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Glazer announces bill to stiffen penalties for short-term rental violations – The Mercury News

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ORINDA — State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, is proposing new legislation giving Orinda and other cities the power to fine short-term rental violators up to $5,000 — in direct response to the mass shooting that killed five people Halloween night and rocked this city.

Glazer, a former mayor of Orinda, said he will introduce the bill Tuesday. He said it is intended to “create a strong enough disincentive that people will think twice about renting” out “party houses” that attract crowds in residential neighborhoods. Glazer said Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, will co-author the bill.

“With the advent of social media and the ability of people to simply stage events (that draw) large quantities, we have in this circumstance some bad apples that have appeared,” Glazer said at a news conference in front of the Orinda Library, about a mile away from the Airbnb house at 114 Lucile Way that hosted the party attended by more than 100 people.

“And there’s no better example of a bad apple that what happened here in Orinda on Halloween night with the tragic deaths of five individuals at a short-term rental property,” Glazer continued.

Currently, cities such as Orinda can only impose citations of up to $1,000 for short-term rental violations.

“The question is — ‘Do cities have the tools that it takes to properly regulate these short-term rentals?’,” Glazer said. After meeting with Orinda city officials and other cities throughout the state, he said, “the conclusion is ‘no’ — there are not enough disincentives to do the right thing and follow the law.”

Glazer said he has received no objection from short-term rental companies like Airbnb on changing and raising the fines on short-term rental violations.

Glazer said it was coincidental that he was proposing the legislation during his re-election bid, saying that Friday is the deadline to introduce bills and that he has been working on this particular bill with Orinda city officials and others throughout California for the past several weeks.

Orinda Mayor Darlene Gee noted the steps the city has taken on short-term rentals. In December, the Orinda City Council extended an emergency ordinance on unhosted short-term rentals that calls for a two-day minimum stay with the owner on the property. The emergency ordinance runs through Nov. 18, and Gee said the city is working on a permanent ordinance.

“We are so appreciative to have Sen. Glazer here with us this afternoon and his willingness to put forth this legislation that’s very important to us and many other cities in the state,” Mayor Gee said. She was flanked by Vice Mayor Amy Worth, Council member and former Mayor Inga Miller, City Manager Steve Solomon, police Chief David Cook and City Clerk Sheri Smith.

Solomon said that the number of Airbnb rentals in the city has decreased from about 40 to approximately half that number.

Meanwhile, police Chief David Cook said the criminal investigation into the Halloween night shooting remains active and had no update.

No one has been charged in connection with the Orinda shooting. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office declined to charge five other suspects who were arrested in a series of raids related to the shooting on Nov. 14.

The victims have been identified as Tiyon Farley, 22, of Antioch; Omar Taylor, 24, of Pittsburg; Raymon Hill Jr., 23, of San Francisco/Oakland; Javlin County, 29, of Marin City; and Oshiana Tompkins, 19, of Vallejo/Hercules.

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Obama Uses Presidents Day To Take Credit for Trump Economy, Draws Fierce Backlash

This might work if the country had been in a coma.

Former President Barack Obama celebrated Presidents Day on Monday with a Twitter post that just about perfectly captured the obscenely high opinion of himself the 44th president has always shown.

But his attempt to claim credit for the booming economy during President Donald Trump’s three years in office sparked a social media backlash that showed many Americans were all too awake during the abysmal eight years of Obama in the Oval Office.

Obama kicked off festivities with a typically vainglorious post, essentially bragging this it was his actions as president that have led to the current boom the country is enjoying.

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It’s hard to take it seriously, but it does bring back a certain nostalgia.

Does anyone remember when companies like Solyndra were supposed to lead the way for a new, greener American economy?

It might have made a good photo op when the then-president toured the solar panel manufacturer in May 2010, but a half-billion dollars in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees didn’t look like such a good investment when the company went belly up a little more than a year later. (Newsmax has a useful breakdown of the scandal.)

How about when Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden declared that the summer of 2010 would be known as “recovery summer” thanks to the misguided belief that economic recovery depended on government largesse, and a ludicrously poorly thought-out nearly $1 trillion “stimulus” plan that didn’t stimulate much.

The fact that in the years that followed the economy continued its malaise never shook the insistence of the Democrats and the mainstream media that Obama’s policies were working. Some of the adoring responses to Obama’s hogwash on Twitter Monday prove that. The Democrats’ ability to delude themselves is a wonder to behold.

