Friday, February 5, 2016

Good morning everyone! Happy Friday to you!

Joining today's show are Steve Kornacki, Donny Deutsch, John Heilemann, Jon Meacham, Jennifer Horn, Carly Fiorina, Steve Schmidt, Chuck Todd, Juleanna Glover, Fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush, Jeff Greenfield, Bianna Golodryga, Gov. John Kasich, Sara Eisen, Michael Eric Dyson, Eddie Glaude Jr. and in Taiji, Japan today, a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins is netted in the cove. Skiffs with trainers arrived. Captive selection is imminent. One dolphin got stuck in the net trying to escape.  Dolphins taken captive so far. Two went to harbor pens one to dolphin base. Skiff with dead dolphins leaving the cove. The remainder of the dead bodies have been towed to the butcher house and the tarps are being removed from the Cove. 3 bottlenose dolphins have been taken captive for aquariums and the rest of this large pod have been slaughtered. 16-05-02 10:42am ‪#‎dolphinproject‬‪#‎tweet4dolphins‬. And finally, after 19 days in Japanese Detention, Ric O'Barry is now free!

And, most of all, what a debate it was last night with Hillary Clinton and with Bernie Sanders! That was one of the best debates that I had ever seen. I watched the reply late night while I worked an all nighter too. They both got to speak and they both spoke so well. It was a great night for Politics. If the people in the GOP spin this any other ways, it is based o pure delusion. They got down and dirty and then they made up by the end. It was substantive and again, it was just a great debate. I love having two people up there and lost track of it during this primary season. And, it was a far cry from bashing each other and trust me in saying they got at each other big time. Yet it was done with great structure and great intellect. I could not say enough good things about it and also, the moderators were excellent. Both Chucky T. (Todd) and Rachel (Madow) were amazing. Even during the initial highlights here and what I will post below is that you never even hear them utter one syllable because they let the candidates speak. Hillary did well. Bernie did well. They both did a great job last night. Mika and Joe actually agree with what i said here (Vise versa I should say) which is good because I was wondering how they felt after it. Mika even said she stayed up all night which was my issue too.

Here are the must-Watch Moments From the Democrats' New Hampshire Debate. The two remaining candidates did not hold back in Thursday night's testy debate.
Explosive would be an understatement. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t waste any time in Thursday's Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire before jumping into a heated exchange over whether Clinton is a true progressive—a subject that continued to emerge in various forms for most of an hour.

The stakes going into this debate were high, particularly for Clinton, with polls showing her far behind Sanders in the New Hampshire just four days before the first-in-the-nation primary. Clinton eked out a very narrow win in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, but underperformed her polling there, setting up what could be a long slog for the Democratic nomination.

The debate itself was the product of a dramatic back-and-forth between the two campaigns and the national Democratic Party over the number of debates scheduled. The tensions that went into scheduling it were evident in the fiery debate.

Here are the must-watch highlights:

Clinton rips Sanders’ definition of “progressive.”
Clinton challenged the idea that she is not progressive enough to be the Democratic Party’s nominee by ripping apart Sander’s use of the term, claiming that under his definition many mainstay liberal politicians would be excluded. “Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street; Vice President Biden is not progressive because she supported Keystone; Sen. [Jeanne] Shaheen [of New Hampshire] is not progressive because she supports the trade pact,” Clinton said. “Even the late, great Sen. Paul Wellstone would not fit this definition because he voted for [the Defense of Marriage Act]. You know, we have differences and, honestly, I think we should be talk about what we want to do for the country. But if we're going to get into labels, I don't think it was particularly progressive to vote against the Brady Bill five times.”

After Clinton’s challenge, the debate moderators wondered: Does Sanders dispute the idea that Barack Obama should be termed a progressive? "Do I think President Obama's a progressive? Yeah, I do," Sanders said after a long wind-up, though still noting that he disagreed with the president on a number of issues.
Sanders wants to change the Democratic Party.
Asked about how he would lead the Democratic Party given his long career as an independent, Sanders declared that he wanted to make big changes to the party. “I am running for president as a Democrat," he said. "And if elected, not only do I hope to bring forth a major change in national priorities, but let me be frank, I do want to see major changes in the Democratic Party. I want to see working people and young people come into the party in a way that doesn't exist now. And you know what, I want a 50-state strategy so the Democratic Party is not just the party of 25 states.”

Clinton fights the "establishment" label.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow quizzed Sanders about Clinton’s big advantage in endorsements from fellow Democratic politicians from Vermont. “Secretary Clinton does represent the establishment,” Sanders responded. “I represent, I hope, ordinary Americans, and by the way, who are not all that enamored with the establishment.”

Clinton was ready to dismiss that dig, however, noting that her candidacy is far from the norm. “Honestly, Sen. Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment. And I've got to tell you that it is really quite amusing to me.”
Sanders explains his problem with Clinton’s campaign funds from Wall Street.
Sanders emphasized that Clinton and the super-PAC supporting her candidacy are taking donations from the financial sector—and argued that it is this kind of political donation that helps big industries like Wall Street avoid tough regulations.

