The Lid: New Dynamics Brewing at Milwaukee Debate

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By Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Some days, serious events at home or abroad unexpectedly insert themselves into the presidential race. Other days, it’s a question about killing baby Hitler. Today was one of those “other days.”

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Heading into the fourth(!) Republican debate, the initial thrill of seeing the candidates sharing a stage may be wearing off a little bit, but the new dynamics of the latest contest are sure to keep things interesting. Here are some of the new changes at play:

  1. The press is even more of a villain to the GOP than before. It’s no secret that the Republican presidential candidates haven’t exactly been overjoyed with the mainstream media, but in the wake of the CNBC debate and the RNC’s subsequent protests - not to mention criticism of media investigations into Ben Carson’s past - GOP candidates are unlikely to feel any obligation to refrain from bashing moderators for questions they don’t like.

  2. Carson is under even more scrutiny. Depending on how you calculate the polling averages, Carson could conceivably be considered THE frontrunner in the GOP field. And he’ll take the stage having to answer even more questions about his upbringing, with the added factor of other folks on stage (Trump et al) who are plenty motivated not to give him a pass.

  3. There will be fewer candidates on the primetime stage. The difference between 10 and eight candidates may not translate into a lot when it comes to speaking time, but the absence of two of the more skilled quip-masters on the stage - Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee - will certainly change the pace.


  • Danny Freeman, one of NBC’s Iowa gurus, has a deep look at the state’s homeschooling community -- and how this influential bloc of voters hasn’t yet coalesced around a candidate.
  • Hillary Clinton filed for the New Hampshire primary Monday, the fourth time she’s visited Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office for the ritual, NBC’s Kailani Koenig notes.
  • David Vitter is hitting back at gubernatorial opponent John Bel Edwards, releasing a new ad that tackles his admission of involvement with prostitutes.
  • ICYMI: NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell looked at Chris Christie’s efforts to gain traction in New Hampshire.


Don’t miss Ron Brownstein’s look at the latest book from Stan Greenberg, with a smart take on the big-picture demographic and message challenges facing both political parties.’s Zachary Roth notes that Chris Christie vetoed a bill backed by voting rights advocates.

In case you were dying to know, Huffington Post confirms that Jeb Bush would, in fact, go back in time to kill Adolf Hitler as an infant,

A new Monmouth poll shows Ben Carson pulling even with Trump in South Carolina.


“If I did and said what he did and said, I would have been given the electric chair,”

  • Donald Trump, on Ben Carson, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal


The fourth Republican presidential debate will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Hillary Clinton campaigns in New Hampshire.

Rand Paul holds a roundtable discussion on school choice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Rick Santorum returns to the campaign trail after battling laryngitis with a speech on manufacturing in Chicago.