Klobuchar, Buttigieg drop out, said to back Biden

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On the roster: Klobuchar, Buttigieg drop out, said to back Biden - House Dems try to imagine life with Bernie - Global economy fears mount over virus - Geaux-lo?

KLOBUCHAR, BUTTIGIEG DROP OUT, SAID TO BACK BIDEN
Reuters: “U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on Monday will become the third 2020 Democratic presidential candidate in as many days to leave the race, her campaign confirmed, and she and fellow moderate Pete Buttigieg plan to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden. A reinvigorated Biden, fresh off a resounding victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, is heading into Super Tuesday with fresh, high-profile endorsements and aiming for a strong showing against U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the national front-runner and a democratic socialist from Vermont. The Super Tuesday contests offer the biggest one-day haul of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the party’s nomination at its national convention in July, with about 1,357 delegates, or nearly one-third of the total number, up for grabs.”

Your Super Tuesday guide - Fox News: “Tuesday is the most important day in the 2020 presidential race so far. With 1,357 pledged delegates — 34 percent of the nationwide total — up for grabs on what’s known as Super Tuesday, the results of these contests will set the course for the rest of the presidential nominating calendar and could make or break several candidates’ campaigns. Fourteen states are set to vote on Super Tuesday, along with American Samoa and Democrats abroad. …  Here’s a guide to every state voting on Super Tuesday…”

Poll shows Bernie ahead in Texas, tied with Biden in North Carolina - NBC News: “Bernie Sanders holds a double-digit lead over his closest Democratic rival in Texas, while he’s essentially tied with Joe Biden in North Carolina, according to a pair of NBC News/Marist polls of these two key Super Tuesday states taken before Biden’s convincing victory in South Carolina. In Texas, which will award a total of 228 pledged delegates in the Democratic contest on March 3, Sanders gets the support of 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, and Biden gets 19 percent. They’re followed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 15 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at 10 percent, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 8 percent and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 3 percent. In North Carolina, which will award 110 delegates on the same day, Sanders gets support from 26 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while Biden gets 24 percent — a difference well within the poll’s margin of error.”

Sanders dominates in California - USA Today: “Bernie Sanders holds a commanding double-digit lead on the cusp of California’s Democratic primary, a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY statewide poll finds, giving the Vermont senator the prospect of capturing the lion’s share of the largest trove of convention delegations in the country on Super Tuesday. Sanders was at 35% among likely Democratic primary voters, well ahead of former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg at 16%, former vice president Joe Biden at 14% and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 12%.  The survey, taken Wednesday through Saturday by landline and cellphone, doesn’t reflect whatever bounce Biden may get from his solid victory in the South Carolina primary Saturday night. Even so, the poll showed the depth of Sanders’ standing in the state. ‘Sanders will win California because he is winning 45% of Hispanic voters and 59% of young voters,’ said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center.”

And California will be his real test - FiveThirtyEight: “[In] terms of pure math, [California] is Super Tuesday’s largest prize. … Almost a year ago, Sanders made a risky bet to go big on California. And since then he has steadily ramped up his presence in the state, making a big, long-term investment in winning over its voters. It’s true that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has dropped millions in California over the past few months and vastly outspent his competitors in TV ads. But Sanders, more than any other candidate, has made California a key part of his strategy, relying on the army of volunteers he began to build four years ago, when he lost California to former Sen. Hillary Clinton, 53.4 percent to 45.7 percent. Sanders’s operation could make him unstoppable in California on Tuesday — especially if it can help him capture the support of voters of color who tended to break for Clinton back in 2016. The question now is whether it’ll work.”

