Good morning from Memphis. Tennessee is the second stop on my road trip through five Southern states ahead of Tuesday’s SEC Primary.
THE BIG IDEA:
Marco Rubio finally showed the backbone that the donor class and establishment leaders have demanded from him.
Most major news outlets and conservative thought leaders are describing last night’s performance in Houston as his best yet. The Florida senator came out swinging, got under Trump’s skin and then – tag-teaming with Ted Cruz – slammed the front-runner on more than a dozen issues.
For strategic reasons, Trump avoided all but a few direct hits during the previous nine debates. The intensity of the criticism leveled against him on CNN and Telemundo reflects the increasing recognition that there are really only two weeks left to stop him, if he’s going to be stopped.
Cruz needed a great performance to change the narrative that the wind is coming out of his sails after third-place finishes in South Carolina and Nevada. He didn’t get it. The Texas senator got in some good jabs, but he often seemed like a bystander. And he didn’t do as crisp a job as Rubio at making an affirmative case for why folks should vote for him.
Rubio’s feisty toughness will probably not be enough to slow Trump’s momentum going into Super Tuesday, but it likely will help him consolidate support as the conservative movement’s best hope in a two-man race.
Here’s what pundits and other thought leaders are saying—
TV host Glenn Beck is a prominent Cruz supporter who campaigned with him across Nevada earlier this week:
Rubio is killing it.#gopdebate— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) February 26, 2016
My focus group’s final vote on tonight’s winner. #GOPDebate— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) February 26, 2016
• Rubio: 16
• Trump: 4
• Kasich: 2
• Cruz: 1
• Carson: 0
The Post’s Chris Cillizza named Rubio the winner and Cruz the loser: “It was the best debate performance by any candidate in any debate so far in the 2016 election,” he writes of Rubio. “Cruz watched -- and I do mean watched -- as Rubio turned the race into a two-man contest between him and Trump. Cruz was strangely absent from the main back-and-forths of the night.… [He] also tried to make the electability case against Trump but found himself hoist on his petard by The Donald, who noted that the Texas senator's polls aren't in a great place. Cruz looked like the third wheel in this debate -- a bad place to be with March 1 just five days away.”
Had Rubio been doing this all along we'd be looking at a two-man race. Between Rubio and Cruz. And it would be awesome.— EricaGrieder (@EricaGrieder) February 26, 2016
Rubio throwing spears makes him seem more authentic, like he's not pre-programmed moves away from robot issue.— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) February 26, 2016
This is Rubio at the very top of his game. Nobody can go home disappointed from this.— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) February 26, 2016
Both Rubio and Cruz are doing very well tonight, but I think Rubio succeeded much more in rattling Trump. Also seems to be enjoying it more.— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) February 26, 2016
Cruz, if anything, is being too polite with Trump. He's being the house librarian. Rubio is the pugilist.— Tim Mak (@timkmak) February 26, 2016
Hey @TedCruz, you are losing me tonight and I love you. Rubio is not your enemy tonight.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) February 26, 2016
Conservative radio Host Dana Loesch called it “Rubio’s best debate, ever.”
The Fix’s Philip Bump: “Campaigns put together portfolios of attacks that they plan to use, called ‘oppo books.’ Rubio pulled every sheet out of that book and then tossed the empty cover at Trump."
The New Republic’s Jeet Heer: “Prior to Thursday’s debate, the thought of the nervous, seemingly fragile Rubio going up against master bully Trump seemed like an epic mismatch on par with chess player Bobby Fisher going against Muhammad Ali, or Bambi fighting Godzilla.”
But The Post’s Dan Balz poses the million-dollar question: will it be enough to impress actual voters? “For those fearful of Trump as the party’s nominee, Thursday was supposed to be the night that the dynamic of the race began to change. Certainly Rubio and Cruz tried to make that happen, with some success. But Tuesday’s balloting will be the real first test of whether things actually are changing.”
Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin gave Rubio high marks for standing his ground but argued that he “also didn’t get any clean kills.”
