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The Lid: Why Scott Walker Strolled Out of 2016 Race

Image: Wisconsin governor and Republican candidate for president Scott Walker reacts during a campaign event at a diner in Amherst

Wisconsin governor and Republican candidate for president Scott Walker reacts during a campaign event at a diner in Amherst, New Hampshire, in this file photo taken July 16, 2015. DOMINICK REUTER / Reuters

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos….Residents of the nation’s capital are eagerly awaiting Pope Francis’ arrival in Washington, D.C., by reflecting on an age-old question at the very root of our humanity: “How bad will traffic be?”

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'16 AT 30 THOUSAND

Well, that escalated quickly. If you had your money two months ago on Scott Walker dropping out of the GOP race before the Iowa caucuses, (Let alone before October!), we want you picking our lottery numbers for us. It was clear that Walker was in big trouble: he was free-falling in the polls, he had major money-raising issues, he was under pressure to shake up his campaign, and he was telling reporters that he'd be doubling down on his Iowa strategy. But the decision to throw in the towel shows just how many assumptions about this cycle have been upended. The ideas that 1) Walker's evangelical/biographic/gubernatorial resume would be a slam dunk for Iowa, that 2) superPACs would keep flagging campaigns afloat late into the cycle and 3) establishment candidates would eventually bounce back after the inevitable collapse of Trump/Carson et al... well, they don't look so smart right now. But between Walker's flip-flops on immigration, his uncouth ISIS/union analogy, his Canadian wall comments and his lackluster debate performances, one piece of overused political wisdom still holds: candidates do matter.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • A new NBC online survey shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders narrowing to just 13 points.
  • NBC’s Pete Williams looks at how Carson’s statement is at odds with the design of the nation’s founders when it comes to religious tests for holding office.
  • Joe Biden says that he “may not get there in time” when it comes to his 2016 decision.
  • “The FBI has declined to give the State Department any kind of progress report on its efforts to recover documents from Hillary Clinton's private email server,”NBC’s Pete Williams reports.
  • In NBC First Read, here’s how Trump is having a negative impact on the GOP race.

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

Paul Ryan and Tim Scott will host a GOP presidential forum on poverty in January.

FIORINA: Buzzfeed headline: Carly Fiorina Was Paid $48,000 For A Speech To Bank That Violated U.S. Sanctions On Iran.

TRUMP: He is trolling Bush with another Instagram video, this time suggesting the former Florida governor last smoked weed much more recently than 40 years ago.

CLINTON: She came down on the same side as Ted Cruz (and other 2016ers) when she tweeted Monday, “Can a Muslim be President of the United States of America? In a word: Yes. Now let's move on.”

FOR THE RECORD…

“Does anyone here think I’m a strong adherent of the North Korean form of government? That I want all of you to be wearing similar colored pajamas?”

  • Bernie Sanders over the weekend, on “democratic socialism”

TOMORROW’S SKED

Ben Carson holds rallies in Ohio and Michigan.

Carly Fiorina starts a three-day swing in South Carolina with a national security event at the Citadel.

Hillary Clinton has a healthcare event in Des Moines.