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top 10 GOP polling candidates that make the debate cut
LA Times:
Fox News and CNN plan to use an average of recent polls to pick the candidates for the first two Republican presidential debates, with the top 10 making the cut for the main event...

Later in the day, CNN, which is scheduled to host a debate in September at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, released its criteria, which added another twist. Its debate will have two segments: a main forum among the 10 candidates with the highest average poll ratings, and an earlier session with second-tier candidates.

CNN taking a varsity/JV approach to GOP debates: http://t.co/...
@TexasTribAbby
New York magazine/Frank Rich:
Right behind Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio became the second Republican hopeful to run into the latest GOP litmus test: being asked if it was a mistake to invade Iraq. (Scott Walker and Rand Paul have so far been able, just barely, to avoid the question directly.) What's the right answer here?

The reason Republican presidential candidates can’t come up with a “right answer” on Iraq is that there is no right answer that can satisfy both of their contradictory constituencies: (1) the voters they need to reach in the general election and (2) their party’s powerful neocon foreign-policy dead-enders, from Dick Cheney to Bill Kristol, who have not retreated one iota from their view that the Iraq War was the right thing to do, for the right reasons, and that anyone who says otherwise is soft on terrorism. Voters, by contrast, know full well that we blundered into Iraq for specious reasons, vaporizing thousands of American lives and some half million Iraqi lives (not to mention at least $2 trillion) with the end result of making America less safe and delivering Iraq into the clutches of both a new generation of radical Islamic terrorists and Iran. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last October found that a record high 66 percent of American adults thought the war wasn’t worth it. More record highs are sure to come. Even as Rubio was trying to stutter his way out of the Iraq-answer quagmire, Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, was falling to ISIS. This was only days after a 19-year-old college student reminded Jeb Bush that ISIS itself was a byproduct of his brother’s invasion of Iraq and the mismanaged occupation that followed.

Keep in mind that the question that tripped up both Rubio and Jeb Bush was asked on Fox News. Imagine what will happen when the GOP presidential field has to take tougher questions from outside the right’s bubble.

This article "rethinking Iraq" is extremely shameless and steaming BS even by normal David Brooks standards http://t.co/...
@mtaibbi
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Hillary's favorability numbers over the years.
Howard Fineman:
Is Hillary Clinton actually moving left, and if so, why?

The answer is yes, though not on every topic. And the reason is to push young voters' turnout and grassroots organizing enthusiasm as close as possible to the levels that President Barack Obama enjoyed in 2008.

“After two terms of President Obama, it won’t be easy, but our challenge is to again excite the passion of the youngest voters,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told fellow Georgetown Law Center alums at a luncheon last week.

Yes, yes, you can post and say it's not working for you, personally. The question is the voters in general.

Pew (with a wide look at the candidates):

Though wide majorities of Democrats across all demographic groups view Clinton positively, her favorability rating is lower among younger Millennials (ages 18-25), who were too young to vote in Clinton’s 2008 race. About two-thirds (65%) of younger Millennial Democrats view Clinton favorably. That compares with 79% of older Millennial Democrats (those ages 26-34). Among older Democratic age cohorts, 82% of Gen Xers, 76% of Boomers and 79% of Silents view Clinton favorably.

As was the case in August 2007, liberal Democrats view Clinton more favorably (81%) than do conservative and moderate Democrats (74%). Unlike eight years ago, there are virtually no gender differences in views of Clinton among Democrats: 78% of Democratic women and 75% of Democratic men view her favorably.

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Things change. But for right now Jeb really looks like a loser. Weak, indecisive, buffeted by outside forces rather than in control.
@joshtpm
NY Times:
So Jeb Bush now says he would not have invaded Iraq if he knew then what he knows today. Neither would Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John R. Kasich, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum or Marco Rubio. In fact, Mr. Rubio said, “Not only would I not have been in favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it.”

Which raises an interesting question: Would George W. Bush still have authorized the invasion in 2003 had he known that Iraq did not actually have the unconventional weapons that intelligence agencies said it did?

Mr. Rubio’s staff said he based his comment on the fact that Mr. Bush had expressed regret about the false intelligence he relied on and — since the war was predicated on it — it is reasonable to assume he would have decided differently, if he had known differently.

But in fact, while Mr. Bush has said he was sick to learn the intelligence was off base, he has always defended his decision to invade Iraq as the right one, arguing that the world is still better off without Saddam Hussein.

Some things change, some things don't. When they're not lying about the war, they're lying about Dubya. It's the only way they can compete.

The Fix:

This past week, likely GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush swung and missed on the question of whether he would have authorized the use of force against Iraq in 2003, knowing what we know now.

Then he swung and missed again.

And again.

I still don't think Jeb gets it. He either comes up with a superb answer (not so far) or he's going to get creamed on this.

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Bill O'Reilly blames rap for bad behavior, LOLGOP questions what Fox would have done w/jazz.
Nice to see the whole internet finally debating that eternal question: is Jeb Bush stupider than his brother?
@HunterDK
Jill D Lawrence:
Bernie Sanders' 2016 website is nothing but a fundraising page. It says we can expect the real thing on May 26, the day of the Vermont senator's formal 2016 launch in Burlington. But make no mistake, Sanders is already the real thing. And there's no denying the lure of that.

Sanders is that unique White House hopeful who calls himself a socialist and habitually warns that "the forces of greed" are afoot in the land. He talks out loud about a single-payer health system and redistributing wealth, about what we can learn from Scandinavia and about economic trends that are "immoral" and "wrong." He skips the sentimental Mother's Day tweets and videos and marks the day by calling U.S. child care "a total disaster." For Democrats weary of operating in the "reality-based community," this is like diving into an icy pond on an oppressively hot day.

James P. Manley:
The president and his team may not like to hear this right now, but with leverage anything is possible.

This explains what just played out in the Senate, where Democratic votes blocked “fast track” trade authority for the president–legislation that the Democratic president consider a top economic priority.

The Wall Street Journal piece on the behind-the-scenes skirmishes between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid as the Senate prepares for a test vote was, in a word, all about leverage.

Mr. McConnell leads the majority with 54 Republican votes. But to get anything done in the Senate, 60 votes are needed. Sen. Reid still has a bit of leverage himself and was prepared to use it, even against the president of his own party. (For anyone wondering how or why Sen. Reid could do this, recall his remark that he didn’t work for the president but with the president.)

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New Fix '16 rankings: 10. Perry 9. Jindal 8. Christie 7. Kasich 6. Cruz 5. Rand 4. Huck 3. Walker 2. Rubio 1. Jeb http://t.co/...
@TheFix
Philip Bump:
On Thursday, what polls suggested would be a close race between Conservatives and Labour in the U.K. turned out to be a Conservative rout. We sat down with Scott Clement of the Post's polling team to try and figure out why the final polls were so far off the mark -- and to discuss the theories some other knowledgeable people are putting forward.

(This has been edited and organized for clarity.)

@owillis my UK prediction: Netanyahu will pull it out.
@DemFromCT
Brutal Ron Fournier piece on Mike Huckabee:
But wait! There's more. "Three decades after the Huckabees' wedding," Brantley wrote, "his wife registered at department stores so their new home, post-governor's mansion, could be stocked with gifts of linens, toasters, and other suitable furnishings."

Say what you want about Bill and Hillary Clinton's ethical corner-cutting after they left Arkansas (or scroll my diatribes here), their conduct in the 1980s and early 1990s never approached Huckabee's depths. They didn't use the governor's office as a personal ATM. They didn't trade on the public's trust.

Gov. Bill Clinton registered historic ethics reform.

Gov. Mike Huckabee registered at Target.

What's worse is the pious, prickly way Huckabee addresses these issues.

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Radley Balko:

I wish I could introduce Richard Cohen and Lloyd Green to Antonio Morgan. Cohen of course is my Washington Post colleague and columnist. Green is a former Justice Dept. official and former opposition research counsel for the Republican Party.

The two wrote remarkably similar columns this week about Hillary Clinton’s response to the protests and riots in Baltimore. Both compared the civil unrest of 2015 to the civil unrest in 1968. Both cited Nixon’s “tough on crime” campaign, which even members of that campaign team have since admitted was an overt, often racist appeal to white fear of black people. Both scorned Clinton for being “soft on crime,” and daring to criticize mass incarceration in a speech given the same week as the riots. Both mentioned New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and his shift in tone from gently criticizing the New York City police department for excessive force after the death of Eric Garner to robustly defending the officers after they were accused of roughing people up at a recent protest. Both columns noted polls suggesting that much of a America, especially white America, is fed up, and both cite one particular poll which found that 96 percent of respondents expect more racial strife this summer. Both referenced the recent shooting of NYPD Officer Brian Moore, and note that he’s the fifth officer to be shot since December. And both concluded that all of this means that Hillary Clinton is setting herself up to be the next George McGovern or Michael Dukakis.

Green complains that Clinton’s “campaign rollout video had no footage of cops or firefighters” and concludes, “Message to Hillary Clinton: Law and order still counts.” Cohen concludes that Clinton’s bleeding heart means, “We might be heading back to Nixonland.”

I’ll get to Antonio Morgan in a bit. But first, let’s unpack all the wrong in these two columns.

Richard Cohen is, remarkably, still employed. Nice work if you can get it.

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Can Jeb survive a 7th place showing out of Iowa? New Q caucus poll shows: Walker 21, Rubio 13, Rand 13, Cruz 12, Huck 11... Jeb 5.
@HotlineJosh
BBC:
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is coming under increasing criticism for ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor federal military exercises.

The exercises drew concerns that the government could implement martial law or confiscate citizens' guns.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Pentagon, and the White House have suggested the concerns and Mr Abbott's request were unfounded.

The exercises, called Jade Helm 15, are set to begin in July.

"In no way will the constitutional rights or civil liberties of any American citizen be infringed upon while this exercise is being conducted," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. "I have no idea what [Abbott] is thinking."

Well, Abbott's either pandering to the nutters or he's one himself.

Mark Liebovich:

Today’s candidates operate in an environment in which the power dynamic between the media and politicians has shifted in their favor. It has become so much easier to simply call “gotcha” on an unwelcome inquiry and be done with it. Campaigns no longer rely as heavily on the news media to communicate. They can now fashion their own websites and tweets and benefit from their own auxiliary noise machines (super PACs). In so much as the media have become more partisan, candidates can pick and choose their outlets, expect some to be friendly while dismissing others as hostile. Or they can dismiss all of them. (An April 29 headline in Politico: “Harry Reid: Journalism doesn’t exist.”)
@jonward11 @MarkLeibovich @DemFromCT to 've fair, media brought it on itself in a lot of ways
@PCalith
@PCalith @jonward11 @DemFromCT totally...
@MarkLeibovich
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.@mikiebarb all but declares Christie over http://t.co/...
@blakehounshell
NY Times:
No matter how Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey spins the George Washington Bridge scandal as he eyes a run for president, one thing should be clear: These are his people, charged with a conspiracy to exact revenge against a local mayor by closing lanes to one of the world’s busiest bridges.
There have been plenty of pundits refusing to admit Chris Christie is toast (I'm not one of them.) But the end game is upon us.

NY Times:

Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University who has studied Mr. Christie closely for years, said the indictments of Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, once two of the governor’s most loyal and trusted lieutenants, spelled the death knell for his national aspirations.

“Even if he is not directly connected to the indictments,” Professor Harrison said, “he is guilty of creating a political culture in which corruption was allowed to flourish.”

Mr. Christie faces the specter of a lengthy and embarrassing criminal trial overshadowing the 2016 presidential campaign, in which the star witness — David Wildstein, a onetime Christie loyalist who pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of conspiracy — still maintains the governor was aware of the lane-closing plot as it happened.

Nate Cohn on Bernie Sanders' political issues:
The presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont and self-described socialist who will most likely champion the liberal cause, won’t change that fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton is poised to win the Democratic nomination without a serious contest.

That’s true even though the Democratic Party’s liberal activist base, which strongly opposed her bid in 2008, has considerable reservations about her ties to Wall Street, her foreign policy, the recent allegations about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and the revelations about the private email account and server she used when she was the secretary of state.

This is mainly because of Mr. Sanders’s own weaknesses as a candidate and Mrs. Clinton’s strengths. But there is another, strangely simple reason Mrs. Clinton will have an easy road to the nomination: The left wing of the Democratic Party just isn’t big enough to support a challenge to the left of a mainstream liberal Democrat like Mrs. Clinton.

I love Bernie, and I'm glad he's running. But political reality is what it is.

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NY Times:

In an unusually impassioned speech, Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a pointed assessment of race in America on Wednesday, lamenting the recent deaths of young black men and calling for overhauling the “out-of-balance” criminal justice system on display on the smoke-filled streets of Baltimore.

In her first major policy speech since announcing her presidential run, Mrs. Clinton spoke forcefully about the damage done, ticking off the names of the unarmed African-American men who have died at the hands of white police officers in recent months.

“From Ferguson to Staten Island to Baltimore, the patterns have become unmistakable and undeniable,” she said.

“Not only as a mother and grandmother, but as a citizen, a human being, my heart breaks for these young men and their families,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America.”

Reuters:
Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described socialist and one of the most outspoken liberals in Congress, will seek the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, he told U.S. media on Wednesday.

"I believe (voters) want a fundamental change so that government works for ordinary Americans and not just billionaires," Sanders told USA Today. He said he would make the announcement official on Thursday.

Sanders also told the Associated Press in an interview he was running for president.

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"The problem there is that Yahweh v. Sodom is not binding legal precedent." @kurteichenwald http://t.co/...
@DemFromCT
I'm not the only one who turns to SCOTUSBlog when big cases are on the docket. Here's a round-up by Andrew Hamm of some of the best commentary from Tuesday's Obergefell v. Hodges oral discussion:
Early commentary on the arguments comes from ACSlaw, which has posts from Samuel A. Marcosson and Amy Bergquist. At The New York Times, Joseph Landau explores why Chief Justice Roberts might support same-sex marriage. At the New York University Law Review Online, Ryan H. Nelson discusses what he calls the “third nail” in the “proceed with caution” argument against same-sex marriage. Other early commentary comes from Ilya Shapiro at Cato at Liberty, Daniel Fisher at Forbes, Mark Joseph Stern at Slate, Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress, German Lopez at Vox, and Garrett Epps at The Atlantic.
The Ryan Nelson (.pdf) piece from above:  
“We  must  proceed  with  caution”  remains  a  clarion  call  of  marriage  equality  opponents.  Courts  have  previously  rejected  this  argument  on  two  grounds:  

First,  states  cannot  save  an  otherwise  unconstitutional  law  by  raising  the  specter  of  theoretical  harms  that  may  run  rampant  if  the  law  were  struck  down.  And  second,  such harms are inapplicable in the context of same-sex marriage bans because there  is  no  harm  caused  by  allowing  same-sex  couples  to  wed.  A  number  of  jurists,  most  notably  Justices  Alito  and  Thomas,  nonetheless  embrace  the  “proceed  with  caution”  argument.  

To  that  end,  this  Essay  explains  a  third  reason  why  the  “proceed  with  caution”  argument  should  fail  when  the  Supreme  Court  takes  up  the  issue  of  marriage  equality  this  spring;  specifically,  a  state  should  not  be  allowed  to  proceed  with  caution  unless  it  explains  how  it  plans  on  doing  so.  The  states  defending  their  same- sex  marriage  bans  before  the  Court  this  spring—Kentucky,  Michigan,  Ohio,  and  Tennessee—have failed to identify how they plan to proceed with caution. They offer  no  plans,  timetables,  or  rubrics  by  which  they  intend  on  analyzing  the  effects  of  same-sex  marriage  elsewhere,  extrapolating  those  effects  to  their  states,  and  taking  action  as  warranted.  As  these  states  have  presented  no  such  evidence,  the  Court  should reject the “proceed with caution” argument they advance.

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chart of Chris Christie's dropping poll numbers
Adam Nagourney/NY Times:
Once a winning primary issue as well as a powerful wedge issue wielded against Democrats, opposing same-sex marriage has grown far more complicated for Republicans. While it could offer conservative candidates a way to break through a crowded primary field, it looms as a liability with general election voters, particularly independent ones, who are more supportive of same-sex marriage than more conservative Republicans.
Maggie Haberman/NY Times:
Ian Reisner, one of the two gay hoteliers facing boycott calls for hosting an event for Senator Ted Cruz, who is adamantly opposed to gay marriage, apologized to the gay community for showing “poor judgment.”

Mr. Reisner put the apology on Facebook, where a page calling for a boycott of his properties, the gay-friendly OUT NYC hotel and his Fire Island Pines holdings, had gotten more than 8,200 “likes” by Sunday evening.

“I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake,” wrote Mr. Reisner.

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The Nation:

A piece today in Bloomberg View headlined the fight between the Israel lobby and the Republican über-hawks as "Aipac vs. Pro-Israel Republicans." But it would more accurately be called "AIPAC vs. the Neocons." And we shouldn't forget for a moment that the bankrupt ideology of neoconservatism is behind these efforts; the line between leading neocons and this obstructionism is too easy to trace—and too laughably reminiscent of their misadventure in Iraq.

[Sen. Tom] Cotton, after all, is a protégé of neoconservative don Bill Kristol. And Kristol has come out firing at the Corker-Cardin compromise. In a Weekly Standard editorial later distributed by his attack-dog letterhead group the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), Kristol labeled the compromise bill "at worst misleading, at best toothless," denouncing Corker and "the leading establishment pro-Israel lobbying group"—AIPAC—for their support of it.

Shaun King had a lot to say on twitter about on Rekia Boyd. Read it here.
30. The injustice that States Attorney Anita Alvarez did to the family of #RekiaBoyd is unfathomable, tragic, infuriating, and criminal.
@ShaunKing
Politico:
It’s not hard to get political reporters started on how pols and their flaks deny the press access, feed us talking points and, in some cases, flat-out lie. But every story has two sides (or a few), so in fair journalistic tradition, we asked a handful of outspoken politicians to critique the political press corps and tell us exactly what their beef is with the fourth estate. Does the relationship between politicians and the press need to be so confrontational? And when are reporters in the wrong? Here are four takes, from politicians who know the media’s spotlight well.
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