March 4, 2014

Russia Today, Moscow's English-language news service, has been rightly pilloried for its almost comically one-sided reporting on Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. That must be galling for the professional reporters who work for the U.S. arm of RT and often put out independent and solidly reported journalism.

On Monday night, Abby Martin, host of RT's Breaking the Set, declared her independence, sort of. "Just because I work here, for RT, doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence," she said. "What Russia did is wrong." She went on to declare Russia a superpower and criticized the "truly disappointing" coverage of Ukraine "from all sides of the media spectrum," calling it "rife with disinformation." But credit where credit is due: Criticizing your employer on air takes guts, especially when your boss just started a war. --Peter Weber

10:20 a.m. ET

At Hillary Clinton's campaign event Tuesday in Hudson, New Hampshire, some attendees, while not necessarily Feeling the Bern, weren't necessarily feeling Hillary so much, either. Seated behind Clinton, members of the crowd sported supremely unenthusiastic campaign gear on the day of the state's primary election. The shirts, emblazoned with the dying whimper of the rallying cry, "Settle for Hillary," certainly get the point across:

Ouch indeed. Stephanie Talmadge

10:17 a.m. ET

Before Hillary Clinton was railing on big banks in a race for the Democratic presidential nomination against notoriously anti-Wall Street candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), she was getting paid by the big banks to give talks. Now, those private talks are threatening to make a second — and very public — appearance as the push grows for Clinton to release transcripts.

While some argue that the remarks are nothing but the "boilerplate, happy talk that highly paid speakers generally offer to their hosts," others worry that Clinton's speech, if released, could easily be taken out of context by Sanders, who has already been slamming her for her Wall Street connections.

According to one attendee at Clinton's October 2013 speech to Goldman Sachs executives and tech industry leaders, Clinton's remarks then were a far cry from what she's saying on campaign trail now. "It was pretty glowing about us," the attendee told Politico of the speech. "It's so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director." Clinton, Politico reports, got $225,000 for the talk, during which she not once criticized Goldman or Wall Street over the financial crisis.

While the question of whether the release will happen remains up in the air, the attendee at Clinton's 2013 speech is pretty confident it won't. "It would bury her against Sanders," the attendee told Politico. "It really makes her look like an ally of the firm."

Read the full story over at Politico. Becca Stanek

9:01 a.m. ET
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Donald Trump remains atop the Republican presidential field in a new national poll out Tuesday, with sizable leads over Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The national poll by NBC News/SurveyMonkey shows the real estate mogul leading with 35 percent; Cruz follows with 20 percent support, and Rubio came in third with 17 percent support. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in a distant fourth with 7 percent — 28 points behind Trump. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich tied for fifth place nationwide with 3 percent each.

Although Trump remains far and away the leader in the GOP field, the poll also found that Republican voters are losing confidence that he will be the party's eventual nominee. Since last week, the number of voters who say that Trump will win the nomination dropped 20 points to 42 percent. Cruz and Rubio's numbers continued to rise, with 31 percent predicting Iowa caucus winner Cruz would get the nomination and 18 percent saying Rubio would.

The poll, conducted among 2,887 registered Republican voters across the nation, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Becca Stanek

8:44 a.m. ET

As Germans kicked off their annual Carnival celebration Monday with huge parades, Donald Trump was right there with them — well, his head was, at least. The city of Düsseldorf's parade featured a massive papier mâché bust of the Republican presidential candidate atop a float.

The float depicts Trump crying over his recent defeat in the Iowa caucuses while simultaneously yelling at the Statue of Liberty, who is sticking her tongue out at him. Trump's campaign slogan is reimagined and painted on his infamous hair: "Make fascism great again."

Trump wasn't the only one lampooned atop a float. Caricatures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and even the company Amazon also rode through the streets Monday. Becca Stanek

7:57 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday in Dallas, U.S. District Judge David Godbey ruled that Texas cannot block the federal government from settling Syrian refugees in the state, thwarting for a second time a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a promise made by Gov. Greg Abbott (pictured). "The court does not deny that the Syrian refugees pose some risk. That would be foolish," Godbey wrote. "In our country, however, it is the federal executive that is charged with assessing and mitigating that risk, not the states and not the courts." Texas failed to show that the refugee resettlement poses a "substantial threat of irreparable injury," he added.

The federal government placed 215 Syrian refugees in Texas in 2015 and another 10 in Houston this year. Since Obama took office in 2009, Texas has sued the administration 39 times, by The Associated Press' count. Texas is evaluating its options in its Syrian refugee suit, but has a separate motion still outstanding seeking to temporarily bar the Obama administration from settling Syrian refugees in the state, citing a missed filing deadline. Peter Weber

6:55 a.m. ET

Monday night's debut of Full Frontal, Samantha Bee's late-night comedy show on TBS, included a melancholy look at Jeb Bush's sagging presidential campaign. "Is this the end for our nation's dream of a third Bush presidency?" Bee asked, sardonically, after playing that clip of Bush pleading for his small audience to clap for him. To answer that question, Bee said, she had sent her "foreign exchange producer" to New Hampshire to check in on Bush.

What that looks like in practice is an artsy documentary short narrated by somebody affecting a German accent. Bush "should totally be winning but instead is getting his ass handed to him by an oddly tinted compilation of psychiatric symptoms and by a man who seems like he would lecture a starving kitten on personal responsibility and then deport that kitten and his family," the narrator said, referring to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, respectively. Jokes aside, the camera team actually talked with voters, reporters, and, eventually, Bush, creating a gloomy portrait of "a Jeb in winter." Which will be especially funny if Bush takes second in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. You can watch below, but be warned, there is one instance of the f-word and somewhat disturbing imagery of a crocodile eating a turtle. Peter Weber

5:54 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump is widely expected to win the Republican primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday, despite the probable majority of Republicans who want to vote against him. Oddly, a lot of those anti-Trump votes could actually help pad Trump's delegate lead, Domenico Montanaro explains at NPR News. That's because with any candidate who doesn't earn at least 10 percent of the vote, their would-be delegates go to the primary winner. There are eight Republican candidates in the race (not counting Jim Gilmore), and four of them are vying furiously for the "establishment" vote. Not all those "establishment lane" candidates will reach the 10 percent threshold.

To illustrate his point, Montanaro takes a recent average of polls and awards New Hampshire's 20 delegates accordingly. Based on proportional allocation, Trump would earn six delegates (31 percent), Marco Rubio would win three (16 percent), and John Kasich and Ted Cruz would each take two (12 percent). The four remaining candidates would collectively earn 22 percent of the vote, or about four delegates, but because none of them met the 10 percent threshold, those four delegates would go to Trump, raising his delegate count to 10.

The icing on the cake for the anti-Trump establishment, Monatanaro writes, is that those 10 delegates "are bound to vote for Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, because of changes to the Republican National Committee's rules." You can read more about the establishment-voter dilemma at NPR News. Peter Weber

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