Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Donald Trump on Friday tweeted out a poll showing him losing to Hillary Clinton with the message "THANK YOU! #AmericaFirst." It was either an honest mistake or, if you're a conspiracy theorist, recognition that -- after spending the last year talking about the formidable challenges facing the country -- the whole president thing doesn't seem like all it's cracked up to be after all.
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'16 from 30,000:
It may not be Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse or even David French...but the GOP's 2016 white knight could be (drumroll please) George W. Bush! Well, at least when it comes to those down ballot races we love to talk about. NBC News' Peter Alexander confirmed Bush has begun dipping his toes back into politics by fundraising for vulnerable incumbent GOP senators whose job security may be even more at risk with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.
While Bush's popularity is on the rise (a Quinnipiac poll from February found that 47 percent of Americans now view him favorably), the real benefit to his help can be seen when it comes to raising cash. The Bushes, as evidenced by the whopping $130 million Jeb Bush raised during his failed campaign, are especially popular within the GOP donor class. And along with potentially anchoring down endangered GOP senators polling numbers, he also is not doing much for their cash flow -- a role typically embraced by the presidential nominee. And for Bush, getting back into the political arena may be a way for him to push back against the bashing his family has gotten from Trump. As he said at an event for John McCain, a GOP-led Senate is imperative for a "check and balance" on the White House -- regardless if the next commander-in-chief is Clinton or Trump.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- George W. Bush is returning to politics to help endangered GOP senators, NBC News' Peter Alexander reports.
- Who's advising Trump on foreign policy? It's hard to say, NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
- Bernie Sanders will return to Capitol Hill next week to cast just his second vote of 2016, NBC News' Frank Thorp notes.
- Sanders' candidacy may be best remembered for his ability to shake up the election, inspire young voters and bring attention to back-burner issues — like higher education, Political Unit intern Emma Kinery reports.
- Elizabeth Warren told Clinton staffers "don't screw this up."
- The Trump/Putin bromance continued to flower on Friday.
- And from First Read: Paul Ryan told his fellow GOP to vote their "conscience" on Trump.
FOR THE RECORD…
"Him talking about things and saying things about things is different than him saying what he's going to do. I think he'll do what he says he's going to do. I'm not trying to parse words."
-- Trump supporter Rep. Duncan Hunter talking to reporters about the presumptive GOP nominee's recent comments
Donald Trump campaigns in Vegas and Phoenix on Saturday.
Paul Ryan will Meet The Press on Sunday.