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***Horse Race LiveWire*** 2 Days to South Carolina: Pope Francis Shifts the Race’s Focus

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Welcome to Breitbart News’s daily live updates of the 2016 horse race. 

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11:00 Trump speaks glowingly about his five children. He says he was a great parent because he put his children above everything. Trump says his brother’s alcoholism taught him a tremendous reason and his brother is why he has never had alcohol and smoked cigarettes. He says he has seen what alcohol does to people and says “if you don’t drink, there is no temptation.” He says he always told his children “no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes.”

[Strong answer by Trump–and a story he should tell more often]

Trump says maybe he works too hard with his businesses and his jobs probably came before his first two wives. He says he was a better father than husband. He is proud of the thousands of employees that have succeeded under him.

10:58: Trump says he watches a lot of television news (say what you want about Trump, but keeping up with the daily news cycle probably has made him a better candidate than candidates who are put in a bubble by their advisers) and gets about four hours of sleep a night.

Trump on Arnold: “He’s no Trump.” [Tony Lee: Conservatives hoping Trump is “no Arnold”]

 

10:56: Trump says he sometimes bring fast food on his plane. Says he like Big Macs and Fish delights (Tony Lee: fish filets?). He says he had Kentucky Fried Chicken (Tony Lee: Their pot pies are great) the other night and likes Burger King. Trump says sometimes fast food restaurants may be safer than some places where you don’t know where the food is coming from. He likes Elton John, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Michael Jackson (Trump says he lost his confidence because of bad surgeries).

10:53: Trump says he doesn’t even know what his sister’s views on abortion are and says there are times when he doesn’t like the publicity he gets. He says the political press are “so dishonest” and says his sister is “not radical anything” and “is a great intellect” and a “great judge.” But Trump says he would not appoint his sister to the Supreme Court because it is a conflict of interest and Cooper points out that he has never said he would appoint his sister to the Court.

10:52: A South Carolina GOP activist asks Trump about police-involved shootings/racial tensions. He wants to know what his administration would do to make sure that law enforcement officers have the type of support they need. Trump says he is a “big, big supporter of the police.” He says the police are being treated horribly in this country and is “without question a huge supporter of the police” even though there may be a few bad apples. Trump says the police are “mistreated” and “misunderstood” and they deserve much more credit than they are getting now.

10:50: Trump says his greatest fault is putting up with people/deception for too long. But he says when he gets to it, he is too tough and he never forgets. One of the first times Trump has opened up a bit this election cycle. Very relatable answer.

10:48: After a lengthy commercial break that allows CNN to pay its bills, Cooper asks Trump about his comments on the Howard Stern show about being in favor of invading Iraq. Trump said he was against the War right before/shortly after it started.

10:42: A small business owner asks Trump what type of people he would consider for his cabinet. Trump says he wants the most talented people, regardless of party affiliation.

10:37: Questioner asks Trump about his comments about how George W. Bush lied to get us in the Iraq War. Trump says a lot of people agree with what he says about how Saddam Hussein was not responsible for 9/11. He says going into Iraq was the worst decision made by a president perhaps in the history of the United States. Trump says he is the one who didn’t want to go to War with Iraq, so it is not fair raise questions about his having his finger on the nuclear button. Trump says Bush went into Iraq because he was loyal to his father and “destroyed” the Middle East. Trump says Obama got us out the wrong way as well.

10:31: Trump says the Republicans have been so weak on Obamacare, Omnibus budgets that allow him to bring in people from Syria and give illegal immigrants temporary amnesty. He says we have to repeal and repeal Obamacare. Trump talks up healthcare saving accounts. He stresses that he is self-funding his campaign and is not beholden to various interests like Jeb!

Trump says insurance companies are funding most of the people he is running against and the insurance companies have too many Senators under control. Trump says he doesn’t want people dying on the streets, though, and he says he gets a standing ovation whenever he says that and is not single-payer. He says it’s called “heart.”

[It’s interesting that after letting most of the candidates, especially Rubio, just talk endlessly and repeat their talking points, Cooper is grilling Trump about various details. He hasn’t done that with the other candidates.]

10:26: Questioner asks Trump how he will get buy-in from people he disagrees with without being angry. Trump appreciates the question and says “you have to be tough” in the debates and “we have to be tough to protect our country.” He says he has a great temperament and you can’t build a great company without one. Trump says we need a certain toughness because ISIS is chopping off the heads of Christians and drowning people in cages. Trump says if we don’t have the toughness, we’re not going to have a country anymore. Trump says “we have weak people leading out toughness.” As President, Trump says he would win with his compromises. He says the country is not based on executive orders.

10:24: Trump says he is not a “bully.” He says he will send cease-and-desist letters to China and Mexico to stop ripping us off. He says “our country is going to  hell” and we have a problem with China, Mexico, Japan. He says he won’t buy Carrier air conditioners because they moved to Mexico.

10:23: Trump says questions about Cruz’s natural-born citizen status will be a big problem for the GOP.

10:20: Re: his cease-and-desist letter to Cruz, Trump says Cruz has a “problem with the truth.” He jokes that Cruz’s photoshopped photo of Rubio probably bothered Rubio because the photoshopped image was much shorter than Rubio.

10:18: Trump says he never thought he would have to ask for forgiveness today. He says the Pope is “doing a good job” and has “a lot of energy.” He says the Pope was given “false information.” He says he’d meet the Pope any time and he has “great respect” for the position.

10:16: Re: Francis “not Christian” remarks, Trump says it wasn’t a good thing for the Pope to say and discusses America’s trade imbalance with Mexico. He accuses the Mexican government of influencing the Pope and says it may be a little bit of a nicer statement than was reported. Trump says he will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it.

“He’s got an awfully big wall at the Vatican,” Trump says re: Pope Francis’s “not Christian” remarks.

Trump says he doesn’t like fighting with the Pope and says he doesn’t think this is a fight. He says Pope Francis only heard the Mexican government’s side of the story and knows nothing of the tremendous strain illegal immigration puts on America. He talks about the heroin epidemic.

10:15: “The Pope is a wonderful guy,” Trump says after Cooper quips that Trump’s had quite a day.

10:11: Trump, the main event, is up next.

10:10: Cruz campaign slams Rubio for bailing on the Conservative Review Summit:

“This is a final admission that Marco Rubio isn’t even going to try to compete for the votes of conservatives in South Carolina or anywhere else,” said Rick Tyler, Cruz Communications Director. “And who can blame him? Rubio isn’t a conservative. Instead Rubio and his campaign would rather hide behind their deceptive campaign tactics and liberal record on amnesty for illegals and voting to nominate John Kerry.”

10:07: Bush listens to country music. Bush says his communications director Tim Miller thinks he’s crazy for actually liking his campaign music. Bush says his brother has gotten pretty good at painting and he likes to do “Sunday Sunday” with his granddaughters to relax. He likes making guacamole, reading, and playing speed golf. He says he just finished a book about his dad. Bush complains that people in his generation need to “emote” like Bill Clinton. Bush says he’s an introvert and introverts set goals and grind, which is pretty good if you have been written off over and over again. He says he has overcome his intmrovertdness. He says introverts like to listen/learn and not talk/being a “big blowhard.”

10:05: Bush says we need to create a “culture of savings” and not a “culture of debt.” Bush says we need to grow the economy at 2%, career civil service reform, entitlement reform, shift much more responsibility to the states.

Bush says people should go to his site to see his plans if they want a policy Wonk-a-thon.

9:58: Questioner asks Bush about his marriage and how it impacts his leadership. Bush tells his wife that his  answer will be her “anniversary present.” Bush mentions that he met his wife in Mexico and he can remember exactly where he was then and exactly what she looked like to this day. “Lightning bolt of love.” Bush says his wife was the most beautiful girl he had ever met and decided he was going to marry her right then. Bush says his wife is his inspiration and his life can be divided BC/AC (Before Columba/After Columba). Bush says they mostly speak Spanish at home and it’s an advantage in life to have a bicultural relationship that adds a lot of vitality to his life.

9:53: Student asks Bush about marijuana/recreational drug use. Bush say the terminology (“recreational”) is misleading because of the potency of some type of marijuana. He says alcohol/drug abuse crosses racial/ethnic lines and speaks about his daughter who had struggled with addiction. Bush favors a “bottom up” approach and says we should have a “moonshot” to “discover the brain, its complexities.” He says we need to look at our criminal justice system–50% of the prisoners in federal prison are there because of a drug-related offense.

9:47: Questioner is “darn mad” Obama is dropping the ball in defeating ISIS in Iraq. He asks if Bush would send in ground troops to defeat ISIS. Bush says we already have ground troops but they are not embedded with the Iraqi Army. He says this is a “tragedy of our own making” and the Obama administration created the vacuum that ISIS filled with its failed Iraq policies. Bush says going forward, we should embed our existing troops that are already there inside the Iraqi military to give them the training, backbone. He says we need to reestablish the partnership with the Sunni tribal leaders that helped his brother with the surge. He says we also need to arm the Kurds with more sophisticated weapons and get the lawyers off the back of the war fighters. He wants safe-zones and n0-fly zones in Syria as well.

9:45: Jeb says he doesn’t know who he would nominate to the Supreme Court but wants to avoid making the mistake his father made with Souter. Jeb says “Justice Scalia” was the greatest lover of liberty and he is excited about this being an important election issues.

9:42: For the second time, Jeb! says “Anton Scalia.” His family is more familiar with the Souters  of the world.

9:40: Jeb says being Catholic has a lot to do with his pro-life views. Says we should not take faith out of the public square.

9:34: Jeb is asked about his gun Tweet. He says he received that gun as a gift from a gun manufacturer in South Carolina who sells a lot of guns to the military. He blasts the sequester and the gutting of the military. He says he wanted to pay tribute to them and support the 2nd Amendment. Jeb! would change Obama’s executive actions on gun control.

9:33: Jeb Pope Francis is an inspirational leader but says it is not appropriate to question Trump’s faith.

9:32: Jeb! is now on stage at CNN’s town hall. Trump is on deck. Cooper likes Jeb!’s boots. He says it’s a blast campaigning with his brother and says his mom is a “superstar” whom he loves dearly.

9:25: Kasich says he was afraid that his parents would not come home at night when he was little because his dad picked his mom up on a dangerous road. He points out that he lost his parents as they were on their way from Burger King after getting free cups of coffee when they were struck by a drunk driver. He says he found the Lord after his parents died.

9:24: In Vegas, Sanders points out that Gloria Steinem once made him an “honorary woman.”

9:20: In Vegas, Sanders talks about the high youth unemployment rates among blacks/Hispanics without talking about illegal immigration. Sanders also says he hopes that minorities are disgusted when they turn on televisions and see unarmed men, mostly African-American, being shot. Earlier he dodged a question about having supported a primary challenger to Obama:

9:18: A gun store owner mentions that firearm sales have skyrocketed the last seven years. He says his customers think their 2nd Amendment rights are being infringed. He asks if he believes that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right? Kasich says people have a right to own guns and “we don’t want to be messing around with the 2nd Amendment.” He blasts Obama’s executive actions on gun control. Kasich says he will call the kids of every member of Congress on their birthdays. He says his opinionated mother got him interested in politics.

9:12: In Vegas, Sanders says he voted against the Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill in agreement with LULAC/AFL-CIO because he was against the guest-worker provision that those organizations said was “akin to slavery.” Sanders says his immigration policy is to “unite” and not “divide” families.

“I don’t want to see workers in this country exploited,” he says, adding that he wants to take all of the illegal immigrants in the country out of the shadows and give them a path to citizenship.

9:05: When asked if he regrets taking Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, Kasich says the working-poor, drug addicted, and the mentally ill have benefited.

9:02: Michigan State fan in South Carolina tells Kasich that Obamacare has been a “godsend” for  him. He wants to know what Kasich would substitute for Obamacare if he is elected. He says Obamacare doesn’t control the costs that are just escalating. Kasich says health insurance costs in his state have gone up by 80% and points out that Obamacare hurts small businesses. He says he would take some federal resources and combine it with Medicare to cover the working poor. Kasich says it is un-Ameriacn for people to lose insurance plans because of pre-existing conditions. He wants to incentivize doctors/hospitals for giving high-quality care at low prices.

9:00: Kasich is asked about Supreme Court Justices. He says he has appointed over 100 judges in Ohio and he tries to look for someone who is a conservative who interprets and doesn’t make law. A nominee’s temperament is also important. They also have to be beyond reproach. Justices need to be public officials and not preachers, he says.

8:57: Kasich says he will  use the bully pulpit to wage an “all-out war” against domestic violence.

8:52: Kasich is asked about the working poor. He says we need to make sure they have health care and it all comes down to “training and skills.” Kasich says we have to have “lifelong learning” and keep training ourselves for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs. He refers to single moms with children as “heroes.”

8:50: Kasich says we have a right to build walls but we need more bridges.

8:48: Kasich says he is “pro-Pope” (some people on Twitter may think he means Olivia) when asked about the spat between Trump/Pope Francis. He praises Pope Francis for opening the doors of the Church.

