the 2020 election,” Lara Trump said.

Her comments came after one 2020 contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for ending the Electoral College.

"My view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren said in Mississippi Monday.

Trump said talk of changing the Supreme Court is another sign of panic among Democrats.

“I think that it’s pretty clear that these folks are very upset that this president has had two Supreme Court placements now,” Trump said in response to various Democratic candidates calling for changes to how Supreme Court justices are selected.

“And quite likely if he gets a second term he will get a third.  So, I think you’re seeing … panic mode now on the Democrat side.”

"I think we need to fix the Supreme Court. I think they stole a Supreme Court seat," Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said on MSNBC Monday. He appeared to be referring to President Barack Obama’s late-term nomination of Merrick Garland for a Supreme Court seat, a nomination that did not get a confirmation hearing from a Senate then led by a GOP majority.

TRUMP FIRES BACK AT DEMS COURT PACKING PUSH

I think you’re seeing … panic mode now on the Democrat side.

— Lara Trump

Trump believes many of the candidates looking to secure the Democratic nomination are too far left with their platforms to beat President Trump in the general election.

“I really think when you look at the field these people are generally very, very far-left,” Trump told co-host Sandra Smith. “You look at people who are running in some cases on an almost socialist or fully socialist platform, that is not something I think the average person can get behind.”

Trump also addressed her father-in-law’s disapproval rating with women, saying she didn’t trust the polling and that many women are afraid to admit they support or voted for the president.

“They might not like all his tweets, they might not like everything he does, but at the end of the day I think they know he’s going to keep this country safe and prosperous,” Trump said.

SOMEONE IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT LIKELY INVOLVED IN THE BID TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP: HERRIDGE

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One month after Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his second straight bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, his campaign is announcing major staffing decisions.

The independent senator from Vermont on Tuesday formally announced a slate of national staffers. The move comes just four days after Sanders highlighted that his presidential campaign would be the first in history to unionize. And the announcements come three weeks after a major shakeup at the campaign, with several top advisers from Sanders’ 2016 White House bid heading for the exits.

SANDERS CAMPAIGN EXPERIENCES SHAKEUP ONE WEEK AFTER LAUNCH

Among the announcements on Tuesday was that Faiz Shakir is serving as campaign manager. Shakir – who’s been on the job managing the campaign for a couple of weeks – joined Sanders from the ACLU, where he served as national political director.

Shakir succeeds Jeff Weaver, who managed the senator’s 2016 White House bid. It was previously announced that Weaver would serve as senior adviser on the 2020 campaign.

Rene Spellman will serve as deputy campaign manager. Spellman – who joined Sanders from Creative Artists Agency (CAA) – is a veteran of Sanders 2016 run, where she worked as national director of traveling press and media logistics

Ari Rabin-Havt will serve as the campaign’s chief of staff, moving over from Sanders’ Senate office. He’s also a one-time senior adviser to former Vice President Al Gore and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

STITCHES FOR SANDERS AFTER CUTTING HEAD ON SHOWER DOOR

Veteran labor and grassroots organizer Analilia Mejia will serve as national political director, with Progressive Change Campaign Committee veteran Sarah Badawi serving as deputy political director.

Also being formally announced are six 2016 campaign veterans: Claire Sandberg as national organizing director, Heather Gautney as senior policy adviser, Arianna Jones as communications director, Sarah Ford as deputy communications director, Tim Tagaris as senior adviser, and Robin Curran as digital fundraising director.

Josh Orton – a senior adviser in Sanders’ Senate office – was named policy director. Briahna Gray – a former attorney, columnist and senior politics editor at The Intercept – will serve as national press secretary. David Sirota – an investigative journalist – will serve as communications adviser and speechwriter. And Georgia Parke – who also worked in Sanders’ Senate office – will serve as social media strategist.

Late last month, just days after Sanders launched his campaign,  three of the top advisers who helped propel the senator’s 2016 White House bid — Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey and Mark Longabaugh – parted ways with the 2020 campaign.

Regardless of the shakeup, Sanders came out of the gate in strong position. He drew large crowds to his first two rallies in New York City and Chicago and along with former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s likely to announce his bid next month, he’s near the top of the public opinion polls.

The self-described democratic-socialist also raised a whopping $5.9 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate. That was the largest fundraising haul by a 2020 Democratic presidential nomination candidate, until it was topped by former Rep Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who last week hauled in $6.1 million on his first day as a White House contender.

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Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr praised Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and his lawsuit against Twitter Monday saying that the legal action will move the social media giant into the “age of accountability.”

“I think this is going to be one of those action-forcing events, it’s calling Twitter, and more broadly these social platforms, into the age of accountability,” Starr said on “America’s Newsroom.” “They’ve enjoyed the age of running free, running loose, doing what they want to do but especially since they hold a very important power – censorship.”

Twitter has been accused by conservatives of censoring their views.

President Trump Tuesday slammed Twitter and other media companies, accusing them of backing Democrats. Trump made the accusation on his Twitter account.

NUNES SUES TWITTER, SOME USERS, SEEKS OVER $250M ALLEGING ANTI-CONSERVATIVE ‘SHADOW BANS,’ SMEARS

"Facebook, Google, and Twitter, not to mention the Corrupt Media, are sooo on the side of the Radical Left Democrats," Trump tweeted.

Starr believes Twitter’s decision-making process around what it chooses to censor and what it chooses not to is the key issue.

“They can censor. They proudly say we must censor,” Starr said. “But are they censoring in a fair-minded way?”

Starr added: “We don’t know much at least about how this process of filtering goes through. So, I think that the lawsuit is going to help illuminate that.”

HOWARD KURTZ: IS TWITTER CORRUPTING JOURNALISM, OR EXPOSING ITS UTTER UNFAIRNESS?

Nunes filed a the lawsuit Monday seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of "shadow-banning conservatives" to secretly hide their posts, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints, and totally "ignoring" lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.

Starr believes Nunes is using litigation to get the answers he wants from Twitter and using the courts to do what Congress is unable to do.

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“It’s again proof that litigation can be a powerful sword, a powerful engine for getting the truth,” Starr told co-host Sandra Smith.  “I think this is a terrific method for getting real accountability the way, frankly, it’s going to be hard for Congress to do.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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New York Democratic Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand defended her stance on leading the ousting of Sen. Al Franken in early 2018.

During a televised town hall on Monday night, Gillibrand was asked by MSNBC host Chris Hayes about her role in Franken’s resignation as well as the sexual harassment controversy that took place on her own staff.

Gillibrand first responded by saying that society must  “value women” and mentioned a bill she co-sponsored with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex, on how Congress handles sexual harassment.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a former female staffer of Gillibrand’s resigned over her office’s mishandling of misconduct allegations against a male colleague. Gillibrand insisted at the town hall that the female staffer was "believed" and the allegations were "fully investigated." She concluded the actions of the male staffer "didn’t rise to sexual harassment" but that he was "punished" for making derogatory comments.

WHO IS KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND? 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW YORK SENATOR AND 2020 CANDIDATE

She then addressed Franken, which she referred to as a “hard issue for so many Democrats.”

“The truth is we miss him and people loved him, but he had eight credible allegations against him of sexual harassment for groping, two of them since he was a senator and the eighth one was a congressional staffer. And I had a choice to make whether to stay silent or not, whether to say, ‘That’s not OK with me,’ and I decided to say that,” the New York senator said. “Now, Senator Franken was entitled to whatever type of review or process he wanted. He could have stuck it out, stayed in the Senate, gone through his ethics committee investigation for as long as he wants for ever how many months, he could have sued all of the eight women, those were his choices. But I had to make my choice.”

The 2020 candidate also went into detail about the “upsetting” conversations she would have with her son about Franken.

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“As a mother, I have to be very clear. It is not OK for anyone to grope a woman anywhere on her body without her consent. It is not OK to forcibly kiss a woman, ever, without her consent. It was not OK for Sen. Franken and it is not OK for you, Theo. Ever,” Gillibrand told her oldest son. “So I needed to have clarity. And if there are few, Democratic powerful donors who are angry because I stood up for women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, that’s on them.”

Source: Fox News Politics

At least if he’s president he’ll be awake for that 3 a.m. phone call.

It seems as if 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker and coffee are more than just friends.

Toronto-based writer Anna Fitzpatrick chronicled Booker’s long-running "relationship" with coffee dating back to tweets from 2009, while he was still mayor of Newark, N.J. Through a series of retweets, she told Booker’s love story with "coffee" and his on-and-off-again relationship with "sleep."

Fitzpatrick admitted that digging up decades-old tweets is a "low blow," but apparently Booker’s past posts need help. She said "every tweet from 2009 is "bad."

Sshe began the Tweet-story by pointing out Booker’s 2009 tweets and said, "this is what I’m talking about."

"’Sleep’ and I broke up a few nights ago. I’m dating ‘Coffee’ now. She’s Hot!" Booker tweeted on May 28, 2009.

But she also noted that Booker tweeted the same joke in 2017, so "its fair game," she said.

"I broke up with sleep last night and I’m dating coffee this morning," Booker tweeted on December 2, 2017. "I appreciate her warmth and stimulating company."

He also tweeted the same joke again in 2015, this time on New Year’s Day.

Then in 2012, he tweeted three times about his intimate relationship with coffee and contentious one with sleep.

In 2010, he tweeted, "Mean ‘ole ‘Sleep’ left me for another dude / I’m with ‘Coffee’ now she’s got a stimulating attitude."

Then again in 2010, he tweeted "’Sleep’ and I broke up again tonight. I’m finding comfort with my new special friend ‘coffee’ – she is hot."

Again in 2009, which Fitzpatrick says is "off limits," Booker tweeted that he had "another fight" with "sleep."

"…I left her & I’m hanging out with my smoldering love ‘coffee’ – & tonight she is smoking hot," he tweeted.

Fitzgerald ended her string of retweets with "2012. ‘nu friend.’ the end," with Booker’s 2012 tweet about coffee and sleep.

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"Sleep & I have irreconcilable differences. We separated. I’m dating my tall, hot, sweet nu friend coffee," he tweeted.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said she supports eliminating the U.S. Electoral College during a town hall broadcast on Monday night.

“Every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren told an audience at the historically black college Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Warren’s statement on CNN came after an audience member asked the Massachusetts senator about voting rights and so-called voter suppression laws.

ELIZABETH WARREN INSISTS HER CAREER WASN’T ADVANCED BECAUSE OF NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE CLAIM

“I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and makes sure that vote gets counted,” she said. “We need to put some federal muscle behind that, and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there.”

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Warren said she also supports a new flag for Mississippi, which is the only state to have Confederate imagery on it.  The Mississippi state flag’s use of a Confederate battle emblem was legally challenged in 2017, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale took a swipe at George Conway on Twitter Monday, accusing the Republican lawyer and frequent Trump critic of being “jealous” of his wife’s success.

“We all know that @realDonaldTrump turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted,” Parscale tweeted. “He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny? Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success. POTUS doesn’t even know him!”

An email from Fox News to the attorney inquiring about the purported job was not immediately returned

George Conway has been critical of Trump on Twitter and has questioned the president’s mental health. Earlier in the week, he had tweeted that Trump has a problem with “pathological” lying.

Conway elaborated early Monday, saying that Trump’s barrage of Tweets over the weekend – including critiques of the late Sen. John McCain and “Saturday Night Live” – were a “product of his pathologies” rather than a “rational plan or strategy.”

He then retweeted a post from "Duty To Warn," which tried to demonstrate that Trump’s activities matched the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder.

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Later Monday, Parscale attributed Conway’s critique of the president to supposed resentment for not being offered a job and hurting his wife because he is “jealous” of her success.

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With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election expected soon, Tucker Carlson on Monday night discussed the media’s role in spreading the narrative that then-candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia to take the White House.