But a whole lot of social media users haven’t forgotten the Obama years – and some of the backlash was brutal.

RELATED: Biden Snaps After Interviewer Pulls Out Pic of Kid Obama Admin Put in Cage

In the Trump economy, unemployment of minorities is at or near historic lows. The groups that Democrats claim to care about are doing remarkably well under an administration that’s supposed to be “racist.”

Americans of a certain age – say 22 – should be able to remember when Obama’s regulations were deliberately strangling the world’s most powerful economy. Meanwhile, the man in the White House was giving Americans hopeful messages like: The jobs aren’t coming back.

Obama, of course, can express any opinion of his own performance he chooses. It’s still a free country after all, no matter how hard Obama and his hideous collaborators Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate tried to change that.

Are you better off now than you were when Obama was president?

Liberals can play games with statistics as much as they want, but the proof is in the election pudding.

Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 knew exactly what was happening to their country, and knew that a Hillary Clinton presidency would only continue the downward spiral. (And let’s skip the “popular vote” nonsense. Getting 3 million brain-fogged liberals to vote for a Democrat in New York and California isn’t exactly a mandate for responsible government. Just the opposite, actually.)

Since Trump has been in office, the stock markets are setting records, unemployment is down and the United States is respected abroad.

Americans are optimistic again, too. Obama should have a rough time claiming credit for that, three years out of office.

How about this one from an erstwhile Obama supporter?

Those who are young enough to remember the Obama years as coinciding with the onset of puberty might be fooled by the former president’s confidence4, the media’s non-stop adoration, and the constant stream of lies from the Democratic Party.

But Americans who are more awake than “woke” know otherwise. Trump woke up the American economy in a way a statist like Obama and his followers could never dream of.

And unfortunately for Obama, the country is not entirely in a coma.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Nancy Pelosi: Democrats Must Unify to Defeat Trump

The Democratic Party must be unified in order to defeat President Donald Trump in the November election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNN over the weekend.

“We have to have our own vision for the future,” Pelosi said. “But everybody knows that we must be unified in making sure that he does not have a second term.”

With eight candidates still in the race to become the Democratic presidential candidate, Pelosi said her party is one of “vitality [and] differences of opinion.”

The House speaker, who has not made any endorsement, said “any one of them would be a better president than the current occupant of the White House.”

She added, “I’m grateful to all of them for putting themselves on the line, putting forth their ideas. And now, we come down to the winnowing process.”

Pelosi declared, “quite frankly, with all the respect in the world for Iowa and New Hampshire, I’m not counting Joe Biden out. There’s still races ahead that are much more representative of the country.”

Pelosi insisted, Trump “will never be vindicated” following his impeachment, even though the Senate acquitted him, saying “the President may have been acquitted by the Senate, which didn’t have the courage to honor its oath of office on the Republican side, but he will never be vindicated from this.”


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In Year of Impeachment, More Guns Were Bought Than Any Other Time in US History

Commentary

While 2019 may be known in history as the year President Donald Trump was impeached, it also was the year that more firearms were purchased in the United States than at any other time in history.

The Washington Times reported that 28.3 million checks were run on the FBI’s National Instant Check System last year. That included over 2.9 million in December, the month House Democrats voted to impeach the president on a party-line vote.

According to FBI data on NICS checks, the previous record for a year was 27.5 million in 2016.

That data also notes that the highest monthly total was 3.1 million in December 2015.

The sale of firearms is continuing, with 2.7 million NICS checks being run last month.

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Compared with the 2.2 million checks that were run in January 2019, that is an increase of more than 530,000.

Why the sudden surge in gun sales from earlier in the Trump administration?

Did the Democrats’ push to impeach the president boost firearms sales?

While it cannot be ruled out, there are other events that seem more likely to be behind the surge in sales.

Do moves toward gun control make you more likely to purchase a firearm?

One major reason is the fact the U.S. House of Representatives was controlled by anti-Second Amendment Democrats, who passed a number of gun control measures.

Another is the fact that virtually every major Democratic candidate proposed sweeping new gun restrictions.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell proposed an Australia-style gun ban while running for president and introduced legislation that would implement the proposal.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke also announced his support for such a measure after a mass shooting in El Paso that left 22 people dead.

O’Rourke was famously defiant about his proposed ban, saying, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

RELATED: Dem Lawmaker Immediately Turns to Alarmism After ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Fails in Virginia

Two other candidates who, like Swalwell and O’Rourke, have since dropped out — former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — also proposed extensive restrictions, such as a federal licensing system for gun ownership.

Even those who didn’t go that far, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, have pushed for various restrictions aimed at the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

So, while impeachment may have played a small role, it is much more likely that gun control proposals from Democrats in Congress and those running for president motivated 2019’s record-breaking run on guns.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Criticizes Michael Bloomberg For ‘Masking’ a Lifetime of ‘Supporting Those In Power’ With Television Ads

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio strongly criticized his predecessor, billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, saying that he is “masking” his lifetime of support for “those in power” by spending hundreds of millions on campaign ads.

Bloomberg, a former Republican, launched an unconventional Democratic presidential campaign in late November. Instead of campaigning in early voting states, Bloomberg has spent more than $400 million of his $60 billion fortune on television ads nationwide, specifically targeting Super Tuesday voting states, where his campaign hopes to get a significant boost next month.

As Bloomberg has surged to third or fourth place nationwide in several recent polls, the former New York city mayor has faced significant criticism from fellow candidates. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have argued that the billionaire is attempting to buy the election, saying that his actions are counter to Democracy. De Blasio, who also launched a failed presidential campaign last year, endorsed Sanders on Friday and has now taken aim at Bloomberg.

“It’s important for people to understand what’s happening here,” the New York mayor said Monday during an interview with CNN. He then criticized Bloomberg for “using an inordinate amount of money” to convince Americans to vote for him.

“What it is masking is a lifetime of supporting those in power, he’s the epitome of the power structure,” De Blasio said. The Sanders supporter went on to note that his predecessor had done some good things during his tenure as New York’s mayor, but had also caused a lot of harm.

“He’s one of the richest people in the world and he pursued policies in New York City that made income inequality worse, that helped developers and big real estate folks and Wall Street at the expense of working people,” he said.

Bloomberg has already spent about $418 million on television ads since launching his campaign in November, which is about $100 million more than all other Democratic presidential candidates combined. It’s also approximately 10 times as much as Sanders—the current Democratic frontrunner in the race—has spent, with his campaign’s total at about $42 million.

“He thinks he can buy this election,” Sanders said of his billionaire competitor at a Nevada event this past weekend. “Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Bloomberg—the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections!”


Mayor Bill de Blasio at the New York Public Library in New York City on January 29.
EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is still polling second in most national polls despite poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month, took aim at Bloomberg as well.

“Sixty billion dollars can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can’t erase your record,” he said during an interview with NBC News Meet the Press on Sunday. Biden noted that Bloomberg’s policies as mayor of New York had a harmful impact on minority communities.

The billionaire businessman has faced mounting criticism over his expansion and defense of the highly controversial “stop and frisk” policing strategy during his tenure as mayor. While he apologized for the policy shortly before launching his presidential campaign, he had defended it for years, even suggesting that minorities are inherently more likely to commit crimes. Bloomberg has also faced criticism for his treatment of female employees, many of which have filed lawsuits over what they say are misogynistic and sexist remarks.

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McConnell, Ky. gov watch massive Asian carp roundup

GRAND RIVERS, Ky. (AP) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was on hand Monday to witness a massive harvest of invasive Asian carp from Kentucky Lake, after an experimental roundup that wildlife officials say could be the first of many.

The roundup began on Feb. 3, with state and federal fisheries officials working in boats to methodically drive the fish with electricity and noise through a series of nets. The technique was designed to leave most native fish unharmed.

McConnell watched as dozens of fish jumped about the water in a large netted area where they were driven days earlier. Crews in small boats Monday worked to reduce the size of the area to guide the fish toward a large vacuum hose, which discharged the fish into a net pen where they would be removed from the lake.

McConnell, who was joined at the lake by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, recently helped secure $25 million in federal funding to implement the Asian carp national management plan first developed in 2007.

“Invasive Asian carp present a serious danger to Kentucky’s waters and our $1.2 billion fishing industry,” McConnell said in a statement. “As Senate Majority Leader, I’m in a better position than ever to deliver much-needed attention and record-levels of federal resources to West Kentucky’s effort.”



The harvest method mainly targets bighead and silver carp, two of the four invasive carp species collectively known as Asian carp in the U.S. Both bighead and silver carp devour plankton that form the base of the food chains. They grow rapidly and reproduce prolifically, outcompeting many native fish. Silver carp are also notorious for their unpleasant habit of hurtling from the water like missiles when startled by boat motors. Collisions have broken noses, jaws and ribs.

State and federal agencies together have spent roughly $607 million to stop them since 2004, according to data compiled by The Associated Press. Projects in the works are expected to push the price tag to about $1.5 billion over the next decade.

That’s more than five times the amount predicted in 2007 when a national carp management plan was crafted, and no end is in sight.

Asian carp are established all along the Mississippi River and in dozens of tributaries, but much of the focus has been on keeping them out of the Great Lakes, where experts say they could devastate a $7 billion fishing industry.

Less money and attention have been paid to the carp’s virtually unchecked spread east and west into the Missouri and Ohio rivers, among others, but that’s changing.

In addition to the roundup, Kentucky is helping subsidize a burgeoning commercial fishing industry that pulled in 6 million pounds of Asian carp in 2019. And the state is testing a new barrier method at nearby Lake Barkley that they hope will prevent the carp from using the locks to travel upstream.

Beshear said in the statement that Monday’s efforts “illustrate our commitment to ensuring Kentucky’s tourism industry and local economies can continue to thrive from the booming recreational fishing industry.”

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Mike Bloomberg in 2011: ‘Enormous Cohort’ of Young Black and Latino Men ‘Don’t Know How to Behave in the Workplace’

While promoting a multi-million dollar initiative to “reduce disparities” as the mayor of New York City in 2011, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said “enormous cohorts” of young black and Latino men “don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.”

Bloomberg made the remarks during an interview with PBS Newshour, as he promoted his Young Men’s Initiative, a $127 million, three-year program funded in part by Bloomberg’s charitable organization, financier George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and the city of New York. “Blacks and Latinos score terribly in school testing compared to whites and Asians. If you look at our jails, it’s predominantly minorities,” Bloomberg said.

“If you look at where crime takes place, it’s in minority neighborhoods. If you look at who the victims and the perpetrators are, it’s virtually all minorities,” Bloomberg continued. “This is something that has gone on for a long time, I assume it’s prevalent elsewhere but it’s certainly true in New York City.”

Bloomberg touted his administration’s work to reduce the crime rate, which he credited in this interview to diversifying the police force, saying that it was “particularly important to black and Latino kids and their families and neighborhoods, because that’s where the crime is.”

READ: Trump called Bloomberg racist for stop-and-frisk. But he supported it for years.

Bloomberg also said his administration had worked to “attract industries that can use the people here who are unemployed” and increase job opportunities for marginalized people overall.

“But nevertheless, there’s this enormous cohort of black and Latino males, age, let’s say, 16 to 25,” Bloomberg continued, “that don’t have jobs, don’t have any prospects, don’t know how to find jobs, don’t know what their skillsets are, don’t know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.”

The Bloomberg campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg’s comments on crime and where it’s most prevalent echo his rhetoric during his time as mayor and the immediate aftermath, which has come under more scrutiny in recent weeks as he’s risen in Democratic presidential primary polls amid a tidal wave of spending in Super Tuesday states and beyond.

Last week, Bloomberg apologized for remarks he made in 2015 defending the city’s “stop and frisk” policy under his administration, in which he said that more cops were placed in black and Latino neighborhoods “because that’s where all the crime is” and that “the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”

“I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids,” Boomberg said last week during a campaign stop in Houston.”I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn’t, and for that I apologize.”

Bloomberg spent $30 million as part of the Young Men’s Initiative, which purported to provide “educational, employment, and mentoring opportunities across more than a dozen city agencies.”

READ: Mike Bloomberg gave the DNC $300k two days before he entered the 2020 race

Later in the PBS interview, Bloomberg — who was originally elected as a Republican but later switched his party affiliation to independent, before becoming a Democrat after his mayoralty ended — blasted Washington leadership at the time for, among other things, a deal to increase the debt ceiling and for “piling regulations” on Americans.

Bloomberg also suggested at the time that balancing the budget should be a priority, which is bound to put him at odds with other Democrats in the race, most notably current frontrunner and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who propose expanding the social safety net.

“The fact that they came up with a deal, whatever that means, for increasing the debt ceiling, everybody sees: They didn’t do anything to balance the budget,” Bloomberg said. “They didn’t do anything to any of our long term problems. They kicked the can down the road with probably fictitious savings way down the road and no new revenues. That’s not the way to help this country get its act together.”

