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By Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced today he would uphold Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, partially because the star quarterback destroyed a cell phone that could have contained evidence. No word on whether Brady used Lindsey Graham’s ”blender, burn, bake” method to destroy his mobile device.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

It took a blunt analogy to the Holocaust, but Mike Huckabee managed to wrestle the political spotlight back from Donald Trump for a few days with his comments about the Iran deal -- and he doubled down on those comments this morning on TODAY. And here’s one reason why candidates are so eager to slam this deal: national security remains the number one issue for GOP primary voters -- significantly more so than for the electorate at large.

That’s particularly true in key early states, where candidates are competing for traction. In our latest NBC/Marist polls, a plurality of 45 percent of GOP voters in Iowa and 47 percent of GOP voters in New Hampshire cited national security and terrorism as the most important issue in the presidential race.

And GOP voters have strong feelings on the Iran deal, too; the latest CNN/ORC poll showed that fully two-thirds of Republicans want Congress to reject it.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Foes are jumping on Hillary Clinton’s unwillingness to say whether or not she supports the Keystone XL pipeline, writes one of us(!)
  • Republican lawmakers in the House grilled John Kerry in a tense hearing on the nuclear deal, NBC’s Halimah Abdullah reports.
  • Our colleague John Harwood interviewed Chris Christie, who said that Donald Trump’s penchant for making improbable promises about border security and entitlements “hurts the credibility of the presidency.”
  • NBC’s Luke Russert has everything you need to know (but were afraid to ask) about the Export-Import Bank.

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

HUCKABEE: He is wooing church-going African Americans in early primary states, the Washington Post notes.

O’MALLEY: He’ll be the first Democratic candidate to visit Puerto Rico this cycle

PAUL: POLITICO has a deep dive into the “downward spiral” of his presidential campaign, writing that it’s become “an underfunded and understaffed campaign beaten down by low morale.”

TRUMP: Trump special counsel Michael Cohen has apologized for saying that “you can’t rape your spouse,” saying he made the comment in a moment of “shock and anger.”

WALKER: RealClearPolitics reports that Walker told donors at a fundraiser that he doesn’t plan to compete in the Florida primary, despite previous pledges that he can “complete anywhere in the country.”

He’s being derided for his cheesesteak orders during a visit to South Philly.

FOR THE RECORD…

“If it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”

  • Hillary Clinton, on whether or not she supports the Keystone XL pipeline

TOMORROW’S SKED

Chris Christie holds two campaign events in New Hampshire.

Bernie Sanders holds a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio.