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With Booker in, the window for other Democrats to enter 2020 race is closing

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Image: Cory Booker
Sen. Cory Booker arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh,on Sept. 28, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   -   Copyright  Andrew Harnik AP
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WASHINGTON — Now there are eight Democratic presidential candidates, with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.,announcing this morning that he's taking the 2020 plunge. And Booker's entry highlights a point we also made earlier this week: The 2020 window is closing.

Both Booker and Kamala Harris are trying to take the same path to the nomination — win (or overperform) in Iowa; win South Carolina; and clean up delegates in the early southern primaries.

Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (if he gets in) have a similar path, too — win (or overperform) in Iowa with progressive voters, and use that to win New Hampshire, which borders Warren's Massachusetts and Sanders' Vermont. (This was Sanders' route in 2016, by the way.)

And we think there's one more path for a Democrat to win the nomination — by winning over pragmatic Democrats in the early contests, and later overperforming among African Americans, millennials or both.

So it's already getting crowded. And if you aren't one of the Big Three who have the ability to wait a few more months due to their name ID and potential fundraising — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Beto O'Rourke — you don't have much more time to sit on the sidelines.

Oh, and one other point: Anyone who tells you that Iowa isn't going to be important in deciding who the two or three Democratic finalists are going to be is kidding themselves. Iowa's always important — and maybe more so than ever with this potential field.

One key difference between Obama in '08 and Booker and Harris in '20

While the path that Booker and Harris are trying to take to win the nomination — win/overperform in Iowa, win South Carolina, win in the South - is the one that Barack Obama owned in 2008, there's a notable difference.

Both Booker (see his announcement video and launch on Black History Month) and Harris (her launch on MLK Day) have leaned into immediately winning over African-American voters, although Booker is heading to Iowa next week for his first early-state visit.

But Obama's initial approach was different: He made it his goal to show traction with white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire first before truly targeting the African-American community, who wanted to see if he could win against Hillary Clinton.

Updating our 2020 list: Who's in, who's out, who are we still waiting on?

Those who have filed paperwork or announced presidential bids (8)

  • · Sen. Cory Booker (who announced on February 1)
  • · Sen. Kamala Harris (who announced on January 21)
  • · Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (who announced her exploratory committee on January 15)
  • · Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who announced her exploratory committee on December 31)
  • · Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro (who formally announced his decision on January 12)
  • · Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (who announced her decision to run on January 11)
  • · Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney (who announced his presidential bid back on July 28, 2017!!!!)
  • · South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (who announced his exploratory committee on January 23)

The other potential candidates we're watching (in no particular order)

  • · Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
  • · Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas
  • · Former VP Joe Biden
  • · Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
  • · Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
  • · Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • · Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
  • · Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
  • · Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
  • · Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • · Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
  • · Outgoing Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • · Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
  • · Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

Possible 2020 Dems who have declined to run (5)

  • · Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
  • · Attorney Michael Avenatti
  • · Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
  • · Tom Steyer
  • · Current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

In NYT interview, Trump suggests he's given up on immigration talks

"In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump called the talks 'a waste of time' and indicated he will most likely take action on his own when they officially end in two weeks," the New York Times writes.

"'I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what she's doing and, ultimately, I think I've set the table very nicely,' Mr. Trump said. He made no mention of closing the government again, a move that backfired on him, but instead suggested he plans to declare a national emergency to build the wall. 'I've set the table,' he said. 'I've set the stage for doing what I'm going to do.'"

This, of course, is Trump's MO in any negotiation: try to apply maximum pressure by threatening to end talks, shut down the government, or go his own way.

The problem with declaring a national emergency: Such an action could get tied up in the courts for years.

Trump says he and his intelligence team are on the same page. But here is what they all have said

Responding to a week of reports highlighting how Trump's intelligence chiefs contradicted him on key national-security issues, the president tweeted yesterday.

"Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media - and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc. Their testimony was distorted press...."

"....I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our Country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!"

But here is what Trump and his intelligence chiefs have all said:

  • · Trump on North Korea: "Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," he said on June 12, 2018.
  • · Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats before Congress this week: "North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities."

  • · Trump on ISIS: "We have won against ISIS. We've beaten them, and we've beaten them badly."

  • · CIA Director Gina Haspel this week on ISIS: "They still command thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria."

  • · Trump on the Iran nuclear deal: "The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn't bring calm, it didn't bring peace, and it never will."

  • · CIA Director Haspel this week on Iran and the nuclear deal: "At the moment, technically, they are in compliance. But we do see them debating amongst themselves as they fail to realize the economic benefits they hoped."

This week's overlooked stories

Another stalemate over border/immigration funding! Trump's intelligence officials contradict him on national-security issues! Another Dem enters the 2020 presidential race! Those are the political stories that dominated this week.

But here are other stories from this week — overshadowed by the news above — that should have garnered much more attention. And they all are potentially important stories for 2020.

1. Foxconn scales back manufacturing plans in Wisconsin

"Foxconn Technology Group is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus, and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised," per Reuters.

2. Kelli Ward becomes chair of the Arizona GOP

"Arizona Republican activists on Saturday replaced incumbent state party Chairman Jonathan Lines with twice-unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward in the party's top leadership post, providing a win for the party's more conservative wing and a defeat for its old guard," the AP wrote.

3. Intel chiefs: Russia and China are plotting to interfere in the 2020 election

"U.S. intelligence agencies assess that Russia and China will seek to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, having learned lessons from Russia's operation in 2016, according to the annual public survey of national security threats issued Tuesday," NBC's Ken Dilanian reported.

4. Pew: Latinos will be the largest segment of the non-white vote in 2020

"By 2020, 32 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, just slightly more than the 30 million voters who are black. For Asians, the population is expected to be about 11 million, more than double what it was in 2000," NBC's Suzanne Gamboa wrote.

On the 2020 trail, per NBC's Kyle Stewart

Kirsten Gillibrand is in New Hampshire… And Howard Schultz hits San Francisco for his book tour.