-- But Trump really was put on the defensive over a remarkable number of issues, including:
- On his tax returns: When Hugh Hewitt, one of the moderators, told Trump that he said he would release his returns a year ago, the candidate replied: “First of all, very few people listen to your radio show. I want to release my tax returns. But I can’t release them while I’m under audit.” On CNN afterward, Trump claimed that the IRS might be auditing him because he’s “a strong Christian.”
- On Trump University being “fake”: Cruz warned that Trump will get cross-examined in open court this summer “about whether he committed fraud.” The mainstream media, he warned Republicans, will go nuts.
- On his inheritance: “If he hadn’t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be? Selling watches in Manhattan,” Rubio said. “I took $1 million and I turned into $10 billion,” Trump replied.
- On being fined for hiring illegal immigrants to work at his properties.
- On how he’d get Mexico to pay for the border wall.
- On health care: Cruz accused Trump of supporting “socialized medicine” and warned of rationing. When Trump said he doesn’t want anyone to die in the street, Rubio bizarrely said he sounded like a Democrat. (As if Republicans support letting people die in the street?)
- For not providing detailed plans: Moderators and Rubio both pressed Trump to lay out what his replacement for Obamacare would look like, beyond just allowing insurers to sell insurance across state lines. He struggled.
- On Planned Parenthood: “Millions and millions of women with cervical cancer [and] breast cancer, are helped by Planned Parenthood,” Trump said. “I would defund it because I’m pro-life, but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.”
- On being too willing to cut deals in general, specifically when it comes to appointing a Supreme Court justice.
- On flip-flopping
- On Israel: Rubio slammed him for noting that he’d try to negotiate peace.
- On the Middle East: Trump said the U.S. would be better off “if we had Saddam Hussein and we had Gaddafi in charge."
Even if Trump's leads hold in next week's states, this debate previews how rough it's going to get when it's down to him and just Cruz/Rubio— daveweigel (@daveweigel) February 26, 2016
-- Mostly it was stylistic. Trump just has not had enough practice at being interrupted. That might be why he really seemed to regain his footing during the final hour. “During one exchange, Trump mentioned that he had donated money to Cruz,” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait notes. “Rubio piped in that Trump had not given him anything, and Trump replied that Rubio had sent him a book with a message telling him he was doing a great job. Then he dismissed Rubio as a choke artist and Cruz as a liar. It was the Trump persona in its essence -- the overbearing alpha male character he honed as a reality television star. Set in the middle of his two antagonists, and towering over them, he managed to restore them to their place as supplicants -- politicians, mere talkers.”
-- Bigger picture, last night erased any doubt that the coming weeks – or months – will bring a Republican referendum on Trump. He spoke for 32 minutes and 26 seconds during the debate, 11 minutes more than Cruz and 15 minutes more than Rubio, per a Politico tally.
As soon as the debate ended, CNN went directly to a Chris Cuomo interview with Trump on stage that lasted several more minutes. The cable channel then brought the front-runner back on again a few minutes after that. This let Trump make his case without being attacked by Rubio or Cruz. And it let him level more personal attacks. “We have to have somebody that doesn’t sweat,” Trump said of Rubio. “We need to have somebody that doesn’t have whatever it is that he’s got.”
-- Trump really did show once again that he is in a league of his own. With George H.W. Bush in the audience and Jeb Bush out of the race, everyone else sucked up to the family. Kasich and Rubio went out of their way to praise the 41st president. Cruz normally attacks H.W. in his stump speech for choosing David Souter, but he carefully avoided that line while giving his standard SCOTUS answer. Trump was unbowed, however, reiterating his critique and defending his past comment that W. should have been impeached.
"I'm the only one on this stage that's hired people,” he replied to Rubio’s attack that he hired illegal immigrants. “I've hired tens of thousands of people. You haven't hired one person in your life!”
"I got along with everybody,” he told Cruz. “You get along with nobody. You don’t have the endorsement of one Republican senator and you work with these people!”
He was dismissive of attacks from his two main rivals the same way that Rubio was when Jeb came after him at an earlier debate. He told the audience that these are desperate politicians who are being told to say these things. “Keep fighting. Keep swinging for the fences,” Trump told Cruz.
