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 7:56 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 7:56 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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 157713

Reported Deaths: 4092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25392789
Lake13805355
St. Joseph9277163
Elkhart8890135
Allen8278230
Hamilton6215113
Vanderburgh588261
Tippecanoe375915
Hendricks3302133
Monroe326638
Porter322049
Johnson3151129
Delaware297074
Clark296762
Vigo264840
Madison240595
LaPorte226658
Cass225522
Warrick195265
Kosciusko187826
Floyd180167
Howard164066
Bartholomew143358
Marshall140026
Dubois139626
Wayne132130
Henry128430
Grant127839
Boone124550
Hancock119944
Noble117434
Jackson114416
Dearborn98028
Morgan94840
Lawrence90837
Daviess89334
Gibson88612
Clinton86716
Shelby83531
LaGrange81015
Knox77410
Harrison77324
Putnam73716
Posey7236
DeKalb72011
Fayette69018
Steuben6338
Miami6305
Jasper6175
White59215
Montgomery59022
Greene55337
Scott52413
Decatur50739
Adams5027
Whitley4636
Clay4537
Ripley4538
Sullivan44414
Wells43511
Wabash4219
Starke4157
Orange40925
Huntington4015
Spencer3956
Washington3783
Franklin37625
Jennings36913
Fulton3653
Randolph3659
Jefferson3435
Pike33518
Carroll32913
Perry32614
Jay3116
Fountain3073
Tipton27823
Vermillion2531
Parke2374
Newton23011
Blackford2193
Rush2184
Owen2071
Martin2000
Crawford1591
Pulaski1562
Brown1433
Ohio1327
Benton1120
Union1110
Switzerland960
Warren841
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 192948

Reported Deaths: 5184
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31703640
Cuyahoga19906684
Hamilton16878344
Montgomery10546189
Butler8401130
Lucas8364373
Summit6780265
Warren428466
Stark3853182
Mahoning3739287
Marion341250
Pickaway302446
Delaware290627
Lorain275489
Fairfield268657
Licking262366
Clark253057
Wood252981
Clermont251238
Greene234542
Trumbull2290134
Allen218373
Columbiana213387
Miami202858
Lake196659
Medina188942
Portage165468
Mercer154728
Wayne144669
Ross141537
Richland135124
Tuscarawas130825
Athens12352
Erie116953
Darke115551
Hancock106626
Madison106315
Auglaize102316
Putnam101627
Lawrence94525
Shelby91714
Muskingum9044
Scioto8719
Geauga86950
Belmont78927
Union7703
Ashtabula73548
Sandusky71722
Huron71614
Preble63518
Holmes63310
Seneca60714
Ottawa58930
Fulton54513
Henry48817
Jefferson4774
Clinton47213
Jackson4728
Crawford4688
Defiance46613
Fayette4528
Highland4446
Logan4353
Ashland4109
Champaign4053
Knox39416
Brown3883
Perry37311
Morrow3562
Washington35524
Hardin34813
Williams3464
Guernsey3298
Coshocton32412
Pike3120
Wyandot29813
Gallia29213
Van Wert2685
Carroll2157
Adams2126
Meigs21012
Paulding2072
Hocking1999
Monroe16318
Noble1480
Vinton1043
Harrison843
Morgan800
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 32°
Angola
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Huntington
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Decatur
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Van Wert
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Cooler Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events