“After two days of intense criticism, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reversed course Thursday and declared that he no longer supports a long-standing congressional ban on using federal health care money to pay for abortions,” the AP reports.
“Biden’s reversal came after rivals and women’s rights groups blasted him for affirming through his campaign aides that he still supported the Hyde Amendment.”
“Nineteen Democratic presidential candidates will swarm Iowa this weekend for the biggest political gathering of the 2020 election cycle so far, as the White House race picks up steam ahead of debates and a key fundraising deadline at the end of the month,” Reuters reports.
First Read: “The one eyebrow-raising no-show (again): Joe Biden.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “The nomination contest is a national process. Candidates seek valuable resources – money, endorsements, staff and more – in a national setting. That’s been true for as long as the current system has been in place; it’s changed some over the years, but fundamentally it’s the same as it was in the 1980s. Fail to gather enough resources? Then your candidacy might die long before voters in Iowa get involved. Remember, a dozen or so politicians who did candidate-like things have already dropped out of the 2020 race; Iowa and New Hampshire didn’t knock them out.”
“After each early state votes, moreover, what matters isn’t so much how many delegates each candidate won, but how the results are interpreted nationally. How party actors react will be critical, and how the national media covers the results in Iowa will affect what happens in New Hampshire.”
First Read: “It started with that sloppy climate plan rollout — the Biden campaign admitting that it forgot to give proper attribution to some passages in it. (The toplines were also almost identical to Beto O’Rourke’s climate plan.)”
“Then came the pile-on from his Democratic rivals after NBC News reported that the former vice president continued to support the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds for abortion services except in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.”
“And then last night, Biden reversed course, saying he now opposes the Hyde Amendment — after supporting it for decades.”
First Read: “All of the early looks at the 2020 electoral map have ignored a battleground state that was all the rage back in ’16: North Carolina. And you can argue it has the potential to be a fascinating state to watch over the next year and half.”
“You have the competitive NC-9 election this September.”
“It’s a presidential battleground whose electoral votes (15) are greater than Wisconsin’s and New Hampshire’s combined (14). (Yes, Hillary Clinton ultimately lost the state to Trump by 3 points in 2016, but she also led in the pre-Comey polls there.)”
“Its 2020 Senate race, with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) up for re-election, could determine if Dems can win back the chamber – if they land a solid recruit there. Its gubernatorial race, with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper up for re-election, could be the most competitive 2020 governor’s race of the cycle.”
“And oh, Republicans are having their presidential convention in Charlotte.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez is defending the strict qualifications for the second round of primary debates in September: meeting the thresholds to qualify is an “opportunity” for candidates to expand their fundraising and name recognition, he told CBS News.
Said Perez: “If you can’t run an effective grassroots campaign in the year 2020, in today’s era, you’re not going to be able to win the presidency,” Perez said. “And what our dual threshold has done is to give additional opportunity to the candidates.”