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Wake Up To Politics - February 26, 2016

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Friday, February 26, 2016
1 Days until the SC Primary (D)
4 Days Until Super Tuesday
256 Days Until Election Day 2016 I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    2016 Central

  • Trump Under Attack at 10th GOP Debate The five remaining Republican candidates for President met for their tenth debate in Houston, Texas on Thursday. In a fiery debate, much of the fire was directed at Donald Trump, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio taking turns attacking the frontrunner from all sides.
  • While Trump has led in the polls since the first debate in August, this is the first time he has been the main subject of attacks, signaling a shift in strategy for both Cruz and Rubio – who have previously focused on attacking each other. Instead, they formed a Cuban-American tag team of sorts to hurl insults at Trump on a number of issues. Many of Marco Rubio’s blows focused on the personal, taking shots at Trump’s prized business record:
  • “If he hadn’t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be? Selling watches in Manhattan.”
  • “You don’t know anything about it because you’re a lousy businessman. I don't know anything about bankrupting companies. I don't know anything about starting a fake university.”
  • “If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Tower, he'll be using illegal immigrants to do it.”
  • “You’re only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally.”
  • Meanwhile, Ted Cruz hit Trump for his moderate political positions of the past:
  • “If you look at the eight members of the Gang of Eight, Donald gave over $50,000 to three Democrats and two Republicans. And when you're funding open border politicians, you shouldn't be surprised when they fight for open borders.”
  • “Both Donald and Hillary Clinton want to be neutral, to use Donald's word, between Israel and the Palestinians.”
  • “Donald, true or false, you’ve said the government should pay for everyone's health care.”
  • “Nobody who supported far-left liberal Democrats who are fighting for judicial activists can possibly care about having principled constitutionalists on the court.”
  • Trump was more than happy to return fire at both of his attackers. When Rubio criticized his understanding of peace deals, Trump shot back: “You’re not a negotiator.” When Cruz criticized his bipartisan donations, Trump said: “I got along with everybody. You get along with nobody.” At one point, Trump referred to both of his rivals, saying: “This guy’s a choke artist,” pointing at Rubio,” and this guy’s a liar,” pointing at Cruz.
  • So far, Donald Trump has come off as impervious to attacks – Cruz or Rubio could have physically thrown their opposition research books at him, and it wouldn’t have hurt. Trump seemed confident Thursday night would be no different (“Swing for the fences,” he dared). But at other times, he did seem rattled, and there were certainly exchanges Trump did not get the better of, showing unpreparedness to the oppo dump he was receiving.
  • When Rubio attacked him for hiring illegal workers, Trump’s only response (“Yeah, yeah, yeah, 38 years ago”) allowed Rubio to launch a killer one-liner: “Oh, he lied 38 years ago. I guess there’s a statue of limitation on lies.”
  • Rubio, the first and most vocal in attacking Trump, even managed to tag his rival for robotic tendencies (a label leveled on Rubio at a debate earlier this month), taking on the role of Chris Christie to Trump’s Rubio. When the Floridian repeatedly demanded of the businessman to produce a health care plan, Trump responded: “When you get rid of the lines, it brings in competition. It will be a beautiful thing.”
  • “So that’s the only part?” Rubio asked. “Just the lines?” Then, Trump began to return to “the lines.” Rubio cut him off: “Now he’s repeating himself. Don’t repeat yourself.” When Trump brought up the New Hampshire debate (“I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago”), Rubio was ready: “I saw you repeat yourself five times five second ago.”
  • Of course, the two Cuban-American senators and their business mogul rival were not the only contenders on stage. However, Ben Carson and John Kasich failed to use their podiums to jump in and attempt to break out the race, instead making them seem like front row seats to the action. Even as the debate descended into a contest for the right to talk – with Trump, Cruz, and Rubio repeatedly yelling over each other (and the moderators) – Carson and Kasich let the pitch go by. The only memorable line from either of them was by the former, on nominating a Supreme Court justice: “The fruit salad of their life is what I would look at.” Kasich, meanwhile, seemed out of place, as he kept up his positive line of messaging in a very negative debate.
  • With 11 state contests looming on Super Tuesday next week, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz both attempted to emerge as the anti-Trump alternative in the GOP race. After nine straight debates of being criticized for ignoring the center-stage candidate, Trump was finally at the center of attacks. But with three consecutive victories under his belt, will any of it matter?
  • Today on the Trail Where are 2016 presidential candidates today?
  • Republican candidates are all over the map today, on the last weekend of frantic campaigning before nearly a dozen states vote on Super Tuesday. Three contenders will be in Tennessee: John Kasich (for a town hall in Memphis), Ted Cruz (for a Nashville rally with radio host Sean Hannity), and Ben Carson (for the NRB Convention presidential forum).
  • The other two will hit the same states in opposite order: Marco Rubio will start the day in Texas for a Dallas rally before heading to an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma event. Inversely, Donald Trump will hold an Oklahoma City rally before heading to Fort Worth, Texas.
  • On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders will begin the day in Hibbing, Minnesota for a rally, before joining Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, ahead of tomorrow’s primary in the state. Clinton and Sanders have nearly identical schedules in South Carolina today: each holding a rally at a HBCU in Orangeburg and a “Get Out the Vote” rally in Columbia.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Obama will head to Jacksonville, Florida today to trumpet the stimulus package:
  • At 10:15am, the President will depart the White House for Jacksonville, where he arrives at 12:25pm.
  • At 1:30pm, he will tour Saft American Advanced Batteries Plant in Jacksonville, before delivering remarks there at 1:55pm. President Obama’s speech will highlight the progress of the American economy since signing the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • Obama will then depart Jacksonville, arriving back at the White Houses at 6pm.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light