Jun 11, 2018

What we're reading: Obama's secret conversations with 2020 hopefuls

Photo: The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama has held private meetings with at least nine Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination, Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere reports, citing sources familiar with the conversations.

Why it matters: A meeting with Obama is an easy way for 2020 contenders to gain legitimacy and presidential wisdom — and, most importantly, a foothold with the man still largely considered to be the Democratic Party's figurehead.

The big picture:

  • "Obama tends to give advice, guidance, talk about the future of the party, and everyone’s places in it."
  • "He’ll give his thoughts on campaigns. He’ll offer to help make sure donors and party bigwigs are returning calls."
  • "The people in them walk out appreciative but tight-lipped. They worry that if word gets out, Obama might renege on his offers to help and not invite them again if they do."

The juice:

  • Bernie Sanders: "They talked about the future of the party and their different roles in it. They talked about what the party should be focused on, and what would be distractions."
  • Elizabeth Warren: "The first [meeting] was in the spring of 2017 after Warren said she was 'troubled' by the $400,000 Obama was getting to speak at a Wall Street investment firm ... She did not apologize, but she acknowledged what she’d kicked up with the comment, and they talked about keeping that conversation in mind for the future."
  • Joe Biden: "He’s waiting until after the midterms to make a decision on 2020, though many people see him as leaning toward it."
  • Deval Patrick: "Obama and many in his inner circle are eager to see [him] get into the 2020 race."
  • Who hasn't stopped by: Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Terry McAuliffe — and Cory Booker hasn't been to Obama's office since last year.

What's next:

  • "Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged Obama over the phone to see massive fundraising as the best way he can help Senate Democrats in 2018. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also been on the phone with Obama, urging him toward fundraising..."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 766,336 — Total deaths: 36,873 — Total recoveries: 160,001.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 153,246 — Total deaths: 2,828 — Total recoveries: 5,545.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Rep. Nydia Velázquez diagnosed with "presumed" coronavirus infection.
  4. State updates: Virginia and Maryland issued stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states — Florida megachurch pastor arrested for refusing to call off mass services.
  5. World updates: Spain's cases exceed China's — Italy reports 1,590 recoveries from the virus, its highest ever.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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