The Campaign Report – February 9, 2020

FiveThirtyEight polled before and after and found Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar with the best marks. In fact, Sanders received the highest marks of any candidate for his debate performance.

Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, got a middle-of-the-pack performance score… Joe Biden and Andrew Yang, on the other hand, received somewhat subpar debate grades that looked even worse compared to their pre-debate favorability ratings.

A new CNN poll in New Hampshire finds Bernie Sanders leading the Democratic primary with 28%, followed by Pete Buttigieg 21%, Joe Biden at 11%, Elizabeth Warren at 9%, Tulsi Gabbard at 6%, and Amy Klobuchar at 5%.

Key finding: “Buttigieg’s gains come almost entirely at Biden’s expense.”

Walter Shapiro: “At some point soon, establishment Democrats will have to face the reality that Biden, for all his personal virtues, probably doesn’t have what it takes to win the nomination in 2020. After Biden’s ten months as an uninspiring active candidate, it seems folly to believe that all it will take is a campaign shakeup or a new stump speech to turn things around.”

“Sure, this dire verdict may be premature. For the moment, Biden is holding onto to his African American support in the February 29 South Carolina primary and leading in most national polls. But those numbers may look different next week if Biden limps home in fourth or even fifth in New Hampshire. In politics, universally known and liked former vice presidents don’t win by losing badly in both Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Joe Biden mocks Pete Buttigieg’s experience as a small-city mayor in a new ad the former vice president’s campaign is set to use on YouTube and Facebook in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary, CNN reports.

The ad marks a sharply negative turn as Buttigieg led and Biden finished fourth in Iowa’s caucuses on Monday.

“Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised more than $2 million dollars in the 14 hours after her widely-praised performance during Friday night’s debate,” CNN reports.

“It is Klobuchar’s best fundraising haul following any debate to date. Klobuchar’s campaign previously raised $1 million dollars in the 24 hours after the December Democratic debate in Los Angeles.”

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is pulling out all the stops to win Michigan’s March 10 presidential primary and on Saturday picked up what could be a watershed endorsement from Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), the Detroit Free Press reports.

Said Stevens: “He knows how to get things done. He’s done it in business; he’s done it in government. I see him as a uniter. He’s not a divider.”

“If we can’t change Congress, we’re screwed. This is our only chance to defeat Donald Trump, but we’ve also got to do it with a big enough margin that it sends Trumpism into the history books. Part of that means making sure that his enablers in Congress are rejected too.”

— Pete Buttigieg, quoted by The Hill.

Joe Biden kicked off Friday’s New Hampshire debate with a prediction: he’s not going to win the primary, The Week reports.

Said Biden: “I took a hit in Iowa, and I’ll probably take a hit here.”

Dave Weigel: “That has to be the first time that a debate began with a candidate saying he’d probably lose the state’s primary.”

Politico: “The role of the Iowa caucuses is not that they determine who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, though the last four Democrats to win the state did indeed go on to be their party’s nominee. But the Iowa results have historically winnowed the field, often dramatically. The failure to declare a winner on caucus night, the subsequent confusion about how trustworthy the numbers really are, and the multiple metrics reported for the first time combined to make the contest a muddle.”

“That muddle was on full display at the Democratic debate Friday night here at St. Anselm College. It was clear that four days before the first primary, the effect of the Iowa debacle was to expand the number of candidates who could still win the Democratic nomination.”

Politico: “There is one candidate only, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who by every indication is staying put. His lines were familiar, his performance as spirited as ever. But the jabs and jostling of debate nights — this was the eighth since June, and the direct confrontations were fairly muted — don’t matter so much for him.”

“That’s because he’s got a corps of people devoted to him and his ideology who don’t need to hear new arguments, as they did for two-and-a-half hours, about health care or racial justice or who is most likely to beat Donald Trump: They long ago reached an answer. Sanders is going nowhere anytime soon from his position at or near the top of this contest.”

“Every other candidate is going somewhere very soon.”

With 2,100 paid staff, Bloomberg has three times as many as Trump, five times as many as Joe Biden and more than twice as many as Elizabeth Warren, according to data the campaigns provided to Axios.

He pays his staff more than any other 2020 Democrat’s campaign and offers housing if they have to move to New York City.

Former President Barack Obama met privately with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in Washington, as Democrats hold out hopes that the red-state governor makes a surprise, last-minute splash into the state’s Senate race, Politico reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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