**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
• The Edge: Rubio rockets again post-debate
• Trump: Voters ‘stupid’ to believe in Carson’s conversion
• It’s on: Cruz, Rubio start trading punches
• Big Dem donors weigh funding Black Lives Matter
• Cool and the gang
THE EDGE: RUBIO ROCKETS AGAIN POST-DEBATE
Another debate and another big boost for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in media mentions. Following the October GOP debate, Rubio posted the largest single gain of any candidate so far in The Edge. This week, he beat his own record.
The Edge is a one-of-a-kind measurement from the New Analytics Company that “scrubs” television, radio, print, internet and social media for mentions of the 2016 candidates. It is not a public opinion survey, but the team at New Analytics has built an unsurpassed tool to measure which candidates are driving the national discussion. The data are compiled into a single score and provided to Fox News First. You can view the full results here.
This week, The Edge measures how much candidates were being talked about before the debate compared to immediately after. Along with Rubio, others who saw their (not necessarily favorable) media mentions spike post-debate include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Donald Trump, 25.62 [-.36]; Ben Carson, 19.03 [+.57]; Jeb Bush, 18.43 [+6.49]; Marco Rubio, 17.44 [+7.74]; Rand Paul, 12.31 [+6.99]; Ted Cruz, 12.07 [+4.21]; Carly Fiorina, 11.59 [+5.13]; John Kasich, 11.28 [+6.65]; Chris Christie, 10.13 [+2.82]; Mike Huckabee, 7.74 [+1.62]
TRUMP: VOTERS ‘STUPID’ TO BELIEVE IN CARSON’S REDEMPTION
So much for the diplomatic Donald Trump.
Two days after adopting a more conciliatory tone with his rivals in the Fox Business Network debate, Trump went on what may be his most vicious tirade yet.
Angered by the rise of another candidate he thinks unworthy, Trump lashed out at Ben Carson and at voters in a 90-minute speech in front of a sometimes stunned Iowa crowd. Trump believes he deserves the Republican nomination and appeared angry that voters would be “stupid” enough to believe Carson had the temperament to be president because of teenaged violence.
The biggest problem for Trump here is that he is essentially saying that Iowans are stupid to believe Carson’s conversion story. Trump says that Carson is like a “child molester” in that he will always be the same person who tried to stab a friend in high school. Carson says that when he accepted Jesus as his savior, Carson’s heart changed and the rage that had burned in him was extinguished. Trump says that you’re a fool if you believe Carson. That would make fools out of a lot of people on caucus night.
Trump’s misunderstanding of Christian doctrine has been a big part of why he has been unable to move beyond his voter base. The GOP is overwhelmingly Christian, especially in early primary states. Those who support Trump now may continue to like his insults and put downs, but as far as a path to the nomination… Nope.
Once the undisputed frontrunner in the polls, Trump is now tied with Carson but still acting as if he is entitled to win. Trump is sort of like Jeb Bush’s id – or anger translator, if you prefer – and we all know how well that worked out for him.
Carson on Fox News Sunday - Ben Carson takes the tough questions about his convention-defying campaign on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Also, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan opens up about his battle with cancer. FNS airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for air times in your area.
IT’S ON: CRUZ, RUBIO START TRADING PUNCHES
WashEx’s David Drucker reports that the Cruz and Rubio rivalry everyone has been talking about is finally starting to flare over the key issue of immigration: “Cruz tweaked Rubio during a Thursday morning interview with conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham. She opened the discussion by asking Cruz to comment on her view that Rubio is a recent convert to conservative immigration policy. ‘Talk is cheap,’ responded Cruz…then recounted Rubio’s participation in the ‘gang of eight’ Senate immigration talks, and of course, his staunch opposition. Rubio and his campaign pushed back quickly, and didn’t let up, in an attempt to paint Cruz as inconsistent and undercut his credibility as an immigration hawk.”
NRO’s Eliana Johnson has the deets: “…Rubio is hitting back, arguing in so many words that Cruz is as weak on the issue as he is. ‘I don’t think our positions are dramatically different,’ he told reporters in South Carolina on Thursday. ‘Ted is a supporter of legalizing people that are in this country illegally.’ For a candidate like Cruz, whose campaign is devoted to uniting the conservative grassroots by running as an ideological purist, it was the equivalent of the dropping of a nuclear bomb.”
ROMNEYSIANS PLOT A LATE ENTRY FOR MITT
WaPo: “According to other Republicans, some in the party establishment are so desperate to change the dynamic that they are talking anew about drafting [Mitt] Romney — despite his insistence that he will not run again. Friends have mapped out a strategy for a late entry to pick up delegates and vie for the nomination in a convention fight, according to the Republicans who were briefed on the talks, though Romney has shown no indication of reviving his interest.”
