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What the 2016 GOP field is saying about Donald Trump

Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily tour along the road to the White House. Here's what we're watching Sunday, July 26: 

  • Donald  Trump's running strong in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to new NBC/Marist polls released Sunday
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton  continues her weekend trek through Iowa. On Saturday, Clinton addressed the controversy surrounding her private email address as secretary of State, saying she's "confident" she never sent or received information that was classified at the time
  • Ohio Gov. John  Kasich , who  announced  his candidacy for president last week, appears on NBC's "Meet the Press" where he'll discuss the Iran nuclear deal and threats posed by Islamic State extremists 
  • Mike Huckabee on Obama's Iran deal : He's marching Israelis 'to the door of the oven'

Donald Trump's hat has two parody Twitter accounts -- and trademark protection

 (AP)

(AP)

Donald Trump's “Make America Great Again” hat, a garish piece of headgear, has social media flipping its collective lid after it debuted at a Laredo, Texas, campaign stop last week.

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Cruz calls McConnell a liar again, to the frustration of Senate colleagues

 (AP)

(AP)

Forget the filibuster. Ted Cruz showed during Sunday's rare Senate session that a few choice words -- in this case, calling his party leader a liar -- can be a potent tool in raising his campaign profile for president.

In a floor speech that lasted just seven minutes, the Republican senator from Texas doubled down on his earlier criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to allow the Sunday vote to resurrect the Export-Import Bank, portraying it as a betrayal of the leader's word not to do so.

“Speaking the truth,” is what Cruz said he was doing, picking up where he had left off Friday, when he said McConnell told “a simple lie” by insisting there was no backroom deal for the bank that is opposed by the powerful Koch brothers but supported by a bipartisan coalition of business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“My saying so may be uncomfortable,” Cruz said, “but it is a simple fact.”

The Senate is home to four GOP presidential hopefuls (and one independent, who caucuses with Democrats). From time to time some of them have used the chamber as a venue to turn attention their way.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another GOP candidate, seized the floor for 10 1/2 hours this spring during a filibuster-like speech against the National Security Agency's domestic spying program. It was a fundraising boon to Paul's campaign.

Elder party statesmen have not been amused.

On Sunday, 81-year-old Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the GOP's most senior senator, opened the chamber's session with a reminder to colleagues of the ground rules.

“Squabbling and acrimony may be tolerated on the campaign trail,” said Hatch, who urged senators colleagues toward comity and decorum, and to keep their egos in check.

“We are not here on some frolic or to pursue personal ambitions,” said Hatch, who has served four decades in the Senate. “We are here because the people of the United States have entrusted us with the solemn responsibility to act on their behalf.”

Cruz waited patiently for his rebuttal, launching a review and defense of his earlier criticism speech -- and a reiteration that the GOP majority was acting no different than Democrats.

“It is entirely consistent with decorum, and with the nature of this body traditionally as the world's greatest deliberative body, to speak the truth,” Cruz said.

But his was not the last word. The Senate voted to advance the Export-Import bank and deny the presidential hopeful a vote on his amendment.

Cruz was left with a moment in the political spotlight, and a policy defeat.

Mike Huckabee on Obama's Iran deal: He's marching Israelis 'to the door of the oven'

 (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came under fire Sunday after accusing President Obama of marching Israelis "to the door of the oven" by agreeing to an Iran nuclear deal that the former Fox News host says is too weak.

"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven," Huckabee told the conservative outlet Breitbart News. "This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It's got to be stopped.”

Huckabee, who is making his second White House run after a failed 2008 bid, was castigated by Democrats.

"Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable," said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. "Mike Huckabee must apologize to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement.”

The Iran deal, announced this month, aims to curb the country's nuclear program for 10 to 15 years by cutting its ability to enrich uranium and imposing other restrictions designed to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear bomb. As part of the agreement, Iran would get relief from economic sanctions that have crippled its economy. Israel has widely criticized the deal.

A self-proclaimed culture warrior, Huckabee recently suggested the transgender community was a threat to society.

