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By Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Sen. Rand Paul launched a filibuster-like speech to protest NSA data collection practices, prompting the greatest minds in the nation’s esteemed press corps to ponder lofty questions like: When will Rand Paul take a bathroom break?

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'16 AT 30 THOUSAND

It’s not about drones this time, but some of Rand Paul’s Senate colleagues might say that the Kentucky senator is droning on once again. Paul “will speak until he can no longer speak” on the Senate floor, according to aides, to highlight his opposition to the Patriot Act. Paul believes the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records, set to expire June 1, violates Americans privacy. It’s a position that has put him at odds with many of his Republican presidential rivals who say the government’s spying powers should not be limited as terror threats continue abroad.

So, does Paul get a political advantage from his staunch opposition to the data collection? We looked back at our January 2015 NBC/WSJ poll, which asked “Which worries you more: that the United States will not go far enough in monitoring the activities and communications of potential terrorists living in the United States or that the United States will go too far and violate the privacy rights of average citizens?" The public as a whole was about evenly divided (46 percent to 47 percent), and a majority of Republicans (60%) said they were more worried about monitoring bad actors. But there’s one group that really, really digs where Rand Paul stands on this issue: young people. Of those 18-34 years old, 64 percent said they were more concerned about government interference in privacy rights. Because, Facebook, or something.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Jeb Bush told New Hampshire voters Wednesday that President Obama “abandoned” Iraq, one of us reports.
  • The debate over reauthorizing controversial provisions of the Patriot Act is proving to be one of the first major policy battles among GOP candidates, and creating some strange bedfellows on both sides of the aisle, one of us writes.
  • “Poll numbers suggest Americans are actually feeling better about the economy -- a critical measurement point in politics where voters' perceptions can be more important than the actual economic indicators,” NBC’s Dante Chinni reports.
  • And if you’re interested in the best political story of 2015, look no further than this morning’s First Read.

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

CLINTON: The New York Times has the latest on the drama within Priorities USA, including David Brock’s return after that public dust-up with Jim Messina.

FIORINA: The Washington Post spends some time at Costco with Frank Fiorina, whom his wife’s campaign hopes will fill the same humanizing role as other candidates’ spouses.

RUBIO: He cashed out a hefty retirement fund, something normally seen as a move of financial desperation.

PERRY: “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is planning a "Ride with Rick" motorcycle fundraising event June 6 to help the Puppy Jake Foundation, which trains service dogs and provides them to wounded veterans.”

FOR THE RECORD…

“This is really weird, you guys.”

  • Carly Fiorina’s husband, Frank, being interviewed as he shopped for toilet paper at Costco

TOMORROW’S SKED

Jeb Bush remains in New Hampshire for three events.

Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Scott Walker speak at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City.