Sanders slams Biden on Social Security, again: Campaign update

Mark Niquette

Bernie Sanders kept up his challenge to Joe Biden’s claims that he never proposed cuts or freezes to social security.

“Joe Biden continues trying to hide his efforts to help Republicans cut Social Security,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in a statement.

The campaign pointed to instances throughout Biden’s career in which the former vice president suggested cutting or freezing Social Security benefits including a 1995 vote for an amendment to the balanced budget bill which would have frozen Social Security expansions.

Both Biden and Sanders are running for the Democratic presidential nomination on a platform of protecting Social Security. Biden has said his plan to shore up Social Security would expand the program. Sanders has called on expanding benefits from the retirement program.

Bloomberg Opposed Trump’s Iran Deal Withdrawal (4:16pm)

Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaks to campaign workers and supporters in Minneapolis, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, as he opens the first field office in Minnesota and meets with local community leaders and voters to share his vision for the country.

Michael Bloomberg, in a speech designed to attract Jewish voters to his Democratic presidential campaign, said Sunday that despite his opposition to the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, he also opposed the way President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it, saying it was “tantamount to giving Iran permission to re-launch its nuclear program.”

In remarks prepared for delivery, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said he spoke out against the 2015 deal at the time because it should have done more to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and other concerns. But Trump shouldn’t have left the deal made with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany because Iran is once again moving toward the development of a nuclear weapon after years of compliance, he said.

“As president, I will work to make the strongest deal possible to constrain the Iranian regime’s aggression and territorial ambitions, and put an end to their nuclear program, because the world must never allow Iran to threaten Israel and the whole region with a nuclear attack,” Bloomberg said in his prepared remarks.

Bloomberg also addressed the rise in anti-Semitic violence in America. He said that while one person can’t be blamed for it, Trump’s rhetoric, support of conspiracy theories and silence about racist groups means “there is just no escaping the direct line between his conduct in office and the rise of violent attacks targeted at minority groups.” He vowed to launch a national effort to crack down on violent extremists.

The former New York mayor also said Trump is harming the U.S. relationship with Israel because the president is “trying to use Israel as a wedge issue for his own electoral purposes,” adding, “We must never let Israel be a football that American politicians kick around in an effort to score points.”

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Sanders goes after JPMorgan’s Dimon in new ad (13:51 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign stop at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bernie Sanders goes after Jamie Dimon in a new campaign ad, labeling the JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer “the biggest corporate socialist in America today.”

The jab continues criticism by the Vermont senator and presidential candidate after Dimon knocked socialism in an op-ed published last week in Time magazine as part of its coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Are you kidding me?” a Sanders aide exclaims in the ad, which was posted on Twitter. The spot cites Dimon’s pay, including $31.5 million last year, and says JPMorgan received bailouts after the global financial crisis 12 years ago.

Dimon, a 63-year-old billionaire, has previously said JPMorgan, which expanded during the crisis by acquiring collapsing rivals, didn’t need a bailout to survive at the time. In 2012, he said his firm temporarily accepted money from a Treasury Department program because “we were asked to” so weaker rivals could tap it without being singled out.

CBS Says Iowa Race Tight, Fluid in Final Days (12:56 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders, with 26% support, and Joe Biden, with 25%, are at the top of the Democratic pack in Iowa but the race is tight and fluid heading into the final week of campaigning for the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus, CBS News said Sunday.

In addition to hoping for a strong showing, candidates are in a battle for delegates, with Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren also in the hunt, according to results of the YouGov survey, which was conducted Jan. 16-23 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Biden, the former vice president, could get a boost from his status as the second choice of those backing Amy Klobuchar, polling at 7%, if they switch to him on caucus night, CBS said. After months of candidate visits, events and TV advertising only a little over a third of Iowa voters surveyed said they’ve “definitely” made up their minds.

Sanders had the most solidly committed supporters, at 48%, the poll showed. That compared with Warren at 40% and Biden backers at just 27% committed. Warren picked up an endorsement Saturday from the Des Moines Register, the state’s largest newspaper.

Biden scored high marks on the question of being prepared to be commander in chief, at 84% among Iowa Democrats. Sanders outpaced the field on the measure of being seen as someone who “fights for people like you.” – Ros Krasny

Yang Makes February Democratic Debate Stage (12:06 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang thanks supporters after a campaign event Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Clinton, Iowa.

Businessman and outsider Democratic candidate for president Andrew Yang has earned a spot in the upcoming eighth democratic debate in New Hampshire.

In order to make the stage for the debate on Feb. 7, candidates have to receive at least 5% in four Democratic National Committee–approved polls or 7% in two early-state polls. Candidates also have to receive at least 225,000 individual contributions. Yang had already met the donor threshold. He earned 7% in a national poll from a Washington Post and ABC News poll and 5% in a Fox News poll, both released Sunday.

He had received 5% in a December NPR/PBS/Marist national poll and 5% in an early January Quinnipiac University national poll.

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren have already qualified. Candidates who come out of the Iowa caucus with at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic convention also automatically qualify for the debate.

The entrepreneur did not qualify for the last debate in Des Moines. He’s currently on a 17-day bus tour of Iowa ahead of the Feb. 3 caucus in that state. – Emma Kinery

Biden, Sanders ahead in ABC-WaPost Poll: (10:53 a.m.)

Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders, clockwise from top left, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren agree President Donald Trump must be defeated next year. But the unity ends there.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, representing rival visions for the Democratic Party, are solidifying their status as frontrunners in the crowded presidential field, according to a Washington Post-ABC News national poll.

Just a week before voters finally get to have their say in the Iowa caucuses, the polls show Biden with 32% overall among registered voters who lean Democratic, while Sanders registered support from 23%. Both are doing slightly better than in the same poll in October.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, once considered a front-runner and with endorsements from the New York Times a week ago and the Des Moines Register in Iowa on Saturday, has seen a significant drop in her support. She was at 12% in this poll, down from 23% in October.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent $250 million on advertising since getting a late start in the race and will not compete in the first contests, pulled in support from 8%. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Businessman Andrew Yang, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was also endorsed by The New York Times, were all mired in single digits. The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone January 20-23, 2020. Results have an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Separately, an NBC News/Marist poll for New Hampshire released on Sunday showed Sanders and Buttigieg leading in the state. – Magan Krane

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

With assistance from Ros Krasny, Magan Crane and Emma Kinery.