• Politics

What Nikki Haley’s Endorsement Means

4 minute read

Marco Rubio secured the endorsement of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has already cut an ad for the Florida senator to air in the state. Seeking to present a vision of a more forward-looking and welcoming GOP, Haley and Rubio highlighted their shared biography—both are the children of first-generation immigrants—as they counter the message of GOP front-runner Donald Trump. The endorsement provides Rubio with additional momentum going into Saturday’s primary, and raises the stakes on Jeb Bush—who had also coveted Haley’s endorsement—to perform in order to keep his candidacy alive past this week. Rubio is looking at the Palmetto State to be the knock-out blow to Bush’s candidacy, hoping to establish himself as the clear alternative to Trump and Ted Cruz in the state.

The war of words between Cruz, Rubio and Trump is growing even more heated, with the Cruz holding a press conference to defend himself from questions about his credibility from his two chief rivals. Cruz dared Trump to file a threatened lawsuit to challenge whether he is eligible to serve, suggesting he would depose Trump personally. Meanwhile a new ad from Cruz ties Rubio to Obama for his support of immigration reform.

Under pressure, Jeb Bush appeared to bristle at questions from supporters raising doubts about his candidacy, the same day he suffered a campaign setback by losing Haley’s endorsement and saw his poll numbers continue to fall in national surveys. And John Kasich is looking past South Carolina, focusing his campaign on March 1 and March 8 voting states rather than the more conservative state where he will underperform.

President Obama will visit Cuba next month to mark the resumption of normal diplomatic relations between the two countries—a trip that is already being condemned by Republicans. Hillary Clinton makes a play for Nevada’s Latino voters. And Trump makes an absurd claim on prescription drug costs.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

The Limits of Trump’s Bloodsport
At MSNBC forum, he leans heavily on his hits, TIME’s Philip Elliott writes

Rubio Uses Humor to Needle Trump in South Carolina
Mockery, not attacks [TIME]

In S.C., Ted Cruz Struggles to Be the Winner Conservatives Hoped For
But in a state tailor-made for him, he’s on defense [Washington Post]

Apple Leans on 227-Year-Old Law in Encryption Fight
TIME’s Haley Sweetland Edwards explains the legal wrangling

Bush Struggles to Mask Mounting Frustration
‘I should stop campaigning maybe,’ the candidate quips [Politico]

President Obama Plans Historic Visit to Cuba in March, Official Says
Visit would mark first by U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge in 1928 [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“I look forward to any lawsuit. One of the things I look forward to most of all is deposing Donald Trump. For that particular endeavor, I may well not use outside counsel. I may take the deposition myself.” — Ted Cruz daring Donald Trump to sue to question his Constitutional eligibility to serve as president

“I wanted somebody to show my parents that the best decision they could make for their children was coming to America.” — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley explaining why she endorsed Rubio

Bits and Bites

How MSNBC Tricked Trump Into Comparing Himself to Sanders [TIME]

Cruz and Rubio Fight Turns Personal in South Carolina [TIME]

South Carolina Governor Endorses Rubio [TIME]

Obama Brings Black Lives Matter and Civil Rights Activists Together for Meeting [TIME]

Hey, Republicans, This Is How You Beat Trump—for Real [The Daily Beast]

Jeb Bush Taps his Brother for a Digital Spot [CBS]

John Kasich Will Not Be in South Carolina on Primary Night [Boston Globe]

Hillary Clinton Releases Ad in Effort to Win Nevada Latinos [TIME]

Gowdy Promises Benghazi Panel Report ‘as Soon as Possible’ [Washington Post]

Trump’s Truly Absurd Claim He Would Save $300 Billion a Year on Prescription Drugs [Washington Post]

Voters in South Carolina Give Jeb Bush Some Campaign Advice [New York Times]

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