Donald Trump’s unexpected response to falling behind in Iowa: ‘Please’

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump's greets the crowd during his "Make America Great Again Rally" at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Ben Brewer      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1PNOA

This is a new tone from Donald Trump:

“Iowa, will you get your numbers up, please?” he pleaded to a crowd in Sioux City, where he made his first stop in Iowa since recent polls showed him falling behind retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. “I promise you, I will do such a good job.” […]
“I refuse to say get your asses in gear,” he said. “I refuse to say it! … So will you please do me a favor and work with my people and go out on Feb. 1 and vote? And if I win Iowa, we’re going to run the whole table.”

It’s not exactly humility, but … Donald Trump saying “please”? More than once? And “refusing” to try to bully, but asking for something as “please do me a favor”? Unexpected, to say the least.
Some professionals at dealing with bad poll numbers say Trump

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Mitt Romney on the man who helped inspire Obamacare, which gave ‘a lot of people’ health insurance

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures as he speaks at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in San Diego, California January 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Blake  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4LRP8

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is back in the news today, and with an unexpected sentiment: It turns out he likes Obamacare quite a bit, or at least a lot more than the heat of an election battle would allow him to let on. We know this because Romney would like America to remember his friend Tom Stemberg, who died today after a two-year battle with cancer, as a man who should be credited as an inspiration for Romneycare, and therefore Obamacare, and therefore a man who has given health insurance to a great many Americans.

Romney said that shortly after he was elected, Mr. Stemberg asked him why he ran for governor. Romney said he told him that he wanted to help people, and Mr. Stemberg replied that if he really wanted to help, he should give everyone access to health care, which Romney said he hadn’t really

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The comical cult of Paul Ryan

Not since LeBron James announced “The Decision” to “take my talents to South Beach” have so many Americans waited with bated breath for one man to declare his intentions. Hoping for white smoke from the chimney of his Jaynesville, Wisconsin home, most Republicans and even some Democrats are hoping that Paul Ryan will decide to run for Speaker of the House of Representatives and thus save the GOP from itself.
While Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate and current House Ways and Means Committee chairman remains huddled with family in his Badger State conclave, politicians and pundits sing Paul Ryan’s praises in almost hagiographic terms. Josh Marshall noted that “a defining principle of modern Republican ideology is that ‘Paul Ryan is awesome.'” Jonathan Chait argued that Ryan “is already the president of Republican America” because “no other figure within the party combines Ryan’s philosophical radicalism and tactical pragmatism.” While

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As Carson and Trump stoke Islamophobia, GOP elders worry about getting a bad rap

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 started it when he suggested a Muslim wasn’t fit to be president and now The Donald wants in on the action by promising to deport all Syrian refugees because, “They could be ISIS.” First it was Mexican immigrants, then all immigrants, then Muslims, and now even Syrian refugees. But the Republican base is digging it, reports Steve Peoples:

Carson’s fortunes have surged since he first said he wouldn’t support a Muslim president. He raised roughly $700,000 and added more than 100,000 Facebook friends in the 36 hours after making the comment, said campaign manager Barry Bennett.

But even Mitt “self-deportation” Romney seems to fear what all that pandering to hardcore GOP voters will mean for the party.

“I think it’s been unfortunate that some of the rhetoric has so clouded the picture that some people think we’re anti-immigrant. Nothing could be further from the

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Jeb! Bush channels Romney on ‘free stuff’ to explain how he’ll win black voters

Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) addresses the National Review Institute's 2015 Ideas Summit in Washington, April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX1B18W

Jeb! Bush channeled Mitt Romney Thursday night in response to a question about how he plans to “include” black voters and “get them to vote for you.” He could do it, he said (check out the video below the fold), because of his sterling record on school privatization and because:

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” he said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

Yeah … I’m pretty sure that’s a message that will work better with white Republicans than with African-American members of any party. Not because black voters want to be promised “free stuff,” but because the implication is so insulting. Because the “free stuff” Bush is so

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Republicans were silent as Romney played the Birther card

The 2016 Republican presidential field is shocked—shocked!—that front-runner Donald Trump refused to correct a questioner insisting President Obama is a Muslim foreigner. Recalling one of the finest moments for the GOP’s 2008 nominee, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) revealingly explained, “This happens to all of us. It happened to John McCain. You have to push back.” But in 2012, none of the GOP’s best and brightest pushed back when their man Mitt Romney casually played the Birther card.

