THE BIG IDEA:
-- There is widespread consensus that Donald Trump had a very bad night in Greenville. The question is whether that will cause lasting damage, or if he continues to be coated in Teflon.
One of the problems for leaders of the chattering class is that they have been so wrong about Trump so many times for so many months that everyone is gun-shy about predicting his impending decline.
The billionaire was flustered and cranky. Not only was he thrown off his game by sustained boos from the crowd and a pile-on by his rivals, but he often sounded more like a Democrat than a Republican.
He didn’t just call George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq a disaster – which he has done before – but he blamed him for 9/11 and said that the former president “lied” about the presence of weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war. “Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” the frontrunner said at the Peace Center. “George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes, but that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.”
Trump again defended Planned Parenthood, as everyone else promised to defund it. “It does wonderful things, but not as it relates to abortion,” he said. “Wonderful things that have to do with women’s health.”
Keep in mind that he said this in the buckle of the Bible Belt, just down the road from Furman and Bob Jones universities.
-- If next Saturday’s Republican primary becomes solely a referendum on W, which it probably won’t, Jeb could win. The former president, who is flying to Charleston tomorrow night to campaign with his brother, still has an astronomical approval rating among likely voters in the Palmetto State. “I am sick and tired of him going after my family,” Jeb said. “While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe.”
Bush’s popularity in the Palmetto State is why Marco Rubio jumped to the 43rd president’s defense as much as his brother. “I thank God all the time that it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore,” the Florida senator said. “He kept us safe.”
It was one of the biggest applause lines of the night, and it prompted Trump to shout: “I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush! He kept us safe? That is not safe!”
Trump calling Bush a liar might have been a bridge too far, Dave Weigel thinks: “Republicans generally believe, against evidence, that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction when America invaded in 2003. In 2012, a poll conducted by a Dartmouth political scientist found that 63 percent of Republicans still thought this. Last year, a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind found a majority of Republicans, 51 percent believed WMD had been found in Iraq.”
Scott Clement flags a Post-ABC poll last May that found 54 percent of Republicans still think the Iraq war was worth fighting, while 41 percent said it was not. A January 2007 Post-ABC News poll found 83 percent of Republicans thought Bush had made the country “safer and more secure.” Later that year, our poll found 85 percent of Republicans approved of the way Bush handled the U.S. campaign against terrorism.
Romney alum Katie Packer Gage’s group, Our Principles PAC, will launch a digital campaign today to highlight Trump’s support for impeaching W in 2008. Watch her ad here.
-- Recall that Trump was basically a non-factor during the previous two debates. He boycotted Fox News before the Iowa caucus, and his rivals basically avoided mentioning him. In New Hampshire last weekend on ABC the rest of the field was focused on arresting Rubio’s momentum. That means it has been quite a while since he took much real heat from his critics, with the exception of a clash with Jeb over eminent domain.
But last night, reflecting the establishment’s renewed focus on stopping Trump, the ninth Republican debate was almost entirely about Trump. He got the most airtime (16 minutes), two minutes more than Cruz and five minutes more than Bush, Rubio or Kasich. “Refusing to bow to party orthodoxy or even politeness, Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a big political bet that standing his ground is better than backing down, no matter how much he is under fire," Dan Balz writes in his column. "Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters here in next weekend’s primary was the unanswerable question.”
Here’s the rub: Two-thirds of likely voters in South Carolina are not supporting Trump. An ARG poll that was in the field during the two days leading up to the debate has Trump at 35 percent, with a closely-bunched battle for second: Kasich at 15, Rubio at 14, Cruz at 12 and Bush at 10.
-- So will last night move the numbers?
As we learned in NH, it doesn't matter if audience is booing Trump— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) February 14, 2016
The Fix’s Chris Cillizza: “Trump seemed somewhat out of control and angry for much of the debate. … Trump, who often comes across as tough yet good-natured, came across on Saturday night as downright mean in several exchanges with Bush and Cruz. (And, as any politician will tell you, it's tough to make Cruz into an empathetic figure.) Trump's hard-core supporters will never leave him — no matter how well or badly he does in a debate. And, his hard-core supporters may well be enough to carry him to victory in a week's time in South Carolina. But, that doesn't mean Trump was good Saturday night. He wasn't.” Chris names Rubio and Bush as the two winners.
Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, on Fox, called Trump “VERY BITTER”: “He took a risk in being as open and often contemptuous as he was, BUT I don't think it's going to SHAKE his support. The question is, will it LIMIT his support?”
BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins: “The hostile crowd reaction seemed to take a toll on the longtime showman. Trump, his face reddening, erupted at even the faintest prompt or mildest pushback. When a moderator pressed him on a question about Social Security, he grew increasingly defensive and disproportionately upset and by the end of the exchange he was shouting his answer.”
The Daily Beast’s Will Rahn: “If the Donald somehow starts to slip -- if his lead in South Carolina narrows, if a clear alternative to his slow march to the nomination develops -- this debate will likely be seen as the turning point, the moment when the man who’s thrown out every rulebook in politics finally learns that a few rules still apply. Or, more likely, no clear alternative rises from tonight’s pileup, as Trump continues his divide-and-conquer undoing of the modern Republican Party.”
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack: “People who follow politics a lot are used to Trump's unhinged moments, but debate audiences haven't seen 2-hour meltdown like this.”
“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd: “Trump is testing the limits of whether he can ever grow his support enough to be the conservative party's nominee … unless SC has changed, I think he hurt himself.”
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol: “Best debate yet. Trump definitively exposed. Cruz, Rubio and Bush all impressive in different ways … Jeb most likely won't be the nominee. But he did a service to the country by provoking Trump to blurt out his nutty views on Bush and WMD.”
Politico spokesman and longtime Republican operative Brad Dayspring: “Did Trump implode or did he double down on what's propelled him? I'd argue the latter. We'll see.” Politico’s headline says Trump was “BLUDGEONED.”
ABC’s Rick Klein: “Predictions of Trump doing damage to his own campaign have been almost comically wrong over the past six months … and perhaps Trump is indeed a better student than everyone in the political class has realized. But on a night where the importance of the race was highlighted anew, Trump’s rivals could portray him as flunking a big test.”
Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter: “The key issue post-debate isn’t what it means for Trump, it’s was there a clear ‘establishment’ lane winner? Don’t think there was.”
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat: “Even on an ‘off’ night Trump takes up so much oxygen that he makes it very hard for anyone else to look even somewhat presidential … The casual viewer sees a bunch of career politicians being heckled by a famous guy who seems to be telling at least *some* hard truths … As I may have mentioned before, I don't think Trump can be the nominee ... but damn (sorry!) can he make it hard for anyone else to win.”
This Bush-Iraq-kept us safe debate is a painful but useful conversation for Republicans.— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 14, 2016
-- Rubio had a good night:
The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes: “After last week's stumbles, Rubio probably needed the debate of his life this week. He got it.”
Max Boot: “In tonight's debate it was Trump vs. George W. Bush. Bush won. And best defense of him came from Rubio.”
The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson: “Rubio had to prove himself … And he rose to the occasion … [he] found his footing again in the CBS debate and evangelicals leaning toward Rubio have every reason to see how he trends in South Carolina. He was the candidate who turned issues toward family, and I think he got the better of Cruz in the immigration exchange.”
The Weekly Standard’s Michael Warren: “He seemed to bounce back with strong, informed answers on national security and taxes. But with his top establishment rivals delivering solid turns themselves, has Rubio’s opportunity to break out of the pack passed?”
Chris Cillizza: “Does Rubio still talk a little too fast and sound a little too rehearsed? Yes. But, he clearly helped himself."
-- Many were impressed by Bush:
National Review’s Rich Lowry: “Jeb stood up to Trump, just wish he had better rhetorical hammers than saying Trump is insulting his way to the nomination.” … [and] as we learned in NH, it doesn't matter if audience is booing Trump.”
Conservative Post blogger Jennifer Rubin: “My God, if this Jeb showed up day one he would have won by now.”
Politico’s Eli Stokols: “Jeb really took it to Trump tonight. But as we saw with Christie last week, the aggressor doesn't always benefit. And Trump has been bulletproof.”
Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso: “I didn't expect to be saying Jeb is winning a debate, but he's winning a debate … A lot of people who don't even care for Jeb have to be admiring how he bloodied Trump's nose there.”
-- The Post’s Fact Checkers examine a dozen specious claims that were made during the debate. Four highlights from Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee:
- Ben Carson’s closing statement included a fake quote from Joseph Stalin. There’s no evidence the Soviet dictator said it, but conservatives have circulated it on social media.
- “The evidence is very slim” that Trump actually warned against attacking Iraq before March 2003, as he repeatedly insisted.
- On Jeb’s job creation claims: “Florida had the highest number of net jobs three out of the eight years of his term, in 2002, 2003 and 2004. In growth rates, Florida ranked eighth, seventh and third respectively in those three years.”
- On Trump’s adamancy he never went bankrupt: “Trump personally has not gone “bankrupt” but as a result of his corporate bankruptcy restructurings, he did have to give up personal assets to help make loan payments, and his equity stake in various casinos was greatly reduced.”
-- Last night felt more like a three-ring circus or a wrestling match than a debate. That could help John Kasich, who largely stayed above the fray. “I got to tell ya, this is just crazy," he said at one point. "This is just nuts. Geez, oh, man.”
this is an embarrassment.The debate in Iowa where the Game Show Host didn't show wasn't like this.I can't let my kids watch this.#GOPDebate— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 14, 2016
Kasich is using the same peacemaker rhetoric as in every debate, but tonight it is working. This debate is an embarrassment. #GOPDebate— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 14, 2016
This debate is actually pretty damned entertaining. Pig-pile on Trump, audience jeering, candidates straining voices to be heard.— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 14, 2016
Watching this, I think @JohnKasich just may come in 2nd in SoCarolina.— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 14, 2016
I've seen "Yo Momma" chop fights on Yonkers playgrounds that are more productive...— Kevin Madden (@KevinMaddenDC) February 14, 2016
For the first time ever, a #GOPDebate audience booed more than they cheered.— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) February 14, 2016
This isn't just insane, this is suicidal. This is pathetic.
Seriously, this is insane.— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) February 14, 2016
The GOP is destroying itself tonight, and they have no one to blame but themselves. #GOPDebate
Some believed Carson should be voted off the island:
OK, Ben. You've had a good run. Time to go.— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) February 14, 2016
-- Justice Antonin Scalia’s death at a Texas hunting resort (of apparently natural causes) set off an immediate political battle about the future of the Supreme Court in an election year.
The short-term impact: The Post's Bob Barnes, an expert on the court, forecasts a lot of 4-4 splits on controversial issues like abortion, affirmative action, the rights of religious objectors to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and the president’s powers on immigration and deportation. When there's a tie, the decision by the lower court is affirmed. That means there is no precedent for the future. This means that who won in the lower court matters a great deal.
The coming fight: President Obama says he will nominate a successor, but even before he could announce that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that the Senate will not confirm anyone this year. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” the Kentucky senator said.
Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) retorted: “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”
In other Scalia-related developments:
-- Trump, Cruz, Rubio and John Kasich all suggested either Obama shouldn't pick a replacement, or that the Senate should "delay, delay, delay" in Trump's words.
-- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed that it is "outrageous" for Republicans to block a nomination. "Apparently they believe that the Constitution does not allow a Democratic president to bring forth a nominee to replace Justice Scalia," Sanders said in a statement. "I strongly disagree with that.”
One leading candidate will probably be Sri Srinivasan, an ex-Justice Department official who is now on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He'd be the first judge of South Asian descent on SCOTUS and was confirmed, 97-0, for his current post by the Senate in May 2013. Read Jeffrey Toobin's New Yorker story on Srinivasan here.
Other names mentioned by court insiders last night, per USA Today: Srinivasan's colleagues on the D.C. Circuit Patricia Millett and Merrick Garland, as well as California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.
-- Scalia passed away at a luxury West Texas ranch close to the Mexican border called Cibolo Creek, which has hosted movie stars like Mick Jagger, Bruce Willis and Tommy Lee Jones. (Elise Viebeck)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Saturday Night Live opened with a funny Hillary skit. It features five of the cast members sitting around a table over brunch talking about how they know they're supposed to vote for Clinton, but that they are going to support Bernie Sanders. Then the Hillary impersonator appears and performs Bonnie Raitt's "I can't make you love me," with Bill playing the piano. A Jeb character makes a cameo at the end. Watch it here. And you can see "Weekend Update" here.
-- The State Department released 550 more emails from Hillary's private email server, totaling 1,000 pages. Of them, 84 were retroactively classified, per CNN. A judge said all of the relevant Clinton emails as secretary of state from her homebrew email server must be released by Feb. 29, one day before the Super Tuesday primaries. Among the new emails are a bunch from Sidney Blumenthal, including "memos and thoughts on Libya" and the David Petraeus scandal. In one funny email highlighted by NPR, top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills forwarded a Post story titled "Bill Clinton's ego could cost Obama in November." Hillary replied: "What can be done?"
-- Breanne Deppisch and Elise Viebeck contributed to this special Sunday edition of The Daily 202.
GET SMART FAST:
- Turkey pledged to contribute ground troops to an anti-ISIS coalition in Syria and to allow Saudi Arabia to launch airstrikes from its bases. (Karen DeYoung)
- France's prime minister rejected the idea of a permanent quota system for distributing asylum seekers across Europe, and refused to take more than 30,000. This puts Paris at odds with Berlin shortly before a summit of European leaders to discuss the crisis. (Andreas Rinke and Tatiana Jancarikova)
- The DNC rolled back its restrictions on taking donations from federal lobbyists and PACs. (Tom Hamburger and Paul Kane)
- DHS has expanded its screening of social media. Secretary Jeh Johnson declined to be specific but said the department is now monitoring the social media use of people who apply for various immigration benefits, along with those seeking asylum under the Obama administration’s controversial program to accept refugees from Syria. (Jerry Markon)
- A snow squall caused more than 50 vehicles to pile up on a Pennsylvania interstate, killing three and sending scores to hospitals. (AP)
- West Virginia became the 26th Right To Work state. The Republican legislature overrode the Democratic governor's veto of a bill that turned the state right to work and replaced the state’s prevailing wage law. (West Virginia Gazette)
- The U.S. plans to restore commercial flights to Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. Under the agreement, part of Obama’s push to normalize relations between the two countries, airline carriers can submit potential travel routes to be approved by the DOT. (New York Times)
- Meanwhile, Cuba finally returned a U.S. missile that was inadvertently shipped to the country in 2014. (CNN)
- Austin, Texas, will have a referendum on how to regulate ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. The voters will decide whether drivers must be fingerprinted and pay higher fees to the city. (USA Today)
- Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over the phone-bricking "Error 53," which has left some customers in need of a new phone. Hayley Tsukayama: “The problem affects iPhone owners who've had third-party work done on their phone's home buttons, which also houses the fingerprint scanner. Numerous people have reported that while the hardware seemed to be fine after the repairs, their phones became completely inoperable after updating their iOS operating system. Frustratingly, there doesn't seem to be a way to recover the phone after that point; the only option is to get a new device.”
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- The Pope kicked off a six-day tour of Mexico by calling on its president to bring justice to a country racked by corruption and gangs. Francis offered an unvarnished assessment of Mexico’s troubles, including the country’s “drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and human trafficking.” (Joshua Partlow and Gabriela Martinez)
- In Cuba, Francis met with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill -- the first time two such leaders have met in centuries. The pair urged the international community to protect persecuted Christians around the globe. (CNN)
- Jim Gilmore ended his presidential campaign Friday night. (Rachel Weiner)
- Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will testify before the House Oversight Committee during an upcoming hearing on the water crisis in Flint. (The Hill)
- Lawyers for Bill Cosby again tried to get the charges against the comedian dismissed, asking an appeals court to consider whether he had a “binding agreement” from a former prosecutor that he would not be charged. (Boston Globe)
- Elton John and Katy Perry will headline a fundraising concert to benefit Hillary on March 2 in New York City. That's the day after Super Tuesday. (Washington Examiner)
- Martin O’Malley’s Irish pub-rock band will perform again on March 13, his first scheduled performance since dropping out of the presidential race. (Baltimore Sun)
-- “Mysterious and fast-moving, Zika virus has world’s health leaders scrambling,” by Lena H. Sun and Brady Dennis: “Global health authorities and government officials are mobilizing to battle the fast-spreading Zika virus … But their efforts are being hobbled by a fundamental lack of understanding of a disease that has spread to nearly three dozen countries and is moving so quickly that some experts estimate it could infect as many as 3 million to 4 million people within 12 months. Unlike Ebola, which had been studied extensively by the time it emerged in Guinea in late 2013, Zika wasn’t considered a menace. The mystery surrounding the virus — officials aren’t sure what will turn up next — makes it ‘much more insidious, cunning and evil’ than Ebola, said Bruce Aylward, a WHO official. ‘This emergency is because of what’s unknown,’ said David Heymann, an infectious-disease professor. But it is not always clear what that decisive action should be, or how to marshal the political and financial resources needed to make it happen.”
-- “17 years after Columbine, the mother of one of the killers finally tells her story,” by Carlos Lozada: “Stories of victims are prevalent in our reckoning with mass shootings. They carry greater moral force, or less moral ambiguity, than those of perpetrators. But Sue Klebold is both the mother of a killer and of one of his victims, too … This book’s insights are painful and necessary, and its contradictions inevitable. It is an apology to the loved ones of the victims; a catalogue of warning signs missed. Sue knows she will always be seen as ‘the woman who raised a murderer,’ but she insists that she and Tom were loving, engaged parents. Though they recognized that Dylan had problems, ‘we simply — and drastically and lethally— underestimated the depth and severity of his pain and everything he was capable of doing to make it stop.’”
Related: The CDC reports a spike in Zika infections in PUERTO RICO over the past month. The mosquito that commonly transmits the virus is prevalent there. That's bad news for the island going into spring break season. (Brady Dennis)
-- “What a divided America actually hears when Obama speaks,” by Greg Jaffe: “The challenge for Obama is breaking through in a climate defined more by alienation and frustration than differences on policy. Policies can be modified or changed … But how does a president persuade an angry and mistrustful nation to actually listen to each other? Obama’s shot on the subject was the State of the Union address — a speech he labored over, writing and rewriting its final section on the country’s corrosive and divided politics. ‘Well said, Mr. President!’ a viewer tweeted … ‘Profiles in pathetic delusion,’ countered another.’”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Bryan Garner, a friend and co-author of Scalia's, posted these photos on Twitter following his death:
RIP my dear friend Nino. He was a loyal friend, a fierce intellect & a defender of democracy. Last wk in Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/QuxgL0HQ63— Bryan A. Garner (@BryanAGarner) February 13, 2016
Nino was happy last week in Hong Kong. I'll miss my dear friend. pic.twitter.com/2BZpIDXKFi— Bryan A. Garner (@BryanAGarner) February 13, 2016
Flags were half-staff at the Capitol and the Supreme Court:
Dozens of Republican lawmakers shared photos of themselves with Scalia:
Justice Scalia was a truly great man of enormous character. pic.twitter.com/EFCB5bmWtl— Jeff Fortenberry (@JeffFortenberry) February 13, 2016
I'm sorry to hear the passing of Justice Scalia, a champion of constitutional principles. He will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/UbyJOGVluI— Scott DesJarlais (@DesJarlaisTN04) February 14, 2016
Katie Couric recalled an outing last year with Scalia:
And a final throwback, via Getty Images:
As the debate about whether Republicans can avoid confirming Obama's pick for a full year escalated, Democrats circulated this chart to make the case that it would be unprecedented:
Obama aides expressed disdain for McConnell's pledge to block whoever the president picks:
Mitch McConnell: putting the Con in constitutionalism— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) February 13, 2016
David Plouffe makes an important point -- some of these purple-state senators will be hurt if they look like rubber-stamp obstructionists:
Will be interesting to see if Kirk, Ayotte, Toomey, Johnson and Portman agree with noxious Cruz.— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) February 13, 2016
A Democratic operative thinks GOP obstruction could make it easier for Democrats to retake the Senate:
What if obstruction not only starts to hurt the GOP's WH nominee but puts holding the Senate at risk as well? https://t.co/3h3KmHPow5— Joe Trippi (@JoeTrippi) February 13, 2016
Here's more reaction from commentators, staffers and leaders:
Why do folks who think so highly of the Constitution feel the president should not be allowed to fill a Supreme Court vacancy?#GOPDebate— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 14, 2016
Fan fiction: Obama appoints Hillary— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) February 13, 2016
Obama’s obvious best pick: himself. How could GOP resist the chance to vote him out of the White House? (And put Ryan a heartbeat away.)— Hendrik Hertzberg (@RickHertzberg) February 13, 2016
I'm hopeful Scalia's passing causes GOP voters to focus on serious implications of the GOP primary & reject Trump. (But not that hopeful.)— Douglas Heye (@DougHeye) February 13, 2016
Who should President Trump nominate for Scalia's seat on the bench? @SenateMajLdr— Jared Keller (@jaredbkeller) February 13, 2016
A few shots of the debate arena:
Donald and Melania en route:
Lindsey Graham visits with Jeb during a commercial break:
For a Trump rally, someone dressed up as the infamous wall:
And this guy that asked me to take his picture as I left the Trump rally pic.twitter.com/52Y99kUUXA— John Santucci (@JTSantucci) February 13, 2016
In Honolulu, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz's dogs were not getting along:
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) was bundled up for a local parade:
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) presented an award to Kendrick Lamar:
The Post's Jason Rezaian enjoyed a burrito in San Francisco!
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- New York Times column, “When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism,” by Maureen Dowd: “The Clintons felt that Obama had presumptuously snatched what was rightfully hers in 2008 … gliding past to make history before she could. So this time, the Clintons assumed, the women who had deserted Hillary for Barack owed her … This attitude intensified the unappetizing solipsistic subtext of her campaign, which is ‘What is Hillary owed?’ It turned out that female voters seem to be looking at Hillary as a candidate rather than as a historical imperative. And she’s coming up drastically short on trustworthiness. Bernie has a clear, concise ‘we’ message, even if it’s pie-in-the-sky: The game is rigged, we have to take the country back from the privileged few and make it work for everyone. Hillary has an ‘I’ message: I have been abused and misunderstood … It’s my turn.’”
-- Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Trump’s America,” by Charles Murray: “If you are dismayed by Trumpism, don’t kid yourself that it will fade away if Trump fails to win the Republican nomination. Trumpism is an expression of the legitimate anger that many Americans feel about the course that the country has taken. It is the endgame of a process that has been going on for a half-century: America’s divestment of its historic national identity … the central truth of Trumpism as a phenomenon is that the entire American working class has legitimate reasons to be angry at the ruling class. Many of the dynamics of the reversal can be found in developments across the whole of American society: in the emergence of a new upper class, new lower class, and in the plight of the working class caught in between. Mainstream America is fully aware of this condescension and contempt and is understandably irritated by it. American egalitarianism is on its last legs.”
-- New York Times, “The House D.J. of the Sanders Campaign,” by Jason Horowitz: “Standing between a wall of retracted wooden bleachers and his turntables, Mel Sandico, a.k.a. D.J. Mel, looked up to survey the crowd filing into Senator Bernie Sanders’s New Hampshire victory party … Mr. Sandico has become the house D.J. of Mr. Sanders’s parties, playing a mix that is in equal parts laid-back lounge bar, alternative college radio and dancey early ’90s bar mitzvah … totally consistent with the projected image of a 74-year-old Democratic socialist from lily-white and Phish-fanatical Vermont who is to trying to capture the imagination of young people and minorities. A few minutes later, the instrumental version of Dr. Dre came over the speakers. … Mr. Sandico laughed. ‘It’s like we’re at a club,’ he said.”
-- Politico, “Sanders targets Colorado as March must-win,” by Edward-Isaac Dovere and Annie Karni: “The Clintons have a history of losing in Colorado—Bill Clinton lost the 1992 caucuses to Jerry Brown, and Hillary Clinton lost them to Barack Obama in 2008 … The state is also the linchpin for his March strategy, when Sanders hopes to run the table in a series of caucus states in March … While some insist the Vermont senator’s record opposing the strictest gun control measures may be a better fit here than elsewhere, the Clinton campaign continues to believe Sanders will have a problem in Colorado on his gun record. That’s all missing the point, according to several Democratic operatives on the ground, who say that Sanders will be strong here. ‘I don't think people responding to his message are worrying about specifics,’ said one Clinton backer in Colorado, ‘they're motivated by a vision.’”
-- Los Angeles Times, “Recorded interview reveals former Sheriff Lee Baca lying to a federal prosecutor,” by Joel Rubin and Cindy Chang: “Lee Baca's guilty plea Wednesday to making a false statement marked a stunning reversal for the longtime law enforcement leader who had previously insisted he played no role in the jail scandal. In his plea agreement, the 73-year-old retired sheriff did not contest the other false statements prosecutors accused him of making. Baca is the ninth former sheriff's official to be convicted in the obstruction of justice case … At the heart of the case is how sheriff's officials responded when they discovered in 2011 that FBI agents were secretly investigating the jails and had gone so far as to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate working as a federal informant. Baca faces up to six months in prison under the terms of the deal he made with the U.S. attorney's office … His former second in command, retired Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, is scheduled to go to trial next month."
HOT ON THE LEFT
Scalia's death could save Obama's bold climate plans. From New York: "Last week, the Supreme Court issued a stay delaying the implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The stay indicated that a majority of the justices foresee a reasonably high likelihood that they would ultimately strike down Obama’s plan, which could jeopardize the Paris climate agreement and leave greenhouse gasses unchecked. Without Scalia on the Court, the odds of this drop to virtually zero."
HOT ON THE RIGHT
NRA: Scalia death puts gun rights in jeopardy. From the Washington Examiner: "We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would harm our Second Amendment rights," said the NRA. The organization plans to spend over $20 million on the upcoming election.
On the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in Las Vegas. The Republicans will remain in South Carolina. Here's a rundown:
- Cruz: Beaufort
- Rubio: Easley
- Carson: Fort Mill, Columbia
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described East-West relations as having “fallen into a new Cold War” and said NATO was “hostile and closed” toward Russia. “I sometimes wonder — are we in 2016 or 1962?” Medvedev asked in a speech to the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. (AP)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Don’t take off those hats, gloves, or scarves just yet. “There’s a slight relaxation in the brutality of Saturday, mainly because winds are not as strong, and there’s more sunshine overall,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. However, temperatures probably struggle to the low-and-mid 20s, which is very cold however you slice it. Clouds should tend to increase late in the day as our next storm system approaches.”
-- Virginia lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow state officials to use the electric chair to execute those on death row when lethal-injection drugs are not available. If the legislation passes, the measure could be used as early as next month. (Matt Zapotosky)
-- In a significant setback for her cash-strapped campaign, the Congressional Black Caucus will not endorse Rep. Donna Edwards in her Maryland Democratic Senate primary against fellow Rep. Chris Van Hollen. The snub came after the CBC PAC voted to table a decision to endorse Edwards, rather than holding a vote on the endorsement itself. (Rachel Weiner)
-- The Capitals lost 4-3 to the Dallas Stars.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Here's a 3-minute recap of the debate:
And the moment where Cruz pulled out his Spanish skills, after Rubio accused him of not being able to speak the language:
The weirdest moment of the debate was when Trump brought up a quote Jeb gave the Boston Globe about taking off his pants:
Yes Jeb you did say it: “I could drop my pants. Moon the whole crowd. ...except the press guys would never notice." https://t.co/Ff7s5Umxmf— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) February 14, 2016
Watch Scalia reflect on his 1986 confirmation hearing:
Scalia on '86 Senate hearing "whenever I wanted to distract attention all I had to do was stick the pipe in my mouth https://t.co/sJbKyzvx3H— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) February 13, 2016
Here are President Obama's comments on Scalia's death:
And Bill Clinton's reaction to the news:
As part of the outreach to African Americans, Sanders' campaign released a five-minute video of him endorsing Jesse Jackson in 1988, using some of the same rhetoric he still does today:
This was one heck of a dunk from the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest:
Let's slow it down. pic.twitter.com/4lZ6iFp1wC— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 14, 2016