Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) is reportedly dropping out of the presidential race after months of lagging near zero percent in polls, The Hill reports.
Bloomberg: “Ted Cruz is as comfortable and happy on the stump as he is uptight and gloomy on Capitol Hill. While Republican rivals like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Ohio Governor John Kasich approach campaigning like a job, Cruz revels in it, often coming across as a boisterous televangelist feeding off the adoration of the crowd.”
“He deploys fiery lines and sarcastic jokes from one campaign stop to the next with an identical script and delivery, right down to the pauses for applause and impact, like an actor who has practiced and perfected a routine in the mirror the night before.”
Frank Luntz: “The phenomenon of ‘The Donald’ is rooted in a psyche far deeper and more consequential than next November’s presidential election… These individuals do not like being told by Washington or Wall Street what is best for them, … and disdain President Barack Obama and his (perceived) circle of self-righteous, tone-deaf governing partisans. Trump voters are not just angry – they want revenge.”
Bloomberg: “The million-dollar question in 2016 is whether the estranged and alienated voters Trump has attracted will show up at the polls that count. The answer to that question will determine whether Trump has changed American politics as we know it.”
“With a nationally focused campaign that leans on strong debate performances and television advertising, Marco Rubio isn’t going all out in any one of the early voting states. That’s raised eyebrows among Republicans in states such as Iowa, where people are used to attention in a presidential campaign,” the AP reports.
“That’s unlike Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has set his sights on Iowa, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is pushing hard in New Hampshire. While supporters say Rubio just needs to stay in the top cluster in the first few states, some see his approach as risky.”
Bloomberg: “Rubio’s pitch to Republican voters is focused on his electability. Campaign allies who introduce him on the stump make a point to mention it, and the Floridian likes to bring it up himself.”
The New York Times reports on how “the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes.”
“Operating largely out of public view — in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service — the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.”
Ben Ginsberg, the former counsel to both Mitt Romney’s and George W. Bush’s presidential bids, detailed three possible scenarios in the Wall Street Journal for the Republican convention:
“Three convention scenarios can emerge after 56 states and territories choose their delegates between Feb. 1 and June 7: There will be a clear winner, a bunched up field of several candidates, or a leader who can’t get a majority of delegates on the first ballot. The latter two scenarios would make Cleveland uncharted territory.”
“Donald Trump claims his campaign is tens of millions of dollars under budget. But now, he’s apparently ready to spend big,” Politico reports.
“However, it’s not clear what spending ‘big’ would look like for Trump, or even whether he’ll follow through. For the third quarter, his campaign originally budgeted $25 million for TV advertising, but ended up spending nothing.”
Wall Street Journal: “Trump’s campaign is starting to use a computerized system to track support ahead of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest, a sign it is spending more money on his presidential bid.”
“President Obama is preparing to unleash a wave of new regulations in 2016, as he looks to shore up his legacy on public protection issues during his final year in office,” The Hill reports.
“The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Labor are all expected to finalize major federal rules that critics say are long overdue.”
Ben Carson “pledged to announce next week changes to his campaign, following days of back-and-forth about whether his operation is due for a shakeup,” Politico reports.
“Carson has given mixed signals in recent days about whether he’s planning to make personnel shifts and other changes in a bid to revive his flagging campaign. Last week, the retired neurosurgeon did interviews with The Washington Post and The Associated Press in which he hinted that changes were coming and said ‘everything is on the table.’ But before the day was over, he took his words back and laid blame on the two media outlets.”
Politico: “Tennessee is now one of the biggest hubs for GOP political activity in the country. … Tennessee has 58 delegates up for grabs on March 1. That’s the third-biggest slate of delegates available that day, following Texas and Georgia … An ad buy in Knoxville, in the eastern part of the state, can also hit corners of Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.”
“Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which has faced doubts about its ability to translate enthusiasm into votes, in the past few weeks quietly signed an agreement allowing it to use the Republican National Committee’s massive voter file,” Politico reports.
“For the Trump campaign, it means access to a database containing a trove of information on more than 200 million Americans, which can be used to power a get-out-the-vote effort. And for the RNC, it means that any information Trump collects from his supporters, many of whom are not traditional Republicans, will be fed back into the database for future use by the party and its candidates.”