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Trump shows he remains fixated on Obama

Image: President Donald Trump speaks to Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press."
President Donald Trump speaks to Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press." Copyright William B.Plowman
Copyright William B.Plowman
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.


MIAMI — Two and a half years into his presidency, Donald Trump still has Barack Obama on his mind.

Trump mentioned Obama, his wife and "Obamacare" 23 times in his interview on "Meet the Press" — when he was asked only four direct questions that involved the former president.

And some of those mentions contained outright falsehoods.

Here's a partial list:

  • "You cannot have nuclear weapons [regarding Iran]. And they would have had them with President Obama. He gave them $150 billion." (In fact, the Iran nuclear deal was forged to keep Iran from nuclear weapons, and the $150 billion wasn't U.S. money - it was Iran's money frozen in international financial institutions around the world.)
  • "Obama had a lousy economy. It was a dead economy." (In fact, the state of the economy has been fairly consistent between Obama's second term and Trump's first two years in office - with Obama enjoying slightly higher job-creation numbers and Trump with slightly higher GDP numbers. But in no way was the economy "dead" under Obama.)
  • "[U]nder President Obama you had separation [of migrant families]. I was the one that ended it." (In fact, it was Trump's administration that started this zero-tolerance policy, while there was no similar actual policy by the Obama administration.)
  • "I'm about great health care. Obamacare is a disaster. I got rid of the individual mandate."
  • Mike [DeWine in Ohio] won. Georgia, President Obama was there. Oprah was there. Michelle Obama was there. It was going to be a big celebration. [Stacey Abrams] was the star of the party. I went there for Brian. Brian Kemp. Brian Kemp won. Florida, Ron DeSantis …"

Every new president tends to be his predecessor's opposite.

But Trump just says it more than past presidents — and often inaccurately.

Three retreats by Trump in three weeks

In less than three weeks, President Trump has made three different retreats:

  1. Reaching a deal with Mexico to avert tariffs - a deal that largely consisted of actions that Mexico had already agreed to.
  2. Backing down on military strikes against Iran for shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone.
  3. Delaying his plan for nationwide raids to deport undocumented immigrants.

Indeed, on foreign policy, the New York Times' Nick Kristof points out that MAXIMUM Trump pressure - on China, Venezuela, the Palestinians and Iran - hasn't worked out all that well so far.

Big Trouble in Little South Bend

Pete Buttigieg has had charmed run for the presidency.

Until now.

"South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was peppered with tough questions Sunday as he sat alongside the city's police chief at a town hall event following a white police officer shooting a black man to death one week prior," NBC's Josh Lederman and Allan Smith write.

More: "Buttigieg was repeatedly shouted down and met with profanities and heckles as he spoke during the extremely tense and emotional town hall meeting at a local high school about last weekend's shooting."

These are maybe the most damning statistics for Buttigieg when it comes to South Bend's police force: "The department had 26 African American officers in 2014, according to news reports at the time, meaning a little more than 10% of the 253-officer department was black. There are now 13 black officers in the South Bend Police force, according to numbers released by the department, leaving the force 88% white and just over 5% black," per CNN.

"That steady decline in African American officers is opposite to the demographic makeup of South Bend. According to the 2010 census, the city is 26% African American."

It's hard being a sitting executive — either a mayor or governor — running for president.


2020 Vision: Pre-debate plans

Two days before the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 season, the Dem hopefuls are out announcing policy plans.

Bernie Sanders is unveiling a plan to wipe away $1.6 trillion of student debt - paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculations, per NBC's Gary Grumbach, Shaquille Brewster and Savannah Sellers.

Joe Biden lays out his immigration/Latin America plan in a Miami Herald op-ed: "The next president must institute effective immigration reform while restoring regional policies grounded in respect."

And Beto O'Rourke introduces his plan to support U.S. veterans.


On the campaign trail today

Bernie Sanders - along with Reps. Jayapal and Omar - unveils a college-affordability plan on Capitol Hill… Beto O'Rourke holds a vets roundtable in Tampa., Fla… Julian Castro holds a media avail in Miami… And Jay Inslee makes a policy announcement in Fort. Lauderdale, Fla.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 16


That's the number of women who have come forwardwith allegations of some form of sexual assault by President Trump.

The latest, writer and columnist E. Jean Carroll,said in a magazine piece released Fridaythat Trump violently attacked her in a department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996.


Additional women have accused the president of walking in on them while they were undressing at a beauty pageant.

The White House has dismissed all of the women's statements as fabricated.

Tweet of the day

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn't miss

Pete Buttigieg is learning the tough parts of campaigning for president as a mayor, Josh Lederman writes.

How did Joe Biden play in South Carolina after a week of stories about his past work with segregationists? Mike Memoli reports that his rivals seemed reluctant to exploit his vulnerabilities directly.


Heidi Przybyla notes that Bernie Sanders has evaded criticism for his vote on the 1994 crime bill.

The New York Times reports] on how the Democratic candidates are preparing for this week's debate.

Trump agenda: A familiar pattern

U.S. allies see a familiar pattern in Trump's Iran reversal.

The White House has released the economic piece of its Mideast peace plan. It's not going over well with many of the stakeholders.


POLITICO reportsthat the Agriculture Department has been burying studies that outline the dangers of climate change.

2020: Cost is key

A good reminder from the Washington Post... Many voters are worried about health care, but their big focus is simple: Cost.

Biden and Trump are ratcheting uptheir war of words over trade.

Beto O'Rourkeis releasinga new veterans' issues proposal.


Republicans are launchingtheir own version of ActBlue.

Joe Sestak isrunning for president.

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