The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
By Zeke J Miller
December 4, 2015

Republican presidential candidates sought to put their foreign policy chops on display at a Republican Jewish Coalition event Thursday, and the results were mixed. GOP front-runner Donald Trump‘s borscht-belt routine drew laughs, but he earned silence—and later boos—when he made two missteps on policy that left the audience stewing. Ben Carson, who traveled to Jordan last week in hopes of beefing up his knowledge, delivered the equivalent of a book report on the Middle East, with long digressions on history and a persistent mispronunciation of Hamas (as either ‘hummus’ or something rhyming with ”llamas”). The rest of the field was well-received, with Marco Rubio presenting a detailed foreign policy speech on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Jeb Bush attesting to his personal ties to Israel, Chris Christie getting tough on terrorism, and Ted Cruz getting tough on ISIS.

Congress has sent bills repealing Obamacare and funding the nation’s transportation priorities to President Obama’s desk. As you might expect, he’ll sign the latter, not the former. But finally getting a repeal bill to the president is a major messaging success for the GOP, which had struggled to get it done for five years. Now expect lawmakers on Capitol Hill to say they need a GOP president to finish the job.

Trump’s persistent lead in the polls hasn’t spooked GOP mega-donors to open their wallets to take him down—at least not yet. Wary of provoking the ire of The Donald, some just don’t want the attention. Others have yet to see a plan that works. That makes the ongoing effort by the pro-John Kasich super PAC, New Day for America, all the more important, as it is serving as a pilot program for what could be a massive effort should he remain on top in January.

Rubio’s record is under scrutiny. Lindsey Graham tears into Cruz. And Carly Fiorina‘s super PAC goes on air.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Why Billionaires Aren’t Lining Up to Torpedo Trump
GOP donors don’t want to put good money after bad [TIME]

Women in Combat: Why the Pentagon Chief Overruled the Marines
TIME’s Mark Thompson breaks down the historic decision

Why Texas’ Attempt to Block a Syrian Refugee Family Probably Won’t Work
The suit is on shaky legal ground, TIME’s Haley Sweetland Edwards writes

The TSA and the Price of Security
The TSA’s emergency powers are doing more harm than good TIME’s Massimo Calabresi reports

Ryan Throws Down Republican Gauntlet in Outlining House Agenda for ’16
The GOP alternative takes shape [New York Times]

Before Senate Win, Rubio Turned Political ‘Juice’ Into Personal Profits
Influence led to financial gain [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“You don’t know, as you’re doing it, whether it’s stupid or not. You try to get educated as best you can, but he’s done some pretty stupid sh– under the philosophy of not doing stupid sh–.”— Chris Christie to The Atlantic on Obama’s foreign policy

“The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives.”— President Obama to CBS on the threat from ISIS

Bits and Bites

Ben Carson Sticks to the Script at Jewish Republican Event [TIME]

Donald Trump Gets Cold Reception at Republican Jewish Coalition [TIME]

Marco Rubio Hits Donald Trump Over Israel [TIME]

Fiorina Super PAC Launches Ad Campaign [YouTube]

Lindsey Graham Blasts Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Over Immigration Rhetoric [TIME]

After Grumbling, Trump Says He Will Participate in CNN Debate [Washington Post]

Donald Trump Promises to Release Medical Records Within 2 Weeks [TIME]

Sanders Calls for Gun Study Funding After 1996 Vote Against Similar Research [Reuters]

Jon Stewart and Lindsey Graham Improvise on Retirement and 9/11 Responders [New York Times]

Bush ‘Super PAC’ to ‘Tell Jeb’s Story’ in 15-Minute Documentary [New York Times]

CNN/ORC Poll: Trump Alone at the Top Again [CNN]

Chris Christie Sees a Moment–and Tries to Seize It [Wall Street Journal]

Inside the Business Coalition’s Successful Fight to Save the Export-Import Bank [Washington Post]A

 

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