8:43: Cooper asks Kasich about his emotional embrace with a supporter earlier in the day who has overcome a lot in life. Cooper calls it an “extraordinary moment” and Kasich says it has been happening to him at various campaign events. He says “we all need to slow down a little bit” because there are a lot of people who are lonely and looking to tell people about their issues. He says the country works best when it is strong from the “bottom up.”

8:41: Cooper says the town hall will be “conversational” and  not “confrontational.” It looks like CNN has the same type of consultants who poll-test responses for Rubio.

8:40: CNN’s town hall event with Messrs. Kasich, Bush, and Trump is about to start. Seems like Kasich held up the event by arriving a bit late.

7:52: Hillary: ‘I’ve Always Tried to’ Tell the Truth. She doesn’t believe she has ever lied. If you say so…

PELLEY:You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?

CLINTON:I’ve always tried to. Always. Always.

PELLEY:Some people are gonna call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself.

CLINTON:Well, no, I’ve always tried —

PELLEY:I mean, Jimmy Carter said, “I will never lie to you.”

CLINTON:Well, but, you know, you’re asking me to say, “Have I ever?” I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever will. I’m gonna do the best I can to level with the American people.

7:50: Wintour for Hillary as well:

7:42: Stump for Trump sisters want the Pope to tear down the Vatican’s wall and house illegal immigrants and let illegal immigrants bring drugs into the Vatican:

7:30: Sanders responds to Killer Mike’s “uterus” comments:

7:16: Joe Biden tells Rachel Maddow that it is “very possible” that Trump can be nominated. “I would take him seriously in terms of being able to win.”

7:15: Ted Kennedy’s widow for Hillary.

7:12: Coulter goes off on Rubio again, calls him a “Manchurian candidate”

7:10: Cruz Not Attending Scalia’s funeral:

7:07: If Hillary attacks Sanders on having not voted for the Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill, it looks like he will bring up that Clinton wanted to send illegal immigrants from Central America back during the border surge, based on Tad Devine’s (Sanders Senior Strategist)  interview with Chris Matthews.

7:05: Team Hillary testing attack lines?

Days before Democratic voters will caucus in Nevada, the race in the state between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is tighter than ever. A new CNN poll out Wednesday showed the two candidates in a virtual dead heat in the state and staff from the Sanders campaign confirmed to ABC News that they have conducted their own polling in the state and are optimistic about what they see.

As the pressure builds ahead of the next contest in the primary fight, ABC News recently obtained an audio recording of what sounds like intensive message polling conducted on Clinton’s behalf to a caller in the northern part of the state.

In the recording, provided to ABC News by the Sanders campaign, a woman’s voice asks a man on the other end for, among other things, his impression of both talking points that are favorable to Clinton as well as a series of attack lines against the Vermont senator.

The Sanders campaign said the recording and that type of polling are evidence that the Clinton campaign is nervous about a state they once thought they had locked up.

6:55: Lena Dunham thinks Caucuses are sexy. What about lying about having been “raped” by a Republican?

6:49: Sanders Tops Hillary in National Poll for First Time:

Bernie Sanders has passed Hillary Clinton at the top of a Democratic national poll for the first time in the entire 2016 race.

A Fox News poll released Thursday shows Sanders with 47 percent support to Clinton’s 44 percent.

6:48: Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) Getting Ready to Endorse Hillary:

6:45: Fox News reports on top Cruz aide, who used to work for David Dewhurst’s campaign:

6:43: Kasich launches two new ads in Nevada:

6:40 Interesting Tweet on “endorsement points.” Endorsement points only work when the field consists of traditional candidates who can’t cut through the media/establishment’s filters. Trump breaks the mold in more ways than one so the traditional rules don’t matter as much

[Tony Lee: Will say it again: Jeb!’s biggest mistake may have been going on the Paleo diet. It made him look too “low energy.” A robust Jeb! seems to be more energetic.]

6:35: Jeb! updates:

6:30: Charles Koch claims he agrees with Sanders on a “rigged” political/economic system and criminal justice reform. No mention of amnesty/open borders that is the issue that represents the greatest divide between Main Street and mega-donors on the left (like Soros) and on the right (like the Kochs):

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.

6:25: Noam Chomsky praises Sanders on Al Jazeera

6:18: Why is he raising expectations? Let your surrogates/staffers talk process:

6:12: Looks like a left-wing royal rumble may break out in Las Vegas tonight during the Clinton/Sanders town hall. Dolores Huerta, in pre-game remarks, has been calling out Bernie Sanders for not supporting George W. Bush/Ted Kennedy’s comprehensive amnesty bill: “Bernie, where have you been?”

5:56 pm – Jebmentum?

5:30 pm – Matt Boyle live at Jeb events through the day says even Governor “Act of Love” is down with a border wall now:

5:16 pm – MTV mocks Marco Rubio for saying the lyrics to EDM–which is tied to a hedonistic rave scene–are “clean” with a list of seven very raunchy electronic dance songs.

5:08 pm – Stunning statistic. It’s been almost three months since Hillary took a question from the press on the campaign trail.

5:03 pm – New WSJ/NBC poll has Sanders -11 to Hillary nationally.

5:01 pm – The Guardian would like you to know that the 300 members of a South Carolina town called “Islamville” do not feel safe because of Donald Trump:

4:58 pm – Cosmo interviews young women who support Bernie Sanders and asks them what issues are more important to them than electing the first woman president. They respond:

  • Student loans
  • Minimum wage hike
  • Socialism–i.e., roads and bridges
  • Healthcare

4:51 pm – A hug from the prince of light and hope.

4:35 pm – Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle:

4:05: Bob Dole hoping Rubio finishes second in South Carolina.

3:55: Sanders met with black leaders in D.C. Danny Glover, who has endorsed Sanders, and his wife also attended:

The gathering, held at the Washington offices of the National Urban League, centered on how Mr. Sanders’s policies would address the racial components of economic injustice, overhaul the criminal justice system, protect voting rights and address institutional racism.

The black leaders at the meeting included Marc H. Morial, the chief executive of the National Urban League; the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network; Cornell William Brooks, president of the N.A.A.C.P.; Melanie L. Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and Benjamin L. Crump, president of the National Bar Association and a supporter of Mrs. Clinton.

3:52: Cruz campaigns with Mike Lee, who hasn’t endorsed anyone yet:

3:50: CNN announces Dem SC town hall next week:

CNN announced it will host a Democratic town hall event in South Carolina on Tuesday from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. ET.

The event allows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will take the stage first, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will appear last, the opportunity to answer questions from Palmetto State voters, who go to the polls on Saturday, February 27.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo will moderate the event, which will be held on the University of South Carolina’s campus.

3:47: After Bruce Jenner says he gets more flak for being a conservative than a trans, Kendall Jenner endorses Hillary:

3:45: Latino Victory Fund for Hillary.

3:35: Todd Starnes:

3:30: Trump on Fox:

3:2o: Worth pointing out here the elitist and clueless Cillizza did not write the post… he just Tweeted it out:

3:10: Cruz blasts Obama for being eager to travel to Cuba but not even having the time to attend Justice Scalia’s funeral

2:50: Just 4% of South Carolinians are Catholic:

2:45: Jerry Falwell Jr. to CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield: ‘Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run a country’

Well, I’ve gotten to know Donald Trump very well over the last four years and I’ve seen his generosity to strangers, to his employees, his warm relationship with his children, and I’m convinced – I spent a lot of time with him on his plane recently and personal conversations. I’m convinced he’s a Christian. I believe he has faith in Jesus Christ.

[…]

I think John F. Kennedy would be rolling over in his grave right now if he could hear what the pope was saying, because that’s a man who fought to be president against lots of prejudice, because many protestants in this country did not want to elect a catholic president. And he broke down those barriers and now here’s the pope trying to say, we have to elect leaders. Jesus said render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. That means choose the best president.

[…]

Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run a country. And that’s clear through all his teachings. And he made that more clear than almost anything else. So I think that’s the – you know, Jesus told us to help the poor, but he never said vote for somebody who is going to take money from your neighbor and give it to the poor. That’s – Jesus never told us whether to vote for a socialist or a capitalist. He told us to render under Caesar, use our own brains to decide who would be the best political leader.

2:30: Team Hillary Pulling Out All The Stops. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), the godfather of the modern amnesty movement, rips Bernie Sanders in Univision:

Every time an election rolls around, candidates fall all over themselves to proclaim their allegiance to the Latino community. Hillary Clinton is different. I was proud to endorse her because she is the rare loyal candidate who has been fighting for us her entire career.

It goes back to traveling across Texas in 1972 to register Latino voters and to organizing the first-ever White House conference on Hispanic Children and Youth. But it is her time in the U.S. Senate, fighting hard for comprehensive immigration reform that sets her apart from Bernie Sanders. Hillary is the only candidate in this race who has always had our backs.

Six months ago, I did an interview with Larry King where I asked whether Bernie Sanders even liked immigrants or cared about Latinos and our issues. He had been silent on immigration and our other priorities and within a week or two, Sanders was talking about immigration.

He was saying all the right things, but it raised a very important question in my mind: where was Sanders when we really needed him? I have observed Sanders first in the House of Representatives and later in the Senate and I have to say, he was absent from most of the crucial immigration debates. And when he did show up, his record was troubling.

2:15: Coulter not a Rubio fan, to say the least. Makes good point about Trump:

2:12: Sarah Palin whacks Glenn Beck with a Hacksaw Jim Duggan two-by-four:

2:10: Team Kasich attacks Bush (interesting: Bush’s team is accusing Rubio’s team of leaking to/co-opting Erick Erickson):

2:07: Washington Post on Rubio, whom they have often described as a “man in a hurry”:

2:05: Plenty of Bernie supporters in… Canada:

2:00: There he goes again: Daily Beast/CNN contributor who told a Breitbart News editor to go “f*ck yourself” has also said that Trump is a bigger threat than ISIS.

1:52: Yet Mike Murphy will still be considered a “guru” by stale Beltway media elites who have no clue why Americans are tuning them out more and more. Might as well hire DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, and Andre Drummond to instruct your viewers how to make free throws:

1:50: Working hard to be her VP:

1:48: Which candidate would Pope Francis favor?

1:47: Jeb! jokes about his favorite book:

1:45: Graham says Jeb! is surging!

1:38: Team Rubio Blasts Cruz campaign’s deceptive campaign tactics:

1:37: Cruz Super PAC attacks Rubio as “errand boy” for Sugar Industry

1:35: Rubio on Pope Francis’s remarks:

“I’d like to see the Holy Father’s full statement and the context of it before I comment fully,” Rubio reportedly said. “I’ll just say this, there’s no nation that is more compassionate on immigration than we are. We accept a million a people a year in the United States. Legally. Every year. Mexico doesn’t do that. No other country in the world does that. But we’re a soverign country and we have a right to control who comes in, when they come in and how they come in. Vatican City controls who comes in, when they come in and how they come in.”

1:30: Jeb! Not ‘Un-Christian… to Make Sure People Don’t Come Across Our Border Illegally’

Bush said he doesn’t question anybody’s Christianity and when asked about the Pope’s comments about it being “not Christian” to build a border wall, Bush said, “I don’t know what that means.” He added that “that’s not an un-Christian thing to do… to make sure people don’t come across our border illegally. That’s a just thing to do.”

1:26: Monmouth Poll: Young black voters in South Carolina not feeling the bern:

Among white voters under the age of 50, Sanders has a small, statistically insignificant lead of 48% to 44% over Clinton, but among black voters under 50, Clinton has a sizable 60% to 26% advantage. This is only slightly smaller than Clinton’s 69% to 12% lead among black voters age 50 and older and is actually wider than the 59% to 39% lead she holds among older white voters in South Carolina.

1:22: But they said talk of a Rubio-Haley ticket was “premature”

1:20: Kirsten Powers on Hillary:

Where the Clinton campaign might be right is that the state could end up favoring her opponent. Bernie is a problem Hillary can’t figure out how to solve, perhaps because he’s not the problem. She is.

1:17: Vile Michael Moore, with whom Megyn Kelly had a “love-fest” on air:

1:13 pm: Not rigged?

1:12 pm: Trump supporters not happy with the Pope.

1:10 pm: Muslims for Bernie!

12:38 pm – Jeb getting Jebbier by the day.

12:02 pm – Pope Francis says Trump is “not a Christian.”

11:19 am – Rubio’s campaign is taking offense at a Cruz site featuring a photoshopped image of Rubio shaking hands with Obama.

“There is a culture of dishonesty from top to bottom in the Cruz for president campaign,” [senior Rubio adviser Todd] Harris told reporters after a campaign rally. “It is reflected in what Ted Cruz himself says, it’s reflected by phony Facebook pages that his supporters put up, it’s reflected by calls to Iowa voters saying Ben Carson dropped out. … And now the latest example is a completely invented photo of Marco Rubio attacking us for a position that Ted Cruz himself held a few short months ago.”

10:52 am – More bad news for Hillary Clinton in Nevada. Neither Harry Reid nor the AFL-CIO will endorse. These are endorsements Hillary should have sewn up long ago, but people-in-the-know are hedging their bets.

10:43 am – Small fire reported at Trump Tower in Chicago


10:27 am – First Read: Nevada is everything for Clinton and Sanders

A Clinton loss — in a state where she held the early organizational and demographic advantages — would launch another week’s worth of negative headlines for her campaign, hardly the momentum it wants going into South Carolina. (“Will there be a shakeup?” “Is Mike Bloomberg going to jump in?” “Is there any way that Joe Biden could reconsider?” “How is she losing to a democratic socialist who didn’t even belong to the party until now?”)

