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The Lid: Why the CNBC Debate is Critical for Fiorina and Cruz

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Come GOP debate days, it is common for Americans to become transfixed on a larger-than-life presence that seems to overshadow parts of the country, dominate media coverage, and make so-called experts look completely ridiculous. Only today, it was a blimp and not Donald Trump.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

It’s another debate day! With lots of attention going to four top candidates who are likely to get in high-profile fights with each other (Donald Trump vs. Ben Carson and Jeb Bush vs. Marco Rubio), we at The Lid want to take a moment to highlight two other contenders you shouldn’t ignore: Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz.

Strong performances in the first two debates skyrocketed Fiorina from a lowly undercard candidate to a double-digit contender back in September. (Not to mention led to some of the biggest fundraising days of her campaign.) But since then, she’s seen a steady decline in her polling average. Another big debate moment could catapult her back into the campaign’s upper tiers, but a lackluster performance could signal that the surge of interest in her has come and gone.

Ted Cruz has quietly been racking up endorsements and financial backers, and he could be positioning himself well to pick up the pieces if Carson or Trump start hemorrhaging support. He’s kept a very steady presence in national polling, and he could have the right combination of organizational firepower and evangelical appeal to catch fire in Iowa at a key moment.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

CLINTON: On the day of another Republican presidential debate, Hillary Clinton is calling for “common ground” to tackle the big issues facing the country, the AP writes.

PAUL: Rand Paul said Wednesday that Donald Trump should maybe get out the race since his polls are beginning to dip.

SANDERS: Per the Washington Post: “Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will announce his support Wednesday for removing marijuana from a list of the most dangerous drugs outlawed by the federal government.”

BUSH: A pro-Bush super PAC is trolling Rubio on Twitter with its news created @IsMarcoWorking account.

FOR THE RECORD…

“If I lose Iowa, I will never speak to you people again.”

  • Donald Trump to Iowans at a rally on Tuesday.

TOMORROW’S SKED

Ben Carson holds a press conference and speaks to students at Colorado Christian University. Jeb Bush travels to New Hampshire for a town hall meeting in New London.

Hillary Clinton participates in the New Hampshire Community College Candidate Forum.

Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at The Nugget Casino in Sparks, NV.