February 26, 2020

The seven top Democratic presidential candidates faced off in South Carolina on Tuesday night, and The Late Show got everyone up to speed with a topical parody of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline."

Yes, "the Democrats met in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, and these folks said a lot of words — and I did not hear many of them, because the candidates were speaking all over each other the entire time," Stephen Colbert said in his live post-debate monologue. Former Vice President Joe Biden "wasn't exactly in top form coming in to the debate," having just forgotten which office he's running for, but the night's first big fight was the "haymakers between Bernie and Bloomie," he said. "Wow, that is really punching below the belt, but then again, Bloomberg can't reach much higher."

"It wasn't just Bloomberg attacking Sanders — all the candidates had their torches out to set fire to the wicker Bernie," Colbert said, showing some samples. And "Bernie wasn't always a hit with the crowd tonight, especially when he defended his limited praise of the Cuban Revolution," Colbert said. Still, he added, he personally would be happy Sanders getting the nomination, "because Bernie and Trump are the only two impressions I can do."

The debate "was wild tonight — I haven't seen white people go at each other that hard since khakis were on sale at Banana Republic," Trevor Noah joked at The Daily Show. Bloomberg had another tough night, and "if Bernie Sanders was the ass-whooping appetizer, Elizabeth Warren brought the main course," he said. "She destroyed him in the first debate, she came after him again tonight," and "if Bloomberg worried that he was coming across as a corrupt billionaire, it really didn't help him when he made a really bad slip of the tongue," he added. "You probably shouldn't brag about 'buying' people in South Carolina."

Amy Klobuchar had "one of the strangest moments of the night, easily," bringing up her "Uncle Dick in the deer stand," Noah said, offering a probably NSFW riposte. But finally "it was time to get to the main event: Going after Bernie Sanders." Sanders didn't help himself with his Cuba answer, he said, offering an analogy about infidelity. Still, "as long as all the moderates decide to stay in the race, Bernie is going to have a pretty clear path to win the nomination." Watch below. Peter Weber

5:33 p.m.

Linda Tripp, the former White House aide who played a major role in former President Bill Clinton's impeachment, died Wednesday at age 70, her son and lawyer confirmed.

Tripp recorded then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky admitting to an affair with Clinton, and eventually shared those recordings with and testified to independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Details of Tripp's death were not yet made public, but she had been treated for breast cancer in the past.

Lewinsky tweeted earlier Wednesday, upon hearing Tripp was ill, "no matter the past ... I hope for her recovery. I can't imagine how difficult this is for her family." Kathryn Krawczyk

5:26 p.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.

Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.

The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.

That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

5:04 p.m.

Colorado's Democratic Gov. Jared Polis made it clear his state was in desperate need of ventilators.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence sent March 28, Polis asked for 10,000 ventilators and other medical supplies, cc'ing his state's Democratic and Republican senators. But when President Trump announced Wednesday that Colorado was getting 100 ventilators, he said it was at the request of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

Gardner, a Republican facing a tough re-election race this year, tweeted Tuesday that Trump had approved Colorado to use National Guard assistance "at the request of the members of the Colorado congressional delegation." That includes Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, as well as four other Democratic House representatives and three Republicans.

The number of ventilators Colorado was granted is far short of the total Polis requested from FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services. He also asked for millions of surgical and N95 masks and gloves, citing a "crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies." Kathryn Krawczyk

4:38 p.m.

Fears of the COVID-19 coronavirus are reportedly bringing about a ceasefire in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthi rebels in Yemen are set to announce a suspension of military operations across the country at midnight Wednesday, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The decision answers a United Nations call to halt combat.

There are likely many reasons why the U.N. is pushing for a ceasefire, but the argument that seemingly stuck is that a lack of fighting decreases the chances of a COVID-19 outbreak in Yemen, which so far has not reported any confirmed cases of the disease. Staving off an outbreak is crucial, especially considering Yemen is already steeped in the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

It's unclear if the Houthi opposition will follow in the coalition's footsteps, but a spokesman said the group sent the U.N. a plan to end the war, which began in 2014. Read more at Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

4:01 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "improving" while still in intensive care with COVID-19, according to a U.K. government official.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Wednesday provided an update on Johnson's condition, saying the "latest from the hospital is the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving," per The Associated Press. Johnson has "been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team," Sunak added.

Downing Street in a statement on Wednesday also said that Johnson "continues to make steady progress," per BBC News, and a spokesperson said he is "responding to treatment."

Johnson was hospitalized on Sunday 10 days after he tested positive for COVID-19. The British prime minister said he went for "some routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms." He had described his initial symptoms as mild. By Monday, he was moved to intensive care, where he remains two days later. Johnson has deputized British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Brendan Morrow

3:57 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had made a few phone calls to the last administration before making his big dropout decision.

Sanders suspended his 2020 run on Wednesday, saying his "path toward victory is virtually impossible" but pledging to stay on primary ballots through the Democratic National Convention to gain influence in the party. And shortly after making that announcement, Sanders reportedly made a call to Joe Biden, who he left as the presumptive Democratic nominee, CBS News reports.

Sanders also consulted former President Barack Obama "several times" before making his decision, NBC News reports. Obama reportedly still isn't ready to hop into the 2020 fray just yet, but Sanders' suspension surely makes it easier for him to do so.

Hillary Clinton, 2016's Democratic nominee, meanwhile had no comment on Sanders' exit. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:45 p.m.

With the federal stockpile for personal protective equipment dwindling during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration reportedly sent shipments to states in a third and "final push" before the private sector takes on the bulk of the effort.

But new details from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency released by the House Oversight Committee show that the government did not appear to meet states' specific requests upon delivery. The first two rounds of shipments were based on census data from 2010, while the third round apparently wasn't adjusted for population at all.

Vermont and Texas, for example, which aren't remotely comparable in size, both received 120,900 N95 respirator masks. That's good news for Vermont, but not so much for Texas. To put in perspective, Vermont received 193 respirators for every 1,000 residents while Texas got five per 1,000. While equal distribution sounds nice in theory, it doesn't seem to make much sense in this case. Tim O'Donnell

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