-- The Post’s Fact Checkers focus on 13 suspicious claims from last night’s debate, including Trump’s claims of how many illegally cross the southern border, how much the wall would cost and how the trade deficit works. They also call out Rubio for offering a misleading answer about his support for special breaks to help the ethanol lobby and for overstating his role in taking on insurance companies. Read more from Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee here.
If you missed the debate, watch a three-minute video recap here:
|Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter. |
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@b_deppy) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
--Three are dead and 14 are injured in Hesston, Kansas, after a gunman went on a rampage at the manufacturing plant where he worked. Authorities say he was armed with an “assault style” weapon, and opened fire over a several-mile span before being fatally shot by police.
-- Witnesses and news sources identified the shooter, Cedric Ford, as having a “history of run-ins with the law,” including a recent assault on his live-in girlfriend. His Facebook page “reflects a fondness for guns.” A co-worker said the two recently argued and he believes Ford may have been targeting him in the attack. (Sarah Kaplan, Michael E. Miller and Christopher Haxel)
GET SMART FAST:
- The FBI director and Apple's General Counsel will each testify next week before the House Judiciary Committee amid an ongoing legal battle over whether the company should help unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists. (Mark Berman)
- Falling oil prices have forced Saudi Arabia to implement harsh austerity measures that could trigger unrest. (Hugh Naylor)
- The University of Missouri professor who gained notoriety for pushing a student reporter during protests earlier this year has finally been fired. (Susan Svrluga)
- The U.S. government introduced a new U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at holding North Korea responsible for its recent nuclear and missile tests. The draft measure is a compromise between the U.S. and China, North Korea's closest ally. (Associated Press)
- Medical and human rights workers in the Syrian conflict believe that Russia and its allied forces are INTENTIONALLY bombing hospitals. "Physicians for Human Rights has counted 346 attacks on medical facilities, with 705 staff members killed," per The New York Times.
- Anti-anxiety drugs are playing a larger role than previously suspected in overdose deaths from prescription drugs. The American Journal of Public Health found that the number of Americans filling anti-anxiety prescriptions increased 67 percent between 1996 and 2013. (The New York Times)
- Vermont could be the first state where the legislature votes to legalize marijuana. The state Senate passed such a bill and it now moves to the state House and then the governor, who supports the measure. The four other states to legalize pot have done so through ballot referendums (Vox.com)
- Pfizer will avoid $35 billion in U.S. taxes by inverting. (Renae Merle)
- Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) announced his retirement. (Politico)
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- The Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC will endorse Clinton following a formal vote. The group includes nearly every Hispanic House Democrat, including New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the only Hispanic Democrat in the Senate. (Kelsey Snell)
-- Hillary’s labor allies are playing hardball: The head of the Washington State Labor Council canceled plans to speak at a Sanders event in Seattle after AFSCME threatened to pull funding from his group if he appeared, the Huffington Post reports. AFSCME did not dispute the report.
-- Bill Clinton, campaigning for his wife in South Carolina, defended Hillary against Bernie's charges that the 1996 welfare plan he signed into law left millions impoverished.
-- The Clinton campaign is running a closing ad in the Palmetto State featuring Rep. Jim Clyburn. (Watch here.)
-- Bernie Sanders threw the kitchen sink at Hillary Clinton during a rally last night in Chicago. "The Vermont senator attacked Clinton for having accepted campaign contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street interests. And then he sharply criticized her support, as first lady and as a New York senator, of welfare reform, free trade, an anti-gay rights bill and the Iraq War — all measures he opposed during his long career in Congress," John Wagner reports. "The broadside came amid a speech to a raucous crowd of more than 6,500 people packed into a basketball arena at Chicago State University ... Though none of the critiques leveled by Sanders were new, his remarks were striking for both their length -- until recently he often didn’t mention Clinton at all at his rallies -- and his tone. At a few points, the audience booed Clinton and the stances she’s taken."
-- This is the 20th anniversary of Hillary's "It Takes A Village." It is "the closest thing we've ever had to a Hillary Clinton political manifesto," Carlos Lozada notes: "The Clinton in these pages is a self-described moderate, but one who wants an activist government to drive social policy transformations. She is an advocate for equal rights, with a surprising streak of social conservatism. And in a preview of one of her current campaign’s big challenges, she dismisses cross-generational nostalgia for a bygone America yet fears that young Americans don’t recognize the sacrifices their elders once made for them."
