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12:01 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.
Dana Blanton / Fox News:
Fox News Poll: Clinton ‘feels the Bern,’ trails Sanders by three points nationally  —  Bernie Sanders now tops Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination.  —  The latest Fox News national poll finds 47 percent of Democratic primary voters now back the Vermont senator, up from 37 percent in January.
Charles P. Pierce / Esquire:
The Roots of Donald Trump's Candidacy Lie in a South Carolina Cemetery  —  Searching for the soul of South Carolina politics—and the modern Republican Party.  —  COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA—Bold and fiercely territorial, the geese in the small pond shatter the peace of the Greenlawn Memorial Park on a bright winter's afternoon.
Associated Press:
AP-GfK Poll: Voters increasingly see Sanders as electable  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — The more Democrats learn about Bernie Sanders, the more they appear to like him.  —  A greater percentage of Democratic registered voters view the Vermont senator as likable, honest, competent and compassionate …
Discussion: Political Wire
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 …
Discussion: ABC News and whorunsGov
Michael Falcone / ABC News:
The Note: South Carolina Saturday Preview
Daniel Nasaw / Wall Street Journal:
Bloomberg Would Lose Big to Sanders and Trump — WSJ/NBC Poll
Discussion: Washington Post
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.
William Grimes / New York Times:
Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89  —  Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 10 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, has died.
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.
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.
New York Daily News:   Republicans, let's win this one for Nino
Scalia lies in repose at Supreme Court
Discussion: The Week
Fredreka Schouten / USA Today:
Advertising war over Scalia successor begins
Discussion: Right Wing Watch
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.
Amy Chozick / New York Times:
Race in Nevada, Once a Hillary Clinton Firewall, Is Now Hotly Contested
Annie Karni / Politico:
How Bernie Sanders surged in Nevada
Discussion: Yahoo Politics, ABC News and The Hill
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.”
Peter Sullivan / The Hill:
Pope suggests people can use contraception to avoid Zika virus
Melanie Eversley / USA Today:
Reports: Chicago court to hear case to knock Cruz off White House ballot  —  A judge in Cook County Circuit Court will hear testimony Friday in a lawsuit filed by an Illinois voter that alleges Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz should not be allowed to run for president, CNN and ABC are reporting.
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 …
CBS News:
U.S. warplanes hit ISIS targets in Libya, official says
Discussion: Infowars and Hot Air
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.
Jeffrey H. Anderson / Weekly Standard:
Trump: I ‘Like’ Obamacare's Individual Mandate  —  The most unpopular part of Obamacare now has a champion in the Republican presidential field.  Via the Right Scoop, Donald Trump was asked on Thursday night by CNN's Anderson Cooper, “If...there's no mandate for everybody to have insurance …
Discussion: The Right Scoop
Charles G. Koch / Washington Post:
Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right  —  Charles G. Koch is chairman and chief executive of Koch Industries.  —  As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he's running as much against me as he is the other candidates.
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 …
Julia Hahn / Breitbart:
EXCLUSIVE- Pat Buchanan: Donald Trump's Rise Is Rejection of a Quarter Century of Bush Republicanism  —  In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News, Pat Buchanan declared that Trump's rise represents a rejection of 25 years of Bush Republicanism— an ideology which Buchanan …
Michael Riley / Bloomberg Business:
Secret Memo Details U.S.'s Broader Strategy to Crack Phones  —  ‘Decision memo’ directs agencies to find ways to access data  —  Officials met around Thanksgiving to discuss encryption plans  —  Silicon Valley celebrated last fall when the White House revealed it would not seek legislation …
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 More Items: 
Tim Devaney / The Hill:
Dating site launches for Bernie Sanders lovers
Discussion: Vox and Weasel Zippers
Sundance / The Last Refuge:
CNN Busted Attempting “Pre-Scripted Ambush” of Donald Trump During Live Town Hall Event...
Full video and transcript: Rachel Maddow interviews Vice President Joe Biden
Allum Bokhari / Breitbart:
Rutgers Students Hold Group Therapy Session After Milo Yiannopoulos Visit
Discussion: Daily Wire and Campus Reform
Laura Bult / New York Daily News:
EXCLUSIVE: Two women share shocking accounts of forced labor and sexual abuse by prominent Christian leader Bill Gothard
Abby Phillip / Washington Post:
Bernie Sanders declares he is a ‘strong feminist’ and ‘honorary woman’
Discussion: Shot in the Dark
Rafael Romo / CNN:
At least 100 bodies found in sewer system under Colombian prison
Discussion: AOL
Steven T. Dennis / Bloomberg Business:
Senate Contender's Family Profited From ‘Pariah State’ Gold Mine
 Earlier Items: 
Brian Stobie / Ø:
ANALYSIS: Cable TV's $2.8 Million Donation to Donald Trump's Campaign
Discussion: Washington Post and Political Wire
Dan Eaton / Columbus Business Journal:
McDonald's testing chicken-and-pancake sandwich in Central Ohio
Discussion: AOL, and WCMH-TV
USA Today:
Trump speaks for those Bush betrayed: Column
Drinking more coffee may reverse liver damage from booze
Baltimore Sun:
State's highest court intervenes in Freddie Gray case, halting all lower court proceedings
Julia Hahn / Breitbart:
EXCLUSIVE — Mom Whose Son Was Tortured to Death by Illegal Endorses Trump, Says 'Pope Doesn't Care About Me'
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit