Progressive Breakfast for February 9

Morning Message

Why Hillary Clinton’s Five Words On Social Security Matter

As Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is being celebrated by progressive Social Security advocates for posting a statement on Twitter late Friday that “I won’t cut Social Security,” let’s not forget why it was important to get Clinton to go on the record with those five words – and why it is important to continue to press Clinton to underscore them as her campaign for the presidency continues.

NH Votes

Politico lays out where the votes are for NH Dems: “About 30 percent of the potential voters in the state are different people than in 2008,” … explained Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center … Voter-rich and filled with blue-collar Democrats, Manchester was the cornerstone of Clinton’s 2008 win … ‘Clinton is going to have to win Manchester,’ Smith explained … ‘The most liberal parts of the state are on the Connecticut River Valley, starting in Keene and going up to Littleton,’ explained Smith. ‘Those voters are very similar to Vermont voters: high-income, high-education Democrats…'”

Sanders confident. Burlington Free Press: “‘New Hampshire, we started 30 points behind,’ Sanders said in Manchester, ‘and I think we’re going to do just fine tomorrow.'”

Trump and Sanders fight over NH independents. Bloomberg: “Advisers to both Sanders and Trump say their field operations have identified a sizable number of voters who are torn between the two candidates most loudly threatening a ‘fundamental change to the system,’ as Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski puts it … Lewandowski says the most persuasive argument against casting a vote for Sanders is that it would be a waste given his persistent lead in polls over Clinton … Sanders’s scripts, meanwhile, make no concession that a Trump victory should be taken for granted.”

Sanders’ tax plan envisions effective top tax rate of 73 percent. NYT’s Josh Barro: “It just so happens that in 2011, the economists Peter Diamond of M.I.T. and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, drew attention with a paper estimating that the revenue-maximizing income tax rate on high earners … is 73 percent.”

Campaign rhetoric hurting TPP. The Hill: “Lawmakers say harsh criticism leveled against President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade agreement from presidential candidates in both parties is further complicating its passage.”

Jeb Bush opposes Citizens United. The Hill: “‘If I could do it all again I’d eliminate the Supreme Court ruling’ Citizens United, the Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s Dana Bash … ‘This is a ridiculous system we have now where you have campaigns that struggle to raise money directly and they can’t be held accountable for the spending of the super-PAC that’s their affiliate,’ … His campaign pointed out that Bush has called for unlimited campaign contributions with full transparency about donations.”

Michael Bloomberg teases. Politico: “Bloomberg has set a March deadline to determine whether he will run, and should he decide yes, he told the FT he would have to begin getting his name on ballots next month. He has signaled he could spend at least a billion dollars of his own money to sustain a campaign…”

Clinton Campaign Turns Negative

Clinton allies prepare harsher attacks on Sanders. Time: “Frustrated Clinton aides believe that Sanders is a politician like any other. Sanders has flip-flopped on gun control, Wall Street donations and immigration reform, they say, changing his views when it is politically expedient. It is a view of Sanders that has become increasingly visible on the campaign trail. ‘The purity bubble is about to burst,’ David Brock, the architect behind the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record, told TIME.”

Sanders campaign fires back. W. Post: “Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s campaign manager, said in a statement Monday that it was ‘very disturbing that as the Clinton campaign struggles through Iowa and New Hampshire they have become increasingly negative and dishonest.'”

“Clinton attacks on Sanders make Dems nervous” reports The Hill: “The shift by the Clinton team to a more aggressive footing evoked memories for some of her 2008 campaign against Barack Obama, when Bill Clinton and other surrogates mounted attacks that were widely seen as counter-productive.”

Politico investigates “what Clinton said in her paid speeches”: “…the descriptions of Clinton’s remarks highlight the trap in which the Democratic presidential front-runner now finds herself. In a previous election cycle, no one would much care about the former secretary of state’s comments to Goldman. They represent the kind of boilerplate, happy talk that highly paid speakers generally offer to their hosts. Nobody pays nearly a quarter of a million dollars to have someone criticize their alleged misdeeds. But 2016 is different.”

Breakfast Sides

Speaker Paul Ryan working with Congressional Black Caucus on poverty. The Hill: “Ryan has told the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) he’s pressing GOP appropriators to consider the CBC’s strategy of shifting more federal money to parts of the country with persistent poverty.”

Republicans snub Obama budget. Roll Call: “The Republican chairmen of both panels, Sen. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, have scrapped the traditional testimonies this year – dismissing the Democratic president’s blueprint (even before glancing at it) as so unserious as to be unworthy of a couple of hours of anybody’s time.”