-- Sanders campaigned in Flint, saying residents should not be paying for the "poisoned water" coming through their taps. For nearly an hour, Sanders mostly listened as residents of the Michigan city -- many of them emotional and visibly angry -- told him about their lead-contaminated water supply, their frustration with the government’s seeming inability to do anything about it, and the effect it is having on their children. (John Wagner)
MORE ON THE REPUBLICAN RACE:
-- Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan told top donors in New York on Wednesday night that he is preparing for a contested convention, CNN's MJ Lee reports. Sullivan "used a Power Point presentation and took questions from attendees to lay out the two courses that Rubio's quest for the GOP nomination could take in the coming months ... The first showed the number of states and delegates Rubio would need to clinch the nomination outright before July's convention. The second was the scenario in which none of the candidates gain the simple majority delegates needed ... unleashing a messy and potentially unpredictable battle where multiple candidates are vying for the title."
-- Trump placed last minute reservations for $886,000 in advertising time across six states that vote Tuesday, a relative pittance compared to the size of the map. He’s spending about $200,000 each in Georgia (almost all Atlanta) and Texas. He laid down $160,000 in Alabama, $130,000 in Tennessee, $100,000 in Arkansas and $80,000 in Virginia, per Politico's media buyer source.
-- Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed on as a senior adviser to Trump. She was previously campaign manager for her father, ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
-- The Trump campaign misspelled the location of an upcoming rally, urging voters to “Stand with Trump, Oaklahoma City.” They misspelled Tulsa during a previous visit. (Politico)
-- Lindsey Graham unloaded on Trump in the Capitol basement yesterday, calling his ex-rival a "nut job," "a loser as a person" and "ill-suited to be president." But, but, but: Graham admitted that he'd back the reality-TV star if he won the GOP nod, which he thinks Trump probably will. “I’ve got a ticket on the Titanic. So I am like on the team that bought a ticket on the Titanic, after we saw the movie. This is what happens if you nominate Trump," Graham said, per Paul Kane. Warning GOP voters of impeding doom, Graham said: "You can’t have it both ways. You can’t nominate a nut job and lose, and expect it doesn’t have consequences.”
-- David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, urged his followers to volunteer for and back Trump. "Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” Duke said on the David Duke Radio Program Wednesday, referring to Cruz and Rubio. “I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do." (BuzzFeed)
Here's the cover ot today's New York Daily News:
-- Former Mexican presidents Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón spoke out against Trump in separate interviews with The Post’s Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan. The former leaders, who led the country from 2000 to 2012 and each enjoyed strong relations with Washington, said the GOP front-runner has damaged U.S.-Mexico relations and is changing the way Mexicans view Americans.
Asked on his ranch in central Mexico about Trump’s assertion that he was going to get Mexico to pay for his proposed border wall, Fox said bluntly: “Fuck it.”
“Trump is saying stupid things, but the problem is that 40 percent of Republicans say, ‘Yes, you’re right,’ ” added Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive who has long identified with the Republican Party. “They are hearing the prophet telling them that he is going to take them to the promised land. But he is going to lead everybody into the desert to die of hunger and thirst. He is a false prophet.”
“Trump himself descended from immigrants … The question is not immigrants or not,” Calderón said. “The question is white or nonwhite immigrants. … All the hate that Trump is seeding … could provoke an incredible reaction against the U.S. He is laughing at everybody, amassing a fortune. So for him, he has already won.”
