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D.C. Memo: Me llamo Elena

Looking forward to Nevada; McCollum and AIPAC; the Democratic debate; and more.

photo of amy klobuchar at a protest
Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined the Culinary Workers Union picket outside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, the state of Nevada, another Democratic debate and a run-in with AIPAC. Let’s get on with this.


The Nevada Caucus is on Saturday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is hoping to turn an unexpected third place finish in New Hampshire into a good result there.

Recent polling doesn’t indicate that will happen. The most recent Las Vegas Review-Journal poll has Sen. Bernie Sanders at 25 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden at 18, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 13, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10, Tom Steyer at 11, and Klobuchar at 10.

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Klobuchar is working quickly to scale her presidential campaign before Super Tuesday, reports the Strib’s Torey Van Oot.

But she will have some help: Last Friday, a new Super PAC was formed to support Klobuchar’s presidential campaign. The group, called Kitchen Table Conversations, was created by two veteran DFL campaign operatives, Richard Carlbom and Kristen McMullen.

Klobuchar’s campaign could not be reached for a comment on whether or not she’s amiable to Super PAC support. In the past she has said she doesn’t want any help.

So far, the group has committed over $1.2 million on pro-Klobuchar television ads in Nevada and South Carolina, according to Federal Election Commission records. It’s unclear who is funding the group; they do not have to release the names of its donors until the next campaign finance disclosure filing date in April.

McCollum on AIPAC

Rep. Betty McCollum is no stranger to run-ins with AIPAC. But things escalated when AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, referred to McCollum as worse than ISIS. McCollum responded in kind, calling AIPAC a hate group.

Read more at MinnPost.

The president next door

Wednesday night’s Democratic debate was the first debate for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Other candidates were on the attack, pointing out allegations of sexual harassment against Bloomberg at his workplace, talking about his history as a Republican donor and discussing that he’s a billionaire.

Klobuchar contrasted herself with several other moderate candidates on the stage, from Bloomberg to Buttigieg.

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One notable exchange:

“You have been unusual among Democrats, I think the Democrat among all of the senators running for president most likely to vote for Donald Trump’s judges, who we know are especially hostile to Dreamers and to the rights of immigrants,” Buttigieg said at the debate.

“I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete. But let me tell you what it’s like to be in the arena. Number one, do the math,” Klobuchar responded, arguing that she has opposed, not supported, two-thirds of the judges Trump nominated to the bench.

Klobuchar is right. Kind of. It depends on which congressional session. In the 115th congress, Klobuchar did support two-thirds of Trump’s nominated judges. Since then, her voting record has changed drastically and she’s voting against more of Trump’s suggested judicial nominees.

The Nevada Caucus is Saturday, but we might as well look ahead to the end of February, which means the South Carolina Democratic Primary. A recent University of Mass. Lowell poll of 400 likely South Carolina voters places Biden in the lead, but barely:

  • Joe Biden: 23%
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: 21%
  • Tom Steyer: 13%
  • Pete Buttigieg: 11%
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 11%
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 9%
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: 4%

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By the numbers

  • $7,050: The amount of dollars Kitchen Table Conversations, the Super PAC supporting Klobuchar, has spent on Facebook advertisements so far.
  • 15:55 Minutes: The amount of speaking time Klobuchar got at the Democratic debate on Wednesday night. Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke the most: 16 minutes and 35 seconds. And newcomer Michael Bloomberg spoke the least: 13 minutes and two seconds.
  • 2: The number of days until the Nevada Caucus.

In other news

Quote of the week

“My name is Amy, but when I was in fourth grade Spanish they gave me the name Elena,” Klobuchar said on Tuesday at the Culinary Union in Nevada.

What I’m reading

Briana Stewart and Beatrice Peterson for ABC News: “Democrat Pete Buttigieg overstated pledges of support from black leaders, public figures

The Buttigieg campaign told people they’ve developed partnerships with local businesses in South Carolina. They even cited a specific example: Diane’s Kitchen in Chester. But when asked about that partnership, the owner of Diane’s Kitchen had this to say to ABC News: “I stand for what I stand for and I didn’t say I had a partnership.”

Lauren Kaori Gurley: “Kickstarter Employees Win Historic Union Election

A historic unionization effort capped off on Tuesday, when tech workers at Kickstarter voted to unionize with the Office and Professional Employees International Union. Kickstarter employees are the first white collar workers at a major tech company to unionize in the U.S.

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