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John Kerry with Joe Biden in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, December 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted that any report saying he plans to run for president is "f--king ... false" before deleting the tweet and reposting his strong denial minus the expletive. Twitter users saved screenshots of the original post.

Driving the news: The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and supporter of 2020 candidate Joe Biden issued the denial after NBC reported he allegedly discussed the move on the phone while talking about the "possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole."

Why it matters: Kerry's comments come on the eve of the Iowa caucuses and as Bernie Sanders overtakes Biden as the 2020 Democratic candidate getting the most attention online.

  • The reported call raises questions "about whether Kerry doubted Biden's candidacy and viewed Sanders as unstoppable," Politico notes.

The allegations: "Sitting in the lobby restaurant of the Renaissance Savery hotel, Kerry was overheard by an NBC News analyst saying 'maybe I'm f--king deluding myself here' and explaining that to run, he'd have to step down from the board of Bank of America and give up his ability to make paid speeches," NBC reports.

  • "Kerry said donors like venture capitalist Doug Hickey would have to 'raise a couple of million,' adding that such donors 'now have the reality of Bernie.'"

What he's saying: "This is a complete and total misinterpretation based on overhearing only one side of a phone conversation," Kerry told NBC News later Sunday.

  • "A friend who watches too much cable called me wondering whether I'd ever jump into the race late in the game if Democrats were choosing an unelectable nominee. I listed all the reasons I could not possibly do that and would not — and will not under any circumstances — do that."

Go deeper: Biden surrogates test electability argument ahead of Iowa clash with Sanders

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Updated 31 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.