Who knew fifth place would cost so much? – NBC News: “Jeb Bush and his supporters continue to lead the 2016 TV ad-spending race, outpacing the nearest competition by more than 2-to-1, according to ad-spending numbers from NBC News partner SMG Delta. Through this week, the pro-Bush Super PAC Right to Rise has spent a total of $17.5 million in TV ads, and the campaign has chipped in an additional $440,000.”
[Watch Fox: Gov. Chris Christie joins “Your World with Neil Cavuto” today at 4 p.m.]
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has a post-debate wrap show with Carson, Rubio, and Christie as well as moderators Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m. ET.
[Watch Fox: Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron is Orlando where most of the GOP field is gathering to address the Republican Party of Florida.]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Today in Literature: “On this day in 1797 William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge began a walking holiday in the Quantock Hills of Somerset [England], during which they would conceive ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’ The original idea was to produce a gothic pot-boiler, something to suit the popular magazines, and to help pay for their vacation. ‘Much the greatest part of the story was Coleridge’s invention,’ Wordsworth later wrote, though among his own contributions was the idea that the inciting incident should involve the killing of an albatross in the South Sea, for which ‘the tutelary Spirits of these regions take upon them to avenge the crime.’ Wordsworth soon realized that ‘the style of Coleridge and myself would not assimilate,’ and left the fate of the ‘Old Navigator’ in his friend’s hands. Here it evolved from a quick money-maker to a consuming, five-months’ labor; and if pot-boiler on the surface, within lay many of Coleridge’s philosophical and psychological concerns, roiling up as ghostly vision, tortured soul and the need to expiate.”
Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.7 percent//Disapprove – 51.1 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.4 percent//Wrong Track – 63.7 percent
BIG DEM DONORS WEIGH FUNDING BLACK LIVES MATTER
Big-time donors on the left plan to meet behind closed doors in Washington next week with leaders of Black Lives Matters and their allies to discuss funding the protest movement, Politico reports. “The meetings are taking place at the annual winter gathering of the Democracy Alliance major liberal donor club, which runs from Tuesday evening through Saturday morning and is expected to draw Democratic financial heavyweights, including Tom Steyer and Paul Egerman.”
Read this - The gifted hands of Matthew Continetti produced this tremendous column on the campus protest movement.
Bernie’s ready to hit Hillary on emails - Bernie Sanders is getting ready to attack Hillary Clinton on trade, gun control and, if asked, her email scandal at Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate. Amid fresh reports about the scope of the FBI probe, NYT reports: “Sanders believes it is fair game for him to talk at Saturday’s debate about the federal investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state, his advisers said. But he plans to discuss the issue only if he is asked about it, the advisers added, a caveat that seemed meant as a signal to the debate moderators, but that also reflected the vise in which Mr. Sanders has put himself by swearing off negative campaigning. ‘He’s closely studying her past remarks, trying to get a greater understanding of her past and present positions, so he can make the strongest substantive case for their differences on issues and decision-making,’ said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders.”
FBI investigates potential false statements in Clinton email probe - Fox News: “Fox News is told agents are looking at U.S. Code 18, Section 1001, which pertains to ‘materially false’ statements given either in writing, orally or through a third party….In this case, legal experts as well as a former FBI agent said, Section 1001 could apply if Clinton, her aides or attorney were not forthcoming with FBI agents about her emails, classification and whether only non-government records were destroyed. It is not publicly known who may have been interviewed.”
Maybe she sought deployment to Bosnia - In classic Clintonian fashion, Hillary began to clean up her story of being rejected by the Marines in the 1970s that has drawn questions and a pair of Pinocchios. A broad statement from the campaign pushes back at the scrutiny and blames on Republicans for dredging the issue up: “Her sole reason for visiting the recruitment center was to determine if there was a suitable opportunity for her to serve in some capacity. Her interest was sincere and it is in insulting, but not surprising, that Republicans would attack her for this, too.”
Take that smartphone outside - WaPo: “If you work for the federal government, your Twitter or Facebook profile can show a photo of you hugging Ben Carson or Hillary Clinton. But you can’t share, tweet, ‘like,’ friend, follow, comment on or retweet anything your candidate says or does when you’re on the clock…[Part of] the rules of the road issued Thursday for federal employees this presidential campaign season.”
COOL AND THE GANG
Their escape plot was foiled by a rookie mistake. A group of penguins sought to flee their enclosure when the gate was left open at a Danish zoo. But their keepers saw the telltale webbed, wet footprints and gave chase. When the gang reached the end of the corridor to find a dead end, they turned and hightailed it back. It is a Friday must watch.
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The Trump interview was extremely interesting. He is extremely good at this. Because he dances and he dekes and he faints and then he disappears without backing it down.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.