“The [Christopher Steele] dossier and the special counsel has already accomplished their goal in the mind of many Democratic supporters, which is that this whole thing was actually changed, the votes were changed,” The Hill media reporter Joe Concha said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Rod Rosenstein… the deputy attorney general said that not one vote had changed.”

Carlson and Concha expressed dismay that CNN and other media outlets reported on the now-debunked anti-Trump dossier when the information clearly had been unverified.

RUSSIAN TECH FIRM USED IN HACKING OF DEMOCRATS, MCCAIN’S ASSOCIATE DISSEMINATED STEELE DOSSIER, UNSEALED DOCUMENTS SHOW

Concha in particular took issue with Steele admitting he used “CNN’s iReport,” a “user-generated” website, for some information in his dossier.

“That is shocking to me. I can’t believe that isn’t getting more coverage,” Concha told Carlson.

The website appears to be deactivated.

Carlson said many media outlets helped spread false information to Americans by pushing the Russia collusion narrative with false information and openly wondered if they regretted their reporting.

“Do you think anyone in the press, at [CNN] or the others, will feel bad that they’ve been lying to their viewers for two years?” Carlson asked Concha.

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“I think many people have a problem with the media because there is no contrition,” Concha said, “that when mistakes are made, people don’t just say straight-up about excuses, ‘we got it wrong, we’re sorry, we’re going to try better next time.’ Think about the last time you ever heard that from any major media person.”

He cited a Monmouth University poll from last year in which 77 percent of Americans believed “fake news” happened at least occasionally, saying it helped prove the media had lost of the trust of many Americans.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doesn’t suspect he’ll be kicked out of office any time soon.

"I’m gonna be there until he tweets me out of office," Pompeo said, a certain reference to President Tump’s firing of his predecessor. "Which, I’m not counting on, at least today."

JUDITH MILLER: THE BIG LESSON OF THE TILLERSON FIRING

Pompeo’s predecessor, oil executive Rex Tillerson, was notably removed as Secretary of State via Twitter in March 2018.

The president tweeted that Pompeo would become the department’s new leader, and thanked Tillerson for his service. The former Exxon chief was unaware of the reason for being fired when Trump went public with the news, a State Department spokesman said at the time.

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Trump later said Tillerson was "dumb as a rock."

Pompeo made the remarks on Monday in Kansas, where he served as a congressman from 2011 until 2017. The former CIA director ruled out speculation last month that he’d run for Kansas Senate in 2020, telling NBC News that he loves serving as Secretary of State and will do so for as long as Trump wants him to.

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Beto O’Rourke raised a whopping $6.1 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate, while drawing big crowds — and a herd of reporters — as he campaigned across Iowa and Wisconsin after launching his 2020 bid.

But despite riding a wave of media fanfare, the former three-term congressman from Texas has stumbled out of the gate with a string of apologies and clarifications.

O’ROURKE APOLOGIZES FOR JOKE ABOUT WIFE

While the fundraising and large crowds show the charismatic contender is a force to be reckoned with in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the series of missteps amount to signs that O’Rourke’s nascent campaign may need some fine-tuning — and fast.

In one widely covered gaffe, O’Rourke apologized for joking at several events on Thursday and Friday that his wife Amy had been raising the couple’s three children "sometimes with my help."

Discussing the comments – amid concern they spotlighted gender stereotypes – O’Rourke promised, “not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage.”

The initial joke was replaced with a more benign comment that “Amy and I are raising three amazing kids.”

BETO O’ROURKE SAYS HE NEVER TOOK LSD

O’Rourke also walked back much-derided comments he made in a cover story on Vanity Fair — which released hours before he launched his presidential campaign — in which the former three-term congressman said he was “just born to be in it.”

“I saw the cover with that quote, ‘Born to run,’ or ‘Born to do this,’ and I was like, ‘Man, I hope I didn’t say that,’” O’Rourke said Sunday in Wisconsin. “I think the context of that, which makes sense, is the way that I feel, is that I’m born to serve, I’m born to try to help bring people together.”

“I don’t know that anyone is born for an office or a position, and I certainly am not. But I do think that I find my purpose and function in life in doing this kind of work,” O’Rourke explained.

O’ROURKE RAISES AN EYE-POPPING $6.1 MILLION IN FIRST 24 HOURS AS A CANDIDATE

Some of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination pushed back against the Vanity Fair comments.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that “I wasn’t born to run. But I am running.”

“No, I wasn’t born to run for office, just because growing up in the ’70s, in the middle of the country, I don’t think many people thought a girl could be president,” she added.

And South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said on "Fox News Sunday" that “I think I was born to make myself useful.”

O’Rourke also reacted to a flurry of criticism that he’s benefited from white male privilege over the years. Pointing to not suffering serious consequences after two arrests as a younger man, he said: “I think the criticism is right on.”

“I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege,” he added.

The candidate, further, vowed to “keep it clean,” pledging to stop dropping the f-word on the campaign trail as he did during last year’s Senate campaign when he nearly defeated Sen. Ted Cruz. Asked by a voter about his proclivity for profanity, O’Rourke said, “great point, and I don’t intend to use the f-word going forward. Point taken, and very strongly made.”

Perhaps most significant, O’Rourke expressed regret for his past affiliation with a group of infamous activist hackers, as well as past writings in connection with that group, following an explosive report by Reuters. Writing under the alias ‘Psychedelic Warlord,’ he even penned one short story that detailed the murder of two kids and another referring to some women as “sluts.”

O’Rourke said he was "mortified” and “incredibly embarrassed” about his earlier writings, adding that “whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn’t matter."

O’Rourke also has been trying to mend fences with the media, after initially rubbing some in the press the wrong way. His campaign didn’t provide basic information about events to many media outlets and told some reporters that the events were closed to the press.

After complaints, O’Rourke highlighted that the media is “the best defense against tyranny.” And he told reporters that “I’m trying to do a better job of staying around to answer questions.”

While the missteps could be an early warning sign of trouble ahead, veteran Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas disagrees.

“Clearly the gaffes that political observers from Washington DC have identified are not having the impact those commenting on Twitter think they might. We’ll see if that stands the test of time but clearly what voters are seeing is someone who is authentic, speaks off the cuff, and is generally impressive,” argued Petkanas, who served as a senior aide on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and earlier as top communications aide for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

He added that “the grassroots fundraising numbers and the crowds are really strong signs for Beto.”

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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is officially running for president, formally declaring her candidacy Sunday morning.

“We need a leader who makes big, bold, brave choices. Someone who isn’t afraid of progress. That’s why I’m running for president. And it’s why I’m asking you for your support,” the New York Democrat says in a video announcing the official launch of her campaign.

GILLIBRAND HITS TRUMP OVER WHITE NATIONALISM COMMENTS

The move comes two months after Gillibrand set up a presidential exploratory committee — which allowed her to raise money and build a campaign structure — and began introducing herself to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – three of the four states that kick off the primary and caucus calendar – as well as California and Texas, which hold contests immediately after the early voting states.

In her video – titled "Brave Wins" – the senator uses "The Star-Spangled Banner" to say that bravery has been a constant choice in the nation’s history, and so many Americans have chosen to be brave.

Gillibrand also takes aim at President Trump, claiming the Republican has promoted an “agenda of cowardice, hate and fear.”

“Brave doesn’t pit people against each other. Brave doesn’t put money over lives. Brave doesn’t spread hate. Cloud truth.

"Build a wall. That’s what fear does,” she charges in the video.

BETO O’ROURKE PITCHES OVERHAUL OF SUPREME COURT

Gillibrand says that if America could land astronauts on the moon, “we can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy.”

Her announcement comes one day after Gillibrand wrapped up her third trip this year to New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

On Monday, Gillibrand heads to Michigan to join Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for a public event with a local women’s group, Fems for Dems. She’ll also hold a town hall. On Tuesday, Gillibrand heads to Iowa – which votes first in the presidential nominating calendar — and later in the week makes a trip to Nevada, which is the first western state to vote.

Next Sunday, Gillibrand plans to give a speech outside the Trump International Hotel in New York City.

WHICH 2020 DEMOCRATS ARE STILL ON THE FENCE

With her declaration, Gillibrand becomes the 14th major Democrat to officially launch a presidential campaign. She joins fellow Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state, former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, former San Antonio mayor and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas have also declared their candidacies. So have Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson of California and entrepreneur Andrew Yang of New York.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has launched a presidential exploratory committee.

The  52-year-old Gillibrand, who served in the House before her current tenure in the Senate, is known for spearheading efforts in the fight against sexual harassment and assault, and has become a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement. In her video, she touted taking “on the Pentagon to end sexual assault in the military.”

But a sexual harassment issue in Gillibrand’s own Senate office is now making headlines, with the reporting that a female aide in her mid-20s who was working in Gillibrand’s office resigned in protest last summer as she criticized the office’s handling of her sexual harassment complaint against a senior male adviser to the senator. That male adviser was recently terminated.

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As the national health care debate rages on, Seattle has decided to support Medicare-for-all.

Last month, Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced a bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, that would transition Americans to single-payer government-paid health care but does not explain how the government will pay for the plan.

This week, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a City Council resolution in support of Jayapal’s bill, making Seattle the first city to back a Medicare-for-all bill.

COST OF ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ HEALTH CARE PLAN IS ‘A LITTLE SCARY,’ DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN CHIEF SAYS

“The U.S. has among the worst health outcomes in the developed world despite spending roughly 19 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) on health care,” Seattle Council Member M. Lorena González said in a statement. “A single-payer system would improve health outcomes while lowering the cost of medical care and insurance.”

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In the 2016 election, Sen. Bernie Sanders ran on universal health care and this election cycle many more Democrats, including Sen. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, are supporting the concept.

Jayapal’s would be the first Medicare-for-all bill to receive a hearing in Congress.

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LEBANON, N.H. – Sen. Cory Booker suggested Friday that he would plan on selecting a woman as his running mate if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I am very confident that this election, we will make history, because no matter what, I’m looking you in the eye and saying this, there will be a woman on the ticket. I don’t know if it’s in the vice president’s position or the president’s position,” Booker, D-N.J., said Friday morning at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

CORY BOOKER CONFIRMS HE’S DATING ROSARIO DAWSON

“If I have my way, there will be a woman on the ticket,” Booker added.

The crowded field of Democratic contenders – which stands at 13 declared candidates and two who’ve launched presidential exploratory committees – includes a number of women.

On the list: Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, as well as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson.

Hillary Clinton made history in the 2016 election as the first female nominee of a major political party. In 1984, then-Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York became the first major party vice-presidential nominee.

NEW ZEALAND SHOOTING VICTIM’S ‘COURAGEOUS’ LAST WORDS TO GUNMAN GO VIRAL

Booker’s latest trip to New Hampshire – the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House – came amid a horrific mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand. Booker called the violence a “vicious, white supremacist, anti-Islamic attack," saying, "This is an attack based in hate. We should not give hate any license and we shouldn’t even give these folks and their manifestos attention.”

One of the alleged shooters appears to have live-streamed part of the attack on Facebook.

Booker told reporters that “these companies have a responsibility to keep hate off of their platforms and I look forward to doing everything I can to make sure to ensure they move more aggressively to do that.”

Booker arrived in the Granite State on Thursday night and headed directly to Manchester’s Puritan Backroom restaurant, a must-stop for White House hopefuls. On Friday, he drew some 300 people to an event in Lebanon and later around 100 to a house party in Claremont.

BETO O’ROURKE APPEARS TO BACK OFF IMPEACHMENT

Hours before Booker landed in New Hampshire, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas kicked off his presidential bid by campaigning in Iowa, the state that votes first in the caucus and primary calendar.

