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3:30 PM ET, February 19, 2016


 Top Items: 
Mark Murray / NBC News:
Donald Trump's Lead Slashed in South Carolina: Poll  —  Donald Trump is now leading Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary by 5 points — down from his 16-point lead in the state a month ago, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.
Eli Stokols / Politico:
Bush machine running on fumes  —  SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — Some of Jeb Bush's most steadfast allies think Saturday might be the end.  —  Donors, who poured millions into his campaign and super PAC, have stopped giving — one refusing a direct request to raise $1 million this week.
Molly Ball / The Atlantic:
The Great Republican Stalemate  —  SPARTANBURG, S.C.—You could see why Ted Cruz might be getting a little frustrated.  So many of the voters that rightfully belonged to him were, lately, stubbornly choosing to back other candidates instead.  —  Donald Trump.  Marco Rubio.  Even—would you believe it?
Niall Stanage / The Hill:
Trump on brink of key win  —  COLUMBIA, S.C. — The author of “The Art of the Deal” is on the brink of closing his biggest one yet.  —  Victory for Donald Trump in the GOP primary here on Saturday would copper-fasten his status as the dominant front-runner, catapult him into a significant delegate lead …
Ted Cruz / Yahoo Politics:
At Cruz rally in S.C., ‘Duck Dynasty’ star condemns ‘perversion’  —  MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held a presidential campaign event here on Friday that was equal parts church sermon and political rally.  The event included calls to prayer, fiery declarations about the country's morals …
Discussion: CNN and Right Wing Watch
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:   The Roots of Donald Trump's Candidacy Lie in a South Carolina Cemetery
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
In 2002, Donald Trump Said He Supported Invading Iraq  —  “Are you for invading Iraq?”  Howard Stern asked him, and Trump answered, “Yeah, I guess so.”  —  —  For months, Donald Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began — as an example of his great judgment on foreign policy issues.
Streiff / RedState:
Donald Trump Says He Supports the ObamaCare Mandate  —  Anderson Cooper interviews Donald Trump on a CNN candidate town hall.  —  Last night Donald Trump was on CNN with Anderson Cooper.  The subject of health care came up.  Naturally it resulted in a dumpster fire of nitwit-ish blather …
Sundance / The Last Refuge:   CNN Busted Attempting “Pre-Scripted Ambush” of Donald Trump During Live Town Hall Event...
Connor Sheets /
Harper Lee dead at age of 89: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author passes away  —  Nelle Harper Lee, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 for her book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has died at the age of 89, multiple sources in her hometown of Monroeville, including the mayor's office, confirmed Friday morning.
Michael Grunwald / Politico:
Biden hints at centrist Supreme Court pick  —  Echoing some recent Republican arguments about judicial nominations, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday suggested that President Barack Obama will not nominate a staunch liberal to replace Justice Antonin Scalia at a time when the ideological balance of the Supreme Court is up in the air.
Carol E. Lee / Wall Street Journal:
Joe Biden Says Clinton, Sanders Campaigns Too Gloomy for His Taste
CBS News:
Hillary Clinton: “I've always tried” to tell the truth  —  LAS VEGAS — For Hillary Clinton, these are high roller stakes in Nevada after losing New Hampshire in a landslide and essentially tying in Iowa.  —  She has decided to stay in Nevada through the caucus on Saturday.
Associated Press:   AP-GfK Poll: Voters increasingly see Sanders as electable
Daily Mail:
Hillary Clinton gets BOOED at MSNBC town hall when she says Bernie Sanders 'wasn't really a …
Discussion: TPNN and ABC News
Caitlin Cruz / Talking Points Memo:
Sanders: Clinton's Embrace Of Obama Is A Ploy For Black Votes  —  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Thursday accused rival Hillary Clinton of embracing President Obama to curry favor with black voters.  —  “You know Hillary Clinton now is trying to embrace the President as closely — as she possibly can.
Discussion: The Week
Lachlan Markay / Washington Free Beacon:
Katy Perry Cashes in on Clinton Support
Discussion: The Week
Tambay A. Obenson / Shadow and Act:   BET Presents ‘Talking Black’ - A Special with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
Silvio Canto, Jr / American Thinker:
‘El Papa’ embraces Raul Castro but calls Donald Trump anti-Christian!  —  Last Sunday, Pope Francis was in Mexico visiting sick children in hospitals.  It was amazing to watch him holding the little kids and praying with their mothers.  As a Catholic, I was so proud of “El Papa.”