“What being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super-PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one's life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests," Sanders said. "To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.”
Clinton goes after Sanders' "artful smears."
Sanders' favorite refrain on the campaign trail has been that he wants to talk about issues rather than the nasty personal attacks that normally define political campaigns. Those claims of purity aren't ringing true to Clinton, who termed his attacks against her "an artful smear" that cut against his earlier pledges. "But time and time again," Clinton said, “by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to—you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don't think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you've got something to say, say it directly.”

Emails are...still not an issue in the Democratic primary. (Sorry moderators.)
Moderator Chuck Todd asked Clinton whether she can assure Democrats that the controversy over her emails will not “blow up her candidacy” if she wins the nomination. Clinton’s response was unequivocal.

“Absolutely I can,” she said. “You know, before it was emails, it was Benghazi, and the Republicans were stirring up so much controversy about that. And I testified for 11 hours, answered their questions. They basically said yeah, didn't get her. We tried. That was all a political ploy.”

Todd tried again. "Are you 100 percent confident that nothing is going to come of this FBI investigation?” he asked.

“I am 100 percent confident,” Clinton responded.

Hillary Clinton defends the death penalty.
The moderators challenged Clinton on one area where she’s not quite in step with the Democratic primary electorate: capital punishment. When asked about whether she still supports the use of the death penalty, Clinton said that she’s skeptical of how it’s employed at the state level, but thinks it’s an important tool at the federal level, highlighting Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as an example where capital punishment was warranted. “I do, for very limited, particularly heinous crimes, believe it is an appropriate punishment, but I deeply disagree with the way that too many states are still implementing it,” Clinton said. “If it were possible to separate the federal from the state system by the Supreme Court, that would, I think, be an appropriate outcome.”

Sanders, in turn, said he opposed the death penalty in all cases. “Number one,” Sanders explained, “too many innocent people, including minorities, African Americans, have been executed when they were not guilty.” But even beyond the racial implications, Sanders said he objected to capital punishment entirely. “In a world of so much violence and killing, I just don't believe that government itself should be part of the killing.”

Here is what I posted about the death Penalty issue last night verbatim:

The Death Penalty was an issue brought up in Tonight's Great Debate!

Bill to repeal death penalty moves to Senate floor.
riverside of capitol

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, made headlines last week for his legislation that would repeal the death penalty in Missouri and now, he’s made history.
SB 816 has taken the next step to becoming law by moving onto the Senate floor after passing out of committee by a 4-2 vote in committee Tuesday after it was taken up again after the committee tabled the issue last week.

It is the first time a death penalty repeal bill has moved onto the floor of the Senate.

“One of my motivations [to run for office] was defending human life,” Wieland said. “As a pro-life person, I needed to be congruent with my conscience.”

While Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, the chair of the General Laws and Pensions Committee, was receptive to the idea, alluding to the racial disparity of death sentences, the other Republicans in the committee were not. Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, expressed his belief that some people were too dangerous to be left alive in prison, lest they do harm to their fellow inmates or prison guards.

“Someone executed will never murder again,” he commented.

Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Washington, believed that the death penalty was an effective and necessary deterrent to heinous crime and rejected testimony that the criminal justice system did not do its job.

“I don’t think we have a broken criminal justice system that’s the problem,” Schatz said. “It’s a morally bankrupt society.”

Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, an avid opponent of the death penalty, disagreed with Schatz’ take.

“I’ve fought this fight since I got elected,” he said. “If the death penalty was actually a deterrent, we wouldn’t be executing anyone, would we?”

Many witnesses testified in support of the bill, including the Missouri Catholic Conference, the NAACP and the Missouri Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. Each had their own concerns with capital punishment from the fact that it may be racist institution, that they could be executing innocent people that may be exonerated by new evidence, or that they simply don’t trust the government to put people to death.

Jennifer Bukowsky, a Columbia-based attorney that has worked as a public defender, said that her experience with the Missouri criminal justice system made her want to “hit the pause button” on such punishments because mistakes could be made in sentencing people to death. If the state carried out on those mistakes, Bukowsky argues that “history will not treat us kindly.”

Public defenders are inadequately funded and we can’t have enough confidence in the integrity of the results of our system to kill,” she said Tuesday. “Just because a person’s in prison doesn’t mean the case is solved.”

Next, conservatives and libertarians from across the United States are uniting against the death penalty more than ever before, but our work is not done. We plan on publishing a list of state and local leaders who have signed our Statement of Support to End the Death Penalty, and we want you to be a part of it.
Are you a conservative or a libertarian who has held a political leadership position (such as a YAL chapter chairman, GOP treasurer, tea party founder, conservative state representative, etc.)? If so, then please consider adding your name to our Statement of Support to End the Death Penalty here.
When we release the entire list, it will be further proof that the national dialogue is changing, and the tide is turning against the death penalty.
We have come to the conclusion that the death penalty does not work and can’t be made to work, not in spite of our conservative principles, but because of them. There are many reasons why growing numbers of conservatives are questioning the death penalty. Some of us are concerned that instead of making us safer, capital punishment has proven to be a costly and ineffective government program. Others of us are concerned that the death penalty makes too many mistakes. Still others are concerned that the death penalty has no place in a culture seeking to promote life. In light of its track record, we call on our fellow conservatives to reexamine the death penalty and demonstrate the leadership needed to end this failed policy.

