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Iowa caucuses 2020: Candidates make a final, frantic push before caucus night

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But they’re doing it without a traditional late signal of where support is, after the Des Moines Register and CNN canceled the planned Saturday night release of a poll.On Sunday, the candidates actively competing for Iowa — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); former vice president Joe Biden; former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); entrepreneur Andrew Yang and investor Tom Steyer — planned to hit their final events, trying to persuade voters to stand in their corners Monday.In their closing arguments, Biden returned to a common theme of safety and experience, painting himself as the nominee with the best chance of beating Trump. Fighting back is an act of patriotism.”CEDAR RAPIDS — Sanders skipped across Iowa on Sunday, seeking to maximize his final full day of campaigning before the caucuses with a series of speeches calling for sweeping change.The Vermont senator framed Monday’s caucuses as the start of the “most consequential election, at least in the modern history of America.” He said his campaign was about beating Trump in November and “bringing fundamental reform to American society.”Sanders stopped at campaign offices in three different cities, giving abbreviated stump speeches designed to rally supporters preparing to canvass for him. Less than an hour after that story was published online, Kerry said in a tweet, “I am absolutely not running for President.”He said any report otherwise is “false,” alliteratively punctuating that denial with a profanity that shares the first letter of his middle name.“I’ve been proud to campaign with my good friend Joe Biden, who is going to win the nomination, beat Trump, and make an outstanding president,” Kerry added.He later deleted the expletive-laden tweet and replaced it with a family-friendly version.The NBC News report said Kerry had been sitting in the lobby restaurant of the Renaissance Savery hotel in the Iowa capital that is currently crawling with politicos and campaign reporters covering the Monday night caucuses.He was reportedly discussing “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole.”Kerry has been traveling Iowa this month to campaign for Biden, and at one recent event, the former presidential nominee spotted an old supporter in a throwback shirt: “Veterans for Kerry.”Kerry’s eyes lingered on the man before he told the crowd, “I’m here for Joe.”It was hours before the Super Bowl and Sean Hannity was throwing easy- to-catch passes to President Trump in their pregame Fox News interview.After Trump rehashed his criticisms of the impeachment process and pledged not to delay this week’s State of the Union address, Hannity began a “lightning round,” which amounted to the host throwing out names of Democrats and the president riffing on each. And that’s wonderful; Moscow is wonderful.”Hannity replied with a rare fact check in a typically deferential interview: “Might have been his honeymoon.”For Warren, Trump had “fairy tale” and for Mike Bloomberg, “very little” — followed by a factually unsupported digression about the former New York mayor asking for a box to stand on during the debate.And though the interview was short, Hannity found time for a greatest hit: “Hillary,” he said, omitting a last name.“I think of emails,” Trump replied.When Hannity asked whether Trump preferred any one candidate to face in the 2020 election, the president said, simply: “I mean I’m watching, and I have little nicknames for all of them.”“I’m sure they love your nicknames,” Hannity replied.“But they’re accurate,” Trump said. “That is what propels me into this space, too.”DUBUQUE — In one of his last events before voters caucus in Iowa, Joe Biden told a standing-room-only crowd at a Catholic university that he is the candidate with the most widespread appeal — but also one with the experience to unite a divided nation once in office.The message is a not-so-subtle move to counter questions about his age — at 77, Biden is the second-oldest candidate seeking the Democratic nomination — and to dig at opponents with more polarizing views.“A couple of the folks I’m running against — and they’re all good people — say that we need someone brand new,” he told the crowd. His closing argument in Iowa digs heavily at Trump and includes a swipe at Joni Ernst, the senator from Iowa who was quoted as saying she hoped negative statements about Biden in the Senate impeachment trial would influence caucus-goers.Ernst backtracked on some of the comments during an appearance on a Sunday morning news show, Biden told voters.She said she was “just pointing out that Iowa has very smart voters,” Biden told the crowd. “But I will be proud to represent Iowa so far from home and carry on our beloved caucus tradition as long as it lasts.”As for what food will be served at the satellite caucus in Tbilisi, Kucera said that hadn’t yet been decided.