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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The Democratic Presidential candidates took to the debate stage in South Carolina on Tuesday, where many a sharp elbow was thrown — most of them aimed at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Here’s a local perspective from The Post and Courier in South Carolina.
If you’re looking for the obligatory “Winners and Losers” analysis, here’s CNN; The Washington Post; Politico; Vox.com; and The New York Times. Most seem to agree that the biggest “losers” were the inept moderators from CBS News.
As Slate.com writes, the problem with digesting these debates may just be that there are too many candidates in the Democratic field.
► Congressional leaders have decided that they can no longer wait for the Trump administration to get off its collective butt and start taking action to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus. From The Washington Post:
Congressional leaders on Wednesday planned to begin designing a large emergency spending package for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, revealing the wide gulf between lawmakers who have demanded more action and a White House that has sought a more measured response.
Even government officials have been split internally about how to respond, with some health officials urging more public preparedness while a number of political appointees have sought to downplay any risks. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, appearing at a congressional hearing Wednesday, sought to clarify that the near-term risk to Americans was low, but that the number of cases would likely increase.
The White House on Monday evening requested $1.8 billion to deal with coronavirus, and $535 million of that would be rerouted from an account that is designed to deal with Ebola. But Trump administration officials told senators Tuesday that they knew their request would need to grow, said a Senate aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe discussions with the White House.
Democrats and a number of Republicans have decried the White House request as insufficient and are aiming for a more robust package.
President Trump, meanwhile, is blaming the media for stoking fears about Coronavirus while many administration spokespeople continue to insist that everything will be just fine. Trump is holding a press conference to address the subject today; there has been talk that the White House might appoint a “coronavirus czar” to oversee the government’s response. The White House also wants to fund some coronavirus response by cutting money meant for low-income heating programs.
On Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren ripped Trump for his slow response to the spread of the virus on the same day that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it was a matter of “when,” and not “if,” Coronavirus starts spreading across the United States.
CBS4 Denver has more on how Colorado officials are preparing for a potential outbreak.
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) voted in favor of two more anti-choice bills in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
► If you plan to mail your Presidential Primary ballot ahead of Super Tuesday, you should probably make sure to drop it in the mailbox by the end of the day; go to GoVoteColorado.com for more information on ballot drop-off locations. If you are having trouble making up your mind…you’re not alone.
Meanwhile, The Denver Post looks at ballot returns thus far and notes that more Unaffiliated voters are deciding to cast a ballot in the Democratic Primary. Colorado Public Radio breaks down how the candidates stand on health care, which continues to poll as the top issue among most voters.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Former Colorado Sen. Mark Udall was among 70 former U.S. Senators adding their name to a letter published in The Washington Post calling on the current body of Senators to please do some actual legislating.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) voted to confirm Katharine MacGregor as Deputy Secretary of the Interior despite significant concerns about her ties to the mining industry.
► As The Colorado Sun reports, the burgeoning wind industry in Colorado is working on ways to recycle old wind turbine parts.
► Democratic Presidential candidate Tom Steyer is talking up his proposal for a “wealth tax.”
► Sorry, President Trump, but “blue” states generally have better economies than “red” states.
► Colorado appears poised to finally repeal the death penalty, with just one more vote in the House of Representatives until the measure heads to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.
► The Colorado Springs Independent looks at two legislative efforts to increase vaccination rates in Colorado.
► State lawmakers are looking at trying to close a gun show loophole, legislation that stems in part from a Denver7 investigation.
► The state legislature is talking about a state-managed plan to get RTD back on track.
► Broomfield is withdrawing as a partner in the long-running effort to build a Jefferson County Parkway that nobody really seems to want.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is one dim bulb.
► The odds of Democrats holding onto their majority in the House of Representatives might actually be improving. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:
House Republicans acknowledged in a closed-door meeting last month that they are in dire fundraising straits after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the Republican campaign apparatus by $40 million(!) in 2019. And Republicans have watched while more than two dozen of their own have announced decisions to leave the House after the November election. (Just nine Democrats are calling it quits or running for other offices.)
Now, to be clear: National dynamics have historically been shown to affect House races disproportionately more than Senate races. And if Sanders winds up as the nominee, there is of course the possibility that some of his views wind up affecting the overall Democratic brand and impacting down-ballot races.
But at the moment, there isn’t much evidence to suggest that all of the hand-wringing among congressional Democrats about Sanders is warranted.