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Reid Epstein’s article on Sen. Cruz isn’t a flattering portrayal of Sen. Cruz. Frankly, Sen. Cruz’s statements sound whiny and jealous. When Sen. Cruz said “I understand that in the media newsrooms and in the Washington establishment circles, Marco is the chosen one”, it came across as if Sen. Cruz is jealous that Sen. Rubio is getting glowing attention from reporters. At some point, Sen. Cruz should examine why he isn’t getting positive coverage in the press.

It isn’t a secret that Sen. Cruz loves bragging that he isn’t liked by “the Washington cartel.” He wears like it’s a badge of honor. If Sen. Cruz wanted more positive coverage, it might help to not wear his disdain on his sleeve.

That isn’t to say that Sen. Cruz should thirst for the MSM’s approval. Conservatives shouldn’t want that. There’s a difference in degrees, though, between wanting fair coverage and wanting the MSM’s approval.

Launching into bitter-sounding diatribes won’t improve Sen. Cruz’s image with voters. Already, Sen. Rubio is reaching out to the entire Republican Party, something that Sen. Cruz should’ve already started. Instead, Sen. Cruz did this:

Later, inside the packed bar while a repeat of Wednesday night’s hockey games played on the flat-screen TVs, Mr. Cruz launched into another tirade against Mr. Rubio, seeking to cast doubt on the Florida senator’s argument he’s the most electable in the GOP field.

“The media adores him,” Mr. Cruz said. “These are the same people who told us Bob Dole was the electable one, that told us John McCain was the electable one, that told us Mitt Romney was the electable one. You’re always the electable one until you win the nomination, and then you cannot possibly win the election.”

First, comparing Sen. Rubio to Dole, McCain and Romney is like comparing Cadillac Escalades with a Prius. While they’re both vehicles, that’s where the similarities end. Rush Limbaugh never said that Dole, McCain or Romney was “a legitimate, full-throated conservative.”

What’s worse is that Sen. Cruz’s unscripted complaining diminishes him. Rather than being bitter, Sen. Cruz should work on not being as antagonistic as he’s been thus far this campaign.

The reason why the press likes Sen. Rubio is because he’s actually an interesting, positive person. What person, whether they’re a member of the media or not, doesn’t appreciate listening to calm-tempered people over bitter-sounding people?

Rather than complaining about Sen. Rubio, Sen. Cruz should try changing his approach towards the media. Loosen up a little. Don’t be an antagonist. It might help.

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Chris Stirewalt writes in this article that Donald Trump is intent on re-litigating the results of the Iowa Caucuses. Stirewalt’s conclusion is that “if [Mr. Trump] doesn’t stop re-litigating Iowa, he could find that his next bunch of sour grapes will be of the Concord variety.”

Meanwhile, Rick Tyler has let himself get trapped inside the MSM’s echochamber. He’s fighting a war of words with Anderson Cooper instead of getting Sen. Cruz’s message out. There’s just 5 days left until the New Hampshire primary and Tyler is fighting the last state’s fight. That isn’t that bright.

Here’s another meanwhile. Meanwhile, the Rubio campaign has to be smiling ear-to-ear. They got a boost coming out of Iowa. They’ve picked up the endorsements of Tim Scott, Pat Toomey, Rick Santorum and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. Chris Christie and Jeb! are nipping at his heals but they’re mired in the mid-single digits in New Hampshire. Best of all, Rush Limbaugh rejected the notion that Sen. Rubio is an establishment candidate, saying that Sen. Rubio is “a legitimate, full-throated conservative.”

In the first polling after Iowa, Rubio jumped 3 points in a single night. Add that to the growing, lively crowds that Sen. Rubio is drawing. It isn’t a stretch to think Sen. Rubio will maintain the Marcomentum that started in Iowa and carry it into South Carolina.

With any luck, this will be a 4 person race before we hit Nevada.

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Since the results in Iowa were announced, Chris Christie has been criticizing Marco Rubio with a constant barrage. Based on the latest polling, Gov. Christie’s criticisms are failing. If things don’t change dramatically for Gov. Christie, this is likely his last full week on the campaign trail. Apparently, he knows that, which is why he’s going down throwing haymakers.

It isn’t difficult to prove that Gov. Christie’s strategy is flawed. When ABC News reports that “Christie is attempting to reframe the New Hampshire primary as a race between him and Rubio in a last-ditch attempt to validate his candidacy following a disappointing tenth place finish in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire polling numbers floating in the single digits”, it’s reporting that Gov. Christie is fighting from a position of weakness.

