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Iowa Caucuses: Networks Dive Into “Most Intense Period” Of Politics – Deadline



The news anchors and network producers trekking to Iowa this weekend for the Iowa caucuses will be just at the start of what will be a frenetic schedule of impactful breaking news events.

On Sunday is the Super Bowl, which will feature Sean Hannity’s pre-game interview with Trump. On Monday is the caucus. The State of the Union is on Tuesday, followed by the Senate’s final impeachment vote on Wednesday and the ABC News/WMUR-TV/Apple News New Hampshire debate on Friday. The Oscars follow soon after on Feb. 9 — and it’s likely to have some kind of political tinge.

“It is the most intense period I can ever recall in politics,” ABC News’s political director Rick Klein said from Des Moines. “It is uncanny how many things are converging as big storylines at the same time.”

The Iowa caucuses are the official start of voting in the 2020 presidential race, and with it the start of an ultra-competitive period for network news divisions, as they try to capitalize on an expected uptick in viewer interest in an election year.

As results come in on Monday night, ABC News plans special reports with chief anchor George Stephanopoulos and World News Tonight anchor David Muir along with Jonathan Karl, Cecilia Vega, Mary Bruce, Terry Moran, Nate Silver, Matthew Dowd, Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel and Yvette Simpson. Muir will anchor World News Tonight from Iowa that evening. Tom Llamas will anchor coverage for ABC News Live, along with Klein, Devin Dwyer and contributors Heidi Heitkamp, Stephanie Cutter and Deirdre DeJear.

Other networks also are firming up plans for coverage —- a bit more last-minute given the uncertainty of what is taking place on Capitol Hill.

Fox News will present a two-hour special, Democracy 2020: The Iowa Caucuses, starting at 6 PM ET on Monday, with Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum hosting from the Iowa Event Center, followed by coverage of the results starting at 10 PM ET. Baier and MacCallum also will host a two-hour special on Sunday at noon ET.

On Saturday evening, CNN is having special coverage of the reveal of one of the final major polls before the caucus —- the CNN-Des Moines Register-Mediacom poll —- in a one-hour 9 PM ET special anchored by Chris Cuomo. Politico called it the “most important, most anticipated public opinion poll in politics,” and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight wrote on Twitter that it was the “rare instance” where “a poll itself could have an impact on the race by influencing media and voter behavior.” 

On Sunday morning, just about all of the major Sunday shows will share a guest in common: Pete Buttigieg. He’s scheduled for CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union, as well as MSNBC’s AM Joy with Joy Reid and WHO-TV in Des Moines.

Additional details about network plans are expected in the next day or so.

The caucuses also are a platform for new ventures to make a splash. Among them is Recount Media, the company founded by John Heilemann and John Battelle, which launched a podcast series The Victory Lab, featuring Sasha Issenberg. They also have episodes featuring Fred Davis, the colorful Republican media consultant and ad maker, and Ann Selzer, the pollster behind the numbers that will be released on Saturday.

The biggest difference in Iowa from previous cycles has been that the state is only this weekend starting to get the laser focus from national media. The impeachment trial has dominated news coverage for weeks.

Klein said that has made for an unusual environment on the ground in Iowa, given that “half the major candidates are not here.” “It has been a challenging news environment for anyone to break through,” Klein said.

The state, though, is famous for “late breakers,” as voters are prone to decide between candidates right up until the last second.

“What a lot of people do not understand about the state is how strategic voters tend to be,” Klein said. He’s struck by how “some of them think like pundits,” as they gauge the impact that a candidates performance will have on the rest of the race.

Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are used to the media onslaught that comes every four years and well attuned to the news cycle. “I think people are dialed into it hour by hour,” Klein said.

“There is so much attention here, so much money and so much organizing,” Klein said. If you are a resident, “you can’t help but think what your role is here.”

He added, “This is a strange caucus in the sense that there are now 11 candidates who are running. There used to be twice that number [in the race]. So Iowa to come extent already has had an impact. It is not just the caucus results on Monday.” 

In this final weekend, candidates are sprinting across the state, often to large- and at-capacity crowds. Through the day on Saturday, reporters posted pictures of packed venues for events featuring Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Later in the day, Bernie Sanders is planning an arena concert in Cedar Rapids on Saturday with Vampire Weekend.

The next few days will see campaigns do a “dance of expectations,” as Klein calls it, setting the bar lower for what would mean a victory for their candidate. That may be ever more important this year, as the cluster of candidates toward the top of the polls has made the caucuses somewhat unpredictable. 

“The challenge for us on caucus night is to make sense of a very confusing process,” Klein said. “I fully expect that multiple candidates will declare victory based on different metrics.”

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Green Party in turmoil, leader resists calls to step down



Canada‘s Green Party was increasingly mired in an internal dispute over its position on Israel on Tuesday, and a news report said the bloc would hold a vote next month on whether to oust its leader, Annamie Paul, who was elected just eight months ago.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) reported that the Greens had triggered a process that could remove Paul, the first black person to head a mainstream Canadian party, beginning with a vote next month.

A Green Party spokesperson declined to comment on the report, but said the party’s “federal council” would meet later on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Paul, 48, rejected calls from the Quebec wing of the party for her to resign after a member of parliament left the Greens due to the Israel controversy.

“I believe that I have been given a strong mandate. I believe that I have been given the instructions to work on behalf of Canadians for a green recovery,” Paul said at a news conference in Ottawa.

Paul herself is not a member of parliament. The Greens – who champion the environment and the fight against climate change – had only three legislators in the 338-seat House of Commons and one, Jenica Atwin, abandoned the party last week to join the governing Liberals.

