Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In Iowa, the new CNN poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination, 55% to 37%. Martin O’Malley is a distant third with 3%.
* The Department of Homeland Security has authorized Secret Service protection for Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
* Marco Rubio yesterday pitched the idea of a vast expansion of the U.S. military. How he intends to pay for such an idea while also pushing for trillions of dollars in tax breaks remains a mystery.
* Jeb Bush’s not-so-subtle shots at Rubio of late have apparently alienated Brian Ballard, a Tallahassee lobbyist and one of Bush’s top Florida fundraisers, who’s now parted ways with Team Jeb.
* Ben Carson was asked yesterday for his thoughts on his new rap-themed radio ad. “Well, there are — there are people in the campaign who felt that that was a good way to do things. And, you know, they’re entitled to their opinions about such things,” Carson said. “You know, I support, you know, them in doing that. But, you know, I probably would have taken a little different approach.”
* Sen. Rand Paul’s new book isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.
* Republican insiders are increasingly concerned about Sen. John Boozman’s (R) re-election campaign in Arkansas next year. The incumbent has made little effort to raise money for the race and hasn’t bothered to create much of a campaign infrastructure. Boozman, who had some health issues last year, was first elected in 2010.
* And Martin O’Malley picked up a notable supporter in South Carolina yesterday, when Isaiah Nelson, the former director of Draft Biden South Carolina, threw his backing to the Maryland governor.