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks to the crowd on February 13, 2020 in Houston, Texas. The former New York City mayor launched “Mike for Black America,” an effort to focus on key issues relating to black Americans on his fifth campaign trip to Texas. (Photo by Callaghan O’Hare/Getty Images)

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Bloomberg Considers Hillary For VP, Adds Her Former Senior Adviser To Campaign

New York, NY – January 15, 2020: Mike Bloomberg Democratic Presidential candidate arrives for Mike Bloomberg 2020 launch Women for Mike at Sheraton New York. (shutter stock)

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as his running mate in the 2020 election, according to The Drudge Report.

The report also states that the former New York City mayor would even change his residence from New York to Florida or Colorado, since Clinton also resides in the Empire State. The constitution indicates possible limitations on both members of a presidential ticket residing in the same state.

Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 election and also failed to secure the 2008 Democratic nomination against Barack Obama. Prior to serving as Secretary of State, she was a United States Senator from New York.

Earlier this year, Clinton told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that she wasn’t considering joining the race as a vice presidential candidate. “I never say never because I believe in serving my country, but it’s never going to happen,” she told Ellen.

Meanwhile, the New York Post is reporting that a top Clinton ally, Capricia Marshall, has joined the Bloomberg campaign. Marshall was President Bill Clinton’s White House social secretary from 1997 to 2001. In the Obama administration, she served as chief of protocol of the United States from 2009 to 2013.

Before those roles, Marshall served as a special assistant to Hillary Clinton when she was first lady in 1993. Marshall worked on then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s re-election campaign in 2006 and joined her presidential campaign in 2008, serving as Clinton’s senior adviser.

Bettings odds for a Bloomberg nomination have also soared in recent days.

Bloomberg has until Tuesday to qualify for the Democratic debate in Nevada on Feb. 19.

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People can’t be trusted to judge their own economic situation, or something

How do Donald Trump’s opponents, both in Congress and in the presidential election, beat him on the economy? “Democrats are going to have to take him on directly,” Tom Steyer told Martha Raddatz yesterday on ABC’s This Week, but Steyer tried nothing but misdirection in attempting to answer Raddatz’ actual question. When Raddatz caught him at it, Steyer’s stumbles showed just how hard it will be to sell an economic crisis in 2020:

RADDATZ: Mr. Steyer, you say that you can take on Donald Trump on the economy. But the latest Quinnipiac national poll again released just this week says 70 percent of voters describe the nation’s economy as excellent or good. So how do you convince them that a change is needed when they think they’re doing so well under Donald Trump?

STEYER: I think if you take a look at what he says, everything he says superficially sounds right but is actually a lie. So when he says the economy is growing, I can show that, in fact, all the money’s going to rich people. When he says unemployment is low, which is true, I can show that the wages people are getting don’t support a family. And when he says the stock market is up, these are his three big statistics, it’s largely because of the huge tax break he gave to big corporations, but it also is — doesn’t matter that much because most of the stocks — 85 percent of the stocks are held by the top 10 percent of — 10 — ten percent of the richest Americans.

Does Donald Trump lie about the economy? He certainly brags about it a lot, sometimes hyperbolically, but Americans overwhelmingly see their own economic situation as not just good but getting better too. And that was the actual question, Raddatz reminded Steyer — how do you convince 70% of Americans who feel that the status quo works for them to change horses in midstream?

Steyer, refusing to answer the question, accuses Raddatz of covering for Trump. Huh?

RADDATZ: But — but I want to go back to that 70 percent number.

STEYER: So it’s — this has been —

RADDATZ: You talk — you talk about the wealthy. They’re not all wealthy people. Seventy percent say the economy is good and they’re doing well.

STEYER: Well, I’m just saying to you, here we are on a show and you’re standing up for Mr. Trump’s version of the economy. And I’m telling you, what he’s saying is not true. And so —

RADDATZ: I’m telling you about a national poll. I’m not standing up for anybody. I’m telling — I’m telling you about a national poll.

It’s not just Quinnipiac, either. Gallup released two polls over the last two weeks that have a similar result. When asked about their economic position since Trump won the presidency, 61% say they are better off than in 2016. That’s a record high in an incumbent re-elect cycle — eleven points higher than the previous record. The Gallup poll from the previous week showed 59% felt better about their own personal economy than a year ago, and 74% expected to do even better in 2020 — both new record highs in the 41-year series.

