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D.C. Memo: Deal or no deal

photo of joe biden
REUTERS/Mike Segar
The New York Times reported this week that Former Vice President Joe Biden was weighing an alliance with Klobuchar for the caucus.

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington: The big event in Iowa, a quick impeachment update, and some cannabidiol policy. Let’s get on with this.

The president next door

As she said she would, Sen. Amy Klobuchar is doing two things at once: shifting from long days presiding over an impeachment trial in Washington, D.C., to campaign events in Iowa. She has made more of an effort, and spent more time in Iowa, than any other candidate in the race (save for John Delaney, who just dropped out).

We’re three days from the Iowa Caucus.


The New York Times reports that Former Vice President Joe Biden was weighing an alliance with Klobuchar for the caucus. Candidates have to reach a 15 percent threshold of support or else they are disqualified from caucus sites. Biden was asking Klobuchar to tell her supporters to pick him, should she not qualify for a site.

Vice News Reporter Cameron Joseph caught up with Klobuchar to get her take on the pitch:

“I’m not making any deals,” she said.

One final Iowa poll in this newsletter. This one from from Monmouth, of 544 likely voters, taken Jan 23 to 27. The margin of error is +/- 4.2. The New York Times editorial board endorsement doesn’t appear to have made any dent.

  • Joe Biden: 23
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: 21
  • Pete Buttigieg: 16
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 15
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 10
  • Tom Steyer: 4
  • Andrew Yang: 3
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: 1


What about after Iowa? Klobuchar is counting on a strong showing in the mostly white state, but her polling when it comes to black voters is next to none. In at least one national poll conducted by the Washington Post and Ipsos, she’s polling at 0. Read more at MinnPost.

At the same time, in light of a recent AP investigation into the prosecution of Myon Burrell, who was alleged to have killed thirteen year old Tyesha Edwards, has spurred advocates for Burrel’s innocence to call for Klobuchar to drop out of the race.

“If that man hasn’t done nothing, then he doesn’t need to be in there at all,” Leonard Winborn, Edwards’ stepfather, told the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, adding that he’s worried Tyesha’s death may have been used by Klobuchar for political capital.

When discussing her history as a prosecutor, Klobuchar has used the case as a positive talking point on her campaign.

From a press release sent by Nekima Levy Armstrong, representing the Racial Justice Network, Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, and Communities United Against Police Brutality:

“To date, Amy Klobuchar has taken no steps to remedy the wrongful conviction of Myon Burrell. To the contrary, she has used this case while on the Presidential campaign trail to build more political capital. Advocates are calling for Amy Klobuchar to immediately suspend her campaign for President, given her role in sending an innocent Black teenager to prison for life.”

Impeachment update

A brief impeachment update: Senators have now shifted into the question phase, where they are allowed to submit questions to be read by Chief Justice John Roberts, addressed to both the House’s impeachment managers and President Trump’s legal defense team.

Several Republican Senators are pushing for a rapid end to the trial in the coming days, meaning no additional witnesses would be heard.

By the numbers

  • $2,000: The amount former Rep. Rick Nolan’s mostly inactive campaign fund gave Quinn Nystrom, who is running for his old seat against Rep. Pete Stauber in Minnesota’s Eighth. Nolan endorsed Nystrom late last year.
  • 1: The amount of days presidential campaigns have left to file their quarterly financial’s with the Federal Election Commission.
  • 30%: The number Sen. Bernie Sanders is polling at in California, according to Change Research. The Golden state moved up its primary to Super Tuesday this year, and with 415 delegates up for grabs, it could be consequential in solidifying the race. Delegates will be split candidates those that get at least 15 percent each statewide and candidates that get at least 15 percent in each congressional district.

Easy as CBD

Rep. Collin Peterson wants to make it easier to sell CBD products. Peterson recently authored a new bill that would allow the FDA to regulate CBD products as dietary supplements, opening up the market for the makers of CBD products, and by extension, hemp farmers. Read more at MinnPost.

“One thing that’s kind of holding it back is still a sense that we don’t know where these regulations are going,” said Joe Radinovich, who previously ran to represent the Eighth District in Congress in 2018 and now leads the Minnesota Hemp Association.

“And I think that Chairman Peterson’s bill is a good step.”

In other news

Quote of the week

“We live in a world of vexatious verticals, of crass clickbait, of polarized perspectives and fallacious, fact-free feeds – Knewz is knowing and needed. Knewz nous is in the house,” said a News Corp executive pitching their new aggregate news site: Knewz.

What I’m reading

Astead Wesley at the New York Times: The One About Iowa, Black Voters and Barack Obama

A good piece with bad news for candidates banking on an Iowa slingshot to propel them into other states like South Carolina: “In applying lessons from Mr. Obama’s Iowa victory to the current Democratic primary, Mr. Belcher and other political operatives have grim news for candidates hoping that a win in Iowa can reverse their luck with black and Latino voters across the country: don’t count on it.”

Concepción de León and Alexandra Alter: ‘American Dirt’ Publisher Cancels Book Tour

If you’ve been paying attention to the “American Dirt” saga (look here if not), here’s an update: The book publisher is canceling the tour. Not because people have found the book to be offensive or poorly written, but because “based on specific threats to booksellers and the author, we believe there exists real peril to their safety.”

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 01/31/2020 - 12:50 pm.

    I’d like to see Nekima Levy Armstrong go after former VP Joe Biden’s record on race with the same enthusiasm she is going after Sen. Klobuchar. Mr. Biden is counting on the face that he was chosen by former president Barack Obama should give him a pass when it comes to racial issues.

  2. Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/31/2020 - 02:41 pm.

    Is that foreshadowing, stating that Senator Klobuchar has been “presiding over an impeachment trial”? The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over impeachment trials.

    Maybe she can throw in with Joe in Iowa in exchange for future consideration as a Supreme Court appointee, in the unlikely case that Joe should become President.

    • Submitted by Jason Willett on 01/31/2020 - 05:40 pm.

      Did you see the poll results that came out today, with Amy in third place and only 1 point behind Joe. Maybe Joe should consider passing the torch….

  3. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/31/2020 - 04:17 pm.

    I read through that case pretty carefully, and I’m not sure what Klobuchar is supposed to do. She’s not the district attorney and wasn’t the district attorney the second time he was convicted of murder. The evidence in this case isn’t even close to enough to get his conviction overturned. They make him look like a kid who just wanted to be with his mom, instead of the drug dealer and gang member he was.

    If you want to focus on wrongful convictions, there are many cases that are much more compelling. But that’s not what is going on here.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 02/02/2020 - 08:33 am.

      https://www.twincities.com/2007/04/03/judge-denies-prosecution-request-in-retrial-of-alleged-killer/

      The DFL railroad…
      “Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman had asked Chief Judge Lucy Wieland to remove District Judge Charles Porter from the case. Assistant County Attorney Mike Furnstahl said the judge twice told him the state ought to consider dropping the case against Myron Burrell, 21, who is accused of murdering Tyesha Edwards in November 2002.”

      States Attorneys with “bad memories”
      “Furnstahl, who took over the case in January, then said, “Maybe my memory isn’t as clear as yours.””

      And a judge cautioning against railroad justice

      “Porter then said his concerns about the case going forward related to disputed gang testimony.”

      But according to some, we should keep voting for Democratic Party hacks

  4. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 01/31/2020 - 06:32 pm.

    Nekima Levy needs to stop. It seems like her attitude is everyone in the justice system who is white is guilty of something. I am tired of it. If someone is guilty of something, so be it. But this goes above and beyond.

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