Sanders, Steyer gain in South Carolina, but Biden still on top in latest poll

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be basking in his victory after the Nevada caucuses, but he can’t celebrate for too long. The South Carolina Primary is right on the corner, and despite Sanders steadily encroaching on first place for weeks in polls, it’s still former Vice President Joe Biden’s state to lose in the weak leading up to the vote, a new CBS/YouGov poll revealed Sunday.

Sanders crushed his competition in Nevada, where Biden finished a distant second. South Carolina has always been the early voting state the vice president has had his eye on, and he’s still got a chance, but Sanders is right behind him now as Biden’s once dominant lead has shrunk to just a five-point advantage over Sanders in the new poll.

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Some of that likely has to do with Biden’s support among black voters shrinking over the last few months. He still maintains the edge, but billionaire Tom Steyer has shot up to second place among the demographic thanks to a furious final effort in the state. Steyer, in fact, is in third place in the poll, which must excite his campaign, considering he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that he’ll need a top-three finish next Saturday to get back into the race.

The CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov between February 20-22, 2020. A representative sample of 2,000 registered voters in South Carolina was selected, including 1,238 self-identified Democrats, as well as independents who plan to vote in the Democratic primary this year. The margin of error is 5.5 points.

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CNN analyst: Republicans ‘may regret’ hoping Sanders wins nomination

President Trump continues to ride the Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but some analysts think he and the Republican might want to think twice about what they’re wishing for.

Trump on Sunday congratulated Sanders on his big win at the Nevada caucuses, which helped increase his lead in the Democratic presidential primary substantially, making him the frontrunner to take on Trump in the general election in November. The president said it remains to be seen if Sanders can hold on, but he just hopes the Democratic Party treats Sanders fairly, perhaps hinting that he believes there may be some sort of effort from more establishment Democrats to stop his victory from happening.

Not everyone is buying Trump’s call for fairness, though. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod, for example, thinks Trump is doing what he can to divide Democrats to boost his own re-election bid.

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There’s also the notion out there that Trump and his supporters believe Sanders give them the best shot at staying in the White House because the senator’s more extreme ideological leanings will turn swing voters back to the GOP. But CNN political commentator Mark McKinnon, who worked for former President George W. Bush, believes Republicans may be too sure of themselves, especially because Sanders is able to rile up passion in his supporters in a fashion similar to Trump himself.

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Clyburn thinks Sanders may make it tougher for Democrats to keep House majority

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) thinks that even if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proves himself the preferred candidate of the Democratic party nationwide, his win could have consequences down the line.

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Clyburn if a victory from Sanders, who describes himself as a Democratic Socialist, could harm the Democrats’ chances of maintaining its majority in the House. Clyburn said it will likely add an “extra burden” in some places like more moderate and conservatives districts in South Carolina, where Democrats pulled upsets in the last midterms. Clyburn said it’ll be a challenge to hold on to those districts if candidates have to advocate for a Democratic Socialist.

“South Carolinians are pretty leery about that title ‘socialist,” he said.

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Clyburn also said he’ll finally make an endorsement this coming Wednesday, the morning after Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina. Clyburn serves as the majority whip, and his support will likely go a long way in the Palmetto State, though it seems unlikely Sanders will get the nod.

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10 things you need to know today: February 23, 2020

1.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has decisively won Nevada’s Democratic caucuses, most major outlets have declared with 50 percent of precincts reporting as of Sunday morning. Sanders has more than twice the votes of his nearest competitor former Vice President Joe Biden, and exit polls taken throughout the day indicated Sanders was well out in front. “We have just put together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition, which is not only going to win in Nevada it’s going to sweep the country,” Sanders said at a rally Saturday in San Antonio, Texas, while results trickled in. Sanders more narrowly won the caucus and primary contests in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month, but Nevada provides a far more diverse testing ground than those heavily white states. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was in a distant third in early caucus results.
[The New York Times, CNN]

2.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday rose South Korea’s coronavirus alert to Level 4, or “serious,” the highest it can possibly go after the number of infections increased to 602 and a fifth person died. Moon didn’t provide specifics as to how the country plans to fight the virus’ spread, but raising the alert level authorizes the government to measures such as banning visitors from certain countries, restricting public transportation, and even locking down cities. Elsewhere, Iran said it would close schools, universities, and cultural centers across 14 provinces after eight people have died from the virus there. In the United States, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday night banning the transportation of any infected people to Costa Mesa, California, where U.S. officials had reportedly planned to move patients into a state-owned facility this week.
[The New York Times, The Associated Press]

3.

In an interview set to air on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien denied being aware of U.S. intelligence reports that Russia is interfering to help President Trump secure a second term in the oval office. He did acknowledge he hasn’t sought out any information about the reports, but he said he considers it a “non-story” based on leaks. O’Brien said the Trump administration has been “very tough” on Russia and has urged Moscow to stay out of U.S. elections, adding that if anyone came forward with something different, he’d be willing to take a look at it more closely. For now, though, he says the report doesn’t “make any sense.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was also briefed that Moscow was attempting to aid his Democratic primary campaign.
[The Associated Press, ABC News]

4.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg finished in third place in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was projected the winner on Saturday night. Buttigieg congratulated Sanders and acknowledged they have many goals in common, but he pivoted to ask that “before we rush to nominate Sen. Sanders … let us take a sober look at what is at stake.” He said Sanders “believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” and even accused Sanders of furthering a “tenor of combat, division, and polarization” that would never change “the toxic tone of our politics.”
[The Week]

5.

Turkey retaliated Saturday by destroying 21 “regime targets” after Russian-backed forces killed a Turkish soldier in a bomb attack in northwest Syria, where tensions are escalating. Ankara has sent thousands of troops into Syria, just south of the Turkish border in an effort an offensive by Syrian President Bashir al-Assad’s forces — who are supported by Moscow — that is forcing thousands of Syrians to flee to Turkey. Talks between Turkey and Russia have stalled, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did say Saturday he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron in March to discuss the situation.
[The Guardian, Politico]

6.

Officials at the Group of 20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi, Arabia agreed Sunday on the wording of a final communique which references climate change, despite the United States’ reported objection its inclusion. The draft contains language concerning the implications of climate change on financial stability, but climate change no longer appears on a list of downside risks to global economic growth. Overall, the communique reportedly predicts an increase in global growth in both 2020 and 2021, but rising geopolitical and trade tensions, as well as policy uncertainty, concerned its authors as possible risks to that forecast.
[Reuters, The Hill]

7.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. underperformed in 2019, its stock rising 11 percent compared to a 31.5 percent total return in the S&P 500, but the conglomerate’s CEO and chair Warren Buffett sought to reassure investors in his annual shareholder Saturday, which is in line with his longstanding opinion that long-term performance should be prioritized over short-term fluctuations in the stock market. He defended the company’s decision to invest heavily in stocks even though it’s been several years since Berkshire Hathaway made a major acquisition of a company. He said while he’d prefer to buy a whole company, the “fickle” stock market means stocks are the safer bet. The 89-year-old Buffett also said the company is well-prepared for the future should he or his 96-year-old business partner and Berkshire vice chair Charlie Munger die.
[The Wall Street Journal, Reuters]

8.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said Saturday he will undergo surgery in March to remove a likely-cancerous tumor on his kidney, adding that he is expected to make a full recovery. “The prognosis is very good and I’m profoundly grateful to my doctors for detecting the tumor early,” he wrote on Twitter. He said he does not anticipate having to undergo chemotherapy for radiation treatment. The 62-year-old Murphy is still expected deliver his annual budget address for the 2021 fiscal year next week, but will then reportedly retreat from public duties before slowly easing back into his role in the weeks following the surgery.
[NJ.com, USA Today]

9.

Lizzo took home the award for entertainer of the year at the 51st NAAC Image Awards on Saturday night, while Just Mercy dominated in the film categories, picking up the outstanding motion picture award, with its stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx winning for their performances. Meanwhile, Lupita Nyong’o, who many people believed should have gotten a closer look at the Academy Awards, took home the hardware for her role in Us. On the TV side, comedy Black-ish and Ava Duvernay’s drama When They See Us dominated. The ceremony also took a moment to pay tribute to the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant who died earlier this year in a helicopter crash.
[Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter]

10.

Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder after seven rounds in Las Vegas on Saturday night, ending the latter’s five-year reign as the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion. Fury, who hails from the United Kingdom, was aggressive during the match, knocking the American Wilder to the floor in the third and fifth rounds. By the end of the seventh round, Wilder’s corner threw in the towel, which meant his title belt would transfer after 10 previous defenses. Wilder praised Fury after the match, but he sounded disappointed that his corner ended the fight, saying he “was ready to go out on my shield.” Fury and Wilder had previously fought in 2018, which ended with the judges ruling the match a split draw.
[ESPN, BBC]

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National security adviser says what he’s heard about Russia aiding Trump re-election doesn’t ‘make any sense’

Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien doesn’t believe there’s anything to the reports about Russia once again interfering with the U.S. presidential election.

In an interview set to air on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday, O’Brien denied being aware of U.S. intelligence reports that Russia is interfering to help Trump secure a second term in the oval office. He did acknowledge he hasn’t sought out any information about the reports, but he said he considers it a “non-story” based on leaks from a Congressional hearing.

“All I know is that the Republicans on the side of the House hearing were unhappy with the hearing and said that there was no intelligence to back up what was being said,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the Trump administration has been “very tough” on Russia and has urged Moscow to stay out of U.S. elections, adding that if anyone came forward with something different, he’d be willing to take a look at it more closely. For now, though, he says the report doesn’t “make any sense.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was also briefed that Moscow was attempting to aid his Democratic primary campaign. Read more at The Associated Press and ABC News.

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