So it would be painful loss. But as we wrote earlier this week, a Sanders loss could even be more impactful because it would set up Hillary Clinton to start running the table over the next two weeks in South Carolina and the southern March 1 states.

The Democrat Nevada caucus is this Saturday.

10:12 am – Three new national polls show Trump way ahead. NBC poll is almost certainly an outlier.

Reuters: Trump 40%, Cruz 17%, Rubio 11%, Carson 10%, Bush  8%.

USA Today: Trump 35%, Cruz  20%, Rubio at 17%.

And the CBS national poll below.

9:59 am – Brand-spanking new post-debate SC poll has Trump up +13. Voting starts the day after tomorrow.

Trump 32, Cruz 19, Rubio 15, Carson 9, Bush 9, Kasich 6.

Note how Trump beats the Establishment crew of Rubio, Kasich, and Bush combined.

9:48 am – Cruz people raise expectations for Rubio in SC.

Appearing on MSNBC, Ted Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler is raising expectations for Rubio in South Carolina. In so many words Tyler said, “So far Rubio has spent $40 million to come in 3rd in Iowa and 5th in New Hampshire. In South Carolina, he’s earned the endorsements of Senator Tim Scott and Governor Nikki Haley. If he doesn’t come in first there, where can he?”

9:45 am – “God” hacked; tells people to “Vote Trump

9:42 am – Hillary Tweets support for Pope Francis’ border visit

9:32 – Hillary Clinton will not be in Nevada Saturday

Rather than campaign in Nevada or wait for Saturday night’s results in that state’s caucus, Hillary is headed to Texas Saturday. The latest poll out of Nevada has the race tied.

The problem for Hillary is that if Sanders prevails in Nevada, that blows up the narrative that he can only win in predominantly white states like New Hampshire. As many as 40% of Nevada Democrat voters are minorities. The following Saturday is the Democrat South Carolina primary. Hillary is well ahead but Bernie is creeping up on her. A big win in Nevada could only put more wind in Bernie’s South Carolina sails.

For the Republicans, this coming Saturday is the South Carolina primary and just a few days later on Tuesday is the Nevada primary. As of now, Trump is dominating by double digits in both states.

9:26 – Slate blasts MSNBC’s Trump town hall as “disgraceful

Scarborough and Brzezinski hosted what appeared to be a rehearsed and “safe” town hall, in which American voters asked the candidate such hard-hitting questions as “Why did you decide to run for president?” and “how will you set yourself apart” from other Republicans? It was completely worthless television, except in one sense: The program highlighted the many ways in which the media’s coverage of Trump has been soft, insufficient, and without substance.

 

9:12 am – Trump agrees with Marco Rubio that… Cruz is a liar.

9:05 am – Trump continues to rip Fox News and the Wall Street Journal over outlier national poll…

9:02 am – Drudge continues to raise legitimate questions the DC Media never would about Hillary’s troubling health…

8:53 am – In new national CBS poll, Trump beats all three Establishment candidates combined. Trump is at 35%. Rubio, Bush, and Kasich total 27%.

8:36 am – Obama ‘Hope’ artist Shepard Fairey endorses Bernie Sanders

Artist and activist Shepard Fairey, who designed the iconic “Hope” poster during then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, is backing Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

“I’m supporting Bernie Sanders, because I want to push principles, not personalities,” Fairey said in a video released by the Sanders campaign on Wednesday evening.

8:26 am – Quinnipiac polls show Sanders is MUCH stronger than Hillary in general election:

Sanders 48, Trump 42     Sanders +6

Sanders 49, Cruz 39         Sanders +10

Sanders 47, Rubio 41      Sanders +6

Sanders 45, Kasich 41     Sanders +4

Sanders 49, Bush 39        Sanders +10

8:18 am – Trump’s Senior Advisor and Social Media Director Dan Scavino blasts Rupert Murdoch over Wall Street Journal’s outlier poll showing Trump behind Cruz nationally.

8:09 am – Quinnipiac polls show Hillary in deep, deep trouble in a general election. Kasich and Rubio do best. Bush and Cruz are in a statistical tie. Trump loses by -1 point.

It is important to keep in mind that only Trump has been relentlessly assaulted by the national media during this campaign.  Rubio and Kasich have faced nothing close to that. If you are looking at “electability,” ask yourself if your candidate could withstand, as Trump has, months of being called a racist-sexist-fascist-liar. Because they will face that from Hillary’s media.

Clinton 44, Trump 43       Clinton +1

Cruz 46, Clinton 43           Cruz +3

Rubio 48, Clinton 41        Rubio +7

Kasich 47, Clinton 39       Kasich +8

Clinton 43, Bush 44          Bush +1

8:07 am – Starbucks CEO is uncomfortable with the messiness of freedom.

7:54 am – From Alex Swoyer:  GOP frontrunner Donald Trump posted on Twitter responding to a WSJ/NBC News poll that had him slipping to second place, saying, “Amazing that while I lead by big numbers in the new Q and and USA Today polls, the the press only wants to report on the phony WSJ/NBC poll.”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/700269643789955074

The poll has Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) taking first place and Trump slipping to second.

7:47 am – Votes might tell us something different Saturday but as of now a slew of polls not only show that Trump is way ahead in South Carolina, but that the debate performance All The Smart People were sure doomed him, had absolutely no effect.

7:37 am – New national poll from CBS shows Trump up +17, 35% to 18% over second place Ted Cruz. From the looks of it, the NBC poll released to great fanfare yesterday showing Cruz in the lead, was an outlier.

Highlights: 2/16/16

•Hillary suffers a nearly 3 minute-long coughing fit
•Team Bush, Rubio have spent over $80 million and $50 million on ads respectively
•Rubio says he’ll support the GOP nominee in the general, even if it’s Trump or Cruz

Highlights: 2/17/16

•Jeb Bush at 1% in South Carolina poll
•Trump doing a phone-in interview on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show
•Trump blasting Fox News and Megyn Kelly on Twitter again
•Cruz goes off on Trump, Rubio at press conference
•South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorses Rubio over Jeb

Tony Lee: Though Jack Welch had high praise for Cruz after the debate, he sounded too much like a lawyer trying to win points in the weeds while going after Trump. Cruz was strong in appealing to conservatives on a host of issues but he could have come across much better if he had remembered that he was in a town hall setting and not in a courtroom tonight.

Earlier in the day, Haley was booed at a Trump town hall event.

Meanwhile, at Trump’s town hall event:

10:55: Cruz says his favorite cocktail is scotch. Guilty pleasure when he wasn’t running for president was watching movies and playing video games. He says Cruz’s iPhone drives his wife crazy because he plays so many games on it. Cooper asks Cruz about his Simpsons/Princess Bride impersonations and Cruz says part of it is “you have to have fun.” He says Republicans reach  young people with substance–point out that the Obama economy is hammering them along with the national debt–and loosening up, cracking jokes, and having fun. Cruz talks about the Cruz street art that went viral last year and he pointed out that he decided to have some fun with them by posting on Facebook that he noticed a glaring error in the posters–he doesn’t smoke cigarettes.

10:52: Question is on most important cabinet position. Cruz says it’s a three-way tie between Secretary of State/Secretary of Defense/Attorney General. He says “Winston Churchill is coming back to the Oval Office” when he is president. He says a Secretary of State in a Cruz administration would be someone like John Bolton. He blasts the lawlessness of the Obama administration (“one of the saddest legacies”) and says it is “sad” that the media accepts as a given re: Hillary’s email scandal that whether someone is prosecuted depends on what some hack in the White House thinks. He says the only fidelity in Cruz Department of Justice will be to the law and the Constitution.

10: 47: Cruz says he will use executive actions to end Common Core, undo Obama’s executive amnesty. He will rip up the Iran Deal to “shreds” and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. And re: getting things done legislatively, Cruz points out that the last time conservatives defeated the Washington Cartel was in 1980 when Reagan’s grassroots army defeated the Washington establishment just four years after Reagan almost successfully primaried a sitting GOP establishment GOP president. Cruz would call on his grassroots army to compel Congress to enact his agenda.

10:42: Cruz says he will not respond in kind when others are impugning his character during the campaign. He says people in the GOP establishment say “Ted is unlikable in Washington” because he is keeping his promises to the men and women who elected him like trying to defund Planned Parenthood and leading the fight against Obamacare and the “Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill.”

Cruz says he and Jeff Sessions helped defeat Rubio’s amnesty bill in the House and that is why the D.C. establishment that loves amnesty dislikes him.

10:37: Cruz says Rubio and Trump scream “liar, liar” when Cruz points to their record and calls them out on their past statements. He points out that he was correct in saying that Trump supports Planned Parenthood and Rubio supports 1) giving citizenship to all of the country’s illegal immigrants, 2) granting citizenship to illegal immigrants even if they have criminal convictions, 3) supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in Florida, and 4) went on Univision and said in Spanish that he would not rescind Obama’s executive amnesty in his first day in office. Cruz says Rubio never disputed any of the substance. “Truth matters,” Cruz says, adding that Jeff Sessions, Mark Levin, Mike Lee, James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly have also been lying.

10:35: Cruz says he has surged because conservatives trust him more than Trump on judges.

10:33: Cruz says we should not be confirming a Supreme Court nomination during a lame-duck period. He says Scalia, “a lion of the law” single-handedly changed the law and was the Court what Reagan was to the presidency. He says this nomination has the potential to dramatically shift the balance of power on the court and says that 2016 should be a referendum on the Supreme Court.

10:29: Cruz defends his natural-born status and says you cannot write off the possibility of Trump suing him but it will not succeed because it will not be a “meritorious lawsuit.”

10:27: Cruz says America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has been “fraught with complications.” He blasts the Saudis for paying off terrorists so they don’t destroy the Kingdom and says friends do not fund jihadists who want to kill them. Cruz says oil prices fluctuate because of the Fed and says the Fed should be audited. Cruz also calls for the return to the Gold Standard.

10:22: Cruz says we are seeing an “assault” on religious liberty and Judeo-Christian values. He says life, marriage, and religious liberty are intertwined and says “you should know them by their fruits.” Cruz asks the questioner to ask candidates what they have done to protect life, marriage, religious liberty. He calls the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision “nothing short of tragic” and blasts establishment Republicans for echoing Obama’s talking points about “settled law.” Cruz says it was a “lawless” and “illegitimate” decision that will not stand because it is inconsistent with the Constitution. Cruz says religious liberty has been a lifelong passion of his and cites his successful defenses of the Pledge of Allegiances, the Ten Commandments. He points out that he also defended the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross and won 5-4 in the Supreme Court.

10:20: Cruz says it was “ridiculous” that Donald Trump slammed George W. Bush for not keeping the country safe and defended impeaching George W. Bush. He said Trump had no proof that Bush committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He says it draws into question Trump’s judgment that he supports views associated with Michael Moore and the fever swamps on the left.

10:17: Cruz blasts GOP candidates for being okay with women being drafted to serve. He says the military should not be engaging social experiments or be governed by  “political correctness.” Cruz says “we will not be drafting our daughters into combat on the front lines” if he is president. He says it makes “no sense.” Cruz also blasts the Obama administration’s rules of engagement that tie the arms of our servicemen and women behind their backs.

10:12: Cruz thanks the questioner for his service and says Obama doesn’t “believe in the mission of the military” and weakens and degrades them while not standing by our troops. He says veterans across South Carolina have expressed their frustration. He says after Carter weakened the military, Reagan ushered in an economic boom and rebuilt the military to bankrupt the Soviets and win the Cold War. Cruz says he will unleash the American economy to grow the military in order to defeat ISIS.

He says getting rid of Assad will be worse for America because ISIS will become even more powerful and Syria will become like Libya.

10:10: Cruz mentions his wife is the daughter of missionaries. He says Heidi (his best friend) will be involved in economic development and educational empowerment issues as First Lady. Cruz says school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century and his wife cares about giving minorities more educational opportunities. He admits that he sings to his wife when he calls her and sings “I just called to say I love you.”

10:06: Cruz smartly punts when he is asked to choose between Clemson and South Carolina. He says he will “shamelessly waffle” and say he “loves them both.”

10:05: Cruz is worried that Obama will give Guantanamo back to Cuba at the end of his term and undermine America’s national security. He blasts Obama for releasing Guantanamo prisoners American soldiers bled and died to capture. He says they will return to the battlefield in the future to harm Americans.

10:02: Cruz on Obama’s plans to visit Cuba. Cruz says he will not visit Cuba as President so long as the Castros are in power. He blasts Obama’s foreign policy for “alienating and abandoning” our friends. He says no administration has been more “hostile” to Israel than the Obama administration. He says Obama should be pushing for a free Cuba and it is a “mistake” for him to visit. He slams the Obama administration for silencing Cuban dissidents and speaks about how his father/aunt were tortured in Cuba.

10:oo: Cruz says Apple should be forced to unlock the phones of the San Bernardino terrorists but not be forced to have backdoor encryption technology in all of their phones.

