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January 1, Buttigieg Drops Out, Obama Not Endorsing Anybody Yet



This Day in History | 1962

Wilt Chamberlin scores 100 points against the New York Nicks. 

Good morning Middle Americans. 

Former President Obama still won’t come out and support his old running mate yet. 44 called Biden to offer congratulations after a big win in South Carolina. And even with Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropping out, Obama still won’t back Biden. That might be because Biden needs Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar in the race for to pull support away from Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the CDC is still trying to get its arms around the coronavirus. The federal government says they are prepped and ready for the virus. But are they ready for the human behavior that seems to be contributing to the spread of the disease? 

Finally today, there are obvious political implications when it comes to the coronavirus. And we have a story today about the White House’s efforts to deal with the political fallout of COVID-19 and the media coverage. 

Read all about it!

– Fraser Dixon

Obama Tells Biden he Won’t Endorse Anybody Yet

(CNN) – Former President Barack Obama did something this weekend that he’s been unable to do so far in the Democratic primary race: Call former Vice President Joe Biden and offer his congratulations.

While the two men speak regularly, the call from Obama on Saturday night came after Biden’s victory in South Carolina. But the words of praise for Biden’s commanding finish in the contest did not change the fact that Obama still plans to stay on the sidelines and not insert himself into the primary fight as it intensifies.

A person close to Obama told CNN that the former president’s view has not changed: He has no immediate plans to offer an endorsement of Biden — or anyone — as the nominating contest heads into Super Tuesday.

“We are skeptical that an endorsement coming from us could truly change the political winds right now,” the person close to Obama told CNN. If Obama were to endorse Biden, the person said, there is “a very real chance it backfires.”

Buttigieg Ends Historic Presidential Campaign, Urges Unity

(AP) -Pete Buttigieg, who rose from relative obscurity as an Indiana mayor to a barrier-breaking, top-tier candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, ended his campaign on Sunday.

The decision by the first openly gay candidate to seriously contend for the presidency — and among the youngest ever — came just a day after a leading rival, Joe Biden, scored a resounding victory in South Carolina. That sparked new pressure on the party’s moderate wing to coalesce behind the former vice president.

“The truth is the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause,” Buttigieg, 38, told supporters in South Bend, Indiana. “We must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and country together.”

He didn’t endorse any of his former rivals, though he and Biden traded voicemails on Sunday. Buttigieg has spent the past several weeks warning that nominating progressive leader Bernie Sanders to take on President Donald Trump would be risky.

Read more here

CDC Teams Race to Catch Up to Spread of Coronavirus in U.S.

(Bloomberg) -The experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention huddled in a room with Bela Matyas, health officer of Solano County, California. They had a raft of questions about a milestone case in the spread of the coronavirus: the first U.S. victim with no known connection to travel in Asia.

Did she go to the spa?” they wanted to know late last week. “Did she go to church? Did she go to a playground?”

Now, the CDC is sending another team to Washington state, where the first U.S. virus death was reported Saturday after a potential outbreak at a King County health facility that cares for the elderly. The county reported a second death late Sunday, and there were at least two other confirmed cases in Washington, two in Florida, three in California and the first in New York and Rhode Island.

Find out more here

Inside Trump’s Frantic Attempts to Minimize the Coronavirus Crisis

(The Washington Post) – Minutes before President Donald Trump was preparing Wednesday to reassure a skittish nation about the coronavirus threat, he received a piece of crucial information: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified in California the first U.S. case of the illness not tied to foreign travel, a sign that the virus’ spread in the United States was likely to explode.

But when Trump took to the lectern for a news conference intended to bring transparency to the spiraling global crisis, he made no explicit mention of the California case and its implications – and falsely suggested the virus might soon be eradicated in the United States.

“And again, when you have 15 people – and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero – that’s a pretty good job we’ve done,” he said.

Trump’s playing down of the California patient at his news conference underscores the administration’s slapdash and often misleading attempts to contain not just the virus, but also potential political damage from the outbreak – which has tanked financial markets, slowed global commerce and killed some 3,000 people worldwide, including the first U.S. death, announced Saturday.

Learn more here

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