March 13, 2014

It's Sunday, April 6, and you have a serious problem. You're going to a viewing party for the premiere of Game of Thrones' fourth season — but you never actually found the time to catch up on season three. Do you fast-forward your way through 10 hours of episodes and see what you can absorb? Skim George R.R. Martin's literary source material and hope for the best? Wing it, and nod sagely when everybody starts rambling about the Red Wedding?

Thanks to HBO, you have a much better option: Watching this extremely helpful recap video, which boils the season's 10 hours of complicated, intricate plotting into a surprisingly digestible 25 minutes. Hit play, and relive the highlights from Game of Thrones' third season with the help of the show's sprawling cast. --Scott Meslow

2:45 p.m. ET

Behold the power of Beyoncé: A single mention on one of her tracks can apparently boost sales for a brand by more than 30 percent. Just days after the pop star released her new track, "Formation," Red Lobster — which gets a brief mention in the song as a reward for sex — reported that its sales saw a 33 percent spike over the previous year.

Sales weren't all that went up for Red Lobster, either. The brand also got mentioned on Twitter 42,000 times in just one hour and trended on the social media site for the first time ever, spokesperson Erica Ettori said. In fact, Beyoncé helped Red Lobster out so much that the seafood chain jokingly considered renaming its Cheddar Bay Biscuits "Cheddar Bey Biscuits."

After what Red Lobster described as "one heck of a weekend," it had to admit: "You definitely slay, Beyoncé." Becca Stanek

1:43 p.m. ET

Over at Fox News, the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary briefly appeared to have already been called — even though the polls don't close for another six hours. Thanks to what Fox's Chief Digital Officer Jeff Misenti says was a "malfunction" that occurred during "routine testing," the site's election results page briefly showed Donald Trump as the decisive winner of the New Hampshire primary early Tuesday morning, with 28 percent of the vote and 14 delegates.

The errant results showed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in second, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in third, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in fourth. Longshot candidate Jim Gilmore got 574 votes in the incorrect Fox data, registering at 0 percent.

The error has since been corrected on Fox News's website. The actual results should be announced sometime Tuesday evening after the last polls in New Hampshire close at 8 p.m. ET. Becca Stanek

12:07 p.m. ET

After Donald Trump called Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a "pussy" on the campaign trail Monday for his stance on waterboarding, he played off the inflammatory comment as just a crowd having a good time. "We were all just having fun," Trump said Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, clarifying that he was simply repeating what a supporter shouted out during the rally so "everybody could hear."

Making off-the-cuff remarks and apologizing later isn't a new strategy for the outspoken real estate mogul. Here, five other times Trump has made a controversial comment and then later cast it as nothing but a joke. Becca Stanek

The issue: Cruz's hesitation on whether he would support waterboarding
Trump's comment: "She just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out, 'cause I don't want to. Okay, you're not allowed to say — and I never expect to hear that from you again — she said... he's a pussy."
The excuse: "We were all just having fun. I was just repeating what she said so everyone could hear. I was doing everybody a favor. I got a standing ovation [and] the place went wild. You're talking about close to 5,000 people. It was a great moment. The world is politically correct."

The issue: His unshakeable popularity with voters
Trump's comment: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."
The excuse: "That comment was said with me laughing and thousands of other people laughing. It was said as a joke — obviously it was a joke."

The issue: Climate change
Trump's comment: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
The excuse: "Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I'd be — received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn't care less. They have very — you know, their standards are nothing. But they — in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it's very hard on our business."

The issue: His daughter, Ivanka
Trump's comment: "Yeah, she's really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren't happily married and, you know, her father..."
The excuse: "I said on a certain show — my daughter's a beautiful young woman — so I said, and I said it joking, everybody laughed, everybody laughed. I said, 'My daughter's so beautiful that if I weren't married, etc., etc. I'd be dating her.' Cute. It was cute. Everybody laughed... The next day [the headline was] 'Trump Wants to Date His Daughter.'"

The issue: Trump's treatment of women
Trump's comment: Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly referenced Trump's past remarks about women during the first GOP debate, asking him to explain why he has called women "fat pigs," "dogs," "slobs," and "disgusting animals."
The excuse: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. Frankly what I say — and oftentimes, it's fun; it's kidding; we have a good time — what I say is what I say."

11:52 a.m. ET

Whatever happened to predictability? It's right here in the new trailer for Fuller House, which premiered exclusively on Ellen today (skip ahead to around 2:30):

This new trailer, which is the first to contain actual footage from the Netflix series, alternates between meta-references to how long it's been ("Damn, we all still look good!") and clumsy callbacks to the original Full House ("How rude," "Cut. It. Out," and "Have mercy!" uttered within the span of about eight seconds). You can say this for Fuller House: It's coming back in a way that feels totally in line with the quality of the original series.

Fuller House premieres on Feb. 26. Scott Meslow

11:44 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Obama unveiled his eighth and final budget plan Tuesday. The $4.1 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2017 — which starts Oct. 1, just months before Obama leaves office — focuses on progressive issues including clean energy, education, and Medicaid and requests $19 billion for a new cybersecurity initiative.

The proposal seeks to raise an additional $2.6 trillion in taxes over the next 10 years by hiking taxes on big banks and the wealthy. Revenue is projected to increase by $308 billion in the next fiscal year and spending is estimated to increase by $196 billion.

Even before the plan was sent to Congress Tuesday, Republicans vowed to reject it. Becca Stanek

11:26 a.m. ET

If Donald Trump didn't talk the way he talks, would he get the support he gets? Almost certainly not.

"He wants to sound macho," John Baugh, a linguistics professor at Washington University, told the Washington Post. "As part of his whole tough-guy persona, he adopts almost a working-class style of speech."

Nicole Holliday, a linguist studying at New York University, agrees. "Traditionally, the New York City accent has been stigmatized as rough and not necessarily intelligent," she explains. "But people do perceive it as authoritative. So he's got an accent that people don't like, but that they find credible. Trump sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, because of his accent."

But the best way to understand how Trump's accent affects his supporters is to hear his words without it, as in this video where comedian Peter Serafinowicz dubbed Trump with a formal, Transatlantic accent.

"What if Donald Trump had elocution lessons?" the video description asks. Well, probably he wouldn't have a campaign. Bonnie Kristian

10:51 a.m. ET

On the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Monday, Bill Clinton implied his wife's candidacy is cramping his style as a freewheeling ex-president.

"The hotter this election gets, the more I wish I were just a former president and just for a few months not the spouse of the next one," he said. "Because, you know, I have to be careful what I say."

"Tonight my job is to introduce Hillary," he later added. "Sometimes when I'm on a stage like this, I wish we weren't married. Then I could say what I really think."

The former president has lately been on the attack against Clinton's competitor in the Democratic primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). While it is normal for a candidate's spouse to serve as a surrogate on the campaign trail, Bill Clinton's own political and personal history has made his role more complicated. Bonnie Kristian

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