Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Lindsey Graham dropped out of the presidential race Monday after realizing that the only way he would have a shot at becoming the Republican nominee would have been if Steve Harvey announced the New Hampshire primary winner.
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'16 from 30,000
As some speculated, Lindsey Graham called it quits today after running into the deadline to take his name off the South Carolina primary ballot and avoid a potentially embarrassing showing in his home state. To put it bluntly, Graham wasn't polling well enough to justify making the case that this dramatically shakes up the race, but his exit does raise some important questions beyond the obvious question of who he'll eventually endorse. 1) What happens to the South Carolina establishment now? Many of the state's political gurus had been a holding pattern while their longtime senator was in the race, but now they will be freed up to mobilize for another candidate. 2) Where does John McCain go? The longtime Graham ally is also now available to try to be a kingmaker for another candidate, particularly in New Hampshire. And 3) Will John Kasich and Jeb Bush be able to carry the anti-Trump banner forward without meeting the same fate as Graham? After all, three of Trump's biggest critics - Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and now Lindsey Graham - are no longer in the GOP race.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Breaking this afternoon: Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her second child.
- A big, smart take from NBC's Danny Freeman: Bernie Sanders is taking a page from Barack Obama's 2008 playbook to try to build a victory in the Iowa caucuses.
- President Barack Obama is taking on Trump for "exploiting" the anxieties of Americans - particularly "blue collar men."
- A Clinton spokesman says that "hell, no," she won't apologize to Donald Trump for her ISIS remark.
- So long, Lindsey. He's out of the 2016 race.
- Man, will we miss his zingers.
- And Sarah Palin is turning the tables with her own parody of Tina Fey.
- Marco Rubio has picked up another big donor, writes Alex Jaffe.
FOR THE RECORD…
"It's farcical to suggest, from Trump of all people, that Clinton should apologize to him."
- Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon, on MSNBC
Ted Cruz hits Tennessee and Arkansas.
Ben Carson is in South Carolina.
Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are in New Hampshire.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both in Iowa.