The Wall Street Journal - 14.09.2019 - 15.09.2019

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A4| Saturday/Sunday, September 14 - 15, 2019 PWLC101112HTGKBFAM123456789OIXX ** THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

In the debate, Mr. Castro
claimed Mr. Biden said contra-
dictory things about whether
his health-care plan, which
would establish a government-
run insurance option, would au-
tomatically enroll people.
“Are you forgetting already
what you said just two minutes
ago? I mean, I can’t believe that
you said two minutes ago that

those concerns Friday. Asked by
a reporter if he would release
his medical records to address
concerns about his age and
sharpness, Mr. Biden responded:
“What the hell concerns, man?
You wanna wrestle?”
He vowed to release his
medical records after his next
physical exam and “before
there’s a first vote.”

HOUSTON—The third Demo-
cratic presidential debate left
the candidates differing on
whether it is fair game to dis-
cuss former Vice President Joe
Biden’s fitness to be the party’s
presidential nominee next year.
Mr. Biden has maintained his
front-runner status in public
polling despite a series of ver-
bal missteps during the sum-
mer. Some Democrats have
warned that his misstatements
and gaffes could undermine Mr.
Biden’s case that he is the one
best placed to beat President
Trump. And at least one of his
lesser-known Democratic oppo-
nents, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio,
recently said the 76-year-old
Mr. Biden is “declining.”
That sentiment seeped into
the Thursday’s debate when
Julián Castro, the former
Housing and Urban Develop-
ment secretary, took a shot at
Mr. Biden’s memory.
Mr. Biden brushed aside




Dispatches from the
Nation’s Capital

Tech, D.C.

Struggle on



U.S. national-security offi-
cials traveled to Silicon Valley
last week to forge deeper ties
with big tech companies in
hopes of better protecting the
2020 election from foreign in-
tervention. It didn’t go entirely
as planned.
At the meeting organized by
Facebook Inc. at its headquar-
ters in Menlo Park, Calif.,
Shelby Pierson—named over
the summer to lead the U.S. in-
telligence community’s new
election-threats group—deliv-
ered a blunt message to the as-
sembled executives: You need
to share more data with us
about your users.
The executives and other
U.S. officials in the room were
caught off guard by Ms. Pier-
son’s assertion, according to
people in attendance or briefed
on the conversation.
After a tense moment, an-
other official explained that
privacy law limited what so-
cial-media platforms could
hand over to spy agencies.
A Twitter Inc. executive
then offered a rebuke: The
Trump administration was fail-
ing to share enough informa-
tion with tech firms about elec-
tion threats, not the other way
around, the executive told the
Publicly, the companies in
attendance—Facebook, Alpha-
bet Inc.’s Google and YouTube,
Twitter, and Microsoft Corp.—
said the daylong meeting was
But privately, some tech
staffers and U.S. officials found
the exchange troubling, people
familiar with the meeting said,
adding that it was unusual to
see government officials con-
tradict one another so openly.
Some said they worried it
could undo some of the prog-
ress made to forge a more uni-
fied front against the scourge
of foreign disinformation since,
according to the U.S., Russia
unleashed bots and trolls on
social media during the 2016
Moscow interfered in
“sweeping and systemic fash-
ion” in an effort to boost then-
candidate Donald Trump’s
chances, according to the find-
ings of former special counsel
Robert Mueller. Moscow has
denied election interference.
In a statement, a senior U.S.
intelligence official said the
meeting with Ms. Pierson, who
works under the Office of the
Director of National Intelli-
gence, was “collectively viewed
as a positive step” toward con-
tinued collaboration.
A Twitter spokeswoman de-
clined to comment.
Tech companies and various
federal agencies have taken
strides to increase collabora-
tion on addressing foreign in-
terference since the last presi-
dential election. Those
improvements paid off during
the midterms, when Facebook
and other platforms disman-
tled suspected foreign-backed
disinformation accounts based
on tips from the Federal Bu-
reau of Investigation.
But the progress hasn’t al-
ways been easy. The tech gi-
ants remain wary of appearing
too cooperative with security
agencies more than six years
after disclosures by former in-
telligence contractor Edward
Snowden showed how compa-
nies supported classified sur-
veillance programs.
The FBI, Department of
Homeland Security and intelli-
gence agencies, meanwhile,
have sought to cajole social-
media companies into more ac-
tively policing their networks
while sharing more informa-
tion about what they find, even
as regulatory agencies slap
businesses with record-setting
fines for privacy violations.
The Federal Trade Commis-
sion, the Justice Department
and state law-enforcement offi-
cials recently have launched
various antitrust probes into
Facebook and Alphabet.
Some people familiar with
the exchange last week involv-
ing Ms. Pierson said it reflected
a healthy friction between gov-
ernment and the private sector.
Before 2016, there was virtually
no dialogue about foreign elec-
tion interference on social me-
dia, these people said.
—Robert McMillan
contributed to this article.


Migrants wait for directions from border agents in AntelopeWells, N.M. Republicans say border security resonates with Hispanic voters.


the future, who has the best
view and who can best initiate
it, who can best complete it.”
Mr. Castro defended his
comments and said they
weren’t related to Mr. Biden’s
age or mental sharpness. “You
know, this is what the media
does,” he said. “This was not a
conversation about personali-
ties. This was a conversation
about health-care policy.”
After the debate several
candidates were asked about
Mr. Biden’s mental sharpness
and Mr. Castro’s remarks.
“I think that we are at a
tough point right now, because
there’s a lot of people con-
cerned about Joe Biden’s abil-
ity to carry the ball all the
way across the end line with-
out fumbling,” Sen. Cory
Booker (D., N.J.) said.
Another presidential con-
tender, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D.,
Minn.), said, “I just thought:
This is not cool,” she said.
—Ken Thomas
contributed to this article.

they had to buy in and now
you’re saying they don’t have
to buy in,” said Mr. Castro, who
is 44. “You’re forgetting that.”
Mr. Castro apparently was
mischaracterizing Mr. Biden’s
remarks, according to a tran-
script of the debate.
After the debate, Mr. Biden’s
campaign aides called Mr. Cas-
tro’s remark a “cheap shot.”
However, Mr. Biden told re-
porters Friday that he thought
the debate was generally a
clean fight.
“I don’t view it as anything.
I think he’s got his facts
wrong,” Mr. Biden said. Asked
if it was fair for his rivals to
note his age, he responded:
“Sure it is,” and added that he
enjoyed the vigorous debate
on health care. “What I saw
last night is fewer and fewer
personal attacks,” he said. “So
I think we’re getting closer
and closer to what I think ev-
erybody’s looking for in the
Democratic Party and the
country: What is our view of


Rivals Split on Whether to Attack Biden’s Fitness

Trump Campaign Hopes to Snatch

New Mexico From Democrats’ Grasp

been an overreach,” said Repub-
lican state Rep. Rod Montoya.
“There is an opportunity here.”
Despite Mr. Trump’s charged
rhetoric about immigration,
which has drawn criticism from
Republicans in New Mexico, his
campaign argues his positions
resonate with Hispanic voters
who value border security and
want people to enter the coun-
try legally.
Campaign manager Brad
Parscale asserted in a confer-
ence call with reporters
Wednesday that the president’s
tough trade stance with China
is also resonating with Hispanic
voters, and that is among the
reasons driving the decision to
compete for the state.
A rally held in El Paso,
Texas, earlier this year drew a
number of Hispanics from New
Mexico, according to the cam-
paign, and helped convince
Mr. Trump he should engage
His last rally in the state
drew a large crowd and was
met with a rowdy protest, in-
cluding clashes with police.
Strong fundraising has but-
tressed the Trump campaign’s
hopes of expanding its electoral

New Mexico will focus on the
In Albuquerque, aides say,
he will tout overall job gains
with a particular focus on His-
panics, who make up 40% of
the state’s electorate, and play
up his trade battles. The cam-
paign also thinks he can draw
a contrast with a progressive
policy shift New Mexico has
seen under a new Democratic
governor and the Democratic
gains in the Legislature. Law-
makers have pushed for more
abortion access, stricter gun
control and gender-neutral
Republicans hope to capi-
talize on Democrats’ pursuit of
environmental policies that
could hurt the state’s oil-and-
gas industry. In March, Gov.
Michelle Lujan Grisham signed
into law landmark energy leg-
islation mandating emission-
free electricity by 2045. Sev-
eral leading Democratic
presidential candidates have
outlined their own proposals,
including bans on fracking,
which has been a boon to New
Mexico’s economy.
“New Mexico has a long lib-
eral perspective, but there has

to win,” said Rick Gorka, a
spokesman for the Republican
National Committee. The cam-
paign is preparing to an-
nounce staff hiring for New
Mexico and will invest in voter
registration efforts, neither of
which were done in 2016.
Other states the campaign
is eyeing as pickups, including
Minnesota, New Hampshire
and Nevada, were closer in
2016 than New Mexico, caus-
ing some skepticism even
among Republicans. The state
hasn’t favored a Republican
for president since 2004. Fol-
lowing Mr. Trump’s election,
Democrats have taken back the
governor’s mansion, increased
a hold on the Legislature and
now control all three congres-
sional seats.
“We take nothing for
granted, but the fact that the
Trump campaign says their
path forward lies through New
Mexico is an indication they
don’t have a realistic argument
about a path to 270 electoral
votes,” said David Bergstein, a
spokesman for the Democratic
National Committee.
As will be the case nation-
ally, Mr. Trump’s argument in

Just after securing the GOP
presidential nomination in
May 2016, Donald Trump
landed in New Mexico and de-
clared to a rally crowd, “We’re
going to win this state.” Six
months later, Hillary Clinton
beat him there by 8 percent-
age points.
But even as Democrats have
increased power in New Mex-
ico, President
Trump is con-
vinced he can
compete. On
Monday, he re-
turns to the state for the first
time since taking office to hold
a re-election rally near Albu-
New Mexico is among a
handful of states Mr. Trump’s
well-financed campaign con-
tends he can take from Demo-
crats in 2020. The bravado
comes amid continued Repub-
lican worries over Mr. Trump
holding on to Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin and Michigan,
states that were essential to
his 2016 victory.
“We go into states with the
assumption that we’re going


map. Through the second quar-
ter of this year, $105 million
has been raised between the
campaign and the RNC, beating
President Barack Obama’s re-
election fundraising during the
same period eight years ago.
Roughly $100 million re-
mains in the bank, and Mr.
Trump is continuing a rapid
fundraising schedule. After
New Mexico, he will travel to
California for four events over
two days.
“President Trump won a
very, very narrow electoral
victory in 2016, so it’s natural
to try to spread the field going
into 2020,” said Michael Steel,
a former top Republican House
aide who isn’t involved in the
campaign. “It’s impossible to
know if it’s realistic until we
know his opponent, but given
his campaign’s vast resources,
there’s no reason not to try.”

Bernalillo, Sandoval and
Santa Fe counties made up
51% of all votes in the state.

Santa Fe


Las Cruces

pct. pts.

pct. pts.


County Clinton



New Mexico has voted for a
Republican presidential
candidate only once since 1992.
All three U.S. House seats went
Democratic this past election.


*Gary Johnson ran as a member of the
Libertarian Party
Source: New Mexico Secretary of State





Democrat RepublicanDist.



dential candidate Julián Castro.

ground game in early Democratic
presidential primary states. The
Sunrise Movement builds on its
success getting presidential
hopefuls to commit to shunning
fossil-fuel company donations by
opening field offices this week in
Iowa and New Hampshire, the
two earliest state contests.
Nineteen staffers between the
two will focus on registering the
young through college and high-
school outreach and a door-to-
door campaign.
The group is weighing
whether to endorse a candidate
before the primaries. They urge
candidates to support an even-
tual ban on fracking.

