🐿️ Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil came out this morning and saw four more seasons of Tom Brady.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The rising Democratic enthusiasm for big government liberalism is forcing a trio of leading 2020 contenders to rethink jumping in, several sources tell Jim VandeHei and me.
Iowa polling by a prominent 2020 hopeful found that the Democratic electorate has moved sharply left.
Bloomberg is going ahead with expensive preparations for a campaign: He directed his staff to prepare a launch plan for him, after he received an encouraging response from a business audience in Northern Virginia 10 days ago.
Be smart: The decision on whether to enter the crowded 2020 field is becoming a math problem. Just one moderate candidate could have an advantage, with a bunch of progressives splitting the liberal vote. But multiple moderates could be splitting too small a slice.
McKinsey & Co., the global consulting firm businesses and governments quietly use for complex and controversial projects, is getting pounded for its practices and secrecy.
Coverage from the past year:
Be smart: McKinsey, which was used to keeping a low profile in deference to its clients, now is likely to face a prolonged, painful examination of its dealings around the world that long were standard practice, but now will be seen in a new light.
"Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appears to have almost no choice but to resign after losing support from virtually the entire state Democratic party and other key allies," AP's Alan Suderman writes from Richmond:
"The photo shows two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie and plaid pants; the other in a full Ku Klux Klan robe."
Be smart: "Northam appears to have virtually no path forward to remain in office without any institutional support."
Above: Marine One kicks up snow as it lands on the South Lawn yesterday to take President Trump to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Below: With President Trump aboard, Marine One taxis to Air Force One for his first trip to Mar-a-Lago since Thanksgiving.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) leaped into the 2020 race with an upbeat vibe, calling "for Americans to unite ... while some of his Democratic rivals are taking a more combative stance," AP's Elana Schor writes:
📱"Booker was, perhaps, the first true social media influencer in politics," the WashPost's Kayla Epstein points out:
The Washington Post announced that it "will premiere a 60-second message during Super Bowl LIII highlighting the critical work of reporters and the role that work plays in Americans’ everyday lives. A first for The Post, the spot was voiced by actor and director Tom Hanks."
Graydon Carter, legendary Vanity Fair editor, is joining the newsletter brigade, per the N.Y. Times' Alex Williams:
"Vice Media is ... laying off about 10 percent of its workforce [250 people], as the once high-flying startup looks to rein in an unwieldy business that grew quickly during the height of the digital boom." (Hollywood Reporter)
"JD Salinger’s son has confirmed for the first time that the late author of 'The Catcher in the Rye' wrote a significant amount of work that has never been seen, and that he and his father’s widow are 'going as fast as we freaking can' to get it ready for publication," The Guardian's Alison Flood writes.
"Rumours have circulated for years that the creator of one of the 20th century’s most enduring characters, Holden Caulfield, continued to write over the ensuing decades he spent in the New Hampshire village of Cornish, far from public view."