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The Lid: Ted Cruz Strikes Surprising Tone

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Donald Trump told GQ that man buns have “never been my thing,” thus tragically depriving analysts of the opportunity to see whether America is ready for a pro-man bun president.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

The tone of some 2016 Republicans has gotten so hot that Ted Cruz -- who last week challenged Obama to “insult me to my face” -- is saying it’s a problem. "Tone matters," Cruz told the AP over the weekend. "Are there some in the Republican Party whose rhetoric is unhelpful with regard to immigration? Yes.”

PHOTOS - On the Stump: Ted Cruz's Presidential Campaign

It’s striking that the firebrand conservative sees an opening by portraying himself as the measured, sober adult in the primary race. But it should not come as a total surprise given that the two current GOP frontrunners, Trump and Carson, continue to make comments that range from overheated to offensive.

It’s also notable that we are beginning to see Cruz break from his alignment with Trump. He disagreed with the idea of creating a database of Muslim refugees and told the AP he does not think Trump or Carson will be the nominee. Cruz had been aligning himself with Trump in the hopes of grabbing his support if he flamed out. But with Trump still on top, Cruz may be looking to create more distance between them soon.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

CRUZ: Rich Lowry of National Review writes that Ted Cruz should be considered the favorite to win Iowa.

HUCKABEE: He wrote on FoxNews.com that “After this attack in West Africa, Obama’s new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses.”

TRUMP: He maintains a comfortable lead in New Hampshire, a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll finds.

And a pro-Kasich super PAC is out with a new video compilation of what they’re calling “Trump’s greatest hits.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib examines why Trump has weathered the storms he’s created.

FOR THE RECORD…

“‘Friends’ reruns, actually, do very well for us, and that isn’t a typical buy. Our audience tends to be a few more percentage points women than men, so we’ve recently done less ESPN and more Lifetime.”

-- Ben Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett on the campaign advertising strategy, as quoted in the Washington Post.

TOMORROW’S SKED

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Colorado.

Donald Trump holds a rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Jeb Bush also will hold events in the Palmetto State.

Marco Rubio is in Iowa.

Chris Christie delivers a foreign policy speech in Washington, D.C.

John Kasich is in New Hampshire.