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Four Senators Are Trying to Be in 2 Places at Once. Here’s How.

Four Senators Are Trying to Be in 2 Places at Once. Here’s How.

The four senators currently running for president — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — have all had to detour from the campaign trail in the middle of a charged primary to sit for jury duty in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

With the race in Iowa incredibly fluid, the trial has become a scheduling speed bump for the senators. They risk losing hard-won advantages in a state that evaluates candidates on in-person appearances, while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and others are able to press into face-to-face campaigning.

Though news media coverage has focused on surrogates working overtime for duty-bound candidates — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appearing for Mr. Sanders in Iowa; Julián Castro stumping for Ms. Warren in Nevada; Abigail Bessler, Ms. Klobuchar’s daughter, hosting “hotdish house parties” in Iowa — the campaigns say they will use digital tools to keep the candidates directly connected with voters.

The Sanders campaign is the most prolific campaign when it comes to livestreaming, airing nearly all of the candidate’s rallies live on YouTube and often providing nightly “campaign update” broadcasts featuring either Mr. Sanders or his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, on both YouTube and Twitter. The campaign updates on Twitter often attract about 100,000 viewers, evidence of Mr. Sanders’s devoted online following, and this weekend his campaign said roughly three million viewers tuned in to one of Mr. Sanders’s rallies across all platforms.

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For more on the Biden-in-Iowa advantage, my colleague Katie Glueck sends this dispatch from Ames.

As President Trump’s impeachment trial began in earnest in Washington on Tuesday, confining several presidential candidates to the Senate floor, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, was more than 1,000 miles away, seeking to shore up support for his candidacy by delivering notably wide-ranging remarks here in Iowa less than two weeks before the caucuses.

He spoke passionately about foreign policy, warning about threats the nation faces under Mr. Trump’s stewardship and promising that if he won the presidency, the day after the election he would be on the phone with American allies “saying, ‘We’re back.’”

He said that his children had graduated school with debt, but added, “I don’t think that you should have to pay for my son, having gone to Yale Law School.” Mr. Biden, who detailed his student loan plan, supports free community college but stops short of his liberal rivals’ more expansive proposals.

He held court as he met with potential caucusgoers doling out his usual handshakes and hugs. He sat beside an attendee to listen encouragingly to her question — telling someone else who chimed in to “be quiet for a second” as they spoke.

And Mr. Biden, who arrived late, also went on long digressions, touching on subjects including the Industrial Revolution and the Luddites, and he name-checked former Senate colleagues like Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri and Iowa’s John C. Culver.

In fact, the most direct case for his candidacy may have come after he had finished his speech. Christie Vilsack, the former first lady of Iowa, served as Mr. Biden’s closer, describing Mr. Biden’s empathy and his experience. But she also urged attendees to consider who could best appeal to Republicans and independents, and she noted Mr. Biden’s resilience in many polls.

“I’m urging you,” she said, “to be practical Iowans as you cast your vote in the caucus.”

— Katie Glueck, National Politics Reporter





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