One way to think about tomorrow night’s debate: It’s the insiders vs. the outsiders … Also: Expect a rough night for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell given the GOP anger at congressional leaders … NYT/CBS poll: Trump, Carson lead the GOP pack … Jeb’s Super PAC goes up on the ai r… Last night’s two different rallies -- Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’ … Sanders at Liberty University: A true man-bites-dog story … Wall Street Journal: Sanders’ proposals will cost $18 TRILLION … And Trump delivers a speech for/on veterans at 9:30 pm ET in Los Angeles.
*** Insiders vs. outsiders at tomorrow night’s debate: There’s a good chance there will be two different debates going on at the main GOP debate in California tomorrow night. The first sub-debate is among the outsiders Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, who all need momentum to continue feeding off the 2016 beast (given that they don’t have infrastructure and establishment support). Yes, Trump is likely to be the center of attention again, but Carson and Fiorina have extra pressure to deliver. After all, when you’re an outsider and have the momentum, you can’t afford to lose it. And if you lose it, you usually don’t get it back. The second sub-debate is among the insider/establishment Republicans -- Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, even John Kasich. Bush and Walker, in particular, are fighting to regain momentum (see the NYT/CBS poll). Don’t be surprised if some of these insiders decide to target Jeb instead of Trump. Why? Going after Jeb (or the last name Bush) might be an easier path to prove your conservative bona fides than standing toe-to-toe with The Donald.
*** Expect a rough night for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell: Here’s another prediction about tomorrow night: It’s going to a rough debate for House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Already, we’ve seen Trump and Ted Cruz take shots at the GOP-led Congress over the Iran deal, which we now know won’t be blocked (see below). And then there’s the fight over Planned Parenthood and the possible looming government shutdown. Whether you’re an insider or outsider at tomorrow night’s debate, expect plenty of GOP attacks on Congress. Speaking of the looming government shutdown, be sure to read budget expert Stan Collender’s “The Five Questions That Will Determine If There’s A Government Shutdown.” Collender has put the chances of a shutdown at 67%.
*** Another poll: Trump, Carson lead the GOP pack: Ahead of tomorrow’s debate, a New York Times/CBS poll shows that Trump and Carson are leading the GOP pack -- Trump 27%, Carson 23%, Bush 6%, Huckabee 6%, Rubio 6%, Cruz 5%, Fiorina 4%, Kasich 3%, Paul 3%, Walker 2%. That Walker at 2% isn’t a typo, by the way…
*** Jeb’s Super PAC goes up on the air: “The Super PAC backing Jeb Bush today kicks off a $24-million TV campaign for Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that aims to educate Republican voters who, according to the committee's internal polling, know surprisingly little about Bush beyond the last name,” the Tampa Bay Times writes. Here’s the Right to Rise TV ad that begins running in Iowa and New Hampshire today -- and South Carolina next week: “As governor, he helped create 1.3 million new jobs. He vetoed billions in government spending. He cut taxes $19 billion, balanced eight budgets, and shrank state government… Proven conservative, real results.”
*** Last night’s two different rallies -- Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’: Here’s NBC’s Ali Vitali covering Donald Trump’s big rally in Dallas last night, where immigration -- surprise, surprise -- was the major topic. “From his first moments as a candidate, Donald Trump has been forceful about his plans for illegal immigration. So it's no surprise those plans, and controversial tone, were front and center on Monday night in Dallas at American Airlines Arena in front of more than 15,000 people. Trump hit the major points of his immigration plan — slamming sanctuary cities and pressing his reasoning that illegal immigration must be stopped. ‘We have to stop illegal immigration. We have to do it,’ he told a Dallas crowd that instantly erupted into cheers and chanted ‘U-S-A!’” More Trump: "We are a dumping ground for the rest of the world.” And here’s NBC’s Shaquille Brewster covering Bernie Sanders’ rally in Northern Virginia last night: “Under the bright lights and above the sea of blue ‘Bernie’ signs, Sanders hit his common themes of engaging in a political revolution that takes power from the 1% and moves it to the middle class. To get a sense of the crowd, when Sanders asked at the top: ‘Are there any students here tonight?’ An overwhelming majority of hands were raised.”
*** Sanders at Liberty University: A true man-bites-dog story: Speaking of Sanders, his speech at conservative Liberty University earlier in the day yesterday was a true man-bites-dog story -- a Democrat (err, actually a socialist) going into the heart of social conservatism. You certainly don’t see that every day. That takes political courage.
