Leland Vittert’s War Notes: Super Snooze

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – MARCH 5: Voters cast their ballots at a polling location at the Lubber Run Community Center on March, 5 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. 15 States and one U.S. Territory hold their primary elections on Super Tuesday, awarding more delegates than any other day in the presidential nominating calendar. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

NewsNation Chief Washington Anchor and On Balance host Leland Vittert was a foreign correspondent for four years in Jerusalem. He gives you an early look at tonight’s 7 p.m. ET show. Subscribe to War Notes here.  

Your humble correspondent files today on the Acela — Amtrak’s “high-speed” train from Washington, D.C., to New York City. On a traditional Super Tuesday, the D.C. TV types would all be making their way to New York City studios for a big night of team coverage — a small crew would gather in the cafe car to take informal bets on how “late” the night would go.

  • Instead, the pouring rain at D.C.’s Union Station matched the mood — time for a nap! 
  • It will be a late night but not an exciting one. 

Catch up quick: Republican voters in 15 states will decide the fate of 865 delegates. Current polling shows that Nikki Haley is unlikely to be competitive in any of these states. 

The math: At his current pace, Donald Trump will clinch the nomination by mid-March. 

Enough for second: Haley’s 43 delegates is enough for second. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., will tell you that doesn’t mean much, but if something happens to Trump between now and the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Haley is first by default. 

No Events and No TV

YIKES: Our Emily Finn reports Haley doesn’t have any rallies scheduled or TV ads purchased past today…

DOUBLE YIKES: For someone who said last week she would stay in as long as 70% of Americans want someone other than Biden or Trump, she appears ready to hang it up.  

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – MARCH 4: Republican presidential candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign rally on March 4, 2024 in Fort Worth, Texas. Haley won her first Republican primary, besting former President Donald Trump in Washington D.C. on Friday. Voters in 16 states, including Texas, head to the polls tomorrow on Super Tuesday. (Photo by Emil Lippe/Getty Images)

On to the General  

Newsflash

  • Just in time for tonight’s endless coverage of a predictable and otherwise boring Super Tuesday, our friend Alex Thompson dropped a lengthy piece in Axios: “Biden’s new strategy: Go for Trump’s jugular”
  • No, really. That’s the strategy, and it’s well-timed for giving pro-Biden commentators tonight’s talking points: “He’s a fighter,” “He’s ready to punch back” and “He’ll keep calling Trump a loser.”
  • Thompson writes, “One potential upside: It would help assuage concerns about Biden’s age by showing that at 81, he can still throw a Scranton punch.”
  • Let’s forget for a minute: You can’t out-Trump Trump, though many have tried … Trump’s “Biden” is spot on.
  • Trump’s rhetorical ability on the stump is uncanny.
  • Biden’s new strategy goes against everything that won him the White House. 
  • He won from the basement by being the antidote to Trump and promising no mean Tweets. Take that away … what exactly does he have?

Biden delivers his State of the Union Address Thursday, aptly scheduled months ahead for two days after Super Tuesday.

  • Thought bubble: The White House wanted to make sure they were running against Trump before laying out their campaign strategy. 
  • Timing: Bill O’Reilly predicted last night that it would last about 40 minutes, which would make it one of the shortest on record … I am not so sure, so I am setting my over/under at 55 minutes. 

More soon: Our War Notes State of the Union user guide will come out Thursday ahead of the speech. 

  • But just for smiles: Will he say Laken Riley’s name? 
  • Watch: Geraldo Rivera did last night in a long segment on On Balance about whether we can finally treat illegal aliens who commit crimes like criminals! 

You Can’t Say That

Gayle King knew it the second Sir Charles threatened to punch Black Trump supporters in the face. 

Our buddy Charlie Nash (@CharlieNash) first flagged the clip in Mediaite

Barkley: First of all, I’m just going to say this, if I see a Black person walking around with Trump mugshot I’m gonna punch him in the face.

King: Charles. Charles, you really can’t say that ’cause, A. you don’t mean that.

Barkley: Oh, I mean that sincerely.

King: And then you will be arrested for assault, and then what?

Barkley (audience laughing): I’m gonna bail myself out and go celebrate.

King: Don’t encourage him.

What if game: Conservative Twitter wondered what the response would be if this had been a Republican talking about punching Black Biden supporters.

  • Thought bubble: Fair point but misses the bigger picture.
  • People say stupid things mostly out of fear — as we reported last night, the recent 9-0 Supreme Court loss leaves Democrats terrified they will have to face Trump at the ballot box.
  • Bonus points: As our discussion with Bill O’Reilly pointed out, the continued legal attacks on Trump keep backfiring in both the courtroom with favorable Trump rulings and in the court of public opinion, where he only gets more popular by playing the victim. 

“Hamas Needs to Do Its Thing” 

Once again, American airmen risked their lives airdropping food to a population that celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks

No good deed goes unpunished: Al Jazeera reports aid groups criticized the plan to drop 36,000 meals into Gaza as “inefficient.”

  • Ground truth: Airdropped aid is harder to steal and thus annoys the grift machine at United Nations HQ.

Back stateside 

“Hamas needs to do its thing”: Yes, Vice President Kamala Harris actually said that when praising President Biden’s leadership in getting us to “this point” in a six-week cease-fire deal. 

  • The point we are at: Hamas won’t provide a list of living hostages. That would be a starting point for negotiations, not anywhere close to a “deal.” 

What Harris refuses to say: It’s impossible to have peace with Hamas after the Oct. 7 attacks. Hamas is responsible for the current suffering in the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinians will be better off with Hamas gone. 

NORTHERN GAZA, GAZA – MARCH 02: A view of new humanitarian aid after arriving to the northern Gaza Strip from sky with parachutes in Northern Gaza, Gaza on March 02, 2024. The Egyptian army had announced Saturday airdropping a new aid batch to areas in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo by Omar Qattaa/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“This is f***ed up,” says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., after a pro-Hamas activist confronted her outside a movie theater for not calling Israeli action in Gaza a “genocide.”

  • Her outrage at the interruption of an evening out nicely contrasts with her 2020 tweet explaining protests are designed to make people uncomfortable. 

Tune into “On Balance with Leland Vittert” weeknights at 7/6C on NewsNation. Find your channel here

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily of NewsNation. 

Leland Vittert's War Notes

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