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The Lid: After Iowa and N.H., Dems Turn Focus to Minority Voters

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Friday news dump, guys: Jim Gilmore is reportedly ending his presidential run after a devastating showing in the New Hampshire primary, where he -- this is actually true -- received fewer votes than famed fringe candidate Vermin Supreme, who wears a boot on his head and proposes free ponies for all Americans.

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‘16 from 30,000

This week the Democratic race was dominated by… well...race. Hillary Clinton went up with an ad focusing on the country's “broken” immigration system, while Bernie Sanders’ campaign released a powerful video featuring Eric Garner’s daughter. Both rolled out key endorsements this week, with Clinton receiving the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and Sanders trumpeting support from Harry Belafonte. They also sparred over immigration reform during last night’s debate, specifically over Sanders’ 2007 vote against a comprehensive reform bill that was opposed by a number of progressive groups.

Clinton, Sanders Clash Over Loyalty to President Obama During Debate 2:16

And, in a particularly striking moment, Rep. John Lewis said he “never saw” Sanders during the most important events of the civil rights era.

And the reason why the battle to appeal to minority voters has become so intense comes down to the primary schedule. Next up for Democrats is the caucuses in Nevada, where Latinos made up 15 percent of the primary electorate eight years ago. And then it’s off to South Carolina, where African-Americans are expected to make up up more than half of the Democrats heading to the polls. Clinton has a commanding 74 to 17 percent lead among African-American voters in the Palmetto State, according to an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll released last month. It may be too large a lead for Sanders to come back from, but black voters will be key for the Vermont senator to lessen the margin.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Donald Trump suggested he could sue Ted Cruz “for not being a natural born citizen” if he “doesn’t clean up his act,” Ali Vitali writes.
  • In today’s “Tales from the Trail:” Bill Clinton is walking in Memphis.
  • One of us(!) observed a focus group of 10 Republican voters in South Carolina. They had a LOT to say about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
  • From MSNBC: How Kissinger became a part of last night’s debate.
  • And from First Read: Has the Dem race become a referendum on Bernie Sanders?

FOR THE RECORD…

“Extremely disappointed the #TedCruz campaign pulled the national television spot I had a role in... @CNN @FoxNews #moretocome #myvotecounts

  • Tweet from Amy Lindsey, the actress in a Ted Cruz ad whose risque film history caused the campaign to pull the ad.

WEEKEND SKED

Saturday: GOP candidates square off in a debate in Greenville, SC at 9 p.m.

Sunday: Trump, Rubio and Kasich appear on “Meet The Press.”