Bernie Sanders speaks at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville last night. (Photo by Cassi Alexandra/For The Washington Post)

THE BIG IDEA:

GREENVILLE, S.C.—The crowd of 5,200 that came to see Bernie Sanders here last night was overwhelmingly white, and most were college students. That’s not the way to win a Democratic primary in South Carolina, where most voters will be older African Americans.

At his first rally after losing the Nevada caucuses to Hillary Clinton, the Vermont senator was introduced by a trio of black activists, including a local councilman, actor Danny Glover and former NAACP leader Benjamin Jealous.

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But Sanders’ biggest applause lines had nothing to do with criminal justice reform. They were for decriminalizing marijuana and free college. In a deeply religious region, he touted his promises of increased funding for Planned Parenthood and for three months of paid family leave to argue that he is the true candidate of “family values.”

-- Even strong supporters of Sanders, though, were quick to acknowledge Clinton will romp here on Saturday. The front page of The State newspaper today declares that she is "poised for redemption” after losing to Barack Obama in 2008.

-- Hillary’s Southern firewall is real, and Nevada suggested it will hold, despite the momentum Sanders got from his big win in New Hampshire.

Clinton won the African American vote three-to-one in the caucuses on Saturday, according to network entrance polls. An NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll last week put her ahead 68 percent to 21 percent among likely black voters in South Carolina.

With that in mind, consider that 55 percent of Democratic voters in the 2008 primary here were black. In both Alabama and Georgia, they accounted for 51 percent of the electorate. Their share was 48 percent in Louisiana, 30 percent in Virginia, 29 percent in Tennessee and 19 percent in Texas.

-- Jealous, who ran the NAACP from 2008 to 2013, acknowledged that it is an open question whether Sanders can peel away enough black voters from Clinton to become viable. “The hard part is getting beyond the Clinton brand,” he told my colleague John Wagner in an interview backstage at the event. “The Clinton brand is a bit like Coca-Cola. You know, it’s a Southern brand. Everybody knows it. It tastes good. The question you have to ask is: Is it the best option for you? … What is certain is Clinton has hit her high-water mark in the black community. The question is how far her support will fall [and] how fast.” Jealous told John he has been traveling to “the blacker parts” of South Carolina to campaign for Sanders, characterizing Greenville, the site of the rally, as “the whitest corner of the state.”

-- Jealous and the campaign insist that African Americans will defect from Clinton once they hear his message. But it ain’t necessarily so.

It is true that a third of black Democrats still don’t have an opinion of Sanders, according to national Gallup polling. But while 82 percent of this constituency views Clinton favorable, only 53 percent say they view Sanders positively.

And just getting in front of African American audiences does not mean he'll get their support. Yesterday morning, for example, Sanders stumped at a historically-black Baptist church outside the capital of Columbia. Multiple reports say he faced a tough crowd, and that his standard applause lines got crickets. Many seemed to ignore him as he talked.

Clinton, of course, is not about to cede this crucial constituency either. Her campaign's advertising and messaging seem  almost singularly focused on mobilizing African Americans. Her top surrogate in South Carolina, Rep. James Clyburn, yesterday criticized Sanders’ higher education plan by arguing that it would have a “deleterious effect” on historically black colleges and universities. He said such schools “would not be able to compete” under Sanders’ plan. In that same vein, Hillary campaigned in Texas late Saturday night at a historically-black college.

-- Because of these demographic factors, Sanders will spend minimal time in South Carolina, choosing to focus instead on the 11 states that vote next Tuesday. He is in Massachusetts today and Virginia tomorrow.

-- But if Bernie is going to get blown out in the Palmetto State, how is he going to win in Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas or Tennessee on March 1? The short answer is that he probably won’t. He can hope to exceed expectations, and delegates are awarded proportionally. And he’ll have an incredible Super Tuesday if he beats Clinton in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont. The senator said yesterday that he has “a good shot” in each of those five.

