President Barack Obama trolled his would-be Republican successors Monday at a fundraiser in New York City, lampooning their criticism of the CNBC debate moderators while promising to stand up to Russia and China. Obama also mocked them for blaming him for all the nation’s ills. “They occupy a different reality it seems. According to them, everything was going really great in 2008 … This apparently was the golden age, that I messed up,” he quipped, referring to the year in which the Great Recession began. “And Obamacare, and immigrants, and taxes and deficits all just messed everything up. And they’re really so glum. They really are so frustrated.” Obama’s criticism may be humorous, but reflects the challenge facing him in preserving his legacy during a contentious election year, when even Hillary Clinton has argued that the nation’s economic recovery hasn’t been strong enough.
Jeb Bush is trying to fix his campaign as he travels the early states this week on his “Jeb Can Fix It” tour. Bush showed new fire Monday kicking off his fifth “reset” of the campaign, joking about his ugly tie and bookish demeanor. Letting Jeb! be Jeb! is now the only option left for his campaign as it doubles-down on the bet that voters will reject outsiders and fresh faces to embrace a steady hand.
Who would have thought that fourteen GOP presidential candidates with vastly different agendas couldn’t reach consensus on reforming the party’s debate rules? Sunday’s debate meeting yielded a draft letter to the networks that was swiftly rejected by multiple campaigns, including Donald Trump‘s, which said the “Art of the Deal” author would retain his right to negotiate directly with the hosting television networks. The 72-hour drama was a long-shot from the start, and reflected personality conflicts with the Republican National Committee than any hope of substantive change.
Clinton is pulling away from Bernie Sanders with Joe Biden out of the race and on the heels of a successful debate performance and congressional testimony on Benghazi. Trump’s forthcoming appearance on “Saturday Night Live” is drawing more fire from Democrats. And what Ohio Gov. John Kasich thought of his first gay wedding.
Here are your must-reads:
Six Contests to Watch as Voters Go to the Polls Tuesday
A tight governor’s race in Kentucky headlines the slate of contests, TIME’s Alex Altman writes
A Fiery Jeb Bush Promises to Win ‘This Damn Thing’
Embracing his inner nerd, Jeb turns up the energy [TIME]
Trump Campaign Will Negotiate Debate Demands With Networks
TIME’s Tessa Berenson reports on ‘The Art of the Deal’ in action
TransCanada Asks U.S. to Suspend Keystone Pipeline Application
Controversial pipeline remains on hold [Washington Post]
America: In Search of a Political Reset in 2016
The state of play one year out from Election Day [NBC]
“They say, when I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out. Just looking at him. And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators. If you can’t handle those guys, I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.” — President Obama on Republican presidential candidates Monday night at a Democratic fundraiser
“I’m a traditional marriage guy, but I accept it. The court has ruled. I went to my first gay wedding. It was fun.” —Ohio Gov. John Kasich at a town hall in Des Moines Monday
Bits and Bites
Iowa’s Tom Harkin Jabs Bernie Sanders as ‘Establishment’ [Boston Herald]
Jeb Bush: RNC Should Restore Telemundo Debate [Washington Post]
Speaker Paul Ryan Moves Fast to ‘Detoxify’ Boehner’s Smoky Suite [New York Times]
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