TPM News

Donald Trump on Wednesday morning brushed off questions about a Monmouth University poll released this week that showed Trump and Ben Carson tying for the lead among likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers.

During an interview in ABC's "Good Morning America," host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump about the poll and "the threat posed by Ben Carson in Iowa."

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Donald Trump on Tuesday took aim at Club For Growth, launching a late-night Twitter feud between the Republican presidential candidate and the conservative group.

Trump began the fight out of the blue by noting that he once turned down a Club for Growth request for a donation.

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Donald Trump has spent the summer slandering Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, calling for mass expulsion of undocumented immigrants (including U.S. citizen children), and proposing to disembowel the 14th Amendment. Over the weekend he leveled an attack on DREAMers—undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children—and on Monday he released a venomous Willie Horton-style race-baiting video attacking Jeb Bush for saying that undocumented immigration can be “an act of love” by using mugshots of undocumented immigrants linked to high-profile murders.

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It's been nearly a month since longtime Republican operative Roger Stone resigned from Donald Trump's presidential campaign (or was fired, to hear Trump tell it.) But the two old friends haven't stopped talking politics.

"We’re on cordial terms. We talk. I have not signed on with any super PAC so I have no prohibition," Stone told TPM in a phone interview. "Trump has been my friend for 35 years. He’s still my friend."

Stone may be on the outside of the real estate mogul's campaign now, but he's still one of its most visible and vocal surrogates. In recent weeks, cable news bookers and newspaper reporters (as well as TPM) have turned to Stone to unpack the allure of Trump's candidacy, since the former Nixon operative spent so much time inside TrumpWorld and is now free of the constraints of the campaign.

Well, mostly free. Stone told TPM that he signed a confidentiality agreement preventing him from going into detail about the campaign's internal deliberations.

TPM caught up with Stone, who said he was running out for a coffee after a night without any sleep, Tuesday morning.

"I have a book coming out on the Clintons and the manuscript had to be in at 9 o' clock this morning so I was up all night," he said. "But it’s in."

Below is a transcript of the wide-ranging conversation, which touches on everything from the rising tide of white supremacist support for Trump to Stone's own U.S. Senate aspirations, that has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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If passed, the Iran Deal will be the biggest diplomatic achievement of the Obama presidency. Painstakingly negotiated over the course of two years between the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany, the U.S., and Iran, the deal prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from financial sanctions that have crippled its economy.

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This week, an elected county clerk in Kentucky named Kim Davis is owning the news cycle with a ridiculous George Wallace act, where she refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Even though the Supreme Court has ordered Davis to grow up and do her job, she’s continuing to refuse, putting herself in real danger of being held in contempt and possibly jailed.

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As the Invisible Primary for 2016 reaches its zenith in the months before formal voting begins, there is one Republican candidate doing very well despite a lack of media attention, a record in public office, an elaborate campaign apparatus or even a clearly articulated platform. In the latest survey of Iowa for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics by highly-regarded pollster Ann Selzer, Ben Carson is running second behind Donald Trump at 18 percent, triple the vote share of supposed Establishment favorite Jeb Bush, and more than twice the vote share of early Iowa frontrunner Scott Walker.

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While Lower 48 politicians might have partisan heartburn over President Barack Obama’s decision to change the name of Mount McKinley to its Koyukon Athabascan name, Denali, you’d be hard pressed to find many Alaskans, conservative or otherwise, with objections.

“We’ve been calling it Denali since I moved up here,” Dave Stieren, a conservative talk radio host for KFQD-AM in Anchorage told me. “To me it’s like happy holidays/merry Christmas. Anybody who cares about it too much is not someone I’d like to hang out with.”

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Facing criticisms from various quarters that the way CNN had structured its Sept. 16 debate would leave out Carly Fiorina despite her bump in the polls after August's "kiddie table" debate, CNN announced a rule change Tuesday that will open the door for candidates who have surged in more recent polls to participate in the main debate.

Under the previous criteria, the candidates that placed in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16 and September 10 would be invited to the main debate, which is being held in Simi Valley California.

The rule change announced Tuesday stipulates that if a candidate does not make that top 10 cut off, but makes the top 10 based on polls between August 7 and September 10, he or she "will be added to the debate stage and will appear in 'Segment B' of the debate." Segment B is the main debate of the top-tier candidates.

As things stand now, Fiorina would not qualify for the main debate under the old criteria, but would qualify under the new criteria, CNN said in its report on the change. The rule change means that more than 10 candidates could end up participating in the main debate.

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