Thank you for your support, and please share our statement with your conservative, politically-active friends and family members.
Exonerate Kenneth Clair: DNA Evidence Points to Someone Else.
On November 15, 1984, 5-year-old Jerrod Hessling witnessed the beating, rape, and stabbing death of his babysitter. When asked to describe the killer, he said, without hesitation, that it was a white male. Another child present during the murder saw a white man’s tattooed arm reach inside the house to open a sliding glass door.
Yet somehow, the lawyers in the case determined that Kenneth Clair, a dark-skinned African-American homeless man who had been squatting next door, was the killer. When Jerrod saw him on the witness stand and insisted they had the wrong man, the prosecution chalked it up to youth and trauma and pursued the death penalty for Kenneth Clair. To this day, 31 years later, Mr. Clair sits on San Quentin’s death row, awaiting his execution date.
[UPDATE: I was recently made aware that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals secretly overturned Mr. Clair’s death sentence and changed it to life in prison without parole. This is mixed news -- his life is spared, but he no longer has the right to an attorney under habeas corpus laws, and he has not been granted a retrial. That means the exonerating DNA evidence will NOT be seen in court. We now have to focus our energy on asking Governor Jerry Brown and California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the case and exonerate Kenneth Clair for this crime he did not commit. It is Mr. Clair’s only remaining chance for justice. ]
But that’s not the biggest bombshell in this case -- in 2008, forensic testing revealed that DNA found on the murder victim did not match Clair’s. DNA taken from a glove found at the scene also did not match. It matches another individual, but the Orange County District Attorney insists that “confidentiality is required” concerning this evidence, and for 7 years now, the identity of the person whose DNA does match the swab has remained a secret.
In the interest of justice, we must call on the Orange County DA and California state lawmakers to demand that the DNA evidence be turned over to Kenneth Clair’s defense.
Since his conviction, Clair has struggled with ineffective counsel. He wanted his lawyers to work at investigating the crime, rather than simply trying to free him from death row, but they never did. His plea for substitute counsel even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and he did eventually receive a switch of counsel. Finally, he is being represented by people who are dedicated to his exoneration.
But their hands are tied without this crucial DNA evidence, and more of Clair’s precious life is wasting away in prison as they fight to obtain it.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Clash Over Wall Street, Progressivism

In a Bloomberg blurb about it today, it sated that things heated up between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in their first one-on-one contest. The Democratic contenders, in a fight for the party’s liberal base, battled over the progressive label. Sanders criticized Clinton’s ties to big business, while Clinton pointed out that she didn’t think it was very progressive of the Vermont senator to “vote against the Brady Bill five times.” In the evening’s most tense exchange, the former secretary of state accused Sanders of engaging in “an artful smear” against her by suggesting that she’s influenced by the money she has received in contributions from Wall Street.

So much more to talk about. More stories and some other headlines this AM:

Two NYPD officers shot in the Bronx; suspect dead. Saudi Arabia Ready to Send Troops to Syria to Fight ISIS. A Saudi military spokesman said Thursday the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS — an offer welcomed by Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri on Thursday told The Associated Press that Saudi Arabia has taken part in coalition airstrikes against ISIS since the U.S.-led campaign began in September 2014, but could now provide ground troops. The U.S. is scheduled to convene a meeting of defense ministers from countries fighting ISIS in Brussels next week month.

"We are determined to fight and defeat Daesh," Asiri said, using the pejorative Arabic term for ISIS. He didn't say how many troops the kingdom would send.

Saudi Arabia is deeply involved in Yemen's civil war, where it is fighting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have long viewed Iran as a regional menace, and Riyadh and Tehran back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Secretary Carter later welcomed the Asiri's statement, saying that increased activity by other countries would make it easier for the U.S. to accelerate its fight against ISIS.

"That kind of news is very welcome," he told reporters while on a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

He said the Saudi government had indicated a willingness to do more in the fight against ISIS, which controls vast swaths of Syria and Iraq.

Also on Thursday, Russia and Turkey traded accusations on Syria, with the Kremlin saying it suspected Turkey was preparing a military incursion into Syria. Turkey in turn accused Moscow of trying to divert attention from its own "crimes" in Syria, and said the Syrian city of Aleppo was threatened with a "siege of starvation."

Iran and Russia back the regime of President Bashar Assad while Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the U.S., among others, oppose it.

Earth, Wind & Fire soul band founder Maurice White diesThe founder of soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, has died in the US, his brother has said.
Earth Wind & Fire In Concert (file photo)
White, 74, died in his sleep in Los Angeles on Thursday morning. He suffered from Parkinson's Disease.
His band had a series of hits including September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and After the Love has Gone.
The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1992 but his condition was reported to have got worse in recent months.

Earth, Wind & Fire were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and Maurice was individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Popularly known by his nickname of Reese, he worked with various well-known recording artists such as The Emotions, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Neil Diamond.

