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January 1, It’s Win Big or Go Home for Biden in South Carolina



This Day in History | 1940 

Hattie McDaniel becomes first African American actress to win Oscar for her role in Gone with the Wind. 

Good morning Middle Americans, 

It’s almost impossible to state the importance of a big Joe Biden win on Super Tuesday . Some experts say he’s gotta win by at least five points if he has any chance of having a shot on Super Tuesday. 

President Trump’s search for an intel chief returns to a familiar face. Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas has been tapped again for the post.  President Trump has floated his name before but the nomination was greeted with a luke warm response from GOP senators. 

The stock market suffered another bad day on Friday. Wall Street is still wondering how bad things are going to get. And past that, some people are wondering if the Federal Reserve bank has enough juice to keep things from getting really bad.  

Finally today we have a first hand account of what it’s like to have the coronavirus. And according to one man – ‘it isn’t that bad’. 

Read all about it!

– Fraser Dixon

Biden Needs Blowout SC Win to Reshape Race

(The Hill) – Former Vice President Joe Biden isn’t just looking for a win in South Carolina — he’s looking for a blowout.

There is tangible confidence in the Biden camp that he will win the Palmetto State primary on Saturday, but the question is, by how much?

His supporters know the stakes.

“I think it has got to be at least five points. Ten points is optimum and anything beyond 10 points would be extra,” said Dick Harpootlian, a storied figure in South Carolina politics who is currently a state senator and sits on the finance committee of Biden’s campaign.

“Five to ten points is enough of a win to show to the rest of the country,” Harpootlian added.

Meanwhile, Amanda Loveday, a South Carolinian and senior advisor to a Super PAC supporting Biden, insisted that “a win is a win.”  But she clearly held out hopes for a more emphatic result, telling The Hill, “You’re on the ground here. You can tell that the wind is at his back.”

The margin of a Biden victory in South Carolina is far from an academic question. He needs a win that packs enough punch to reshape the national race.

Read more here

Trump to Nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe Again as Intel Chief

(Politico) – President Donald Trump on Friday said he would nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe as the next director of national intelligence — the second time he has put forward his fierce congressional ally for the job.

The Texas Republican was previously announced in July as Trump’s next intel chief, only to be withdrawn five days later amid muted support from GOP senators and questions about whether he had overstated his qualifications. Trump’s decision to nominate the congressman a second time will revive what is expected to be a testy confirmation battle to install a close political ally at the top of an intelligence apparatus Trump has frequently derided.

Find out more here

Can the Fed Inoculate US Economy Against Virus Impact?

(AFP) – The US Federal Reserve stands ready to take action to counter the risks posed by the novel coronavirus crisis, the central bank’s chairman Jerome Powell said Friday, while insisting that the US economy remains in a good position.

The rare unscheduled formal statement, released as concerns mount that the virus’s worldwide spread could derail global growth, seems to rule out an emergency interest rate cut over the weekend, but is a sign President Donald Trump may soon get what he has been demanding: lower borrowing rates.

Repeating his message of recent weeks, Powell said: “The fundamentals of the US economy remain strong.”

But faced with plunging stock markets as Wall Street suffers its worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis, he acknowledged that the coronavirus “poses evolving risks to economic activity.”

Learn more here

I have the Coronavirus. So Far, it Isn’t That Bad

(The Washington Post) – I have the coronavirus. And it hasn’t been that bad.

I am in my late 60s, and the sickest I’ve ever been was when I had bronchitis several years ago. That laid me out on my back for a few days. This has been much easier: no chills, no body aches. I breathe easily, and I don’t have a stuffy nose. My chest feels tight, and I have coughing spells. If I were at home with similar symptoms, I probably would have gone to work as usual.

I caught the virus on the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that was quarantined outside Yokohama for 14 days, at the end of a 16-day cruise I took with my wife, Jeri. When I left the ship a couple of weeks ago, I felt fine. We checked our temperatures throughout our quarantine. Jeri and I got a swab test for the virus. Our temperatures were normal; they’d get the swab results back in 48 hours. Our test results had not arrived before we boarded buses for the airport, where two U.S. government planes waited for us.

Read more here

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