It’s essentially saying that Gov. Christie is operating from the belief that there are 2 lanes in this race, with Donald Trump and Sen. Cruz in the ‘Outsiders lane’ and Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Sen. Rubio and Gov. Christie fighting to be the finalist in the ‘Establishment lane’. That’s flawed analysis. There are 2 lanes but they’re the populist lane and the conservative lane. Right now, Sen. Cruz and Sen. Rubio are the only contestants in the conservative lane.

The fact that Gov. Christie is only drawing 5% of the vote according to the U Mass-Lowell poll suggests that Gov. Christie isn’t resonating with New Hampshire voters. It’s time for him to either change strategies or start writing his I’m-dropping-out speech. This is absurd:

“I would challenge anyone to show me the significant accomplishment that Sen. Rubio has done while he is in the United States Senate; I can’t find one,” Christie said at a news conference after accepting the endorsement of the New Hampshire Speaker of the House.

Gov. Christie didn’t look very hard. NRO found something significant without difficulty:

Indeed, [Sen. Rubio’s] the architect of the single-most effective legislative assault against ObamaCare since its passage.

Sen. Rubio’s legislation prevents the Obama administration from bailing out the health insurance industry. Most people think that’s significant. If they don’t, they should.

Donald Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate that doesn’t hesitate in laying things on a little too thick. Based on this article, Ted Cruz fits that description, too. Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Cruz sat down for an interview with Jeff Kuhner. Kuhner opened by asking “Is Marco Rubio a genuine conservative?” He asked that after listing Rubio’s support for “open borders,” “NSA spying,” and the Obama administration’s Trans Pacific Partnership during an onstage interview.

Sen. Cruz’s reply was predictable, though a bit dishonest. Cruz said “On each of the issues you just listed, Marco’s views are virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton. Let me say this, if we nominate a candidate who’s pro-amnesty, we’ll lose. It’s not complicated. It’s real simple.”

First, Sen. Cruz’s support for taking tools away from the NSA is disappointing. If Sen. Cruz wants to defend taking away a valuable tool from our intelligence-gathering community, let’s hear him make that part of his stump speech. Sen. Cruz has the opportunity to explain why he thinks it’s wise to seriously limit the NSA’s abilities without hurting people’s civil rights. I’d love to hear Sen. Cruz’s explanation.

Further, Mrs. Clinton doesn’t support TPP. Apparently, Ted won’t let little things like the facts get in the way of an old-fashioned ad hominem attack against one of his chief rivals.

Third, Sen. Cruz isn’t being honest when he says that Marco supports amnesty. Here’s what Sen. Rubio supports:

Marco has consistently advocated fixing America’s immigration system, beginning with securing our border, enforcing immigration laws in the workplace, and implementing effective visa tracking systems.

That sounds a lot like Sen. Cruz’s plan. This does, too:

Starting on Day One of his presidency, Marco will be focused on immigration security.

He will:

  1. Cancel President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders
  2. Eliminate federal funding for sanctuary cities
  3. Deport criminal illegal aliens
  4. Hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents
  5. Finish all 700 miles of walls on our southern border
  6. Implement an entry-exit visa tracking system
  7. Implement a mandatory eVerify system
  8. Install $4 billion in new cameras and sensors on the border

If that doesn’t sound like the Gang of Eight bill, it’s because it isn’t similar to the Gang of Eight bill.

If Sen. Cruz is serious about this, then we’re in trouble:

Cruz pointed to the 2012 election as evidence for his theory and noted the Republican Party got clobbered after nominating Mitt Romney, whose record on healthcare caused headaches for conservatives seeking contrast with Obamacare.

That’s breathtaking. Comparing Mitt Romney with Sen. Rubio is like comparing Tim Scott with Mitch McConnell. Comparing Mitt Romney with Sen. Rubio is like comparing Trey Gowdy with Lindsey Graham. It’s a preposterous comparison. Nobody thought that Mitt Romney was a conservative. No less a conservative’s conservative than Rush Limbaugh called Sen. Rubio “a legitimate, full-throated conservative.”

Listening only to Sen. Cruz, you’d think that Sen. Rubio was an establishment RINO. It isn’t just that the facts don’t support Sen. Cruz’s opinion. It’s that a conservative’s conservative, Rush Limbaugh, rejects this opinion.

This points to a simple question: when will Sen. Cruz stop with the exaggerations?

On a night when Sen. Rubio exceeded expectations, Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished with 2.8% of the vote in Iowa, sounded totally unlike his dad and his brother. Gov. Bush sounded like a total sourpuss, saying “Speaking of Rubio and Cruz Monday night, Bush said they don’t have the experience to win. And the two other candidates that are likely to emerge in Iowa are two people that are backbenchers that have never done anything of consequence in their life. They’re gifted beyond belief. They can give a great speech. But I think it’s time for us to recognize that maybe what we need is someone who can lead.”

Bush’s supporting super PACs spent almost $25,000,000 attacking Sen. Rubio in the hopes of building Bush up. Rubio far exceeded expectations, finishing with 23.1% of the vote in Iowa. Meanwhile, the guy who thinks we need “someone who can lead” finished a mere 20.3% behind the guy who Jeb thought should wait his turn. That doesn’t sound like a guy who entered the race saying that he wanted to run a joyous race. That sounds like a bitter man who didn’t see this impending defeat coming.

What’s particularly insulting is Jeb’s suggestion that Sen. Rubio is incapable of leading people. Part of leadership is understanding what’s important to people, then offering a vision that inspires them to achieve their goals. If there’s anyone on the GOP side that can do that, it’s Sen. Rubio. Half the battle of leading is directing people to where they already wanted to go. People want to prosper. Sen. Rubio offers that. People want to feel safe from the advances of ISIS. Sen. Rubio certainly passes the commander-in-chief test.

People have tried crippling Sen. Rubio’s campaign by saying he’s an inexperienced first-term U.S. senator. It’s indisputable that he’s a first-term senator but that isn’t a strike against him. When Barack Obama started running for president, the truth is that he was just 2 years removed from being a state senator in Illinois. He spent the first 2 years playing politics and not taking policy seriously.

That isn’t what Sen. Rubio did. Sen. Rubio took his responsibilities seriously on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. He learned national security issues until he could recite them backwards or frontwards.

The Bush dynasty should go into hibernation. The American people aren’t interested in dynasties.

If I had a $10 bill for every time I heard a GOP activist or MSM mouthpiece compare Sen. Rubio with Gov. Huckabee and/or Sen. Santorum, I’d be rich. This article mentions the fact that Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum won Iowa, then went nowhere after that.

That’s utterly irrelevant. The comparison doesn’t fit the situation whatsoever. Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum were niche candidates that did the “full Grassley”, visiting all 99 counties in Iowa before Iowa’s caucuses. That has nothing to do with Sen. Rubio. Sen. Rubio isn’t a niche candidate like Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum. Sen. Rubio is a mainstream, full spectrum conservative. I’ve started calling Sen. Rubio the “only complete package candidate in the race on either side of the aisle.” Simply put, Sen. Rubio has things going for him that aren’t going on for any other candidate.

He’s likable. He’s conservative. He isn’t constantly grumpy. He relates to people. He enjoys campaigning. He’s got solutions. He’s telling voters that America has retreated from the world during the Obama administration. He’s telling voters that this administration has crushed the economy with small businesses getting hit with too many regulations and too many reporting requirements.

Consider that the last two Republican presidential nominees, Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008, both lost Iowa. In fact, Mr. McCain placed fourth. “Remember that the people who win here do not necessarily go on to win the presidency,” said Catholic University politics professor Claes Ryn, who clustered Saturday with several hundred Rubio supporters at a town hall here at the Hilton Garden Inn. Mr. Ryn noted that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum placed first four years ago in Iowa, “and he went nowhere.”

Santorum and Huckabee never had a path to the nomination. They appealed to a large percentage of voters in Iowa. That’s where their appeal began and ended. It’s like Rand Paul and Ben Carson this time. They didn’t belong on the debate stage for more than 1 or possibly 2 debates.

This pretty much proves my point:

“I don’t want Trump. That is one thing I do feel strongly about,” said Republican voter Jennifer Hughes of Glenwood, Iowa. “I had an open mind until I saw him in person, and then I saw he was even more narcissistic. I thought that the press was possibly just spinning, just showing sound bites of him being obnoxious, but no, he’s like that all the time.” She said that leaves her with a choice between Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio. “And Cruz is in second right now. But I really like Rubio better than I like Cruz, just personally,” Ms. Hughes said.

Roger Bolte of Council Bluffs said he was “95 percent” in Mr. Rubio’s camp, in part because “I think he has the best chance to beat” Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Nobody picked Santorum or Huckabee as being electable. That’s because neither candidate was that electable. They both got in with the hope of winning Iowa, then hoping they’d catch fire. I think it’s more appropriate to say that their campaigns went up in flames after winning Iowa.

This morning, Byron York tweeted that Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz were fighting each other and that this fight was happening in The Donald’s shadow. That statement would’ve been true a month ago. It was still true 2 weeks ago. It isn’t true anymore.

During Thursday night’s debate, Sen. Rubio emerged from Trump’s shadow, thanks in part to Trump’s decision to skip the debate because he was too petulant to tolerate being asked questions by Megyn Kelly. (I suspect he didn’t appear because he didn’t want to give Ms. Kelly the opportunity to prove she’s a great journalist. If Megyn asked him some tough, fair questions, then he couldn’t credibly tell his sycophants on Twitter that she’s a terrible journalist anymore.)

During the debate, GOP activists learned nothing negative about Sen. Rubio. They were reminded that he was part of the Gang of Eight bill, which everyone knew. Admittedly, Sen. Rubio took a couple hits. Still, Cruz came out of that exchange the worse for wear because Sen. Paul, Sen. Rubio and Ms. Kelly exposed Sen. Cruz as a fraud on being the only flawless politician on immigration. They proved that he played games in an attempt to have it both ways.

The thing that lifted Sen. Rubio out of Mr. Trump’s shadow, though, was his turning his fire outward towards Mrs. Clinton with laser-like precision. He especially hit her hard when he ridiculed her for saying she’d appoint President Obama to the Supreme Court. Sen. Rubio hit Hillary hard when he said she was disqualified for lying to the families of the men who died in Benghazi.

The thing that capped Sen. Rubio’s coming out party was his appeals to lead America into a new “American Century.” That’s something his opponents on stage haven’t talked about. That’s something that Mr. Trump has only paid lip service to. Make America Great is Trump’s slogan but his stump speeches are mostly him praising himself and reciting his big leads in polls. Nobody in their right mind thinks that Trump has a clue about implementing public policies that will get America’s economy humming again. Mr. Trump had a casino go bankrupt while the economy was going well. Think about that. Bankrupting a casino takes some doing. The deck is stacked against the players.

Despite the inherent advantage of being the house, Mr. Trump’s casino went bankrupt. We’re now supposed to trust him in getting the U.S. economy going? That’s rich. Sen. Rubio has outline a series of reforms that will help the private sector turn the economy around.

Tim Carney’s article is worthwhile reading. People ready to anoint Trump the winner in Iowa should consider this:

TRUMP’S LEAD IS VULNERABLE TO TURNOUT WEAKNESS

Trump’s lead is five points in this survey, that’s smaller than other recent surveys. It is widely assumed Ted Cruz will have a strong turnout operation (which is more crucial in caucus states than in primary states), and that Donald Trump will have a weak one. If these assumptions are true, that five point lead should be considered a tie — especially given the 4.4 percent margin of error in the poll.

The other thing that can’t be ignored is the fact that there’s lots of people who are still persuadable:

Trump supporters and Cruz supporters are less persuadable, more committed than average voters — 71 percent and 62 percent respectively, say their mind is made up.

If these figures are accurate, that means 8% of Trump’s supporters are persuadable. It also means that 9% of Sen. Cruz’s supporters are persuadable. (It doesn’t say what percentage of Rubio supporters are persuadable so I can’t make that calculation.) Carney puts things this way:

RUBIO HAS THE MOST UPSIDE POTENTIAL

Rubio wins on the second-choice contest, with 20 percent to Cruz’s 17 percent (Trump is in 4th place with 7 percent).

This is anyone’s race, with Trump and Cruz having the advantage going into the last full day of campaigning.

Late this week, the Cruz campaign sent out a “report card-style mailer” in an attempt to persuade people to caucus for Sen. Cruz. It failed and then some. The mailer said “You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. Caucus on Monday to improve your score and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well.”

When Thomas and Steffany Hinkeldey received the mailer, Thomas posted a picture of the mailer through Twitter. Steve Deace, the most popular radio talk show host in Iowa by a wide margin and a staunch Cruz supporter, tweeted that Hinkeldey wasn’t a real person. Less than 40 minutes later, Hinkeldey replied to Deace, saying “hi Steve. I am very real.” Later, Hinkeldey confirmed that he will attend caucus Monday night, something he hadn’t planned on doing. The bad news for the Cruz campaign is that he’s caucusing for Sen. Rubio.