"My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep," Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes."

The group tweeted: "Our brother Maurice White passed peacefully in his sleep this morning. The light is he, shining on you and me.

Earth, Wind & Fire

  • A nine-piece band centred around the two White brothers and singer Philip Bailey
  • The band's most successful period began with the 1975 album That's The Way of The World
  • They remained prominent in the charts for at least a decade afterwards
  • White publicly revealed he was suffering from Parkinson's at the time of the band's Hall of Fame induction
  • He stopped touring with the band in 1995 because of a combination of tiredness and health problems

Bette Midler was among those to pay tribute to the star on Twitter: "Maurice White, founding member of Earth, Wind and Fire, has died. Great music, energy, great spirit. The Lord must need a band up there."

"Thank you Maurice White for creating some of the greatest soul funk and R&B music of all time. Gratitude," wrote Mark Ronson.

Queen Latifah thanked White "for the gift of your music!" and singer and actress Jill Scott said: "Your music is the template of spirituality and greatness. Thank you. Be ever wonderful".
Lenny Kravitz posted a fulsome tribute on Instagram: "King. Genius. Leader. Teacher. Producer. Arranger. Writer. Multi-instrumentalist. Motivator. Mystic. Through his music and artistic expression, he taught me a lifetime's worth of knowledge. He is at the top of the list of all of the greatest masters. The music he left behind as Earth Wind and Fire, mixed with his messages of love, will live on forever."

Earth, Wind & Fire have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide. Many of the group's earlier hits were characterised by Bailey's bright falsetto voice.

In an interview with the Associated Press news agency in 2000, White said that he wanted Earth, Wind & Fire's music to inspire people rather than just entertain them.

"That was the whole objective, to try to inspire young people to believe in themselves and to follow through on their ideas," he said.

"We've touched so many people with these songs."

Maurice White (left) is reported to have shown symptoms of neurological disease as far back as the 1980s
The band is perhaps best known for its exuberant, horn-driven mix of jazz, funk, gospel and Big Band music played at concerts where they performed in glitzy costumes underneath multi-coloured lights. They played at many top venues including the Super Bowl and the White House.

"We live in a negative society,'" White informed Newsweek at the peak of the band's success. "Most people can't see beauty and love. I see our music as medicine."

In other tributes, Nile Rodgers posted a YouTube video with the tweet: "Back in the day we paid homage to your genius before we were Chic!," calling White "one of the most amazing innovators of all time".

"Just heard we lost #MauriceWhite, echoed Beverley Knight. "Gutted although I knew he was ill a long time. Soundtrack of my childhood. Seminal R&B smashers."

This year's Oscar host, Chris Rock, tweeted an image of the singer, with the words: "R.I.P the great Maurice White. 'You can't hide love'."

"Your contributions to music will be kept in our hearts and souls foever," posted Quincy Jones on Twitter, paying tribute to the star.

CeeLo Green wrote: "Rest well master Maurice White. Your work was well done and you earned and deserve eternal peace."

On the radio, DJs Nick Grimshaw, Christian O'Connell and Lauren Laverne all paid tribute to the singer, with O'Connell renaming his breakfast show Boogie Wonderland.

Carly Fiorina misses debate stage.
Carly Fiorina has missed the cut for Saturday’s GOP debate, making her the only major candidate remaining who won’t be on the stage. 

ABC News will not host an undercard debate, so she will miss out entirely from the national spotlight just days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries. 

Fiorina, the only female candidate on the Republican side, failed to meet any prong of the network’s criteria. She did not finish within the top three in the Iowa caucuses, and is not averaging in the top six in polls both nationally and in New Hampshire. 

ABC announced its debate lineup Friday afternoon, which includes Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Chris Christie. Jim Gilmore is the only other active GOP candidate to miss the cut along with Fiorina, but he rarely registers in most polls. 

Fiorina had petitioned the Republican National Committee to step in and force her inclusion into the debate. The RNC did not return a request to comment on that request.  

In her letter to the RNC, Fiorina noted that she finished higher than Christie and Kasich in Iowa while winning the same number of delegates—one—in the caucuses as Bush. She also pointed out that she’s raised more money and has more cash on hand than Christie and Kasich. 

Cruz, New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte , 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich all called on her to be included in the debate. 

After four consecutive appearances in main stage debates, Fiorina missed the cut in each of the last two debates. But she at least remained on the national stage by virtue of the undercard debates. 

It’s not the first time she’s tangoed with networks over debate criteria.

She successfully petitioned CNN to amend its criteria—effectively letting her onto the debate stage—after she pointed out that it weighed polls from before the party’s first debate equally with polls after that debate. Fiorina argued that her lauded performance in the August undercard debate jumpstarted her campaign, a fact evident in a dramatic rise at the polls, so she deserved a spot on the main stage. 

Carly Fiorina on not making cut for GOP debate: The game is rigged, and now you see it in plain day.

