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Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is ramping up his defense against fellow 2020 competitor Joe Biden, criticizing the former vice president's record and questioning his ability to garner voter turnout, the Washington Post writes.

What he's saying: “It’s just a lot of baggage that Joe takes into a campaign, which isn’t going to create energy and excitement,” Sanders said in an interview between events in Iowa. “He brings into this campaign a record which is so weak that it just cannot create the kind of excitement and energy that is going to be needed to defeat Donald Trump.”

  • The Post quoted Sanders swipes at Biden's record on NAFTA and framed the former vice president as "part of the political elite."
  • “People are tired of the traditional types of campaigns in which candidates like Joe are running to wealthy people’s homes and raising large sums of money,” Sanders noted.

Driving the news: The uptick in judgement on Biden's record comes as Sanders is showing promise in the polls. He's consistently polled in second place nationally, and has exhibited strength in Iowa. A Des Moines Register poll showed that 57% of Iowans who view Sanders as their first choice say their mind is made up. No other candidate received more than 30% commitment from their current supporters.

  • Sanders also announced Thursday that he broke the single-quarter fundraising record among Democrats so far in the presidential primary cycle, raking in $34.5 million in Q4 of 2019.

The Iowa caucuses are just over a month away, set for Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 11.

Go deeper: Bernie Sanders releases letters from doctors deeming him fit for presidency

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

6 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.