Additionally, Paul D. Pate, Iowa’s secretary of state, issued a statement, saying in part “Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law. Accusing citizens of Iowa of a ‘voting violation’ based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”

When the Twitterverse exploded with this news, the Cruz campaign arrogantly issued this statement:

I will apologize to no one for using every tool at hand to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.

That wasn’t a statement from a campaign staffer. That statement was made by Sen. Cruz himself. My reaction to this is simple. Sen. Cruz isn’t exercising good judgment. He’s caught up in the campaign. He’s making inflammatory statements that aren’t remotely close to the truth. At one stop, he resorted to fearmongering:

At a sometimes awkward early morning gathering in a middle school in snowy Hubbard, 60 miles north of Des Moines, the Texas senator warned that even other Republicans would put at risk religious freedoms if they were in the Oval Office, and would allow a “lawless” supreme court to push a radical leftwing agenda.

That’s proof of Sen. Rubio’s statement earlier in the day that Sen. Cruz will say anything to get votes.

Sen. Cruz’s favorability/unfavorability is taking a hit because of his dishonest mudslinging. Sen. Rubio is gaining traction without misrepresenting the truth. It’s possibly the truth that he’s gaining traction because he isn’t misrepresenting the truth. One thing’s certain according to the DMR/Bloomberg poll: Sen. Cruz dropped 2 points since early January while Sen. Rubio gained 3 points.

David Brody just tweeted a link to this interview Marco Rubio did on the subjects of homeschooling and school choice. I wish this had come out earlier because it would’ve catapulted Rubio past Sen. Cruz with evangelical Christians, minorities and women. Mike Farris conducted the interview with Sen. Rubio.

The first question Mr. Harris asked about education was “What’s your experience been with homeschooling families, what’s your interaction, what’s your view of homeschooling?” Sen. Rubio replied, saying “, we have a lot of friends that homeschool. In fact, during the campaign, there will be elements of homeschooling that we’ll use. My kids’ school in South Florida has a sort of homeschooling component of their curriculum, which we’ll be able to use when we’re on the road with our kids during the campaign.”

Sen. Rubio wasn’t finished there. He added “But in general, I think it’s not only a valid way to teach your children, you see from the empirical evidence that homeschool children are outperforming many children attending traditional schools. I believe in parental choice—homeschooling, faith-based schools, private school of your choosing, what public school you want to go to instead of the one you’re zoned for. But I view homeschooling, and especially the explosion of homeschooling in America over the last 15 years, as a great development that we’ve seen. And we see how well homeschoolers are performing once they’re getting into college and universities across the country.”

The point I think is important to make is that conservatives have to have a positive agenda that’s governed by the Constitution but that also connects with voters of all stripes. Education is an issue that, if done right, would expand the conservative base. School choice and homeschooling are winning issues with women and minorities. It’s important that conservatives rally to the one candidate that’s run an uplifting campaign based on expanding the conservative while protecting the United States from terrorist attacks.

There’s only one candidate that fits that description. His name is Marco Rubio. That’s why I’ve called him ‘the complete package conservative’ in my tweets.

In the days leading into the Iowa Caucuses, though, Sen. Cruz has taken to telling fanciful things that don’t have anything to do with the truth.

In Ringsted, IA, Sen. Cruz told people “If you look, in particular, at President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, Marco Rubio’s gone on Univision and said, ‘No, no, no. I wouldn’t rescind amnesty.’” That isn’t spin. That’s an outright lie that Sen. Cruz should apologize for telling. Further, Sen. Cruz might be a world-class debater but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a dictionary. Sen. Cruz needs a dictionary because he apparently doesn’t know (perhaps he doesn’t care?) about the definition of amnesty. The definition of amnesty is a “general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction; Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole; or a forgetting or overlooking of any past offense.”

I know Sen. Cruz enjoys employing inflammatory, misleading, rhetoric in making his case. Unfortunately, his fidelity to the truth isn’t a high priority. He’s got a history of insisting that he’s the purest of the pure, the noblest of the noble, the man who stops one step short of being able to walk on water.

Bill O’Reilly interviewed Sen. Rubio last night. Here’s what Sen. Rubio supports:

  1. Building the 700-mile wall on the US-Mexican border
  2. Implement E-Verify and build the wall before any discussion about what to do with illegal aliens already here
  3. Hire 20,000 new border agents
  4. anyone with a criminal background are deported.

Sen. Rubio hasn’t denied being part of the Gang of Eight legislation. His argument has always been that Sen. Cruz has said he’d support legalization.

Sen. Cruz is likely resorting to this heated rhetoric because Sen. Rubio is gaining momentum in Iowa.