As a quick backward glance shows, it wasn’t just Romney surrogates like John Sununu wishing “this president would learn how to be an American.” On July 17, 2012, Mitt got in on the act, too, telling listeners that “his course is extraordinarily foreign.” Two days later, Romney repeated the charge in response to the growing outcry about his mystery tax returns, shockingly low tax rate and private equity parasitism

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Farmville Dream Unicorns loading page

Unveiling the Congressional Budget Office’s latest long-term forecast this week, new CBO Director Keith Hall made an unremarkable statement. “The evidence,” Hall explained, “is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves.” For the overwhelming majority of economists, or just about anyone familiar with the U.S. budget since Ronald Reagan first took the oath of office, Hall’s conclusion is about as close to a self-evident truth as his profession can offer.
But for Republicans and their conservative water carriers, Hall’s remark came as an unpleasant surprise indeed. After all, congressional Republicans chose Hall over incumbent Douglas Elmendorf precisely to implement “dynamic scoring” models. These would show the GOP’s tax-cutting schemes wouldn’t hemorrhage red ink, thanks to amped-up economic growth the cuts themselves would magically produce. Worse still, virtually every one of the 2016 GOP presidential candidates is counting on Arthur Laffer’s 40-year-old myth and other

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Wage theft. Dishonest franchises. Papa John’s.

Papa John’s is everywhere. Its 4,500 restaurants, most run by franchisees, are in all 50 states and 34 countries. The Louisville Cardinals play their college football in Papa John’s Stadium, while Papa John himself regularly appears in TV ads with his business partner, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. And as the business press has been reporting, CEO “Papa” John Schnatter is making his pizza’s “quality” the focus of his company’s marketing:

“We are finding ways to more effectively communicate our commitment to using the best quality ingredients. That has always been part of what distinguishes Papa John’s from the rest.”

But more and more, what apparently distinguishes Papa John’s from its competitors is cheating its workers. The company revealed its latest episode of wage theft during its second quarter results that showed net income was down to $10.8 million from $16.7 million a year ago:

In the

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2013 GOP: Need ‘welcoming, inclusive message’ to attract Hispanics. 2015 GOP: Trump has other ideas

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares

It doesn’t get much more welcoming than this, does it?

I do feel something for Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus. Maybe there’s a sliver of pity—mixed in with pure glee, of course. Speaking of purity, after Mitt Romney lost an election in which 89 percent of his voters were white, Preibus and company realized that their party had a bit of a problem winning support from, shall we say, certain demographic categories.
To its credit, the Republican Party actually engaged in some serious self-examination. The RNC conducted focus groups in a number of states, polled Hispanic Republicans, and spoke to a whole lot of people about their inability to win voters of color. On March 18, 2013, party officials they produced an autopsy report in which they admitted some hard truths, in particular regarding Latinos:

It is imperative that the RNC changes how it engages with Hispanic communities

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Ted Cruz blasts Mitt Romney for getting ‘clobbered’ in the debates

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) confirms his candidacy for the 2016 U.S. presidential election race during a speech at Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia March 23, 2015. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who frequently clashes with leaders of his Republican

Former Republican presidential candidate and current leather couch warmer Mitt Romney criticized Sen. Ted Cruz on Twitter this week for Cruz’s repeated statements that President Obama was financing terrorists, “snuggling up” to our enemies, and those various other things that dribbled from Cruz’s McCarthyite mouth in his fury over the Iranian nonproliferation deal.
Cruz will be having none of that, obviously.

“So Mitt Romney’s tweet today said, ‘Gosh, this rhetoric is not helpful,'” Cruz said on KFYO. “John Adams famously said, ‘Facts are stubborn things.’ Describing the actual facts is not using rhetoric; it is called speaking the truth.”
“Part of the reason Mitt Romney got clobbered by Barack Obama is because we all remember that third debate where Barack Obama turned to Mitt and said, ‘I said the Benghazi attack was terrorism and no one is more upset by Benghazi than I am.’ And Mitt, I

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McConnell and Hatch voted for fetal tissue research

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledged this week to fast-track a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. But the move to strip the organization of some $528 million in annual funding from the federal and state governments is more than a little ironic.
It was about Planned Parenthood, after all, that the then number two ranking Senate Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged his 30-fold error that “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does” is related to abortion introduced the “not intended to be a factual statement” defense into the GOP lexicon. As Texas Governor Rick Perry learned the hard way in 2012, defunding the women’s healthcare group would have tripled expenses for his state. (As the Guttmacher Institute explained, “every dollar spent on publicly funded family planning services saves $7.09 in public expenditures.) And Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, hadn’t

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GOP super PACs prepare to spend hundreds of millions demonizing Hillary

U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters after a roundtable campaign event with small businesses in Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States, May 19, 2015.    REUTERS/Jim Young   - RTX1DOLO

Whitewater… seriously?

The GOP attack machine is revving up to lay groundwork for defeating Hillary Clinton in a general election, and there’s no shortage of super PACs vying for the millions in funding that go along with ensuring her demise. American Crossroads (Rove), Right to Rise (Jeb!), and America Rising are each jockeying for the title of “Clinton slayer”—all of which could add up to a several-hundred-million dollar effort, report Ashley Parker and Amy Chozick.
Not content to simply go after Clinton’s recent email “scandal,” they are digging up terms like “Whitewater, Travelgate and Filegate.” (Seems a little desperate, no?)

But what Republican operatives are most enthused about is Clinton’s comment that she and Bill were “dead broke” after leaving the White House in 2000.

Republicans could hardly hide their giddiness when Mrs. Clinton made her “dead broke” remark last year. To many in the political world,

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Mitt Romney looks into Hillary Clinton’s eyes and sees … latte

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures as he speaks at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in San Diego, California January 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Blake  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4LRP8

For some reason, Mitt Romney thinks he has the public affection and trust to be an effective attack dog against Hillary Clinton. Instead, he’s a hilarious attack dog:

“Well, I thought the text [of her Saturday speech] touched the various places she needs to touch to try and keep her base intact. Somehow when you see her on a stage or when she comes into a room full of people, she’s smiling with her mouth but her eyes are saying, ‘Where’s my latte?’ It just doesn’t suggest that she believes everything she’s saying,” Romney said on Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” speaking via satellite from Salt Lake City.

It’s hard to know what to tackle first here, so let’s go in the order he said it. “She’s smiling with her mouth but her eyes are saying, ‘Where’s my latte?’” Really? Granted, in Romney’s cultural home turf, lattes

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Sunrise Pilates with Mark Halperin and Ann Romney is a real thing


Attendees at Mitt Romney’s third annual retreat this weekend will have the chance to go skeet shooting with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham or play flag football with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. They can even do “Sunrise Pilates” with Bloomberg reporter Mark Halperin and the former first lady aspirant Ann Romney.

All those things sound positively horrifying, but with “Sunrise Pilates with Mark Halperin and Ann Romney” I think we’ve discovered a new circle of Hell. I don’t think I even want to know what sin you have to commit to punch your ticket for that.
Now that we have had a moment to recover from those picturesque images of horror (if you need another moment, take one now), I suppose we ought to ask—why is Bloomberg Politics editor Mark Halperin a featured event co-leader at a Mitt Romney summer camp where Republican megadonors and meet and greet and

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Jeb Bush outshines rest of Republican field by not screwing something up

Former Florida Governor and probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTR4XT2A

What’s that about the “soft bigotry of low expectations”? Jeb Bush just finished a trip to Europe, and the big news—no exaggeration—is that he managed not to screw up as so many Republican candidates before him have done. For example, Politico’s headline is Jeb’s gaffe-free European tour, explaining that:

Jeb Bush, now through two legs of a three-nation European tour that ends Saturday in Estonia, has thus far managed to accomplish something that many of his GOP rivals have not: He’s traveled abroad, given a speech, met with foreign government leaders, and held two press briefings all without a blunder.

The standard of comparison?

Many of this year’s other GOP presidential prospects don’t have that breadth of experience — and it’s showed. In February, both Scott Walker and Chris Christie made news in London for all the wrong reasons. Walker was derided for declining to answer a question about

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New school voucher laws put public education in peril

Over the past several days, two stories have highlighted the critical condition state of American public education. As the New York Times detailed, K12 school budgets in over 30 states have yet to return to their pre-recession, 2008 levels. Of the seven with the deepest reductions, six—Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin—made matters worse by cutting income tax rates during the same time frame. But as the Washington Post reported, Nevada is breaking new ground in breaking up its public schools. In the broadest school voucher law to date, the families of all 450,000 Silver State students can pocket their $5,700 share of per-pupil funding and spend it instead at the private, parochial or homeschool of their choice.
Previous voucher laws passed in 27 states since 2006 allowed small numbers of low-income or disabled children to redirect public school dollars to private or religious institutions. But in

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Conservative Republicans actually liked Mitt Romney far more than they do Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4RHAO

As much as Mitt Romney struggled to convince conservative Republicans that he was the real deal in 2012, Jeb Bush appears to have a tougher row to hoe. The Wall Street Journal‘s side-by-side comparison of Bush and Romney at this early stage of the nomination process, shows Bush completely lagging among GOP conservatives, the group that makes up about two-thirds of Republican primary voters.
In the graph below, only 33 percent of conservatives hold a positive view of Jeb compared to 28 percent who have a negative view. By contrast, Romney’s positives dwarfed his negatives.

In terms of the current field, that April poll showed Marco Rubio had a favorable/unfavorable rating of 41-to-8 percent and Scott Walker had a 31-to-4 percent favorability rating.

Hillary Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable rating among liberals at the time was 72-to-15 percent.

Daily Kos Elections presents the best map ever of United States congressional districts

(click to enlarge all images)

Daily Kos Elections is pleased to introduce a brand-new approach to mapping America’s congressional districts. Months in the making, and inspired in part by the Guardian‘s U.K. election results map, our map aims to provide a much clearer way to visualize election results, demographic data, congressional roll calls, and much more for the entire House of Representatives.

Our map’s key feature is that all 435 congressional districts are shown in equal size, represented by five hexagons each. That allows us to preserve each state’s shape in rough but identifiable form, and to also place each state in its approximate geographic location, relative to its neighbors.

You can expect to see this map regularly on Daily Kos Elections, so head below the fold to learn more about why we created it, and how everyone can use it.

Primary season flip-flops won’t hurt Republicans, former Romney adviser says

Governor Scott Walker, potential Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX1E0LB

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)

As the Republican presidential primary gets into gear, the candidates are having to get themselves in line with what Republican primary voters want to hear—even if it means saying things that will hurt them in a general election. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s problems have been so extreme that he’s been forced to try to redefine what flip-flop means, but he’s not alone in his struggles. Jeb Bush’s flailing on the Iraq question may someday enter the realm of political legend, and he’s had to quit talking about “respect” when opposing marriage equality.
Especially coming after Mitt Romney’s performance in 2012, this has to make some Republicans nervous:

“You have to be careful when you are doing this — that you don’t so embrace your base that it becomes impossible to move and have some flexibility or nuances in your position moving forward,” said Rep.

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Jeb’s mixed messages on Iowa

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is joined by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (L) onboard Romney's 2012 presidential campaign plane enroute to Miami, Florida October 31, 2012.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS

Jeb picking up Etch-A-Sketch tips from Mitt.

Jeb Bush is quickly carving out a space for himself as the frontrunner on mixed messaging—especially when it comes to pronouncements on destinations starting with the letter “I.”
Not only did his answer on the Iraq invasion last week evolve from “I would have” done it, to “I would not have” done it, to “We need to re-engage,” now he’s doing the same on Iowa.

Last week, the campaign sent signals that Bush wouldn’t play in Iowa, starting with him skipping its straw poll in August. On Saturday, he reinforced that perception, reports Eli Stokols.

When reporters asked Bush on Saturday about his reasons for skipping the Aug. 8 straw poll, he hinted at a broader strategy that doesn’t hinge on the Hawkeye State.
“It’s not relevant,” Bush said of the straw poll. “What’s relevant is

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