Asked about O’Rourke’s candidacy and the intense media coverage the accompanied the launch, Booker said he’s concentrating on his bid rather than worry about his rivals. Booker explained he learned when he was running track in high school to “stay in your lane. Don’t look at the left or the right. Focus on the hurdles ahead of you. And for me, it’s all about connecting with voters.”

During his speech in Claremont, Booker did seem to take a jab at some of his rivals for the nomination, especially his fellow senators.

“I hope people look at my whole record. Not everybody in the race has had to run things and so you can actually see me running an organization as a chief executive,” he said, as he spotlighted his tenure as mayor of Newark.

Booker headed to Iowa Friday afternoon, after wrapping up his quick swing through New Hampshire.

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LEBANON, N.H. – Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker confirmed on Friday that he’s dating actress Rosario Dawson.

“I am dating Rosario Dawson and I’m very happy about it,” the New Jersey Democrat told reporters following a campaign stop in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary along the road to the White House.

DAWSON CONFESSES TO ROMANCE WITH BOOKER

“She’s a wonderful actor,” Booker highlighted.

The 39-year old actress broke the news on Thursday, saying “yes, very much so,” when asked by TMZ at Washington’s Reagan-National airport if she was involved with Booker, who turns 50 next month. “He’s a wonderful human being. It’s good to spend some time together when we can. Very busy.”

Rosario highlighted that “I am just grateful to be with someone that I respect and love and admire so much who is so brilliant and kind and caring and loving.”

The actress, producer, singer and comic book writer first rose to fame with roles in movies such as 1998’s “He Got Game,” 2002’s “Men in Black II,” and 2005’s “Rent.”

She’s also a political activist, backing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. She joined the independent senator from Vermont on the campaign trail. She endorsed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in the general election, after Hillary Clinton defeated Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

BOOKER SLAMS TRUMP OVER BORDER EMERGENCY

Rosario also co-founded Voto Latino, a nonpartisan group that encourages young Latinos to register to vote and to become more politically involved.

Booker last month acknowledged on the popular radio program “The Breakfast Club” that he was “dating someone that’s really special.”

But he didn’t name the person he was dating.

If Booker wins the White House, he would become just the third bachelor in the nation’s history to serve as president.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.

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Beto O’Rourke praised the Green New Deal as he launched his presidential campaign Thursday, saying some will criticize the plan for “being too bold or being unmanageable” but “I haven’t seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis we face.”

A few hours after the comments in Keokuk, Iowa, O’Rourke called for suspending the federal death penalty, telling Radio Iowa: “It’s not an equitable, fair, just system right now.” And he opened the door to packing the Supreme Court with more justices.

BETO O’ROURKE MAKES IT OFFICIAL WITH EARLY MORNING 2020 LAUNCH

These are just the latest examples of a lawmaker who had a bipartisan streak in Congress increasingly shifting left as he sets out on his White House run. But they also highlight a dilemma for the 2020 field’s newest contestant: What lane is he running in?

It remains far from clear whether O’Rourke considers himself a liberal competing for the supporters of, say, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — or a more moderate, center-left figure in the style of former Vice President Joe Biden, who could jump into the race at any moment.

PRESIDENT TRUMP MOCKS BETO O’ROURKE

In the press, lately he has been branded as the latter. Earlier this week, The Washington Post declared in a headline: “O’Rourke and Biden, signaling presidential bids, would infuse centrism into a left-leaning Democratic field.”

To be sure, O’Rourke has described himself as a capitalist — hardly a radical step, but a statement that would put him at odds with beacons of the left like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who says capitalism is "irredeemable."

But Republicans argue O’Rourke is clearly tacking left.

The Republican National Committee blasted him for supporting "extreme policies like government-run health care and tearing down border barriers." Matt Wolking, the incoming deputy director of communications for rapid response for President Trump’s re-election campaign, mocked The Washington Post’s headline.

“Hilarious take from WaPo. Beto O’Rourke wants to tear down existing border walls, abolish ICE, allow abortion until birth, institute a single payer health care system, and impeach the president. So centrist!” he tweeted.

O’Rourke is well aware of how his ideological alignment is open to interpretation.

“In Texas, Ted Cruz called me a socialist. I’m too liberal for Texas. Outside of Texas, people say, ‘Is he really a Democrat? I think he’s a closet Republican,’” O’Rourke highlighted at an event last month in Wisconsin.

“I don’t know where I am on a spectrum, and I almost could care less,” he added.

During three terms representing El Paso and surrounding areas in Texas in Congress, though, O’Rourke built up a reputation as a moderate Democrat willing to reach bipartisan compromise.

Along with a small number of House Democrats, he voted against an oil export ban and rejected an amendment which would have barred spending on research for offshore oil drilling.

The votes were typical for O’Rourke, whose outreach to Republicans was cited during his Senate run by numerous newspaper editorial boards, including the El Paso Times. An analysis by FiveThirtyEight found that in his final year in Congress, O’Rourke sided with the Trump administration 30 percent of the time, and ProPublica data showed he was among the top 20 percent of Democrats most willing to buck his own party.

O’Rourke also did not co-sponsor top progressive wish-list items – like tuition-free college at public institutions and "Medicare-for-all."

And instead of joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he became a member of the more moderate New Democrat Coalition.

But during his Senate run and in the ensuing months, he’s burnished his progressive credentials — for instance, calling for existing wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to be dismantled. He’s also called for legalizing marijuana.

When it comes to stricter firearms laws to curb gun violence, he supports universal background checks, banning bump stocks and AR-15-style rifles, and opposes concealed-carry reciprocity between states. On social issues, he grabbed national attention in August when he defended NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

But when it comes to another top item for progressives, Medicare-for-all, O’Rourke has kept the door open. He backs a pathway to universal health coverage but says it doesn’t necessarily have to be achieved through a single-payer model.

“I think Medicare-for-all is one of the possible paths. I think the fastest way to get there is to ensure that people who have insurance that they like through their employer are able to keep it and we complement that with those who can purchase Medicare,” he told CBS News.

The contrast between O’Rourke’s record in Congress and most of his stances in the past year, as he ran for the Senate and now the White House, has been highlighted numerous times in the media.

And it’s opened him up to the same kind of criticism that Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is facing. Gillibrand was considered a moderate Democrat when she represented a congressional district in upstate New York. But after becoming a senator representing the entire state of New York, she moved to the left on some key policies.

But a top Democratic strategist argued that the labels might not matter much in the end.

“No one outside of the hardcore activists base is looking at the labels of who’s a progressive and who’s a moderate, said Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service and a Fox News contributor.

“Voters want to know who is this person? Can they get the job done? Do they get me? And can they beat Donald Trump?” explained Elleithee, a senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who later served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

But he added that with O’Rourke being an open book, the candidate “has this kind of quality about him that people seem to project what they want – their own sort of hopes – onto him.”

Eilleithee said that can be a “blessing and a curse.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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Beto O’Rourke said in a new interview that the “best way” to oust President Trump would be to vote him out of office in 2020, rather than pursuing impeachment.

The former three-term congressman from Texas on Thursday launched his much-anticipated bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. During his Senate campaign against GOP Sen. Ted Cuz, he said Trump should be impeached. But now that he’s all in for 2020, he told CBS News in an interview that the ballot box is a better route to take.

BETO O’ROURKE MAKES 2020 RUN OFFICIAL WITH EARLY MORNING ANNOUNCEMENT 

“I think the American people are going to have a chance to decide this at the ballot box in November 2020, and perhaps that’s the best way for us to resolve these outstanding questions," he said, in an interview conducted on the campaign trail in Iowa hours after he announced his presidential run,

He also called for raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations and defended his credentials to serve as president — saying he has experience “hiring people” and “creating jobs.”

O’Rourke explained that he still believed the president deserved to be impeached, saying “it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt to me that, if there was not collusion, there was at least the effort to collude with a foreign power, beyond the shadow of a doubt that if there was not obstruction of justice, there certainly was the effort to obstruct justice.”

Still, his comments may not sit well with many progressive Democratic primary voters, who are hungry to impeach the president.

MEDIA’S BETOMANIA BOOSTS O’ROURKE: KURTZ

The president has repeatedly denied any collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia to try and interfere with the presidential election.

O’Rourke said Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey in 2017 and his tweeting to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to bring an end the Russia investigation were potential examples of obstruction of justice. But he acknowledged that any decision to impeach the president was up to Congress and earlier this week the top Democrat on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, made clear she opposes impeaching Trump at this time because it would be too divisive.

"How Congress chooses to address those set of facts and the findings which I believe [we] are soon to see from the Mueller report is up to them,” he said.

O’Rourke said “yes” when asked in the interview if he would raise taxes on the wealthy.

“I think corporations should be asked to pay a greater share, O’Rourke said. “I think the wealthiest at a time of historic income inequality should be asked to pay a greater share. I don’t know what the levels should be at.”

Pelosi was asked Thursday about O’Rourke’s accomplishments in the House during his three terms representing El Paso in Congress. She failed to pinpoint any specifics and instead spotlighted his “vitality.”

Questioned whether he had the experience to serve in the Oval Office, O’Rourke gave an answer that’s likely to invite criticism, saying “it depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. I’ve got experience hiring people, creating jobs, developing the economy of the community in which I live, serving in local government, with Amy (his wife) helping to raise a family.”

Hours after the launch of his campaign, O’Rourke was criticized by Trump.

"Well I think he’s got a lot of hand movement, I’ve never seen so much hand movement," the president told reporters. "I said is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? So I’ve never seen hand movement — I watched him a little while this morning — doing I assume it was some kind of a news conference. And I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it,” the president said.

Trump himself is known for expressive hand gestures, however, and O’Rourke brushed off the comments.

"I’m pretty animated," O’Rourke acknowledged during his CBS News interview. “I am who I am.”

And responding to Trump’s criticism, O’Rourke said: “I really do think we all want to get past the pettiness, the personal attacks.”

"Let’s not put anybody down. Instead, let’s lift each other up. Let’s bring out the absolute best from our fellow Americans — every single one of them from every single community,” he added.

On health care, O’Rourke once again called for universal coverage but wasn’t married to "Medicare-for-all," which many of his rivals for the nomination support.

“I think Medicare-for-all is one of the possible paths. I think the fastest way to get there is to ensure that people who have insurance that they like through their employer are able to keep it and we compliment that with those who can purchase Medicare.”

The interview came during O’Rourke’s three-day swing through Iowa, the state that votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar. The candidate’s expected to hold a formal kick-off on March 30 in his hometown of El Paso.

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Proper Printshop began printing the shirts as soon as they opened at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The clothing featured phrases like “Beto 2020” with an image of the former El Paso, Texas, congressman wearing Old Glory sunglasses.

“It’s cool to know that someone from El Paso, a town like ours, can strive to do something that incredible,” designer Patrick Gabaldon said of Beto O’Rourke’s decision to enter the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates.

WHY BETO O’ROURKE COULD BE DEMS’ 2020 NOMINEE AGAINST TRUMP

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke met with voters in Iowa, sharing his views on healthcare and climate change, among several issues.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke met with voters in Iowa, sharing his views on healthcare and climate change, among several issues. (Fox News)

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Gabaldon first created the images when O’Rourke was running for the Senate seat against incumbent Ted Cruz last year, a race that propelled O’Rourke into the national spotlight.

While he ultimately lost that midterm election to Cruz by a few percentage points, O’Rourke gained name recognition and became known for his fundraising prowess, raising an eye-popping $80 million during his run.

Though he initially said he wasn’t going to make a presidential run, O’Rourke reversed that decision, announcing in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

"Amy and I are happy to share with you that I’m running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America,” he said in a video.

By noon, several people had requested the shirts. Excitement among El Pasoans was growing.

WHO’S STILL ON THE FENCE FOR 2020? AFTER BETO, THESE DEMS COULD JUMP IN NEXT 

Proper Printshop made several shirts featuring O'Rourke, a few hours after the El Paso native announced his decision on social media. Several people have since requested the shirts. 

Proper Printshop made several shirts featuring O’Rourke, a few hours after the El Paso native announced his decision on social media. Several people have since requested the shirts.  (Fox News)

“I think he’s going to be a good run. I think he’ll do much better [than] our current president. And, I’m just a Democratic person. So he has my vote,” said Alan Zambrano.

O’Rourke was in Iowa for the first few stops along his campaign trail. He visited Keokuk, Fort Madison, Burlington, and Muscatine, rallying voters and sharing his views for the country.

He called for guaranteed, high-quality health care and action on climate change.

"This is our final chance, the scientists are absolutely unanimous on this, that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis,” said O’Rourke.

Still, some are less than enthused about his run.

“I am not in support of him as a candidate. I believe that the Democrats have to sort out what they’re going to do. I believe that President Trump will continue as the president, and I wish Beto the best of luck,” said Steven Nagy.

Others say they have little faith in the political system at all.

O'Rourke gained national prominence last year while running for the Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz. He became known for his fund-raising prowess, though he ultimately lost the race. 

O’Rourke gained national prominence last year while running for the Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz. He became known for his fund-raising prowess, though he ultimately lost the race.  (Fox News)

“I’m disillusioned with the representation of the people. I feel that our political leaders are more representing the big business and money than the individuals themselves throughout the U.S,” said Tafari Nugent.

Though some say O’Rourke’s candidacy raises excitement among Texans, politics professor Todd Curry, from the University of Texas at El Paso, is wary of notions that the candidate could flip this red state.

“I still think we have to wait a few more election cycles until Texas is put into play,” said Curry.

O’Rourke is set to hold a kickoff rally in El Paso on March 30.

Source: Fox News Politics

Some Alabama lawmakers want churchgoers to be able to defend themselves in church — so they are proposing a bill that would allow them to be armed while sitting on the pews.

State Rep. Lynn Greer filed a bill this month in the State Legislature called the "Alabama Church Protection Act," which would allow parishioners to carry guns in church.

Al.com reported the Republican state lawmaker said he proposed the bill, HB 36, at the request of a church in his district after shootings in other states.

According to the proposed legislation, “a person is not criminally liable for using physical force, including deadly force, in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions.”

The bill was previously introduced in the State House of Representatives last year and would add churches to the 2006 Stand Your Ground law, which allows someone to use force if they feel their life is threatened, according to Al.com.

VIRGINIA WANTS TO ALLOW GUNS IN CHURCHES IN WAKE OF DEADLY SHOOTINGS

“I think it’s a good idea,” Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston, who is the president of the Southeast Law Institute, told Al.com. “Small churches don’t have the budgets to have a policeman,” said Johnston.

In a public hearing last year, members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America opposed the bill.

CONCEALED CARRY GROUP’S ONLINE GUN-TRAINING EVENT TO FOCUS ON PROTECTING PLACES OF WORSHIP 

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill last year, but it never made it out of the Legislature, according to Al.com.

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There have been more than a dozen fatal shootings at places of worship around the country since 2012, including November 2017 when Devin Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Beto O’Rourke is the latest entry into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But the former three-term congressman from Texas surely won’t be the last.

BETO O’ROURKE JUMPS INTO 2020 RACE WITH EARLY MORNING ANNOUNCEMENT

O’Rourke – who came close to defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in last year’s midterm elections – on Thursday morning become the 15th major Democrat to announce a candidacy or form a presidential exploratory committee.

Here’s a look at who’s still on the fence, and could come next:

The former vice president earlier this week dropped his clearest hint yet that he’s all but certain to launch what would be his third White House bid.

Biden was greeted with chants of “run Joe, run” as he took the podium Tuesday in Washington, D.C. at the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters union. Many in the crowd also were waving ‘Run, Joe, Run,’ and ‘Fire Fighters for Biden’ signs.

A few minutes later, during his keynote address, Biden said: “I appreciate the energy you showed when I got up here. Save it a little longer. I may need it in a few weeks.”

Sources familiar with the planning of Biden’s inner circle last week confirmed to Fox News that top advisers to the former vice president are getting their ducks in a row, figuring out a campaign structure and reaching out to veteran Democratic operatives who would be involved. Those sources pointed to a likely April campaign launch.

During a jam-packed trip last week to New Hampshire – the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House – the two-term senator told Fox News that his decision would come in “weeks, not months.”

“I need know there’s a real opportunity for me to make a difference in the race and that I could have a chance to win the race. That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” Bennet explained.

But he added that “I’m inclined to do it.”

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana

The two-term governor returns to New Hampshire next week. And last month he stopped in Iowa, which votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar.

While visits to the early-voting states aren’t a guarantee a potential contender will actually jump into the race – think Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who recently passed on a White House run after trips to all four of the states that vote first in the nominating calendar – Bullock made a clear signal of his intent with the recent hiring of a veteran Democratic political operative.

Bullock’s said he likely will not make any public announcements about his 2020 intentions until after Montana’s legislative session concludes in April.

De Blasio heads to New Hampshire this weekend, fueling speculation that the two-term progressive mayor of America’s largest city is seriously considering a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The trip follows a visit last month to Iowa, the state that votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar. And last weekend, de Blasio and his wife traveled to South Carolina, the state that holds the first southern primary along the road to the White House.

Last month, the mayor told New York City reporters “I’m not ruling it out” when asked about his 2020 intentions.

The congressman from the East Bay Area has also made multiple trips to the early-voting states. He recently headlined ‘Politics and Eggs,’ a must stop in New Hampshire for White House hopefuls.

Swalwell’s hired staff in Iowa and is in the process of making hires in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“I see nothing but green lights so far,” he told Fox News earlier this year.

Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts

The congressman from the north shore of Massachusetts, a U.S. Marine veteran who served four tours of duty in Iraq, is headed to New Hampshire this weekend. And he’ll travel to Iowa later this month.

Moulton, who was one of the ring leaders of the faction of House Democrats who unsuccessfully tried to prevent Nancy Pelosi from returning to the speakership, has said he’s taking “a very hard look” at launching a presidential campaign.

The longtime congressman from northeast Ohio – who like Moulton was another leader of the anti-Pelosi House Democratic faction – has also been making the rounds in the early-voting states.

Ryan, during a stop last month in New Hampshire, told Fox News “I think there’s plenty of time to get to know people in Iowa and New Hampshire and the early states and raise the kind of money that you would need. I think you’ve got to make a decision soon, but I’m not feeling like we missed the opportunity.”

Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party who narrowly lost last November’s gubernatorial election in Georgia, said Monday it was possible she could seek her party’s presidential nomination next year.

The former Georgia House minority leader made her comments at the South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia

The former Virginia governor — who steered the Democratic Party in the early 2000’s and remains a top friend and adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton — has said he would decide on whether to launch a 2020 White House campaign by the end of March.

But if Biden enters the race, McAuliffe might be more inclined to pass on a presidential bid.

Asked whether he was waiting for the former vice president to make his own 2020 decision, McAuliffe told CBS News last month that he wasn’t, but added he "wants to see where the field is."

Source: Fox News Politics

Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, who championed the federal law banning discrimination against women in college admissions and sports, has died. He was 91.

Bayh died early Thursday surrounded by his family at his home in Easton, Maryland, according to a statement released by his family. His son, Evan, followed him into politics and became Indiana’s governor and also a senator.

Birch Bayh, a liberal Democrat, had a back-slapping, humorous campaigning style that helped him win three narrow elections to the Senate starting in 1962 at a time when Republicans won Indiana in four of the five presidential elections. Bayh’s hold on the seat ended with a loss to Dan Quayle during the 1980 Ronald Reagan-led Republican landslide.

Bayh was the lead sponsor of the landmark 1972 law prohibiting gender discrimination in education — known as Title IX for its section in the Higher Education Act.

DEVOS TO ROLL BACK OBAMA-ERA TITLE IX REGULATIONS DEEMED UNFAIR TO THE ‘ACCUSED’ 

The law’s passage came at a time when women earned fewer than 10 percent of all medical and law degrees and fewer than 300,000 high school girls — one in 27 — played sports.

Bayh said the law was aimed at giving women a better shot at higher-paying jobs. He continued speaking in support of Title IX’s enforcement for years after leaving Congress.

“It was clear that the greatest danger or damage being done to women was the inequality of higher education,” Bayh said in a 2012 interview. “If you give a person an education, whether it’s a boy or girl, young woman or young man, they will have the tools necessary to make a life for families and themselves.”

Now, women make up more than half of those receiving bachelor’s and graduate degrees, and more than 3 million high school girls — one in two — play sports.

As the Title IX law reached its 40th anniversary, North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow called it one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in the country’s history.

“Had it not passed, the options and opportunities for women in this country and the world would be vastly different.” Yow said.

Bayh used his position as head of the Senate’s constitutional subcommittee to craft the 25th Amendment on presidential succession and the 26th Amendment setting the national voting age at 18.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT UNVEILS NEW TITLE IX GUIDANCE FOR CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT: HERE’S WHAT WOULD CHANGE 

The issue of presidential succession was fresh when Congress approved the amendment in 1967. The vice presidency had been vacant for more than a year after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination because there was no provision for filling the office between elections.

The amendment led to the presidency of Gerald Ford less than a decade later when Ford first succeeded Spiro Agnew as vice president and then took over the White House after President Richard Nixon’s resignation during the Watergate scandal.

Bayh’s push to lower the national voting age from 21 to 18 came amid protests over the Vietnam War and objections that Americans dying on battlefields were unable to vote in all states. The amendment won ratification from the states in 1971.

Bayh also was a leading sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have barred discrimination on the basis of gender. It passed Congress but failed to win approval from two-thirds of the states by its 1982 deadline.

Bayh had begun preparing to make a run for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination when his wife, Marvella, was diagnosed with breast cancer. He dropped that campaign but entered the 1976 presidential campaign, finishing second to Jimmy Carter in the opening Iowa caucuses but then faring poorly in later primaries.

Marvella Bayh gained attention by speaking and making television appearances around the country promoting cancer detection and encouraging research. But her cancer later returned, and she died in April 1979 at age 46 — shortly before her memoir recounting her health fight was published.

Bayh sought a fourth Senate term the following year — with 24-year-old son Evan as campaign manager — but lost to Quayle, then a two-term congressman.

Born Jan. 22, 1928, in Terre Haute, Ind., Birch Evans Bayh Jr. moved to his maternal grandparents’ farm at the nearby community of Shirkieville after his mother’s 1940 death and his father’s entry into World War II military service.

He graduated from Purdue University’s School of Agriculture after spending two years in the Army and met his future wife during a 1951 National Farm Bureau speaking contest in Chicago, which she won as an entrant from Oklahoma. They soon married and moved to the Shirkieville farm.

Bayh won his first election to the state Legislature in 1954; his son Evan was born the following year. Bayh rose quickly in politics, becoming the Indiana House speaker in 1959 at the age of 30. He earned a law degree from Indiana University, completing law school while serving in the Legislature.

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Bayh entered the 1962 Senate race, taking on three-term Republican Sen. Homer Capehart. Bayh boosted his name recognition — and correct pronunciation — around the state with a catchy campaign song opening with the lines “Hey look him over, he’s my kind of guy. His first name is Birch, his last name is Bayh.”

Bayh was 34 when elected to the Senate and soon became friends with the only senator younger than him — Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy. Bayh and his wife were flying with Kennedy when their small plane crashed near Springfield, Mass., in June 1964. The pilot and a legislative aide were killed, but Bayh pulled Kennedy, who suffered a broken back and other serious injuries, from the wreckage.

