Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… After being accused of complaining about Donald Trump behind closed doors, Ted Cruz is insisting that he actually thinks his political rival is "terrific." It's both a compelling 2016 political story and a complete rip-off of a significant subplot of "Mean Girls."
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'16 from 30,000
Folks who've been around for a couple presidential cycles know that the phrase "contested convention" is like the Bat Signal for nerds; we come scuttling out of our lairs SO PUMPED to talk about delegate counts and the Bull Moose Party. It's obvious that it's worth taking all the 2016 convention fanfic with a grain of salt, but it's also not entirely crazy to talk about the possibility that we head into Cleveland without a clear picture of who the nominee might be. The three "lanes" - establishment, evangelical/conservative, and Trump - aren't showing signs of coalescing at the moment, and all evidence points to Trump having enough hard-core supporters to continue sending the party establishment into fits. The grand irony here: The RNC's previous efforts to condense the primary schedule and prevent a drawn-out primary fight have been completely turned upside-down by the Trump phenomenon and the otherwise crowded GOP field.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- The DNC dropped a top New Hampshire TV station as a sponsor of next Saturday's presidential debate over a labor dispute with the union representing some of the station's employees, MSNBC's Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
- Donald Trump issued a Twitter warning to Ted Cruz today after reports that the Texas senator critiqued him.
- The GOP's evangelical wing is beginning to coalesce around Ted Cruz, NBC's Perry Bacon writes.
- And First Read has you weekend talker right here: Six reasons for Donald Trump's staying power.
- And ICYMI from last night: Nearly six-in-10 Americans oppose Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, but Republicans are evenly divided, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
CAMPAIGN QUICK READ OF THE DAY
Friday history time! The Washington Post looks back at how the Founding Fathers specifically mentioned Muslims as they debated the country's founding principles.
FOR THE RECORD…
"What are you some Fed Reserve geek? I mean, you actually asked a question like that in front of people? Do you know this guy? Nobody goes to lunch with them do they?"
John Kasich's response to a question about the Federal Reserve during a town hall in New Hampshire.
Donald Trump and Marco Rubio campaign in South Carolina on Saturday. Chris Christie and Rand Paul are in New Hampshire.
Bernie Sanders will hold eight events in Iowa over the weekend.
Marco Rubio is on "Meet The Press."