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Michael Bloomberg ends US presidential campaign


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Media captionBloomberg loses badly then rolls out Trump jokes

After spending millions on his own campaign, Michael Bloomberg is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

“Three months ago, I entered the race for president to defeat Donald Trump. Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason,” he said in a statement.

Mr Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, spent at least $409m (£313m) of his own money in the race to become the Democratic Party’s nominee.

He said he would now support former Vice-President Joe Biden.

“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden,” Mr Bloomberg said in his statement.

He spent $409m up to the end of January, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, but is believed to have also spent heavily during February ahead of Super Tuesday.

Out of the 14 states and territories which voted on Tuesday, the billionaire only managed to win in American Samoa.

Joe Biden won 10 of the states, a remarkable rebound for his campaign.

The former US vice-president overturned predictions to narrowly take the key state of Texas from his main challenger, Bernie Sanders.

However, Mr Sanders is projected to win California – the biggest prize of the night – as well as three other states.

They lead the race to face Republican President Donald Trump in November.


Where did it go wrong?

Michael Bloomberg’s unconventional presidential campaign strategy of skipping the early states and spending heavily on Super Tuesday just ran head-first into cold, hard reality.

Key takeaways:

1) While most of the candidates in the race were liked by Democrats, Bloomberg was underwater. In Virginia, for instance, 56% of primary voters viewed him unfavourably. Hundreds of millions of dollars in slick television adverts and glossy mailers won’t do any good if voters don’t trust you.

2) Bloomberg spent $34m in television and radio advertisements in Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia, while Biden spent a fraction of that amount – and won all three. The early warning signs – empty campaign offices, sparsely attended voter canvassing events – turned out to be harbingers of doom.

3) He was surging in the polls just a few weeks ago. Then the Las Vegas debate, and his evisceration at the hands of Elizabeth Warren, happened. While many of the debates this campaign have had negligible effects, that one mattered.

  • Who is Michael Bloomberg?

What happens with the Democratic race now?

Super Tuesday awards more than 1,300 of the 1,991 delegates needed to win the Democratic White House nomination in July.

Mr Biden is on course to pick up 584 delegates, Mr Sanders 509 and Ms Warren 40, according to the BBC’s US partner, CBS News.

But full results from California, which has 415 delegates, could change that.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, once the frontrunner in the race, suffered a humiliating defeat to Mr Biden in her home state of Massachusetts.

She was talking to her team to assess her next step, a campaign aide said on Wednesday.

What’s at stake in Biden v Sanders?

The next primaries take place on 10 March in Michigan, Washington state, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri and North Dakota, with 352 delegates available.

The front-runners are hoping to clinch the nomination before the Democratic convention in July.

The party is at a crossroads as its voters decide which candidate has the best chance of denying Mr Trump a second term in office this autumn.

  • A simple guide to US primaries and caucuses

Once a crowded field of more than two dozen, celebrated for its women and candidates of colour, the Democratic contest now increasingly looks like a two-man race between two white male septuagenarians.

Mr Biden, a moderate, and Mr Sanders, a liberal firebrand, offer starkly different visions for America’s future.

The former vice-president presents himself as an electable pragmatist who will bring incremental change and restore “decency” after the Trump presidency.

  • Match the A-lister to their favoured 2020 Democrat
  • Eighteen things Bernie Sanders believes

But critics say his campaign is uninspiring, and that he brings too much political baggage from his lifelong career as a Washington insider.

Mr Sanders’ detractors say a self-described democratic socialist cannot win over the swing voters needed to capture the White House.

He is planning to transform the American economy with a multi-trillion dollar, higher taxation blueprint covering everything from healthcare to education.

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Media captionBBC reporters deliver their verdicts on Biden, Sanders and Bloomberg.



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Pete Buttigieg is taunted by jeering protesters who chase the Democrat away during campaign stop gone wrong – The Sun


DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was met by jeering protestors as a recent campaign stop appeared to go horribly wrong.

Buttigieg was initially welcomed by $15 minimum wage activists – but things soon went south for the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, according to footage taken at an event on Monday.

 Pete Buttigieg was heckled as he left a campaign event in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday

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Pete Buttigieg was heckled as he left a campaign event in Charleston, South Carolina, on MondayCredit: EPA
 As he left, Buttigieg was pressed by protesters, who had chanted that he could not be their president and pressed him on his policy record

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As he left, Buttigieg was pressed by protesters, who had chanted that he could not be their president and pressed him on his policy recordCredit: AP:Associated Press

In the video, posted by TIME, Buttigieg can be seen making a stop to join McDonald’s workers and activists taking part in a Fight For $15 march, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The 38-year-old was initially welcomed by the group, and after hugging one protestor, the former attempted to give a speech to the crowd.

Within a minute of Buttigieg taking the mic, however, the heckles had begun.

One person could be heard calling the former mayor a “flip-flopper,” while another said he was “co-opting the movement.”

“PETE CAN’T BE OUR PRESIDENT”

Soon, minimum wage marchers had begun chanting over Buttigieg’s speech itself, repeating their slogan, “We work, we sweat, put $15 on our check.”

Also present at the march were members of the Poor People’s Campaign and activists from Black Youth Project 100, an African American youth social justice organization.

Members of the latter then began to heckle Buttigieg over his political record.

As the former mayor then walked away from the minimum wage march, flanked by campaign staff, BYP100 activists began chanting: “Pete can’t be our President. Where was $15 in South Bend?”

 Buttigieg has initially been marching with a minimum wage advocacy group, Fight For $15, before the heckles began

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Buttigieg has initially been marching with a minimum wage advocacy group, Fight For $15, before the heckles beganCredit: EPA
 The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor was then heckled by another group of protestors, who chanted he couldn't be their president

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The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor was then heckled by another group of protestors, who chanted he couldn’t be their presidentCredit: 2020

The TIME footage shows Buttigieg leaving the scene and being followed by BYP100 activists.

As he then moved to enter his SUV, the presidential candidate could be heard referencing a plan for disabled workers to those who had followed him.

According to reports, Buttigieg was the only president candidate to appear at the March – though representative from other candidates’ campaign teams were present.

In the latest Winthrop Poll, Buttigieg only had 1% support from African Americans.

The minimum wage in Indiana currently stands at $7.25.

POLITICAL RECORD QUESTIONED

Last year, when Buttigieg was the city’s mayor, the South Bend Tribune called for the minimum wage to be increased to $12 per hour.

In 2016, Buttigieg had been able to get minimum wage for city employees raised to $10.10 an hour – but state law prevented local municipalities from instituting a higher mandated minimum wage for all businesses.

South Carolina primary is the forth nominating contest for the Democratic Party in 2020 and will take place on February 29.

Candidates have already stressed the importance of succeeding in the state, which awards 63 delegates, of which 54 are pledged delegates allocated on the basis of the results of the primary.

Success in South Carolina can also bolster candidates going into Super Tuesday, which will see fourteen state primaries take place, as well as the American Samoa caucuses.

This day of voting will amount to 1344 pledged delegates – 33.8 percent of the nationwide total.

According to a recent poll by Clemson University, Joe Biden holds an 18 point lead going into South Carolina, where he hopes to close the gap on frontrunner Bernie Sanders.

 Polls show Joe Biden is currently the favorite to win South Carolina, whose primary takes place on February 29

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Polls show Joe Biden is currently the favorite to win South Carolina, whose primary takes place on February 29Credit: Getty Images – Getty
 Bernie Sanders is currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee

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Bernie Sanders is currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomineeCredit: AP:Associated Press


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Sanders blasts Russia for reportedly trying to boost his presidential campaign


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday warned Russia to stay out of U.S. elections after American officials had told him Moscow was trying to aid his campaign, Trend reports citing Reuters.

“The intelligence community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign, right now, in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin, if elected president, trust me you are not going to be interfering in American elections,” Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, California.

Sanders, 78, a democratic socialist from Vermont, is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and is favored to win the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.

