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The Lid: Data Debate Take Over Democratic Presidential Race

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… A poll released Friday showed that 30 percent of GOP primary voters said they would support bombing Agrabah, which is the fictional city in the 1992 Disney movie "Aladdin." The poll did not, however, measure the level of support for Common Core in the Hogwarts curriculum.

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'16 from 30,000

We're still getting the details on exactly what happened when it comes to the Sanders campaign's accessing of proprietary Clinton files through a DNC-coordinated database. But here's what we know: Team Sanders acknowledges the move was "unacceptable" but says that the DNC is deliberately using the incident to undermine it. Those on Clinton's side of the argument say that millions of dollars worth of the campaign's efforts may have been compromised. (There also appears to be a dispute about whether or not the data was saved or exported to Team Sanders computers for future use.) There are two entities warring here 1) The DNC, whose chairwoman was an ardent supporter of Clinton's in 2008; 2) Sanders, who wasn't even a Democrat until this presidential bid. All in all, it's not a great story for Sanders, who will have to deal with questions about the issue in Saturday night's debate and Sunday during an interview on Meet the Press. If he handles those exchanges badly, it could cut into his big advantage - even with Democrats - on questions of trustworthiness. But with a smooth handling, it's hard to see how his committed supporters see his campaign as tarnished -- particularly if his campaign keeps painting the DNC as the bad guy to a base that's already pretty sympathetic to that argument.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • After Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign was disciplined by the DNC for improperly accessing the Clinton campaign's voter data, documents obtained and reviewed by NBC News appeared to show that at least four individuals affiliated with the Sanders campaign conducted searches and saved the Clinton campaign's lists of potential voters over a period of more than 40 minutes.
  • MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin lays out the battle lines in the Sanders campaign's war with the DNC.
  • Paul Ryan told Chuck Todd that there is going to be "one heck of a contrast" between he and President Obama in 2016. (Watch Meet The Press this Sunday for full interview.)
  • In his year-end press conference, President Obama pledged he would " leave it all out on the field" in 2016.
  • Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending deal that will fund the government through September, NBC's Alex Moe and Frank Thorp report.
  • Trump continues to embrace his Putin endorsement.
  • And from First Read this AM: Why President Obama has not been a lame duck, and three storylines heading into tomorrow night's Democratic debate.

FOR THE RECORD…

"OK, everybody, I got to get to 'Star Wars'"

  • President Obama ending his year-end press conference.

WEEKEND SKED

On Saturday: Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are in Iowa. Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, are in New Hampshire. Ted Cruz hits Georgia and Alabama, and Marco Rubio is in South Carolina.

The third Democratic debate takes place in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday.

Paul Ryan, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta will be on "Meet The Press."