Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 3, 2020

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Harold Maass
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

1.

Klobuchar, Buttigieg, O'Rourke endorse Biden ahead of Super Tuesday

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) dropped out of the presidential race on Monday, throwing her support to a fellow moderate, former Vice President Joe Biden, on the eve of Super Tuesday. Klobuchar drew a significant following with her Midwestern pragmatism, but failed to capitalize on her third place finish in the New Hampshire primary to challenge the leaders for the Democratic nomination, Biden and progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Klobuchar's departure came a day after the departure of another centrist from the Midwest, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) joined Biden at a Dallas rally Monday night and gave him glowing endorsements. Buttigieg said Biden would "bring dignity back to the White House." [The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News]

2.

U.S. coronavirus death toll rises to 6

Four more people died from coronavirus in Washington state on Monday, bringing the death toll in the state, and the entire U.S., to six. Five of the deaths have occurred in King County, Washington, which declared a state of emergency and said it had confirmed 14 new cases of the flu-like virus. Four of the deaths and most of the state's 18 confirmed infections were reported at the Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland. Authorities are investigating the center. Researchers said on Sunday that the coronavirus may have been spreading undetected for six weeks in Washington state. The total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. reached 90, including the 45 people evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan. [ABC News, CNN]

3.

Dow rebounds with biggest 1-day point-gain ever

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1,293 points, or 5.1 percent, on Monday, rebounding from a slump stemming from coronavirus fears. It was the Dow's biggest one-day point gain of all time and its biggest percentage gain since 2009. The rise comes "on hopes that central banks will take action to shelter the global economy" from the coronavirus' effects, The Associated Press reports. The Nasdaq Composite also rose 384 points, or 8.5 percent, and the S&P 500 rose 135 points, or 4.6 percent. Last week was the Dow's worst since the 2008 financial crisis with a loss of more than 3,000 points. U.S. stock index futures surged further early Tuesday. [CNBC, The Associated Press]

4.

Netanyahu leads in Israel's 3rd parliamentary election in a year

Exit polls Monday suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party and its allies were one or two seats short of a majority in the country's third parliamentary elections in a year. A Likud spokesman said Netanyahu planned to declare victory over his center-right rival Benny Gantz's Blue and White party, although if the polls prove accurate Netanyahu and his religious and nationalist allies still will need to add another lawmaker or two to their coalition to bring the total up to a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Gantz maintains he's willing to forge a coalition with Likud, but won't accept Netanyahu — who is under investigation for corruption — as its leader. [Reuters, The Associated Press]

5.

Trump orders 4 Chinese news outlets to cut U.S. staff

The Trump administration on Monday ordered four Chinese news outlets to cut their U.S. staffs by more than one-third. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was merely seeking a "long-overdue level playing field." Even with the cuts, the Chinese outlets' employees will outnumber the roughly 75 American journalists operating in China. U.S. officials noted that the move was the latest in a series of strikes in a media war between the U.S. and China. Two weeks ago, the State Department said it was designating five Chinese news organizations as organs of the Chinese government, requiring them to register as foreign missions. China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters after the newspaper published an opinion piece criticizing Beijing's response to the coronavirus outbreak in central China. [The Washington Post]

6.

Supreme Court agrees to review ObamaCare challenge

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider a third major challenge to the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. The justices are likely to hear arguments in the case in the fall, just before the November election. The appeal was filed by 20 mostly Democratic states seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that the law's insurance mandate is unconstitutional, threatening to undermine the whole law. The White House had urged the Supreme Court not to step in yet, but Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas, said without the mandate the rest of the law is "unsupportable." Democrats said the high court's decision to review the case would focus attention on health care, including ObamaCare protections for people with preexisting conditions, through the election season. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]

7.

Ex-GE chief Jack Welch dies at 84

Former General Electric chairman and CEO Jack Welch died at his home late Sunday, his wife, Suzy, said Monday. He was 84. Welch led GE for two decades, a period when the company's market value rose from $12 billion to $410 billion. President Trump tweeted condolences to the family, writing, "there was no corporate leader like 'neutron' Jack." Welch earned that nickname, which he reportedly disliked, after GE's workforce was cut from 411,000 to 299,000 in his first five years in charge, and he was likened to a neutron bomb, designed to kill people but leave cities standing, he wrote in his 2001 book, Jack: Straight From the Gut. He was credited with streamlining the industrial giant's bureaucracy and empowering managers to spot problems and make changes. [CNBC]

8.

Hardball host Chris Matthews out at MSNBC

Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews announced his retirement Monday during his political talk show, Hardball. His departure came after he faced criticism last month for comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) campaign victories to the Nazi invasion of France, and for allegedly making inappropriate comments to a woman journalist as she was preparing to appear on his show over the weekend. Matthews, 74, was due to retire soon, but recent events changed the timing, an MSNBC spokesperson said. Matthews, a centrist and former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter, started hosting the show in 1999. "The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins," Matthews said. [NBC News, The New York Times]

9.

Tornado rips through Nashville area, killing 2

A tornado crashed through the Nashville, Tennessee, area early Tuesday, killing two people, according to a tweet from the Metro Nashville Police Department. About 40 buildings reportedly collapsed in the storm. Police in Mt. Juliet, a suburb 20 miles east of Nashville, reported via Twitter that the area had "multiple homes damaged and multiple injuries ... We continue to search for injured." Power was knocked out to at least 50,200 customers in the state, most of them served by Nashville Electric Service. A resident of the Germantown area of downtown Nashville told local TV station WTVF that she was woken up as the tornado ripped off part of her building's roof. "It just woke you out of your sleep," she said. "I'm lucky my side didn't get torn off. The other side is totally torn off." [CNN]

10.

James Lipton, Inside the Actors Studio host, dies at 93

James Lipton, the beloved longtime host of Inside the Actors Studio, has died at 93. Lipton died Monday of bladder cancer at his Manhattan home, his wife confirmed. For more than two decades, Lipton hosted the interview show, which made its debut on Bravo in 1994. Lipton created the show, and welcomed almost 300 actors onto the show during his time as host. Lipton's other work included acting and writing, appearing on Guiding Light, and even producing former President Jimmy Carter's televised inauguration gala. He retired as host of Inside the Actors Studio in 2018. Frances Berwick, president of NBCU Lifestyle Networks, remembered Lipton in a statement as a "titan of the film and entertainment industry." [The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times]