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Morning Reads: At the Debate, Democrats’ Cold War Turns Hot

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: At the Debate, Democrats' Cold War Turns Hot

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during their MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Dems’ Cold War turns hot –> The normally congenial exchanges between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders turned explosive in last night’s MSNBC-hosted debate, the first since the Iowa caucuses, and the first with just the two of them in direct confrontation. They debated the merits of progressivism and what it means, as well as whether or not large donations to Clinton’s various election campaigns from monied interests have corrupted her. Sanders cited “examples of political and prosecutorial decisions in the recent past that couldn’t really be explained any other way,” writes Dan Froomkin at The Intercept. The New York Times has some fact checks, and Mother Jones offers 7 “must-watch moments.

Hanging over the debate, Jeet Heer writes at New Republic, was former president Bill Clinton, who “is warmly remembered by many Democrats. The surprise is that Sanders has been able to make a formidable attack by focusing on aspects of the Clinton legacy that are no longer popular among party members. ”

ABC News, in partnership with the conservative news website Independent Journal Review, will air a Republican candidates debate Saturday, 8 pm, ET.

Unemployment down, but –> The economy added 151,000 jobs in January. Ylan Q. Mui at The Washington Post: “The number was below Wall Street’s expectations but still signaled that the U.S. recovery is chugging along. Investors and policymakers are seeking reassurance after they were left reeling by the turmoil in financial markets last month. The unemployment rate in January dipped to 4.9 percent, close to what many economists believe is its lowest sustainable level.”

What did he know, when did he know it? –> Reuters, via Raw Story: “Emails between high-ranking Michigan state officials show they knew about an uptick in Legionnaires’ disease and [that] it could be linked to problems with Flint water long before Governor Rick Snyder said he got information on the outbreak.”

The other private email accounts –> Hillary Clinton has been under scrutiny for emails on her private server, with many Republicans predicting that ultimately the content of those emails will torpedo her bid for the presidency. But “the State Department watchdog says former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the immediate staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also received classified national security information on their personal email accounts,” writes Deb Reichmann for the AP.

Recount –> A Des Moines Register editorial calls for the Iowa Democratic party to recount the results of Monday’s caucus: “First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results… Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.”

Lend a hand –> A new Pew poll finds that most Americans think the government doesn’t do enough to help the middle class — “And neither political party has a clear edge when it comes to championing middle-class interests.” Most Americans did feel the GOP helps the rich.

An oil tax? –> Michael Grunwald at Politico reports that when Barack Obama “releases his final budget request next week, the president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 ‘fee’ on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers.”

How to keep dark money in the dark –> Robert Faturechi provides a how-to guide at ProPublica: “Get the debate to focus on an ‘average Joe,’ not a wealthy person. Find examples of ‘inconsequential donation amounts.’ Point out that naming donors would be a threat to ‘innocents,’ including their children, families and co-workers. And never call it dark money. ‘Private giving’ sounds better. These and other suggestions appear in internal documents from conservative groups that are coaching activists to fight state legislation that would impose more transparency on the secretive nonprofit groups reshaping U.S. campaign finance.”

“Adelson bought the paper because of the content.” –> Ken Doctor reports for Capital New York that wealthy conservative donor Sheldon Adelson is moving to control what’s published in the Las Vegas newspaper he just bought: “A new publisher has appeared overnight at the paper, a new editor will be installed as soon as Friday, and, sources tell me, stories involving new owner Sheldon Adelson are being reviewed, changed or killed almost daily. Further, the newsroom is abuzz with word of a list of a half a dozen or so journalists whose work has rubbed Adelson the wrong way over the years, and who may soon be targeted for departure in what one insider describes as a ‘house-cleaning.'”

Alas, to the disappointment of some, Bernie likes meat –> During the Iowa caucuses, the most searched question about Bernie Sanders on Google was iterations on “Is Bernie Sanders a vegan?” He is not a vegan, writes Elise Viebeck at The Washington Post. He is really not a vegan. (However, Ben Carson, a Seventh Day Adventist, is a vegetarian.)

Today’s Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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