Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) released a very powerful video on the San Bernadino terrorist attacks.
A new CNN/ORC poll in Iowa shows Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential race with 33%, followed by Ted Cruz at 20%, Ben Carson at 16%, Marco Rubio at 11% and Jeb Bush at 4%.
While an earlier Monmouth poll found Cruz surging into the lead, this poll shows Trump up 8 points since the last poll, Cruz up 9, while Carson has faded by 7 points.
“What are they the Bobbsey twins? They’re always together.”
— Donald Trump, quoted by Politico, on Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Linsdey Graham (R-SC).
In interviews with NBC News, three former servicemen — who together have 15 years of military drone experience — decried the civilian cost of drone strikes and called on President Obama to “turn this around” before he leaves office.
Said one: “We were very callous about any real collateral damage. Whenever that possibility came up, most of the time it was a ‘guilt by association’ or sometimes we didn’t even consider other people that were on screen.”
“John Kerry has broken Hillary Clinton’s marks for miles traveled and total flight time as secretary of state… With a year to go, he looks set to smash almost every travel record in U.S. diplomacy,” the AP reports.
“This guy is such a total pussy, it’s stunning.”
— Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, in a Fox Business News interview, on President Obama’s Oval Office address on terrorism.
Pollster Ann Selzer: “A key question I often get from the press these days is: When will Iowans finally make up their minds? Based on the astonishing number of candidates still under consideration in the Republican field, my answer is: Late, very late.”
“History shows that even in an normal year, Iowans rarely settle on a final decision until the last possible moment. In past election cycles, the final four-day poll conducted just before the caucuses shows how much turbulence remains late in the race.”
A new Monmouth University poll in Iowa finds Ted Cruz surging into the lead with 24%, followed by Donald Trump at 19%, Marco Rubio at 17%, Ben Carson at 13%, and Jeb Bush at 6%.
Said pollster Patrick Murray: “This marks the first time Ted Cruz has held a lead in any of the crucial early states. As Ben Carson’s stock has fallen, Cruz has been able to corral most of those voters. Rep. Steve King’s endorsement may not be the primary reason for this swing, but it certainly put a stamp on the Cruz surge in Iowa.”
New York Times: “Mr. Ryan has for the most part pushed the privilege of crafting legislation — and with it, the inherent responsibilities — out of the leadership offices and back into the hands of members, replacing Mr. Boehner’s smoke-filled rooms, at least for now, with energy bar-lined committee conference rooms… He has been having weekly dinners in a historic reception room in the Capitol with a vast array of Republican colleagues, unlike Mr. Boehner, who preferred to mingle with a small group of insiders at an Italian eatery nearby. He makes regular rounds on television to make the case for a conservative agenda, unlike Mr. Boehner, who largely eschewed the small screen.”
And Mr. Ryan meets weekly with a newly assembled group of members from the most conservative and most moderate ends of his conference, unlike Mr. Boehner, who tended to surround himself with an inner circle of his peers.”
A new Monkey Cage poll in Iowa finds that non-voters may be driving Donald Trump’s popularity.
“To build a sample, we began with the list of registered voters in Iowa and stratified our sample by factors like age and sex. Other pollsters have done something similar. However, what we did — but other have not — is stratify the sample based on another factor: Whether or not people had voted in at least one primary election since 2006.”
The results: Ben Carson led with 27%, followed by Marco Rubio at 17% and Donald Trump at 15%.
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge by gun rights activists to an ordinance enacted by a Chicago suburb that bans assault weapons and large-capacity magazines,” Reuters reports.
“The refusal by the nine justices to hear the case, coming at a time of fierce debate over the nation’s gun laws following a series of mass shootings, means that the 2013 ordinance passed by the city of Highland Park, Illinois remains in effect.”
“If you call all the people you’re running against losers, clowns, and dopes, that’s not the language of someone who unifies the party.”
— Karl Rove, quoted by New York Magazine, on why Donald Trump can’t win the general election.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “has been on the campaign trail for months, using her brand name among liberals and her fund-raising clout to support Democratic Senate candidates across the country, in a bid for her party to reclaim control of the chamber,” the Boston Globe reports.
Said Warren: “I’m going to work my heart out to make sure we take back the Senate. I crisscrossed the country multiple times in 2014. I expect 2016 will be the same. I’m committed to doing whatever I can to help Democrats retake the Senate.”
Sean Wilentz: “If the Republicans win the presidency in 2016, they will also almost inevitably control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving them virtually unfettered command over the entire federal government to go along with their domination of the great majority of the state governments. The Republican president could easily be in a position to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court for an unstoppable right-wing majority that would last for a generation to come.”
“If, however, the Democrats win the presidency in 2016, they will almost certainly take back the Senate and make gains in the House – and the Democratic president will likely be able to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court that will eventually comprise a liberal majority. Between these two stark alternatives, there is no middle ground. In 2016, the country will become either one thing or the other.”
Ryan Lizza has a great piece on the rise of the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.
“Boehner’s troubles and the rise of the Freedom Caucus are the product of resentments and expectations that the G.O.P. leadership has struggled for years to either address or dismiss… During the 2010 midterm elections Republicans promised to overturn Obama’s entire agenda… The Republicans’ first budget cut only thirty-eight billion dollars.”
Wall Street Journal: House conservatives work to reshape spending bill
Sen. Ted Cruz has been poaching Sen. Rand Paul’s “libertarian supporters since last January, when the Texas senator touched down in Iowa for a forum organized by Rep. Steve King (R-IA),” National Review reports.
“The first thing Cruz did on that trip — before visiting with King or any of the state’s evangelical leaders — was stop at the Holiday Inn by the airport for a private roundtable discussion with Iowa’s ‘liberty’ leaders. In the eleven months since, Cruz has made significant inroads with this constituency — the one Ron Paul created, and Rand Paul had counted on as the backbone of his campaign.”