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Bill de Blasio rounds out the Democratic presidential field (at least for now)

Image: Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio waves to supporters during his election night event in New York on Feb. 4, 2017. Copyright Jewel Samad AFP - Getty Images
Copyright Jewel Samad AFP - Getty Images
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Carrie Dann with NBC News Politics
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First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.


WASHINGTON — The first significant Democrat to announce a 2020 presidential bid was former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, who threw his hat into the ring back in July 2017.

The last (???) is current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who released this video this morning: "As president, I will take on the wealthy; I will take on the big corporations; I will not rest until this government serves working people."

And it sets a field — at least for now — of 20 major candidates, including a former vice president, senators, governors, current and ex-congressmen, and big and small-city mayors.

(Stacey Abrams has said she's thinking about a 2020 race, but hasn't made any moves suggesting she might jump in anytime soon.)

The field also includes entrepreneur Andrew Yang (who has no prior experience in elected office), author Marianne Williamson (ditto) and Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam (who raised just $43,000 in the first quarter).

All of these folks will be vying to be among the 20 who qualify to make the first debate next month — which means it's very possible that a sitting member of Congress, or a governor or even the mayor of America's largest city gets left off that first debate stage.

To qualify for the debate, the Democratic National Committee says candidates must register at least 1 percent in three recognized polls and/or raise money from at least 65,000 donors, with polling and fundraisers tiebreakers mixed in.

As for de Blasio, he can certainly tout his qualifications, given that being New York City mayor is arguably the second-hardest job in American politics.

But what's tough is being the current mayor of New York running for president with the brutal NYC press corps following you around.

Can you imagine the coverage if there's a subway or commuter problem back home — and he's out in Des Moines, Iowa or Manchester, N.H.?

That's a problem that, say, Pete Buttigieg doesn't have to worry about as much back in South Bend, Ind.

Oh, and the debate cutoff date to qualify in the polls and with the number of donors is June 12 — which is 27 days away.

Trump vs. Bolton on Iran

The Washington Post says President Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton (and others) are in a different place when it comes to Iran.

"Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking, said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations Trump had regarding national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo," the paper writes.

But remember, Trump's first national security adviser — Michael Flynn — had tough rhetoric towards Iran - in the administration's first few days.


And a combustible situation with Iran is a direct consequence of the president ripping up the Iran nuclear deal — and failing to replace it with anything.

Beg your pardon: Another day, another Trump pardon for a friend and/or ally

"President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned former newspaper mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted in 2007 on charges that he swindled shareholders in his media empire out of $6 million, the White House announced," per NBC's Phil Helsel and wire reports.

In its statement announcing the pardon, the White House "called Black 'an entrepreneur and scholar' who has 'made tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought.'"

But: "The White House statement did not mention that Black wrote what was described as a flattering biography of Trump published in 2018, titled 'Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.'"


2020 Vision: Bullock gets his first Iowa endorsement

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who announced his 2020 bid earlier this week, picked up an endorsement from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Bullock campaigns today in the Hawkeye State.

On the campaign trail today

In addition to Bullock's stop in Iowa, Kamala Harris travels to Nevada… Kirsten Gillibrand visits Atlanta, where she discusses Georgia's abortion ban… Pete Buttigieg attends a City Club of Chicago luncheon… And Jay Inslee, in DC, rolls out his clean jobs policy.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 14 percent

Fourteen percent.

That's the share of Americans who say that abortion should be illegal in ALL cases, according to a poll last year from PRRI.


The small share illustrates that Alabama's new near-ban on abortions falls outside the mainstream, even within groups that generally support restrictions on abortion.

Among Republicans, it's 20 percent who say abortion should be illegal in all cases. And among white evangelicals, it's 28 percent.

The same poll from PRRI found that a combined 59 percent of Americans say that abortion should be legal in all (24 percent) or most (35 percent) cases.

The Lid: More on abortion

Don't miss the pod from yesterday, when we did a deep dive into public opinion polling around the issue of abortion.


ICYMI: New clips you shouldn't miss

Some U.S. allies dispute that the threat from Iran has actually been increasing.

Here's all the details on the new immigration plan coming from the White House.

POLITICO looks at how Trump often turns to social media guru Dan Scavino for validation.

Stacey Abrams penned an op-ed about voter suppression in the New York Times.


Other news that's out there…

Trump agenda: Partial disclosure

The president's financial disclosure report is set for release today.

Democrats are mostly falling in line with Nancy Pelosi's strategy to avoid impeachment proceedings in favor of policy work.

Barr joked with Pelosi yesterday about the coming vote to find him in contempt of Congress.


2020: Biden puts headquarters in Philly

Joe Biden will base his 2020 presidential campaign in Philadelphia. (and he's up with a new Spanish-language pitch highlighting a community in Pennsylvania.)

Here's what you need to know about Bill De Blasio's presidential bid.

Onetime Obama ad-making firm AKPD is signing on with Pete Buttigieg.

The Alabama abortion law could have major ramifications for 2020.


Beto O'Rourkelivestreamed a haircut.

Steve Bullock picked up the endorsement of Iowa's attorney general.

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