whiplash from Trump plans for
Peterson Air Force Base outside
Colorado Springs. The vulnerable
Sen. Cory Gardner defends the
administration’s decision to di-
vert $8 million of Peterson’s con-
struction funds to pay for a bor-
der wall and takes heat from
local media and state Democrats.
Area GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn
promises to work to get military
construction projects backfilled
quickly—and attends a celebra-
tion at Peterson to inaugurate

the U.S. Space Command, a fa-
vorite Trump initiative, which will
initially be located at the base.

arm seeks to turn the page after
internal turmoil over a lack of di-
versity in top ranks by hiring a
new executive director, veteran
strategist Lucinda Guinn.
There is more to come, Rep.
Cheri Bustos, the group’s chair-
woman, told the Journal. It has
formed a committee focused on
“building pipelines of talent” and
“strengthening our relationships
with minority-owned vendors
and consultants.” Bustos says
she took pains to make the se-
lection process more “open and

mer Federal Trade Commission
Chairman William Kovacic says
that attempting to unwind ac-
quisitions that boosted Google,
Facebook and others that are
now in the antitrust crosshairs
would seriously strain govern-
ment antitrust lawyers. But the
probes go on: The Justice De-
partment is scrutinizing online
platforms and subpoenas
Google. The FTC asks rival com-
panies and vendors questions
about Facebook and Amazon,
while its Republican and Demo-

cratic commissioners spar over
appropriate punishments for
tech offenses. Oh, and state at-
torneys general subpoena

depends on your politics. About
60% of Republicans in rural ZIP
Codes say it is harmful but nec-
essary. Only 7% of rural Demo-
crats agree, with 83% of them
saying the dispute is harmful
and should be stopped. The sur-
vey was conducted by Change
Research for the American Fed-
eration of Teachers and One
Country, a group led by former
Democratic North Dakota Sen.
Heidi Heitkamp.

MINOR MEMOS: Alabama Demo-
cratic Sen. Doug Jones chides
Trump for picking a fight with me-
teorologists over hurricane fore-
casts: “Local weather forecasters
are second only to the Alabama
football coach in terms of their re-
spect.” ... Most patrons at a BBQ
restaurant in Fayetteville, N.C.,
wiped their hands before meeting
Mike Pence. One little boy didn’t.
Pence smiled and said, “Gimme
that grease!” ... Antiwar protesters
serenade John Bolton outside the
White House with parody songs
celebrating his ouster.

Blair, as a potential deputy to Bol-
ton’s successor. Ambassador to
Germany Ric Grenell is also under
consideration for the top job.
Grenell has a close relation-
ship with Trump, but that has
sometimes rubbed Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo the wrong
way. Pompeo’s relationship with
Grenell is said to be not good—
possibly hurting his chances.

BOTH PARTIES converge on
Texas to harness Latino turnout.
Sen. Ted Cruz tells reporters he
is worried Republicans could lose
Texas in 2020, predicting a “re-
cord-shattering Democratic turn-
out.” Trump’s campaign launched
its “Vamos to Victory” Latino
outreach plan in Houston on
Thursday ahead of the Demo-
cratic debate.
Still, Rep. Joaquin Castro tells
The Wall Street Journal that
much of the Democratic turnout
work will fall to nonparty orga-
nizers, given limited party and
campaign resources. But a La-
tino candidate on the presiden-
tial ticket would “inspire Latinos
to come out and vote in a way
we haven’t seen in American
politics,” like what Barack
Obama’s candidacy did for Afri-
can-American turnout, he says.
Whom might he have in mind?
Maybe his twin brother, presi-

O’Brien, the U.S. envoy for hos-
tage affairs, met with Trump,
and the president “likes the look
of him,” says one official, a key
condition for many Trump ap-
But it isn’t over yet. Others in
the running for national security
adviser: Iran envoy Brian Hook,
North Korea envoy Stephen Bie-
gun and Keith Kellogg, a retired
three-star Army general. Acting
chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is
said to be pushing his own na-
tional security adviser, Robert




Former Vice President Joe Biden visited with students at Texas
Southern University Student Life Center, in Houston, on Friday.

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