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The Lid: Republicans Ratcheting Up Anti-Obama Rhetoric

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Presidential candidates often say that they are willing to take unpopular and even career-ending stances on the issues if necessary. Bernie Sanders outdid them all on Wednesday, when he confessed to Rolling Stone that he likes… Celine Dion. Your heart will go on, Senator.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

Well, our political rhetoric news cycle went from jabs to Thunderdome pretty fast, with Ted Cruz telling an NBC News camera that Obama should “insult me to my face” if he’s going to take aim at Republicans urging a ban on Muslim Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. “If you want to insult me, you can do it overseas, you can do it in Turkey, you can do it in foreign countries, but I would encourage you, mister president, come back and insult me to my face,” Cruz said. The back-and-forth strikes us as politically beneficial for both sides: Ted Cruz gets to boast to GOP primary voters that he’s challenging the president to a debate on national security issues. (And he gets to highlight to evangelical voters in Iowa that he’s working to protect persecuted Christians). But Democrats are probably more than happy to elevate Cruz - along with Jeb Bush, who called today for U.S. ground troops in the Middle East - as the face of the GOP on this issue. Noteworthy: Cruz’s underwater numbers with independents and Democrats are rivaled only by Donald Trump’s.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS:

BUSH: His super PAC is about to go on the air in Ohio.

GRAHAM: He is proposing an authorization of military force against ISIS with no geographic or time limits.

RUBIO: New polls show Rubio surging to second place in New Hampshire, just as his campaign and supporters prepare to begin running ads in the Granite State.

PAUL: Buzzfeed reports that he just won’t stop using debunked Patrick Henry quotes.

FOR THE RECORD…

“I am pretty across-the-board in my musical tastes. I like Celine Dion. I like country music.”

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders to Rolling Stone

TOMORROW’S SKED

Hillary Clinton appears on “Live! with Kelly and Michael” before delivering a national security speech in New York City.

Bernie Sanders delivers a speech on democratic socialism in Washington, D.C. Rand Paul is also in D.C., holding a rally at George Washington University.

Donald Trump holds a forum in Newton, Iowa. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are also in the Hawkeye State.

Jeb Bush files for the New Hampshire primary.

John Kasich is in South Carolina and Ben Carson campaigns in Alabama.