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By Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… In an interview, Chris Christie suggested the #Deflategate scandal has been “way, way overblown.” To be fair, as someone who’s now a far cry from his former spot as the undisputed leader in national Republican presidential polling, he might know a thing or two about artificial inflation.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND: A federal court ruling that the Patriot Act does not authorize the National Security Agency to collect bulk sums of phone data has produced some strange 2016 bedfellows.Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders were quick to celebrate the ruling, both stating that the practice violates the civil liberties of law abiding citizens. It even prompted agreement between Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. Both presidential candidates urged the passage of the USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan bill that ends the bulk collection of records while preserving certain NSA spying powers. Other candidates, like Marco Rubio, are in favor of allowing the NSA to continue its data gathering procedures. The debate over reauthorizing NSA’s power to continue the mass collection of phone data, which expires June 1, will put on display clear divisions among GOP presidential candidates

One caveat on this issue though: public opinion depends a lot on how people view the terror threat at any given time. Back in 2013, Americans said pretty decisively that they were more concerned about the government going too far in violating privacy rights (56 percent) than about the government not going far enough to monitor potential terrorists. (36 percent). But earlier this year, after ISIS had become a household name in America, the country was exactly split between the two concerns.


Per NBC’s Perry Bacon: Hillary Clinton is going left to align herself with key parts of the Democratic base: African-Americans, Latinos and people who are lesbian, gay or transgender.

NBCs Frank Thorp reports on the Iran deal legislation sailing through the Senate.

And why has Clinton seemingly flip-flopped on super PACs? Because she had to, Bacon writes.

In this morning’s First Read, the political unit looks at how divided the GOP field is shaping up to be.


A new AP/Gfk (online) poll finds that a majority of Republicans can see themselves voting for someone who would keep Obama’s executive actions on immigration in place.

BUSH: He told donors at a private meeting that his brother, George W. Bush, is a top advisor on U.S.-Israel policy.

RUBIO: He’s talking about his immigrant story with caution on the campaign trail, the New York Times writes.

PAUL: He and Bernie Sanders are celebrating a federal court ruling that the bulk collection of phone records by the NSA is not authorized by the Patriot Act.

WALKER: The Wisconsin governor once bashed the auto bailout, but is now dodging the question, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports.


“I think the media and others’ love for somebody who's married to a beautiful model, who's richer than you can imagine and who's a future Hall-of-Famer -- to take a couple shots at him, people like that every once in a while."

-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tom Brady and #DeflateGate


Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina are all stumping in New Hampshire.

Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee both head to South Carolina for campaign events.

Hillary Clinton fundraises in the Silicon Valley area.

Rand Paul hosts a Stand with Rand rally at Arizona State University