Tony Katz breaks down the first Joe Biden – Bernie Sanders one-on-one debate
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On the roster: Biden looks to quarantine Bernie for good – Berexit – Trump embraces stimulus checks – A St. Patrick’s Day miracle
BIDEN LOOKS TO QUARANTINE BERNIE FOR GOOD
Fox News: “The March 17 races, which award 15 percent of all delegates in the Democratic primary and will bring the number of delegates awarded in the Democratic race to 61 percent of the total delegates available, could be [Sen. Bernie] Sanders‘ last stand. … There are 67 pledged delegates at stake in Arizona’s Democratic presidential primary. The results in Arizona will be an important indicator, as Sanders has typically fared better in western states… Florida is the biggest prize available on March 17, awarding 219 pledged delegates in all. A diverse swing state, a good performance in Florida will help Sanders or [Joe] Biden make the case that they are the most electable Democrat to face President Trump in November. …Illinois will dole out 155 pledged delegates on March 17. Sanders laid some groundwork in Illinois earlier in the primary, visiting the state for three days to Biden’s one as of March 11. Ohio originally was scheduled to have its primaries on March 17 before Gov. Mike DeWine announced a lawsuit Monday to push back the date to June 2.”
Ohio Gov. DeWine wins fight to postpone primary – Politico: “Polls will not open for Ohio’s primary election Tuesday after a late-night decision from Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration, effectively upheld by the state Supreme Court, to delay in-person voting until June in an effort to protect voters and poll workers from the coronavirus outbreak. … The election was in limbo for several hours Monday night after a judge in Columbus denied a last-minute attempt backed by the state to postpone the primary election. But DeWine responded with an order from the state’s top health official, Amy Acton, closing physical polling places as the legal battle moved up to the Ohio Supreme Court. Early Tuesday morning, four judges on that court issued a unanimous, unsigned ruling declining to stop the state from shuttering polls. Three other judges on the court recused — two because they’re currently running for reelection and the other because he is DeWine’s son. The ruling effectively overturns the Monday ruling from Franklin County Judge Richard Frye that the primary had to continue as scheduled.”
Maryland joins growing list of states postponing primaries – Politico: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he was postponing the state’s primaries, originally scheduled for late April, to June 2 as the country grapples with the spread of the coronavirus. Maryland is now the fifth state to move its primaries, joining Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio, which saw its primary originally scheduled for today pushed until June after an eleventh-hour legal battle. … But Maryland will still hold one election on April 28, foreshadowing a potentially broad move toward mail voting that could pave the way for elections across the country to continue during the coronavirus crisis. Hogan said he believed the special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, in Maryland’s Baltimore-based 7th Congressional District, should forward on as a mail-in only election, the first federal election to be shifted to mail voting in response to coronavirus.”
Politico: “Bernie Sanders’ path to the Democratic nomination is closing, but a quick exit is far from guaranteed — even if he gets wiped out Tuesday. From his debate posture to staffing moves to the ‘virtual rally’ he convened Monday evening, the Vermont senator is signaling that he may not be ready to concede. If Sanders remains in the race, it will be in part to keep his ‘political revolution’ alive. According to people familiar with his thinking, Sanders will not only consider what’s best for his campaign, but also the progressive movement. Many of Sanders’ aides and allies also expect him to press onward after Tuesday. They see a benefit in amassing as many delegates as possible in order to influence the party platform at the Democratic National Convention this summer — even if Sanders himself can’t win the nomination. … Notably, Sanders has staff in place for states that vote as late as April 28, according to a campaign adviser, including New York. Sanders’ aides have long thought that he would have a good shot in the Empire State, which is rich in delegates.”
Biden’s female veep promise reignites female president hopes – WaPo: “Biden, 77, has described himself as a ‘bridge’ to the next generation of leaders, a comment widely interpreted as a signal that he’d serve just one term, meaning his running mate would be even more of a president-in-waiting than usual. … A person close to the Biden team who was not authorized to speak publicly, and so spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the campaign will soon announce a running mate vetting operation, but warned that the campaign is in the midst of growing quickly after its rocky start. Biden has told MSNBC that it’s ‘very important’ to pick someone who’s been tested via a presidential campaign, suggesting that the women who ran against him may have an edge. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) have both endorsed Biden, and Klobuchar in particular has gone out of her way to show her loyalty.”
