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Welcome to Trail Guide, your host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Tuesday, Dec. 29, and here's what we're talking about:
- George Pataki exits the Republican presidential race
- Marco Rubio is not leading in any polls, but he's under attack
- Donald Trump attacks New Hampshire Union Leader's publisher, says he's a "lap dog" for Chris Christie
- Bill Clinton is set to campaign for his wife in New Hampshire next week -- his first time on the trail this election cycle
- Need some selfie help ? Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has you covered
George Pataki exits Republican presidential primary
Former New York Gov. George E. Pataki, a long shot in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, ended his candidacy on Tuesday, according to a supporter.
Bruce Breton, former chairman of the Wyndam, N.H., Republican Party and a Pataki backer, confirmed Pataki’s exit from the race.
“He’s out,” said Breton. “I talked to him personally this afternoon and he is going to leave the race.”
Pataki planned an unspecified announcement Tuesday night during an episode of "Chicago Med" on NBC. He was given airtime during the show on network affiliates in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina when he sought equal time under federal election law after Republican front-runner Donald Trump hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live."
Pataki, who served three terms as governor of New York from 1995 until 2006, was widely considered an unviable candidate in the crowded Republican presidential field, and his exit comes with just over a month until caucusgoers in Iowa kick off voting in the 2016 election. He has appeared only in undercard debates and his fundraising totals have been sparse since he entered the race last spring.
Pataki repeatedly explored the possibility of running for president over the years but opted against a run until this year.
From the start, his candidacy faced an uphill climb. The last time he held public office was nearly a decade ago. Moreover, he supports abortion rights in a Republican Party where being antiabortion is a litmus test for many voters.
His exit was first reported by the Boston Globe.
Sen. Marco Rubio fielding fire from all over as 2016 approaches
Sen. Marco Rubio is not leading in the early-nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, yet he’s become the target of attacks by rivals.
With Jeb Bush and Chris Christie assailing his missed votes in Washington, and Ted Cruz hammering his past support of comprehensive immigration reform, Rubio, the Florida senator, has been on defense – a lot.
On Tuesday, his campaign raced to quell attention on a new ad airing in Iowa from a super PAC supporting Bush. The 30-second spot attacks Rubio for missing briefings in Washington following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and says he places politics – he attended fundraisers in California and Louisiana during those meetings – over national security. Christie, who himself has taken flak for missing time away from his job as New Jersey governor to campaign for president, even hit Rubio for a missed vote on Congress’ big end-of-the-year spending bill.
"Dude, show up to work and vote no,” Christie said at a town hall in New Hampshire on Tuesday. “Just show up to work and vote no. And like if you don't want to, then quit."
Bush, Christie and Rubio are competing to win New Hampshire. Caucus-goers in Iowa are set to kick off the 2016 election on Feb. 1, and Rubio is in third place there, behind Cruz and billionaire businessman Donald Trump, based on an average of several surveys. For Bush and Christie, sullying Rubio’s Iowa showing could help them in the Granite State, which will hold its primary eight days later.
Rubio’s time away from the Senate has been used against him for much of the fall. He has missed the most time from his day job out of the three senators running for the GOP presidential nomination, according to an analysis by C-Span.
His campaign fired back against the Bush attack ad, calling it baseless and enlisting several fellow lawmakers to defend Rubio. Rubio’s campaign has also said previously that though he missed the briefing after the Paris attacks, he had attended a classified session for senators on the intelligence committee the night before.
“I’m proud to support Marco, who understands more than any other candidate the threats facing our country, knows how we can defeat ISIS, and is ready to be commander-in-chief,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) said in a statement released by Rubio’s campaign.
“Jeb Bush is better than the Los Angeles-based super PAC trying to deceive voters,” Stewart added, a dig at the pro-Bush super PAC run by L.A.-based operative Mike Murphy.
Rubio is no stranger to California, either. Out of 116 trips this election cycle, he’s traveled to the Golden State nine times, which outpaces Bush’s trips to the state, according to a National Journal tracker of 2016 candidates’ travel.
Donald Trump mentions Monica Lewinsky in jab at Bill Clinton
They were pals who would often golf together as their daughters became close friends over the years.
But that’s all been set aside as Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, elevates his attacks toward former President Bill Clinton.
The assault on Clinton comes just days before he’s set to campaign – for the first time this election – on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, the strong front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Trump has focused on the former president’s past sexual trangressions in several recent interviews, naming Clinton's former paramours and pledging to bring them up on the campaign trail.
“You look at whether it's Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them," Trump said on Tuesday in an interview on NBC's "Today" show. "That certainly will be fair game. Certainly if they play the woman's card with respect to me, that will be fair game."
Trump’s assessment arrives on the heels of Hillary Clinton castigating him as having a “penchant for sexism,” after Trump referred to her as getting “schlonged” in the 2008 Democratic primary by then-Sen. Barack Obama. Trump said Hillary Clinton denounced him only to appeal to female voters.
Trump, who has alienated Mexican immigrants, women and Muslims with caustic statements and marginalizing policy proposals, defended going after Bill Clinton while speaking on Fox News over the weekend.
“The ‘penchant for sexism’ was exactly her words, and I just turned them,” he said. “I thought it was fine.”
On Tuesday, he tweeted that Bill Clinton was "terrible" for his wife during her 2008 campaign, when he made several off-the-cuff comments that forced Hillary Clinton’s campaign into damage control. The former president upset some African Americans when he referred to Obama’s campaign as a “fairy tale” and dismissed some of his primary wins – like in South Carolina – only because of large black turnout in the state.
Trump focused on the past in a series of tweets on Tuesday, noting Bill Clinton was called a “racist” at the time.
Get some selfie tips from Jeb Bush
It’s the dawning of the selfie for Republican candidate Jeb Bush. The former Florida governor embraced the trend months ago, but offered some insight and advice on the practice, joking that the right to take one is now the “11th amendment of the Bill of Rights.”
"It wasn't that long ago that people wanted signatures on things, and now forget that — 'I want my damn selfie. I'm not leaving until I get it,'” he said in Florida on Monday, describing the behavior of voters on the campaign trail.
A long arm helps, but younger people really know how to master the selfie, he explained to the crowd at the Forum Club in West Palm Beach. He also suggested a diagonal angle and a high perspective to look skinnier.
He said he takes the photos with “great joy in his heart.”
Union Leader publisher is Christie's 'lap dog,' Trump says
Donald Trump continued his assault on the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper Monday — this time with an extra punch for GOP rival and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Trump criticized Christie’s presence in New Hampshire and said he should focus on running his own state.
“We love New Hampshire, but he shouldn’t be up here all the time,” Trump told a crowd in Nashua, N.H.
Trump, the businessman who’s leading the Republican presidential field, started attacking the Union Leader’s credibility and publisher Joseph McQuaid after its endorsement last month of Christie and a front-page editorial Monday that called Trump’s lead an “insult to the intelligence of Republican voters.”
In response, Trump labeled the Union Leader a “pile of garbage.” He also said McQuaid endorsed the governor only because he’s “Christie’s lap dog.”
"You're happy he's up [in New Hampshire] but the people of New Jersey want him thrown out of office since he's up here all the time,” Trump said. “We love New Hampshire but he shouldn't be up here all the time, he's supposed to be running a state."
Trump leveraged an editorial in a New Jersey newspaper that criticized the Union Leader’s endorsement and high taxes during Christie’s time as governor to support his claim that his rival doesn’t measure up as a presidential candidate.
Trump also questioned Christie’s claim that he did not know about the plan to engineer traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., in September 2013 by closing lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. The ensuing scandal, which became known as Bridgegate, engulfed Christie’s office and prosecutors charged three Christie staffers with conspiring to commit fraud.
"Just put yourself in a common sense mode — you are with your Cabinet, you're with them all the time, they're closing the biggest bridge in the United States, doing that and not telling the governor,” Trump said of Christie’s claims. “Does anybody believe that, honestly?"
Honest Tea phases out Trump quotes
Honest Tea has decided that Donald Trump’s words don’t fit with its brand anymore.
A customer tweeted a picture of a Trump quote on an Honest Tea bottle on Monday, and the company responded that it will start removing all quotes attributed to Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner whose racially fraught declarations have repeatedly caused firestorms on the campaign trail.
“If you’re going to think anyway, you might as well think big,” the Trump quote read. Honest Tea prints inspirational quotes under the caps of its beverage bottles.
The customer, Paul Shapiro, said he didn’t visualize tea drinkers as Trump’s target audience. The quote surprised him.
A co-founder of Honest Tea, Seth Goldman, explained Monday that the beverage company typically switches out quotes every 12-18 months anyway. The next round will include quotes from Anne Frank, Nelson Mandela and William Ruckelshaus, the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“There is nothing objectionable to the thinking in Mr. Trump’s quote,” Goldman wrote. “Indeed, it’s certainly the mindset that we’ve brought to our business and our impact.”
“Honest Tea is a tea for all parties — we welcome anyone who wants to drink our organic iced teas ... regardless of their party affiliation.”