Atwin has said that her exit was in large part due to a dispute over the party’s stance on Israel. Atwin on Twitter has criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, while a senior adviser to Paul, Noah Zatzman, has posted on Facebook that some unspecified Green members of parliament are anti-Semitic.

The party’s executive committee voted last week not to renew Zatzman’s contract, local media reported. Paul converted to Judaism some two decades ago after she married a Jewish man.

While the Greens are the smallest faction in parliament, they perform well in British Colombia and hold two seats there. The current turmoil may favor their rivals ahead of a national election that senior Liberals say could be just a few months away.

The Greens would win about 6.7% of the vote nationally if a vote were held now, according to an average of recent polls aggregated by the CBC.


(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Julie Gordon; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Hope, anger and defiance greet birth of Israel’s new government



Following are reactions to the new government in Israel, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.


“We’ll be back, soon.”


“On behalf of the American people, I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet. I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.”


“This is an internal Israeli affair. Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”


“On behalf of the UK, I offer my congratulations to

@naftalibennett and @yairlapid on forming a new government in Israel. As we emerge from COVID-19, this is an exciting time for the UK and Israel to continue working together to advance peace and prosperity for all.”


“I look forward to working with the Government to advance the ultimate goal of a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”


“Congratulations to Prime Minister @naftalibennett and to Alternate PM & MFA @yairlapid for the swearing in of the new Israeli government. Looking forward to strengthen the partnership for common prosperity and towards lasting regional peace & stability.”


“Regardless of the shape of the government in Israel, it will not alter the way we look at the Zionist entity. It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back.”


“With all due respect, Israel is not a widower. Israel’s security was never dependent on one man. And it will never be dependent on one man.”


“So, there’s a new Administration in Israel. And we are hopeful that we can now begin serious negotiations for a two-state solution. I am urging the Biden Administration to do all it can to bring the parties together and help achieve a two-state solution where each side can live side by side in peace.”


“Congratulations on the formation of a new Israeli government, Prime Minister @NaftaliBennett and Alternate Prime Minister @YairLapid. Together, let’s explore ways to further strengthen the relationship between Canada and Israel.”


“We are aware that this step has a lot of risks and hardships that we cannot deny, but the opportunity for us is also big: to change the equation and the balance of power in the Knesset and in the upcoming government.”


“I think it’s very exciting for Israel to have a new beginning and I’m hopeful that the new government will take them in the right direction.”


“It’s a sad day today, it’s not a legitimate government. It’s pretty sad that almost 86 (out of 120 seats) in the parliament, the Knesset, belong to the right-wing and they sold their soul and ideology and their beliefs to the extreme left-wing just for one purpose – hatred of Netanyahu and to become a prime minister.”


“Congratulations to PM @naftalibennett and alternate PM @yairlapid for forming a government. I look forward to working with you. Austria is committed to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and will continue to stand by Israel’s side.”

(Reporting by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Daniel Wallis and Lisa Shumaker)

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Boris Johnson hails Biden as ‘a big breath of fresh air’



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday as “a big breath of fresh air”, and praised his determination to work with allies on important global issues ranging from climate change and COVID-19 to security.

Johnson did not draw an explicit parallel between Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump after talks with the Democratic president in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay on the eve of a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies.

But his comments made clear Biden had taken a much more multilateral approach to talks than Trump, whose vision of the world at times shocked, angered and bewildered many of Washington’s European allies.

“It’s a big breath of fresh air,” Johnson said of a meeting that lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.

“It was a long, long, good session. We covered a huge range of subjects,” he said. “It’s new, it’s interesting and we’re working very hard together.”

The two leaders appeared relaxed as they admired the view across the Atlantic alongside their wives, with Jill Biden wearing a jacket embroidered with the word “LOVE”.

“It’s a beautiful beginning,” she said.

Though Johnson said the talks were “great”, Biden brought grave concerns about a row between Britain and the European Union which he said could threaten peace in the British region of Northern Ireland, which following Britain’s departure from the EU is on the United Kingdom’s frontier with the bloc as it borders EU member state Ireland.

The two leaders did not have a joint briefing after the meeting: Johnson spoke to British media while Biden made a speech about a U.S. plan to donate half a billion vaccines to poorer countries.


Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, was keen to prevent difficult negotiations between Brussels and London undermining a 1998 U.S.-brokered peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Britain that Biden had a “rock-solid belief” in the peace deal and that any steps that imperilled the accord would not be welcomed.

Yael Lempert, the top U.S. diplomat in Britain, issued London with a demarche – a formal diplomatic reprimand – for “inflaming” tensions, the Times newspaper reported.

Johnson sought to play down the differences with Washington.

“There’s complete harmony on the need to keep going, find solutions, and make sure we uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement,” said Johnson, one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU.

Asked if Biden had made his alarm about the situation in Northern Ireland very clear, he said: “No he didn’t.

“America, the United States, Washington, the UK, plus the European Union have one thing we absolutely all want to do,” Johnson said. “And that is to uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going. That is absolutely common ground.”

The 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to the “Troubles” – three decades of conflict between Irish Catholic nationalist militants and pro-British Protestant “loyalist” paramilitaries in which 3,600 people were killed.

Britain’s exit from the EU has strained the peace in Northern Ireland. The 27-nation bloc wants to protect its markets but a border in the Irish Sea cuts off the British province from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Although Britain formally left the EU in 2020, the two sides are still trading threats over the Brexit deal after London unilaterally delayed the implementation of the Northern Irish clauses of the deal.

Johnson’s Downing Street office said he and Biden agreed that both Britain and the EU “had a responsibility to work together and to find pragmatic solutions to allow unencumbered trade” between Northern Ireland, Britain and Ireland.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Andrea Shalal, Padraic Halpin, John Chalmers; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Mark Potter and Timothy Heritage)

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