Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Bernie Sanders met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday after some critics suggested that Obama had been favoring Clinton too heavily in the Democratic race despite a pledge to stay neutral. The Lid cannot confirm reports that Martin O'Malley was spotted outside the White House defiantly holding a boombox over his head.
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'16 from 30,000:
Here's a name you probably haven't thought about for a while: John Edwards. Yes, the former senator and VP candidate isn't much of a player in the high-wire game of presidential politics since the Rielle Hunter scandal, but there's a very good reason why you should keep him in mind this week. Why? For all the easy comparisons made between Obama's 2008 campaign in Iowa and Bernie Sanders' surge now (and, yes, we concede there are some good reasons to make a few of those comparisons), Edwards' presence in the 2008 contest is being hugely overlooked. Some things to remember: Edwards, who was projected by some polls to WIN Iowa outright, narrowly beat Clinton for second place in the state and won 29 counties. What's more, he performed well among groups that look likely to lean more towards Clinton than Sanders next Monday. Edwards won among Iowans who had caucused before (getting 30 percent), among those 45-64 years old (getting 31 percent) and among those who describe themselves as conservative (getting 42 percent). Does all this mean that it's unhinged to suggest that Sanders might pull an Obama and beat Clinton on Monday night? Of course not. But it does mean that 2008 and now isn't the apples-to-apples comparison that plenty of folks are making it out to be.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Clinton is calling on Sanders to participate in next week's (unsanctioned) debate in New Hampshire, sponsored by NBC News and the Union Leader.
- Bernie Sanders said he believes President Obama has been "even-handed" during the Democratic presidential primary after the two met privately at the Oval Office on Wednesday.
- And Sanders told NBC's Lester Holt that his bar for success in Iowa is "winning."
- MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin reports on how Republicans are preparing for a Trump-less debate.
- A new poll shows that almost half of Republicans do not see Trump as religious.
- In today's Tales From the Trail: One protester at a Trump rally last night took it to the next level.
- And as we wrote in First Read, Donald Trump is making a big gamble by saying he'll skip the debate.
FOR THE RECORD…
"I'm kinda pulling for him."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Donald Trump. Reid immediately clarified on the Senate floor that he was joking and that Trump would do "immeasurable damage" to the country.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander campaign in Iowa. Bill Clinton is also on the campaign trail in the Hawkeye State.
The seventh Republican presidential debate will take place in Des Moines. The undercard debate takes place at 7 and the main event will happen at 9 p.m. ET.