*** Wall Street Journal: Sanders’ proposals will cost $18 TRILLION: That’s the good news for Sanders yesterday -- his courageous speech at Liberty and his big crowd in Northern Virginia. Here’s his bad news and what has some Democrats believing is his liability in a general election: The Wall Street Journal puts a price tag for all of the spending that Sanders has proposed. The amount? $18 trillion over a decade. That’s trillion with a “T.”
*** Senate Republicans attempt re-vote on Iran deal: NBC’s Frank Thorp reports that, at 6:00 pm ET tonight, the Senate will hold a second vote on the motion to advance a resolution of disapproval against the Iran deal -- the same motion that failed last week via filibuster. And tonight’s motion is expected to fail again. Per Thorp, Republican leaders planned the re-vote in an effort to stress their frustration with Senate Democrats blocking them from reaching a final vote on a resolution of disapproval. A final vote on that resolution would result in it passing and President Obama needing to use his veto pen. But none of the 42 Democrats who support the Iran nuclear deal and voted to block the resolution of disapproval are expected to flip. Asked about the prospects of any Democrats flipping their votes on Tuesday's vote, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called the revote a "waste of time," saying they will "meet the same outcome."
*** On the trail: Trump delivers a speech for/on veterans at 9:30 pm ET in Los Angeles.
OFF THE RACES: Leaders of the pack (again) -- Trump and Carson
In a new NYT/CBS poll, Ben Carson has pulled nearly even with Donald Trump, while Scott Walker is down to 2%.
Twitter has created a way for candidates to solicit donations directly through the social media platform.
The Washington Post reports on the GOP candidates' attempts at casting themselves as a modern-day Reagan. "Donald Trump will present himself as the exemplar of American strength and vigor. Ben Carson will be the sunny optimist who discovered his calling for politics late in life. Scott Walker sees himself as the conservative revolutionary, while John Kasich describes himself as the principled pragmatist."
BUSH: Here come the super PAC ads. The Tampa Bay Times: "The Super PAC backing Jeb Bush today kicks off a $24-million TV campaign for Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that aims to educate Republican voters who, according to the committee's internal polling, know surprisingly little about Bush beyond the last name."
More from the Des Moines Register: "Right to Rise USA has already booked $5.89 million in advertising to aid former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and more is expected. The PAC doesn't intend to let up, except for occasional holiday breaks, until the caucuses on Feb. 1."
Marc Thiessen writes in the Washington Post that Jeb Bush is "running a BlackBerry campaign in an iPhone election."
This morning the Bush campaign is pushing out an op-ed the governor wrote about the tax plan he rolled out last week, NBC’s Jordan Frasier writes. The piece is running in this morning's Orange County Register and says the Bush tax plan is "Reagan-inspired." In looking ahead to tomorrow's debate, Bush ties Trump to Democrats: "I relish the opportunity Wednesday to contrast my vision for sparking economic growth and lifting up the middle class with those of other candidates, like Donald Trump, who have supported the liberal big government, high tax philosophy espoused by Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama."
CHRISTIE: He says "nobody cares" about a "food fight" between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.
CLINTON: She joked that having her husband as a running mate "has crossed my mind," reports Monica Alba.
NBC's Alba also reports on Clinton’s push to combat campus sexual assault.
From The Huffington Post: " A super PAC backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is going negative, circulating an email that yokes her chief rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to some of the more controversial remarks made by Jeremy Corbyn, the United Kingdom's new Labour Party leader, including his praise for the late Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan leader who provided discounted fuel to Vermont in a deal supported by Sanders."
FIORINA: Bloomberg writes that, under her leadership at HP, the company sold millions of dollars worth of products to Iran through a subsidiary.
O’MALLEY: He’ll appear on Seth Meyers’ show tonight.
RUBIO: Former Romney policy director Lanhee Chen is signing on with Marco Rubio. (Yet another sign that Romney World is lining up behind Rubio.)
SANDERS: The price tag on Bernie Sanders's proposals? $18 trillion, writes The Wall Street Journal.
TRUMP: NBC's Ali Vitali reports that Trump declared "we're really killing it," during his Dallas rally.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell writes that the Architect of the Capitol is refuting Donald Trump's claim that scaffolding around the building's dome will be dismantled and reassembled before inauguration.
Wow, the Des Moines Register Editorial Board on Trump's language about women: "The thinking behind the words represents a bigotry that generations of women have struggled to overcome in workplaces, the military, politics and their own homes. It is increasingly difficult to believe he could garner support from any male with a mother, daughter, wife or sister, let alone support from any female. The way he talks about the opposite sex is disgraceful."
NBC News' Mark Murray and Carrie Dann contributed to this article.