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OFF TO THE RACES: Piling on Trump -- again
Analysis of last night's debate, from Benjy Sarlin: "Donald Trump's rivals and Fox News' debate moderators laid out a clear and factual case on Thursday that the billionaire's policies were unworkable; that he regularly shifted his positions; and that he had engaged in business practices he routinely denounces on the campaign trail. Trump, in turn, bragged about the size of his penis and promised to force Americans to commit war crimes. Yet, he remains the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination."
If you missed the debate last night, you can catch up with our minute-by-minute coverage from the NBC News liveblog.
Summing up the GOP conundrum in one headline: "Trump's rivals call him unfit, agree to support him if he's GOP nominee"
And some variation of this headline appears at most news outlets today: "Donald Trump Makes His Penis a Campaign Issue During Debate"
The New York Times lede after the 11th GOP debate: "Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, fighting for their political lives, relentlessly demeaned and baited Donald J. Trump at Thursday’s debate, all but pleading with Republicans to abandon a candidate with a long history of business failures, deep ties to the Democratic Party and a taste for personal insults."
And from the Washington Post: "Following his big wins Tuesday night, which put him in a commanding position for the Republican nomination, this might have been the night when Trump could safely shift into statesman mode, acting like a presumed nominee instead of a candidate. Instead, Trump was under sustained grilling — from Rubio, Cruz and the Fox moderators — like never before, as the debate audience cheered on the attacks."
The AP: "Rubio and Cruz ignored each other almost entirely, choosing to instead fully focus their attention on the billionaire businessman whose surprising dominance of the 2016 race has shaken the Republican Party to its core."
Who won? Maybe no one.
The Wall Street Journal on the anti-Trump millions being poured into early states: "Super PACs have spent more than $9.5 million attacking Mr. Trump since the Feb. 20 South Carolina Republican primary, which the real-estate billionaire won by eight percentage points, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. That’s more than the total that groups spent attacking him in the previous eight months since his campaign began."
How would a contested convention happen? One of us(!) crunched the delegate numbers.
John Kasich acknowledged that Ohio could be the state that prompts a convention fight.
POLITICO talked to insiders who said a convention fight would be the only way to stop Trump.
Msnbc's Jane Timm at CPAC: "There were no losers, winners, crude jokes about genitalia, or talk of just how big, beautiful and great the border wall would be, like the last debate. Amid a brutal primary, the event was a breath of fresh air."
CLINTON: From the Washington Post: "The revelation that the Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staff member who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server is a likely indication that the investigation is nearing a conclusion, but should not be read as a sign that the leading Democratic presidential candidate is going to face criminal charges, legal experts said."
And this: "Logs for Hillary Clinton's email server turned over to the FBI by a former aide to Clinton show no evidence of suspicious foreign traffic or hacking from abroad, a person familiar with the investigation said."
SANDERS: He'll participate in a FOX town hall. ( Clinton won't be there)