Sanders tops Clinton by 2-to-1 margin in New Hampshire. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to hold a wide lead over Hillary Clinton among likely New Hampshire primary voters, according to a new CNN/WMUR tracking poll conducted entirely after the Iowa caucuses.

Sanders stands at 61% support, up slightly from the 57% he held in a late January CNN/WMUR poll conducted before he and Clinton divided Iowa caucusgoers almost evenly on Monday night. Clinton holds 30%, down a tick from the 34% she held before the caucuses. Both changes are within the poll's margin of sampling error.

The results reflect interviews conducted during the first two and a half days of a tracking poll that will ultimately wrap together three nights worth of interviews, but give the first look at how the race is shaping up following Monday night's caucuses in Iowa.

Full results: CNN/WMUR New Hampshire Democratic poll

The Vermont senator is also widely expected to win the primary set to be held on February 9 in New Hampshire, with 61% of likely voters saying they think he'll win, while 25% expect a Clinton victory. Clinton won the state's primary during her bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination after polls ahead of the contest showed her trailing then-Senator Barack Obama.

Likely Democratic voters are far more likely than Republicans in the state to say they've made up their minds about the race, with 64% saying their choice is locked in, while just 41% who say so on the GOP side. Just 17% of likely Democratic voters say they are still trying to decide.

Those who plan to participate in the Democratic primary are also more open to both of their party's remaining candidates than Republicans are to their party's current front-runner, Donald Trump. Overall, just 19% of likely Democratic voters said they would never back Clinton, 8% would never back Sanders, and 52% say both candidates are OK. On the GOP side, 37% said they had ruled out Trump, and only 13% feel the entirety of the field is acceptable.

The CNN/WMUR poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center by telephone from February 2-4. The poll includes interviews with a random sample of 556 adult residents of New Hampshire, including 228 who say they plan to vote in the Democratic presidential primary. For results among the sample of likely Democratic primary voters, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 6.5 percentage points.

Trump Holds Lead in New Hampshire as Rubio Gains Ground
Donald Trump continues to lead Tuesday's New Hampshire primary after his second-place finish in Iowa, but Marco Rubio has gained ground on him, according to a new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll conducted after the Iowa results.

Trump gets support from 30 percent of likely Republican primary followers — followed by Rubio at 17 percent, Ted Cruz at 15 percent, John Kasich at 10 percent, Jeb Bush at 9 percent and Chris Christie at 4 percent.

Last week — before the results in Iowa, where Cruz finished first and Rubio third — Trump was at 31 percent, Cruz 12 percent, Rubio 11 percent, Kasich 11 percent, Bush 8 percent and Christie 7 percent.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll was conducted Feb. 2-3 of 653 likely Republican primary voters, which has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.8 percentage points.

Republicans pile on Ted Cruz after Donald Trump accuses him of cheating in IowaSome prominent Republicans are siding with Donald Trump after his stunning loss in the Iowa caucuses this week, which he blamed on shady tactics by the campaign of US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

After leading the Iowa polls for weeks, Trump came in second to Cruz. Trump initially conceded gracefully, but then fired off an angry tweetstorm on Wednesday, accusing Cruz of fraud and saying that he "stole" the caucuses.

Trump's accusation was based on Cruz supporters circulating a CNN report on a third candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, suddenly flying home on the night of the Iowa caucuses.

This stoked speculation that Carson was on the verge of dropping out of the race. Carson has repeatedly accused the Cruz campaign of playing "dirty tricks" in order to grab his supporters in Iowa.

Since Trump started lobbing his attacks, some big-name Republicans have piled on Cruz and suggested that the real-estate mogul would have actually won the Iowa caucuses were it not for the Cruz campaign's allegedly shady tactics.

Those names include Republican strategist Karl Rove and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R). It's worth noting that Cruz's campaign is widely opposed by the Washington establishment, and Branstad made an unusual statement before the Iowa caucuses urging his state to reject Cruz.

On the other hand, Rove is not a friend of Trump, who has for months used insults like "dopey" and "dummy" to describe him on Twitter.

Rove said on Wednesday night on "The O'Reilly Factor" that the Cruz campaign distributing the CNN report to its precinct captains could have cost Trump the race. The reported letter told the Cruz officials to "inform any Carson caucus-goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz."

"The gap between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is 6,239 votes. There are 1,500 precincts. Do the math," Rove said.

If this message caused precinct captains in the precincts to tell Carson people, "Your guy is getting out, he's having a big announcement later this week, caucus with us." If that cost Carson four votes per precinct to switch to Cruz, then Cruz beats Trump. If he doesn't switch four, then he loses.

Branstad similarly called out the Cruz campaign for its "questionable" tactics. In an interview with Radio Iowa on Thursday, Branstad said that the Carson note was "unethical and unfair."

"This thing that they distributed on caucus night, saying that Dr. Carson was likely to drop out and his supporters should support Cruz, that is, I think, unethical and unfair," Branstad said. "I think there'll be repercussions to that."

Branstad also called the Carson note "inappropriate." He stopped short of saying that Trump's loss was the result of the Cruz campaign's tactics, however, noting that skipping the Fox News debate last week probably hurt him.

