Jeb! says Rubio’s still ‘fair game’ even as his donors jump ship over the Florida family feud

Screenshot of CNN featuring Jeb Bush, with chyron reading, 'Bush: My campaign is not on life support'

Jeb! Bush’s campaign is really in a death spiral as he watches the one advantage he had—donors—slip away. Not only have undecided donors like billionaire Paul Singer now endorsed Rubio, but on Thursday one of Jeb!’s top donors also made his exit.

“I think the world of Jeb Bush. He was a great governor of Florida and is a really good person, but the campaign has hijacked his message,” said Brian Ballard, a Tallahassee lobbyist who contributed more than $25,000 of his own money and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more for Bush’s campaign and the super PAC supporting him. “The campaign has become negative, one that is about attacking and trying to bring down Marco Rubio. And that doesn’t sit well—not only with me, but with anyone who knows the two,” Ballard said.

But Jeb! isn’t having it. He plans to keep on taking it to

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Christie and Huckabee booted to the kiddie table for the next Republican debate

Republican 2016 presidential candidates (L-R) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

The Fox Business Network has announced the lineup for Tuesday’s debate, and finally there has been a meaningful shake-up. The main debate has been whittled down to eight candidates, while the number of candidates at the kiddie table debate will remain the same, but with some different faces.
Who made the grade? Donald Trump and Ben Carson, of course. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, and, bringing up the rear, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Just eight people! The stage will look so barren. It’ll be beautiful.

That means New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee have been booted down to the kiddie table, where they’ll join Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum. Which means, yes, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and George Pataki are out altogether. Which means Lindsey Graham as a sitting senator could not outlast George

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Cartoon: The real Republican debate


When it comes to Republican presidential candidate silliness, it doesn’t get any better than this. (Oh wait, unless you’re talking about this.) After the recent on-stage mayhem, the GOP presidential candidates are trying to get control of the debate formats. Now multiple campaigns are getting into details like the temperature of the venue— which shall henceforth be a crisp sixty-seven degrees Fahrenheit.

Besides appropriate temperatures, the definition of a “gotcha” question seems to be expanding to include questions about policy and foreign affairs. (You know, things a president should kinda’ sorta know some things about.) I agree that the candidates shouldn’t be hit with unfair questions by the moderators, but in their quest to eliminate the liberal “mainstream media,” they want a campaign event, not a debate.  

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush would be happy if he could just talk about his fantasy football league for an hour or so.

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Weekly poll roundup: Carson and Clinton rising

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with rival candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and thanks him for saying that he and the American people are sick of hearing about her State Department

On the Democratic side, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders continue to rise, though the former at a higher rate. A week ago, October 29, Clinton led 54.4 to 29.9 in the Pollster composite of national polls. Today, that’s at 56.4-31.1 percent.

I thought Sanders’ ceiling was 30 percent. He’s now exceeded that. Congrats! But the overall picture continues to look bleak for his candidacy. Clinton’s numbers range between 50 and 62 percent in the last week’s national polls. Time is chipping away, yet over half of Democrats continue to back Clinton with her trend on the upswing. Sanders’ numbers have ranged between 26 and 35, meaning that he’s got just a quarter to a third of Democrats. I keep saying this and I’ll say it again, he’s not breaking through his demographic base.
Once upon a time, the early states were a bright spot for

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Donald Trump’s credit card attacks are getting under Marco Rubio’s skin

Republican presidential candidate U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) waits to speak at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX19U83

Marco Rubio’s skin seems to be getting thinner as he keeps facing questions—and needling from Donald Trump—about his past use of a Florida Republican Party credit card for personal purchases. On Wednesday, Rubio was above it all:

“I’m going to continue to talk about the future of America.” Mr. Rubio added of Mr. Trump: “I can’t respond to everything he says, I wouldn’t be able to run a campaign.”

