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Bernie Boom Prompts AFL-CIO Pause

AFL-CIO holds off on endorsement, buoying Sanders. WSJ: “What’s not clear, however, is if that means the group hasn’t reached the level of support it needs to give a candidate a nod, or if it has but is choosing to delay an endorsement given the division among some union leaders … Larry Cohen, a top adviser to Mr. Sanders who is charged with winning support from union leaders, said the grassroots-driven campaign has had a surge that will only be helped by the AFL-CIO’s inaction.”

Major Democratic donors discuss Super PAC for Sanders. The Hill: “…Democratic donors, fundraisers and operatives told The Hill that the stakes are so high in this election … that there is no way the left’s donor class will sit on their checkbooks just because Sanders orders them to do so. ‘It’s going to cost $1 billion to elect the next president,’ says Keith Mestrich, who sits on the board of … the Democracy Alliance … ‘There will be avenues that will be created to put money into [Sanders’s] campaign.'”

Former WH economists knock independent analysis of Sanders plan touted by his campaign. WSJ: “… the four economists took aim at Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, who has said that the Sanders economic program could boost growth in gross domestic product to 5.3% annually … ‘no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes,’ said the economists in an open letter … ‘There’s nothing at all unusual in my method,’ [Friedman] said. ‘Why can’t the economy grow faster?'”

Clinton makes final pitch to Latinos. W. Post: “Clinton debuted an emotional ad Thursday featuring a 10-year-old Nevada girl Clinton met at a gathering Sunday of young people temporarily shielded from deportation … ‘My parents, they have a letter of deportation. I’m scared,’ the tearful girl told Clinton … ‘Let me do the worrying. I’ll do all the worrying. Is that a deal?’ Clinton told her.”

Campaigns grapple with African-American generational divide. W. Post: “In courting black voters, Clinton has in large part employed a classic political strategy: enlisting the support of African American clergy and local political leaders … Yet the Black Lives Matter movement … has accelerated a generational divide, calling into question the civil rights-era model of movement leaders speaking for African Americans at large.”

NV hard to poll. LAT: “The state has a highly transient population … Young people as well as Latinos are more likely to use cellphones as opposed to land lines, making them harder and, not incidentally costlier, to reach … Nevada has a lot of people working odd hours … It’s [hard] to guess who will show up at noon Saturday because the Nevada caucuses are a relatively new phenomenon.”

Sanders momentum in VA. W. Post: “With Hillary Clinton’s once-overwhelming lead in Virginia shrinking, it seems that every prominent Democrat in the commonwealth has been deployed to boost her quest for the White House … An army of 7,000 Sanders volunteers is staffing phone banks, making 18,000 to 24,000 phone calls a night to potential Virginia voters.”

“Trump and Sanders Give Voice to the Voiceless” argues The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein: ” For Trump, that key constituency is working-class Republicans; for Sanders, it’s the Millennial generation. By demonstrating—and crystallizing—these groups’ electoral clout, each man is signaling a lasting internal power shift in the party he is seeking to lead.”

Trump Cruising In Carolina

Trump leads big in SC. Bloomberg: “Trump leads the field with support from 36 percent of likely voters, followed by Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, at 17 percent. Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, is at 15 percent, closely followed by Bush, a former Florida governor, at 13 percent.”

Anti-Muslim sentiment propelling Trump in SC. Mother Jones: “Local activists … began fighting state and federal authorities to stop the flow of Muslim refugees nearly a year ago, long before national Republicans discovered the issue in the fall. Every year since 2011, conservative lawmakers have pushed to ban Islamic Shariah law from being applied in state courts. Activists have even complained that one rural corner of the state is already under Islamist control.”

Gov. Nikki Haley backs Rubio. NYT: “Mr. Rubio is counting on Ms. Haley’s embrace to draw a bold line under his campaign promises of ushering in a new era of conservatism led by younger, optimistic leaders.”

Demand For SCOTUS Hearings

Pressure on Judiciary Cmte Chair Chuck Grassley whether to hold hearings. The Hill: “The editorial board of the Des Moines Register ripped Grassley for [advocating delay.] Grassley has since backed off his statement … Kyle Barry, director of justice programs at the Alliance for Justice, a liberal-leaning group that follows the court closely, said Grassley’s legacy as a good-government reformer would hinge on his decision.”

Editorial boards attack other Republican senators. NYT: “In New Hampshire, The Concord Monitor had harsh words on Wednesday for Senator Kelly Ayotte … The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Capital Times editorial boards both went after Senator Ron Johnson … Local editorial boards have also targeted Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio…”

Sandra Day O’Connor wants the seat filled. Politico quotes: “I think we need somebody there now to do the job, and let’s get on with it.”

Nation split. W. Post: “Forty-three percent of respondents said that the Senate should vote this year on Obama’s preferred replacement for Scalia, while 42 percent said they should wait until a new president is sworn in to fill the vacancy.”

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