THE RULEBOOK: TRUE THAT
“The definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 52

TIME OUT: HOT HAND
History: “On March 2, 1962, Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points against the New York Knicks. It was the first time that a professional basketball player had scored 100 points in a single contest; the previous record, 78, had been set by Chamberlain earlier in the season. During the game, Chamberlain sank 36 field goals and 28 foul shots, both league records. Wilt Chamberlain was born on August 21, 1936, in Philadelphia. He grew to a full 7 feet 1 inches tall and was an amazing athlete for his size: In addition to basketball, he competed in the high jump and long jump in college and played volleyball, helping to launch a professional league in which he competed after his basketball career ended. Chamberlain’s basketball heroics began at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, where he helped his team to two city championships. At the University of Kansas, he led the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship, which they lost to North Carolina in triple overtime, 54-53.”

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SCOREBOARD
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
Sanders: 58
Biden: 50
Warren: 8
Klobuchar: 7
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]

DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKI​NG
Sanders: 28.8 points (↑ 6.4 points from Feb. 7)
Biden: 16.8 points (↓ 10.8 points from Feb. 7)
Bloomberg: 15.2 points (↑ 6.8 point from Feb. 7)
Warren: 13 points (↓ 1.2 points from Feb. 7)
Klobuchar: 6.8 points (first appearance on leader board)
[Averages include: IBD, Fox News, ABC News/WaPo, NBC News/WSJ and NPR/PBS/Marist.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 46.6 percent
Average disapproval: 50.6 percent
Net Score: -4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.4 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 47% approve - 52% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 46% approve - 52% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 47% approve - 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 49% approve - 48% disapprove.]

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HOUSE DEMS TRY TO IMAGINE LIFE WITH BERNIE
Politico: “Congressional Democrats are starting to figure out how to share the ticket with Bernie Sanders in November — if they have to. With party leaders preaching unity and Sanders a frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Democrats are working to craft a version of his platform that has a bit less socialism but is still something they could present to their own voters, even in swing districts. But even as some Democrats privately test-drive rhetoric for sharing a Sanders ticket — like how to talk up expanded health care, rural broadband or new workforce programs — there are others who say they could have to strongly distance themselves from the Vermont independent if he wins the party’s nod. … Sanders’ biggest supporters on Capitol Hill say he plans to make a concerted push to appeal to more of his congressional colleagues after Super Tuesday’s high-stakes contests. Much of that outreach, they say, will go toward finding common ground on policy and calming jitters among endangered House Democrats that a Sanders nomination would mean a down-ballot bloodbath.”

RNC invests millions in four blue states - Politico: “National Republicans are launching a multi-million-dollar field effort in four blue states, a move that comes as Democrats express mounting concern that a Bernie Sanders nomination could doom them in critical down-ballot contests. The Republican National Committee is deploying dozens of field staffers to California, New Jersey, New York and Illinois. While none of the four states is remotely in play at the presidential level, each has numerous competitive House races and played a critical role in helping Democrats capture the chamber in 2018. The committee is also dispatching staff to Nebraska. While the state is certain to go for President Donald Trump in November, it is home to the district where endangered Republican Rep. Don Bacon is seeking reelection. The RNC plans to spend at least $4 million on field deployment across the five states by Election Day, according to an aide briefed on the decision.”

Sessions holds narrow lead in fight for his old seat - Politico: “Jeff Sessions‘ bid to return to the Senate has hit a roadblock. Most polling has shown the former attorney general narrowly ahead of his two rivals in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama — but he’s well short of the 50 percent needed to win the nomination without a runoff. And a poor performance on Tuesday could foreshadow defeat in a one-on-one runoff, a potentially ignominious end to Sessions’ political comeback after President Donald Trump bounced him from his cabinet. … Three Republicans are competing for two spots in the likely March 31 runoff, before the nominee moves on to face vulnerable Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Sessions, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne are locked in an increasingly nasty battle for the nomination, with all of them trading hard-hitting ads questioning their rivals’ commitment to Trump — who has stayed out of the race thus far, despite his well-documented falling out with Sessions.”

