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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The U.S. Senate voted 96-1 to approve an $8.3 billion package for Coronavirus response. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was the sole “NO” vote in the Senate.
On Wednesday, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) was one of just TWO House Members to vote “NO” on Coronavirus funding. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law as soon as it reaches his desk.
► As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post, President Trump’s penchant for making up numbers is a particularly bad habit during a global pandemic:
On Tuesday, a World Health Organization official stated that the mortality rate for covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, is at 3.4 percent globally. Asked about it during an interview Wednesday night with his friend Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump disagreed with that number.
“I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number,” Trump said. “Now, and this is just my hunch [Pols emphasis], and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot of people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor. You never hear about those people.”
Trump eventually settled on a number of “way under 1 percent” for the COVID-19 mortality rate. The source for this information? There is no source:
Trump twice admits that he’s simply making up the percentage he’s talking about, calling it a “hunch” and saying that it’s his personal assessment. Yes, he has access to more experts on the subject than your average American, which may inform that personal estimate, but his access to experts didn’t prevent him from reiterating obviously inaccurate information at an event with drug companies earlier this week.
Bump sums up Trump’s manufactured numbers with a sober warning:
We don’t know the mortality rate of the coronavirus in the United States in part because we don’t know the spread of the virus thanks to the government’s slow, faulty start in measuring it. We do know, though, that, by themselves, numbers offered by Trump aren’t trustworthy. That the world he presents is often not the real one.
► According to data from Public Policy Polling, Americans are very nervous about Coronavirus and very dissatisfied with how the federal government is handling response efforts:
Voters take the virus a lot more seriously than the president does. Only 8% of voters agree with Trump’s claim that the virus is a Democratic hoax, while 82% think the virus is real. Only 16% of Trump’s own voters agree with him that the virus is a hoax.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus could threaten his reelection. By a 20-point margin, voters say his administration’s handling of the virus makes them less likely to vote for him this fall. Independents say they’re less likely to vote for Trump by 32 points because of how he’s dealt with this issue. Only 37% of voters agree with Trump’s assessment that his administration is doing a “great job” dealing with the coronavirus, while 53% disagree.
► The Colorado Option has landed. As The Denver Post reports:
The long-awaited Colorado bill to create a variation of a public health insurance option — an effort that has garnered national attention and the ire of hospitals — was unveiled Thursday, just before the midway point of the legislative session.
Although Democrats are preparing for a contentious fight about the proposal they’re calling the Colorado option, they say they believe they can pass it.
The bill would provide Coloradans who purchase insurance on the individual market another choice by the state through private insurance at what’s expected to be a more affordable cost by Jan. 1, 2022. The bill targets counties that only have one option to create competition and lower premiums and will require hospitals to participate. If everyone on the individual market opts to use the plan, that’s about 8% of Coloradans, bill sponsors have said. In some rural parts of the state, participation is expected to be higher.
► Check out this week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, and listen to House Majority Leader Alec Garnett explain what might happen next if a legislator or staffer at the State Capitol ends up testing positive for COVID-19.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren withdrew from the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination on Thursday. Warren did not endorse another candidate in the race. Chris Cillizza of CNN takes a brief look at why Warren’s campaign sunk so quickly.
► So, you want to work in the Trump administration? First, you have to answer some questions, as CBS News reports:
A White House questionnaire being sent to potential political appointees appears to be a litmus test of the applicant’s loyalty to the president.
The questionnaire, a copy of which was obtained by CBS News, includes questions like, “What part of candidate Trump’s campaign message most appealed to you and why?” The questionnaire also asks potential appointees to describe their political evolution and to list media appearances in which they’ve commented about Mr. Trump.
“The purpose of this document is to expedite Presidential Personnel’s vetting process,” it says, before asking the applicant to list all social media accounts and references.
The survey is a product of new presidential personnel director Johnny McEntee, who rejoined the administration recently after he was escorted out of the White House in 2018 while under a security-related investigation. CBS News previously reported McEntee has been scouring the administration for political appointees deemed disloyal to the president. The White House Presidential Personnel Office is responsible for vetting administration appointees.
Not on the list: Do you prefer spray tanning, using tanning cream, or a tanning bed?
► According to a press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Colorado did itself some serious voting over the last couple of weeks:
As ballots are still being counted throughout the state, it’s already clear that more people participated in Colorado’s 2020 Presidential Primary than in any other primary in state history. Colorado’s turnout is also expected to lead the states that held primaries on Super Tuesday as well as every primary held so far.
“The massive turnout we’ve seen for the Presidential Primary is indicative of both the passion Coloradans have for exercising their right to vote as well as the state election model that enables access to do so,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “We’ve set a record in Colorado primary turnout and lead the nation in primary turnout participation, even before our results are final. That should make every Coloradan extremely proud.”
Through Wednesday, 1,697,768 ballots have been counted, which amounts to a 43.60% turnout of registered voters. There have been 1,816,369 total ballots returned, which amounts to 46.59% of registered voters.
► Abortion rights activists from Colorado joined in a big rally in front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.
► President Trump has indicated his support for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). A cynic (or a realist) would look at this as election-year pandering designed to help the re-election chances of endangered Republicans such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). For years, Congressional Republicans have been diverting money earmarked for LWCF funding to other projects.
► Isn’t this nice? Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says that he is confident that he and the Trump administration will be able to successfully relocate the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Grand Junction.
► Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may have finished in first place in Colorado on Super Tuesday, but as Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, that doesn’t mean he gets all of the delegates:
Sanders is expected to split the state’s 67 delegates with three other candidates.
As of Wednesday, Sanders was on track to win 27 delegates in Colorado. Joe Biden was estimated to win 17 delegates, Elizabeth Warren 13 and Michael Bloomberg 10 delegates, despite dropping out of the race, according to the Colorado Democratic Party.
The delegate counts are estimates, not final numbers, because some ballots remain uncounted.
Candidates must receive 15% support statewide or within one of Colorado’s seven congressional districts in order to win delegates. Forty-four delegates will be awarded based on results within the congressional districts and 23 delegates will be assigned proportionately statewide.
► Yet another poll shows that health care and the environment/climate top the list of concerns for voters in 2020.
► According to new data from Public Policy Polling, the Democratic candidates leads the Republican incumbent in all four of the top U.S. Senate races in 2020: Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Maine.
Meanwhile, news that former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will run for U.S. Senate is giving Democrats new confidence in gaining a Senate majority in 2020.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► You may be able to reinvent yourself when you go to college, but it doesn’t work as well when you are running for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Some of these “some people” include: a @cologop statehouse candidate, a Mesa GOP spokesperson, a former chair of the @ArapahoeGOP, and former #coleg member @savechaps: #copolitics pic.twitter.com/69fFLwELms
— Erik Maulbetsch (@emaulbetsch) March 4, 2020
► Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has joined the state in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administrations repatriating of money in order to build a big ol’ wall along the Mexico border.
► Michael Bloomberg might be out of the race for President, but he’s still very much inside of Donald Trump’s head:
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) March 5, 2020