After leaving the Senate, Bayh worked as a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington. He remarried in 1982, and he and wife Katherine Helpin had a son, Christopher, who is now a lawyer in Washington.

Bayh largely stayed in the background of Indiana politics as his older son, Evan, was elected to the first of his two terms as governor in 1988. The younger Bayh built a more moderate image than his father, ending his eight years as governor with a high approval rating and then winning his first of two elections to the Senate in 1998. He didn’t seek a third term in 2010, saying the Senate had become too partisan.

The elder Bayh seemed to revel in the change brought about from the Title IX law, describing it as the most important legal step for equality since the right of women to vote was guaranteed by the 19th Amendment in 1920.

“There was a soccer field I used to jog around,” he said. “One day, all of a sudden, I realized that half of the players were little girls and half of them were little boys. I realized then that that was, in part, because of Title IX.”

Source: Fox News Politics

CONCORD, New Hampshire – Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Wednesday opened the door a bit to the possibility of taking on Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next year rather than running for re-election.

“I don’t rule anything out,” the governor said when asked if he would rule out a GOP challenge against Shaheen, a former New Hampshire governor who’s running in 2020 for a third term representing the state in the Senate.

POMPEO RULES OUT 2020 SENATE BID

If Sununu eventually decides to launch a Senate bid, it would give the GOP a high profile and popular candidate who could mount a competitive race against Shaheen, who’s also popular among Granite Staters.

Sununu’s comments generated a lot of buzz among some Republican Party officials in Washington, who would love to play offense in the 2020 cycle as they defend their 53-47 majority in the Senate. Twenty-two of the 34 seats up for grabs next year are held by the GOP.

Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers – the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections – currently rate Shaheen’s seat as "solid Democrat" and "likely Democrat."

A national GOP source told Fox News that party officials are looking toward Sununu as they try to pinpoint a candidate who could stay competitive with Shaheen.

Previously, the two-term New Hampshire governor had said he had “absolutely no interest” in running for the Senate.

But speaking with reporters Wednesday, the governor remarked that he’s not considering a run “right now.”

DOUG JONES GETS FIRST 2020 GOP CHALLENGER

Two recent public opinion surveys indicated a hypothetical matchup between Shaheen and Sununu would be tied.

Sununu highlighted that “one thing that was evident of those polls is people in the state want someone other than Jeanne Shaheen. Otherwise that poll wouldn’t have had her tied with someone who’s right now not even considering running.”

“I think the mandate is very clear. They want someone other than Jeanne Shaheen. Whether it’s myself or another candidate, she’s very vulnerable,” he emphasized.

If Sununu ended up facing off against Shaheen, it would be the third showdown between the two political families.

Then-Gov. Shaheen lost the 2002 Senate election to then Congressman John E. Sununu, the current governor’s older brother. Shaheen defeated the incumbent Republican senator in their 2008 rematch.

Source: Fox News Politics

He’s not a declared presidential candidate yet — but former Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz on Wednesday spelled out how he’d run the country as a centrist president not tied to either major political party.

And in a speech at South Florida’s Miami-Dade College, Schultz lamented the worsening partisan gridlock between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

HOWARD SCHULTZ RIPS GREEN NEW DEAL

"We deserve better than this,” he argued. “The cost of our government’s dysfunction is great – and it impacts all of us. Our biggest problems are not being solved.”

Schultz spotlighted that “this dysfunction cannot stand,” and vowed that as “an independent president, I would be a bridge to bring leaders of both parties together in a way no president has done in recent years.”

He promised that as president he’d “have members of both parties to the White House for coffee as often as I can.”

And he touted that he would “assemble a cabinet that truly represents America in every way, including a cross-partisan group of Democrats, Republicans, and independents—and a greater share of women than any previous president.”

SCHULTZ WARNS DEMOCRATS THEIR 2020 NOMINEE COULD BE ‘SPOILER’

Lamenting that federal courts “have become yet another battlefield in the ongoing war between Democratic and Republican leaders,” he vowed to nominate Supreme Court justices only if they could be confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate.

He also outlined that he would “prioritize reforms that break the logjam of extremism and partisanship that have prevented us from coming together and passing common sense legislation. Among those reforms will be aggressive measures to limit the power of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.”

Schultz is in the middle of a national tour – tied to the release of his new book – as he weighs a long shot independent White House run. He’s said he’ll make a final decision on launching a presidential campaign later this year.

Schultz – a lifelong Democrat – has said the reason he’s mulling an independent White House bid is because he feels the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left.

At the recent South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas, Schultz slammed some of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others are proposing to try and defeat Donald Trump with a far extreme proposal,” he spotlighted.

BIDEN, SANDERS, TOP LATEST 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY POLLS

Democrats have repeatedly criticized him, saying an independent bid by a billionaire like Schultz who could self-finance his campaign would siphon votes from the eventual Democratic nominee – which they argue would help Republican President Donald Trump win re-election in 2020.

In his speech, Schultz also took aim at Trump, saying “the damage this presidential administration has already inflicted on our democratic institutions and ideals is severe.”

And Schultz promised that if elected, he wouldn’t berate his cabinet and other top officials.

“I won’t humiliate them on Twitter or make decisions so outrageous that they feel compelled to resign in protest,” he explained, in an indirect slight at the president.

Source: Fox News Politics

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced by a federal judge on March 13 to an additional three and a half years in prison — the second sentencing the 69-year-old has received in recent days.

Previously, on March 7, Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison. He was convicted of eight bank and tax fraud charges last August, which made him the first campaign associate of Trump’s to be found guilty by jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-running investigation.

The sentence on March 13 is on top of the roughly four-year prison sentence Manafort received on March 7 in a separate criminal case in Virginia.

Mueller is believed to be wrapping up his probe, which has been shrouded in secrecy, with a report to be finished sometime this year — although the exact time is open to speculation.

Dozens of people have been either indicted, convicted, or entered a guilty plea as part of the investigation, which began in May 2017. Several former Trump campaign associates – Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos – are among the scalps via Mueller’s team, while at least 25 are Russian officials.

Here’s a closer look at those who have faced charges throughout Mueller’s probe.

Roger Stone

Roger Stone, a longtime political adviser to Trump, was indicted on charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering by Mueller’s office.

Stone, 66, was arrested in Florida on Jan. 25, a spokesperson for Mueller’s office confirmed. For months, Stone had warned he could be indicted, publicly saying he believed Mueller was investigating whether he had knowledge of WikiLeaks releasing hacked emails of Democrats during the 2016 campaign. Stone has repeatedly denied doing so, however.

The indictment alleges Stone worked to obstruct the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records sought by the committee and persuading a witness to provide false testimony.

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month before resigning, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.

Flynn reportedly lied about his talks with Russia’s ambassador to Washington. In late 2016, while former President Barack Obama was still in office, the two allegedly spoke about the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia.

This raised concerns that Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, misled Trump officials about his conversations with Russian officials.

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort turned himself in to authorities in October.

Paul Manafort turned himself in to authorities in October. (AP Photo)

The special counsel filed a 32-count indictment on Feb. 22, 2018, against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates, accusing the pair of tax evasion and bank fraud.

The indictment accused Manafort and Gates of doctoring documents to inflate the income of their businesses and then using those fraudulent documents to obtain loans. It also accused Manafort of evading taxes from 2010 through 2014 and, in some of the years, concealing his foreign bank accounts.

Manafort turned himself into federal authorities in the fall of 2018. The 69-year-old served as Trump’s campaign manager for a few months in 2016. Gates, Manafort’s business associate, also turned himself in at the time.

On June 15, 2018, Manafort was jailed after a federal judge revoked his $10 million bail based on new witness tampering charges brought by Mueller.

Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes on Aug. 21, 2018, in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates. He later pleaded guilty in a second case and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team.

On March 7, he was sentenced to 47 months in prison. He was credited with the 9 months he had already spent in prison, so he will only have to serve 38 months or just more than 3 years.

Days later, on March 13, a federal judge sentenced Manafort to an additional three and a half years of prison. The sentence is on top of the roughly four-year prison sentence Manafort received last week in a separate criminal case in Virginia.

Richard Gates

Richard Gates pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Richard Gates pleaded not guilty to all charges. (The Associated Press)

Richard Gates was named alongside Manafort in the recent charges brought by the special counsel. He’s accused of 11 counts related to filing false income tax returns and three counts of failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

Gates pleaded guilty in February 2018 to federal conspiracy and false-statements charges.

A superseding criminal complaint says Gates was charged with conspiracy against the United States between 2006 and 2017.

George Papadopoulos

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to the charges against him.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to the charges against him. (Alexandria Sheriff’s Office)

A former foreign policy adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI regarding “the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials,” according to court documents.

He also reportedly tried to set up meetings between Russian and Trump campaign officials on various occasions.

Papadopoulos was sentenced in September 2018 to 14 days in prison, 13 months supervised release, 200 hours community service and a $9,500 fine for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe.

“My entire life has been turned upside down, I hope to have a second chance to redeem myself,” he said during his sentencing.

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Dec. 12. 

Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Dec. 12.  (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Formerly Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges that arose from two separate investigations – one by federal prosecutors in New York, and the other by Mueller.

Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Moscow. He was sentenced on Dec. 12, 2018.

Alex van der Zwaan

Attorney Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his interactions with Gates.

Attorney Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his interactions with Gates. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Mueller’s team charged Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe in federal court in February 2018. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in prison and given a $20,000 fine in April.

Van der Zwaan was released from prison in June and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

According to charging documents, a law firm hired by the Ukraine Ministry of Justice in 2012 employed van der Zwaan. He admitted to lying about his interactions with Gates.

The charge against van der Zwaan did not involve election meddling or the Trump campaign’s operations. It stemmed from the special counsel’s investigation into a covert Washington lobbying campaign Manafort and Gates are accused of directing on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests.

Richard Pinedo

Richard Pinedo, a California man who sold bank accounts to Russians meddling in the election, pleaded guilty in February 2018 to using stolen identities to set up the accounts. He was sentenced in October to six months in prison, six months in home confinement and two years of supervised release.

The U.S. government said Pinedo did not know that he was dealing with Russians when he sold the accounts. Since his arrest, Pinedo has provided investigators with "significant assistance" in identity theft probes, prosecutors said.

During his sentencing, Pinedo told the judge he took "full responsibility" and understood "there needs to be consequences" for his actions. Federal sentencing guidelines called for Pinedo to serve between 12 and 18 months behind bars, but prosecutors did not recommend a particular sentence, noting his cooperation with officials.

13 Russian nationals

A grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies in February 2018 for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election. In the case, Mueller detailed a sophisticated plot to wage “information warfare” on the U.S.

The indictment was the first to be brought against Russian nationals in Mueller’s investigation.

However, the Justice Department said the indictment does not allege that the interference changed the outcome of the election.

"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity," said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe.

12 Russian intelligence officers

The Justice Department in July 2018 announced that 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election.

All 12 are members of GRU, the Russian intelligence agency.

Fox News’ Ann Schmidt, Adam Shaw, Samuel Chamberlain, Jake Gibson, Alex Pappas, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

Paul Manafort’s prison stay was extended Wednesday — nearly a week after he was sentenced to 47 months on bank and tax fraud charges in a separate case. The former Trump campaign chairman is now slated to spend a total of 81 months in prison.

He was given extra prison time at his second sentencing in connection with his guilty plea related to foreign lobbying and witness tampering.

In August, Manafort became the first Trump campaign associate to be found guilty by a jury as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-running probe. He was convicted of eight bank and tax fraud charges at that time.

PAUL MANAFORT SENTENCED ON FOREIGN LOBBYING AND WITNESS TAMPERING CHARGES

Manafort has been the subject of an investigation over his dealings in Ukraine several years ago — he didn’t file as a foreign agent until June 2017. But Mueller has incorporated that investigation into his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump associates.

Manafort was convicted on multiple counts of financial fraud last year in connection with his Ukranian work, and is in prison. In November, Mueller accused Manafort of lying "on a variety of subject matters" since his plea deal, thus violating that agreement.

Read on for a look at Manafort’s work with the Trump campaign and how he is connected to the Russia investigation.

What kind of foreign work did Manafort do?

Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for President Trump, departs after a bond hearing as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing Russia investigation, at a U.S. District Court in Washington.

Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for President Trump, departs after a bond hearing as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation, at a U.S. District Court in Washington. (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

A GOP operative who worked for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Manafort reportedly began his work in Republican politics in the 1970s.

Eventually, Manafort was hired by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a controversial pro-Russia politician who was ousted from power twice. After Yanukovych was elected president in 2010, Manafort reportedly stayed on as an adviser and worked on other projects in Eastern Europe, including the Party of Regions political party.

Manafort also worked for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. In 2005, Manafort allegedly came up with a plan to influence U.S. politics, business dealings and the media in order to “greatly benefit the Putin government,” according to The Associated Press.

Deripaska is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and signed a $10 million annual contract with Manafort in 2006; they maintained a business relationship until at least 2009.

Financial records obtained by The New York Times indicated that Manafort was in debt to pro-Russian interests by up to $17 million prior to joining Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

He also took more than a dozen trips to Moscow and frequently talked to Putin allies over a period of about 10 years, McClatchy reported. He traveled to Kiev at least 19 times in 20 months after the February 2014 removal of Ukraine’s pro-Russia leader.

How was Manafort involved with Trump’s campaign?

Manafort joined Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016 to help wrangle delegates ahead of the Republican National Convention in Ohio, something he’d done for former President Gerald Ford.

Just two months later, Manafort became Trump’s campaign chairman.

Manafort’s resignation from the campaign was announced on August 19, 2016, after The Times reported that he’d received $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party between 2007 and 2012.

Manafort and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. She reportedly was said to have damaging information on Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, which was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump."

What was Manafort charged with?

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, one focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, hides behind a car visor as he leaves his home in Alexandria, Va., after being asked to surrender to federal authorities.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, one focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, hides behind a car visor as he leaves his home in Alexandria, Va., after being asked to surrender to federal authorities. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Along with his former business associate Rick Gates, Manafort was initially indicted in October 2017 on multiple counts that included: conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, false statements and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Nearly four months later, in February 2018, the pair were hit with additional tax evasion and bank fraud charges. These charges involved much of the same conduct Manafort and Gates were initially accused of, but the amount of money Manafort said to have laundered through offshore accounts increased to $30 million.

In June 2018, Mueller’s team brought additional charges of obstruction of justice against Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate. The charges against Manafort and Gates don’t relate to allegations of misconduct during Trump’s campaign.

Mueller also accused Manafort of secretly paying former European politicians to lobby on behalf of Ukraine.

Manafort was found guilty of eight counts in August in the first trial victory for Mueller’s team. The judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

In September, Manafort pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with Mueller’s team ahead of his second trial. According to Politico, the plea deal includes a 10-year cap for how long Manafort will be in prison. It also includes allowing Manafort to serve his time for both trials concurrently.

He received a nearly 4-year prison sentence on March 7 after a federal jury in Virginia convicted him on eight counts of bank and tax fraud last year. A week later, on March 13, he received an additional three and a half years on foreign lobbying and witness tampering charges.

Manafort previously maintained his innocence despite all of the charges brought before him — but he has since expressed remorse for his actions.

"I am sorry for what I have done and all the activities that have gotten us here today," Manafort said in a written statement in March, begging a judge for mercy.

Fox News’ Ann Schmidt, Jake Gibson, Alex Pappas, Matt Richardson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

MANCHESTER, N.H. — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is headed this weekend to the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House, fueling speculation that the two-term progressive mayor of America’s largest city is seriously considering a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

De Blasio’s political team announced late Tuesday night that the mayor and his wife, Chirlane McCray, would spend Saturday afternoon in Manchester, and on Sunday travel to Claremont, the birthplace of McCray’s mother.

DE BLASIO BLASTS REP. OMAR’S ISRAEL COMMENTS

A release from de Blasio’s team added that “more stops may be added. A full schedule for the trip will be released later this week.”

The trip to New Hampshire follows a visit last month to Iowa, the state that votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar. And last weekend, de Blasio and his wife traveled to South Carolina, the state that holds the first southern primary along the road to the White House.

De Blasio planned a Feb. 15 visit to the Granite State, but canceled after the fatal shooting of a New York City police officer earlier that week. But he did travel to Massachusetts to speak at a forum at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics on Feb. 14.

Last month, the mayor told New York City reporters “I’m not ruling it out” when asked about his 2020 intentions.

BIDEN STRONGLY HINTS AT 2020 RUN

DeBlasio’s predecessor at City Hall in New York, former three-term Mayor Mike Bloomberg, announced last week that he would not run for the Democratic nomination after seriously considering a bid. Bloomberg made a two-day campaign-style swing through New Hampshire in late January, as he was weighing a 2020 run.

If de Blasio runs, he would enter a crowded field of candidates.

Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have launched bids.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, are also running, as are Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

THE BETO WAITING GAME – HAS O’ROURKE MISSED HIS MOMENT?

A number of other Democrats are moving toward White House bids, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

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Beto O’Rourke’s headed to Iowa this weekend. He just made the rounds at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin. He’s stayed in the headlines with creative, at times unusual, gimmicks like live-streaming his dental appointment and posting soulful blogs from the road.

And ahead of his trip to the state that votes first in the presidential caucus calendar, O’Rourke has launched over 300 Facebook ads touting that he’s made his 2020 decision: "People in communities across the country have been reaching out and asking me if I’m planning on running in 2020. I have made a decision on that. Sign up today to be first to know what’s next. I’d like for you to be a part of it."

O’ROURKE CALLS FOR RIPPING DOWN EXISTING BORDER WALLS

But amid rampant speculation that the former congressman from Texas turned rock star in the eyes of many Democrats is preparing to launch a White House run is concern that the waiting game is taking its toll on his unique brand. As the deadline for O’Rourke to first make a decision and now announce that decision keeps slipping, it’s led some party pundits to wonder whether the candidate who nearly ousted conservative GOP Sen. Ted Cruz last November may have missed his moment to capture the Democratic nomination.

Timing is everything in politics – think then-Sen. Barack Obama catching lightning in a bottle as he captured the Democratic presidential nomination and eventually the White House in the 2008 election cycle.

Should O’Rourke have jumped into the race in December or January, when ‘Beto mania’ was at a fever pitch?

“I do think that Beto O’Rourke’s star was much stronger a few months ago and the polls indicate that every week that goes by, that he plays this game, he drops even further,” said a longtime Democratic consultant, who asked for anonymity to speak more freely.

But veteran Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson strongly disagrees.

“He may win or lose the primary, but it’s hard to see any primary voter in winter 2020 voting against him because they held a grudge that he spent too long thinking in winter 2019,” argued Ferguson, who served as a senior spokesman on the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign but remains neutral this cycle.

“As we watch Trump announce things that don’t exist and irrationally react to conspiracy theories, voters won’t resent someone who takes the time to be sure about a decision. Being thoughtful isn’t a vice, being rash and irrational is,” he emphasized.

BETO O’ROURKE VS. DONALD TRUMP

Another strategist was more blunt.

“Anyone claiming it’s too late for candidates to jump into the race either has an agenda or is just plain stupid,” said the strategist, who also asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

Still, the drawn-out pre-announcement period has allowed other big names to dominate the conversation, including numerous high-profile senators who have already declared candidacies as well as former Vice President Joe Biden — who also has not announced his decision but is polling much better than O’Rourke at this early stage.

O’Rourke’s trajectory from here is anyone’s guess.

The three-term congressman from El Paso first rose to national attention last summer and autumn, as he challenged Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections. O’Rourke raked in an eye-popping $80 million during his campaign, thanks in part to his uplifting message and his mastery of social media.

He immediately became a Democratic rock star. And like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another darling of the party’s progressive base, O’Rourke quickly reached celebrity status, being referenced only by his first name.

O’Rourke narrowly lost to Cruz — by just over 200,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast. After his better-than-expected performance against the GOP incumbent, there were immediate calls by some Democrats for O’Rourke to run for president.

After saying days after the November elections that "I will not be a candidate for president in 2020,” O’Rourke quickly changed his tune, explaining that "I haven’t made any decisions about anything yet.”

By mid-December, he acknowledged at a town hall that he was considering a White House run.

In early January, with Beto mania heating up, O’Rourke live-streamed a visit to his dentist, which while going viral was also greeted with plenty of derision on social media.

Days later, as the Democratic presidential contenders were busy building organizations and making frequent stops in the early voting states, O’Rourke tried to find clarity. So he embarked on a solo road trip across the country, posting rambling dispatches on Medium.

BETO O’ROURKE’S ‘PRIVILEGE’ MAY BE HURTING HIS WITH WOMEN

That trip came under attack from New York Times reporter Lisa Lerer, who argued that no female politician could get away with O’Rourke’s style of exploring a presidential campaign bid.

“Imagine, they say, if Beto were Betsy,” Lisa Lerer, a reporter, wrote in The New York Times. “What would the reception have been if a female candidate left her three small children home and spent several weeks traveling the country, posting stream-of-consciousness diary entries? Or if she chose to forgo a Senate race that would provide a greater opportunity for victory?”

O’Rourke, in a much-anticipated early February interview with Oprah Winfrey, said he’d make a 2020 decision “really soon … before the end of this month.”

But that deadline came and went.

Two weeks ago came word that O’Rourke had ruled out a 2020 Senate challenge against Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and would announce his decision on a presidential bid “soon.”

O’Rourke then told reporters that he had made a decision, but remained mum on what he had decided.

"I want to make the announcement to everyone at the same time," O’Rourke explained. "I want to do it the right way."

This past weekend, the apparent O’Rourke tease continued, as he attended South by Southwest for the premiere of a documentary about his 2018 Senate campaign.

He avoided revealing or detailing his 2020 intentions.

“I want to make sure I do it the right way and I tell everyone at the same time, so I’ll be doing that,” he once again told reporters when questioned about the delay in any announcement. “I’ve got to be on the timeline that works for my family and for the country.

On Monday night, a video from O’Rourke on Twitter indicated that he would head this upcoming weekend to Iowa to lend a hand to a Democratic state Senate candidate running in a special election. The news came as O’Rourke reportedly had started staffing up in the Hawkeye State.

A new national poll from Monmouth University, meanwhile, indicated a slight deterioration in his popularity. O’Rourke enjoyed a 41 percent-9 percent favorable/unfavorable rating in January. Monmouth’s latest survey, released on Monday, showed O’Rourke with a 38 percent-12 percent favorable/unfavorable rating.

The longtime consultant critical of his approach argued that by waiting, O’Rourke is “just going to be one more candidate because he didn’t strike when he was hot.”

But others point to a lack of a breakout candidate so far in the large field of Democratic presidential contenders. They argue that a campaign launch by O’Rourke could shake things up.

A consultant who spoke anonymously pointed to Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont topping the Democratic nomination polls, arguing that “the primary is a complete free-for-all with the two so-called frontrunners artificially inflated by name ID and the fact that their records have yet to be vetted. No one has any idea which candidate is going to ultimately connect with early state voters until they’re well into doing it.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Vice President Joe Biden dropped a major hint on Tuesday that he’ll likely launch a Democratic presidential campaign in the coming weeks.

Biden was greeted with chants of “run Joe, run” as he took the podium in Washington, D.C. at the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union. Many in the crowd also were waving ‘Run, Joe, Run,’ and ‘Fire Fighters for Biden’ signs.

BIDEN TEAM GETTING READY FOR LIKELY 2020 LAUNCH

A few minutes later, during his keynote address, Biden said: “I appreciate the energy you showed when I got up here. Save it a little longer. I may need it in a few weeks.”

The comment brought a standing ovation from the audience.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Biden joked. “Be careful what you wish for.”

Biden – who represented Delaware in the Senate for nearly four decades before becoming vice president under President Barack Obama – has been moving closer and closer to launching what would be his third bid for the White House.

Sources familiar with the planning of Biden’s inner circle last week confirmed to Fox News that top advisers to the former vice president are getting their ducks in a row, figuring out a campaign structure and reaching out to veteran Democratic operatives who would be involved. Those sources pointed to a likely April campaign launch.

BIDEN, SANDERS, TOP LATEST 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY POLLS

An endorsement by the politically powerful IAFF also is likely in the works.

The IAFF, which represents more than 300,000 workers, has had a long and friendly relationship with Biden, dating back to his years in the Senate. And the union’s longtime general president Harold Schaitberger has been very vocal about his desire to see Biden run for the White House again.

Biden praised the firefighters in the audience, saying “there is really literally no group of men or women I’d rather stand with than all of you.”

“You are the heart and soul, the sinew and the backbone of this country,” he emphasized.

During his address, the former vice president made a spirited pitch for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. The fund, which was opened in 2011 and compensates for the deaths and illnesses of people – including many first responders – due to exposure to toxins at the sites of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, has seen it payouts cut by as much as 70 percent.

“It must be permanently funded. Period!,” Biden argued.

Biden went on to say that “I think about that time after 9/11 a lot these days. We were so united,” as he lamented the current state of politics. “Today we seem to be at each other’s throats. … Mean pettiness has overtaken politics.”

BIDEN WALKS BACK PRAISE OF PENCE

Biden has led in recent Democratic primary polls even though he hasn’t announced a campaign. But as he makes preparations, he’s had to navigate the ever-changing politics of the party, including an ascendant liberal wing. He recently walked back comments calling Republican Vice President Pence “a decent guy” after criticism from some leading progressives.

“You notice I get criticized for saying anything nice about a Republican,” Biden said on Tuesday, apparently referencing the incident. “Folks, that’s not who we are. That isn’t how we got here.”

While he didn’t outwardly mention Pence’s boss, President Trump, Biden did take aim at the current president.

The former vice president highlighted that what defines the American people is that “in America, everyone gets a shot. That’s what the next president of the United States needs to understand  and that’s what I don’t think this current president doesn’t understand at all.”

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The New York attorney general’s office on Monday handed subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records involving Trump’s failed bid to buy the Buffalo Bills and other business dealings with the Trump Organization, according to a report.

The inquiry, spearheaded by the recently-elected Letitia James, was prompted by the congressional testimony of Trump’s ex-attorney Michal Cohen, who alleged that Trump deliberately inflated his assets to improve his chances of buying the NFL team, the New York Times reported, citing a person who was briefed on the subpoenas.

The request to Deutsche Bank specifically sought records on loans, mortgages, lines of credit, and financial transactions in connection with multiple Trump properties, the report said.

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Deutsche Bank, which is already under two separate congressional investigations, is one of the few financial lenders that has been willing to work with Trump in recent years, according to the Times.

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He’s not even a declared candidate, but former Vice President Joe Biden remains on the top of the polls in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, including a new national survey released Monday from Monmouth University.

And right behind him in public opinion surveys is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who last month launched his second straight bid for the White House.

BIDEN TEAM COLLECTING RESUMES AHEAD OF LIKELY BID BY FORMER V.P.

It’s no surprise that the 76-year-old Biden and 77-year-old Sanders are ahead of the rest of the ever-expanding field of Democratic White House hopefuls, which right now stands at 14. It illustrates that polling in the 2020 race – at this very early point in the cycle – is being dominated by name recognition. Biden and Sanders have national profiles that overshadow the other contenders, including high-profile Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

The latest evidence is the Monmouth poll, which puts Biden at 28 percent, followed by Sanders at 25 percent.

Both are far ahead of Harris at 10 percent and Warren at 8 percent. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas – who’s leaning toward a presidential run – registered at 6 percent. Five percent of those polled were supporting Booker, with 3 percent backing Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

All of the other declared or potential contenders stood at 1 percent or lower.

It was a similar story in a poll of likely Democratic Iowa caucus-goers released this weekend. Iowa votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar.

Biden topped the survey at 27 percent, with Sanders 2 percentage points back. Warren stood at 9 percent and Harris at 7 percent in the poll, which was conducted by the Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom. O’Rourke registered at 5 percent, with Booker and Klobuchar at 3 percent. Everyone else stood at 1 percent or less.

FOX NEWS POLL: MAJORITY THINK DEMS HAVE CHANCE TO UNSEAT TRUMP

The poll indicated that Biden had a 15-point lead over Sanders among voters 45 and older, with Sanders holding a 9-point advantage among younger voters.

There’s one exception so far to the Biden-Sanders pecking order. In New Hampshire – which traditionally holds the first presidential primary – the independent senator from Vermont actually holds a slight edge over Biden in the two most recent polls.

The Iowa survey indicates strong support for GOP President Trump among Iowa Republicans, with 81 approving of the job Trump’s doing in the White House.

But as the president runs for re-election, the poll shows that 40 percent of likely Iowa Republicans say they hope Trump faces a challenger for the GOP nomination. A recent University of New Hampshire survey found similar results among those likely to vote in the Granite State’s Republican primary.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted March 1-4 among 746 total registered voters. The sampling error was 3.6 percentage points. Results based on 310 registered Democrats and leaning Democratic voters had a sampling error of 5.6 percentage points.

The CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll was conducted March 3-6 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, with 400 March 3 through 6 among a random sample of 400 registered Republicans and 401 likely Democratic caucus goers questioned by live phone operator. The survey’s sampling error for caucus questions was 4.9 percentage points.

Source: Fox News Politics

CONCORD, New Hampshire – Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday returned to the state that launched him into political orbit.

Making his first appearance in New Hampshire since announcing his second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, the independent senator from neighboring Vermont pushed his populist agenda of progressive proposals to a crowd of 850 packed into a local conference center on a snowy late-winter day in northern New England.

Sanders’ crushing victory over Hillary Clinton in the first-in-the-nation primary state’s 2016 contest skyrocketed the one-time longshot into a marathon battle with the eventual Democratic Party nominee, which didn’t end until Sanders endorsed Clinton after the conclusion of the primary and caucus calendar.

BERNIE SANDERS SLAMS PRESIDENT TRUMP

“I want to offer a very special thanks to the people of New Hampshire. In 2016, this is where the political revolution took off,” he said to loud applause.

Bernie Sanders campaigning in Concord, N.H., on Sunday.

Bernie Sanders campaigning in Concord, N.H., on Sunday. (Fox News)

Sanders repeatedly targeted President Trump in his nearly hour-long speech, saying he “consistently lies.”

And, Sanders charged that “under President Trump, the very concept of democracy is under attack by a president who seems intent on emulating the authoritarian leaders in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and elsewhere that he seems to have so much affection for.”

OCASIO-CORTEZ OUTDRAWS WARREN, KLOBUCHAR, AT SXSW

The candidate pushed his progressive proposals, such as criminal justice reform, the “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health care plan and universal affordable childcare, and once again vowed “to make public colleges and universities tuition free.”

He also said “that climate change is not a hoax but is an existential threat to the future of our country and the entire planet… We will transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”

However, Sanders made no mention of the Green New Deal, the sweeping proposal beloved by progressives but ridiculed by many Republicans that aims to transform the country’s economy to fight climate change — while enacting a host of new health-care and welfare programs.

POTENTIAL 2020 CONTENDER SEN. BENNET CALLS OMAR COMMENTS ‘HATEFUL’

As he was making his longstanding push for a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, Sanders said, “Today, we say to Walmart, the fast food industry,” before being interrupted by a supporter who yelled, “f— you.”

The outburst brought cheers from the crowd and Sanders quickly remarked, “well, that’s one way to say it.”

Sanders didn’t take any questions from the audience or from local and national reporters. After he posed for selfies and shook hands with some of his supporters, he met briefly with a small group of his top Granite State supporters before heading to a second campaign event in the southwestern New Hampshire city of Keene.

The Republican National Committee took aim at Sanders, saying his “radical push for socialism is supercharging the Democratic primary to the left.”

“With calls for government control of healthcare, education and a takeover of nearly every aspect of our lives with the Green New Deal, Sanders’ socialist platform will rob Granite Staters of their freedoms while bankrupting America at a cost of trillions of dollars,” added RNC spokeswoman Mandi Merritt.

2020 LONGSHOT BUTTIGIEG CALLS FOR PACKING SCOTUS

Sanders arrived in the Granite State on a roll in his campaign – he’s near the top of nearly every national and early voting state public opinion poll in the Democratic nomination race and he raked in a whopping $6 million in the first 24 hours following his February launch.

But, he also has faced competition from a large field of rivals – many of them younger and pushing the same progressive proposals Sanders moved from the extreme to the mainstream of the party in the 2016 campaign.

While many of Sanders’ 2016 supporters are backing him once again, some have said they’re shopping around.

Adam Martson of Dover said “I’d definitely be open to” a younger Democratic contender advocating the same progressive proposals who may have a better shot at winning the general election.

“I’m really interested in who can beat Trump,” he added.

Kendall Rasmussen, who drove up from Medford, Mass., said she backed Sanders in 2016.

“I’m probably leaning towards Bernie but I’m not actually prepared to make a commitment yet. I just can’t say yet,” she explained. “Who’s going to win against Trump. That’s a huge factor.”

And, Melissa Fisk of Concord – one of the few 2016 Clinton supporters to attend the rally – said she’s checking out all the Democratic 2020 contenders and is far from deciding.

“It’s anybody but Trump,” she emphasized.

But, Lorna Wakefield of Sanborton said she’s sticking with Sanders 100 percent.

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“Bernie’s the one who started this all. We’re with Bernie,” she emphasized.

And, Chris Liquori of Portsmouth – a member of the Sanders steering committee in New Hampshire – argued, “why settle for the imitation when you’ve got somebody who’s been doing this for 40 years, who brought the party to its knees and brought them where they are now. Why would you go with anyone else?”

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Do you want ice cream or cake?

As someone who recently celebrated a birthday, I know it’s hard to decide.

The easy solution is an ice cream cake.

Head to Baskin-Robbins. Dairy Queen. Carvel. All we need is ice cream cake.

Congressional Republicans may need to enlist the services of Fudgie the Whale themselves. They too face a dessert dilemma. Ice cream or cake? Funds for a border wall? Or money for a military spending priority in their state or district?

This is where Fudgie comes in.

President Trump’s national emergency declaration plunders various appropriations silos, which Congress targeted for specific Pentagon and “Military Construction” projects. The national emergency redistributes money for the wall. GOPers want the wall. But they also don’t want President Trump to pilfer their pet project back home.

So, maybe the best solution to the quandary is the appropriations equivalent of an ice cream cake.

All lawmakers know right now are the general pots of money from which the Trump administration will loot funds for the wall. But everyone’s in the dark when it comes to specifics.

“I asked for the particulars,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., after having breakfast at the Pentagon with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations and Armed Services Committees also wrote to Shanahan demanding what programs were on the chopping block.

“We request that you produce the requested documents and information no later than March 21, 2019,” wrote the Democrats.

This is what happens when the power of the purse is ceded to the executive. No one on Capitol Hill knows what’s going on.

The Senate is cruising toward following the House’s lead and voting to terminate the national emergency. The House already voted to undo the president’s action. The Senate will follow suit. At least four Senate Republicans will join all 47 Senate Democrats to cease the national emergency. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is among the four public GOP yeas. Paul says there are about ten other GOPers who will likely vote to halt the national emergency.

