As Corker wavers, Blackburn seeks endorsements from his Senate colleagues

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a gli...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 6:56 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 6:56 AM

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1) Blackburn and Corker's awkward Senate tango

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is gaining endorsements from some of Sen. Bob Corker's Senate colleagues

There are two very different schools of thought on how the State Department should handle North Korea

It was an awkward night at an awkward time in Tennessee Republican politics. Both Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Marsha Blackburn attended a GOP dinner Saturday night in Memphis, but the pair appeared to be in no mood to chat.

Blackburn is a candidate for Corker's Senate seat. Corker, who announced plans last fall to retire, is now rethinking his decision and may seek re-election.

That complicates things as Blackburn travels the state looking to build new relationships beyond her congressional district. Some old-guard Tennessee Republicans find her to be too conservative and are urging Corker to run again.

There was speculation that the senator might clear things up this weekend, but Corker had nothing new to say about the 2018 Senate race and declined an opportunity to endorse Blackburn.

Her team is beyond frustrated with what they view as Corker's indecisive "Hamlet" routine.

Blackburn took a White House meeting recently, perhaps to send a signal that President Trump is on her side. Allies also released a poll showing her running well ahead of Corker in a hypothetical primary matchup, and leading in a fall matchup against the likely Democratic candidate.

None of that brought Corker's rethinking to a conclusion. And CNN is told Team Blackburn is looking for ways to send a message that Corker shouldn't run. Among them, several informed Republican sources say, is winning endorsement commitments from at least a half dozen of Corker's GOP Senate colleagues.

Those commitments are being kept private for now, but one option was to roll them out as a response if Corker had said this weekend he was inclined to jump back in the race.

But Corker remained mum. So this drama is to be continued.

2) Will governors influence Trump on gun control?

The country's governors are in Washington for a meeting with President Trump during this week's National Governors Association conference. Trump will formally greet them at a reception tonight.

Bloomberg's Margaret Talev explains how the governors could shape Trump's views on a number of issues.

"Republican governors are outnumbering Democrat governors about two to one. All of them are going to be really important in potentially influencing President Trump over the next couple days," Talev says.

"Gun control will be very high on the agenda, although so will health care and some of the other implementation things. It may be those Republican governors who give President Trump some of the signals he really needs to hear as the White House prepares to roll out its approach on everything from background checks to age limits (on purchasing firearms)."

3) A State Department divide on North Korea

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on North Korea this past week. The US has been talking about these measures for awhile, which are significant because they target importing and exporting of coal from North Korea. That's a big part of funding for the North Korean regime.

As New York Times' Julie Hirschfeld Davis tells us, the US is torn between diplomacy and talking a tougher line.

"They're not sanctions directly on the nuclear operation, but the question now is, how far will the Trump administration go in enforcing these. Are they going to be boarding ships? That's a military operation, essentially," Davis explains.

"There have been a lot of conflicting messages coming from the administration, I'm told in part because there's still a divide between folks at the State Department that really want to pursue a diplomatic channel and folks at the National Security Council who really are looking more toward a military solution."

4) Keeping up with Kasich

It's almost March, and we are now less than two years from the 2020 primaries. Political insiders are keeping their eyes on John Kasich's moves.

As Weekly Standard's John McCormack reports, the Ohio governor may make another presidential run.

"At least nine people close to Kasich said he's laying the groundwork. Just last week, Kasich came out strongly against weapons such as the AR-15," McCormack says. "I thought that was the strongest indication yet that he is considering an independent run, but a source close to Kasich tells me he definitely wants to keep both of his options open."

5) CPAC's shocking moment

Last week's CPAC's conference was pretty friendly territory for Republicans and President Trump. But on Saturday many in the crowd were startled when a panelist voiced her criticism of Trump -- and for conservatives who choose to stand by him.

Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur explains.

"Mona Charen stunned the crowd by ripping into conservatives as hypocrites for standing by President Trump as he brags about his infidelities and as he quote, 'brags about mistreating women and because he happens to have an R by his name, we don't complain,'" Kapur says. "She also ripped into Republicans who supported (Alabama Senate candidate) Roy Moore, who she described as a credibly accused child molester."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
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Hi: 67° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
Columbus
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
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Hi: 66° Lo: 59°
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Starkville
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66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Rain coming in this weekend as a cold front moves through the area bringing cooler temperatures on into the start of next week.
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