9:58: Cruz says Trump’s sister is a radical, “pro-abortion” judge and slams Trump for suggesting that his sister would be a great Supreme Court Justice. He also slams Trump for giving to Democrats who are very pro-abortion. He says there is no universe where he could write a check to people like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer. He says anyone who does that does not care about Supreme Court Justices.

9:57: Cruz says Planned Parenthood is the “largest abortionist” in the country and says he doesn’t think Planned Parenthood does “anything wonderful.” He slams Trump, saying he doesn’t think anyone who is pro-life can say that Planned Parenthood does wonderful things. Cruz does not believe Planned Parenthood should get taxpayer funds.

9:54: Cruz says he “laughed out loud” when he got Trump’s cease and desist letters. He says it pressed the bounds of one of the most frivolous/ridiculous letters he has ever received and points out that Trump has sued people for most of his life. Cruz says Trump’s position is running an ad with Trump’s own words is defamation. Cruz says he wants Trump to file his lawsuit because he wants to depose him.

9:52: Cruz says “it feels fantastic” that the old Reagan coalition is coming together after Cooper mentions that he now beast Trump in the latest WSJ/NBC national poll.

9:48: Rubio says he is lucky his wife and kids will love him even if he loses. He says he felt like a cornerback who gave up a big play/touchdown after New Hampshire but sports has taught him how to deal with setbacks. Rubio says he would like to coach his son’s football team if elected president and says though he worries about his son getting a concussion, there are inherent risks in competitive cheerleading and driving to work. Rubio says he grew up listening to west coast hip hop music but he now like EDM. He says he’s never been to a rave, though (but he jokes that he has the boots for it).

9:44: Rubio says he’s seen Trump smile when Cooper asks about Cruz’s assertion that Rubio is Donald Trump with a smile re: campaign tactics.

9:42: Rubio is asked what he would do to unify the Republican Party and the American people to win the general. Rubio says we are blessed that we solve through elections what other countries solve through civil wars. Rubio says he is being attacked because he is appealing to every voter in the Republican coalition. He vows to grow the GOP if nominated and be a president for all Americans who loves the American people even if they don’t love him back.

9:40: Questioner asks Rubio about Reagan/refugee resettlement/compassionate conservatism:

Rubio says America must always be a place that allows people seeking refuge from political prosecution and violence to come, but he says Reagan did not have to face a radical Jihadist group that is trying to use America’s immigration laws against the United States. Rubio says ISIS can forge passports and points out that we have to be 100% right on the refugees we admit, which means our vetting process must be stricter than it has ever been. He admits it is nearly impossible to vet Syrian refugees. He says if we don’t know who you are, we’re not going to allow you to come in. Typical semi-non-answer from Rubio.

9:37: Rubio says he wanted to play in the NFL when Cooper asks him if he always wanted to do public service. He says his grandfather, a reader at a cigar shop, instilled in him an interest in politics/world affairs.

9:35: Rubio says he has three educators in his family and he talks bout schools inheriting whatever society sends them in the morning. Rubio says there is no law he can pass to make people become better parents. But he says we need to empower parents and his tax plan increases the per-child tax credit. He says ultimately, there is not a federal government solution to every problem but leaders should remind people that what happens in your house is more important than what happens in the White House. He says his most important job will always be being a father. He says there should be no laws that discourage marriage or undermine parents.

9:33: Rubio says the Supreme Court can function with eight justices and “this is going to be an issue in the campaign.” He says the new president will get the opportunity to nominate a Justice. Rubio says he would not nominate a Justice if he were president.

9:27: Rubio says it is not the Fed’s job to stimulate the economy and is not a special Jedi council. Rubio talks about how disruptive today’s economy is and we have to make America a friendlier place in a globally competitive economy (he talks up lowering taxes and eliminating regulations). He warns against America’s debt crisis and speaks about reforms to Social Security/Medicare to balance the budget and leave Social Security/Medicare undisturbed for current beneficiaries.

[This is where Rubio’s support of comprehensive amnesty hurts him with working-class Americans]

9:24: When Cooper asks Rubio if he has felt the sting of racism, he says that his parents were extraordinary people who raised him to believe that there was nothing he could not do. He says in Las Vegas, some older kids were taunting his family about going back to their country on a boat, etc. during the Mariel boat lift. He says his parents never raised him to feel like he was a victim but he doesn’t deny that there are people in this country that have had a different experience.

He says “we have some blemishes in our history” that America is still fighting but America, he says, is a nation of “perpetual improvement” an talks about how far America and South Carolina have come since the 1960s. He says a Governor of Indian descent endorsed someone of Cuban descent in South Carolina… and they’ll be campaigning with a black Republican in South Carolina tomorrow–and that says a lot about today’s GOP.

9:20: Questioner asks Rubio how he would address racism while unifying the country. Rubio says the families of the victims of the Charleston massacre had a profound impact on the nation by forgiving the killer. He says race relations, centered around law enforcement, are difficult. He says the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agents are incredible people who risk their lives for our safety/security but he also knows that there are communities in this country where minority communities/police department have terrible relationships. Rubio says there are African-American males who think they are treated differently and if a significant percentage of the American family believes they are being treated differently, then “we have a problem” and we have to address it as a society and a country. He says there may not be a political solution but there are things we can do to address the issue. He pivots to minority children growing up in broken homes, in dangerous neighborhoods, living substandard housing, and being forced to go to underperforming schools. He says they have four strikes against them and speaks about plans to address those strikes against them. He cites Geoffrey Canada’s work on the issue,

9:18: Female questioner asks Rubio about women in combat. She says that may require the military to lessen standards. Rubio says the military is not where we should lessen standards–he says he is open to  members of both genders serving so long as they meet common standards. He says plenty of men can’t meet the standard as well and he will not lower standards.

9:16: Rubio says Obama is a failure not because he was a one-term Senator but because his ideas don’t work (his philosophy is a failed one). Rubio says he has 15 years of experience turning conservative ideas into conservative action. He talks up his eminent domain legislation in Florida that he passed, reducing property taxes, and other educational accomplishments in Florida.

[nothing about wanting to dispel the notion that Obama doesn’t know what he is doing]

9:11: A retired General asks Rubio what has prepared him to be the country’s Commander-in-Chief. Rubio thanks him and all veterans for their service. Rubio says the most important job of being President is being Commander-in-Chief. He says he knows he hasn’t lived as long as those running for president, but he has more national security experience than anyone running. He claims he has “good judgment” on foreign policy and says he was proven to be right on Libya, ISIS, Syria. He says the hardest vote he has ever taken was his vote not to authorize the use of force in Syria.

9:07: Rubio says he paid off his student loan debt after writing his book. He wants to expand accrediting (alternative accrediting model), talks about his student investment plan (investors can invest in students like they do in start-ups), speaks about his income-based loan repayment plans, and his “right to know before  you go” plan (schools have to tell you how much people make while graduating with a degree from that school).

Solid answer by Rubio.

9:04: Rubio is asked about Obama’s plans to visit Cuba. Rubio says he will not visit Cuba unless it is a free Cuba. He says the Cuban government is an anti-American Communist dictatorship. He says the Cuban government is repressive and harbors American fugitives (esp. re: medical fraud).

9:01: Rubio says government has to work with Silicon Valley on a way forward to protect the privacy of Americans while ensuring that law enforcement officials can get access to data from terrorists/potential terrorists. Rubio warns against creating a technological backdoor that will allow cybercriminals to steal people’s data.

8:59: Rubio is asked about Obama’s comments about Rubio running away from his Gang of Eight amnesty bill. Rubio says Obama has no standing to talk about immigration after he failed to get it enacted when Democrats controlled Congress. Rubio says the key that unlocks the door to the rest of the issue is securing the border. Rubio says people won’t support a comprehensive approach to immigration and “we have to understand that the only way forward” is a step-by-step approach. Rubio again claims he did not think his Senate amnesty bill could not pass and, after that experience, he has learned that no progress will be made on immigration until we build walls, fences on the border and prove to Americans that the border is secure.

8:57: Rubio says he is feeling the “Marco-mentum” and we’ll find out more on Saturday. Rubio says what Cruz did to Carson in Iowa was “wrong” and insists that Cruz is a liar. He says these things are “disturbing” but are not at the core of his campaign.

8:56: Obama to visit Cuba next month:

8:53: Rubio, riding high from his Haley endorsement, is up next.

8:52: Carson says he loves to play pool to relax but he likes to win. He says his wife  learned how to play pool and now is an excellent player. Carson listens to classical music, which he listened to while doing surgeries.

8:50: Carson says he misses what medicine used to be and does not like what it has become. He says doctors today don’t even have time to look at a patient and that is an essential part of medical care that is being lost.

8:49: Cooper asks Carson what goes through his mind on the debate stage. Carson says he is thinking if anyone remembers what happened in 2012, when Republicans tore each other apart and allowed Obama to win. Carson says he would relish running against either Clinton or Sanders.

8:47: Questioner says she appreciates Carson’s mild-manner nature but worries that Carson will not be able to get his message out in the general election against a boisterous Democrat. Carson says that as a pediatric neurosurgeon, he got people’s attention by speaking softly. He says the key is not so much the volume but the content of what y0u say. He says that is what is going to make the difference. He says Americans will be smart enough to understand the difference between bluster/rhetoric and the truth. He says it will be easy to counter Sanders’s message of “free college for everyone.” Carson quotes Thatcher–“Socialism is great until  you run out of other people’s money.”

8:44: Carson is asked about China’s corporate espionage. Carson says “we are being hit thousands of times a day” by cyberattacks from China and other places. Carson says that is why he has advocated for a “comprehensive solution” for cybersecurity that involves public/private partnership where there can be a common place where attacks can be reported. Carson says he would not be reluctant to go on the offensive in cyberspace. Carson says he is nice but he also wants to protect Americans.

8:41: A Clemson student asks Carson about criminal justice reform. Carson says that America has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s inmates, which means something is “askew.” Carson says we send non-violent criminals to the university where they become violent criminals. Carson says if prisoners are going to be reintegrated into society, we have to think about offering them practical training, etc. He says he would take another look at mandatory minimum sentencing, etc. Carson warns against putting mentally unstable people with violent inmates and then releasing them into society after their prison term.

8:35: Would Carson be open to serving as Surgeon General or head of the Department of Health and Human Services? Carson says after 15,000 operations, he definitely not just looking for a job. He says our country is on the precipice and is about to go over the edge. He says we will go over that edge if we continue with politics as usual. He says we can’t tinker around the edges and get America’s economic engine rolling again. Carson says we are starting to lose sight of who we are because we are giving away our identity and values for the sake of political correctness. He says he has a vision that he thinks he shares with “we the people.” He says it would be difficult for him to serve in an administration that didn’t have the same vision.

8:33: Questioner asks Carson what his “big idea” would be if he is elected president. Carson says he has “multiple big ideas” and says that we have only 330 million people while China has 1.4 billion people and India has 1.1. billion. He says we have to compete with them on the world’s stage and can’t afford to waste any of our people. He says we can’t have so many Americans dropping out of high school and have 25% of the world’s inmates. He says for every one of the young people we can keep from going down the path of self-destruction, that is one more person we don’t have to be afraid/pay for, etc. His “big idea” would be not throwing away any of our people.

8:30: An undecided voter who works in the defense industry asks Carson about guns. He says he has just recently felt the need to own a gun and asks what his plan is to protect the American people and preserve his right to own a gun. He says the 2nd Amendment is there so people can assist the government in case of an invasion and people can protect themselves in case the government became tyrannical and tried to rule the people. He says we’ve had guns for hundreds of years and been free for hundreds of years and “I think there may be a correlation there.” He says politicians should be offering free gun lessons after terrorist attacks instead of trying to take them away. Carson says he has “multiple marksmanship awards” from ROTC and owns guns. He says he doesn’t  know if he has ever felt the need to have a gun but he likes having a gun.

8:27: Carson says he is more than qualified to handle the country’s national security. He says our system was designed for citizens and he says he has had more 2 am phone calls where he had to make life or death decisions than anybody. Carson says we need people who know how to solve problems and not people who can talk. Carson speaks about all of the innovation he has been responsible for at Johns Hopkins and the scholarship fund he has started. He says he has spent 18 years on Kellogg’s boar and 16 years on Costco’s. He mentions that a lot of politicians lack the experience he has had.

Town hall format is good for Carson unlike the debates, where he gets 10-seconds.

8:26: At Trump’s town hall event:

8:25: First questioner asks Carson how he would reconcile Christian values with the current GOP’s position on social issues, welfare. This is a Republican town hall event? Seriously?

Carson says it is not the government’s job to take care of everybody, take care of poverty, etc. He blasts the “War on Poverty” for creating more poverty, leading to more broken home and incarceration. He says he wishes the government would read the Constitution and says maybe they read the preamble (general welfare clause) and thought it meant putting everybody on welfare. Carson talks about out-of-wedlock births and says the education of the mother stops when they have the baby…. he says we should encourage mothers to go back to school and become independent to break the cycle of dependency. He says having people dependent on government is not compassionate.

8:24: Carson says a potential Justice’s life would be his litmus test.

8:23: Carson says he would nominate a Supreme Court Justice if he were president but that does not mean the Senate has to confirm his choice. He blasts the partisanship of the nominating process.

