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By Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Chris Christie and Marco Rubio slept over at Mitt Romney’s New Hampshire vacation home over the weekend. By the third round of truth or dare, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee was thankful for not having chosen either man as his running mate.

’16 AT 30 THOUSAND: After last week’s chatter about big crowds and a significant polling boost in Iowa for Bernie Sanders, it was only a matter of time before this story got written. In a new piece this afternoon, the New York Times essentially asks: What if Hillary Clinton loses Iowa? The piece mentions both Jennifer Palmieri’s quote on Morning Joe that the campaign is “worried” about Sanders and a quote from former Dean strategist Joe Trippi, who says she “certainly” could be bested by Sanders in the first caucus state. Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Clinton’s lead over Sanders stands at 19 points in Iowa, per the latest Quinnipiac poll. That’s much, MUCH less than the 45 point lead we saw for Clinton back in early May, but it’s incorrect to imply that it’s a close race at this point. (Just look at the GOP race if you’re searching for a close contest.)
  • As a candidate with universal name recognition and an implicit label of “presumptive nominee,” it’s all about expectations for Hillary Clinton. Lowering them in Iowa - and tamping down the “inevitability” that damaged her last time - is good news, not bad news, for her campaign right now.
  • As we’ve noted -- and as our colleague Perry Bacon Jr. wrote in a smart piece over the weekend (see below) -- Sanders’ surge is being fueled by progressive whites. That’s a group that’s certainly enough for a Howard Dean-like insurgence, and perhaps even for a shock win in Iowa, a haven for white liberal activists. But it’s simply not enough of a coalition to secure the nomination.
  • And as the political scientists put it, the party (through its elected officials) ultimately decides who its presidential nominee will be – it’s not the voters in Iowa or New Hampshire. And so far, two-thirds of sitting Democratic senators have already endorsed Clinton. That matters more than the polls or the crowd sizes.


A Vermont liberal drawing huge, largely white crowds in liberal cities? Bernie Sanders sounds a lot like Howard Dean, writes Perry Bacon Jr.

It turns out that there’s skepticism aplenty from influential Republicans about Jeb Bush’s ability to win Latinos.

Donald Trump deleted a retweet knocking Jeb Bush’s wife.

On Morning Joe, Chris Christie said that it’s Rand Paul who “should be in front of hearings, in front of Congress if there’s another attack, not the director of the FBI or the director of the CIA.”

In First Read, the political unit outlines how Donald Trump’s comments are splitting the GOP.


CLINTON: Her communications director said on Morning Joe that the campaign is “worried” about Bernie Sanders, and the New York Times talks to a few more experts who say Clinton “underestimated” her Vermont rival.

RUBIO: The Conservative Solutions Project, a one of the outside groups backing Marco Rubio, announced that it’s raised $15.8 million to date.

WALKER: The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis asks: Will Scott Walker’s wife’s support for same sex marriage be a problem for him with social conservatives?

The man who was once his most trusted adviser is on the outs, writes Dave Catanese.

PATAKI: He wants to go “mano a mano” with Trump and debate immigration policy.


“We’re going to look back on this and he should be in front of hearings, in front of Congress, if there’s another attack.”

  • Chris Christie slamming Rand Paul for his views on the Patriot Act and government surveillance during his appearance on Morning Joe.


Hillary Clinton, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz all make stops in Iowa.

Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina both campaign in New Hampshire.

Mike Huckabee is in South Carolina.