Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
President Donald Trump got in some jabs at Democrats believed to be eying the 2020 race — at one point, he called them “dreamers” — during Saturday night’s Gridiron Dinner. Some of the highlights:
—”There is talk about Joe Biden. Sleepy Joe! You know when he said, ‘I’m going to take you behind the barn’? Oh, just trust me, I would kick his ass. He’d be easy. But, Joe, gimme a break. A guy who keeps making outrageous statements thinks he has a shot of being president? A guy who makes outrageous statements? He is going to be president?!”
—”And Oprah (Winfrey)! Oprah. I don’t think she has ever been hit verbally yet. She has led a charmed life; she has a great job. She used to love me. You know I was on one of her last shows? The Trump family. She is thinking about running. She says she will run only if she gets the go-ahead from the almighty. All right, Oprah, go ahead and run.”
—”And then we have Elizabeth Warren. You know I watched her making a speech for Hillary, I said I think she’s losing all the male vote for Hillary Clinton. It was brutal. It was mean and angry. Elizabeth Warren, who had a rough day last week trying to prove her heritage. She had a rough day. She had a good suggestion, though, about easing world tensions. The world is quite tense. Some of this stuff happened over the last 20 years but it didn’t, so we’re going to solve the problem. But she said that Rex Tillerson and I should sit down with the leaders of Iran and North Korea and smoke a peace pipe.”
— “I thought my State of the Union address was actually extraordinary, one of the best ever given. In fact, Luis Gutierrez was so overcome with emotion at how good this particular speech was that he had to leave the chamber, and wept.”
Also from the dinner: Trump wasn’t the only one digging at Warren. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton weighed in with this highbrow riff, per Axios: “Another unexpected mentor is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She was my first professor in law school, and she was a good one. She would even host dinner for students at her place — a hearty family recipe of stone-ground corn and freshly slaughtered buffalo. Liz calls it ‘pow wow chow,’ and I just couldn’t get enough.”
Mitch Landrieu, the New Orleans mayor, also spoke — and very much leaned into his Southern roots. “I just came here from Mardi Gras, and I have to say, boy, do you guys have some weird traditions,” he joked.
News and notes:
KAMALA HARRIS IN SELMA: California Sen. Kamala Harris was in Selma, Alabama, on Sunday for the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast as part of the 53rd anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march. She used her speech to connect today’s issues to the civil rights struggle. Using the refrain that Americans should “look to Selma for our inspiration,” Harris pointed to “an unjust Department of Justice as they escalate the war on drugs and reinvigorate mandatory minimums and incarcerate instead of rehabilitate,” as well as young immigrants being targeted for deportation, worse black unemployment, home ownership and incarceration rates than during King’s era and being “faced with a powerful lobby that encourages immoral inaction which prevents all of our children from being safe from gun violence in a classroom and on the street, from suburbs to the cities.”
BIDEN ON THE TRAIL: Former Vice President Joe Biden is heading to the Pittsburgh area on Tuesday to campaign for Conor Lamb, the Democratic nominee for the PA-18 special election that will take place on March 13. Lamb and Biden will hold a rally with union members at the Carpenters Training Center in Collier, Pennsylvania, followed by a rally with campaign supporters at Robert Morris University in Moon, Pennsylvania. Biden’s blue collar credentials make him welcome in a race where Lamb has asked most national Democrats to stay away.
Trump will also be in southwest Pennsylvania this week, selling his newly announced trade tariffs and stumping for Lamb’s opponent, state Rep. Rick Saccone.
2020 ON PATRICK’S ‘RADAR’: When asked this week about a possible 2020 bid and the encouragement he’s been getting to run, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told Kansas City Public Radio station KCUR: “It’s on my radar screen.” He said he is “trying to think through 2020,” and that “that’s a decision I’m trying to think through from a personal and family point of view and also whether what I believe is going to be on offer by somebody. And if it’s on offer by somebody then maybe what I can do is help that person. But we’ll see.”
The admission comes as Patrick, now a little more than three years removed from his time in the governor’s office, has been stepping back into the public arena. In December he traveled to Alabama to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, who pulled off a stunning victory over Roy Moore. For now, Patrick says his “current focus” is on helping Democrats in this year’s midterm elections. “I only want to go where folks think I can be helpful,” he said.
CORY BOOKER HITS THE TRAIL: After a trip to Washington state alongside Sen. Patty Murray on Friday, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was in Wisconsin this weekend to stump with his Democratic colleague, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who’s up for reelection this fall. They recorded this video at the opening of Baldwin’s Milwaukee headquarters.
2020 CLASS GOES TO SXSW: Sen. Bernie Sanders is making two stops in Texas on Friday, first at South by Southwest in Austin (where he’ll be interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper), then in San Antonio that night, where he’ll speak along with Our Revolution president Nina Turner at Trinity University.
Among the other potential 2020ers scheduled to appear in Austin this week and next:
— South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on a panel called, “Agile Activism: Big Change Starts at City Hall” (March 10).
— Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan … panel: Big & Small: How Makers Are Rebuilding America’s Cities (March 12).
— Maryland Rep. John Delaney … panel: Ending the Dangerous Disconnect Between DC and AI (March 10).
— New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu … panel: Tech’s Evolving Role in Disaster Response (March 11).
HOW THE DEM GUVS STACK UP: US News and World Report’s annual state rankings were a little more interesting this year, with so many governors taking a look at the 2020 primary. The report covers a lot of ground, but we zeroed in on two big categories — the economy and health care. Here’s how the states run (or recently run) by ambitious Democratic governors landed:
1. Colorado (Gov. John Hickenlooper)
3. Washington (Gov. Jay Inslee)
26. Montana (Gov. Steve Bullock)
30. Virginia (Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe)
35. New York (Gov. Andrew Cuomo)
2. Washington (Inslee)
9. Colorado (Hickenlooper)
15. New York (Cuomo)
26. Montana (Bullock)
29. Virginia (McAuliffe)
From the right:
TRUMP HIRES PARSCALE: President Donald Trump hired Brad Parscale, the digital media director of his 2016 campaign, to run his re-election bid, the campaign announced last week, making it clear that Trump already has his eyes on 2020.
KASICH NOT SAYING NO: Ohio Gov. John Kasich was asked again by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday’s “State of the Union” whether he is considering a run against Trump in 2020. Kasich responded by saying: “I’m going to be out of being governor here soon. … I don’t know what I’m going to do, but all options are on the table … but I want to keep a voice.”
FLAKE 2020?: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, known for his consistent spats with the President, will be speaking at a “Politics and Eggs” event on March 16 in New Hampshire, sparking speculation that he might take Trump on in 2020. When asked why he’s attending the event in the First in the Nation primary state, he responded jokingly, “I just like New Hampshire.” He later added that he hasn’t ruled out a run. “I don’t ever rule anything out, but it’s not in my plans right now,” he said. Flake said the same thing in December.
Before you go:
Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who delivered this year’s Democratic response to the State of the Union this year, spoke at the Broward County Democratic Party’s annual Obama Roosevelt Legacy Dinner in Florida and praised the local Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who “volunteer for the front lines while elected officials cower in the corner.” …