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First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Team Bush is saturating the airwaves in the early states
By now, you probably know that Jeb Bush and the Super PAC supporting him are spending the most on TV ads in the presidential contest. But you might not know the extent to which Team Jeb is actually saturating the airwaves in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Here is the ad-spending data, via NBC ad-tracking partner SMG Delta, for just this week alone (Oct. 4-10):
- Right to Rise (the pro-Jeb Super PAC): $1.9 million in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina
- Conservative Solutions Project (the pro-Rubio 501c4): $700,000 in IA, NH, SC
- Hillary Clinton: $490,00 in IA, NH
- America Leads (the pro-Christie Super PAC): $423,000 in NH
- New Day for America (the pro-Kasich Super PAC): $332,000 in NH
- Generation Forward PAC (the pro-O’Malley Super PAC): $155,000 in IA
- Club for Growth (airing anti-Trump ads): $138,000 in Iowa
- Believe Again (pro-Jindal Super PAC): $125,000
- Larry Lessig: $33,000 in Iowa
Nearly $2 million is A LOT of money to be spending in a single week on TV ads, especially when you consider how far away we are from the first February contests. (Come February, $2 million per week is probably what you’ll see the best-financed campaigns spend in a single state the size of New Hampshire or Iowa.) Yesterday, we wrote how Hillary Clinton appears to be stepping on the gas in terms of campaign activity. Well, Team Jeb (via his Super PAC) is clearly stepping on the gas when it comes to TV ads. Our usual caveat: Because outside groups have to usually pay higher rates for TV ads than actual campaigns, Right to Rise’s $1.9 million doesn’t go as far as the same amount of money would if the campaign itself were spending it. For instance, it’s possible that the Clinton campaign’s $490,000 right now puts it close (as far as raw number of spots airing) to what Team Bush is doing.
The top overall spenders on TV ads so far
- Team Bush: $7.3 million ($6.9 million from Right to Rise, $440,000 from campaign)
- Team Kasich: $5.4 million (all in New Hampshire)
- Team Rubio: $4.7 million (all from the Conservative Solutions Project 501c4)
- Team Clinton: $4.6 million (all from campaign)
- Team Christie: $3.3 million (all in New Hampshire -- $2.9 million from Super PAC, $400,000 from campaign)
- Team Jindal: $2.3 million (all in Iowa)
Jeb: “I’m an introvert. Introverts have a huge advantage over extroverts”
Speaking of Jeb, don’t miss this line from him in his interview with our friends from The Skimm: Asked what his greatest strength is, Bush replied, “Dogged determination. I’m an introvert. Introverts have a huge advantage over extroverts. We can create a mission and we can act on it.” Think he’s talking about himself vs. Trump? Of course, it’s not every day when a politician admits to being an introvert.
It’s a busy day in Iowa
So many ’16 candidates are in the Hawkeye State. Donald Trump delivers a speech in Waterloo at 1:00 pm ET. Hillary Clinton hits Mt. Vernon (11:00 am ET) and Council Bluffs (3:30 pm ET). Jeb Bush has a trio of stops in Muscatine (10:00 am ET), Oskaloosa (1:30 pm ET), and West Des Moines (7:00 pm ET). And Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum also campaign in Iowa. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Lindsey Graham are all in New Hampshire.
New Q-polls: Trump and Hillary lead in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- but they’re also the most unpopular candidates in the three states
Quinnipiac is out with its most recent polls of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and they show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are leading their respective GOP and Dem fields. Not a surprise. But it’s also striking that while Trump and Clinton lead the horseraces, they also are the most unpopular figures among the general electorate. At what point does that become a problem for primary voters?
Draft Biden group releases 90-second TV ad
Like other polls have shown, Quinnipiac has Joe Biden outperforming Hillary Clinton in general election matchups and with a higher fav/unfav rating. (Then again, that shouldn’t be surprising given that he’s not a candidate.) Well, as NBC’s Peter Alexander first reported on “Today,” the Draft Biden Super PAC is up with a six-figure TV ad urging Biden to run. After hearing words from Biden talking about overcoming from tragedy and adversity, the ad ends with the words: “Joe, run.”
Who is showing up for work? And who isn’t
On Tuesday, NBC’s Frank Thorp crunched the numbers to see which U.S. senators running for president have missed the biggest share of Senate votes since officially launching their presidential bids. The percentages:
- Lindsey Graham: 48%
- Marco Rubio: 42%
- Ted Cruz: 29%
- Bernie Sanders: 4%
- Rand Paul: 3%
A caveat to these numbers: While Graham’s percentage is the highest, Rubio has actually missed more total votes since Graham’s later entry into the race on (June 1).
McCarthy, Chaffetz, and Webster make their pitches
“The three candidates running to be the next Speaker of the House made their pitch to conservatives Tuesday night as the Republican conference tries to rally around a unifying candidate to lead the body going forward,” NBC’s Alex Moe reports. “During a closed-door meeting just steps from the Capitol, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), each took time laying out their vision for the party moving forward and answering questions from more than 50 members of the House Tea Party Caucus, Freedom Caucus, Liberty Caucus and Conservative Opportunity Group. ‘It was a good discussion among colleagues that was indicative of the way things should be done,’ Rep. Mark Meadows (R- NC), told reporters as he left the meeting, characterizing it as a ‘deliberative mood’ inside.”
House to vote on creating a select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood
NBC’s Moe also reports that this afternoon, the House of Representatives “will vote to create the select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood following the release of those controversial tapes this summer. Leadership had vowed to create this special committee during the funding fight last month trying to help alleviate concerns from conservatives as a ‘clean CR’ -- aka one that did not strip the organization of federal funds -- made its way through Congress. The privilege resolution to create the committee is expected to pass the House with Republican support and will be chaired by Rep Marsha Blackburn.” Our question: Is another select committee here (after Benghazi) enough to avoid a showdown over Planned Parenthood to keep the government open come December?
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