Editors' Blog

Because the Presidency is Pretty Straightforward

I mentioned this McKay Coppins Buzzfeed piece in my previous post. But it's worth revisiting, even as I add the caveat that no single reported piece can be treated as definitive. Having said that, it is hard to imagine anything beside child molester or pathological liar that could be a more devastating critique of a presidential contender, especially one that is widely held among those close to Marco Rubio.

The key line is: "Though generally seen as cool-headed and quick on his feet, Rubio is known to friends, allies, and advisers for a kind of incurable anxiousness — and an occasional propensity to panic in moments of crisis, both real and imagined."

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Worst Kept Secret

The makings of a president. From Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins ...

But to those who have known him longest, Rubio’s flustered performance Saturday night fit perfectly with an all-too-familiar strain of his personality, one that his handlers and image-makers have labored for years to keep out of public view. Though generally seen as cool-headed and quick on his feet, Rubio is known to friends, allies, and advisers for a kind of incurable anxiousness — and an occasional propensity to panic in moments of crisis, both real and imagined.

It's hard to think of a better quality for a president than to lose your cool and panic at clutch moments.

The Fine Print

You'll hear a lot today about how since 1322 or whenever it is, only three men have lost the New Hampshire primary and gone on to be president. But definitely pay attention to who the three are: Clinton, Bush and Obama. In other words, the last three presidents, going back 24 years. So yeah, the New Hampshire primary ain't what it used to be.

No Rubespocalypse?

We now have a number of polls that give us a some look into the fall-out from Saturday night's debate. The picture is mixed. We have two tracking polls which show a slight downtick for Rubio (ARG and UMass Lowell) and one (CNN/WBUR) which shows a slight uptick. Notably the last is the only one that includes some interviews from today.

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Bubble Boy

I will say that I have serious doubts that Bloomberg for President will survive first contact with the Hudson River. I say this as someone who thinks Bloomberg did or continued a lot of good things in New York City. But I strongly suspect that a Bloomberg for President insurgency would create a movement on the scale of Lieberman for President.

After all, he wants your gun, your soda and your union card. Should go great.

Bill, Bill, Bill

As someone who's just loved Bill Clinton since I was right out of college, I feel like this is about to get painful. He's now going after Bernie Sanders. And he's (rightly) saying he needs to be careful about what he says as the election gets "hotter." Yes, you do, Bill. You really do.

The attacks I heard yesterday don't seem terribly out of line. I think there's a good argument that Sanders somewhat one-dimensional diagnosis of the country's ills doesn't capture the fullness of the challenges we face as a country. But now we're also seeing the inevitable rumor mill about a post New Hampshire Clinton campaign shake up. This is starting to feel a lot like how 2008 did when Barack Obama started to look like he was an existential threat to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

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Flying Blind

We will of course know soon enough. But I just wanted to flag that we have almost no New Hampshire poll data since the Rubio debacle at the Saturday night debate. With the exception of the two tracking polls conducted by UMass Lowell and ARG, all the late polls (Monmouth, CNN/UNH/WMUR, Franklin Pierce) finished collecting their sample sometime on Saturday. So they may have made a few calls after or during the debate. But nothing after the Rubot press frenzy began. And probably few if any after it even happened.

Those two tracking polls both show Rubio tracking down one point between yesterday and today. That's hard to read too much into. But that can mean Sundays numbers came in poorly but we offset by Saturday and Fridays numbers.

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Tough Guy

When it comes to playing 'dominance politics', it is all about showing, not saying. And boy did Chris Christie ever show it with his surgical disembowelment of Marco Rubio on Saturday night. (He removed so many of Rubio's organs that it almost turns into an issue of co-pays and insurance coverage.) But I wanted to flag the Trumpesque, tough guy language he used the next day on CNN's Sunday show ... (emphasis added)

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