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The Lid: Ben Carson’s Unapologetic Week

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Mitt Romney called Paul Ryan to encourage him to run for speaker of the House, because, you know, last time Romney encouraged Ryan to run for something it worked out really well...

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

Ben Carson has made plenty of eyebrow raising comments in his run for president. (Remember, this one: “A lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay.") But Carson had a particularly noteworthy week, making (and defending) controversial statements every day.

On Monday, he wrote on Facebook that he “never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.” On Tuesday, he said he would “not just stand there and let him shoot me,” but would tell others around him to attack. The rest of the week was filled with various defenses of the statement, along with suggesting the impact of the Holocaust could have been mitigated if Jews had guns -- something he doubled down on in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday.

Carson has been nipping at Trump’s lead, and the increased attention that comes with being a top-tier candidate coincides with more opportunities to say controversial stuff. But Carson has always been unapologetically outspoken, well before he was near the top of the polls. Lucky for him, Republican voters so far have rewarded the two candidates who most frequently say controversial things. In terms of Internet memes, they are the honey badger candidates. Because, well, honey badger don’t care.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Paul Ryan has left the building. House Republicans on Friday left Washington no closer to finding their next speaker. Leigh Ann Caldwell has a wrap of all of today’s developments.
  • Ben Carson told Andrea Mitchell he is "surprised" how quickly he has risen in the polls and defended his recent controversial comments about guns and the Holocaust.
  • Bernie Sanders told NBC’s Chuck Todd: “people will have to contrast my consistency and my willingness to stand up to Wall Street and corporations, big corporations, with the secretary [Clinton].”
  • MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald: The super PAC working to draft Joe Biden into the 2016 presidential race will not air the emotional 90-second ad they produced this week after the vice president expressed disapproval through an aide.
  • From First Read this AM: The heat is on Paul Ryan.

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

PAUL: Republicans are becoming increasingly worried about Rand Paul keeping his Senate seat, Politico reports.

CARSON: The New York Times has a list of the provocative statements Carson made this week.

CRUZ: “I don’t believe Donald is going to be the nominee and I think, in time, the lion’s share of his supporters end up with us,” Cruz said in a radio interview.

CHRISTIE: The New Jersey governor said “nobody in America cares” who become the next House speaker.

BUSH: In an interview with Iowa public radio, he said, “We just started to advertise—actually the Right to Rise PAC started to advertise, not our campaign.”

WEBB: Mother Jones launched an investigation hoping to answer the simple question: Is Jim Webb Really Running for President?

FOR THE RECORD…

“I have a pair of pajamas just for you."

-- Bernie Sanders to Chuck Todd. Tune in to “Meet The Press” on Sunday to find out why the Democratic presidential candidate offered Chuck some PJs.

WEEKEND SKED

Donald Trump holds a rally in Atlanta on Saturday. Jeb Bush attends the tailgate ahead of the Georgia-Tennessee game in Knoxville. Marco Rubio campaigns in Nevada .

Also on Saturday, Bernie Sanders holds a rally in Boulder, Colorado.

And Joe Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware where he is reportedly discussing a 2016 run with his family