Steyer says that Democrats need to tell “a different story of this economy,” which should be an interesting exercise in cognitive dissonance:

STEYER: And what I’m saying is this, there is a different story of this economy and this country that has to be told. Mr. Trump has to be faced down about what he’s saying on the economy because he is running on the economy. That’s exactly what he’s going to say. He’s going to say, I’m great on the economy and Democrats stink.

RADDATZ: So how do you —

STEYER: I can take him on, on that because it has to be shown that this economy actually isn’t working for the vast bulk of Americans and this president is dangerous to them in terms of money and in terms of health care and in terms of retirement. That’s not being told. Democrats are going to have to take him on directly.

And you thought I was kidding when I called this Operation Us Or Your Own Lying Eyes!

Steyer never does answer Raddatz’ question, nor will Democrats be able to answer it in 2020 absent an actual economic crisis. If this status quo extends to November, they won’t have an economic case to make. They’ll be selling socialism to capitalists, and that won’t work anywhere except within the progressive echo chamber.

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Nancy Pelosi warns Democrats ‘must be unified’ to ensure Trump isn’t reelected

“I can’t even envision a situation where he would be reelected. But we are not, we don’t take anything for granted. As I say, we have to have our own vision for the future. But everybody knows that we must be unified in making sure that he does not have a second term,” Pelosi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at the Munich Security conference over the weekend.

Pelosi’s comments come as a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates continue to battle it out in the primary race to see who will go on to face Trump in the general election with the White House at stake. The field of Democratic candidates that started out with more than 20 hopefuls has winnowed down to eight following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

The House speaker argued that Democrats “have a better vision for America and we must defeat Donald Trump.”

“We know one thing: we have a better vision for America, and we must defeat Donald Trump who does not share a vision that is about unity and unifying the country,” she said.

Pelosi said that the Democratic Party is “a party of vitality, differences of opinion, which we will resolve. She added that she has “trust in the American people” and “it isn’t up to me to decide, it’s up to the people.”

But she noted that she believes each one of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls “have made a very valuable contribution to the debate,” and that that it is “easy” for her to say that “any one of them would be a better president than the current occupant of the White House.”

“I think every one of our candidates, all 25 — I don’t know if Michael Bloomberg is counted in the 25, but Michael Bloomberg, too — have made a very valuable contribution to the debate putting forth their vision, their knowledge, their judgment, their strategic thinking,” she said.

Pelosi has not endorsed any candidate, but added that she isn’t counting out former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now trailing in the count of pledged delegates.

“I’m grateful to all of them for putting themselves on the line, putting forth their ideas. And now, we come down to the winnowing process,” she said, adding, “quite frankly, with all the respect in the world for Iowa and New Hampshire, I’m not counting Joe Biden out. There’s still races ahead that are much more representative of the country.”

She did not directly mention Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has emerged as an early front-runner in the Democratic race drawing support from the liberal wing of the party.

Trump “will never be vindicated” after impeachment and Ukraine scandal

Pelosi argued during the interview that Trump “will never be vindicated” after the Democratic-controlled House moved to impeach him over his actions toward Ukraine, despite the fact that the Republican-led Senate ultimately voted to acquit and the White House has claimed “exoneration.”

“The President may have been acquitted by the Senate, which didn’t have the courage to honor its oath of office on the Republican side, but he will never be vindicated from this,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi, who has previously said that she prays for the President, said, “I don’t know if the President is a person of faith, it’s not for me to make that judgment.”

She went on to say, “He said I didn’t pray for him. I thought if he’s a person of faith, he would recognize another person of faith, and if he prayed he would recognize that other people do, even for him.”

Trump used the House “as a backdrop for a reality show” during SOTU

Pelosi said that the President used the House of Representatives “as a backdrop for a reality show” during his recent State of the Union address to Congress.

“I was very disappointed in the fact that the President used the chamber of the House of Representatives, the people’s House, as a backdrop for a reality show”

She defended her controversial decision to rip up Trump’s speech, a dramatic moment that was met with criticism from Republicans, and addressed the moment where Trump appeared to snub her by ignoring her outstretched hand.

“He didn’t shake it when he extended it. I don’t know what you call that. But in any event, that had nothing to do with my tearing up the State of the Union address. My tearing it up had to do with, I thought, if I can find a page that doesn’t have a falsehood on it, I’ll spare it, but I couldn’t find that,” Pelosi said.

CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.