Feb 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

John Kerry on NBC report: I am absolutely not running for president

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

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe to the United States and now to Latin America.

Why it matters: Up until now, the pandemic has struck hardest in relatively affluent countries. But it's now spreading fastest in countries where it will be even harder to track, treat and contain.

Minnesota activates National Guard amid fallout from George Floyd death

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd, 46, moved to Minnesota to improve his life and become his "best self," but instead, he is dead because of Minneapolis police.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the state's National Guard in response to violent clashes over the past two days between police and protesters in the Twin Cities.