On Thursday, though, he changed his tune:

“I find it curious that Donald Trump, the only person in this race that’s filed for bankruptcy not once but four times, is attacking anybody’s finances,” Mr. Rubio told reporters Thursday after filing his papers of candidacy in the State Capitol to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot. (Mr. Trump has often deflected questions during interviews by saying that he, personally, has never declared bankruptcy, adding only his companies have done

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Super PAC detractor Donald Trump reportedly reaches out to super donor Sheldon Adelson

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a Capitol Hill rally to

Donald Trump has skewered his GOP rivals over the fact that most of them have Super PACs, which he says will merely make them the errand boys of the super rich if elected to office. But hey, the campaign is wearing on and why not try to nail down the donor who eagerly piddled away $20 million on Newt Gingrich’s ego grab presidential bid in 2012. Maggie Haberman reports:

Donald J. Trump has mockingly accused Sheldon Adelson, a casino developer and one of the biggest Republican megadonors, of wanting a “puppet” to back when it was reported that Mr. Adelson was considering throwing his support to Senator Marco Rubio.
But Mr. Trump, many weeks ago, called Mr. Adelson to talk about the state of the race, according to a person told of the discussion, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to characterize the conversation

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Republicans divided on whether to make 2016 about punishing seniors

U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) (L) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) arrive for a Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS3QKG

Paul Ryan’s ascendancy to the speaker’s chair and the presidential nomination fight have brought Social Security and Medicare to the forefront for 2016. Now, Republicans are  “openly feuding,” according to Robert Costa and Ed O’Keefe, two of the best watchers of the GOP. That, they say, risks “a potentially damaging intra-party battle ahead of the 2016 elections.”

The rift was exemplified this week by the GOP stars of the moment. Newly installed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said he plans to pursue a “bold alternative agenda” that would include major revisions in entitlements. At the same time, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump railed against proposals to end or significantly change Medicare.
The dispute is part of a larger GOP argument over which policies Republicans will present to voters next year and how far the party should go in pushing for changes. Three years ago, GOP presidential

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Latino groups stage protest at Rockefeller Center over Trump hosting Saturday Night Live

Donald Trump arrives for the premiere of the film

The battle to get Saturday Night Live to dump Donald Trump from its line up this weekend is gaining steam, reports Ashley Parker.

On Wednesday, more than a dozen of the nation’s leading Hispanic groups are planning to hold a “Dump Trump” rally outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where “Saturday Night Live” is taped. Latino and immigration groups also plan to deliver a petition, with 460,000 signatures, calling on NBC Studios and Mr. Michaels to drop Mr. Trump.

The protest comes on the heels of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus officially announcing its opposition Monday to Trump’s SNL appearance on Saturday.
But per usual, Trump couldn’t care less that he’s stoking anti-immigrant violence across the country. He thinks it’s as comical as that shock of orange meringue on his head.

On Tuesday, speaking at the Trump Tower before signing copies of his new book, Mr. Trump seemed undaunted. “Oh, good, it will

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Ben Carson: So maybe we don’t want to abolish Medicare after all

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to the press after speaking at the Commonwealth Club at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco, California, September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam - RTX1RPSM

Is Ben Carson turning into—gasp!—a politician? Last week, he was making waves for his plan to do away with Medicare and Medicaid in favor of health savings accounts. The politics of that, said said Doug Holtz-Eakin, head of the American Action Forum and health care adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, “are horrific.” Horrific enough to make even self-proclaimed amateur Carson decide he’d be better off being a politician. That and Donald Trump hitting him on it. So he’s backed off that plan in favor of something, well, confusing.

Carson, who’s been off the campaign trail and in the midst of a book tour, now denies having designs on ending Medicare—though he once called his alternative a “no-brainer” —suggesting that his new but as-yet-undisclosed plan would keep the program as an option. He says that his new proposal will simply be an alternative to Medicare, and

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Big Republican plan to take over the debates falls apart

Republican U.S. presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson (L) and businessman Donald Trump talk during a commercial break at the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidentia

Ben Carson is really getting to show off his leadership skills this week. Carson’s campaign had taken the lead in pushing for the Republican presidential campaigns to make joint demands of the networks hosting debates … and it isn’t going so well. Donald Trump said he wasn’t going along. So did Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and John Kasich. They weren’t the last:. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush are out, too. So who does that leave besides Carson?

Along with Carson, the campaigns for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will still likely sing the letter, according to The Hill. Campaign representatives for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told The Hill that they were still reviewing the letter.

Not a whole lot of leverage in that group. With the number of interested campaigns quickly dwindling, the Carson group has

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Trump blasts Ben Carson for not having the ‘temperament’ to be president

Republican U.S. presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson (L) and businessman Donald Trump talk during a commercial break at the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidentia

You’re a nice guy. I’ll kill you last.

Stand back, Trump the Insult Comic Candidate is about to let loose on his closest rival, Dr. Ben Carson.

“It’s not his thing. He doesn’t have the temperament for it,” the New York real estate mogul told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.” “I think Ben just doesn’t have the experience.”

What America truly needs to set things right, it goes without saying, is a xenophobic real estate mogul. Someone whose entire campaign is predicated on the notion that everyone populating the current federal government is Stupid and/or a Loser, but that with the proper amount of telling them so we can get these problems fixed up post-haste.
Dr. Ben Carson seems to have gotten off easy, by Trump standards. Trump has been hurling most of his recent insults toward the new post-debate media darling (how they decide

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Poll: Ben Carson hits new highs as Republican primary leader

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the North Texas Presidential Forum hosted by the Faith & Freedom Coalition and Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas October 18, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Stone      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY    

Ben Carson, Republican primary leader. Roll that one around in your mind, why don’t you? Because a second national poll puts Carson in first, ahead of longtime leader Donald Trump.
According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted October 25 to 29—mostly before but some after the third Republican debate—Carson leads with 29 percent support, more than any other leader has had to date. Trump is in second with 23 percent, followed by Marco Rubio at 11 percent and Ted Cruz at 10 percent. In a poll taken 10 days earlier, Trump led with 25 percent, Carson was in second with 22 percent, and Rubio and Cruz were in third and fourth with 13 percent and nine percent respectively. So Carson gained seven points while Trump and annointed debate winner Rubio each lost two points (which could be noise or could be the beginning of a trend).

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Republicans redefine ‘fair’ in debates to mean ‘being on our side’

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Republican turmoil over their presidential debates is not dying down and it’s not getting less messy. Sunday night’s move by the campaigns to make their demands in a united front has predictably disintegrated. Donald Trump, probably the candidate best positioned to get his demands met, is going to the networks by himself with his own demands, screw all those other guys. For Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, not joining the group trying to pressure the networks to go easy on the Republicans is a matter of bravado:

“First of all, there’s no deal in place among the candidates. So that’s erroneous reporting,” Christie said on “Fox & Friends. “But secondly, you know, stop complaining. You know, do me favor. Set up a stage, put podiums up there, and let’s just go.”
Carly Fiorina was quick to follow, telling “Fox & Friends” that her campaign wasn’t at

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Are Republicans afraid of confronting Black Lives Matter on the campaign trail?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (L) and Dr. Ben Carson (R) listen at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Ri

Is it true? Could it be that the 2016 presidential hopefuls are afraid of running up against the burgeoning movement against police brutality out on the campaign trail?
Except for Donald Trump of course. Trump said back in August that he would fight activists associated with Black Lives Matter if they tried to disrupt one of his speaking engagements.

Physically fight them.

But what of the other Republican presidential candidates? Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul appear to have declined a sip of the Hater-Ade that is being passed around to the other presidential hopefuls.  

Most recently, Rubio in particular appears to be making an effort to be thoughtful and sincere in his remarks.  He stated that many of the recent killings of unarmed black men by police “raised strong questions” about whether or not the cops were in the right.

Rubio and Carson have been approached

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Donald Trump goes rogue on debate demands … will the other clowns in the car go along with him?

Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking  - RTX1TQ5S

For about a day, it looked like the Republican presidential candidates had figured out the strength of collective bargaining—joining together to, in this case, demand that debate moderators go easy on them. But trust Donald Trump to blow up all that solidarity and togetherness. Robert Costa and David Weigel continue their in-depth reporting on this issue:

Trump plans to reject a joint letter to television network hosts regarding upcoming primary debates drafted Sunday at a private gathering of operatives from at least 11 presidential campaigns, the Republicans said.
The move by Trump, coming just hours after more than a dozen Republican strategists huddled in the Washington suburbs to craft a list of possible demands, effectively throttles an effort by the campaigns and the letter’s drafter, longtime GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg, to find consensus and work collectively to negotiate terms.

Trump commands the biggest audience of any of the candidates and

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Congressional Hispanic Caucus to Saturday Night Live: Dump Trump!

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Dallas, Texas September 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Stone - RTS140B

What’d I say? What’d I say?

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has voted to officially oppose Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance to host Saturday Night Live this coming weekend, and the group is urging NBC and SNL to “disinvite” The Donald, reports Brian Steinberg.

The Caucus’ “Statement of Opposition” was approved by two-thirds of its 26 members, who serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The group cited a range of factors, including NBCU parent Comcast’s assurances during hearings on its now-defunct efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable that it was committed to diversity and the idea that Trump’s remarks have made Latinos and Hispanics fearful, as reasons for its stance. […]
“When a TV personality calls Mexicans and Latinos criminals and rapists, a corporate network should not give him 90-minutes of free air time in an entertainment venue without his first apologizing to

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View from the left—the media’s ‘objectivity’ on Trump is an insult to journalism

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump's greets the crowd during his

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who co-host MSNBC’s Morning Joe, had a low moment this week when they appeared stumped by the assertion that Donald Trump has been making racist, xenophobic comments on the campaign trail.
They were interviewing Alfonso Aguilar, one of the conservative Latino leaders who gathered in Boulder, Colorado, in advance of Wednesday’s GOP debate to put the candidates on notice: stop maligning Latino immigrants or you can kiss 2016 goodbye.

After Scarborough asked Aguilar if he agreed with Trump that illegal immigration is a “big problem” in the U.S., he answered, “Oh absolutely,” but added that it’s “very naïve” to suggest that’s all Trump is implying. “He’s saying things like, the majority of undocumented immigrants from Mexico are rapists and criminals and that we have to deport everyone—that is absolutely ridiculous,” explained Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

As

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Time for Marco Rubio’s audition as the Republican establishment’s chosen one

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) drinks water before giving his speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference Kickoff Luncheon in Washington June 13, 2013.   REUTERS/Gary Cameron

The NBC First Read headline is, “As Rubio Ascends, Scrutiny Increases.” Problem being: We have no evidence Rubio is ascending. The most recent poll taken before the debate put him in fourth place, just a point ahead of Ted Cruz. He could get a debate bump, but we don’t have any evidence of that yet. The text accompanying First Read’s headline makes it clearer: Rubio isn’t so much ascending as his competitors for the role of establishment pick are descending.

When the Republican presidential race first started (and before Donald Trump and later Ben Carson took off), there were three co-frontrunners — Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker. Well, Walker dropped out of the contest in September. Bush now finds his campaign on the ropes. And that now leaves us with Rubio, who campaigns today in Iowa and who very well might be your sole “establishment” frontrunner

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Republican clown car: Now with more civil war!

Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (L) and Dr. Ben Carson (R) listen at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Ri

You’ve got to say this for the Republican presidential race—it’s entertaining. All of the candidates are blaming their horrible debate performances this week not on the fact that they are all horrible, but on the debate itself—there’s blame for CNBC, the moderators, and this is the best part: the Republican party. Because civil war is what Republicans do (see the U.S. House of Representatives).

Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process—and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee.
Not invited to the meeting: Anyone from the RNC, which many candidates have openly criticized in the hours since Wednesday’s CNBC debate in Boulder, Colorado—a chaotic, disorganized affair that was widely panned by political observers. […]

Figuring that out could be contentious as each campaign has a number

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Republican debate open thread #4

Republican presidential candidate U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) waits to speak at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX19U83

Still having our serious discussion (hahahaha) about the economy with the frontrunning Republican presidential candidates. They would be, in order:
Donald Trump
Ben Carson
Marco Rubio
Carly Fiorina
Jeb Bush
Ted Cruz
Mike Huckabee
John Kasich
Rand Paul
Chris Christie

Unfortunately, unless you have a cable subscription including CNBC, you can’t watch live. If you do have that subscription and want to subject yourself to this, here’s where to go.

Wed Oct 28, 2015 at  6:33 PM PT (Kerry Eleveld): Ben Carson says he’s in favor of getting rid of ALL government subsidies. (Yes, all. I’m betting he tries to walk that back very soon.)

Wed Oct 28, 2015 at  6:35 PM PT: Why would you tax labor at a higher rate than investments, Harwood asks Jeb! Jeb! glosses over the question to basically say “lower taxes, less government, profits!!!” Where have we heard that before.

Wed

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