Jesse Byrnes / The Hill:
Trump: Pope Francis ‘a terrific person’
Discussion: Reuters and Hot Air
Katherine Krueger / Talking Points Memo:
Pope's Spox: ‘Not Christian’ Remark Was Not ‘Personal Attack’ On Trump
Discussion: Mediaite and Mashable
Tierney Sneed / Talking Points Memo:
GOP Sen. Murkowski Backtracks On Giving Obama's SCOTUS Nom A Hearing  —  Moderate GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK), one of the few Republicans initially willing to break ranks on whether President Obama's nominee to succeed Antonin Scalia should be considered, reversed course Thursday evening.
Discussion: Daily Kos and Booman Tribune
Billy Penn:
Caitlyn Jenner draws laughs, tears up during Penn speech: 'I'm not a role model' … - BILLY PENN ORIGINALS  — How Jim Kenney wants to make Philly roads safer: Vision Zero and ‘Complete Streets’  — Did the state Supreme Court mortally wound Philly's controversial School Reform Commission?
Nico Hines / The Daily Beast:
Bernie Sanders's Brother: He Backs ‘Class Warfare,’ Bill Clinton Was Worse Than Bush  —  Larry Sanders says Bernie is a ‘genuine socialist’ trying to save the Democratic Party from ‘dreadful’ Bill Clinton, who is either a ‘terrible rapist or a nice rapist’ to the media.
Discussion: Politico
Paul Campos / Salon:
Scalia was an intellectual phony: Can we please stop calling him a brilliant jurist?  —  No one wants to disrespect the dead.  But we disrespect the truth to hail his legal mind and phony, grand principles  —  George Orwell once noted that when an English politician dies …
McKay Coppins / BuzzFeed:
Rubio Bails Last Minute On Conservative Gathering Packed With Cruz Supporters  —  GREENVILLE, S.C. — Forty-five minutes after Marco Rubio was scheduled to take the stage at a conservative confab here Thursday night, organizers got word from the candidate's aides that he was canceling his appearance …
New York Times:
U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS Camp in Libya Kill More Than 40  —  WASHINGTON — American warplanes struck an Islamic State camp in Libya early Friday, targeting a senior Tunisian operative linked to two major terrorist attacks in Tunisia last year.  The operative, Noureddine Chouchane …
Rafael Romo / CNN:
At least 100 bodies found in sewer system under Colombian prison  —  (CNN)Colombian authorities are investigating the disappearance and dismemberment of at least 100 people whose bodies were allegedly thrown into a sewer system underneath a notorious prison in Bogota.
Discussion: AOL
Stephen Kinzer /
The media is misleading the public on Syria  —  COVERAGE OF the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press.  Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.  —  For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo.
Dara Lind / Vox:
Why aren't young Latinos ready for Hillary?  Because they're still wounded by Obama.  —  If you want to know why Saturday's Nevada caucus has suddenly, in its final weeks, turned from a presumed landslide for Hillary Clinton into a total toss-up, ask Emily Sandoval and Maggie Salas-Crespo.
Discussion: Mother Jones
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 More Items: 
Donald Trump / Yahoo Politics:
Trump is accused of financially threatening woman during secret deposition
Discussion: Washington … and Political Wire
Neera Tanden / Politico:
The Hillary Clinton I Know Will Do Wonders for Women
Naheed Rajwani / Crime Blog:
Man accused of waterboarding boy, binding genitals turns self in, Kaufman County officials say
Daily Mail:
Flying cars are just TWO years away: Terrafugia claims its TF-X will be ready to take to the skies by 2018
Sky News:
Richard Branson is preparing to relaunch his Virgin Galactic project to send passengers into space.
Discussion: Infowars
Tim Flach / The State:
Record turnout expected in Saturday's GOP primary
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
 Earlier Items: 
Allum Bokhari / Breitbart:
Rutgers Students Hold Group Therapy Session After Milo Yiannopoulos Visit
Discussion: Daily Wire and Campus Reform
Jeffrey H. Anderson / Weekly Standard:
Trump: I ‘Like’ Obamacare's Individual Mandate
Discussion: The Right Scoop and Daily Wire
Michael Riley / Bloomberg Business:
Secret Memo Details U.S.'s Broader Strategy to Crack Phones
USA Today:
Trump speaks for those Bush betrayed: Column
Julia Hahn / Breitbart:
EXCLUSIVE- Pat Buchanan: Donald Trump's Rise Is Rejection of a Quarter Century of Bush Republicanism