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: 71015

Reported Deaths: 3013
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15322723
Lake7343274
Elkhart471380
Allen3725160
St. Joseph330179
Hamilton2610104
Vanderburgh184213
Hendricks1814106
Cass17669
Johnson1694118
Porter123839
Clark114846
Tippecanoe114611
Madison89565
LaPorte86930
Howard85565
Kosciusko82712
Marshall75822
Bartholomew75447
Floyd74045
Monroe70830
Delaware68052
Dubois65812
Boone65346
Noble64529
Hancock63838
Jackson5625
LaGrange55410
Warrick55330
Vigo54310
Shelby53527
Grant52029
Dearborn47928
Morgan45134
Clinton4043
Henry36919
White35110
Montgomery34621
Wayne34610
Lawrence33727
Decatur32432
Harrison30923
Putnam2778
Miami2642
Daviess25920
Scott25710
Greene24134
Franklin23413
DeKalb2234
Jasper2192
Jennings21512
Gibson2084
Steuben2043
Ripley1947
Perry17912
Fayette1777
Starke1747
Orange16624
Posey1650
Wabash1613
Fulton1592
Carroll1572
Wells1542
Jefferson1532
Whitley1476
Knox1420
Tipton1296
Huntington1213
Washington1211
Spencer1193
Newton11410
Randolph1144
Clay1045
Sullivan911
Adams892
Jay840
Owen831
Pulaski751
Brown711
Rush714
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford592
Ohio574
Pike520
Parke501
Vermillion480
Crawford440
Switzerland440
Martin420
Union350
Warren201
Unassigned0202

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97471

Reported Deaths: 3618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17834521
Cuyahoga13141491
Hamilton9374252
Lucas5155320
Montgomery417487
Summit3433218
Marion291045
Butler282262
Mahoning2477254
Pickaway237842
Stark1766137
Warren171136
Lorain168977
Columbiana161860
Trumbull1481105
Fairfield130931
Delaware126319
Licking120247
Clark111514
Lake107338
Wood99358
Clermont89211
Medina88735
Miami81137
Tuscarawas76214
Portage74361
Allen69942
Greene65611
Belmont59226
Richland58911
Mercer57313
Erie55627
Ashtabula55045
Geauga54844
Wayne51958
Ross4444
Huron3885
Ottawa36825
Sandusky36316
Darke36027
Athens3531
Hancock3533
Madison34910
Holmes3266
Lawrence2420
Auglaize2395
Union2331
Jefferson2192
Muskingum2151
Scioto2111
Putnam19917
Washington19822
Knox1917
Seneca1903
Coshocton1886
Shelby1774
Preble1762
Crawford1715
Morrow1652
Hardin15912
Clinton1586
Champaign1571
Highland1461
Fulton1441
Logan1402
Ashland1373
Wyandot1368
Defiance1334
Williams1303
Brown1232
Perry1163
Guernsey1147
Hocking1149
Henry1132
Carroll1105
Fayette1090
Monroe9118
Pike750
Jackson730
Van Wert701
Paulding640
Gallia621
Adams592
Meigs330
Vinton302
Morgan230
Harrison221
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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Sunny, Seasonable Saturday
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