What Congressional Republicans' Obama Budget Snub Really Says

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Since he was elected, Obama has gone head to head with Republicans in Congress who have seemed to reject the president’s ideas with a ferocity that has been unrivaled. But, the backlash—especially on the President’s final budget—is raising eyebrows and questions about Congressional Republicans' motivations.

Editors' Blog

Among the Jedi Knights of Assholery

Choice little nugget from CNN's big piece on New Hampshire. Trump approaches Christie during debate commercial break ...

Though on the sidelines, Trump underscored the power of the moment during the commercial break as Christie walked across the stage to see his wife. Someone grabbed Christie's arm from behind, and the New Jersey governor turned to see none other than the taunter-in-chief Donald Trump.

"Oh my God. That was brutal," Trump muttered to Christie on the debate stage, according to someone familiar with the exchange. "Tremendous."

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Rubio's Whole Career Probably Ended Last Night

In a year when Donald Trump is now the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination, It is likely wise not to rule anything out. But it is also worth noting that in addition to almost certainly ending Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, Chris Christie probably also ended Rubio's political career.

Rubio was elected to the Senate in the Tea Party flood-tide of 2010. So this is the last year of his Senate term. And he has said consistently that he will not run for reelection even if he drops out of the presidential race.

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Strong Horse, Weak Horse

I believe we can say with a reasonably high level of confidence that Marco Rubio's quest for the presidency is over. I don't expect he realizes it yet. I don't expect he'll drop out any time soon. But a broad appraisal of the fundamentals should tell us fairly clearly that the end is only a matter of time. Late on Saturday evening I started to think if I could remember a debate where one candidate had damaged another candidate quite that badly in a single encounter. The only instance that came to mind was Lloyd Bentsen's notorious "you're no Jack Kennedy" assault on Dan Quayle in 1988.

But on reflection I realized that Christie's evisceration of Rubio was worse.

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We Talked to the Robot

It now seems clear that Marco Rubio, just days ago the consensus pick for Republican nominee, came in 5th place tonight in New Hampshire. If you average it with 3rd place in Iowa, it's 4th place combined. But that's really just putting a pretty face on it. Rubio did promise supporters tonight that he'd never screw up like that again. But it now seems clear that the foreshadowing of this debacle, the frustration, the broken dreams, the failed Turing Test could be seen this afternoon when Rubio's New Hampshire campaign chairman, Cliff Hurst, assaulted a protestor dressed as a robot at a Rubio event.

We tracked the robot down and talked to him about the harrowing incident. Here's our report, just filed by Katherine Krueger.

Christie Called Home

We don't want another Ben Carson type confusion. But Chris Christie - coming in 6th behind Marco Rubio's 5th place finish - says he's heading back to New Jersey rather than going on to South Carolina - to 'take a deep breath' and take stock of his presidential bid.

So presumably he's dropping out.

But it is almost like a moment of concluded destiny or something biblical. The job for which he was sent to earth - or at least sent to run in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries - is done: gutting Marco Rubio and in all likelihood ending the parched Floridian's run for President. So Christie is now being called home. Not to heaven. But to New Jersey.

Rubio Promises 'Never Again'

Rubio comes clean: "I can tell you I know many people are disappointed. I'm disappointed with tonight. But I want you to understand something. I want you to understand something. Our disappointment tonight is not on you. It's on me. It's on me. I did not -- I did not do well on Saturday night. So listen to this: that will never happen again."

Classic Trump

Me. Me. Me.

This is the perfect Trump speech. My family is awesome. I'm awesome. My campaign is awesome. It's awesome. Me. Me. Me. And then the key transition. I will make us winners again. Because I know. Because I'm a winner. Don't be a loser. I'm a winner. People won't laugh at us anymore. We'll stop losing.

There's almost a vicarious, soteriological aspect to it. Elect me and you can participate in my awesomeness.

Clinton and Sanders

I cannot imagine that the national Democratic Party will nominate Bernie Sanders. But Hillary Clinton has her work cut out for her. Listening to Hillary, her message seems to be "I'll fix everything. Whatever you come up with, I'll fix it." Working on everything is a decent brief for a President focused on domestic policy. But it's not a terribly coherent message. And Sanders is nothing but coherence.

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Oh Noes!

Rubio now possibly making a move from 5th to 4th place. Only 1.2% separating Rubes (10.4%) from Cruz (11.6%).

Trump Won Everything

One thing to note about this result is that Donald Trump got more than a win here. He got almost the best overall result he could possibly have hoped for. Second place is taken by someone who will have a very, very hard time getting traction in more conservative GOP electorates - Kasich. The race to be the anti-Trump is totally muddled and uncertain. There's a decent chance that Rubio will come in fifth after an embarrassing debate goof. I won't say his campaign is over. But this is a major, major setback that I personally doubt he can recover from. The debate goof was a thing in itself. This shows he paid a big price politically. That makes it much worse in terms of how potential supporters evaluate his strengths as a candidate.

Donald Trump needs a big field to dominate with 30% to 35%. He'll have it for a while to come. Everybody down to maybe even Christie can look at this result and say, 'Why should I get out?' Kasich isn't going to be the nominee. And there's a big anti-Trump constituency out there. So maybe it could be me? Why not? The simple truth is that Trump clobbered everyone pretty much equally. So why should anyone drop out?

Could Rubio Come in 6th?

8:28 PM: Admittedly, the title of this post is aspirational. But Christie is now within two percentage points of Marco Rubio. If Christie could move ahead, that would push Rubio into 6th place.

8:37 PM: It would be a key learning experience for American elites, center-right and center-left to watch the progress of a Bloomberg presidential campaign. CNNers talking about how amazing it would be now.

8:40 PM: Marco Rubio holding on in 5th place.

Now the Fun Starts

Basically all the networks just called the races for Trump and Sanders.

Now, though, we see the critical order of the also-rans on the Republican side.

8:09 PM: Cruz and Rubio currently battling for 4th and 5th place.

8:13 PM: Rubio now in 5th place at 10% - just behind Cruz and just ahead of Chris Christie.

8:19 PM: It seems likely that Ohio Gov John Kasich will come in second place tonight. It's enough to make you wonder, could Republicans wake up to the fact that Kasich is a fairly presentable guy from a critical swing state who has a decent amount of cross party appeal? I doubt it because this is basically an anger election on the GOP side. And that is not John Kasich.

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