2016 Election

Clinton campaign knew about its women problem before Sanders' surge

'Inside Politics' Forecast
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  • Nevada could have a warm welcome for Bernie Sanders, and it's all thanks to President Obama
  • John Kasich may be spending more time and money in the Palmetto State

Washington (CNN)A big choice for John Kasich, Hillary Clinton's early warning about the electorate, the GOP establishment candidates' hunt for endorsements, and the political fallout from Nevada's economy: Those are are all part of tomorrow's headlines today in our "Inside Politics" forecast.

1) Nevada struggles could be Sanders' opening

Nevada's recovery from the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 has been slower than in many states -- and that could be a factor in the next contest, the Democratic presidential primary.
You might call it the reverse Obama factor.
More and more these days, Hillary Clinton puts herself in alignment with President Obama on big issues and suggests Bernie Sanders is not as loyal to the incumbent.
Generally, that's a solid strategy, given the President's high ratings with Democratic voters.
But Julie Pace of The Associated Press said Nevada could be an exception. The recovery there has been slow, and so touting Obama's record might not work as well as in other states where the jobs have come back faster. The talking points may favor Sanders and his platform of leveling the economic field.
Pace said, "Sanders can talk about the idea that these possible recessions will continue to come unless you do have these big systemwide changes that he's talking about." That could be a natural sweet spot for Sanders and a point of contention for Clinton.

2) Don't blame Bernie -- Team Clinton had advance warning on women issue

The big Bernie Sanders rout in New Hampshire included the fact that the senator from Vermont won a higher percentage of votes from women, despite Hillary Clinton's campaign theme that electing her as the first female U.S. president would make history.
A good slice of the edge came from Sanders' big advantage among younger voters.
But Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast shared reporting that Team Clinton was warned long ago there was a problem.
Kucinich said pollsters told her, "This (happened) before the Bernie Sanders rise. And so you have to think that maybe instead of tearing Bernie Sanders down, this is a problem with Hillary Clinton and her appeal to that demographic."

3) Rubio and Bush hunt for big-name endorsements

After South Carolina and Nevada, the presidential nominating calendar gets more crowded and busy, so candidates are looking for all the help they can get from high-profile surrogates.
And because of that, CNN's Manu Raju reports, Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are angling to win endorsements from some popular members of Congress. Sen. Tom Cotton is one lawmaker being heavily courted; though he's a freshman, the senator from Arkansas and military veteran has become a leading conservative voice on national security issues.
And of course, South Carolina may just set the tone when it comes to what's at stake.
"Let's say if Jeb Bush does better than Marco Rubio or vice versa, then you'll see a wave of support potentially from members of Congress and it will really show the party start to coalesce behind someone," Raju explained.

4) There are some big-name Democrats who could shift things, too

Some big-name Democrats also remain neutral in the presidential race, including two heavy hitters who might swing some votes if they go public with a preference.
The biggest get, of course, would be President Obama. He has not endorsed, though by all accounts from White House insiders he favors Hillary Clinton.
Sen, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also is still neutral; her endorsement could have a big impact with liberals who aggressively tried to get her to join the 2016 fray.
Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker explained some of the calculations at play.
"A lot of Sanders supporters started as Warren supporters, wanted her to run for president. Of course she didn't. But my understanding is, from talking to Democrats, is that even though 39 out of the 44 Democrats in the Senate have endorsed Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren does not plan to endorse in this primary. But you can bet if this race goes on and Sanders and Clinton are locked in a fierce battle, there will be enormous pressure on her to change her mind."

5) All in? A big South Carolina choice for Kasich

Initially, Ohio Gov. John Kasich planned to dip his toe in South Carolina for some media attention, post-New Hampshire. Then, he'd move on to states down the road a bit that he viewed as more open to his candidacy.
Now, though, there is a debate inside Team Kasich about whether to make a more aggressive South Carolina play.
He felt great after Saturday night's debate, the crowds have been good, and some polling suggests room for the Ohio governor to make a play for place or show in the Palmetto State.
So the candidate and top advisers are debating the schedule for this week, mulling whether to spend more time in South Carolina or to stick with the original plan.
The upside: If Kasich can again run ahead of Rubio and Bush, as he did in New Hampshire, he would have bragging rights among the so-called establishment candidates.
But there are risks, too: If he commits and then has a disappointing finish, precious time and money will be gone -- and the perception of Kasich's place in the race, and his long-term viability, could take a turn for the worse.