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POLITICO: Hillary's Hints

Hillary Clinton hinted that she would be rolling out a policy that’s near the top of liberal wish-lists during a fundraiser today in Austin, according to a donor in attendance.

While the Democratic front-runner didn’t go deep into details, she said she wants to unveil a "debt-free" college plan — language that was greeted enthusiastically by liberal activists when her campaign manager used it in a recent television interview. Both Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders have talked about their own wishes to make higher education debt-free, and liberal groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have tried to push Clinton toward offering her own plan. She has yet to publicly embrace the idea on the campaign trail, making her private remarks to donors notable as a harbinger of things to come.

US NEWS: Is Hillary Ready for More Debates?

In a move which could potentially place pressure on front-runner Hillary Clinton to interact with her field of Democratic rivals sooner than expected, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has made initial inquiries to Democratic campaigns about holding one or more additional debates, beginning as early as this August.

The PCCC, an ardent cheerleader of the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party, is advocating what they're dubbing an "open debate" format, in which questions would be formulated by voters rather than media figures.

They've even begun a dialogue with conservative groups to organize a similar venture among Republican candidates, and are floating the idea of holding an "open debate" for the general election.

The initial test, though, will be whether the liberal group can foster agreement to participate from all camps on the Democratic side.

"Debates are absolutely essential if we want a race to the top with them racing with each other to support big ideas," PCCC co-founder Adam Green says. "There's going to be broad support among most progressives for more debates, not less."

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Barack Obama's Base Has Tuned Him Out

Nothing in the president's second term has better demonstrated his lame-duck status than his uphill fight for Trade Promotion Authority, a political reality that is being effectively hammered home by his erstwhile allies in the progressive movement who are determined to beat him and are no longer concerned that they could weaken a fellow Democrat in the White House.

"Labor unions and progressives will be around for many election cycles to come. And President Obama won't be on the ballot anymore," is the pointed message of Adam Green, one of the most effective and influential progressive leaders in Washington. Green is cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a 950,000-member organization that grew out of MoveOn.org. PCCC is one of several liberal groups that will hold what Green calls "a massive day of action" on the trade fight Wednesday, to include the release of 2 million signatures opposing TPA.

REUTERS: With tough words for Wall St, O'Malley launches White House bid

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley blasted social injustice and Wall Street excesses as he launched a White House bid on Saturday, casting himself as a younger, more liberal alternative to Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

"Powerful, wealthy special interests here at home have used our government to create, in our own country, an economy that is leaving a majority of our people behind," said O'Malley, opening his 2016 presidential campaign with a rally at a waterfront park in downtown Baltimore.

Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group trying to push Democratic candidates to the left, praised his speech, saying he was so far "the only candidate to be outspoken about accountability for Wall Street bankers who committed crimes and crashed our economy."

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Martin O'Malley broadens Democrats' field for 2016 White House race

Many toward the left end of the Democratic Party spectrum are happy to see O’Malley join the presidential fray.

"Martin O'Malley's entrance into the race will be one more factor that incentivizes a race to the top on economic populism issues,” the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which claims nearly one million members, said in a statement. “He has already taken strong stands in favor of debt-free college, expanding Social Security benefits, and Wall Street reform – and so far is the only candidate to be outspoken about accountability for Wall Street bankers who committed crimes and crashed our economy. The more Democrats compete to be the biggest hero on popular issues like these, the better it will be for Democrats and for America."

COMMON DREAMS: Dems Back Debt-Free College as Issue Moves Into Election Spotlight

Nine additional Democratic senators on Wednesday came out in support of a resolution calling for debt-free public college, bringing to 20 the total number of Senate Dems who support the measure, introduced only a month ago by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). …

The Guardian wrote on Wednesday that increased support for the Democrats' plan "adds pressure on potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates to either endorse the resolution or come up with a plan of their own, with supporters of the debt-free college measure particularly interested in seeing where Hillary Clinton will come out on the issue."

As Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), one of the liberal groups driving support for the measure, told The Hill: "[T]he beauty of debt-free college is that it is a game-changing policy in millions of people’s lives and it is a tremendous winner for Democrats with voters. Our goal is to have it be a central campaign issue in 2016. When voters go to the polling booth, we want them to be thinking about debt-free college as one of the main things."

HUFFINGTON POST: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders Lean In On Debt-Free College

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for making higher education “as debt-free as possible” on Monday, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed a bill to make public colleges tuition-free on Tuesday.

“We have to deal with the indebtedness -- to try to move toward making college as debt-free as possible,” Clinton said on the Iowa campaign trail. The statement brings her a step closer to endorsing so-called debt-free college, an idea brought to the forefront of the Democrats' 2016 race by national progressive groups in recent months

As the Progressive Change Campaign Committee stated the goal in a recent paper, co-written with the progressive think tank Demos: "All students should have the ability to attend public colleges and universities and graduate without debt." The group noted that means aid to cover both tuition and cost-of-living expenses -- and also urged efforts to lower the underlying costs of higher education.

The PCCC started pushing to make debt-free college a mainstream Democratic position in January, according to a Bloomberg report. This week the group applauded Clinton's statement.

"It's great news that Hillary Clinton is talking about a national goal of debt-free college, and we look forward to hearing more specifics from her soon,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the progressive group.

NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: The Great Democratic Crack-Up of 2016

Though the Senate Democratic primary was a year away, the national groups supporting Edwards knew that Van Hollen would be viewed as the prohibitive front-runner if they didn’t define the stakes of the contest immediately. Three of these groups — the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and Blue America — sent out a blizzard of fund-raising solicitations, petitions and emails to members and to the media, one of which hailed Edwards as “a true Elizabeth Warren Democrat,” referring to the U.S. senator from Massachusetts whose confrontational stances on economic issues have galvanized the left. Van Hollen received an altogether different reception. Within hours after he made his candidacy official on March 4, three other voices from the liberal wing of the party — MoveOn, Credo Action and Daily Kos, the website run by the activist Markos Moulitsas — openly questioned his progressive bona fides and implied that he was one of a breed of “corporate ‘New Democrats.’ ” Moulitsas’s website declared that Van Hollen’s flexibility on Social Security amounted to “a major red flag,” making him “a candidate that may bargain away retirement security.” Edwards, meanwhile, entered the race pointedly pledging never to tamper with Social Security, “no ifs, ands, buts or willing-to-considers.” …

After she earned a law degree and spent two decades working for various liberal advocacy groups, she ran in 2006 for the Maryland congressional seat occupied by an African-American centrist, Albert Wynn. That she nearly defeated Wynn with very little financial support drew the admiration of national progressive groups, which invested heavily in a 2008 rematch. When a robo call released by the Wynn campaign condemned Edwards for fiscal irresponsibility, citing the fact that tax liens had been placed on her Maryland house, she deftly reframed this bit of personal history as the struggle of a single mother in an economy rigged to benefit “corporate Democrats” like Wynn. Edwards clobbered him by 22 points, prompting MoveOn to send out an exultant fund-raising email with the subject heading, “Donna Edwards Beats Al Wynn: Who’s Next?” Adam Green, a founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told me that this 2008 race, largely undiscussed by the national media at the time, was in fact seminal. “Donna Edwards,” he said, “was the original victorious primary winner of the modern-day progressive era.”

THE HILL: Left presses Clinton to choose sides on Obama trade pact

Liberal groups are insisting that Hillary Clinton take a clear stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that is a crucial part of President Obama’s second-term agenda.

They say Clinton, whose positions on trade have zigged and zagged during a long political career, should move beyond populist generalities and let voters know where she stands. …

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, insisted that Clinton could not stay on the fence on TPP without suffering negative consequences among grassroots Democrats. And he placed her choice in a broader context.

“On most issues, like student debt and wages, the question for Hillary Clinton will not be about which direction she goes — but whether she goes big or goes small,” he said, “Endorsing fast track or the underlying TPP would certainly be going in the wrong direction but many could say the same thing about staying on the sideline when a fight is happening.”

THE ATLANTIC: Russ Feingold Wants a Rematch

He shouldn’t have a messy primary to win, as both the party establishment and progressive activists celebrated his entry into the race. The Senate Democrats’ campaign arm immediately endorsed him, and both the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and their favorite Democratic senator, Elizabeth Warren, sent out rapid requests for money to their email lists. Finally, while Johnson now has the advantage of incumbency, Feingold begins the race leading in the polls: A Marquette University survey last month found that the Democrat had a whopping 16-point lead over Johnson among registered voters.

It’s hard to believe that the national Democratic Party’s populist turn has occurred without Feingold. In embracing his candidacy, the PCCC said he would be “another bold ally” by Elizabeth Warren’s side. Yet in some ways, Feingold was Warren before Warren. When he last served in the Senate, Feingold was the only Democrat to vote against the final version of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill, saying it was too weak. Warren was then still working under President Obama to get it implemented. Now as a senator from Massachusetts, it is she who has emerged as the champion of the progressive base and the sharpest thorn in the president’s side.

POLITICO: Russ Feingold running for Wisconsin Senate

Feingold is able to unite the party’s recently feuding establishment and progressive wings as a candidate who is both electable and has a sterling liberal record. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Feingold almost immediately, with DSCC chairman Jon Tester calling Feingold “a tenacious champion for the people of Wisconsin throughout his career.”

The Wisconsinite also quickly earned plaudits from Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).

“I’m happy, excited, thrilled, & all-around ecstatic that @russfeingold is running to return to the Senate,” she wrote on Twitter.

FOX11: Big interest, money expected in Wisconsin Senate race

Former Senator Russ Feingold announced Thursday he would seek the Democratic nomination again setting up the possibility of a rematch with incumbent Republican Ron Johnson. Johnson ousted Feingold by a 52-47 margin five years ago.

The potential match-up next November could have a larger impact in Washington. The 2016 race could be key in determining which party controls the next Senate. …

“This will be a top-tier priority race for our organization, and Senator Feingold is beloved by all the 25,000 members that we have in Wisconsin and the one million members that we have nationwide,” said TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

NEW YORK TIMES: Hillary Clinton Walks Tightrope as Pressure Grows to Take Stance on Trade Deal

The Clinton campaign may not be able to make the issue go away, but it can be avoided until after a vote on Tuesday on legislation that would grant Mr. Obama the ability to “fast-track” talks on a final trade deal, which liberals vehemently oppose. Mrs. Clinton has no public events scheduled this week, only private fund-raisers and a summit meeting in Brooklyn with donors on Thursday. A spokesman for her campaign declined to comment.

“She hasn’t taken any steps in the wrong direction, but she hasn’t gone as far as many Democrats who have spoken out against ‘fast track,’ ” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said. “She’s punted a little so far.”

When she does finally weigh in, Mrs. Clinton’s position could give the liberal wing of her party pause. Left-leaning Democrats have been encouraged by her recent campaign speeches about inequality and immigration, but many still harbor concerns that Mrs. Clinton’s policies will not do enough to advance their causes.

WASHINGTON TIMES: Progressive group blasts Obama on free trade

A progressive group blasted President Obama Tuesday for being tougher on liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren than he is on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over free trade.

“President Obama has never attacked Republican Leader Mitch McConnell the way he’s attacking Elizabeth Warren,” the Progressive Change Campaign Committee told supporters in an email. “Will you stand up to big corporations and defend Warren?”

Ms. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat and a darling of the left, is engaged in an increasing hostile battle with the president over his proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. The Senate will hold a test vote Tuesday on granting Mr. Obama trade-promotion authority to help him complete trade negotiations with the 11 other Pacific rim nations that would join the agreement.

INSIDE HIGHER ED: Debt-Free Catches On

After a concerted push over the past several months from liberals and progressive groups, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign appears to be on the cusp of embracing a debt-free college plan.

