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The Lid: Why Clinton’s Benghazi Testimony is Critical For Campaign

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…A brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Martin O’Malley sitting at just one percent, which we’re guessing is one percent higher than the approval rating for his rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” on “The View” today.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

Hillary Clinton received a smattering of good news today with the release of our brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. First, she increased her lead over Bernie Sanders to 20 points among Democratic primary voters. And secondly, we learned there is a serious lack of “Joe-mentum” (get it?) for Vice President Biden to get in the race. More Democratic primary voters would prefer Biden not to run (38%) than to actually get into the race (30%).

But here is why Clinton should not be celebrating with a vodka martini (her favorite drink) just yet. Her newest numbers from our poll show by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, Americans are NOT satisfied with Clinton’s response to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi. That’s why her testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi in two days could be as significant as any debate performance she’ll have this cycle. Now our poll also found that -- of the 44% of Americans who are unsatisfied with Clinton’s response -- just 14% of them are Democrats. Forty percent of the unsatisfied crowd are independents. Bottom line: the Benghazi inquiry isn’t a major primary threat to Clinton, at least as of now. But how she addresses the Benghazi issue at Thursday’s congressional hearing and beyond could have a big effect on her *general* election chances.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

BIDEN: On Tuesday, he sought to dispel the criticism that he opposed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the New York Times notes.

BUSH: Bush hit back at Trump’s 9/11 comments in an op/ed in National Review Online.

TRUMP: He’s out with another Instagram video filled with clips of Bill Clinton talking him that asks: A Bill Clinton endorsement?

O’MALLEY: Responding to whether Biden should get into the 2016 race, O’Malley said he respected the VP but, “I think his generation is already overly represented in our party in this field,” Politico notes.

FOR THE RECORD…

“There were times when we did and times when we did not.”

  • Jim Webb’s answer to a reporter's question about whether or not he campaign during his Democratic presidential bid.

TOMORROW SKED

Jeb Bush campaigns in Nevada.

Donald Trump and Chris Christie campaign in Iowa.

Ben Carson is in Oklahoma for a book signing while Carly Fiorina campaigns in Florida.