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Clinton and Sanders Debate Who’s A Progressive

Claim to mantle of “progressive” debated at CNN town hall: ” “‘I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street,’ Sanders told CNN moderator Anderson Cooper. ‘That’s just not progressive … Secretary Clinton voted to go to war [in Iraq] …'”

Clinton retorts. CBS “She said she’s been ‘somewhat amused’ by Sanders’ characterization of her political ideology, charging that Sanders has ‘set himself up to be the gatekeeper’ of the progressive community. Under Sanders’ standards, she said, ‘Barack Obama would not be a progressive, Joe Biden would not be a progressive… Even the late, great Sen. Paul Wellstone would not be a progressive.'”

TNR’s Elizabeth Bruenig explores the debate over definitions and support of the young: “Young voters likely find the majority of their memory dominated by the Great Recession, and their concerns marked by its privations … it would have been somewhat startling if Sanders hadn’t captured the attention of young voters … Sanders’s easy way with the young hasn’t pleased Clinton’s supporters, who see in the youth rejection of Hillary both a ridiculous starry-eyed utopianism and a frustrating redefinition of what it means to be progressive …”

New Yorkers’ John Cassidy assesses Sanders and the “new populism”: “This new populism, as it might be termed, connotes a deep suspicion of political, corporate, and media élites; an eagerness to mobilize people who are new to politics; and a willingness to embrace policies that have long seemed verboten … urging people to be realistic is a common reaction from establishment politicians and their supporters. It is a risky response…”

“Clinton struggles to answer question about paid speeches to Wall Street firms” reports W. Post: “‘Was that a bad error in judgement?’ moderator Anderson Cooper asked. ‘Did you have to be paid $675,000 [by Goldman Sachs]?’ … ‘Well, I don’t know, that’s what they offered, so…’ Clinton said after noting that she made speeches to ‘lots of groups.'”

Wall St. still gives to Clinton. W. Post: “Through the end of December, donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial-services firms had given at least $21.4 million to support Clinton’s 2016 presidential run — more than one of every 10 dollars of the $157.8 million contributed to back her bid…”

Sanders picks up SC endorsement. NYT: “‘Hillary is not an agent of change – I mean, her campaign slogan should be, “It’s my turn,”‘ said [Richard] Harpootlian, a lawyer who was state party leader from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2013 … Mr. Harpootlian is a crucial South Carolina ally of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. …”

Rubio Tries To Pull Away

Rubio endorsements trickle in. NBC: “…Rubio [has] nine new endorsements this week — 35 total — pushing the Florida senator’s tally past his rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush…”

Christie and Bush try to derail Rubio. NYT: “Over the past 48 hours, Mr. Christie has mocked Mr. Rubio as a cosseted ‘boy in the bubble,’ [and] compared his Senate career to that of a helpless fourth grader who is told which chair to sit in at school … [He] challenged anyone ‘to show me the significant accomplishment that Senator Rubio has done while he’s in the United States Senate.’ … [Meanwhile] a well-financed ‘super PAC’ supporting Mr. Bush assails Mr. Rubio on television and in the mail…”

Trump accuses Cruz of stealing Iowa. The Hill: “… the top two finishers at Monday’s caucuses clashed over allegations that the Cruz campaign spread false rumors shortly before the event that fellow presidential hopeful Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. … the real estate mogul said he ‘probably will’ file a legal complaint against Cruz. ”

Cruz sounds different with donors. NYT: “…as he finds himself locked in an intense struggle for the support of the party’s top donors, instances in which he curried favor, or merely associated, with people who do not share his views on some contentious issues are being dredged up and shared by people who believe that Mr. Cruz has been disingenuous…”

Breakfast Sides

Formal signing of TPP sets up fight in US Congress. W. Post: “Trade ministers from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations formally signed the largest regional trade deal in history on Thursday in New Zealand, but the fate of one of President Obama’s signature economic projects remained fraught on Capitol Hill … The next step is for the White House to send implementing legislation to Congress for a vote on final ­ratification…”

Cracks in House GOP over budget. The Atlantic: “… Freedom Caucus members [insist] that House Republicans abandon the two-year agreement that Boehner struck with the White House by cutting billions of dollars in spending for fiscal 2017 … they were spooked when the projected deficit shot up by more than $100 billion, partially a direct result of the spending increases and tax increases Congress passed at the end of 2015.”

WH signals health care tax compromise. The Hill: “The Obama administration is agreeing to scale back its unpopular ‘Cadillac’ tax on high-cost health insurance plans as part of its years-long fight to keep the tax in place. Jason Furman, chief economic adviser for President Obama, said Wednesday that the administration would propose raising the threshold for the tax in areas where healthcare is more costly.”

Black Lives Matter leader runs for Baltimore Mayor. NYT: “[DeRay Mckesson’s] candidacy is sure to jolt the political and protest communities at a time when activists have eschewed traditional politics and sought to work outside the system … He is diving, relatively late, into a crowded race of about a dozen candidates…”

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