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SOLEMN SMILES … "Dem Rep: ‘There Was No Joy’ at Impeachment Ceremony," by WFB’s Graham Piro: "There was no joy in that ceremony," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "And from the very beginning through the end, Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi has been clear that we are going to proceed in a very serious and solemn and sober fashion."
Anchor Chris Wallace had shown Jeffries photos of the ceremony, indicating that "all the participants look pretty happy."
IT'S ALL ON VHS … "Biden and Sanders Fight Over Social Security," via WSJ: "The facts are very clear: [Joe] Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security—he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions," [Bernie Sanders campaign manager] Faiz Shakir said.
The Sanders campaign pointed to 1995 Senate floor speeches in which Mr. Biden noted his work with Republicans to balance the federal budget.
COMRADES, PLEASE! … "Sanders and Warren Try to Tone Down Rift. Some of Their Supporters Seem Less Willing," via NYT: Yet after [Senator Bernie] Sanders and [Senator Elizabeth] Warren, of Massachusetts, angrily accused one another of lying about whether he had told her a woman could not defeat President Trump, and with just over two weeks until the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, supporters of the two progressives and erstwhile political allies remained upset.
"I was really disappointed," said Jayne Cousins, an ardent Sanders supporter who attended his [New Hampshire] rally. She predicted Ms. Warren’s claim, which Mr. Sanders denies, would adversely impact Ms. Warren because, she said, it was so implausible.
LETHARGIC FRONTRUNNER … "Progressives Warn of a Great Deflation," via THE ATLANTIC: [Joe] Biden’s rallies are consistently much less well attended [than ones for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren]. And although crowd size is not necessarily predictive of electoral success, it could indicate whether a candidate has a sizable pool of enthusiastic volunteers to draw from in the general election. A Biden nomination would trigger a huge deflation in enthusiasm, and a shrinking of that volunteer pool, progressives argue.
RUNNING SCARED … "Under criticism, Buttigieg changes plans and will attend King Day event in South Carolina," via WAPO: [Former South Bend mayor Pete] Buttigieg’s planned absence from the high-profile event was taken by some in the state as a slap at those voters.
"I’m putting this out there. Candidates skipping King Day at the Dome is disrespectful [as it gets,]" Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state legislator who endorsed Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D., Calif.) before her departure from the presidential race, tweeted on Friday. "You don’t miss an Iowa steak fry. Look, you’re not just speaking to black folk in SC you’re speaking to black folks throughout the South. I’m disappointed. It’s like you don’t care."
SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE … "‘It's going to be devastating': Senators gear up for no-talking, no-electronics impeachment trial rules," via CNN: To start, lawmakers used to giving lengthy speeches on the Senate floor to weigh in on the issues of the day will instead have to be quiet. Official decorum guidelines for the trial released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's offices say that senators must refrain from speaking while the case is being presented …
"It's going to be devastating for some," Democratic senator Jon Tester of Montana said with a smile about the fact that senators won't be able to talk.
MIGA? … "‘Make Iran Great Again!’: Trump hits back after Khamenei’s gibe," via POLITICO: Shortly after Trump’s tweet, [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei’s official English language account tweeted out that the U.S. government lies when saying it stands with the Iranian people.
"If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers. Of course, you have so far failed to do so, & you will certainly continue to fail," Khamenei's account said.
Trump retweeted his response in both English and Farsi: "The noble people of Iran—who love America—deserve a government that’s more interested in helping them achieve their dreams than killing them for demanding respect. Instead of leading Iran toward ruin, its leaders should abandon terror and Make Iran Great Again!"
FINISHING WHAT MEL GIBSON STARTED … "UK's Harry and Meghan to drop titles and retire as working royals," via REUTERS: The couple’s plans for independence, announced after a long break over the Christmas period in Canada, caught the rest of the royal family by surprise earlier this month and left the queen and other senior Windsors hurt and disappointed, according to royal sources.
However, in a TV interview aired in October, both had made it clear how they were struggling with the immense media attention. Harry said he felt his wife had faced "bullying" from some tabloids.
RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE … "NBC News' Ben Collins slammed for warning of ‘white nationalist rally in Virginia'," via FOX NEWS: Ahead of Monday's gun-rights rally in Virginia, NBC News reporter Ben Collins labeled the event a "white nationalist" gathering Sunday, even as he warned against spreading "made-up stuff" on Twitter—prompting scores of critics to point out the apparent irony and to condemn his network for sanctioning Collins' checkered reporting on the so-called "dystopia beat." …
Commentators and Second Amendment advocates had unloaded on Collins, asserting that it was strikingly unfair to claim that the thousands of expected attendees at the gun-rights rally were attending a "white nationalist" event simply because a handful of people outside the state potentially plotted to attend.
A TIME FOR NOT CHOOSING … "Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren: The Democrats’ Best Choices for President," via NYT: There will be those dissatisfied that this page is not throwing its weight behind a single candidate, favoring centrists or progressives. But it’s a fight the party itself has been itching to have since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat in 2016, and one that should be played out in the public arena and in the privacy of the voting booth. That’s the very purpose of primaries, to test-market strategies and ideas that can galvanize and inspire the country.
Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren right now are the Democrats best equipped to lead that debate.
May the best woman win.
REID’S CYBER EXPERT UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT … "Joy Reid Body Language Expert Says Elizabeth Warren Was Telling the Truth: ‘I Think Bernie’s Lying’," via MEDIAITE: "Most of us want to deal with it afterwards instead of just going right for it," [body language expert Janine] Driver said, and added "The fact that Elizabeth Warren not only came right over, she squared her body, he’s giving her the cold shoulder, he doesn’t turn to her, she says ‘I think you just called me a liar on national TV,’ if you go back to Wienergate, you go back to all of these political armageddons when it comes to deception, no one calls someone else a liar."
LACK OF JEW-BAITING DAMPENS ENTHUSIASM … "Women's March Draws A Smaller, But Passionate Crowd," via NPR: The fourth annual Women's March descended on the streets of Washington on Saturday. But unlike the first demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands to the capital the day after President Trump's inauguration, the march drew just a fraction of the original turnout as the movement has struggled with changes in leadership and questions about inclusivity …
After claims of anti-Semitism pushed three founding members of the Women's March to step down from their roles last year, a bigger and more diverse board took their place.
WE READ IT BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL … "Review: ‘Restoring Our Republic’ by Ned Ryun," by WFB’s Andrew Stiles: How many times should the word "transcendent" need to appear in a book about the history of the American republic and how to "reclaim" it from the communists? Once? Twice? Surely, 13 times is excessive, but Ryun lets it fly like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stuttering at the podium. The word "Trump," meanwhile, appears just one time and only in the context of praising the administration's efforts to reform the Department of Agriculture, an agency that ought to have been abolished by now if we are serious about promoting "small government" in this country. Alas…
DAYS SINCE JOE BIDEN DID A SUNDAY SHOW: 1,135. Come back, Joe!
"You know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden." —Former President Barack Obama
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