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Political Notebook

Bloomberg’s $11 million Super Bowl ad: Gun violence and a grieving mother

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York and a Democratic candidate for president, will air a gun control ad during the Super Bowl.Saul Martinez/New York Times

DES MOINES — After the dazzle and pop of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s Super Bowl halftime show this Sunday, Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is hoping to “stop people in their tracks” with an emotional ad featuring a mother who lost her son to gun violence.

In the minute-long ad, which the campaign released Thursday, Calandrian Kemp tells the story of her son, George Kemp Jr., as the camera pans across childhood pictures of George in football gear. He was shot and killed in 2013 during an altercation while he was at mechanic school; he was 20.

“I just kept saying, you cannot tell me that the child I gave birth to is no longer here,” Kemp says, her voice breaking. The screen then shows white text on a black background: “2,900 children die from gun violence every year.”

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That figure has been cited by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group primarily financed by Bloomberg.

Kemp then praises Bloomberg’s record on gun control. “I know Mike is not afraid of the gun lobby — they’re scared of him,” she says. “And they should be.”

The ad cost the campaign $11 million for 60 seconds in front of what is regularly the largest television audience of the year; predictions for this year’s Super Bowl, which will be broadcast on Fox, hover around 100 million viewers. The ad is scheduled to air between the end of the halftime show and the beginning of the third quarter, the campaign said.

President Trump’s reelection campaign has also purchased 60 seconds’ worth of advertising during the game, but it has not released a preview of its spot.

New York Times

Clues offered to a Sanders presidency

Senator Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont who is running for president in the Democratic primaries, is considering dozens of executive orders he could unilaterally enact on a wide range of domestic policy issues if elected, including immigration, the environment and prescription drugs, according to two people familiar with the campaign’s planning and an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post.

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Sanders has risen in national and early-state polling in the final days before Monday’s Iowa caucuses, the first contest in the Democratic presidential primary, which has fueled concerns among some party insiders that he could win the nomination.

Aides have presented Sanders with a list of possible executive actions, including more than a dozen options for reversing President Trump’s immigration policy, such as lifting the cap on the number of refugees accepted into the United States and immediately halting border wall construction. Another option is the reinstatement of an Obama-era program that granted legal status to undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.

The document reviewed by the Post shows how the Sanders campaign has already begun extensive planning for how the senator would lead the country in his first days as president if he won the Democratic nomination and defeated Trump in November. Many of the proposals Sanders has floated on the campaign trail do not have support from congressional Republicans and are opposed by some Democrats, so a willingness to move forward without congressional approval could determine whether many of his policies are enacted.

The list of potential executive orders includes unilaterally allowing the United States to import prescription drugs from Canada; directing the Justice Department to legalize marijuana; and declaring climate change a national emergency while banning the exportation of crude oil. Other options cited in the document include canceling federal contracts for firms paying less than $15 an hour and reversing federal rules blocking US funding to organizations that provide abortion counseling.

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Washington Post

Abrams backs Warnock in Georgia Senate race

Stacey Abrams, the former gubernatorial nominee whose campaign energized Georgia’s Democratic voters, Thursday put her political star power behind the US Senate bid of the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.

Abrams, who announced her endorsement via Twitter, praised Warnock as ‘‘a leader who sees all of us and serves all of us.’’ She also included a link where people could contribute money to Warnock’s campaign, which kicked off Thursday morning.

Warnock’s candidacy, along with Abrams’s pledge to help him win, is the latest development in what is shaping up as a contentious contest that is key to Democrats’ hopes of retaking the Senate.

Abrams, who was heavily courted to run for the Senate but declined, is one of the party’s most popular political figures. Since narrowly losing the governor’s race in 2018, Abrams has focused on voting rights, raising millions of dollars for a national effort to beef up voter education and protection operations in battleground states ahead of this year’s election.

Warnock announced his bid in a three-minute video that traced his path from growing up in public housing in Savannah to leading the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Warnock is eyeing the seat currently held by Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican business executive who was appointed to the post by Republican Governor Brian Kemp following the retirement of Senator Johnny Isakson.

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Warnock’s announcement came a day after Representative Douglas Collins, Republican of Georgia, a top defender of President Trump, confirmed his candidacy for the seat, a move that divided Republicans.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately made clear it would support Loeffler and suggested Collins’s entrance into the race will hurt the prospects of other Republicans on the ticket and put Georgia in play in the presidential election.

In addition to Warnock, two other Democrats are running: Ed Tarver, a former federal prosecutor in Georgia under President Barack Obama; and Matt Lieberman, the son of former senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Washington Post