8:22: Carson says Apple has good reason not to trust the government “but we’re going to have to get over that” because radical Jihadists “want to destroy us.” He says there needs to be a public/private partnership when it comes to technology/cybersecurity because “we’re all at risk in a very significant way.” He says Apple needs to sit down with trustworthy members of the government–he says they may have to wait until the next president–and hammer out an agreement.

8:20: Carson says brain surgery is a lot  harder than politics. He says it’s been wonderful to meet so many people across the country and hear their concerns but it hasn’t been great dealing with the press.

8:07: Scalia commits that he won’t appoint anyone to the Supreme Court if they do not agree with Scalia on Heller.

8:05: Trump says that he has never done well in the WSJ poll — he says someone over there must not like him. He says he is “honored” by most of the poll results that  have him ahead.  Trump says he has had “great success” with lawsuits. He says he doesn’t know if he is going to have a lawsuit but he needs to keep people honest.

8:04: Interesting observation:

8:03: Trump again says what Cruz’s team did to Carson was “disgraceful” at MSNBC’s town hall event.

8:00: CNN’s Anderson Cooper will host tonight’s town hall with South Carolina voters.

7:55: CNN’s town hall with Messrs. Carson, Cruz and Rubio will start in five minutes. MSNBC will air Trump’s town hall event, which was recorded earlier, in the same time slot.

7:17: In an interview with Chris Matthews, Kasich can’t envision Trump being president. He says debates are a ridiculous way to pick a president.

7:15: From Swoyer in South Carolina: Roughly 3-4 thousand in Sumter, SC on Wednesday night to see Donald Trump:

Swoyer Trump SC

(Photo: Alex Swoyer/Breitbart News)

Video here: Trump in Sumter, SC

7:00: Must have occurred before Haley endorsed Rubio:

6:58: Univ. of South Carolina Rubio supporter: “A frightening number” of University of South Carolina students supporting Donald Trump.

C-SPAN’s Susan Swain asked a University of South Carolina student who supports Rubio after Rubio’s rally how much interest there is in the election on campus. He said there’s a lot of interest going around and a “frightening number of people like Donald Trump,” and he is in the camp of anybody who can catch Trump.

6:55: Rubio speaks to some supporters in Spanish, and he tells them that he has to get to CNN’s GOP forum un Greenville. A University of South Carolina students tells C-SPAN he is going to vote for Rubio over Bush.

6:50: Jeb! supporters want Bush to be more of a “Son-of-a-bitch” like Dubya:

[Tony Lee: I think Jeb!’s biggest mistake in the election cycle was going on the ridiculous Paleo diet (not deciding to wear glasses), which has been known to make people “low energy.” Maybe his advisers wanted him to look more metro, but a heftier Jeb Bush actually seems more robust/energetic and stronger, and it may have been tougher for Trump to dismiss him as a weak and effeminate loser who embodied many of the traits that Americans hate about those in the professional political/chattering class in D.C.]

6:35: Another South Carolina poll with Trump on top:

6:26: Rubio talks up American exceptionalism. Points out that our rights come from God and not from government. Rubio says we have to win the “future” in addition to the election. He says there’s an opportunity to grow the conservative movement. He says it is a lie that Democrats are the party of the working-class while Republicans are for rich people. He mentions that his mom was a maid and says Republicans need to be the party of maids, cab drivers, single mothers, young people, etc. Rubio calls on Americans to be the authors of what will be the greatest chapter in America’s history. Haley says “this is one of the many bruises” she’ll take for Rubio and asks the crowd to go to the polls in record numbers for Rubio. She urges the crowd to take photos of them and spread them on social media platforms like Instagram.

[But big-money donors on the left and right covet the comprehensive amnesty bill that Rubio championed. Will be a tough sell to working Americans.]

6:25: Scene at Rubio’s rally with Haley:

6:20: Another South Carolina poll has Trump on top:

6:12: Rubio says the first words his father learned in English were “I’m looking for work.” He says less than ten years after his parents came to the United States with nothing, they owned a home in a  safe neighborhood and lived to see their children do better than they did. Rubio says that’s Haley’s story and everyone else’s story in America. Rubio says the “vast majority” have a story like that–of parents who gave up everything so they could have a life they never had. Rubio says if we stay on the road we are on now, “we are going to be the first Americans that leave their children worse off…” Rubio mocks Sanders for being a Socialist. He blasts Hillary Clinton for being unqualified to be president because she put intelligence information on her server because she thinks she’s above the law and disqualified for lying to the families of the Benghazi victims.

Rubio says Scalia understood the Constitution is not a living/breathing document and Obama will not be able to replace Antonin Scalia.

Rubio says America needs to do what South Carolina is doing in attracting companies like Boeing and BMW and says the election is also about free enterprise, which can make poor people richer without making rich people poorer. [Good line].

Rubio says he will rebuild the U.S. military if he is elected president. He asks veterans to raise their hands so we can thank you for your service. He says what we are doing to our veterans today is “immoral” and says nobody will be fired after calls to the VA’s suicide hotline went to voicemail.

6:10: Rubio says he and his family have spent a lot of time in South Carolina as tourists on their drives to Washington. He says he has learned not to pick sides between South Carolina and Clemson. Rubio says last year the country learned why South Carolina is an inspiration for all. Rubio says the nation was inspired and moved when the victims of the Charleston tragedy forgave the killer.

6:08: Haley says she wants to share a “personal story.” She says she is “always trying to take care of South Carolina” and she felt vulnerable for the first time last year and “the people of South Carolina made us all strong.”  Haley says the presidential race is “serious” and thought first and foremost as a mom who wants her children to be safe while getting educational opportunities. She wanted someone, as a military wife, who will get the backs of the military and veterans. She says she wants a President who wants to stop the federal mandates like Obamacare and the EPA. She adds that she wants a President who understands they have to being a “conscience” back to our Republicans. Haley says Rubio is all about “term limits.” She says we have “good people in this race” but her job was to find the person who could do it the best. She says she wanted someone with fight, passion, and conviction to do the right thing but humble enough to remember that politicians work for all the people. She also wanted someone who could show her parents that the best decision they made was to come to America.

[Haley’s endorsement is a bit robotic and formulaic. No personal stories/anecdotes that make the endorsement more personal. Seems transactional.]

6:05: Shaw gets ready to introduce Haley as Haley and Rubio appear at the rally on the Marco Rubio buss.

6:00: At a Rubio campaign rally, former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw says Rubio is a “man of faith” at a time when “this country desperately needs it.” Shaw led many a comeback while he was Spurrier’s signal-caller, but Trump’s lead over Rubio seems insurmountable at this point.

5:45: Bloomberg Poll: Trump Still Has Commanding Lead in South Carolina:

Donald Trump holds a 19-point lead over Ted Cruz among those likely to vote in Saturday’s South Carolina Republican primary, with Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush locked in a close race for third and John Kasich showing no signs of a surge.

5:30: Rubio’s team wants Cruz to apologize to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Rubio communications director Alex Conant:

“Senator Cruz owes Trey Gowdy an apology. We can have honest policy disagreements, but instead Cruz campaign officials go on national TV and slander Trey Gowdy. To be clear: The Cruz campaign’s insults and accusations are nothing compared to the cases Trey Gowdy took on as a federal prosecutor. Today’s actions by Senator Cruz and those who speak for him are indicative of a campaign spiraling out-of-control in an all-out-effort to win at any costs, even if it means sacrificing the Senator’s integrity in the process. Voters will reject Senator Cruz’s campaign of personal insults, deceptions, push polls, and ads so misleading they can’t be aired.”

5:25: Trump to South Carolinians: Tell Gov. Haley You Don’t Want Syrian Refugees.

Trump says South Carolina has “a lot” of refugees and “you oughta tell your governor, ‘don’t let ’em move to South Carolina. You don’t want ’em in South Carolina.'” Trump says “we don’t know where they come from” and Gulf States should do more to fund refugee programs.

5:21: Trump’s message for Jeb!

5:17: Frustrated Jeb!: ‘I Should Stop Campaigning Maybe’

5:10: In Walterboro, South Carolina, Trump again emphasizes that he is self-funding his campaign and won’t be beholden to pharmaceutical companies. He also says he is the “most conservative” on the border and on “taking care of the vets.” He says he is the “most conservative” on Common Core and the Second Amendment.

5:02: Cruz overtakes Trump in NBC/Wall Street Journal’s national poll:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has fallen behind Ted Cruz in the national GOP horserace, according to a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

In the poll, Cruz is the first choice of 28 percent of Republican primary voters, while Trump gets 26 percent. They’re followed by Marco Rubio at 17 percent, John Kasich at 11 percent, Ben Carson at 10 percent and Jeb Bush at 4 percent.

5:00:  There he goes again. Kristol predicted that Trump would run behind Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Ron Paul (82, 908) received more votes in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2012 than Rubio (73, 197) did in 2016.

4:45: Drone stalled Hillary’s entrance to her Chicago rally:

4:43: Trump says “secret papers” may show that the Saudis knocked down the Twin Towers.

4:40: From CBS: Sanders met with Chair of the DNC’s black caucus:

As he seeks to make inroads with the African-American community, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders quietly met with a small group of about 50 prominent African-American community leaders in Michigan this week.

After speaking to two boisterous campaign rallies in the state Monday, Sanders made an unannounced visit at the Detroit home of Virgie Rollins, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s black caucus.

Michigan holds its primary on March 8, a week after Super Tuesday.

4:28: Matt Moore, the Chairman of the South Carolina GOP, says on MSNBC that Haley’s endorsement “could change the race” in South Carolina. But he concedes that Trump is leading in every poll and the real race is likely for second place. He says this is a “race like you’ve never seen.”

He says the Bush family is still very well-liked in South Carolina but “politics are very fickle” and South Carolinians are “picky prom dates.” Moore is doing his best to be diplomatic.

4:25: Does Biden regret not running?

4:20: New Cruz ad slams Rubio for his hypocritical flip flop on amnesty:

4:08: Former NAACP president and Sanders supporters Ben Jealous is arguing that “every part” of Sanders’s platform helps black Americans.

4:05: The SPLC, which manufactures hate for profit and fun, in action:

4:03: Flashback: Hillary dabs on Ellen:

4:02: Jeb!, who rooted for the Denver Broncos because Peyton Manning donated to him, dabs:

3:50: GOP Establishment panicking, worried that they are running out of time to stop Trump.

3:42: Matt Boyle from South Carolina:

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a blistering rebuke at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the establishment-backed non-conservative frontrunner here in South Carolina, after it has come to light Rubio repeatedly skipped vote after vote after vote on important bills related to national security and defense policy.

3:40: John Nolte on Trump’s Colbert appearance

The left-wing extremists at Salon are worried about Donald Trump. Unlike pretty much every other Republican ever created, the Late Night crowd can’t lay a glove on The Donald. Moreover, Trump is unafraid to enter that realm because he knows he can beat them at their own game. The left-wing cabal that makes up our Comedian Class have finally bumped into a Republican they cannot damage. Leftists like those at Salon understand how crucial a political weapon this is, and not having it in 2016 is a major liability.

3:38: Staging for one of Trump’s campaign events today in South Carolina:

Mr. Trump's staging today in #sc includes bales of hay for the podium and camo-esque bunting.

A photo posted by Phil Elliott (@philelliott) on

3:33: Jeb! “disappointed” that Haley endorsed Rubio:

3:30: Interesting Tweet re: Rubio’s controlled appearances:

3:25: US News & World Report: All dynasties must end, and it could be true for the Bush family in South Carolina.

3:23: John Kasich won’t be in South Carolina on primary day. He’ll be in Massachusetts. 

3:18: More email headaches for Hillary:

One of the classified email chains discovered on Hillary Clinton’s personal unsecured server discussed an Afghan national’s ties to the CIA and a report that he was on the agency’s payroll, a U.S. government official with knowledge of the document told Fox News.

The discussion of a foreign national working with the U.S. government raises security implications – an executive order signed by President Obama said unauthorized disclosures are “presumed to cause damage to the national security.”

3:15: USA Today/Suffolk Poll: Trump Beats Clinton in Potential General Election Matchup:

• Clinton loses by 2 points to Trump (43%-45%)

3:10: Team Jeb! had been working hard to get Haley’s endorsement:

3:00: Bernie Sanders supporters are launching their very own dating site.

Supporters of the Democratic presidential candidate who are hoping to “Feel the Bern” of love can head over to BernieSingles.com. “Do you love Bernie? Do you need a lover?” the dating site asks.

Gloria Steinem said young women were supporting Bernie Sanders because “the boys are with Bernie.” Model Emily Ratajkowski shot back at Steinem while introducing Sanders at a campaign event in New Hampshire, saying, “I’m not here for the boys.” The site may give new meaning to “feel the bern.”

2:57: Al Sharpton has met with Sanders and Clinton, but he is not ready to endorse yet:

“I have not decided who I will support for president,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I think we are in the midst of a process, and that process has to be detailed policy and that process has to include collective gathering.”

2:55: Vermont’s black leaders are slamming Sanders for ignoring them:

Back in 2006, the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, a Brattleboro area civil rights organization hosted a Candidate Night. The race for the open U.S. Senate seat between Bernie Sanders and Richard Tarrant, a Republican and one of the wealthiest people in the state, had grown increasingly acrimonious.

The audience of African-American activists and other Vermonters of color should have been a friendly one for the socialist congressman.

Instead, remembers Curtiss Reed Jr., the executive director of the group, it became something of a showdown. Sanders “was just really dismissive of anything that had to do with race and racism, saying that they didn’t have anything to do with the issues of income inequality,” Reed told The Daily Beast.

2:52: Trump mocks Bush’s image makeover:

2:50: Jeb seems frustrated on the campaign trail.

2:45: Haley will reportedly formally endorse Rubio at his campaign event this evening and will hit the campaign trail with him in the remaining days.

2:40 pm: Tony Lee: In 2012, Haley endorsed Mitt Romney, who lost South Carolina to Newt Gingrich. It is also worth nothing that Haley, who had been mired in middle of the pack for much of her 2010 gubernatorial primary campaign, would never have won the primary and the general election had it not been for Sarah Palin’s endorsement. In fact, it can be argued that a lot of the bad blood between the professional conservatives and the grassroots started in 2010 when the professional D.C. conservatives realized how little influence they actually had compared to politicians like Palin who resonated with conservative voters.

2:37 pm: Tony Lee: After her GOP-loathing response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Haley came under considerable fire, especially for her comments about resisting the “siren call” of the angriest voices. While defending her State of the Union response, Haley said she had “disagreements with other presidential candidates” and mentioned that “Marco Rubio believes in amnesty, which I don’t. There’s lots of things.”

Haley later walked back those remarks, saying that “it’s been a long couple of days. What I said was that I didn’t agree with him. I meant what I didn’t agree with him was on the Gang of Eight bill. I said that he wasn’t for amnesty. That’s not what I meant. What I meant was that he supported the Gang of Eight bill and I did not.”

2:35 pm:  Ann Coulter blasts Haley’s Rubio endorsement:

2:25 pm – Jeb, right after Haley’s endorsement of Rubio, focuses fire on the junior Senator:

2:21 pm – Cruz campaigning hard on Trump’s cease-and-desist.

2:17 pm – Jeb Bush’s thoughts on Nikki Haley’s endorsement–and what it means if he didn’t get it.

2:15 pm – Lindsey Graham introducing Jeb at South Carolina rally.

2:12 pm – Hillary embraces the “Hillarycare” moniker of her doomed 1990s healthcare proposals. She says she “took on” the big drug companies with that effort.

2:01 pm – Hillary slams Republicans on Scalia’s SCOTUS replacement. Says Obama and the Senate have an “obligation” to nominate and act on the nomination.

1:57 pm – “No bank is too big to fail, and no executive is too big to jail!” –Hillary

1:56 pm – Slight cough from Hillary in Chicago.

1:52 pm – Nikki Haley will endorse Rubio. Terry Branstad’s endorsement did not lead to a Trump win in Iowa; will Haley break that streak?

1:50 pm – Hillary says that she will spend effort every single day as president to fight for gun control.

1:48 pm – Hillary just said that Charleston shooter Dylann Roof bought his gun through a “loophole” — that after 3 days, he got to get his gun without a background check.

1:46 pm – Orrin Hatch weighs in on the Cruz natural born citizen controversy:

1:43 pm – Hillary goes hard on Black Lives Matter narrative in Chicago speech: name drops Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice.

1:42 pm – National Review says that Raul Labrador from the Freedom Caucus will endorse Cruz.

1:38 pm – The Hill has a quick snipe at the handouts from Cruz’s press conference:

1:36 pm – Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra Bland’s mother, introducing Clinton: says she “kept her poise” through the “stress” of Benghazi and her email investigation. More important issue: the so-called gender pay gap.

1:34 pm – Hillary Clinton’s Chicago event begins now, with Hillary taking the stage to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.”

1:33 pm – Rep. Pete King has a colorful metaphor for the Cruz-Trump rivalry:

1:26 pm – New USA Today/Suffolk University poll has Hillary over Sanders, 50-40, but that ten-point gap was a 27-point one just two months ago. The Republican field is Trump 35%, Cruz 20%, Rubio 17%, and all the rest in single digits.

1:17 pm – Trump responds to Cruz’s lawsuit taunt–with a diminutive nickname.

1:15 pm – Hillary Clinton will soon speak in Chicago, courting black voters with an appearance by Sandra Bland’s mother. Lana Shadwick reports for Breitbart News:

Hillary Clinton is in Chicago on Wednesday to court the minority vote and use the suicide of a young black woman in a Texas jail to do so. The mother of Sandra Bland is expected to join her at the rally in a Bronzeville, Illinois, neighborhood.

1:08 pm – Trump says Republicans lost in 2012 because Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. The New York Times reports:

Donald J. Trump on Wednesday blamed Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate for costing Republicans the 2012 presidential election.

“That was the end of that campaign, when they chose Ryan,” Mr. Trump said at a town-hall-style setting in Bluffton, S.C., about the Wisconsin congressman who is now the House speaker. “That was the end of the campaign. I said, ‘You gotta be kidding.”

1:06 pm – Cruz puts out a brutal new attack ad showing Rubio and Obama reciting the same talking points to defend Gang of 8.

12:52 pm – PHOTO: the text of Cruz’s legal representative responding to Trump’s cease-and-desist: “The truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim… To the contrary, we now plan to air the ad with greater frequency.”

12:47 pm – Cruz campaign announces Lee’s presence officially.

12:46 pm – Spox says Mike Lee will also campaign with Cruz.

12:37 pm – Cruz presser morphing into a general stump speech now.

12:35 pm – As Cruz continues his press conference, Rubio announces that Sen. Mike Lee will appear at a campaign event in Greenville, SC.

12:26 pm – Cruz presser takes aim at Rubio now.

12:12 pm – Ted Cruz reveals at a press conference that Donald Trump has sent a cease and desist letter on a campaign ad depicting Trump as pro-abortion.

12:02 pm Politico writes of a new Monmouth poll: Trump is “blowing out rivals in South Carolina.” The report states:

Trump’s advantage extends to nearly every demographic group surveyed, including among men (36 percent), women (34 percent), voters younger than 50 (34 percent), voters older than 50 (35 percent), voters in military veteran households (38 percent) and non-veterans (32 percent). Among evangelical Christians, Trump led with 33 percent support. He also leads non-evangelicals with 37 percent.

11:47 am – Hillary Clinton attacks Bernie Sanders’ plans for free public universities, as they will leave private black colleges “out in the cold.” These attacks came as Sanders spoke at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

11:45 am – Alex Swoyer in South Carolina reports:

Donald Trump repeated his attacks on Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who bashed Trump on Fox News Wednesday morning during Trump’s town hall in Bluffton, South Carolina.

“You have one of the worse representatives of any representative in the United States,” Trump said to his supporters in South Carolina about their Senator Lindsey Graham.

“I don’t think he could run for dog catcher in this state and win,” Trump added. “He’s a terrible representative for this state.”

11:43 am – On Breitbart News Daily this morning, Kellyanne Conway, the head of a pro-Cruz Super PAC, predicted Donald Trump will win the South Carolina primary.

“Trump wins, but not by the dramatic margins that he got in New Hampshire, not by the dramatic margins that some of these polls show,” she said.  Cruz and then Rubio appear poised to take second and third respectively, according to Conway.

Our full report and audio here.

11:41 am – Ben Carson gets his first congressional endorsement: “Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, threw his support to Carson and joined him on the trail here at a town hall on veterans’ issues.”

11:30 am – New PPP poll has some bad news for Hillary:

Bernie Sanders is ten points behind in Michigan, neck-and-neck in Oklahoma, up seven in Massachusetts, and up 76 in his home state of Vermont.

The silver lining for Clinton is that the poll finds she leads among black voters in southern states by anywhere from 40-59 points.

11:03 am – Trump at SC town hall: “Torture works … water boarding is not enough.”

CNN is certain this will be a big problem for Trump.

10;57 am – Clinton News Network tries to turn Hillary’s bizarre barking into something cool.

10:43 am – Despite the post-debate SC polls, The Weekly Standard has anecdotal evidence…

10:33 am – All 3 cable networks cover Trump’s live South Carolina town hall

Trump blasted Fox News as “the worst” during this town hall.

10:26 am – Rubio and Sanders are strongest general election candidates in North Carolina – Trump weakest.

Republicans continue to be favored in the general election in North Carolina. Clinton trails the major GOP hopefuls by anywhere from 1-9 points. Easily the strongest Republican for the general would be Rubio, who leads Clinton 49/40. The weakest would be Trump, who leads Clinton just 44/43. Cruz (46/43) and Bush (44/42) lead Clinton by small margins as well. Sanders does better in the general election contests, trailing Rubio 45/41 and tying Cruz at 43 while holding small leads over Trump (44/42) and Bush (43/42).

10:21 am – Sanders speaker: a “uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president.”

10:15 am – Clinton leads Sanders in North Carolina but race is tightening.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton still has a substantial lead, but things are tightening. Clinton has 52% to 35% for Bernie Sanders. The race is essentially tied among white voters- Clinton 43, Sanders 42- but Clinton continues to have a substantial advantage with African Americans at 64/24. Those splits are very similar to what we found for Clinton and Sanders in South Carolina. Clinton led 59/26 a month ago and Sanders is making progress in the state both with white and black voters.

10:10 am – Trump leads in North Carolina.

Trump leads with 29% to 19% for Ted Cruz, 16% for Marco Rubio, 11% for John Kasich, 9% for Ben Carson, and 7% for Jeb Bush. Trump’s actually seen a 9 point decline from his standing in the state last month. Kasich has the most momentum, with a 9 point increase in his support. Rubio is up 5 points and Cruz is up 3 points compared to last month, while Carson and Bush have pretty much stayed in place. …

One big thing Trump has going for him is that he has the most committed supporters. 68% of his voters say they’ll definitely end up casting their ballot for him, while none of the other candidates have more than 51% of their voters saying they’re ‘firmly committed’ to them.

9:56 am – Ted Cruz distances himself from fraudulent Facebook post

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is denouncing a Facebook page that suggests Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) regrets endorsing Marco Rubio, after Rubio suggested Cruz’s campaign was behind the incident.

“Our campaign had absolutely nothing to do with this fraudulent Facebook post,” Cruz said Tuesday. “This kind of deception is deplorable and nothing like it would be tolerated by this campaign.”

9:52 – Trump blasts Fox News as “biased” and “disgusting”

9:46 am – Lefties freak out over Jeb Bush gun tweet

Tuesday afternoon former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tweeted out a photo of a pistol with his name engraved on it. Along with the photo, Bush added one word: “AMERICA.”

Naturally, lefties completely freaked out.

The pistol was  manufactured by a plant Bush toured that same day:

9:44 am – Late Night’s Stephen Colbert is so starved for ratings, he is allowing Trump to phone in:

9:40 am – Trump takes to Twitter to blast Jeb supporter Lindsey Graham (and Fox News):

9:33 am – NBC News looks at the polls and asks, “Is Trump on the Verge of his Biggest Victory Yet?

Three days to go until Saturday’s Republican primary in South Carolina, and all of the polling out there suggests that Donald Trump is in clear command of the race. The latest poll via CNN: Trump 38%, Ted Cruz 22%, Marco Rubio 14%, Jeb Bush 10%. And if Trump pulls it off — remember, the polling was right in New Hampshire, but off in Iowa — it would be his biggest victory yet.

9:12 am – Nothing on the left-wing Politico’s front page is interesting enough to post here.

9:07 am – Outsiders win 70% of GOP support in Nevada. Jeb Bush is at 1%.

9:03 am – Two supporters who handled a protester at a Trump event get invited on stage by The Donald himself. And the crowd goes wild.

Trump is 20 steps ahead of a DC Media that intended to use a guilt-by-association narrative against him. This is what the media did to McCain in ’08 with his crowds, although most of those stories were lies.

9:00 am – REMINDER: Competing Republican town halls tonight

In yet another aggressive move that will thrill Trump supporters, late Tuesday morning, Jesse Rodriguez, Senior Producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,”  announced a town hall event with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump that will take place Wednesday night at 8 p.m. The night will be hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The MSNBC town hall will compete directly with CNN’s long-schedule town hall with Trump’s two closest  competitors, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

8:58 am – More women troubles for Bill and Hillary

The book promises to recall a series of unguarded conversations in which she claims Bill revealed his wife’s preference for female lovers.

As far-fetched as her accusations may appear, she remains convinced that Hillary Clinton is behind a plot to silence her ahead of the November election.

But it will also lay bare what Miller,  describes as a decades-long Democrat campaign to discredit and harass her that began when she first revealed the affair in 1992, a campaign she claims has now reached such perverse depths that she actually fears for her life.

The twice-divorced 77-year-old took to social media in recent weeks to post an extraordinary warning that if she dies by ‘suicide’ no-one should believe it.

8:47 – Sanders and Clinton now tied nationwide: 44-42%.

8:32 am – NYT op-ed: “Donald Trump’s Secret? Channeling Andrew Jackson

What Mr. Trump borrows from Jackson is not an issue, but a way of thinking about the world. Mr. Trump promises to fix his supporters’ problems, no matter who else is hurt. He’s a wealthy celebrity always ready for a fight, a superpatriot who says he will make America great again. He vows to attack government corruption and defend the common man. All this could be said of Jackson. …

Jackson had a captivating style, and not just because of his wild hair. He did what he wanted, and demanded respect. In an 1806 duel, he shot and killed a man who had insulted him in a newspaper. Mr. Trump’s Twitter broadsides at his critics are gentle by comparison.

Like Mr. Trump, Jackson made his fortune in real estate. He bought and sold vast tracts of Southern land in concert with wealthy friends. If desirable land was owned by Indians, Jackson bullied or bribed them into selling it cheap.

 

8:22 am – Trump overnight Tweet-storm targets Obama, Megyn Kelly

 

8:13 am – Polls are only bad news for Jeb Bush.

Jeb’s at 1% in Nevada and averages out to a 4th place showing in South Carolina.  South Carolina is supposed to be Bush Country. A fourth place showing Saturday night with a 1% showing in Nevada Tuesday is pretty much the end of the former Florida governor.

8:07 am – Bad news for Hillary in Nevada. Latest polls show her tied with Bernie.

8:05 am – Hillary Clinton up +18 in South Carolina.

8:03 am – SC Trump supporter: “We’re voting with our middle finger.”

8:00 am – Trump leads by +17, +17 , and +18 points in three new post-debate South Carolina polls. The South Carolina primary is this coming Saturday. So much for another Media/Establishment myth.

7:55 am – Trump enjoys massive lead in Nevada, where he beats second, third, and fourth place combined. The Nevada Caucus takes place Tuesday, February 23.

7:50 am – Trump hits highest number nationally in latest Quinnipiac Poll. He’s at 39% in a six person field and beats second place (Rubio -19%) and third place (Cruz – 18%) combined.

After meeting with Al Sharpton and the National Urban League’s Marc Morial on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton will give a much-hyped race speech in Harlem where she will reportedly propose a $2 billion plan to end the “school-to-prison” pipeline. Clinton and Sanders are battling for the support of black voters in key states like South Carolina. Two new polls (CBS and Public Policy Polling) have Clinton with a 20-point lead over Sanders in South Carolina, but Sanders has been closing the gap. Clinton led Sanders by nearly 40 points in January. Though Clinton and Sanders are virtually tied among white voters in South Carolina, Clinton leads Sanders by 40 points among black voters in the PPP poll.

The Public Policy Polling poll had Donald Trump with a commanding 18-point lead (35%-18% over Sen. Ted Cruz) in South Carolina.

On Saturday, South Carolina will hold its GOP primary while Democrats caucus in Nevada.

Republicans will caucus in Nevada on Feb. 23 (Tuesday) and Democrats will have their primary in South Carolina on Feb. 27 (Saturday).

Posts are signed by the individual author.

11:10 — Tony Lee: Trump slams Fox News’s dynamic anti-Trump duo:

1o:55 — Tony Lee: Betsy Sharp, the daughter of Annabel Hill, whose farm Donald Trump saved in the 1980s, praised Trump at a Tuesday campaign rally in South Carolina. She said her family would have never been able to keep their farm “if it wasn’t for Trump’s kind heart.”

“He cares about farmers and veterans. He truly wants to make America great again and if we help him, we can get there,” she told the crowd. “So I want y’all to know that.”

Read more about it here:

One narrative emerging around the surprisingly resilient Donald Trump portrays the brash billionaire as a final card laid down by Republican blue-collar voters who see their way of life — and their political clout — draining away in a bathtub spiral.

Trump has been a man of last resort before. Right here in Georgia, in fact. And if his Republican presidential machine doesn’t seize upon the tale in the next few weeks, as he and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas battle for Southern votes, then someone in the Trump campaign will be guilty of gross incompetence.

[…]

On Feb. 4, Lenard Dozier Hill III, a third-generation occupant of his cotton-and-soybean acreage, was about to have his land sold out from under him. ”That morning, it was going to be auctioned off at the courthouse steps, so he committed suicide,” said Betsy Sharp, his daughter.

In the bedroom of the Hill home, along with the .22-caliber rifle that did the work, was a neat stack of life insurance policies and other papers on the nightstand. Hill had intended for the life insurance payout to cover most of his $300,000 debt and so save the family farm for another generation.

It was a grievous miscalculation. Most, if not all, life insurance policies include a clause that prohibits payment in cases of suicide. “He didn’t realize all that,” Sharp said.

Hill’s desperate act struck a chord. Reporters and TV crews descended on the Waynesboro church where the funeral was held. Vandals painted “farmer killer” on the door of the local bank.

Once the family realized the financial futility of Hill’s suicide, the burden of saving the farm fell on his widow, Annabel Hill, a 66-year-old teacher and social worker with gray hair and large glasses.

[…]

Trump told the Atlanta businessman that his wife, Ivana, had seen the report on the Hill family’s plight on the network news, and she suggested that he get involved. The magnate summoned Argenbright and the Hills to New York. After a brief interview, Trump signed onto the cause.

[…]

The Annabel Hill episode was just a small piece of the farm crisis. In the two months that followed, 85 other farms in Burke County alone were scheduled for foreclosure. Other celebrities attempted rescues as well — Willie Nelson’s series of Farm Aid concerts had begun the year before.

But this was the moment that Donald Trump, who had already put his name on the New York City skyline, introduced himself to rural America.

10:40 — Tony Lee: Per NBC News, Bush and Rubio helping GOP consultants send their kids to expensive colleges. Not getting much bang for the buck though:

The biggest overall ad spenders

Team Bush: $80.9 million
Team Rubio: $50.4 million
Team Sanders: $25 million
Team Clinton: $20 million
Team Cruz: $16.8 million
Team Trump: $8.5 million

The biggest South Carolina ad spenders

Team Bush: $12.8 million
Team Rubio: $11.1 million
Team Cruz: $8.1 million
Team Trump: $1.3 million
Team Sanders: $878,000
Team Clinton: $712,000
Team Carson: $696,000

The biggest Nevada ad spenders

Team Clinton: $3.3 million
Team Sanders: $3.2 million
Team Rubio: $560,000

10:35 — Tony Lee: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Says Sanders won’t win nomination.

Sanders is drawing a lot of young people to his rallies, but it doesn’t seem like he can connect enough with black voters to get the overwhelming support he needs to knock off Clinton, who will get many votes by default because she isn’t fumbling the ball while appealing to black voters even though she is way too much prose on the stump. Soulful poetry is something that Clinton doesn’t know how to do on the campaign trail, but she has enough talking points and the support of black establishment leaders to run out the clock unless Sanders can up his game really quickly in the next couple of weeks.

10:30 — Tony Lee: Killer Mike at Sanders rally: Having a Uterus Doesn’t Qualify You to Be President

Before he introduced Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at a Morehouse College rally on Tuesday, rapper Killer Mike, who has endorsed Sanders, quoted a progressive woman who told him that having a uterus does not qualify Hillary Clinton to be President.

8:10 — Tony Lee: The Rubio campaign is attacking the Cruz campaign for its “dishonest push-polls” with robo-calls, according to Time:

The campaign of Marco Rubio is accusing rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz of using “dishonest push-polls” to attack their candidate, releasing a robo-call of their own to “alert” voters in South Carolina to the supposed effort.

The Cruz campaign said “it is the height of hypocrisy for the Rubio campaign to put out a robocall that lies to South Carolina voters and then falsely accuse the Cruz campaign of the same thing… Obviously Rubio would rather spend time and money running negative robocalls than talking about his record. Perhaps it’s because if voters knew Rubio still supports amnesty, skipped votes on defense spending and defunding Planned Parenthood, and voted for John Kerry to be Secretary of State, they’d prefer someone who’s a consistent conservative like Ted Cruz.”

7:50 — Tony Lee: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) insists Trump will not be president. I wonder if Booker thinks he could have won the Democratic nomination had he run:

“I’ve been wrong on everything about Trump, I’ve been wrong about everything on the Republican side of the ledger,” he continued. “But allow me — with that caveat — to made the prediction that Donald Trump will not be the president of the United States. It just will not happen.”

7:40 — Tony Lee: Cruz campaign prepared for potential Trump lawsuit challenging Cruz’s eligibility, but confident it will not have standing.

7:30 — Tony Lee: Moyers & Company: Marco Rubio Is The Mainstream Media’s Horse in GOP Primary:

But, let’s face it. He isn’t back because he was so brilliant last Saturday night, wielding some sort of rapier wit or intellectual superiority or a plethora of ideas. The New York Times, which hasn’t had much of a Rubio crush, save for a small post-Iowa lapse, found him lackluster. No. He’s back because the media desperately need him to come back to save the Republic from Trump and Cruz. The media, who are usually just content to stir up some trouble so that they can cover it, have got a horse in this race, and they are going to keep whipping him to the finish line, even after he stumbles.

It’s enough to give you whiplash.

7:18 — Tony Lee: Trump blasts Obama for not even saying “radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump again defends his temporary ban on Muslims in South Carolina. “Just take a look at Europe… with the tremendous crime rate, the tremendous problems,” he says. Trump mocks claims that only 10% of refugees will cause problems and points out that just two people in San Bernardino terrorized a community in the terror attacks.

“If I get in, they’re going back,” he says of the Muslim refugees. “They’re going back.”

7:15 — Tony Lee: Even the Huffington Post mocks the pro-Rubio media outlets on the right and the mainstream media reporters who rely on Rubio aides as background sources for insisting that a “Rubio surge” is just around the corner.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio hasn’t won a Republican presidential primary yet, but his press team has done an incredible job of convincing the media he will do so any day now.

Mickey Kaus called them out earlier in the day:

[These are the GOP establishment consultants and and their mini-mes who years ago were so tone deaf that they did not even realize that some voters, of all races, may not like incessantly hearing about “makers and takers.” These people think the way to win minorities is to have Paul Ryan give power point presentations about D.C.’s voucher program. These people were responsible for Romney losing the Asian-American vote by a greater margin than the Hispanic vote. And now these poll-driven folks insist that Rubio is the candidate who can best win over minorities (because he knows who Tupac was?) without any polling data to back that up.]

7:10 — Tony Lee: Spike Lee for Bernie:

Spike Lee will vote for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming US presidential election – partly, he says, because he fears what Republican frontrunner Donald Trump would do if he had access to the “nuclear football”.

When asked who he would be voting for in November’s election, the director, speaking at the Berlin film festival press conference for his new film, Chi-Raq, recalled a fundraiser he once threw for Bill Clinton. Accompanying the president at the time was an aide with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. Lee believed that this was the “nuclear football”, which allows the US president to authorise a nuclear attack while away from the White House.

“I always thought it was a myth. It scared the shit out of me,” Lee said. “Can you imagine Donald Trump having that power? Press some numbers into that and we’re all out of here. You’re fired … for real!”

7:05 — Tony Lee: White millennials for Bernie. Race will be interesting if minority millennials start supporting Sanders:

About 75 percent of white millennials back Sanders, and 22 percent support Clinton. She earns 64 percent support from African-Americans between 18 and 34 years old, and Sanders takes 25 percent.

The narrative that “millennials like Bernie, hate Hillary” is only about white millennials. https://t.co/onJHADhnDC pic.twitter.com/xN2DpyJAzO

— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) February 16, 2016

 

7:01: Trump says he would tax Carrier 35% on each air conditioner if it moves to Mexico under his presidency. Trump discusses cybersecurity and says China probably has Clinton’s emails.

7:00: Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), whom the GOP establishment in Congress has often targeted, endorses Cruz:

“Ted Cruz is a full spectrum conservative that the people of Kansas should rally behind,” said Huelskamp. “I have seen Senator Cruz stand up for conservative principles in Washington time and time again. Whether it’s President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, Obamacare, or massive deficit spending, we can count on Ted to start making positive reforms his first day in office. He is not one of those ‘campaign conservatives’ who are all talk – he is a proven, principled conservative.”

“I am thrilled to have the support of Congressman Huelskamp,” said Cruz. “He is a man that has stood up to the Washington Cartel and fought for conservative principles. Tim has been a stalwart leader in the House of Representatives on issues that matter most for conservatives. From life, to fighting to repeal Obamacare, I know I can count on Tim’s conservative, principled leadership.”

6:53 — Tony Lee: Trump says politicians are “bad news” and what the Cruz campaign did to Carson in Iowa was one of the “most despicable things” he has ever seen.

6:50 — Tony LeeThomas Sowell endorses Cruz: 

Senator Ted Cruz has been criticized in this column before, and will undoubtedly be criticized here again. But we can only make our choices among those actually available, and Senator Cruz is the one who comes to mind when depth and steadfastness come to mind.

As someone who once clerked for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he will know how important choosing Justice Scalia’s replacement will be. And he has the intellect to understand much more.

6:42 — Tony Lee: Trump references Nikki Haley’s speech about resisting the siren call of the angriest voices. Trump says he and his supporters are not “angry people” but just “angry” at the stupidity of Washington. Trump says he is not going to say he is “thrilled” at the way the country is going and is “angry” that the country is $19 trillion in debt. He says he is also “angry” at Republicans for funding Obama’s executive amnesty and refugee program. “It’s going to be a whole different story [if I win the White House],” Trump says.

6:40 — Tony Lee: Trump again says refugees may be the “ultimate Trojan horse” and there must be safe zones in the Middle East. “We cannot let these people come in under any circumstances. It can’t happen. We have to have a strong country again. We have to be vigilant.” Trump says Europe is a “disaster.”

6:38 — Tony Lee: While GOP candidates fight in South Carolina, Kasich is eyeing Michigan:

While Michigan might seem a receptive state for Mr. Kasich’s moderate message, Mitt Romney, who was also courting the centrist vote and whose father had been Michigan’s governor, won only a narrow victory over the more conservative Rick Santorum in the state’s 2012 primary. Mr. Romney had criticized Mr. Santorum for trying to recruit Democrats to vote for him; Michigan allows voters to cast ballots in either primary..

Much of the challenge facing Mr. Kasich is raising his profile, especially because he has not thrived during televised debates. That challenge exists in Michigan just as it does in the rest of the country.

6:35 — Tony Lee: Trump blasts Hillary for barking like a dog: “A joke.”

6:32 — Tony Lee: Trump: Under Obama, ‘Our Borders Are Like Swiss Cheese’

In South Carolina, Trump blasts Obama and says under Obama, “our borders are like Swiss cheese.” Trump says he is taking Obama’s comments about how Trump will never become president “as a great compliment.”

6:3o — Tony Lee: Frenchman Thomas Piketty (author of Capital in the 21st Century) gushes over Bernie’s candidacy:

Sanders makes clear he wants to restore progressive taxation and a higher minimum wage ($15 an hour). To this he adds free healthcare and higher education in a country where inequality in access to education has reached unprecedented heights, highlighting a gulf standing between the lives of most Americans, and the soothing meritocratic speeches pronounced by the winners of the system.

Meanwhile, the Republican party sinks into a hyper-nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam discourse (even though Islam isn’t a great religious force in the country), and a limitless glorification of the fortune amassed by rich white people. The judges appointed under Reagan and Bush have lifted any legal limitation on the influence of private money in politics, which greatly complicates the task of candidates like Sanders.

However, new forms of political mobilization and crowdfunding can prevail and push America into a new political cycle. We are far from gloomy prophecies about the end of history.

6:20 — Tony Lee: Ted Cruz releases a web video attacking Trump as a candidate who can’t be trusted to protect the right to life.

6:18 — Tony Lee: Sanders says Clinton’s comparison of Sanders’s supporters to the Tea Party is “silly.” “There’s no comparison.”

6:15 — Tony Lee: Donald Trump introduced Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz to his future wife (model Lindsay Clubine), and the Boston hurler is now a big supporter of Trump’s presidential bid:

Buchholz has become a big supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign

“Every time we’re in New York, we walk over to Trump Tower and see him if he’s around,” he said.

Asked if he supported Trump for president, Buchholz gave an enthusiastic, “Absolutely!”

“He says what a lot of people think and don’t say,” Buchholz said. “I like that part of him.

“I’m not really into politics, but I’m watching a lot more now. He’s been awesome to me. He says what’s on his mind, which is why he’s accomplished so much in his life.

“I always found him to be a good-hearted person. He’s a lot of fun, but he’s obviously one of the smartest businessmen in the world, given what he’s been able to accomplish.

“His presence is different than anyone else. He speaks and everyone listens.”

 

 

Trump for President!

A photo posted by @lindsayclubine on

6:10 — Tony Lee: Will large crowds in South Carolina translate into votes for Trump like in New Hampshire?

6:08 — Tony Lee: Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer Endorses Cruz:

According to the Cruz campaign, “Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, and the first living United States Marine in 41 years to be honored. A school-trained sniper and highly skilled Marine infantryman, Sgt. Meyer deployed twice to combat duty. On September 8, 2009, during a six-hour firefight, without regard for his own personal safety, Sgt. Meyer repeatedly braved enemy fire in Afghanistan to find and save fellow members of his team. Wounded by shrapnel, Sgt. Meyer entered the kill zone numerous times to evacuate his fellow Marines and soldiers along with the Afghan soldiers.”

“This election is a turning point for our country,” said Meyer. “In these dangerous times we need a strong, principled conservative in the White House. We need a Commander-in-Chief who works with our allies and makes it known that certain actions against the United States and its allies will not be tolerated. I am confident that Ted Cruz has the ability and resolve to be Commander-in-Chief. His record of standing up and fighting for what he believes in shows that he is not someone who buckles under pressure. Ted is ready to led this country – and I look forward to help uniting conservatives and veterans behind this campaign.”

“Dakota is a man of great courage and principle,” said Cruz. “He has served our country dutifully and honorably as a Sergeant in the Marines. Dakota understands the extreme impact this election has on the future of this country. We need to restore America’s leadership in the world at a time when Obama’s foreign policy has put America and it’s national security interests in jeopardy. I am honored to have Dakota’s support and have him as part of our team to help win the White House in 2016.”

6:00 — Tony Lee: Oh, Canada: The Best Campaign Operatives money can buy, folks. Via the Vancouver Sun: 

Marco Rubio, currently running third in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, must be hoping that scenic Vancouver can give him a push past frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

The Florida senator’s latest campaign ad, titled Morning Again in America, opens with three seconds of beautiful stock footage featuring our skyline and harbour.

“It’s morning again in America,” says the narrator as a tugboat zips through the water in front of familiar Vancouver landmarks like the Harbour Centre, One Wall Centre and Port Metro Vancouver cranes.

It’s unmistakably Vancouver.

[It’s been funny watching all of the crony GOP consultants defending and hyping up Rubio like their  livelihoods and cronyism depend on it. ]

5:55 — Tony Lee: Much has been made of Hillary Clinton’s supposed “firewall” re: black voters, but Clinton may be losing faith in her “Latino Firewall” in Nevada:

What’s going on here? There’s a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is that the Clinton campaign isn’t as confident that the state is “Hillary country” as it once was, and is trying to get its supporters to lower their expectations in advance by making it sound like New Hampshire.

But the longer answer is that it’s worth taking these concerns somewhat seriously: Clinton staffers aren’t the only people in Nevada who think Latinos will punch below their weight on Saturday and might even make up a smaller share of the caucuses than they did in 2008.

That’s not good for Nevada’s claim as the first diverse state to hold a Democratic nominating contest. And it might even force the state to lose its early-caucus status entirely — further diminishing the influence of the Latino vote on Democratic primaries.

5:40 — Tony Lee: Obama says he knows “Hillary better than I know Bernie” because she served in his administration and was an “outstanding Secretary of State.” He says “Bernie and Hillary agree on a lot of stuff.” Obama was asked about Sanders’s past criticisms of him at a Rancho Mirage, California press conference. He said Hillary may agree with him more on certain issues while Sanders may agree more with on others. Obama said he wants “this primary” process to play itself out but may ultimately have an opinion on the race.

5:35 — Tony Lee: President Obama says he doesn’t “believe that Mr. Trump will be President” because “I have a lot of faith in the American people.” But Obama doesn’t say that Trump will not win the nomination.

5:10 — Tony Lee: Jeb! Tweets:

5:05 — Tony Lee: In an interview with Extra’s Mario Lopez, Rubio says he will support the GOP’s presidential nominee–“even if it’s Trump or Cruz.” But he says he will win the nomination.

5:00 — Tony Lee: Interesting observations before Sanders’s speech at Morehouse.

4:55 — Tony Lee: Top Georgia Dem Flips to Bernie: 

State Sen. Vincent Fort, the No. 2 Democrat in the Georgia Senate, flipped his endorsement on Tuesday from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders. He instantly becomes one of the Vermont senator’s top surrogates in the South, where his campaign has picked up support from only a handful of black elected officials.

In South Carolina, State Rep. Justin Bamberg, who also is the lawyer representing Walter Scott’s family, switched his support from Clinton to Sanders in January.

4:47 — Tony Lee: Clinton had trouble finishing her speech…she coughs again as she leaves the stage.

4:44 — Tony Lee: Hillary, appealing to unions, mentions union plumbers who installed water filters for free in Flint.

4:43 — Tony Lee: Hillary says whites need to “recognize our privilege” and “practice humility” instead of assuming that “our experiences are everybody’s experiences.”

4:42 — Tony Lee: Clinton asks voters to hold her accountable. She says ending systemic racism requires contributions from those who haven’t experienced it themselves and speaks about “seen and unseen” barriers African-Americans face.

4:38 — Tony Lee: Hillary Has Coughing Fit During Her Speech, and it takes her about a  minute to recover as the audience tries to cheer her on. She can barely get her words out and pops in a cough drop. Crowd is chanting “Hillary, Hillary” as she keeps drinking water and coughing. She is really struggling to get her words out.

4:36 — Tony Lee: Projection: Bernie Has 50% Chance to Win Nevada

A progressive Nevada Congressional candidate predicts Sanders will win Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. FiveThirtyEight gives Sanders a 50% chance of winning the caucuses.

4:35 — Tony Lee: Clinton Blasts Republicans for Thinking Obama’s ‘Not the Real President’… But Clinton Was the Original Birther 

Hillary blasts Republicans for erecting barriers to make it hard for black people to vote. “It’s a blast from the Jim Crow past. We need to call it for what it is,” she said. She said Scalia’s death means that the Court hangs in the balance. Clinton says Republicans think Obama should not be able to nominate Scalia’s replacement “as if somehow he is not the real president.” She says Republicans talk in “coded racial language” about “takers and losers” and “demonize” president Obama. She plays up her ties to Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund.

4:30 — Tony Lee: Clinton says we “believe in second chances” re: criminal justice reform. Clinton blasts the police officer who dragged a girl across the floor in South Carolina and says schools should be safe places for students. She announces her plan to end the school-to-prison pipeline. She says it is her duty to inform voters about her plans and says she gets made fun of because she explains her plans.

4:23 — Tony Lee: Clinton directly appeals to African-American women (key to her success) in her speech. She warns against the “dangerous slide toward resegregation in our schools.” She says our schools are more segregated than they were in 1968. She says that is “appalling” and “we have to fix it.” She says everyone who wants to go to college should be able to and all student debt should be refinanced. She says our legal system is stacked against the most vulnerable.

4:20 — Tony Lee: Clinton, Trump on top in CNN’s South Carolina Poll:

Donald Trump holds a broad 16-point lead among those likely to vote in South Carolina’s Republican primary this Saturday, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton tops Bernie Sanders by 18 points in the state’s Democratic primary, which will be held a week later.

4:17 — Tony Lee: Clinton talks about “systemic racism” and says we have to talk about “racial inequality” loudly and clearly. Clinton defends Obama’s legacy and says he is an example of the progress blacks have made. But she says “America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.” She says it is “tempting” for many white Americans to think that “bigotry is largely behind us” because “that would lead us with a lot less work, wouldn’t it?”

Clinton repeats her much-used line about years after Rosa Parks sat, Dr. King marched, and John Lewis bled, “race still plays a significant role in determining in who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind.” She says anyone asking for your vote has a responsibility to grapple with this reality. She hypes “empowerment zones” and the Earned Income Tax Credit but is so far silent on her husband’s legacy re: criminal justice that compelled influential author Michelle Alexander to obliterate the Clintons and argue that Clinton doesn’t deserve the black vote.

[Clinton is just trying to run out the clock with black voters in the primary, but the general election may be another story]

4:16 — Tony Lee: Clinton says there is “something wrong” when white CEOs get away with “fleecing the country” while blacks get arrested for petty crimes.

4:15 — Tony Lee: Meanwhile, Sanders supporters tell rapper Killer Mike, who has endorsed Sanders, why they support Bernie.


4:14 — Tony Lee: Hillary intends to succeed in raising taxes on every millionaire and billionaire in America.

4:12 — Tony Lee: Clinton says she there are so many barriers holding back African-Americans. And she wants to talk about breaking down barriers that “disproportionately affect African-Americans” and “build ladders of opportunity.” She says there are “many Flints” in America where people of color and the poor have been left behind. She says while Democrats are debating about Wall Street’s excesses, “Flint reminds us, my friends, that there’s a lot more going on in the country that we should be concerned about.” She says America isn’t a “single-issue country.” Again, this speech is way too mechanical/robotic/prose when it needs to be much more poetry. What else is new?

4:10 — Tony Lee: Clinton says that any view of black America that focuses exclusively on crime, poverty or other challenges is “missing so much… missing the strength, pride, and achievement that is evident on every street here.” Clinton says that narrative is missing the rise of the African-American middle class and the vibrancy of the black church. Again, Clinton seems like she is reading from a briefing book/term paper. Hillary says she has a great conversation earlier with various black leaders.

4:05 — Tony Lee: When introducing Clinton, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) seemed to say Hillary “Rodman Clinton” when introducing Hillary Rodham Clinton.

4:00 PM — Tony Lee: While Hillary Clinton was meeting with Sharpton and Morial, Erica Garner (the late Eric Garner’s daughter) introduced Bernie Sanders at a South Carolina campaign event. Erica Garner endorsed Sanders last week with a video that was highly touted on the left in which she said Sanders is a “protester” like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. In interviews with various local and national outlets, Garner said Sanders, who also endorsed Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, supported blacks before it was cool to do so.


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