#2020Vision: Biden's Anita Hill apology; Gillibrand's rising star; The Rock

Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:...

Posted: Dec 16, 2017 2:20 PM
Updated: Dec 16, 2017 2:20 PM

Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is dealing head-on with a major moment in his past that increasingly looks out of step with the cultural reckoning over sexual assault and harassment: his handling of Anita Hill's allegations during Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

"I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill," Biden told Teen Vogue. "I owe her an apology."

As Vice's Eve Peyser recently pointed out, Biden's role as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman during Hill's 1991 testimony alleging sexual harassment by Thomas -- where, in retrospect, Biden is almost universally seen as having done too little to defend Hill from Republican criticism -- is one of several major obstacles Biden would have to confront if he runs in 2020. Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere examined the Hill hearings more than two years ago as Biden considered a 2016 campaign. Hill herself recently told The Washington Post that Biden still doesn't get what he did wrong.

Biden has spoken of his regrets about the Hill hearings before, but the apology, CNN's Chris Cillizza rightly notes, is perhaps the biggest tell yet that he is positioning himself to run for president in 2020.

So is Biden running?

"If, in a year from now, if we're ready, and nobody has moved in that I think can do it, then I may very well do it," he said on ABC's "The View" this week.

On the same show, he also movingly comforted Meghan McCain, whose father, GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, is battling brain cancer.

Another piece of Biden news this week: In a TIME op-ed, Biden reflected on the five-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, saying the families of the victims are "models for how to find purpose in the face of tragedy. I am in awe of your courage. And I will always be by your side -- a promise I made to you and one I will keep."

News and notes:

GILLIBRAND VS. TRUMP: We told you last week this was coming. After going toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump this week -- and calling for him to resign over sexual assault allegations -- New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's odds of winning the presidency in 2020 spiked in betting markets, from 50-to-1 to 25-to-1.

It's worth noting that the Republican National Committee responded to Gillibrand with a massive opposition research dump -- a sign that she's being taken seriously as a threat in 2020.

-- Other Democratic senators calling on Trump to resign so far: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono - plus independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has said Trump should be investigated if he won't resign.

THE ROCK 2020? This exchange tells you everything you need to know. Ellen DeGeneres: "Will you run? Seriously, would you run?" Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: "I'm seriously considering it." (On the show, his friend and "Jumanji" co-star Kevin Hart had this to say about The Rock as a presidential candidate: "I know where his heart is, I really know him, so I know if he puts himself in that position it's for the better of the people.")

ALABAMA UNDERSCORES BLACK VOTERS' IMPORTANCE: Among the high-profile Democrats who campaigned for Doug Jones in Alabama's Senate race, three 2020 prospects are of particular note: Biden, who held a major rally in Birmingham for Jones, and Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, both of whom are serious 2020 prospects.

An important note about who makes up the Democratic base: The leading reason Jones won is massive turnout from African-American voters -- a reality CNN's Juana Summers details here. It highlighted "the need to engage black voters as persuasion voters and not take their votes for granted," Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, which spent $2.1 million on voter outreach in Alabama, said in a post-election memo.

The week ahead:

- Saturday, December 16 -- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall at 11 a.m. ET at Gloucester High School.

- Next week: House and Senate votes on tax reform, which could shape part of the 2020 debate.

Before you go:

The Congressional Black Caucus chairman wants Cory Booker or Kamala Harris taking Minnesota Sen. Al Franken's spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee. ... The Des Moines Register warns that DNC rules changes designed to make caucuses more accessible could ruin the Iowa experience.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36287

Reported Deaths: 1249
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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