Will Scott Brown run in New Hampshire after all? For months, most Granite State and D.C. Republicans have considered the former lawmaker more interested in attention than an actual Senate campaign. But Brown’s deluge of campaign-style visits, accompanied by a raft of stories about his intentions, have convinced many he’s now serious about running. Still, he’s not in yet, and there are a host of reasons to think he never will be.
— Despite his visits, Brown hasn’t personally courted GOP leaders and conservative activists, an important step for any candidate considering a bid for statewide office (much less in a place where voters expect future presidents to bend hand-on-knee asking for their vote). Many party leaders, in fact, say they don’t think Brown even has a formal group of advisers, in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Brown’s contemplating a campaign, but he appears to be doing entirely inside his own head.
— He won’t necessarily receive a free pass in a primary. Yes, Republicans are excited that they might finally have found a credible candidate to take on incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, and, yes, the primary field is so far barren of any other top-tier contenders. But the Bay State Republican’s record begs for sort of conservative challenge all too common in GOP politics: Among other things, he has supported abortion rights, a ban on assault weapons and opposed Paul Ryan’s budget and the Bush-era tax cuts. Does Brown, currently earning a comfortable living in the private sector, have the stomach to beat back conservative criticism?
— And then there’s the matter of the general election. New Hampshire is a swing state, especially in a midterm election, but Shaheen is a relatively popular incumbent staring down an overt carpetbagger. Even with Obamacare’s struggles, Brown would start as an underdog.
Most agree he can wait until late winter to decide on a campaign. By that time, hopefully he remembers which state he’s running in.
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President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.