Watch a video with both former presidents refusing to pay for Trump's wall:
Watch Vice President Biden apologize to Mexico for the rhetoric coming from the Republicans:
-- An online poll of the Southern states voting next Tuesday, conducted by Purple Strategies for Bloomberg, puts Trump at 37 percent across the region, with Cruz and Rubio tied at 20, Carson at 8, and Kasich at 6. Problematically for Cruz, the sample included Texas – which suggests weakness in other SEC primary states. (And if he can’t win in the Bible belt, where can he?) Trump also beats both Rubio and Cruz in hypothetical one-on-one matchups, weakening an argument that a two-man race would halt Trump’s lead. (Bloomberg-Purple Strategies)
-- A series of polls before the debate showed Trump’s dominance: In Florida, Quinnipiac University finds Trump leading the field with 44 percent to Rubio’s 28, with 73 percent of Trump voters saying their mind is made up. The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling has Rubio a few points behind in the state at 25 percent. The biggest cleavage in Florida is education – Rubio retains a small lead with college grads (37-31) while Trump is 50-24 among non-degree holders.
-- The sustained attacks on Cruz’s character have hurt. A national Morning Consult survey conducted after Nevada finds Cruz’s favorable ratings among Republicans have dropped by five points, and by eight points among Christian voters. The same survey places Cruz third, with 14 percent, and Rubio and Trump at 19 percent and 42 percent, respectively.
-- The latest from Massachusetts: NPR’s WBUR poll shows Clinton is edging out Sanders with a four-point lead on the Democratic side, 49-45. It’s worth noting that both Democratic candidates are extremely well-liked in Massachusetts, and it will be close. As for Republicans, Trump remains ahead with 40 percent. Interestingly, Kasich and Rubio are tied for second with 19 percent each. (WBUR - NPR)
-- In Virginia, Trump and Clinton continue to lead: Trump is at 41 percent, followed by Rubio at 27 and Cruz at 14, in a Monmouth University poll. Clinton holds a larger lead on the Democratic side, besting Sanders by a 60 to 33 percent lead.
SCALIA SUCCESSION FIGHT:
-- Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell will meet with President Obama next Tuesday.
-- The Brian Sandoval bubble took less than 24 hours to burst. Nevada's GOP governor took himself out of the running for a possible Supreme Court nomination.The governor released a statement saying, "Earlier today, I notified the White House that I do not wish to be considered at this time for possible nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States." The Republican had on Monday met with his state's senior senator, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D), who publicly backed Sandoval for the job. But it was not to be, as Sandoval probably realized he'd be more of a punching bag if President Obama ultimately picked him as his candidate to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans had said tapping Sandoval wouldn't alter their strategy of refusing to consider whoever Obama nominates before the November elections.
-- Meanwhile, Democrats are divided over whether they want to see a centrist candidate who might get confirmed or a liberal firebrand who would stoke the party's base in an election year. (Mike DeBonis)
-- Liberal interest groups like MoveOn, EMILY's List, Credo, the AFL-CIO and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights are talking a big game about putting pressure on Republicans to consider a SCOTUS nominee. They're fundraising off the GOP decision to block the nomination while threatening to go after Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Rob Portman (Ohio). But it's unclear if the liberal coalition will fracture after the pick gets announced and what kind of money they're willing to put behind such an effort, Catherine Ho reports.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
George H.W. Bush was in the audience at the debate:
As was Barbara Bush:
Mrs. Bush takes a selfie. Priceless! pic.twitter.com/3KCS5VPDC5— Alex Triantafilou (@ChairmanAlex) February 26, 2016
Mitt Romney trolled Trump on his tax returns:
No legit reason @realDonaldTrump can't release returns while being audited, but if scared, release earlier returns no longer under audit.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 26, 2016
Trump said he's the target of IRS audits because of his Christian faith. Jokes ensued on Twitter:
What he gets for hiring 2 Corinthians to prep his taxes https://t.co/dh47IQEoGn— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 26, 2016
This was a real answer to a question about how he'd pick a Supreme Court justice:
“The fruit salad of their life is what I would look at.” — Carson #GOPDebate— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) February 26, 2016
Commentators were not amused when crosstalk overtook the final segment:
This is a disgrace.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) February 26, 2016
Even people outside of politics noticed:
It's like a Punch and Judy show— Alan Cumming (@Alancumming) February 26, 2016
Those trying to transcribe last night just had to cope with the chaos:
Kasich is the cooler at the craps table.— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 26, 2016
There was a woman in the audience who kept obnoxiously shrieking. No one is sure who she was trying to support, but everyone agreed she was annoying. Here's a Vine of one of the moments:
Drudge right now pic.twitter.com/yrH0rOFjLk— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 26, 2016
And one last meme:
-- So who is in the audiences of these debates? At the University of Houston debate, it wasn’t students – the Chronicle reported that only six students received tickets. “Under its agreement with CNN, UH received tickets for just 25 of 800 seats in the theater,” said the Chronicle. “A university spokeswoman said 14 of those tickets went to UH regents, and special guests.” “We knew that tickets would be limited, but 25 was a much lower number than I was ready to hear,” UH president Renu Khator wrote in her blog. The night even prompted protests from local students: Melanie Franco, 21, and Erica Petersen, 21, felt CNN ‘took over’ the campus and gave little back in return. ‘Will the GOP pay for my cancelled classes,’ one student’s sign read, ‘because I HAD to.’”
