Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/ Getty Images

Former President Obama has refrained from endorsing any of the Democratic primary candidates, but that hasn't stopped a slew of the 2020 contenders from invoking the president's image in their campaign ads, Politico reports.

Why it matters: “It’s the perfect visual validation. Voters can recognize Barack Obama in a nano-second,” Eric Jaye, Democratic political consultant told Politico. “Obama might as well be on Mt. Rushmore for Democrats. It’s so powerful and instantaneous.”

The state of play: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, billionaires Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have all aired ads depicting Obama.

  • Five new ads featuring Obama aired the week of the Iowa caucus in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, per Politico.
  • Most of the ads show Obama mentioning the candidates by name, while others just flash a photo of the 44th president.
  • Biden was the first candidate to highlight his relationship with Obama. One ad uses audio from when Obama awarded Biden the Medal of Freedom.
  • Bloomberg paid more than $1.2 million to have his Obama TV ad air in over 70 markets — more than any other candidate, Politico notes.

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Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 20,177,521 — Total deaths: 738,716 — Total recoveries: 12,400,156Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 5,130,784 — Total deaths: 164,603 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.

Voters cast ballots in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Vermont

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Primary elections are being held on Tuesday in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The big picture: Georgia and Wisconsin both struggled to hold primaries during the coronavirus pandemic, but are doing so again — testing their voting systems ahead of the general election. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a strong challenger as she fights for her political career. In Georgia, a Republican primary runoff pits a QAnon supporter against a hardline conservative.

34 mins ago - Health

Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine

A volunteer in Moderna's vaccine clinical trial receives a shot. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.

Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.