Cruz apologized to Carson on Tuesday and said that his team should have also distributed Carson's statement denying the rumor that he was about to exit the race.

But at the same time, Cruz dismissed Trump's raging tweetstorm, referred to his attacks as a "Trump-er tantrum," and questioned whether the businessman has the right temperament to be president.

Following Rick Santorum’s inability to name a single achievement of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)79%, the media sought to answer the question for themselves. Yet many reporters appear to have come up empty handed.

As The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza writes, a “major part of the problem is that Rubio doesn’t have all that many accomplishments in the Senate.”

“When Rubio is asked to name his single greatest achievement in the Senate, do you hear crickets?” tweeted the National Journal’s Ron Fournier.

Though Rick Santorum was unable to name the accomplishments of the man he just endorsed, there are indeed several accomplishments that are quite noteworthy. Below are a few of Sen. Rubio’s achievements that Rick Santorum could have identified on MSNBC this morning:

(1) The Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight Bill
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York has described the 2013 Rubio-Schumer bill as Rubio’s “signature accomplishment.” Although Santorum seemed reluctant to mention it, Rubio’s immigration bill is probably the first accomplishment that comes to mind when anyone thinks of Rubio’s very brief career in the U.S. Senate.

Rubio’s immigration bill would have tripled the issuances of green cards, doubled the dispensation of foreign worker visas, and granted citizenship — and, thereby, welfare access and voting privileges — to illegal immigrants.

Reports ranging from the The National Review, to the Tampa Bay Times, to the Washington Post, to the New Yorker have all suggested that the Gang of Eight bill would have likely not passed the Senate if not for Sen. Rubio’s tireless efforts. Indeed, Rubio was the key salesman of the Obama-backed immigration agenda. As Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker reported at the time, Rubio served as “the Gang’s official ambassador to the right,” and was able to convince prominent conservatives to promote the open borders legislation.

Lizza wrote: “[Democratic Senator Bob] Menendez told me that Rubio’s role was to ‘work over the conservative universe, particularly the conservative opinion-maker universe,’ in order to ‘neutralize them’ and, in some cases, ‘proselytize them.’ Schumer said, ‘He’s the real deal.’”

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told Lizza, “[Rubio] has been invaluable… He’s willing to go on the most conservative talk shows, television and radio, Rush Limbaugh and the rest.”

Moreover, Rubio was also able to successfully strike down all conservative amendments to the Gang of Eight’s proposal. As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)94%
 pointed out, ““Marco and Schumer basically had a secret deal to block all amendments.” Indeed, Rubio joined Chuck Schumer in voting down an amendment offered by Sen. Thune, which would have required the completion of a double-layer border fence. He also successfully defeated an amendment offered by Sen. Vitter, which would require the implementation of an exit-entry tracking system in order to prevent foreign nationals from illegally overstaying their visas.

(2) Obamatrade
Sen. Rubio cast the 60th and deciding vote to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. By giving President Obama fast-track powers, Rubio essentially helped to ensure the passage of not only the TPP, but all subsequent trade pacts, which are now liberated from Senate filibuster, amendment process, and constitutional treaty vote.

This represents a significant legislative victory for the young Senator, who previously endorsed TPP and described Obama’s trade deal as the “second pillar” of a President Rubio’s three-pillar foreign policy strategy.

Moreover, Rubio was also successful in promoting foreign currency manipulation by helping to vote down a provision to crack down on the illicit practice that had been proposed by Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)50%

(3) Blocking Curbs to Muslim Immigration
Rubio told Sean Hannity he’d “hate” to block funding for Obama’s refugees, and suggested that curbs on Muslim migration would be unconstitutional. This pro mass-migration offensive helped give Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)56%
 the space he needed to wave in a vast new group of Muslim migrants.

Rubio further lent aid and comfort to Paul Ryan by joining a large group of Senators in voting down a proposal offered by Sen. Rand Paul to curb Muslim migration. Sen. Paul’s  amendment would have suspended visa issuances to more than 30 Muslim countries with active Jihadist populations.

Rubio has been one of the most ardent champions for increasing Muslim migration. The U.S. has admitted roughly 1.5 million migrants from Muslim countries since 9/11 on a permanent lifetime basis. Yet Rubio has sought to grow that number vastly. In 2015, Rubio introduced an immigration bill which would have allowed for an unlimited increase in Muslim migration.

(4) Enabling His Corporate Backers to Replace Americans With Foreign Workers
In 2015, Florida Disney laid off scores of Marco Rubio’s constituents and replaced them with low-wage foreign workers brought in on H-1B visas. However, before terminating their American employees, Disney forced Rubio’s constituents to train their lesser-skilled foreign replacements.

If Rubio had spent his political capital in 2013 trying to reform the H-1B program, instead of massively expanding it, he could have saved these careers of these Disney workers, instead of enabling their termination by leading the charge for more foreign workers. In 2013, Rubio’s aide even told Ryan Lizza that “There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it. There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly because–.”

At this point another Rubio aide jumped in, asserting, “But the same is true for the high-skilled worker,” to which the first Rubio aide replied, “Yes, and the same is true across every sector, in government, in everything.”