“Like Iowa voters, famously late-breaking,” Kucera told The Washington Post.All four Democratic senators running for president have confirmed that they plan to return to Washington in time to participate in Senate impeachment proceedings, which resume Monday.According to a Sanders official, the current plan is for Sanders to return to Washington on Sunday night to be there for impeachment proceedings Monday — and then fly back to Iowa to be back for his caucus event Monday night. That’s especially important in light of the confusion that marked caucus night in 2016, which deepened distrust of the party, as well as the intensifying effort by President Trump and his allies to stoke Democratic divisions by baselessly painting the process as rigged against Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who has surged in recent polls.For the first time, the party will release counts from the first allignment, as well as the second — as caucus-goers split into factions and then reassemble if certain candidates do not meet the required threshold of 15 percent — as well as the projected delegates to the state convention, known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs.The change will mean more transparency, but it also will add to the workload of party officials and volunteer leaders — and it raises the possibility that multiple campaigns could claim a victory of sorts.The state party conducted a simulation in November, running through various scenarios to prepare for possible caucus-night malfeasance. “But it’s how you ultimately respond.”Teague, who pointed out that he is also gay, said he thinks Buttigieg is the best candidate to address the concern most voters say will dictate their choice in Monday night’s caucuses: electability.“This is a man who can relate to everybody,” said Teague, who joins a growing group of African American leaders endorsing Buttigieg, including Hart and state Reps. He reiterated his view that the only way to defeat Trump in November is to generate excitement and create high turnout.He acknowledged that not everyone in Iowa agrees with him, and added, “no matter what your politics may be, I think we all understand that that is not the kind of person who should remain the White House.”Chants of “I believe that we will win!” broke out after Sanders’s remarks.Warren about to address the overflow crowd in Infianola, in Indianola, about 140 miles to the west, Warren’s first event of the day — a “get out the caucus” rally at Simpson College — was so packed, some of her senior aides were being turned away at the door. Sanders joined the event briefly by phone — he was stuck in Washington for the impeachment trial.Sanders’s staff would not immediately say how many people they had at their recent rally in Indianola.DES MOINES — Some of Biden’s top advisers on Sunday morning sought to downplay any results in Iowa, arguing that any impacts of a loss here would be limited and suggesting voters consider the results of the first four states — not just the first.“We’ve never said that we were going to run away with it. “When we say he’s electable in the general election, we’re not saying he’s going to win every state in the caucus and primary system.”Even though billionaire Mike Bloomberg is not competing in Iowa, Trump has fixated on the candidate recently, tweeting about him multiple times over the weekend and insulting the former New York mayor on Fox News.In an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, to air in full during the Super Bowl pregame show, Trump zeroed in on Bloomberg’s height when asked what he thought of the candidate.“Uh, very little. “We think we’re going to surprise a lot of people on Monday night, George, and we’ve got a ton of support in New Hampshire,” he said.A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows most of the top Democratic candidates would fare about the same or better than Trump in a general election, with Biden appearing strongest.Biden vs. Here’s where they will be throughout the day:— Biden is making stops in Dubuque and Des Moines.— Sanders will hold “meet and greets” at several of his field offices — including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Newton — before hosting a Super Bowl watch party in Des Moines.— Warren will hold rallies in Indianola and Ames, alongside her husband, Bruce Mann, and their golden retriever, Bailey.— In addition to making the rounds on four Sunday morning political talk shows, Buttigieg will make stops in Coralville and Des Moines.— Klobuchar will appear on “Fox News Sunday,” then hold get-out-the-caucus events in Decorah and Mason City, before hosting a Super Bowl watch party in Johnston.— Yang will appear on ABC’s “This Week” and then make stops at canvass launches in Ames, Mason City, Cresco, Decorah and Waterloo.For several of the top candidates, time is of the essence. Buttigieg will be making the rounds, sitting down with the hosts of “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” There was supposed to be a Saturday night special on CNN around the release of the last Des Mones Register-CNN-Medicom poll before the Iowa caucuses — but at the last minute, CNN and the Des Moines Register announced that they wouldn’t be releasing results.They said a candidate’s name had not been included on at least one survey phone call, something the Buttigieg campaign said it was made aware of and flagged for the pollsters.

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