The Democratic front-runner’s campaign manager promoted the idea last week during an interview on CNBC.

"What voters are looking for is someone to be a champion for everyday people,” the campaign manager, Robby Mook, said. “For young people, that's debt-free college.”

His comments follow a resolution last month by Congressional Democrats that promoted debt-free public higher education and that won the backing of prominent Democrats like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer.

Much of the inspiration for the debt-free college plan has come from a Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Demos policy paper that sketches out the concept of making public higher education debt-free across the country.

The idea has already caught on with Clinton’s potential and declared rivals in the Democratic nominating contest. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, who is running for president, has proposed an $18 billion federal program to make the first two years of public higher education free. And former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a likely contender, has also backed the idea.

Debt-free college, if it does indeed capture a high-profile spot on the Democratic 2016 campaign trail, would be among the most ambitious higher education proposals offered by a presidential candidate in a few decades of election cycles.

THE GUARDIAN: Hope for an American jump to the left

Although even Sanders’ biggest fans don’t necessarily expect to see the 73-year-old maverick waltzing into the Oval Office anytime soon, his decision to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination coincides with rising optimism that their focus on income inequality and campaign finance reform is catching the national mood. …

“I don’t call ourselves ‘left’ and part of the reason is the centre of the country agrees with us,” said Adam Green, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

He said the surprising decision of Clinton to champion many of the same themes as Warren and Sanders showed such views were now mainstream among Democrats, and the only question was how forcefully Clinton would follow through with policy.

“The shift in direction of the Democratic Party is now coming to a close with the victory of the Warren wing,” Green said. “It is now about a scale – do we go big or settle for smaller changes?”

THE HILL: Howard Dean endorses Rahm Emanuel opponent

“Jesús "Chuy" García is running a similar people-powered campaign in Chicago and that's why I am proud to announce that I am endorsing him as the progressive choice to be Chicago's next mayor.”

The endorsement comes as progressive groups are trying to boost Garcia in a campaign that was written off by some before Emanuel failed to get the more than 50 percent of the vote he needed to avoid an April 7 runoff.

MoveOn, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and and the DFA have all backed Garcia. They are painting Emanuel as a mayor for the wealthiest Chicagoans, not poorer and minority residents, which resonates with their economic populist supporters.

THE NATION: Bold Progressive Donna Edwards Enters Key Senate Race

It is not often that a serious contender for a U.S. Senate seat announces her candidacy with talk of grassroots environmental activism, fighting for union jobs, “protecting women’s reproductive rights from Tea Party attacks” and a pledge to answer proposals to “compromise away Social Security and Medicare” with absolute opposition—“no ‘ifs,’ ‘ands,’ ‘buts’ or ‘willing to considers’.”

Then again, it is not often that Senate races feature candidates like Donna Edwards, the Maryland congresswoman who entered politics only after a long career as an activist who was on the outside demanding that Congress act on behalf of women, people of color, workers and abandoned communities.

Progressive groups began last week to openly urge Edwards to consider a run. Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched campaigns to draft Maryland’s first African-American congresswoman into the contest. " Donna Edwards has proven time and again that she's a bold progressive," wrote PCCC's Adam Green in a "Donna's On Our Side" message.

"She's not just an ally—she's one of us," declared Green.

FUSION: This race could be the real Elizabeth Warren vs. Hillary Clinton showdown progressives are clamoring for

National progressives are clamoring for Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren. They might have to settle for the next best thing — Chris Van Hollen vs. Donna Edwards.

Edwards is “not just a progressive ally — she’s one of us,” said Stephanie Taylor, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a grassroots group that led an effort to draft Edwards into the race.

“Donna was a community activist, she led the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and she’s devoted her time in Congress to taking on powerful interests on behalf of everyday families. In the Senate, she’ll fight alongside Elizabeth Warren for an economic populist agenda that includes expanding Social Security benefits, making college more affordable, and holding Wall Street accountable.”