Dear Everyone,— Asa Snell (@SnellAsa) February 23, 2016
Yes I got to UH. No I do not have tickets to the GOP debate.
Me and everyone else who atteneds UH
True, Trump in NY marched as Grand Marshall at Israeli Parade pic.twitter.com/eTlA5A0QgL— Ari Melber MSNBC (@AriMelber) February 26, 2016
Hillary for her emails— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) February 26, 2016
Trump for fraud at his “University"
Could this be the 1st election where both major party noms are indicted?#Italy
Nothing tonight so far has changed the fact Trump should be sitting on an impenetrable delegate lead morning of March 16. Remarkable.— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) February 26, 2016
This is the best night of @HillaryClinton's campaign.— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) February 26, 2016
Just remember: judging the winner of these debates through rational means has yet to work— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) February 26, 2016
If Trump doesn't win, he should be President of Nielson.— David Gregory (@davidgregory) February 26, 2016
"I'm sorry, I was playing Tetris in my mind." -- Carson— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) February 26, 2016
If they cut to a wide shot and Ben Carson is practicing juggling it won’t surprise me at all.— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) February 26, 2016
We are building a new Republican Party. It will have very high walls paid for by Mexico.— Jack Fowler (@jackfowler) February 26, 2016
Wolf just said "effing" on CNN. #gopdebate— Jeff Bechdel (@jeets) February 26, 2016
A follower asked a CNN contributor if she'd moderate the next debate:
Sure, if they'll allow me to use a whip and taser, as needed. https://t.co/TjwQoDFZ5u— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 26, 2016
Now that Jeb Bush is out of the race, maybe he can make some emojis:
If Facebook reactions were Jebs instead of emoji pic.twitter.com/YQCNUsD843— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) February 25, 2016
Bernie drew more big crowds:
Over at the Washington Press Club Foundation dinner, Lindsey Graham was hamming it up:
Sen Graham at the #WPCFDinner: "If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial is at the Senate, no one will convict you."— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) February 26, 2016
Sen Graham (R-SC) at the #WPCFDinner: "My party has gone batshit crazy..."— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) February 26, 2016
Barbara Boxer sang:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
--New York Times, "Donald Trump hired foreign workers for Florida Mar-a-Lago club," by Charles V. Bagli and Megan Twohey: "Since 2010, nearly 300 United States residents have applied or been referred for jobs as waiters, waitresses, cooks and housekeepers there. But according to federal records, only 17 have been hired. In all but a handful of cases, Mar-a-Lago sought to fill the jobs with hundreds of foreign guest workers from Romania and other countries ... He has also sought guest workers at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach and Trump National golf club and spa in Jupiter, as well as at his vineyard in Virginia and golf clubs in New Jersey."
-- Vox, "I prosecuted O.J. Simpson. Here's what I learned about race and justice in America," by Marcia Clark: "Some of the jurors started out reasonably impartial. In the beginning, we stood a chance of persuading them. But over the course of nine sequestered months, the constant litany of racially incendiary remarks jogged memories, rekindled latent mistrust, and corroded the framework of law and logic we had tried to establish. Jibes and digs like Mr. [Johnnie] Cochran's gratuitous comments to Detective Tom Lange about his house in Simi Valley conjured up images of the Simi Valley jury that acquitted the police officers who'd beaten Rodney King. By the time the infamous Mark Fuhrman tapes were played and the jury heard Fuhrman's voice spewing racial slurs and despicable stories of police brutality, even those who had started out with an open mind likely found it impossible to believe in Simpson's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
-- BuzzFeed, "Inside the Obama administration’s attempt to bring tech companies into the fight against ISIS," by Sheera Frenkel: "Inside the conference room, as dozens of participants met and workshopped various tactics to battle ISIS’s seemingly inexhaustible PR machine, one thing became abundantly clear — there remains, inside the U.S. government, a huge cognitive dissonance. The DOJ called the meeting in the midst of rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country, fed by the campaign of Donald Trump, and yet failed to include more than a small handful of Muslims in the meeting. And while the meeting appealed for help from the tech community, tensions between Washington and Silicon Valley are at an all time high as the FBI seeks to set a precedent by forcing Apple to help them break into a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters."
HOT ON THE LEFT
MPs tells the NFL it is "unacceptable" to bring "new racial slurs" to Britain. From ThinkProgress: "The Washington NFL team is scheduled to play in London this fall, and two members of the British Parliament aren’t happy about it. 'We were shocked to learn the derivation of the term ‘R*dskin,’ pertaining as it does to the historic abuse of Native Americans,' Ruth Smeeth and Ian Austin wrote in a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell... 'The exportation of this racial slur to the UK this autumn, when the Washington team is due to play, directly contravenes the values that many in Britain have worked so hard to instill.'"
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Lawlessness reigns in the battle for transgender students. From National Review Online: "Last week, the South Dakota legislature voted to defy the Obama administration and strike a blow for sanity and common sense. It voted to reserve the use of bathrooms and locker rooms for the exclusive use of people of the “same biological sex" ... At a stroke, the Obama administration rewrote a statute that explicitly prohibits only (gender) discrimination in federally funded educational programs and transformed it into a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."
-- On the campaign trail: Sanders and Clinton are both in Orangeburg and Columbia, S.C. Trump is in Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City. Ted Cruz is in Nashville and John Kasich is in Memphis. Rubio is in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Midland.
-- At the White House: President Obama travels to Jacksonville, Fla., to tour a battery plant and deliver remarks. Vice President Biden tours a research lab at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City before departing for San Francisco.
-- On Capitol Hill: The Senate is adjourned until Monday. The House meets at 9 a.m. for legislative business and is scheduled to voted between 11:30 and 12:30 on the SHARE Act, a sportsmen's bill.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, hates that he keeps hearing Trump referred to as a Queens guy: “He grew up in Jamaica Estates. Jamaica Estates is like Park Avenue. There’s no tough guys from Jamaica Estates. That’s where all the rich kids were.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Don’t ditch the layers just yet. The Capital Weather Gang: “Enjoy the sun but also the return to winter. Northwesterly winds may gust toward 30 mph at times and high temperatures are capped in the upper 30s to low 40s. This air mass from Canada is keeping us about 10 degrees below average!”
-- Virginia lawmakers unanimously tabled a bill that would have allowed law enforcement agencies to keep officer’s names secret. The bill drew criticism from many who viewed it as an assault on accountability and transparency. (Jenna Portnoy)
-- Nearly 1 million gallons of untreated sewage spilled into Prince George’s Broad Creek after heavy rain overwhelmed the pumping system. The sewage will not affect local drinking water, according to officials. (Katherine Shaver)
-- Metro Transit Police will increase patrols at buses and train stations after a string of violent incidents, most recently a shooting this week along the Green Line. (Faiz Saddiqui and Paul Duggan)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Hillary danced on stage last night with Charlie Wilson:
Hillary was confronted by a Black Lives Matter activist (read the full story about the moment):
Ben Carson asked someone to attack him so he could speak:
Watch Rubio, who knows something about being robotic, mock Trump for "repeating himself" during the debate:
Here's an ad Trump cut for Benjamin Netanyahu, something he forgot to mention during the debate:
AirForce TV takes a behind the scenes look at US Minuteman technology. This missile can hit targets over 6,000 miles away: