Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Ted Cruz on Wednesday said the country needs a “commander-in-chief, not a Twitterer-in-chief," which begs the question: When will Americans be ready for a candidate who can tweet and lead at the same time?
‘16 from 30,000
Though gone, the Republican candidates who have (or are expected to) exit the race since Iowa should not be forgotten. Maybe none of them has enough supporters up for grabs to sway the New Hampshire primary, but -- as we saw in Iowa on the Democratic side -- anything can happen. And the departures so far seem to be benefitting Ted Cruz the most. Having Mike Huckabee and (likely) Santorum out of the race helps him coalesce the evangelical wing of the party. And it helps more than just potentially gaining a few more percentage points in the polls. Each of the now ex-candidates have endorsements and infrastructure in South Carolina and Cruz could be the one those operatives turn to.
And then there’s Rand Paul, who has occupied a unique lane this campaign. Republican operatives in the Granite State predicted to NBC’s Hallie Jackson that the majority of Paul’s infrastructure would probably end up with Cruz. Rubio and Trump are the other two most likely candidates to benefit from Paul’s ground game in New Hampshire. And remember those debate clashes between Rubio and Cruz over surveillance? Well, Cruz actually comes down closer to Paul in those arguments over the NSA. But Paul’s “outsidery” status could make Donald Trump an appealing alternative as well.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Rand Paul suspended his campaign today.
- Rick Santorum is expected to do the same on Fox News this evening. Aides are also hinting that he will endorse one of his rivals.
- The governor in the 2016 race are hoping their bad luck changes in New Hampshire, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell writes.
- Jeb Bush is making his final argument: He's an establishment candidate named Bush and the frontrunners are Barack Obama circa 2008, NBC’s Jordan Frasier reports.
- NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports on the attention Trump is creating around the world.
- Rubio adamantly avoided attacking Donald Trump,Wednesday, instead turning a reporter's question about the business moguls complaints of a fixed election in Iowa into an attack on Ted Cruz, NBC’s Alex Jaffe reports.
- In today’s “Tales From the Trai,” John Kasich gets emotional and a New Hampshire waitress makes an odd guess what the embeds do for a living.
FOR THE RECORD…
“Started out as 1 of 17 GOP Candidates, now with Rand Paul & Rick Santorum out, 1 or 9. #StillStanding”
Tweet from GOP presidential candidate Jim Gilmore. (And the typo is his, not ours.)
NBC News hosts an MSNBC Democratic candidate debate at the University of New Hampshire at 9:00 p.m.