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Wake Up To Politics - March 18, 2019

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Monday, March 18, 2019. 322 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 596 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.

Happening today: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) travels to St. Louis to stump for top Democratic policy priorities. I'll be on hand at the event... follow along on Twitter to see my updates, and make sure to read the full report in tomorrow's newsletter.

2020 Central

--- Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) raised more than $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after launching his presidential bid last week, his campaign announced this morning. The haul, which outpaces the 24-hour sums announced by any of his rivals, is a reminder of O'Rourke's grassroots fundraising prowess after a "rocky rollout" that included him apologizing for multiple past comments. Until O'Rourke, the Democratic contender to announce the largest first-day haul was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who raised $5.9 million in the 24 hours after launching his second White House bid last month.

Via the New York Times: "Mr. O’Rourke’s early burst of fund-raising illustrates how much he has captured the imagination of many Democratic activists around the country, who propelled him to break financial records last year in his ultimately losing bid to unseat Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. There were some doubts as to whether those same grass-roots donors would also contribute to him when he was not facing Mr. Cruz — a detested figure on the left — but rather was one more entrant in a sprawling presidential primary."

"Mr. O’Rourke’s money will, at least for now, quiet some of those skeptics: In a single day online, he raised nearly a quarter of what Barack Obama, then a senator, did in the entire first quarter of 2007."

--- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) formally launched her presidential bid on Sunday, releasing a video presenting herself as "a leader who makes big, bold, brave choices." Gillibrand listed some of leading policy priorities in the video, saying: "We can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy." Although she didn't mention him by name, the video was also peppered with clips of President Donald Trump and his administration, leading up to the pointed announcement that her kickoff rally on March 24 would take place at one of his properties, at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York.

--- With 14 Democrats now formally in the presidential race, one of the few boldface names yet to announce their intentions is former Vice President Joe Biden. But on Saturday, Biden seemed to get ahead of his own announcement (which is expected sometime in April), telling a crowd of Delaware Democrats: "I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the — anybody who would run," momentarily appearing to include himself among the presidential contenders before backtracking.

President Trump weighs in on Twitter this morning: "Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for President. Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!"

--- "2020 Dems warm to expanding Supreme Court" (Politico)

--- "In 2020 Field Full of Women, Some Men Singal They Will Pick a Female Vice President" (New York Times)

--- "Warren embraces underdog role as she faces 2020 challenges" (Associated Press)

--- "Pete Buttigieg, the young and openly gay Midwest mayor, finds a voice in crowded Democratic presidential field" (Washington Post)

--- "John Hickenlooper didn't mean to forget who you are: How face blindness has affected his political career" (CNN)

--- On the Republican side: "[Maryland Gov. Larry] Hogan, pondering challenge to Trump, casts himself as a traditional Republican" (Washington Post)

Weekend Review: Trump's tweet barrage

Via a CNN analysis piece:

"President Donald Trump spent the weekend venting venom at a bewildering list of targets -- even as much of the rest of the world was still trying to come to terms with a true outrage -- the carnage wrought against Muslims in New Zealand."

"In a stunning display of personal grievances aired on Twitter, Trump demanded the return of a supportive Fox News host who was missing from her usual spot on Saturday after verbally attacking an American Muslim lawmaker. He escalated his beyond-the-grave feud with late Sen. John McCain. He complained at being lampooned by NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Trump also fulminated against the Russia investigation, "Radical Left Democrats" and took shots at an Ohio union boss before demanding a now-closed GM plant in Ohio be reopened or sold."

"It isn't that it is unusual for this most unconventional of Presidents to hit out at his foes on Twitter. But this weekend's tirade came across as even more jarring given his tepid tone on Friday when he said that he didn't think white supremacy was a growing global problem after the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50."

--- Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on "Fox News Sunday": "The president is not a white supremacist. I'm not sure how many times we have to say that." .... Mulvaney on CBS' "Face the Nation": "I don't think anybody can say the president is anti-Mulsim."

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White House schedule

--- At 11:30 a.m., President Trump receives a briefing on the Economic Report of the President. At 12:30 p.m., he has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. At 1:45 p.m., the president receives his intelligence briefing. At 5:45 p.m., he attends a Greek Independence Day celebration at the White House.

--- After his lunch with President Trump, Vice President Pence travels to Monterey, California.

Recent coverage:

  • "Good Cop or Good Soldier? Mike Pence Is a Tempting Target for 2020 Democrats" (New York Times)
  • "‘An easy target’: Pence takes barbs from both sides as he promotes Trump" (Washington Post)

--- At 10 a.m., First Lady Melania Trump convenes the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, meeting with officials from 10 Cabinet departments and other federal agencies "in an effort to build upon and improve youth programs that align with the First Lady’s Be Best initiative."

Congress schedule

--- Neither chamber of Congress is in session this week.

Supreme Court schedule

--- The Supreme Court will release orders from last Friday's conference at 9:30 a.m. Then, the chamber will hear oral arguments in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, a racial gerrymandering case, and Smith v. Berryhill.

Via the Washington Post on the gerrymandering case: "The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday in a redistricting case that could help determine the balance of power in Virginia’s legislature for years to come."

"A panel of lower-court judges ruled last year that 11 Virginia House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered and ordered a new map to correct them. House Republicans appealed that finding and will argue against the new map Monday before the high court."

2020 campaign schedule

--- Two 2020 candidates will participate in town hall events on dueling cable networks tonight. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will sit down with Chris Hayes for a Michigan town hall airing on MSNBC at 8 p.m., while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will sit down with Jake Tapper for a Mississippi town hall airing on CNN at 9 p.m.

--- Gillibrand will attend a meet and greet in Clawson, Michigan at 5:30 p.m. with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) before the town hall in Auburn Hills.

--- Warren will make campaign stops in Cleveland, Mississippi and Greenville, Missippi before the town hall in Jackson.

--- O'Rourke will hold a meet and greet in Center Line, Michigan at 8 a.m. today.

--- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro travels to New Hampshire today, holding a coffee event with University of New Hampshire students in Durham (12:30 p.m.) and a roundtable on the economy in Manchester (4 p.m.), as well as participating in an ACLU forum on civil liberties (6:30 p.m.) and a meet and greet with local Democratic activists (7:35 p.m.), both in Concord.

--- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) campaigns in Las Vegas, Nevada today, holding a town hall at 5 p.m. and a meet and greet at 9 p.m.

*All times Eastern