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The Lid: Super PACs Already Playing Major Role in 2016

by Andrew Rafferty and Carrie Dann /
A crowd posing as Super PACs, corporate sponsors and wealthy donors bid for political races during Avaaz's Elections not Auctions campaign event, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, in Denver. The campaign is urging candidates to amend big money out of politics. Jack Dempsey / AP file

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Re-introducing The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos! Asked on Wednesday which nonpolitical figure he’d like to have a beer with, Marco Rubio named Malala Yousafzai, which *could* have been a cool, above-partisanship answer….except that she’s under 21 aaaand also a practicing Muslim. (Rubio’s first answer was Dan Marino. Shoulda stuck with Marino.)

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One of Donald Trump’s big applause lines on the campaign trail has been that he’s not reliant on superPACs. While his claims that he’s “entirely self-funded” are a tad bit dubious - considering the relatively minimal amount of his own money that he’s spent on the campaign so far - he’s right that he’s much less reliant on outside groups than the rest of the field. And new numbers from our ad-spending partner SMG Delta show just how dominant superPACs are on the GOP side. Outside groups have spent a whopping $42 million on TV ads so far this cycle, about 95 percent of the GOP spending on television buys to date. The biggest share of that is $15.5 million from Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise, with Marco Rubio’s Conservative Solutions Project doling out an additional $7 million.

Also keep in mind: Because of cost rules, Clinton and Sanders are getting a lot more TV time for their buck, since campaigns get a discounted rate for ad time. Our ad buyers tell us that superPACs are probably spending about four times as much for the same ad as a campaign.


  • A whopping 95 percent of the TV ad spending in the Republican presidential race has come from outside groups and Super PACs.
  • The presidential election is still a year away and the primary doesn't even officially begin until Iowans head to caucus sites three months from now.
  • Democratic "Wal-Mart Moms," meanwhile, reveal problems for Hillary Clinton and are more optimistic about the economy.
  • Pollsters can't offer the same three-dimensional view that our own reporters can by relaying what Americans have to say about 2016. We checked in with our own campaign embeds to hear what they’re seeing on the ground.
  • GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio said Wednesday that the deportation deferral program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to stay and work in the country has to end with or without immigration reform legislation.
  • From affairs, to hurricanes, to the classic “October Surprise,” one of us(!) looks at the unforeseen factors that can influence presidential elections.
  • Election Day is far from just a single day on the calendar anymore. Dante Chinni explains.


CARSON: Ben Carson appeared to be stumped by questions about Cuba policy during his visit to Florida.

Buzzfeed unearths a 1998 speech in which Carson said that the pyramids were built for grain storage, not as tombs, and dismissed “scientists’” claims that the structures were built by aliens.

RUBIO: He said he would end protections for young undocumented immigrants currently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.


“I’m getting a haircut on Saturday, that’s huge.”

  • Jeb Bush, on the advice he’s gotten to prepare for the next Republican debate


Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Bernie Sanders file paperwork to run in the New Hampshire Republican primary.

Chris Christie and Jeb Bush stump in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton appears on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

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