BALTIMORE SUN: Van Hollen announces new endorsements

The latest endorsements come hours after Edwards announced that she, too, will seek the seat. A pair of national liberal groups, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, have encouraged Edwards to run.

"Donna Edwards has proven time and again that she's a bold progressive," PCCC emailed to its members Tuesday. "She's not just an ally -- she's one of us."

And the Prince George's County lawmaker took a subtle dig at Van Hollen in the video announcing her campaign, suggesting she would oppose cuts to Social Security "no ifs, ands, buts or willing to considers."

NEW YORK TIMES: Donna Edwards Announces Bid for Maryland Senate Seat

Representative Donna Edwards on Tuesday announced that she would enter the race to replace Senator Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, setting up what is likely to be a competitive Democratic primary.

Ms. Edwards, who has served in Congress since 2008, announced her intention to run just under a week after Representative Chris Van Hollen said he would pursue the seat of Ms. Mikulski, who is retiring in 2017. She could pose a formidable challenge to Mr. Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, who has received the support of Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal advocacy organization, threw its support behind Ms. Edwards immediately after her announcement. Stephanie Taylor, a founder of the group, offered a strong endorsement and pointed to Ms. Edwards’s background as a community activist.

“Donna Edwards has proven time and again that she’s a bold progressive,” she said in a statement. “She’s not just a progressive ally — she’s one of us.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: US Rep. Edwards Says She Will Seek Maryland Senate Seat

Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards on Tuesday announced her campaign to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, setting up a party showdown between liberals and the establishment.

"See, I've lived the American dream, a middle-class American dream, the one you have to work hard for just to hold on to, the one that's slipping away for far too many Maryland families," Edwards said in a video on her campaign website. "These are the people I fight for."

If she wins her party's nomination next year and is elected to the seat, Edwards would become the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland. Maryland's black population is about 30 percent.

"Donna was a community activist, she led the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and she's devoted her time in Congress to taking on powerful interests on behalf of everyday families," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

BALTIMORE SUN: Donna Edwards announces for Senate

Edwards, 56, has enjoyed a level of independence from state Democrats that may prove to be a benefit as she moves forward with a campaign. She won in 2008 by challenging 15-year incumbent Al Wynn in the primary, and was boosted by an aggressive advertisement campaign paid for by national liberal groups and unions.

Some of those same groups are already backing Edwards for Senate, even though the field is not yet defined.

"Donna Edwards has proven time and again that she's a bold progressive," Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "In the Senate, she'll fight alongside Elizabeth Warren for an economic populist agenda that includes expanding Social Security benefits, making college more affordable, and holding Wall Street accountable."

HUFFINGTON POST: Donna Edwards Announces Run For Senate In Maryland

The three-term congresswoman touted her work fighting for higher education funding, women's reproductive rights, space industry jobs, and Social Security and Medicare.

Edwards is running to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who announced last month that she would retire in 2016. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of House Democratic leadership, is also running for the seat.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee on Tuesday issued a statement in support of Edwards.

"Donna Edwards has proven time and again that she's a bold progressive. She's not just a progressive ally -- she's one of us. Donna was a community activist, she led the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and she's devoted her time in Congress to taking on powerful interests on behalf of everyday families," said Stephanie Taylor, the group's co-founder. "In the Senate, she'll fight alongside Elizabeth Warren for an economic populist agenda that includes expanding Social Security benefits, making college more affordable, and holding Wall Street accountable."

NBC NEWS: Rep. Donna Edwards Jumps In Maryland Senate Race

Rep. Donna Edwards will throw her name into the Maryland Senate race. She announced her move in a video and is the second Democrat to announce her candidacy, setting up a high profile primary for the Democratic nomination.

In addition to Edwards, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee and member of House Democratic leadership, also announced that he will run.

Edwards, who was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from Maryland, has the backing of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, as well as other progressive groups, who have been encouraging Edwards to jump into the race. Van Hollen received the endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week, an endorsement that came just hours after the New York Times published an interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi where she said she was encouraging Van Hollen not to run.

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