-- Yet while The Narrative has broken in Clinton’s favor, make no mistake: This race will drag on for awhile. Sanders’ fundraising ensures as much. After Super Tuesday, he plans to campaign in Nebraska, Kansas and Maine ahead of caucuses the following weekend. Michigan is the big prize on the following Tuesday, March 8. “We can have a big showdown in Michigan,” Sanders adviser Ted Devine told Karen Tumulty for a story on their strategy. “If we can beat her in Michigan, I think we can go into March 15 with a lot of momentum.”

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

FBI Director James Comey (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

-- The battle between the Justice Department and Apple continues to escalate from the court of law to the public realm. It’s an epic test of strong wills, pitting the federal government against the country’s largest publicly-traded company. Seeing this as a potential boon for its sales, the tech giant has only become more steadfast in its refusal to help the FBI unlock the county-owned iPhone used by the male terrorist in the San Bernardino attack.

FBI director Jim Comey posted a public plea overnight, saying the nation owes victims a “thorough and professional investigation under the law.” The headline of his piece for the national security law blog Lawfare is: “We Could Not Look The Survivors in the Eye if We Did Not Follow this Lead.

“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly,” Comey writes. “That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”

Apple posted an open letter to customers defending its decision, saying cooperating would have "dangerous implications."

Meanwhile, former NSA chief Michael Hayden sided with Apple over the FBI, saying he opposes “back door” requirements on digital devices, according to USA Today.

And some of the San Bernardino victims will file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the FBI over Apple, a lawyer representing the victims told Reuters.

Tony Blair (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

-- Tony Blair and Leon Panetta are launching a commission on violent extremism that will aim to help the next U.S. administration counter radicalization among Muslims. "The soon-to-launch effort, which also hopes to guide European leaders, will unite experts to study extremist groups like the Islamic State and recommend ways to blunt their appeal among disaffected youth. It is being sponsored by the CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism," Elise Viebeck scoops. "Commission organizers said they plan to produce a report by the end of July to coincide with the Republican and Democratic political conventions."

  • “We haven’t been very effective at developing a strategy to reduce the allure of extreme ideologies both at home and abroad, to understand what we can do to undermine this narrative that attracts so many recruits to violence,” the former CIA director said in a phone interview.
  • “Whoever is the next president is going to have to deal with this,” the former British Prime Minister said during an interview in Washington Sunday. “I want to produce a practical policy handbook … something that, if I was sitting in office today, would give me a comprehensive view of the different dimensions of this issue.”

-- Breanne Deppisch helped prepare this report.

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The man accused of killing six people at random in a Kalamazoo, Mich., rampage, was an Uber driver. Authorities said he was driving passengers as soon as an hour before the attack and may have continued picking up fares during his four-hour spree of violence, which included killing four customers at a Cracker Barrel. (Mark Guarino, William Wan and Missy Ryan)
  2. …The incident raises questions about Uber’s background check system. A recent lawsuit alleged that the company does not actually check drivers against sex-offender registries or employ fingerprint identification. (Peter Holley)
  3. A recent spike of Guillain-Barre cases in Colombia could be caused by the Zika virus, prompting researchers to examine new and troubling manifestations of the mosquito-borne illness. (Nick Miroff)
  4. John Kerry and his Russian counterpart announced a “provisional agreement” for a temporary truce in Syria’s civil war that could start within days. Final details of the agreement will be ironed out by President Obama and Vladimir Putin in a phone call. “Among the unsettled issues are how a cease-fire would be enforced and how breaches would be resolved,” Carol Morello reports from Jordan.
  5. The vast majority of states have adopted Common Core, but individual states are still setting very different definitions of “proficient” on annual math and reading tests, one of the key problems the standards were created to address, according to a new study. (Emma Brown)
  6. A GAO report says the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency tasked with placing thousands of Central American children into communities while they await immigration court decisions, has virtually no system for tracking what happens to the kids. The Senate Judiciary Committee is going to hold a hearing tomorrow, including testimony from Obama administration officials. (Abbie VanSickle)
  7. London Mayor Boris Johnson declared his support for a British exit from the E.U., defying Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and potentially tipping Britain toward a vote to leave in June’s referendum. (Griff Witte and Karla Adam)
  8. At least 17 were killed in Tropical Cyclone Winston, a record-breaking storm that hit Fiji’s most populous island. The government has declared a 30-day state of emergency. (CNN)
  9. A Megabus went up in flames near Chicago. A New York Times travel reporter happened to be a passenger. (Colby Itkowitz)
  10. Facebook and Samsung have teamed up to create social interactions in virtual reality. (AP)
  11. And speaking of groundbreaking technology, the tech industry will showcase its latest and greatest feats this week at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress. Among them: driverless cars, autonomous robots, and 5G wireless technology. (New York Times)
  12. Denny Hamlin won the closest Daytona 500 ever. (Cindy Boren)
  13. Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to fellow pop star Kesha, who is struggling to break her contract with a producer she says sexually assaulted her. (AP)
Ted Cruz speaks to supporters during a rally outside of Draft Picks Sports Bar yesterday in Pahrump, Nevada. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

