Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Vice President Joe Biden will introduce Lady Gaga's performance at the Oscars on Sunday, a pairing that could only be more guaranteed to break the internet if the two also switched stylists for the evening.
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'16 from 30,000
If you've taken even a glancing look at politics coverage today, you've probably been bombarded with poll numbers from at least one of the states that will hold their nominating contests in the next three weeks. Some of these polls are methodologically solid, and some are less useful than an average second grader's math homework. But taken in the aggregate, we get a good picture of where the race appears to stand today, and it looks like this: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are both running out of time to catch up to a front-runner who appears poised to rack up a nearly unsurmountable tally of Republican delegates. The only state where Ted Cruz can point to public polls showing him in the lead is his home state of Texas -- and some of that data indicates that it could be a pretty close race. And not only is Marco Rubio not leading in any state polls -- he's trailing Trump (badly) in his home state, according to a new Quinnipiac poll out today. Yes, we'll concede that Team Rubio isn't wrong when they point out that the Florida contest is a political eternity away -- 20 days! -- and that a lot could happen to shape the race between then and now. But there is no denying that neither non-Trump candidate can afford a bad debate performance tonight -- or any significant slipup in the next few days if they have any prayer of diverting Trump's march to the nomination.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin previews three things to watch in tonight's debate.
- Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday that he is not interested in becoming a Supreme Court justice.
- That's just fine with Hillary Clinton, who said she was no fan of a potential Sandoval pick.
- The Romney-Trump feud over releasing the GOP frontrunners tax records entered its second day on Thursday.
- Cracks are beginning to emerge in the GOP opposition to Donald Trump, NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
- In today's "Tales from the Trail:" Why won't people just go home after Bill Clinton events?
- And in today's First Read: Tonight's debate may be Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio's last chance to stop Trump.
FOR THE RECORD…
"Who was the brainchild who got him to do that?"
Harry Reid reacting to Mitt Romney's call to Donald Trump to release his tax records.
Hillary Clinton holds an event in Georgia and then heads to South Carolina. Bill Clinton is also in the Palmetto State.
Bernie Sanders holds a rally in Minnesota before heading to South Carolina.
Donald Trump is in Texas and Oklahoma. Marco Rubio also has events in the Super Tuesday states.
Ted Cruz is in Tennessee and Virginia. John Kasich and Ben Carson also hold events in the Volunteer State.