Joe Biden’s major missteps last week turned him into a bit of a punching bag for his fellow 2020 contenders. Few took a pass on an opportunity to hit the front runner on the issues of climate change and abortion. Still, Biden leads the field, and a new poll shows him leading the field in the all-important early caucus state of Iowa.
That poll contained good news for Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, too. They finished in a virtual tie with Bernie Sanders for second place, while the next closest competitor languished in the single digits.
For these stories and much more, check out AR/Intel’s 2020 rundown below:
Former Vice President Joe Biden
The good news for Joe Biden? He continues to lead the field of 2020 Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. A new Des Moines Register poll of likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers found that Biden was the top pick of 24 percent of respondents. Bernie Sanders came in second place with 16 percent, followed by Elizabeth Warren (15 percent) and Pete Buttigieg (14 percent).
The bad news is he suffered through a truly abysmal week last week. First, Biden’s team released a proposal to combat climate change that some in his party felt didn’t go far enough. Later, reports surfaced that Biden lifted passages of his climate plan from existing proposals. Some accused Biden of plagiarism, an accusation he faced in 1987 when he first ran for president. That case was so egregious that it completely sidelined his campaign and he withdrew from the race.
Then Biden flip flopped on the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funds from being used for abortion. After telling a voter on video in May he opposes the Hyde Amendment, his campaign told NBC News last week he actually still supported Hyde. That triggered backlash from liberals and his fellow 2020 contenders, and he eventually announced in Atlanta Thursday night that he now opposes Hyde.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
The biggest problem facing Bernie Sanders’ campaign could be the campaign of Elizabeth Warren. The two are very clearly targeting the same pool of voters, and Warren has a “fresher face,” according to a new Associated Press story. After initially playing nice, Warren is clearly going after Sanders voters. The strategy might be paying off in Iowa, where Sanders and Warren are virtually tied in the latest poll.
But Sanders is making inroads in places he struggled in 2016. A new story from The State argues that Sanders’ 2020 campaign looks a whole lot different than his previous presidential run in the state where he got trounced by Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Last week, we told you about Iowa’s strategy to go all-in in Iowa. The Huffington Post published a story Monday arguing that it’s already paying off. The weekend’s Des Moines Register poll put her in a virtual tie for second place with Sanders and Buttigieg. Some voters told HuffPost they liked Sanders and Warren, but that Warren seemed better prepared for the challenges she would face in the White House thanks to her litany of policy proposals.
But of course not everyone is on board with Warren’s proposals. Simon Constable, a contributor to Forbes, argued that Warren’s plan for U.S. currency would “likely kill the stock market.” “The problem is that what she proposed, which effectively involves devaluing the greenback, won’t be beneficial for investors, an analysis of history shows,” he writes. Read the analysis here.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
While the topic of student loan debt is a frequent one on the campaign trail, typically the candidate discussing it is not affected. That’s not the case for Buttigieg, who along with his husband owe more than $130,000 to the federal government in loans. If elected, he would be the first president to occupy the White House with student loan debt.
One line that Buttigieg is using frequently on the campaign trail is a subtle dig at Joe Biden. “Some of my fellow Democrats,” he says, “want to see a return to the 1990s or 2000s,” but “that doesn’t have to happen.”
As former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-TX) poll numbers continue to tumble, headlines like this one aren’t making his life any easier: “There Is Still Time for Beto O’Rourke to Return to Texas and Run for Senate”
Politico noted that Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) early investment in Iowa paid off this weekend when his campaign clearly stood out among the 19 that converged on the state for a fundraising dinner. “When Booker took the stage before the 1,400-person crowd, dozens of supporters rose to their feet and lifted “Cory Booker 2020” signs that lit up in the dark,” Natash Korecki wrote.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday and noted she was pleased to be in the “top 6” in the latest DMR/CNN poll in Iowa. Here’s the full transcript from that interview.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) campaign announced she (finally) cleared the 65,000-donor threshold necessary to appear on the DNC debate stage later this month.
During an interview with Yahoo! News, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) blasted Republican tax cuts and the George W. Bush administration for wasting taxpayer dollars.
Despite his best efforts, Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) was unsuccessful in convincing the DNC to host a debate focused solely on climate change.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) picked up the endorsement of fellow Montanan, Sen. Jon Tester, last week.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) unveiled a “sweeping plan” on Friday to address the needs of rural Americans.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) took a pass when given the opportunity to criticize Joe Biden’s Iraq War vote, something many of her rivals are eager to do.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) revealed that he struggled with PTSD after returning from tours of duty in Iraq. “The only reason I haven’t shared it up until this time is because I’ve been concerned about the political consequences,” he told Vice News. “And you know what: F— it, it’s the right thing to do.”
Perhaps recognizing how much of a long shot his presidential bid is, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) acknowledged that he might run for a fifth term in Congress instead.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) joined a chorus of Democrats last week who publicly supported repealing the Hyde Amendment.
In the latest DMR/CNN poll, not one person named NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as their first or second choice for president.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D-TX) became the first presidential candidate to visit Flint over the weekend.