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About Last Night: “Drop Dead, Ted”
If you missed all the action from the GOP debate last night, catch up with the recap from our live blog.
The New York Daily News goes there on Ted Cruz, complete with a Statue of Liberty flipping the bird. "Drop Dead, Ted. Hey, Cruz: You don't like N.Y. values? Go back to Canada."
Benjy Sarlin's three takeaways: The Trump-Cruz pact is over; everyone's Donald Trump
Perry Bacon Jr. notes that rivals are still going easy on Trump. But is that a blunder?
The New York Times: "In many ways, it was the darkest debate of the campaign, as the Republicans tried to paint the grimmest possible portrait of an America in decline economically, despite rapid job growth, and militarily, though they praised service members. The ferocity onstage reflected the pressure in the race as it distills into a contest between the anti-establishment Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, followed by other candidates like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey."
How it played in South Carolina: Here's full coverage from The State.
The AP: "Thursday night's debate underscored that the competition between Trump and Cruz will be rough-and-tumble in the days leading up to the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, a shift from the relative civility that's defined their relationship until now. The candidates tangled over Cruz's eligibility to serve as commander in chief and the real estate mogul's "New York values," with Trump besting his rival with an emotional recounting of his hometown's response to the Sept. 11 attacks."
OFF TO THE RACES: Breaking this morning: Lindsey Graham will endorse Jeb Bush this morning in South Carolina. Our latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal GOP horse race numbers are in! And Donald Trump has more than doubled his lead.
BUSH: Ouch. "POLITICO talked to nearly two dozen major donors, and most say they are waiting for what one veteran Republican and former Bush 43 administration appointee described as the "family hall pass" to jump to another campaign after the New Hampshire primary."
CLINTON: She went after Sanders hard Thursday night in an interview with Rachel Maddow, saying he would "end all the kinds of health care we know."
The Washington Post crunches some numbers to calculate that Clinton's lead is eroding faster than it did in 2008.
O'MALLEY: He qualified for Sunday's NBC Democratic debate.
The Baltimore Sun: "The Anne Arundel County state's attorney is investigating former Gov. Martin O'Malley's discounted, tax-free purchase last year of taxpayer-owned furniture from the governor's mansion in Annapolis. The probe began shortly after a Baltimore Sun investigation found in September that the Democratic presidential candidate paid $9,638 for 54 mansion furnishings that originally cost taxpayers $62,000."
TRUMP: Dan Balz asks if Trump can really be the nominee. "Trump is anything but a typical front-runner. In fact, he is the most unconventional and atypical front-runner for as long as anyone can remember. And unless and until he actually wins primaries and caucuses, the race will remain what it has been for months: a confusing mash-up among a relative handful of candidates looking to pick up the pieces of a possible Trump breakdown."
He's released his second TV ad. "My life has been about winning and Iowa and New Hampshire are so important to me."