2020 Vision: Gillibrand's Franken problem, Beto's 'funk' and why Biden's history with Warren may come back to haunt him

2020 Vision: Gillibrand's Franken problem, Beto's 'funk' and why Biden's history with Warren may come back to haunt him

Then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., during a news conference on women’s health issues in Washington, D.C., in 2011. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said in a statement on Friday. “But it is the right time for me to continue to fight the battles I have fought as U.S. Senator and state official.”’ data-reactid=”33″>“2020 is not the time for me to run for president,” Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said in a statement on Friday. “But it is the right time for me to continue to fight the battles I have fought as U.S. Senator and state official.”

Time to update the dance card.

Gillibrand takes questions from reporters after announcing she will run for president, in Troy, N.Y., on Jan. 16, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Gillibrand-ing herself to take on Trump

This time last week there was exactly one prominent candidate (Elizabeth Warren) who had formally announced a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now there are four.

Following Warren’s launch of an exploratory committee, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro; and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., each announced their intention to run for president.

Gillibrand told Colbert on Tuesday. Gillibrand is 52 and has two sons, ages 10 and 15. She is running on an all-purpose list of popular Democratic issues: for health care and education reform and against racism, corruption, corporate greed and the influence of special interests. And, of course, Donald Trump.’ data-reactid=”60″>“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own,” Gillibrand told Colbert on Tuesday. Gillibrand is 52 and has two sons, ages 10 and 15. She is running on an all-purpose list of popular Democratic issues: for health care and education reform and against racism, corruption, corporate greed and the influence of special interests. And, of course, Donald Trump.

“We have to take on President Trump and what he is doing,” Gillibrand said in a speech in Troy, N.Y., the next day. “I believe he is literally ripping apart the fabric of this country, the moral fabric. We’ve got to restore that decency and our leadership in the world, and so that’s why I feel so called right now to take on that battle.”

She also told reporters that, like Warren, she would not accept donations from individual political action committees, better known as super-PACs.

“I don’t think we should have individual super-PACs, and I don’t want one,” she said.

The Franken problem

Gillibrand’s renunciation of PACs might be grounded not just in principle but in necessity. It seems some members of the Democratic donor class have not forgiven her for the way she handled the sexual misconduct allegations against former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Gillibrand was the first Democratic lawmaker to publicly call for his resignation, a punishment that was viewed by some Democrats as too harsh, given the nature of the allegations against him and especially weighed against the fact that he was an outspoken progressive who once wrote a book titled “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.” (As an aside: Franken’s career facing down hecklers in comedy clubs turned out to be the perfect preparation to hold one’s own against the Trumpian right — perhaps second only to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s experience fending off jerks as a New York City bartender.)

sat down for an interview on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”’ data-reactid=”75″>Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who appears to be moving closer to announcing a presidential bid, sat down for an interview on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”

A Midwestern moderate who has prided herself on her ability to work across party lines, Klobuchar said she hopes to sell her image as a compromise-crafter — and “the fact that I’m good at it” – as a “tool to get to an end” that will advance progressive goals while also serving as an antidote to Trump.

“One of the ways you get results — and you bring down pharmaceutical prices, and you do something substantive about immigration reform and infrastructure and rural broadband — is by working with people and not sending out tweets attacking them,” she said.

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., possible Democratic presidential candidate, on the newest episode of the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery”‘ data-reactid=”80″>— Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., possible Democratic presidential candidate, on the newest episode of the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery”

Oops?

Someone in Washington, D.C., tweeted photos of what appear to be mock presidential campaign logos for Klobuchar that were left on a table in a coffee shop. Klobuchar said they were the work of “a very enthusiastic supporter.”

A Biden-Warren preview?

Beto O’Rourke wrote this week on Medium.com. “My last day of work was January 2nd. It’s been more than twenty years since I was last not working. Maybe if I get moving, on the road, meet people, learn about what’s going on where they live, have some adventure, go where I don’t know and I’m not known, it’ll clear my head, reset, I’ll think new thoughts, break out of the loops I’ve been stuck in.”’ data-reactid=”118″>“Have been stuck lately. In and out of a funk,” Beto O’Rourke wrote this week on Medium.com. “My last day of work was January 2nd. It’s been more than twenty years since I was last not working. Maybe if I get moving, on the road, meet people, learn about what’s going on where they live, have some adventure, go where I don’t know and I’m not known, it’ll clear my head, reset, I’ll think new thoughts, break out of the loops I’ve been stuck in.”

The former Texas congressman detailed his funk-breaking road trip through parts of Kansas and Oklahoma — a listening tour of sorts as he weighs a presidential bid.

ALSO READ: Why was Beto O’Rourke a national phenomenon while Stacey Abrams wasn’t?‘ data-reactid=”124″>ALSO READ: Why was Beto O’Rourke a national phenomenon while Stacey Abrams wasn’t?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts during testimony by Andrew Wheeler, nominated as  EPA administrator, on Jan. 16, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)

Sanders meets with female staffers from 2016

Following multiple allegations about his 2016 campaign’s mistreatment of women, Sen. Bernie Sanders met with roughly two dozen former staffers this week at a Washington, D.C., hotel, hoping to ease their concerns while he considers mounting another presidential bid.

Gabbard said in a video posted online Thursday. “And worse, they were very hurtful to people in the LGBT community and to their loved ones.”’ data-reactid=”146″>“I said and believed things that were wrong,” Gabbard said in a video posted online Thursday. “And worse, they were very hurtful to people in the LGBT community and to their loved ones.”

Gabbard explained that growing up in a “socially conservative household,” she was “raised to believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”

“My views have changed significantly since then, and my record in Congress over the last six years reflects what is in my heart,” she said.

Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, has also faced criticism for a secret meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in Damascus in 2017 at the height of that country’s devastating civil war. She defended the decision when the trip became public. “I think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help bring about an end to this war,” Gabbard said.

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