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The Lid: Why Marco Rubio’s Missed Votes Could Matter

Image: Marco Rubio Campaigns In Iowa

Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during a Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security national security forum event at the Cedar Rapids Public Library on October 2, 2015 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. David Greedy / Getty Images

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Worried that his media attention is fading, Donald Trump announced Tuesday he would begin serving breakfast all day long.

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’16 AT 30 THOUSAND

For weeks now, Donald Trump has been dinging Marco Rubio for his attendance record in the Senate. But Rubio’s rise in the polls (and a somewhat odd explanation for his missed votes) has resulted in new interest in the Florida senator’s history skipping votes. On the TODAY show this morning, Rubio said the majority of the work of a senator is not voting on non-controversial issues, but:“The majority of the work of a senator is the constituent service to committee work, that continues forward unabated."

It’s unclear how much voters really care about the percentage of times a candidate has been in attendance for a vote in Congress. But there are a couple things that may present a clearer threat for Rubio. The first is Rubio’s statement earlier this year when he was speaking out in support of amendments to the Iran deal. “If you don't want to vote on things, don't run for the Senate. If you don't want to vote on things, don't run for office,” he said back in April. The second potentially troubling issue for Rubio is when his rivals begin pointing out specific votes he missed -- like TODAY’S Senate vote on the National Defense Authorization Act.

Now, Rubio certainly is not the only 2016 candidate who has missed votes while running for president. NBC’s Frank Thorp found that Lindsey Graham has also missed a significant number of votes since announcing his White House bid. But none of the other GOP senators are as high in the polls as Rubio, meaning he’s going to take the heat.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Just how does Marco Rubio’s Senate attendance record compare to his Congressional colleagues in the 2016 race? Frank Thorp V has your exact answer.
  • Joe Biden’s team says that a POLITICO story about Biden leaking information about his dying son’s wishes is “categorically false.”
  • Marco Rubio appeared on the TODAY show this morning and said gun laws would have “done nothing” to prevent the mass shooting in Oregon. He also defended missing votes in the Senate.
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich dismissed any concern with his latest standing in New Hampshire Tuesday but also looks to be opening the door to engaging more in Iowa, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell and Alex Jaffe write.
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that Kevin McCarthy’s comments about the Benghazi committee were a “side issue” rather than a catalyst for his late bid for House Speaker.
  • Ben Carson said that the elimination of Second Amendment rights would be “more devastating” than any injuries from guns he’s seen during his time as a medical professional, NBC’s Alex Jaffe reports.
  • Per NBC’s Pete Williams: A federal judge on Tuesday set hearings for February in two lawsuits involving the private email system used by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.

CAMPAIGN QUICK READS

RUBIO: “Sen. Marco Rubio will miss a key Senate vote on defense spending Tuesday so that he can continue campaigning in New Hampshire,” CNN reports.

JINDAL: Jindal wrote that “serious cultural decay” is to blame for mass shootings.

TRUMP: He sent Rubio, who he frequently jabs at as being sweaty, a “care package” of Trump Ice Natural Spring Water.

CLINTON: The New York Times has an in-depth look at Clinton’s debate prep -- including who’s playing whom on the mock debate stage.

Oppo researchers on Clinton’s super PAC are getting ready for a potential war with Joe Biden, NY Mag reports.

FOR THE RECORD…

“Trump ‘must remember that the U.S. does not belong to white people, they themselves were once immigrants.’

  • Tibetan Buddhist monk Tenzin Damchoe, as quoted in an AP story about Trump’s image around the globe.

TOMORROW’S SKED

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum all campaign in Iowa.

Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham are in New Hampshire.

Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley address the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.