Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump on Tuesday, which could be helpful for Trump to shore up conservative support in Iowa AND win over the still undecided "binge reality television watchers" voting bloc.
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'16 from 30,000
So Ted Cruz had a bad day. Not only did Sarah Palin endorse Donald Trump, but Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said a Cruz victory in the Iowa caucuses would be "damaging" and "a big mistake." The comment is striking coming from Branstad, who in recent presidential primaries has stayed neutral. The country's longest-serving governor said he will not endorse any candidate, but the non-endorsement of Cruz is great news for Donald Trump, who trailed the Texas senator by three points in the most recent Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll. If you throw in Palin's Trump endorsement, plus the blowback Cruz received from his "New York values" attack, all the sudden it's looking like a rough stretch for the Iowa frontrunner less than two weeks before the caucuses. No one of these events (which unfolded while he was in New Hampshire) are insurmountable, but taken together, it looks like Cruz is losing momentum at a critical point in the primary. But just how much is what matters.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Sarah Palin will endorse Donald Trump, NBC News confirms.
- Chris Christie is the latest Republican candidate to support "self-deportation," NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell writes.
- In a rare hard-lined stance on the 2016 race, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said Tuesday he believes a Senator Ted Cruz caucus victory would be "damaging" to the state, NBC's Danny Freeman reports.
- The GOP presidential field has been largely mum on the Flint water crisis, one of us(!) writes.
- In today's Tales from the Trail: Candidates are brewing and signing for votes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
- Even before today, Ted Cruz has been awash in attacks from rival campaigns, MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin writes.
- The Trail Tapes: Meet the Kids Grilling Candidates on the Campaign Trail.
- And from First Read: For Hillary Clinton, It All Comes Down to Iowa.
FOR THE RECORD…
""It'll keep you hoppin! Get it?"
- John Kasich brewing beer during a stop in New Hampshire
Trump is joined by Sarah Palin for campaign stops in Iowa and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio make morning stops in New Hampshire. John Kasich, Chris Christie and and Jeb Bush are also in the state.
Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum are in Iowa