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By Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Public opinion polls show that five-time heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield is the favorite to win tonight’s charity boxing match against no-time winning-the-presidency champion Mitt Romney, with the boxer leading among the key demographic of people who have ever seen a picture of Evander Holyfield.

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Faster than you can say “Kum & Go,”* all eyes are turning back to the crucial state of Iowa, where eleven - count ‘em - ELEVEN Republican presidential candidates will appear to woo conservative activists at the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln dinner on Saturday night. The confab comes after Jeb Bush confirmed - unsurprisingly but still significantly - that he won’t participate in the August Iowa straw poll, a bit of a blow to those who hope to maintain the contest’s importance as an engine of political momentum. Bush was never going to go all-in in a state where he’s currently polling at a dismal seventh place. But there are two other big questions that the move creates: 1) Exactly what kind of footprint will Bush ultimately have to make in Iowa, even if he’s far behind the social conservatives in the field (especially knowing that both his father and brother played to win there) and 2) who else ditches the straw poll? Scott Walker? Marco Rubio? For all our love for the related Iowa State Fair festivities, including but not limited to A GIANT COW MADE OF BUTTER - the straw poll simply hasn’t proven to be an accurate reflection of political realities. Just ask Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.

* For those that don’t know, “Kum & Go” is the name of a gas station and convenience store franchise in the American midwest.


  • Rick Perry will make his 2016 announcement June 4 in Dallas.
  • President Obama on Friday offered words of solace to the families of fallen police officers as tensions between law enforcement and minority communities continue to escalate, NBC’s Halimah Abdullah writes.
  • As he usually does on Fridays, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray sets you straight on what mattered this week in 2016 -- and what didn’t.
  • Reporting from Scottsdale, MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt writes that the GOP is a party without a frontrunner.
  • More on that and the GOP’s Iraq conundrum from First Read.


BUSH: The Wall Street Journal reports on the decades of family donors he’s been able to leverage so far.

The New York Times writes that some Iowans are worried that he’s forsaking a Bush tradition -- playing to win in Iowa.

Columba Bush has new Twitter and Instagram accounts.

RUBIO: Jon Ward and Andrew Romano of Yahoo! look at what Rubio’s shifts on immigration say about his leadership abilities, writing “The problem wasn’t that he shifted his focus or emphasis. The problem was that he ditched his own immigration-reform bill while it was winding its way through Congress — and started desperately trying to convince conservatives that he was still one of them instead.”

TRUMP: He doesn’t think he’d be excluded from the Republican debates. Why? “ If I was excluded far fewer people would watch. I get ratings,” the Washington Examiner writes. Over to you, RNC!


“I’m very pleased that Under Armour has agreed to sponsor the bout. They have graciously sent me their apparel items, which I will avail myself of.”

  • Mitt Romney, on tonight’s charity boxing match.


The Republican candidates descend on Iowa, with eleven presidential hopefuls speaking to activists at the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln dinner.

Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump are also confirmed to speak at the National Security Action Summit in Waukee, IA.

Jeb Bush has two more campaign events in Iowa on Saturday, in what’s just his second visit to the state this year.