Progressive Breakfast for February 11

Morning Message

A Nation of Flints

Flint’s water crisis is no isolated event. Lead poisoning is a pervasive problem in our inner cities, where some children have higher levels of lead contamination than those in Flint. In Washington, D.C.’s historically low-income Stadium-Armory neighborhood, lead levels in the soil were found to be 10 times higher than the accepted standards of other developed countries. In Baltimore, the percentage of black households with lead contamination has increased, while the percentage of white households has decreased. Eighteen cities in Pennsylvania and 11 in New Jersey have higher shares of children with elevated levels of lead than Flint.

Dem Debate Tonight

Dems debate tonight on PBS at 9 PM ET.

Sanders team thinks Clinton is cornered. The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein: “If she portrays Sanders’s agenda as unrealistic, they believe they can accuse her of limiting Democratic ambitions only to the ideas acceptable to the Republican Congress. If she attacks Sanders’s ideas head on, they believe she will be forced to adopt conservative critiques that grate on most Democrats.”

Clinton supporters worry about her messaging. Politico: “‘…I wish they’d modulate the campaign a little and focus on her principle strengths. Her tenacity, the fact that she’s a fighter who’s always taken on powerful interests and generally won …,’ said former Gov. Jim Hodges … ‘Her campaign is tone-deaf,’ complained one increasingly skeptical super delegate backing Clinton. ‘In an election where inequality and privilege is the theme on the Democratic side, she comes across as the candidate of the establishment’ …”

Clinton picks up Congressional Black Caucus endorsement. W. Post: “The group will then disperse its African-American lawmakers to states where black voters are crucial, particularly in South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Feb. 27.”

Sanders knocks Obama’s immigration enforcement record. Politico: “…Sanders criticizes the Priority Enforcement Program, which helps federal immigration authorities work with local law enforcement officials to identify immigrants who should be deported … liberals and immigration advocates [have argued] that it wrongly entangles local policing strategies with immigration enforcement … Sanders’ immigration positions are likely to come into sharper focus as he campaigns ahead of the Feb. 20 Democratic caucuses in Nevada…”

Clinton team lowering Nevada expectations. The Hill: “… independent observers, as well as Clinton allies, note that Sanders has built a hefty operation there that includes more than 80 staffers on the ground and more offices in the state than Clinton. He’s pumped more than $3.5 million into ad campaigns … ‘For reasons I don’t understand, the Clinton campaign seems to be downplaying chances in Nevada,’ said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist … Clinton, ‘not only has the ground game but strong support of the Hispanic community as well,’ Manley said.”

Robert Borosage discussed the NH primary results with the Public Leadership Institute, click here to hear the podcast.

GOP Heads To SC

Rubio’s campaign manager eyes brokered convention. AP: “‘We very easily could be looking at May — or the convention,’ [Terry] Sullivan said aboard Rubio’s charter jet from New Hampshire to South Carolina on Wednesday … The public embrace of a possible brokered convention marks a sharp shift in rhetoric from Rubio’s top adviser that could be designed to raise alarm bells among Republican officials.”

Trump, Cruz and Bush battle for SC. Politico: “… rather than talking about socially conservative issues, Trump launched into an attack on Jeb Bush … ‘Jeb Bush loves Common Core and he loves weak borders’ … Cruz’s campaign, meanwhile, unveiled a new ad … which features kids playing with a Trump action figure. ‘What does he do?’ one child asks, to which another responds, ‘Pretends to be a Republican.’ … the Bush campaign is increasingly leaning on the family name. On Wednesday, it released a new radio ad set to air in South Carolina featuring former President George W. Bush…”

“GOP doubts grow over Rubio” reports The Hill: “The GOP establishment rallied around the freshman Florida senator last week … Now they’re questioning whether he can stand up to the pressure…”

Gov. Haley yet to endorse. WSJ: “A week ago, Ms. Haley said she was within days of deciding whether to endorse … [But] aides are mum this week on when, or whether, she might endorse.”