David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

A significant change in the complexion of the Iowa GOP caucus -- and the broader presidential race -- with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) now holding a commanding lead over Donald Trump, according to a new poll released Saturday evening by the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics.

Cruz is at 31 percent, Trump at 21 percent, and Carson has fallen all the way back to 13 percent .

This is the second straight poll that gives Cruz a lead in Iowa. A Monmouth poll last week showed him ahead of Trump 24-19, the first time Cruz had led in any poll of the Iowa GOP caucus. Within hours of the Monmouth poll coming out, Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

What new Trump primal scream might we hear this time?

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This may be the quote of the year in politics. First, here's the quick backstory.

Kansas state Rep. Steve Brunk (R) is entertaining a job offer from the policy arm of Focus on the Family. (They say they've already hired him, but he says he won't make a decision until January, which seems fishy in its own right.) But Brunk has no plans to step down from his legislative seat when (ahem ... if) he takes the new job with the anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage outfit. In fact he says why wouldn't you want to hire the guy who chairs the committee where the group's most pressing legislative items are decided?

Via the very capable Bryan Lowry at the Wichita Eagle, here's Brunk's epic quote:

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This nugget from Politico about the internal Senate GOP wrangling as they gear up for the big messaging vote to whack Obamacare Medicaid expansion, defund Obamacare, and howl at the moon is the most revealing thing I've seen about how craven this whole exercise is.

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Ben Railton has an interesting piece at TPMCafe about how the United States has since the earliest days of the Republic carefully avoided casting its conflicts in Muslim regions as a "War on Islam." Particularly interesting is this language from the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Read Ben here.

I had thought the Syrian passport found at the scene of one of the Paris attacks -- and now generally believed to be a fake -- was the spark that lit the anti-Syrian-refugee fire. But upon closer look, the fire had been smoldering in right-wing circles well before the Paris attacks. Tierney Sneed has a tick tock on how the homegrown attacks in Paris turned into an xenophobic inferno in the United States, where interning of Syrian refugees is now being publicly proposed with a straight face.