Shortly before the Disney workers got the axe, Rubio introduced legislation in January of 2015 to massively expand the H-1B program. Rubio’s 2015 Immigration Innovation Act would have tripled the number of H-1B visas. Interestingly, the bill was endorsed by Disney’s CEO Bob Iger via his immigration lobbying group, the Partnership for a New American Economy. According to Open Secrets, the Walt Disney Corporation is one of Rubio’s biggest financial backers, having donated more than $2 million.

Unfortunately, Rubio’s success in protecting his corporate backers’ ability to increase their bottom line has gone virtually unreported in the corporate media. This perhaps explains why so few are able to list his Senatorial achievements.

For instance, Julia Preston of the New York Times has written multiple articles about the Florida Disney’s H-1B scheme. Yet Preston fails to mention the fact that Florida Senator Rubio introduced legislation to triple the H-1B program, nor does Preston like to mention that Disney is one of Rubio’s financial backers. To demonstrate, here are several stories in which Preston writes about Rubio’s corporate backer replacing Rubio’s constituents with H-1Bs, yet makes no mention whatsoever of Rubio nor Rubio’s H-1B legislation:

Senator Seeks Inquiry Into Visa Program Used At Disney  [The Senator mentioned here in Preston’s story is Florida’s Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)4%. In contrast to Sen. Rubio — who provided cover to Disney’s cheap-labor practices by pushing to expand H-1Bs — Sen. Nelson joined Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)80% to propose legislation that would reduce the number of H-1Bs and eliminate visas for low-wage jobs. Preston’s story makes no mention of Sen. Rubio nor his desire to expand H-1Bs.] 

(5) Blocking Food Stamp Reform
In 2011, Marco Rubio voted against a Republican proposal which the Congressional Budget Office projected would save the U.S. government $10 billion by reining in the abuse of the food stamp program. The measure was backed by almost all Republicans and opposed by virtually all Democrats. The measure, as Sen. Jeff Sessions explained when he proposed it, would have eliminated what is known as the “categorical eligibility” for food stamps, which makes people “automatically eligible” to receive government benefits even if that household has “substantial assets.” Rubio was one of only seven Republicans to oppose the measure, but his no vote helped stall momentum for food stamp reform– which remains elusive.

Rubio’s campaign did not respond to Breitbart’s request for explanation as to why Rubio voted against the 2011 food stamp reform.

(6) Benghazi
As George Will pointed out, Sen. Rubio gave his “enthusiastic support of the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton intervention in Libya.” Indeed, as the Washington Examiner wrote at the time in a piece entitled “Rubio takes the lead to support Obama’s war in Libya.”

“Rubio proposes that the Senate authorize the president’s use of force in Libya, and that the authorization state that the aim of the use of force should be the removal of the Qaddafi regime,” the piece said.

George Will notes that “Rubio supported this third adventure in regime change in the Muslim world since 9/11, perhaps on the principle that practice makes perfect.”

The destabilization and chaos that resulted from the overthrow of Qaddafi not only provided an operating ground for ISIS, but also provided the conditions that led to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

(7) Worst Attendance Record
Reports note that Sen. Rubio has amassed one of the worst attendance records in the Senate, which is quite an achievement. The Washington Post writes, “Since the beginning of the year, Marco Rubio has cast votes about two-thirds of the time he could have — the worst attendance of any senator seeking a presidential nomination.” The Sun Sentinel editorial board noted, “Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he’s MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead… But two other candidates — Sens. Rand Paul and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)16%

 — have missed only 10 Senate votes during their campaigns for the White House. You, on the other hand, have missed 59, according to a tally by Politico.”

By contrast, Iowa’s Sen. Chuck Grassley set the record for the “longest temporal stretch of perfect attendance in senatorial history,” as Roll Call reported earlier this month. Roll Call notes that the Senator has “not missed a recorded vote in 22 years, six months and six days.”

Given the media’s reluctance to report on the young Senator’s achievements, it is perhaps understandable why Santorum was unable to identify any of Rubio’s achievements when put on the spot.

Although the media seems loath to report it, Sen. Rubio has been one of the most ardent and successful champions of the donor-class’s open borders trade and immigration agenda. While other establishment Republicans such as Jeb Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)36%, or Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)37%

 have been unsuccessful in promoting the donor-class’s priorities, Rubio has repeatedly demonstrated his adept ability to deliver for his donors — evidenced by his ability to win praise from prominent conservatives like Rush Limbaugh even as he pushes policies that Limbaugh and others have warned would wipe out conservatism.

This perhaps explains why Rubio’s campaign has been enthusiastically embraced by some of the most powerful mass migration advocates, like Paul Singer and Larry Ellison.

Jeb Bush's secret weapon in New Hampshire: His mom! Jeb Bush is looking for a comeback after finishing sixth in Iowa. The ex-Florida governor and his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, spoke with CBS News Thursday in New Hampshire, where he's fighting to turn out the votes.

Around Manchester, New Hampshire, it's not uncommon to see presidential candidates pop into roadside diners. But Jeb is hoping his presence in New Hampshire is anything but common.