-- Ahead of tomorrow’s Nevada caucuses, Rubio and Cruz are trying to win the expectations game: “There is less of a horse race underway and more of an argument about whose finish behind Donald Trump will be more impressive,” David Weigel reports from Pahrump, where Cruz addressed hundreds of supporters from the bed of a pick-up truck. “Both Rubio and Cruz have organized in the state, opened offices and hired staff members. Yet neither candidate was talking about a Nevada win.”

  • “Cruz, stumping in a county that had delivered a landslide 2012 win for Ron Paul, would say only that he needed to ‘do well here.’ Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a Rubio endorser, crashed the rally to talk to reporters.
  • Rubio won 11th-hour endorsements from Sen. Dean Heller, plus Reps. Mark Amodei and Cresent HardyHis surrogates are now trying to spin a third-place finish as a win, but Rubio’s strategists called Nevada a firewall last May. The senator lived in the state as a child, and he had briefly been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, strong among Nevada Republicans.
Rubio in Franklin, Tennessee, yesterday. (Reuters/Chris Keane)

-- Just like Sanders is looking beyond South Carolina, most of the Republicans are looking beyond the Silver State to Super Tuesday, when 535 delegates are up for grabs (1,237 are needed to become the GOP nominee). Neither Cruz nor Rubio argues that they’ll be able to beat Trump outright in the March 1 contests, but they’re hoping to secure enough delegates to stay in the game and position themselves as the strongest alternative to Trump. Philip Rucker and Robert Costa look at each candidate’s theory of the case:

  • Rubio wants to get delegates from congressional districts that are heavy on suburban and upwardly mobile, more moderate voters around Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis and Nashville.
  • Cruz will focus on Southern states with disproportionately high numbers of white evangelical voters, as well as caucus states with arcane rules (Colorado and Minnesota) — because he thinks his devoted network of hard-line activists can be counted on to show up. He’ll also focus on winning his home state of Texas. If he tops 50 percent, the senator would get all 155 delegates. Two public polls last month showed him leading Trump but with way less than 50 percent.
  • John Kasich hopes to come away with delegates by targeting more moderate voters in Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia. The Ohio governor also plans a push in Tennessee, which strategist John Weaver said “has a history of electing problem-solving, common-sense Republicans.
  • "Arkansas has emerged as a key battleground. Rubio campaigned Sunday in Little Rock, and Cruz is targeting the state as well.”
Trump speaks in Atlanta last night. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

-- Today brings a fresh round of panic about Trump from leading Republicans:

This is the kicker of George F. Will’s column in the paper: “In 2011, Trump said he had dispatched investigators to Hawaii to unearth the sinister truth about Obama’s birth. He said, ‘They cannot believe what they’re finding.’ No one has seen his astonishing discoveries — or his tax filings, which might illuminate unsavory business practices and exaggerations of his wealth. He thrives by determining the campaign’s conversation. It is time to talk about his tax records.”

