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Pete Buttigieg quits Democratic presidential race

Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the Democratic presidential race Sunday night, ending a campaign that enjoyed a meteoric rise and outshone more experienced competitors but ultimately fell short after being dogged by a lack of minority support.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told supporters Sunday night that he no longer saw a path to victory and he had a responsibility to “consider the effect of remaining in this race any longer.”

Speaking to a crowd in South Bend, he said his goal now was to unify the Democratic party against President Donald Trump and “win with our values.”

“We began this unlikely journey with a staff of four,” he said. “No big email lists. No personal fortune. Almost nobody knew my name and almost no one could pronounce it.”

The speech came one day after Buttigieg won just 3 percent of black voters in South Carolina, according to NBC News exit polls, reinforcing concerns about his ongoing inability to win votes from one of the party’s most important constituencies despite the candidate’s efforts to address the issue.

A Buttigieg official said the campaign saw “a very, very narrow path” to victory and that “we weren’t where we needed to be” after South Carolina.

NBC News exit polls found that the state’s electorate was 56 percent African American, the first majority-black primary this election cycle.

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It isn’t clear who Buttigieg’s supporters will now back or whether he will endorse one of the remaining candidates. Recent polling by Morning Consult found that his backers split among various other candidates as their second choice: 21 percent picked Sanders, 19 percent picked Biden, 19 percent liked Warren and 17 percent were on board with Bloomberg.

Representatives of both the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns have been in discussions about potentially consolidating support around the former vice president, a source with knowledge told NBC News.

A Biden campaign official separately said Buttigieg and Biden tried to connect this afternoon and traded voice mail messages.

President Donald Trump responded with some speculation about what comes next:

Buttigieg, an Afghanistan war veteran and first openly gay nominee of a major political party, won an impressive victory in Iowa and narrowly lost New Hampshire, two overwhelmingly white states. Then it fell apart in the more diverse contests — he placed third in Nevada and fourth in South Carolina, faring poorly with Latino and black voters who make up a large share of upcoming “Super Tuesday” states.

The Iowa victory made history as Buttigieg became the first millennial and openly gay American to carry a state in a major party presidential primary.

Buttigieg will end his campaign having won 26 delegates.

Ironically for a youthful candidate, Buttigieg appealed mostly to older and white voters and failed to make inroads with the party’s rising constituencies of young people, Latinos and black voters.

In some ways, Buttigieg’s message was a better fit for the Democratic nomination of 2004 than 2020. He poked fun at elite condescension of “flyover country” and the “American Heartland” of the Midwest. He called for deficit reduction and denounced the “revolutionary politics of the 1960s.” His surrogates fondly reminisced about the TV show “The West Wing.”

His throwback message was lost on younger voters. He was an AIM candidate in a TikTok world, with supporters more familiar with Billy Joel than Billie Eilish.

At just 38, he is widely seen to have a bright future and may be better served by quitting now instead of continuing to compete with rivals, one of whom he will likely end up supporting in the general election.

“He’s getting out now because he doesn’t believe there’s a clear path, and he’s practicing what he presses: To bring the party and the country together,” a second Buttigieg campaign official said.

Craig Melvin and Priscilla Thompson contributed.

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Trump turns focus to Sanders as senator holds steady near top of the Democratic pack

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has been ramping up his attacks on Bernie Sanders as the Vermont senator has consistently stayed near the top of the Democratic pack.

Trump lobbed a fresh jab at Sanders on Sunday on Twitter, noting his rise in the polls, and brought him up throughout his rally on Thursday in Toledo. Trump’s campaign sent out back-to-back emails blasting Sanders last week.

The moves are part of a deliberate shift in focus towards Sanders, a campaign official said. As Trump’s attacks are likely to do more to help Sanders than hurt him with Democratic voters, it’s an indication the campaign is trying to put its finger on the scale in the weeks before voters begin weighing in.

“Wow! Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do Nothing Party,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!”

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Sanders shot back moments later, replying on Twitter, “It means you’re going to lose.”

Sanders took a narrow lead in the most recent poll of Iowa voters, but the race there remains essentially a four-way dead heat less than a month before the critical first-in-the-nation caucuses. The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll, released Friday, shows Sanders with 20 percent support among likely Democratic caucus-goers.

While Trump’s campaign advisers believe the president has a good shot at defeating any of the Democratic contenders, they have said Sanders would be an easy mark because they believe his progressive policies would alienate moderate and independent voters.

But the campaign has also sought recently to go after Sanders’ character, not just his policies. In a campaign email sent Thursday, Sanders was described as a “wealthy, fossil-fuel guzzling millionaire” — a somewhat paradoxical attack from a billionaire who used to fly around in a private jet. In another on Wednesday, the campaign said Sanders “can’t be trusted to defend American lives.”

“He’s just another Hollywood-style hypocrite who demands working class Americans make sacrifices while he plays by his own rules and enjoys a lavish lifestyle,” the campaign email on Thursday said.

Although Trump often refers to Sanders as “crazy Bernie,” he has previously reserved his most stinging attacks for Democrats like Biden and Warren.

But at a campaign rally in Toledo Thursday, Trump went after Sanders several times, attacking the senator’s health care plan and his criticism of the administration’s decision to kill top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, while seeking to paint Sanders as a leader of the Democratic Party.

“Democrats are taking their cues from socialist Bernie Sanders,” along with the group of freshman women in the House known as “The Squad,” Trump said. “They’re the leaders of the party.”

Trump’s attacks haven’t gone unnoticed by Sanders.

“Some of you may have noticed that recently our campaign and me personally have been the target of attacks from Trump and the Republican party because they are catching on that our campaign is the campaign that can and win defeat them,” Sanders said at a town hall event in Newton, Iowa, on Saturday. “We are going to expose the fact that when Trump talks about being a friend of working people, he is a liar and a fraud.”

Gary Grumbach contributed.

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John Kerry endorses Joe Biden in 2020 Democratic presidential race – live | US news

Users of Bloomberg terminals are funnelled to the Bloomberg 2020 campaign website merely by writing: MIKE. …

A Bloomberg spokesperson said the ‘MIKE’ function had been in place since at least 1997, when it was used to promote Mr Bloomberg’s autobiography Bloomberg by Bloomberg. Two decades later it advertised his book Climate of Hope. The website it currently links to has for years promoted Mr Bloomberg’s personal and political projects before being converted to his campaign site.

The website that users are directed to presents a slickly-produced video narrating Mr Bloomberg’s journey from ‘a middle-class kid who had to work his way through college’ to a billionaire businessman and politician.

It asks readers to register their details to join the campaign team, and contains news of policy announcements — as well as an online shop including $22 ‘I like Mike Bloomberg’ T-shirts.

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