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.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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