The wife of billionaire T.D. Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts, Marlene, has contributed more than $3 million to an anti-Trump super PAC, USA Today reports.

PowerPost’s Kelsey Snell looks at some of the House Republicans who could get wiped out if Trump or Cruz wins the nomination. From Illinois, she hones in on moderate Bob Dold in the Chicago suburbs. “He has done what he can to separate himself from a hugely unpopular House majority,” she reports. “He was one of three Republicans to oppose a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and voted to renew the Export-Import bank charter. But Democrats are happy to lump Dold with every other House hardliner who threatened to shut down the government ... ‘The top of the ticket is going to have a significant impact for House and Senate races,’ said strategist Brian Walsh. ‘Members like Bob Dold and other moderates are the most vulnerable.’”

Supporters listen to Ben Carson during a town hall meeting in Reno yesterday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

-- More developments in the presidential race—

Ben Carson is weighing whether to continue his White House bid, according to close friend and longtime business manager Armstrong Williams. (Robert Costa)

Trump has been consulting with Rudy Giuliani as he tries to build a political kitchen cabinet, Costa scoops"Giuliani said there is a growing group of high-profile New York and Washington-based figures with deep GOP ties who are now in regular touch with Trump, quietly connecting his campaign with their own networks … And it underscores how the Republican establishment, which once firmly opposed his candidacy, is beginning to have warmer relations with the candidate, especially as his chances of clinching the nomination grow with each primary win. ‘I could easily list off some names for you,’ said Giuliani. ‘But that’s for Donald to say.’”

Cruz’s communications director apologized after erroneously claiming on Facebook that Rubio had “dissed the Bible” in front of a staffer who was reading it. (Justin Wm. Moyer)

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will endorse Rubio today.

Harry Reid will endorse after he returns to Washington. Seeking to avoid a “drama-free caucus” in his home state, the senator stayed neutral going into Saturday. It is impossible to envision the leader backing anyone but Clinton. (David Weigel)

Hillary, who has been making an active effort on the campaign trail to speak less in the first-person and more in The Royal We, explained yesterday that her goal is to convince Democrats she is not selfish. “I think there’s an underlying question that maybe is really in the back of people's minds, and that is, you know, is she in it for us or is she in it for herself? I think that's a question that people are trying to sort through,” the front-runner said on CNN. “I'm going to demonstrate that I've always been the same person fighting to make a real difference in people's lives. I know that I have to make my case."

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling leaves the Alexandria Federal Courthouse last January with his wife, Holly, after being convicted on all nine counts he faced of leaking classified material. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

-- “He was fired from the CIA and jailed for a leak. Now he’s trying to hang on,” by Matt Zapotosky: “Locked away in federal prison, Jeffrey Sterling is struggling to keep his demons at bay. The [man] whose case came to signify the Obama administration’s crackdown on leakers concedes he feels low … He was a CIA officer, helping run an operation to sabotage Iranian designs for a nuclear weapon. Now he’s Inmate No. 38338-044 in Englewood, Colorado. Sterling was convicted of giving a journalist classified information about an operation targeting Iran’s nuclear program. The case was perhaps the greatest courtroom success of an administration that has pursued more leak cases than all of its predecessors combined, and one that could have lasting impact. A federal court ruled reporters had no protection against subpoenas to take the stand … giving prosecutors a powerful tool to force journalists to reveal their sources. Sterling said it left him feeling like a sideshow in his own criminal case. ‘There was no real concern that a life, a real person, was being persecuted.’”

-- “There’s the major media. And then there’s the ‘other’ White House press corps,” by Debra Bruno: “Standing at the very back of the James S. Brady Room, Patrick Gavin raises his hand to ask a question, then lowers it. And again … Press secretary Josh Earnest never calls on him. It’s routine for Gavin, an independent filmmaker. Say ‘White House press corps’ to most Americans, and they’ll think: major television networks; national newspapers. Maybe the AP and Reuters wire services. But every day, on the fringes of the 49-seat White House briefing room, another class of reporters shares elbow room, and equal access, with the big guns of journalism. Gavin’s colleagues in this group may include a courtly Indian gentleman whose newspaper doesn’t actually exist at the moment, a 71-year-old freelancer, an Uber driver, and a man who likes to tweet out photos of himself posing in the briefing room. One day in January, there was also a woman who slowly leafed through a book of poetry … Meet the ‘other’ White House press corps.”

Jeb tries to put on a positive face as he concedes defeat and announces the end of his political career on Saturday in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

-- The best autopsy on what happened to Jeb --> “Fall of the House of Bush: How last name and Trump doomed Jeb,” by Ed O'Keefe, Dan Balz and Matea Gold: “For Jeb’s campaign, August was a cruel month. Trump’s attacks as a ‘low-energy’ politician were beginning to stick. … Some advisers argued for an aggressive response, even to the point of challenging Trump to some kind of one-on-one confrontation. Others resisted, believing Trump’s candidacy was unsustainable, while some cautioned against getting ‘into a pigpen with a pig,’ as one adviser recalled. Others described it as ‘trying to wrestle with a stump.’ ‘There was no consensus,’ senior strategist David Kochel said of the discussions about how to combat the threat of Trump’s candidacy…

Beyond underestimating the anger in the electorate, three other problems led to Bush’s downfall.

  1. The candidate and his team misjudged the degree of Bush fatigue among Republicans. “Aides said an internal poll conducted last fall showed discouraging news: Roughly two-thirds of voters had issues with Bush’s family ties. ‘Bush stuff was holding him back,’ said one aide who saw the polling data. ‘We obviously knew it was an issue, but even still, the gap between it and other issues — I don’t think we thought it would be that big.’
  2. “Bush and his team miscalculated the role and power of money and traditional television commercials
  3. Bush ran a campaign that, whether deliberate or not, was rooted in the past, managed by loyalists who admired Bush and enjoyed his confidence but who, like the candidate, found themselves in unfamiliar political terrain.

How others followed the news—

  • Politico: “The problem, many say, is that there wasn’t anyone on the team who both recognized his shortcomings and was willing to point them out.”
  • New York Times: “By far his biggest liability was a pedigree he could do nothing to erase or dilute: He was a Bush through and through, at a time when voters sneered at the political and economic establishment that his family name embodied.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Everyone is drawing big crowds:

Trump headed for Nevada:

And he has support in Hollywood:

And he's leading the GOP delegate count:

On Saturday, Trump retweeted a follower who said Rubio is not eligible to be president:

Rubio nabbed an endorsement from Donnie Wahlberg of "New Kids on the Block." Notably, Donnie is married to Jenny McCarthy, "who has been so vocal about her stance against vaccinations (she says they caused her son’s autism) that she’s become the celebrity face of the controversial movement — and the focus of the backlash against it, with some casting her as a walking, talking public health threat," as Emily Yahy put it in an unrelated piece last year.

He also posted on Scalia:

The knives came out for Mike Murphy, who led Jeb's super PAC. CNN quoted an unnamed bundler saying that the consultant made a "minimum" of $14 million off the campaign. This led to criticism online and vigorous pushback from Murphy:

In an interview Sunday with The Post, Murphy offered this explanation for why Bush lost: “Our theory was to dominate the establishment lane into the actual voting primaries. That was the strategy, and it did not work. I think it was the right strategy for Jeb. The problem was there was a huge anti-establishment wave. The establishment lane was smaller than we thought it would be. The marketplace was looking for something different, and we’ll find out how that ends when we have a nominee.”

Lots of people accidentally mentioned the wrong Mike Murphy on Twitter:

Spotted: the Bernie bus:

Bill and Hillary shared a moment together in Nevada:

Ben Carson is still tweeting about when he's president:

Martin Heinrich boarded a plane with red chile and javelina sausage:

GOOD READ FROM ELSEWHERE:

-- L.A. Times, “Murder, torture, drugs: Cartel kingpin's wife says that's not the 'El Chapo' she knows,” by Anabel Hernandez: “As wife of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, notorious leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Emma Coronel Aispuro seems anxious not to cause a scene. The 26-year-old former beauty queen has never spoken publicly about her marriage to a man who headed one of the world’s most violent criminal organizations … Coronel describes her husband as a loving family man, even if he was imprisoned or on the run for the entire eight years of their marriage. She claims to know little of the details of his professional pursuits, dismissing the oft-repeated reports of Guzman’s brutality towards women. Her husband, she said, calls her his ‘queen.’ Now, she wants to get out an urgent message: Her husband’s life, she says, is in danger. She fears he may not survive his stint in prison. Guzman’s fabled escapes are a source of embarrassment for Mexican authorities, and they appear determined to avoid a third. ‘I am afraid for his life,’ she says.”

HOT ON THE LEFT

John Kasich just defunded Planned Parenthood in Ohio. From the Huffington Post: "The bill strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote 'nontherapeutic abortions' ... While the bill grants an exemption to abortions performed in cases of rape, incest and preserving the life of the mother, it jeopardizes the fate of other vital women's health programs."

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

Fox host goes off on Hillary for refusing interview. From Talking Points Memo: Chris Wallace called out Clinton on-air Sunday for not appearing on his news program. "Wallace said he had sat down with every presidential candidate except Clinton as his show, 'Fox News Sunday,' was drawing to a close ... 'But, once again this week, Clinton turned down our request for an interview,' he said."  

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton is in California. Bernie Sanders is in Amherst, Mass. John Kasich is in Fairfax, Charlottesville and Richmond, Va. The rest of the field is in Nevada:

  • Trump: Elko, Las Vegas
  • Rubio: Elko, Reno, Minden
  • Cruz: Reno, Elko, Las Vegas
  • Carson: Virginia City, Henderson

At the White House: President Obama speaks and takes questions from the National Governors Association at the White House.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate is in pro forma session. No votes are expected in the House.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

Donald Trump took a victory lap in Atlanta last night. “We won with everything,” he said of the results in South Carolina. “We won with women; I love the women. We won with men. I’d rather win with women, to be honest. We won with evangelicals, like unbelievable. We won with the military. … We won with highly educated, pretty well educated, and poorly educated. … We won with … tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people.” (Jose A. DelReal)

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- It will be cold but sunny today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts a “seasonably cool day as high pressure to the north sends some chilly, but dry air south.” Highs range from the upper 40s to near 50 degrees.

-- Virginia’s House and Senate unveiled dueling two-year budget proposals. Each pours big money into education and economic development but rejects Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposal to expand Medicaid. (Jenna Portnoy)

-- Virginia Republicans remain determined pass a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, even after the measure failed this year. (Jenna Portnoy)

Peyton Walton, 10, girds for radiation treatment. (Photo by Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)

-- Peyton Walton, a 10-year-old Maryland student who is battling cancer, created a robot to “remotely attend” classes during her frequent hospitalizations. The idea has sparked interest from government and school officials across the state, including Gov. Larry Hogan. (Donna St. George)

Romechia Simms 

-- The Maryland woman who pushed her dead son on a swing for 40 hours will not be held criminally responsible for his death. Court-appointed psychologists said the mother, who was charged with manslaughter and first-degree child abuse, suffers from schizophrenia. (Keith L. Alexander and Fenit Nirappil)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

A 106-year-old White House visitor started a dance party with Barack and Michelle (click below for video):

Trump asked for hot rally lights to be turned off:

A folk duo sang an original Trump-themed song:

Watch Danny Glover's speech at Sanders' rally here in Greenville: