“I say this somewhat in jest, at least there was someone who fared worse in the last debate than me: CNBC.”
— Jeb Bush, quoted by the Washington Post.
“Ben Carson’s campaign wants to take the coming Republican presidential primary debates off television and broadcast them over the Internet, while turning the forums into a series of lengthy candidate statements with far less time for moderators’ questions,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The retired neurosurgeon’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett, is convening a meeting of GOP campaign representatives Sunday night. Mr. Bennett has already presented the other campaigns and the Republican National Committee with his proposal: a minimum of five minutes for opening and closing statements with all major declared GOP candidates on stage.”
New York Times: “For a candidate who has inspired the most impassioned followers since Barack Obama in 2008, Mr. Sanders is surprisingly impersonal, even uninterested, in one-on-one exchanges — the sort of momentary encounters in which a candidate can show warmth and humility by gripping every open palm.”
“He rarely drops by diners or coffee shops with news cameras in tow, unlike most politicians. He hardly ever kisses babies, aides say, and does not mingle much at fund-raisers. To Mr. Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, political schmoozing is a phony business, and anathema to his total focus on weighty issues.”
Politico: “Jeb Bush’s campaign, wounded after another mediocre debate performance, is bracing for the possibility that revenue dries up in the coming weeks ahead… Top campaign officials, meanwhile, are seeking to reassure staff that now is not the time to panic.”
A super PAC supporting Sen. Marco Rubio said it believes “only he, Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz are likely to become the Republican presidential nominee—pointedly leaving Jeb Bush out of the mix,” MSNBC reports.
From a strategy memo: “When you consider all angles, as we do, we believe there are really only four candidates with a reasonable chance of becoming the Republican nominee: Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Senator Ted Cruz. And when you look on to the general election against Hillary Clinton, we are convinced that Marco gives the GOP its best chance to win. Clinton Machine itself openly acknowledges that Marco is the candidate they most fear.”
A new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll finds Donald Trump and Ben Carson tied at 26% nationally in the GOP presidential race. They are followed by Ted Cruz at 10%, Marco Rubio at 9%, Jeb Bush at 5% and Carly Fiorina at 5%.
A new IBD/TIPP poll finds Trump leading with 28%, followed by Carson at 23%, Rubio at 11%, Jeb Bush at 6% and Ted Cruz at 6%.
“One of the wealthiest and most influential Republican donors in the country is throwing his support to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a decision that could swing millions of dollars in contributions behind Mr. Rubio at a critical point in the Republican nominating battle,” the New York Times reports.
“The decision by the donor, Paul Singer, a billionaire New York investor, is a signal victory for Mr. Rubio in his battle with his rival Jeb Bush for the affections of major Republican patrons and the party’s business wing. It comes as a major blow to Mr. Bush, who is seeing his once vigorous campaign imperiled by doubts among supporters, and whose early dominance of the race was driven by his financial muscle.”
“Amid financial trouble plaguing Jeb Bush’s campaign, a high ranking official has been let go. Christine Ciccone, the COO of the organization, is the first high profile aide to leave the campaign,” NBC News reports.
“The White House will try to block the release of a handful of emails between President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, citing longstanding precedent invoked by presidents of both parties to keep presidential communications confidential,” the New York Times reports.
“‘I stepped out of bounds, he thought, so he said, “Go fuck yourself… OK, I can accept that. I appreciate his being honest with me. To be honest with you, I kind of liked the way he handled me.'”
— Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by the Huffington Post, reflecting on his relationship with former Speaker John Boehner.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus sent a letter to NBC News suspending their partnership for a February debate:
The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach. However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.
CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on “the key issues that matter to all voters—job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.” That was not the case. Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed.
A new Quinnipiac poll finds a majority of New York City voters — including registered Democrats — disapprove of how Mayor Bill de Blasio is handling crime, relations between police and local residents, the police department and poverty and homelessness.
Coming soon: Lion of the Senate: When Ted Kennedy Rallied the Democrats in a GOP Congress by Nick Littlefield and David Nexon.
High praise from Doris Kearns Goodwin: “The best book I have read about the inner dynamics of the United States Senate.”