"What is the Jeb Bush comeback plan?" "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell asked the presidential hopeful.

"Do well here. The message is one that I'm a proven leader. We are electing a president, not a back-bencher in the United States Senate, so you better be ready to lead," Bush said. "You better be able to have the experience of making a tough decision."

"What do you mean a back-bencher?" O'Donnell asked.

"I mean there are people running who are gifted orators. But they've never done anything in their life that would lead to believe they can make a tough decision. ... I mean Marco [Rubio] today had a hard time being able to describe his record of accomplishment," Bush said. "It's hard in this environment where nothing gets done, but don't brag about things you haven't done."

Bush said even if he can't beat Rubio in New Hampshire, it won't be the end of his campaign.

"As I said, this is the first delegate will be selected on Tuesday," he said. "We got 99 percent of the delegates left. It's a long way to go. And I think the voters of the country out to decide that not the pundits."

To help convince the New Hampshire voters, he brought a secret weapon: his mother. At age 90, Mrs. Bush said she flew up from Houston to be alongside her son as he campaigns for president for a few reasons.

"'Cause I love my son and I know that America needs him. He's honest, dependable, loyal, relatively funny! Good looking, but funny," Mrs. Bush said in her first TV interview since the campaign started. "He's got the same values that America seems to have lost. ... He's almost too polite. I don't advise him, but if I gave him advice: I would say, 'Why don't you interrupt like the other people do?'"

"I've gotten better at interrupting, mom, come on," Jeb Bush said.

"You mean interrupt during the debates?" O'Donnell asked.

"Yes. He's so polite. We brought him up that way," Mrs. Bush responded. "And he does not brag like some people we know."

"Who are you talking about?" O'Donnell asked.

"I can't remember," Mrs. Bush said.

"You can say it," Jeb Bush said, chuckling.

"Do you think someone else that is running for president is bragging too much?" O'Donnell asked.

"I'm not getting into a spitting match with him. He can spit further than I can," Mrs. Bush said.

Barbara Bush: "I don’t know how women can vote" for Trump
On Thursday, Republican candidate Donald Trump was profane at his rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"I don't think a president would have ever shouted profanities in a speech in front of thousands of people with kids in the crowd," Jeb Bush said.

"Who did that?" his mother asked.

"Your buddy. He does it all the time. That's different because our culture is different. That would never have been acceptable in the age of Reagan or my dad," he said.

"Yes, I mean, unbelievable. I don't know how women can vote for someone who said what he said about Megyn Kelly. It's terrible. And we knew what he meant too. Don't you get in his firing line!" Mrs. Bush said. "And money doesn't buy everything. It's accomplishments and what you're doing and giving. It's incomprehensible to me."

In a campaign ad running in New Hampshire, Mrs. Bush said, "When push comes to shove, people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions rather than talking about how popular they are or how great they are." She also said Jeb had a big heart.

"I don't know if you know what Donald Trump tweeted about that ad," O'Donnell told Mrs. Bush. "He mocked your son turning to you and he tweeted saying, 'Just watched Jeb's ad where he desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb, mom can't help you with ISIS, the Chinese, or with Putin.'"

"I don't need her help," Bush said.

"Putin endorsed him, for heaven sakes. Putin, the killer. Putin, the worst," Mrs. Bush said.

"He didn't endorse me, just for the record," Bush said.

"No, he endorsed Trump!" Mrs. Bush said. "That's an endorsement you don't want."

While Mrs. Bush is stumping for Jeb in New Hampshire, Jeb's brother, former president George W. Bush, will be campaigning in South Carolina.

"The family is now coming out. Is it a sign of strength or a sign of desperation?" O'Donnell asked.

"Strength," Mrs. Bush said.

"But, your son has said, 'I'm my own man,'" O'Donnell pointed out.

"That's right," Mrs. Bush said.

"And he's sort of walking this line trying to run as himself and at the same time distinguish himself, distinguish, I'm sure, from your brother and the former president. Is it a tough line to walk?" O'Donnell asked.

"No, because 2016 is different than 2000, is different than 1988," Bush said. "I mean, the country has changed. And the issues are different. And I'm different. And people understand that. We are different. My life experience is different than that of George. Certainly different than my dad, the greatest man alive. It's not better or worse. It's different. And it shapes how I think and what my beliefs are."

"You said it's okay to have another Bush in the White House. What about another Clinton?" O'Donnell asked.

"I don't think so because another Bush is going to beat another Clinton," Mrs. Bush said.

"But do you think America is ready for its first female president?" O'Donnell asked.

"Yes. But I don't think either one running is the one we need," Mrs. Bush said.

If people in New Hampshire aren't talking about politics, they're probably talking about Sunday's Super Bowl game. Bush said he'll be rooting for Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning.

"I'm for the old guy that's the all star, the all pro," he said. "The guy that you can rely on. The guy who has a proven record. The guy who can change the course of the country's history. So I'm for Peyton."

"Sounds like you," Mrs. Bush told her son.

"Oh, I don't know, I'm just saying," he said.

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