THE RULEBOOK: AVIOD THE ABYSS
“This is the melancholy situation to which we have been brought by those very maxims and councils which would now deter us from adopting the proposed Constitution; and which, not content with having conducted us to the brink of a precipice, seem resolved to plunge us into the abyss that awaits us below.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15
TIME OUT: CÓISIR COSÚIL LEIS NA GAEIL
Insider: “It wasn’t until the 1970s that pubs in Ireland opened on St. Patrick’s Day, and in the 1990s, Dublin started hosting what’s now Ireland’s largest St. Patrick’s Day festival… Leading up to the holiday, shamrocks can be found blooming at street markets across the country. … It’s customary to wear a real shamrock leaf pinned to a shirt. … A pint of Guinness is perhaps an obvious St. Patrick’s tradition, but bacon and cabbage is another traditional Irish meal. … Some locals or visitors may skip the crowds of the parade and head to St. Patrick’s Island, one of the Skerries Islands off the coast of Dublin. Irish legend apparently tells the tale that St. Patrick spent time living on one of the islands of Skerries, and that a rock on the island with the outline of a footprint is said to have belonged to the famous Saint. The island is thought to be appropriately named St. Patrick’s for that reason.”
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ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 44.4 percent
Average disapproval: 51.8 percent
Net Score: -7.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1 point
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve – 52% disapprove; Fox News: 47% approve – 52% disapprove; IBD/TIPP: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; Gallup: 47% approve – 51% disapprove.]
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TRUMP EMBRACES STIMULUS CHECKS
Fox News: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the Trump administration wants to send checks to Americans ‘in the next two weeks’ in an effort to help people cope with the economic fallout due to the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,’ Mnuchin said during a press briefing from the White House. ‘Americans need cash now, the president wants to get cash now. I mean now—in the next few weeks.’ As the White House held its press conference Tuesday — with President Trump, Vice President [Mike Pence], Mnuchin and the coronavirus task force present — the Dow rallied nearly 1,000 points, after sustaining historic losses on Monday. … Mnuchin’s comments came as the White House is in negotiations with lawmakers on Capitol Hill for Congress to approve a sweeping economic stimulus package to help U.S. businesses and taxpayers deal with the economic fallout from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. Mnuchin, on Tuesday, also announced that the Treasury Department would not extend the deadline to file taxes by the April 15 deadline, as much of the tax filing can be done online.”
White House eyes massive $850B stimulus package – Fox News: “White House officials and congressional lawmakers are signaling they will attempt to push through a third coronavirus spending package worth hundreds of billions of dollars even as the Senate works to move along the more modest second relief bill that focuses on leave for workers and expedited testing for the disease officially known as COVID-19. Fox News has learned that the White House specifically is pushing an $850 billion stimulus, largely in the form of tax relief measures. Roughly $500 billion of this would be tied to a payroll tax cut, while $250 billion would come in the form of Small Business Administration loans and another $58 billion would be directed to the airline industry, among other measures. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will attend the Senate GOP’s weekly policy lunch Tuesday — which will take place in a larger room that it usually does so the senators can practice social distancing — to discuss the details of the comprehensive coronavirus proposal from the White House.”
House stands pat, puts pressure on Senate – Roll Call: “The House is indefinitely extending its current district work period, with Democratic leaders telling their members Monday that they may not call them back to Washington until a third legislative package responding to the coronavirus pandemic is ready for a vote. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi provided the schedule update on a Monday afternoon conference call with the Democratic Caucus, according to a source on the call who was not authorized to speak publicly. While Hoyer mentioned waiting until a third bill is ready, the Maryland Democrat did not rule out calling the House back sooner for other reasons, a Hoyer aide said.”
Fed shares emergency lending program – NYT: “The Federal Reserve on Tuesday took another step to try and prop up the American economy, saying it would begin buying up a type of short-term debt companies use for funding, known as commercial paper, to help keep credit flowing to households and businesses. The program, enacted using the Fed’s emergency lending powers, pulls a page from the central bank’s 2008 financial crisis playbook and is an attempt to keep the economy and financial system functioning by backstopping a market that some of America’s biggest companies use to raise cash. Banks and companies have been issuing commercial paper to shore up their coffers as coronavirus leads to quarantines, shutters shopping centers and closes restaurants. But hardly anybody has been buying the debt. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose department will provide $10 billion of credit protection to the Fed using the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund, said the facility would allow the central bank to buy up to $1 trillion worth of commercial paper ‘as needed.’”
Poll finds Americans have little trust in coronavirus info from Trump – NPR: “Americans have little trust in the information they are hearing from President Trump about the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in the federal government’s response to it is declining sharply, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. Just 46% of Americans now say the federal government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61% in February. Just 37% of Americans now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president, while 60% say they had not very much or no trust at all in what he’s saying. The president rates worst of all groups tested, be it public health officials, state and local leaders or the news media. And more Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic than approve by a 49%-44% margin. But that does not differ greatly from his overall job approval rating, which stands at 43%.”
Drucker: Republicans are less concerned about coronavirus than Dems – WashEx: “Republican voters are less concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, offering President Trump some measure of political cover as the November elections approach amid an accelerating public health crisis that is pushing the economy toward recession. Approximately 40% of self-identified Republicans fear that an acquaintance or family member might contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, compared to a whopping two-thirds of Democratic voters, according to public opinion polls conducted this month. This lopsided partisan split, which holds across several issues related to the pandemic, could help Trump weather the political fallout as nearly every aspect of American society grind to a screeching halt.”
Former Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., dies at 69 – Syracuse.com
Ex-California Congressman Duncan Hunter sentenced to 11 months in federal prison – KNSD
Report: Senate Republicans request eligible judges retire in order to fill seats while party is in power – NYT
AUDIBLE: NO SURRENDER
“We are at war. It is of course a sanitary war. We are not fighting against an army, or another nation. But the enemy is here. It is invisible, elusive and it is progressing. And this requires our general mobilization.” – French President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address where he announced a 15-day lockdown, per Politico.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Instead of quarantine and protecting old people, protect the young, let the old people die. The result would restore Social Security, Medicare, doctor shortages and give a transfer of wealth to young generation. New tax on inherited IRA would bring in more taxes to the government. Even though I am 83 and my husband is 87, this seems more logical.” – Karen Morrow, Tampa, Fla.
“Finally we are slowly come to the realization that some of our ‘friends’ are wolves in Grannies nightgown. The Saudis are trying to put our global oil operations in the trash dump. The Russians are/were in that cabal until they realized they could not make a profit at $6 a barrel. And China is threatening our lives–literally– by threatening to stop shipping medicine precursors that keep many Americans alive. Chris, are these kicks in the rumpus going to wake our government to the necessity of not allowing any nation state to hold a loaded gun to our economic well-being and, literally, to our very lives or we are going to take action to remedy, albeit very late in the game, to see medicine, oil, and necessary infrastructure as critical as a F-35 war plane?” – James Douglas, Wetumpka, Ala.[Ed. note: I hear you, Mr. Douglas. And I think a large number of Americans share your concern. I would only caution you that there’s really no escape. We can certainly minimize our exposure, as we have with energy. The most revolutionary geopolitical event of the past 25 years has been the development of shale oil and gas in North America. If the Saudis and Russians did what they’re doing now 30 years ago, we’d have gas lines and stagflation. But we will have to keep swimming along with the rest of this mad, mad, mad world in hopes that we can protect our interests and mitigate harm where we can, a la coronavirus.]
“I was thinking this morning, which can be dangerous. People talk about having enough missiles and nukes and such stockpiled in the hope they don’t have to be used. Why aren’t health care supplies thought in that same mindset. Hopefully this whole deal will shift some minds.” – Jeff Cox, Broken Arrow, Okla.[Ed. note: It’s true, Mr. Cox. I think lots of Americans were surprised to find that we have so little cushion on these matters. But we would also remember that health care is also the single largest sector of the U.S. economy — something like 20 percent of our gross domestic product is in that one sector alone. More than 16 million Americans work in the industry. It’s all around us all the time and therefore hard to think of as something separate and stockpiled.]
“‘…Statler and Waldorf, coronavirus edition.’ Obscure pro golfer reference – but fitting.” – Mike Tardif, Santa Ana, Calif.[Ed. note: I didn’t mean it that way, Mr. Tardif, but it kind of works! I was referring to the Muppets who sit in their loge seats and heckle the performers on stage. The only thing: Craig Stadler, 66, and Duffy Waldorf, 57, are waaaaaay too young to be running for president this cycle!]
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A ST. PATRICK’S DAY MIRACLE
Saturday Down South: “The world is full of incredible, unbelievable occurrences, and we have one that comes to us from the LSU world. Back in 2015, a man named Matthew Bonnette accidentally dropped his LSU-colored hardhat into the Mississippi River. He, obviously, thought it was probably lost forever. Well, he was wrong. Earlier this year, a man named Liam McNamara was combing a beach in Ireland (yes, Ireland) when he happened upon Bonnette’s hardhat, which had washed ashore. That’s a journey of over 7,000 kilometers (over 4,300 miles) for that piece of construction equipment. Per the video, the hat is being returned to Bonnette. What a story it could tell if it could talk.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The first thing — the only thing, as Vince Lombardi would say — the puzzled anthropologist needs to note about the Super Bowl, now mercifully behind us, is the Roman numeral. Sunday was XIX.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Jan. 25, 1985.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.