The Washington Post on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, said U.S. officials had told Sanders about the Russian effort and had also informed Republican President Donald Trump and U.S. lawmakers.

It was not clear what form the Russian assistance took, the paper said.

A congressional source confirmed intelligence officials have told lawmakers Russia appears to be engaging in disinformation and propaganda campaigns to boost the 2020 campaigns of both Sanders and Trump.

The source, however, cautioned that the findings are very tentative.

Sanders, a U.S. senator, said he was briefed about a month ago.

“We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign,” he told reporters. “Look, here is the message: To Russia, stay out of American elections.”

“What they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing – and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff – is they try to divide us up,” he said. “They are trying to cause chaos. They’re trying to cause hatred in America.”

MOSCOW DENIES

The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign to boost Trump’s re-election chances, following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week.

U.S. intelligence officials told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing that Russia was again interfering in American politics ahead of November’s election, as it did in 2016, a person familiar with the discussion told Reuters on Thursday.

Since that briefing, Trump has ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him with a political loyalist in an abrupt move as Democrats and former U.S. officials raised the alarm over national security concerns.

A senior administration official, however, said the nation was better positioned than in 2016 to defend against foreign attempts to influence elections.

“President Trump has made clear that any efforts or attempts by Russia, or any other nation, to influence or interfere with our elections, or undermine U.S. democracy will not be tolerated,” the official said.

On Twitter, the president accused Democrats in Congress of launching a misinformation campaign that says Russia prefers him to any of what he called the “Do Nothing Democrat candidates.” Trump called it a “hoax.”



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Is the Maximum Pressure Campaign Working with Iran?


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‘That’s no joke’: Taking aim at Trudeau, Trump’s campaign chief compares U.S. job numbers to Canadian losses


For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it seems the fallout from his Buckingham Palace video slip-up is set to run and run.

In the days since the PM’s unguarded remarks showed him cracking a joke at U.S. President Donald Trump’s expense at a NATO summit in England, he has found the clip being used both by Trump’s allies and foes to further their own needs.

At a reception on Tuesday evening, Trudeau was caught on camera with France’s Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Boris Johnson and Mark Rutte of the Netherlands laughing at Trump’s long press appearances. “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” said Trudeau. Trump said the clip showed Trudeau was “two-faced.”

In a news conference after the summit, Trudeau said his “jaw drop” comment had been referring to Trump’s unexpected announcement that the next G7 summit will take place at Camp David and he had meant no offence.

However, that doesn’t seem to have appeased the Trump side, and on Friday Trudeau was taken to task by Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale.


Brad Parscale, campaign manager for the Trump 2020 reelection campaign, attends a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump in Bossier City, LA, U.S., November 14, 2019.

REUTERS/Tom Brenner

On Friday Bloomberg reported that Canada’s job market weakened, unexpectedly, for the second month in a row. Citing Statistics Canada figures, Bloomberg reported that Canada shed 71,200 jobs in November — the biggest drop since 2009. In total, Canada has added 285,100 jobs in 2019.

Pouncing on the November drop Parscale, citing Bloomberg reporting run online by the Financial Post, highlighted the fact that American job gains under Trump compare favourably to Canada’s numbers. The most recent U.S. Labor Department figures show the U.S. gained 266,000 jobs in the same month.

“Let’s see,” Parscale wrote in a post on both his Twitter and Facebook accounts, the latter of which was shared by Trump’s own Facebook page.

“President Trump is fighting for America and our economy just ADDED 266,000 jobs. Justin Trudeau was laughing it up in London and the Canadian economy just LOST 71,200 jobs. That’s no joke. Trump wins. Again.”

Parscale’s stinging rebuke came soon after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had chimed in on the Trudeau clip, posting a campaign video to Twitter in which he used the video to take down Trump, suggesting he is a laughingstock to other world leaders.

“The world is laughing,” read the text over that clip and others of Trump’s trips abroad. “We need a leader the world respects.”

