Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from Potomac Research Group Senior Analyst JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning.
CHANNELING HIS INNER WILLIAM WALLACE
House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated his vision for a 'Confident America' yesterday, exhorting Republicans to "Unite the clans!" a la Braveheart. He aims to channel the spirit of his mentor Jack Kemp and move the party towards a bold, aspirational, and above all positive image for the future of the country. He denounced the anger and disillusionment that has been a campaign staple, and is providing a striking counter-narrative. It's what gave Reagan his mandate, Ryan said, and we think that maybe Rubio has picked up on the message, with his recent shift away from the "doom and gloom."
BULLSEYE ON MARCO
Marco Rubio has lacked boots on the ground, but it's Governors Bush, Kasich, and Christie who are all at risk of being trampled in NH. Combined, the three governors have held more than 460 events in the state, all outstripping Rubio who has only held 76 events. Historically, NH has rewarded candidates who have put in more time on the ground; the governors have opened a new line of attack on Rubio -- that he hasn't made the effort and is trying to parachute in at the last minute.
New polls out this morning have Rubio surging to second place or a close third behind Cruz. Third place won't be good enough for Rubio -- he has to show continued progress and run the table on the three governors who have all placed big bets here. The nervous party establishment is looking to pick its candidate quickly, and there's lots of chatter about donors and endorsements on hold until after Rubio demonstrates a clear lead. He's got to win big enough to undercut the rationale behind his rivals' campaigns; and the sooner he can make this a three-way race, the better his chances.