On Sunday, he remained steadfast in his comments about Obama's foreign policy, retweeting reports of his statement. A request for additional comment from Huckabee's campaign was not immediately returned.

Talk of Donald Trump's presidential bid dominates Sunday shows

Several 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls hit the Sunday talk shows to discuss everything from the Iran nuclear deal to the Black Lives Matter movement. But a constant topic continued to dominate on Sunday: Donald Trump.

The real-estate mogul made a strong showing in recent polls. Here's what some of the 2016 field had to say -- or not say -- about Trump:

Well, I think if you give any candidate about a billion dollars' worth of free advertising, that might help them get their message out.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on CBS' "Face the Nation"
I don't have a read on it. I'm not talking about him ... so my poll numbers are not great, OK? So I've got to talk about me. Why am I weighing in on that? Let's let everybody else weigh in.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on NBC's "Meet the Press"
I think he's appealing to the dark side of American politics.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on ABC's "This Week"

Analysis: In L.A. visit, Joe Biden offers from-the-heart counterpoint to GOP spectacle

 (AP)

(AP)

As the political world focused on Donald Trump's climb to the top of the Republican presidential field, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Los Angeles last week to deliver a speech about boosting the nation's minimum wage.

In those remarks, Biden, whose son Beau died in May from brain cancer, talked about parenting.

"The single most devastating thing that can happen to a parent is having a child look at you, having a problem or a need, and you know you can't meet that need," Biden said. "There's nothing more devastating. Whether it relates to health or financial well-being or education...."

The Times' Cathleen Decker reports on the authenticity that's always been Biden's forte.

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Trump, Bush atop CNN/ORC poll of Republicans

A CNN/ORC poll released Sunday showed Donald Trump at the top of the crowded 2016 GOP presidential candidate field.

Here is a breakdown:

Donald Trump: 18%

Jeb Bush: 15%

Scott Walker: 10%

A separate NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday showed Trump polling strong in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

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New poll shows Donald Trump running strong in Iowa, New Hampshire

 (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Donald Trump, the provocative reality television star who for much of the last month has upended the 2016 Republican primary, is still doing well in polls in a pair of early nominating states despite recent rhetoric that many party leaders have denounced.

In New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary, Trump leads the field with 21% support from potential GOP primary voters, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday. His closest competitor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is at 14%, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker receiving 12% support and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 7%.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, where the state's caucuses begin the nominating process, Trump is tied with Walker. Both get 19% support from potential GOP caucus-goers. Bush is at 12%, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 8% and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 7%.

In Iowa on Saturday, Trump jabbed Walker for Wisconsin's recent budget troubles. His criticism came after news broke that a top fundraiser for the governor had referred to Trump as “Dumb Dumb” in an email to supporters.

Walker, the son of a pastor, has strong appeal to evangelical voters who traditionally turn out in large numbers in the state's Republican caucuses.

The NBC/Marist poll was taken from July 14-21 and came after Trump's controversial comments July 18 about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in which he said McCain was not a war hero even though the senator had been held captive in North Vietnam for 5-1/2 years.

Other Republican hopefuls sharply attacked Trump after the comments about McCain. But that has not hurt Trump's standing among Iowa Republicans, the poll indicated. Trump gained two percentage points after the statements, the poll found.

In New Hampshire, by contrast, Trump lost 12 percentage points of his support from Republican voters after the comments, according to the poll.

A separate poll released by YouGov on Thursday showed Trump continuing to do well nationally in the aftermath of his McCain criticism, with 28% of registered voters who identify as Republican listing him as their preferred nominee.

However, those same Republican voters also continued to say by a large margin that they expected Bush to actually win the nomination, a question that often has more value as a forecasting tool.

From appearances along the U.S.-Mexico border to town halls in New Hampshire, Trump has amassed attention from throngs of media and invigorated supporters whom he calls a “silent majority” those upset with, among other things, illegal immigration and career politicians.

As it stands, Trump will be invited to the Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland hosted by Fox News because he's in the top 10 based on national polls of the 16 Republicans seeking the party's presidential nomination.

I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to reporters in Iowa on Saturday about the controversy surrounding her private email server while secretary of State

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