As of Thursday evening, Biden’s Twitter video had garnered more than nine million views. The campaign soon posted it to Facebook and told Reuters it was also promoting it to likely caucus-goers in the early presidential nominating state of Iowa on Instagram, YouTube and Hulu.

The Biden campaign also used the video in a fundraising pitch on Thursday, asking supporters to help turn the online ad into a TV spot.

— with files from Reuters and Bloomberg



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Threats and Abuse Change How Female Candidates Campaign in U.K. Election


LEEDS, EnglandThe campaign office is deliberately inconspicuous — tucked above a salon through an unmarked doorway in a 1970s-era shopping center. There are no campaign posters in the windows. Two cameras are trained on the entrance. The door frame was recently reinforced.

They are necessary precautions, said Rachel Reeves, the Labour candidate who has represented this area of Leeds in Parliament since 2010 and uses the space as both her constituency office and now as her campaign headquarters.

The death threats, abuse on social media and graffiti calling for “traitor” lawmakers to be hanged have changed her approach ahead of Britain’s upcoming general election. This is the new reality, she and other lawmakers say, in a campaign environment that has become remarkably nasty, particularly for women, who face a torrent of abuse and threats often laced with misogyny. And it is happening across the political spectrum.

“I do think it’s a very different atmosphere and environment now compared to the first two times I stood,” Ms. Reeves said. “People are a lot angrier and there’s a lot more polarization, particularly around the Brexit issue.”

In the dwindling days before Britain heads to the polls, candidates, particularly women, are finding themselves campaigning in a climate where they say abuse, threats and a culture of intimidation have become the norm. With the Labour and Conservative parties hurling blame and allegations of racism and wrongdoing at each other, and anger and exhaustion over the still unresolved issue of Brexit, the country is divided like never before.

Where once candidates might have tried to be as visible as possible, many are now proceeding with caution, heeding warnings from the police. The abuse is not directed entirely at women. Men have come in for their share as well.

But a study conducted during the most recent election showed that female lawmakers received disproportionately more abuse on social media, with women of color receiving an even larger share.

She believes Brexit divisions and language used by leaders in Parliament have fueled the anger.

Six weeks ago, her staff arrived at their office on Morley’s main street to find graffiti scrawled in the entryway: “Andrea just kill yourself pls.”

The decision to hold an election in December, when daylight is in short supply across Britain, has also forced many candidates to rethink their strategies, with some, including Ms. Jenkyns, swearing off knocking on doors in the dark because of safety concerns.

Before previous elections, much of Ms. Reeves’s canvassing would take place after the workday ended. Now, it’s dark by 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, she set out at 4 p.m., knocking on doors with a small team of volunteers who put leaflets through mail slots in the Fairfield Estate, a mixture of public housing projects and privately owned homes spread out over a steep hillside.

The streetlights came on as she made her way along the densely packed terraced houses, her red Labour candidate badge visible in the darkness. Few answered the door.

But those who happened to be home were mostly positive, mixed with a few curt responses from those not supporting Labour.

“I think we are certainly a little more vigilant,” Ms. Reeves said, describing a few confrontations. “We would never have someone go door-knocking by themselves.”

Ms. Cox’s younger sister, Kim Leadbetter, believes that the conversation around Brexit has grown increasingly vitriolic in the years since her sister’s death. She worries it could prove damaging to the democratic process and discourage young people, particularly women, from politics.

“When Jo was murdered, there was a short period of time when politicians said all the right things about how politics needed to take a step back,” she said.

But it didn’t last. Instead, she said, anger, frustration, and violent language seem to dominate the conversation. Ms. Leadbetter, an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation, a nonpartisan, community-building charity that was created after her sister’s death, said that while her sister was an advocate of robust debate, “we have to be able to disagree agreeably.”

While there is undoubtedly an issue with threats of violence on social media — due in part to the anonymity the platforms can provide — Ms. Leadbetter warned against dismissing them as just an online problem.

“It only takes one individual who cannot see the difference between violent, aggressive and abusive language and an act of violence that can change people’s lives forever,” she said.



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