1. In CNN, Brianna Keilar and Dan Merica write about Sanders’ healthcare pledge.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, isn't saying when those numbers will be released. "I don't have a date for that," he said earlier this week. "Not necessarily before the caucuses."
Weaver stood by his comments on Wednesday, stating that the campaign does not yet have a date for when to release the Medicare-for-all plan. He added that Sanders' health care plan would be paid for "progressively," similar to the way his previous Medicare-for-all proposals have been paid for.
2. In Reuters, Steve Holland talks about Rubio’s presidential campaign.
Long viewed by the Republican establishment and many donors as one of their rising stars, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has been struggling to make his mark in the race for the party's 2016 presidential nomination in a field led by mavericks Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Regarded as well-spoken and telegenic, Rubio began facing criticism a few months ago when he was perceived as campaigning too little in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two states where next month party members will cast their first ballots.
3. In Bloomberg, John McCormick reports that Cruz and Trump are neck-and-neck in Iowa polling.
A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows Cruz and Trump, the two fiercest anti-establishment candidates, locked in a tight race for first place, well ahead of the rest of the pack. Following at a distance are Rubio and Carson, battling for third place.
None of the other contenders can muster more than 5 percent support from likely Republican caucus-goers. A number of those candidates, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, have given relatively short shrift to Iowa as they focused their efforts on New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first presidential primary eight days after the Iowa caucuses.
4. In Politico, Nick Gass talks about Trump’s reaction to Obamas’ SOTU speech.
Trump, calling in to "Fox and Friends," denounced Obama's speech as the words of a man "living in a fantasy land." When co-host Steve Doocy remarked that it does not appear the president likes him, Trump responded, “I would say that’s probably true. He probably does not."
"You know, not very important to me, but I would say he probably doesn’t," the Republican candidate and poll leader said, reiterating his disdain for the president's failure to acknowledge "radical Islamic terrorism" after the San Bernardino attacks and other threats.
5. In MSNBC, Vaughn Hillyard writes about Cruz’s undisclosed loan.
Ted Cruz on Wednesday night dismissed a New York Times report that he failed to properly disclose a loan from Goldman Sachs during his 2012 bid for the U.S. Senate, calling the matter merely a “filing error.”
“It is an inadvertent filing question,” he told reporters at a press conference in Dorchester, South Carolina. “The facts of the underlying matter have been disclosed for many, many years. It is not complicated. Our finances are not complicated.”
6. In The Daily Beast, Nick Gillespie explains why a vote for Clinton will mean a vote for war.
Unsurprisingly, Secretary Clinton also pushed for keeping troops in Iraq as the elected government there insisted we leave. Clinton—and hawks in either party—never ask why a decade or more wasn’t enough to create “secure, stable, and self-reliant” situations. And what such failures say about the wisdom of the missions in the first place.
Ultimately, what Clinton shares with most of the Republican presidential candidates is a dangerous and unthinking conflation of foreign policy with military power and action.
7. In The Atlantic, David A. Graham discusses Sanders overtaking Clinton.
A funny thing happened between mid-December and now. When everyone went into holiday slumber, Hillary Clinton was sailing high; Bernie Sanders, after shocking most observers with his impressive popularity, seemed to have plateaued around 30 percent. Now, in the homestretch as the Iowa caucuses (February 1) and New Hampshire primary (February 9) draw closer, the race is getting tighter.
8. In CNN, Eugene Scott reports about Trump’s criticism of Gov. Nikki Haley.
Donald Trump struck back at South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, after she criticized the Republican presidential front-runner in her State of the Union rebuttal, and added that she's not "off to a good start" if she wants to be considered for his running mate.
"She's very weak on illegal immigration," the billionaire businessman said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday. "I feel very strongly about immigration. She doesn't."
9. In Huffington Post, Howard Fineman discusses the so-called “Trumpism” or the Trump phenomenon.
The depth of accumulated unreality and even insanity represented by these stands have propelled Trump into the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Two other GOP candidates are rising to challenge him, primarily by parroting Trump and Trumpism to the extent that they can. Indeed, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida appear to be, at least at this moment, the only two challengers capable of stopping Trump -- and they are, in many ways, as hair-raising as he is. From time to time, America has given in to the darker implications of its historic, unique and vital role as a “nation of immigrants.”
10. In the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler discusses Clinton’s claim that Sanders voted for the “Charleston loophole.”
Clinton repeatedly has attacked her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on gun issues. It is potentially a ripe target, given that the rural-state lawmaker occasionally supported positions advocated by the National Rifle Association.
This statement jumped out at The Fact Checker, as Clinton is drawing a direct link between a vote taken by Sanders to a recent gun tragedy — the July 17, 2015, killing of nine people by Dylann Roof at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.