GOP flips Democratic held Kentucky House seat in special election - WashEx: “The Republican Party in Kentucky flipped a state House seat in a special election this week, earning praise from President Trump. Preliminary results in District 99 showed Republican Richard White defeating Democrat Bill Redwine on Tuesday by around 1,000 votes, the Courier-Journal reported. The seat had previously been held by Democrats for more than three decades, the latest being Rocky Adkins, who took a post in Gov. Matt Beshear‘s Cabinet. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Trump celebrated a win in the local Kentucky election. ‘It’s a district Democrats held for 33 YEARS, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by double digits, and one the Democrat governor carried in 2019,’ McDaniel said.”

GLOBAL ECONOMY FEARS MOUNT OVER VIRUS
WSJ: “The global economy will slow sharply this year as governments attempt to contain the coronavirus epidemic, although the scale of the setback is highly uncertain, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday. In its ‘best case’ scenario, the Paris-based research body said the global economy would grow by 2.4%, a weaker performance than the 2.9% expansion projected before the viral outbreak. That lost growth is roughly equivalent to $400 billion. But it said much more severe slowdowns are possible. The global economy slowed in 2019, and was particularly weak in the final three months of the year. Given that starting point, the OECD said it’s possible the global output will fall during the first three months of this year, putting the economy at risk of recession.”

Trump fumes over bad news - Politico: “President Donald Trump on Monday sought to spin fears of a domestic coronavirus epidemic into political attacks against Democrats, trumpeting his own performance amid the crisis even as his administration’s health officials continued to offer differing assessments on its risk to Americans. ‘I was criticized by the Democrats when I closed the Country down to China many weeks ahead of what almost everyone recommended. Saved many lives,’ Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘Dems were working the Impeachment Hoax. They didn’t have a clue! Now they are fear mongering. Be calm & vigilant!’ The president’s praise for his own handling of the coronavirus has been his administration’s most consistent response since the global outbreak began earlier this year. Administration officials have struggled at times to offer consistent messaging on what threats Americans face and what steps they should take to mitigate them.”

Trump heads to Tar Heel to rally on primary eve - AP: “President Donald Trump’s scheduled North Carolina rally on Monday keeps to his recent routine of rallying in states on the eve of their presidential primary votes. Thousands were expected on Monday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte to hear Trump, who is on the GOP primary ballot in North Carolina and other Super Tuesday states. … There’s little doubt about Trump’s nomination in August at the Republican National Convention, which will also be in Charlotte. Tuesday’s North Carolina primaries also feature dozens of contested statewide, congressional and legislative races in addition to the Democratic and Republican presidential competitions.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Fox Poll: Voters say Trump succeeded on economy, but failed to unify U.S. - Fox News

Fox Poll: Three in 10 voters view socialism positively - Fox News

Judge rules Ken Cuccinelli appointment to immigration post ‘unlawful’ - NYT

SupCo agrees to review ObamaCare challenge over funding mechanism - Fox News

AUDIBLE: OUCH
“[It could be] very much like the last couple of weeks of the Beto campaign.” – Boyd Brown, a South Carolina political operative who helped Beto O’Rourkecompared the threat of coronavirus emptying campaign events to the former representative’s failed presidential campaign.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I wonder if removing NY, IL, DC and CA polling results from the hypothetical match up results would provide those of who care about these kinds of things a better idea of how the Electoral College outcome looks. It is a foregone conclusion that whoever’s selected at the D’s convention will carry those states (they provided all of Clinton’s popular vote margin in 2016). It is the remaining 47 states that really matter. What do you think?” – James Kinney, Hoschton, Ga.

[Ed. note: Well, then we’d also want to take out Texas, Indiana, Tennessee and Missouri, the four largest on the reliably Republican side. Let’s also just go ahead and dispatch with the other reliably Democratic states of New Jersey, Washington Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, New Mexico, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont. Once we’ve done that, then we can knock out Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Utah, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming on the red team. That would leave us with just Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, Maine and New Hampshire as the states that we think might be competitive. But if we just did polling in those states, we might end up missing things the way we did in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania four years ago. More importantly, head-to-head matchup polls at this point are of limited value. I’d say apply salt liberally and don’t worry about them.]  

“We sort of knew in 2016 that then candidate Donald Trump’s numbers could be higher than what polls were showing due to that fact that some respondents who supported were reluctant to say so. We tended to call them the hidden Trump voters. As I look at the polls for the 2020 Dem Primary I am wondering if the same scenario may be playing out albeit with a different set of questions. It appears to me that when polls come out that say a majority of democrat voters say they their top priority is to beat the current president but at the same time have the candidates that most think can’t beat him at the top of the pack that maybe the answers that are being provided to some of the questions are ones that the respondents think others want to hear.” – Robert Zeck, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

[Ed. note: The “hidden Trump voter” is one of the persistent myths about the 2016 election. National polls that year were, on the whole, more predictive than they were four years before. The surprises were in three traditionally Democratic states where relatively little reliable polling was done. As we discussed with Mr. Kinney, it’s not good to get wrapped around the axle on polls. They’re just one tool for forecasting and certainly don’t hold the secrets like the ones you seek.]

“With all the hand-wringing among Democratic party leaders regarding the growing chances that Bernie Sanders will top their ticket, possibly you can remind me why Bernie, a life-long self-professed ‘socialist’ was permitted to include his name among the Democrat presidential candidates.  I asked the same question (not of you) in 2016. Shouldn’t he be running as a third party candidate? … I suspect the Democrats, (who are never exclusionary, especially if it will end up registering more potential democratic voters) decided it was not a big deal, never expecting his one-man revolution to take over their party. However, I am guessing there is a better answer, and turn to you to explain.” – Liana Silsby, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

[Ed. note: This is just one more way that our screwy primary system breaks our politics. Primaries, especially open ones, take the decision-making process away from the parties themselves. In the prior convention-based system, parties were protected from these kinds of hostile takeovers.]

“I am surprised to read ‘GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham joins list of those not seeking re-election’ [in Thursday’s Halftime Report]. Not that I know him or anything about him – but isn’t this really late to be leaving the race? Surely there are Democrats on the ballot for upcoming primaries, but I suspect no serious Republican contestants. Is someone who does this so last minute intentionally setting up Republicans to lose the seat? I get that politics are no fun these days. But I still think representatives should have enough of a commitment to quit early or stick with a seat until the next time around…” – Anna Marie Davis, Douglasville, Ga.

[Ed. note: I think you can take it easy on Congressman Abraham, Ms. Davis. Louisiana has a jungle primary system in which all the candidates from all parties are on the ballot in November. If no candidate gets more than half of the vote, the top two, regardless of party, go into a runoff. Eight months is plenty of lead time. And his fellow Republicans can be confident that barring some Roy Moore-ian scenario the very red district will stick with the GOP.]

“G’day Chris, I’ve been interested in politics since I was 15 and I just [have a] word of the wise for Democrats, if you don’t want Bernie Sanders to win, don’t  mention his name. Name recognition resonates with voters. History Lesson: Former opposition leader Bill Haydon once said, ‘A drover’s dog could lead the Labor Party to victory, the way the country is.’ [Australia] 1983.” – Graeme Cameron, Melbourne, Australia

[Ed. note: True enough, Mr. Cameron, but people do like dogs better than politicians…]

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GEAUX-LO?
AP: “A Louisiana State University student and fraternity brother was charged Thursday with breaking into the college’s under-construction football stadium and riding a four-wheeler around inside. Clayton Fleetwood, of New Jersey, is accused of entering Tiger stadium late at night on Jan. 21 and Feb. 8, according to university police. Investigators say the 19-year-old and another unidentified suspect were captured on stadium security cameras driving a Kawasaki Mule all-terrain vehicle around the field. The ATV had been parked inside the stadium at the time, according to an arrest report obtained by news outlets. Police said they were alerted to the joyrides through anonymous callers, then matched security video with Fleetwood’s student ID card. LSU investigators noted that work was being done on the field at the time to install a new drainage system, and contractors have said damages to the field caused by the ATV tracks could cost up to $8,000 to repair, news outlets reported.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Stupid but legal. Such is the Trump administration’s travel ban for people from seven Muslim countries.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Feb. 9, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.