“If there is four, there’s ten,” said one Republican senator to Fox.

But there aren’t enough votes in the House or Senate to override a prospective veto by Trump. Sixty-seven yeas are required in the Senate to override a presidential veto.

However, that’s why the list of “particulars,” as Shelby put it, is so important. If senators actually had the concrete information at their fingertips as to which military projects the administration may raid for the wall, it’s possible even more senators could vote to rebuff Trump.

If you’re for the wall, perhaps that’s a good argument to withhold the list until after the Senate’s taken the vote.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, says he’d like to see the docket ahead of time.

“I would certainly support that. I know a number of people who probably would,” said Romney.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., keeps saying that Republicans are having a “spirited discussion” about the vote to disapprove of the national emergency declaration and potential impacts on key military projects. McConnell backed Mr. Trump’s decision to declare the national emergency in an effort to avoid a second government shutdown. But McConnell adds “I advised the president not to take this route.” The Kentucky Republican also says he doesn’t “have a solution as to how this ends.” The only thing that’s clear is the Senate will vote to reject the national emergency declaration, tempting President Trump to issue his first veto.

A vote to overturn the resolution is yet another example of Senate GOP dissension when it comes to the president. In recent months, Republican senators broke with the president on a speedy withdrawal from Syria, how the administration dealt with Saudi Arabia following the death of Jamal Khashoggi and the cancellation of some Russian sanctions. Fox is told Trump was close to facing a “jailbreak” of GOP defections had the government not re-opened when it did following the shutdown.

A vote to overturn the resolution is yet another example of Senate GOP dissension when it comes to the president.

If the Senate approves the package, the House and Senate are aligned and the package goes to President Trump, begging for the veto.

President Obama vetoed his first piece of legislation after only 11 months on the job. President George W. Bush never vetoed a bill until he was in office for five-and-a-half years. President Bill Clinton didn’t use a veto until two-and-a-half years into his presidency.

Presidents have only vetoed 2,500 pieces of legislation in the history of the republic. But the Founders wanted to give Congress one last chance to go over the head of the executive. That’s a veto override.

One of the few things more rare than a veto is a successful veto override.

The gambit requires a two-thirds vote by both bodies of Congress. That’s 67 votes in the Senate, provided all 100 senators cast ballots. And 427 House members cast ballots on the bill to block the national emergency last month. So the yardstick there is 285 yeas. There were 245 members who voted in favor of the bill. Thus, the House fell 40 votes short.

We are not expecting a successful override of a prospective veto of the national emergency. The math simply doesn’t work.

The last unsuccessful attempt to override a veto came in January 2016. President Barack Obama vetoed a Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare. The House voted 241-186, well short of the 285 yeas needed to override. The maneuver never went to the Senate since the override maneuver failed in the House.

Note that the vote to override is based on how many lawmakers take part in the override effort itself, not how many members voted on the bill when it passed both bodies. So, determining a precise number required to override is impossible until the veto override vote concludes.

The last successful veto override came in September 2016. Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The measure allowed families of 9/11 victims to sue those responsible or the attacks, including Saudi Arabia. The Senate voted 97-1 to override Obama; 66 votes were needed. The House voted 348-77 with one lawmaker voting present. And 284 yeas were needed for the override.

The potential veto override attempt will only go to the House, since that’s the body which originated the disapproval legislation of the president’s national emergency declaration. If the House comes up short with the override initiative, the effort dies there. It never moves to the Senate.

That’s an advantage for some Republican senators. They can be for the national emergency. Oppose Mr. Trump plundering money for the wall from projects important to them and know they’ll never have to cast a vote to override the expected veto. GOP senators can spin their votes and positions any way they want.

It’s the ice cream cake of politics. Having it both ways. Getting ice cream and cake, wrapped into one.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking Friday at an Economic Club event, said she doesn’t think embattled Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is anti-Semitic.

“I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic, I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning that she didn’t realize,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi defended the congresswoman a day after the House passed an anti-hate resolution, prompted largely by a series of perceptibly anti-Semitic comments made by Omar.

Omar — whose comments about Israel were already condemned — also took aim at former President Obama in an interview with Politico on Friday, saying his message of “hope” and “change” was a “mirage.”

“Recalling the ‘caging of kids’ at the U.S.-Mexico border and the ‘droning of countries around the world’ on Obama’s watch," Omar charged that Obama "operated within the same fundamentally broken framework as his Republican successor,” the piece read.

“We can’t be only upset with Trump… His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies," Omar reportedly said. "They just were more polished than he was."

“And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile,” she said.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and Liam Quinn contributed to this report.

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MANCHESTER, N.H. – Potential presidential contender Sen. Michael Bennet took aim Friday at recent controversial comments by freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota that were widely condemned as anti-Semitic, calling them "hateful."

“I think that what she said was something that shouldn’t be said,” the Democrat from Colorado said in an interview on Friday, as he made a swing through New Hampshire as he weighs running for the White House.

REP. OMAR CRITICIZES FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Omar, a Somali-American and one of two Muslim women in Congress, ignited a intra-party firestorm last week when she once again suggested that groups supportive of Israel were pushing members of Congress to have "allegiance to a foreign country."

After several days of infighting by Democrats, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a broad anti-bigotry and anti-hate resolution prompted by Omar’s comments. The resolution was overwhelming approved in a bipartisan vote, but some Republicans argued the broadening of the language was a ploy to distract from Omar’s remarks.

“I’m comfortable with what they passed,” Bennet said. “I think that it was right in this case to demonstrate that the House of Representatives wasn’t going to tolerate hateful statements like the one that was made.”

And Bennet spotlighted his heritage, saying “my mom and her parents were Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust and almost all the rest of the family was killed.”

He explained that “they eventually made their way to America” to escape anti-Semitism.

TRUMP CLAIMS DEMOCRATS HAVE BECOME ‘ANTI-ISRAEL PARTY’

Republican President Donald Trump on Friday – pointing to the final resolution – attacked the Democrats and said they “have become an anti-Israel party. They have become an anti-Jewish party.”

Bennet took issue with the president’s comments, saying “he’s way off base. It’s absolutely untrue. Look. This is part of what Donald Trump does and people should understand it. At every turn – because he knows he’s fading – he tries to disqualify Democrats and the Democratic Party.”

“The Democratic Party in Washington supports Israel,” he emphasized.

And taking aim at the president, he called Trump’s tenure in the White House “a sorry chapter.”

BUTTIGIEG URGES SCRAPPING ELECTORAL COLLEGE DURING NH SWING

The Republican National Committee questioned whether Bennet could resonate in Democratic nomination race that they say is moving further to the left.

“Bennet will be forced to choose between endorsing out-of-touch policy proposals that will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, or staying barely known and barely registering with voters,” RNC Spokesperson Mandi Merritt said.

Bennet sat down for an interview during a jam-packed quick trip to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. Last month he stopped in Iowa, which votes first in the presidential caucus and primary calendar.

He said his decision on running for the White House would come in “weeks, not months.

Bennet, who traveled to the Granite State with his teenage daughter and an aide, said his family seems to be OK with a potential presidential run.

“I need know there’s a real opportunity for me to make difference in the race and that I could have a chance to win the race. That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” he explained.

But he added that “I’m inclined to do it.”

If he runs, Bennet would face off against a large field of contenders (it currently stands at 14), many with bigger name ID and bigger campaign war chests. And there’s already a candidate from Colorado in the race. The state’s former two-term governor – John Hickenlooper – launched his campaign on Monday.

“I don’t think two candidates from Colorado are a bad thing at all,” he said.

Bennet, who used to work for Hickenlooper, added that the former governor’s “a good friend of mine” but added “we’ve very different people with very different experiences.”

Source: Fox News Politics

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg on Friday highlighted his push to add justices to the Supreme Court and scrap the Electoral College in presidential elections, as he campaigned in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor, who launched a presidential exploratory committee in January, said the 2020 election should not be about President Trump, telling reporters that “of course we’ll confront him, we’ll call him out. We’ll beat him. But at the end of the day, it’s not about him, it’s about us.”

SHINE MOVING FROM TRUMP WHITE HOUSE TO RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

As he headlined "Politics and Eggs" at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics – a must stop for White House hopefuls – the 37-year old contender and Afghanistan war veteran joked that he’s a “young person with a funny name coming out of nowhere….I think it’s safe to say I’m not extremely famous.”

Buttigieg highlighted that when it comes to his long shot bid for the Democratic nomination, a “big part of the challenge for us is simply getting known.”

He spotlighted his call to scrap Electoral College and let the national popular vote determine the winner of a presidential election.

“I simply believe that every American ought to have the same vote, the same voice, no matter where you live, whether you’re in a big city or small community, whether you’re in a state like Indiana or a state like New Hampshire, that when it comes to choosing a president, everyone’s vote should be strictly equal,” he explained.

BIDEN TEAM QUIETLY GETTING READY FOR LIKELY 2020 LAUNCH

Pete Buttigieg on Friday highlighted his push to add justices to the Supreme Court and scrap the Electoral College in presidential elections, as he campaigned in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

Pete Buttigieg on Friday highlighted his push to add justices to the Supreme Court and scrap the Electoral College in presidential elections, as he campaigned in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

The push to scrap the Electoral College isn’t a crowd pleaser in New Hampshire, a small general election battleground state with four electoral votes are always up for grabs.

Of course, the Granite State’s most famous politically for holding the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, so Buttigieg was quick to highlight that “I’m talking about the general election, not the primary calendar. I just wanted to make sure that’s clear to everybody to my New Hampshire audience.”

Buttigieg spotlighted that “the debate must begin” on expanding the Supreme Court to prevent “the perception of the court being a nakedly political institution.”

HOLDER SAYS DEMS SHOULD CONSIDER PACKING SUPREME COURT

He said the plan he finds “most intriguing” would expand the high court to 15 justices, with five appointed by a Democratic president, five by a GOP president, with the other five coming from the appellate bench and being seated only by the unanimous consent of the other ten.

“It just takes the politics out of it a little bit. Because we can’t go on like this, where every time there’s a vacancy, there’s these games being played and then an apocalyptic ideological battle over who the appointee is going to be,” he argued.

Asked by Fox News why he never mentioned Trump’s name during his address and question and answer session with the audience, Buttigieg said “the biggest message I have the current president is ‘it’s not about you.’”

“I just think that in addition to responding to current moment and the current president, we need to be talking about what the next era is going to look like. This president will come and go. This presidency will come and go,” he said.

And he pushed back against criticism from Republicans that the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left with the "Green New Deal" and "Medicare for All" proposals, arguing labeling them as "socialism" won’t be effective for the GOP going forward.

“I know that word’s been used as a kill switch on debate over the years,” he told Fox News.

“But now there’s a new generation coming up who just want to know if ideas work or not. Most Americans are attracted to Medicare for All,” he added. “These are not wacky far left ideas.”

The Republican National Committee took aim at Buttigieg’s long shot status, criticizing his mayoral record and claiming he’s “failing to stand out from the rest” in a Democratic field that now stands at 14 contenders.

“With little-to-no support as other Democrats dominate the 2020 field, Buttigieg is desperate to gain traction with Granite Staters despite not having any major accomplishments to actually run on.,” RNC Spokesperson Mandi Merritt said.

If Buttigieg pulls off a major upset and wins the Democratic nomination, he would become the first openly gay nominee of major political party. But he said it’s not an issue on the campaign trail.

"It’s been remarkable how many interviews and how many appearances, it really has been a non-issue. And that’s historic too in its own way,” he said. “I also recognize that there’s a historic quality to this potential candidacy and that it has the potential to make it just a little easier for the next person who comes along.”

Source: Fox News Politics


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