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Home » With Nikki Haley out, it’s time to prepare for a ‘nasty’ general election

With Nikki Haley out, it’s time to prepare for a ‘nasty’ general election

And then there were two.

OK, technically three. But now that Nikki Haley has suspended her presidential campaign, it appears that the 2024 election will come down to either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump.

Robert Kennedy Jr. is still hanging around, although barring some incredible set of circumstances, the best his candidacy can achieve is to play spoiler.

Super Tuesday turned out to be the Last Tuesday of Haley’s campaign, as Trump routed her in 14 of 15 state primaries. In an announcement on Wednesday, Haley said, “I said I wanted Americans to have their voices heard. I have done that. I have no regrets. And while I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in.”

She stopped short of endorsing Trump, saying, “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it, who did not support him, and I hope he does that. At its best, politics is about bringing people into your cause, not turning them away. And our conservative cause badly needs more people.”

The showdown between Biden and Trump has already begun. It’s the matchup everyone expected, but that few really wanted.

Writing for NBC News news politics newsletter, Chuck Todd wrote, “This general election is going to be nasty. It’s going to be personal. And by the time the two campaigns are done pummeling each other, I suspect Trump supporters are going to assume Biden is at death’s door, while Biden supporters are going to assume the Constitution will be suspended the day of a second Trump inauguration.”

Todd added, “The real question, of course, is which negative attacks will actually stick in the minds of voters who aren’t hard partisans and aren’t predisposed to assume the worst about both candidates. And the next six weeks should tell us a lot about how much a paid anti-Trump media campaign can move Biden’s numbers.”

Here are a few notable links about Haley’s decision to drop out and what happens now:

Here are some other Super Tuesday leftovers that might interest you …

After skipping out of every Republican debate, Trump now says he wants to debate Biden.

In a post on Truth Social, Trump wrote, “It is important, for the Good of our Country, that Joe Biden and I Debate Issues that are so vital to America, and the American People. Therefore, I am calling for Debates, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANYPLACE! The Debates can be run by the Corrupt DNC, or their Subsidiary, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). I look forward to receiving a response. Thank you for your attention to this matter!”

Meanwhile, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy peppered White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre with several questions Wednesday about whether Biden would be willing to debate Trump.

Jean-Pierre kept brushing Doocy off, saying it was a Biden “campaign” issue. Doocy pressed on before Jean-Pierre said, “You asked me about three, four, five different times in different ways.”

Earlier this week, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer scolded his network’s “competitors” (I’m assuming he meant CNN and MSNBC) for not carrying Trump speeches long enough after big events, such as primaries. Now one of MSNBC’s top on-air personalities is complaining that her network shows too much of Trump.

Rachel Maddow, who anchored MSNBC’s Super Tuesday coverage, let her feelings be known on air after the network aired part of Trump’s speech. Maddow said, “OK, I will say that it is a decision that we revisit constantly in terms of the balance between allowing somebody to knowingly lie on your air about things they lied about before, and you can predict they are going to lie about, and so, therefore, it is irresponsible to allow them to do that. The balance between knowing that that’s irresponsible to broadcast, and also knowing that the de facto, soon-to-be-de facto nominee of the Republican party — this is not only the man who was likely to be the Republican candidate for president, but this is the way he is running.”

Maddow’s colleague Stephanie Ruhle said the way to combat showing Trump’s speeches is to real-time fact-check what he says. But Maddow said, “So we do that after the fact, and that is the best remedy that we got. It does not fix the fact that we broadcast it.”

I gotta say, she has a point.

(Hat tip to The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona for writing about this topic.)

Elon Musk in January. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

X owner Elon Musk, one of the wealthiest people on the planet, tweeted on Wednesday: “Just to be super clear, I am not donating money to either candidate for US President.”

Musk’s tweet comes a day after The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Swan and Ryan Mac reported that Trump met with Musk. The Times wrote that Trump is “urgently seeking a cash infusion to aid his presidential campaign.”

They added, “With a net worth of around $200 billion, according to Forbes, Mr. Musk could decide to throw his weight behind Mr. Trump and potentially, almost single-handedly, erase what is expected to be Mr. Biden and his allies’ huge financial advantage over the former president.”

Wednesday’s tweet, for now anyway, seemed to end any talk of Musk donating to Trump’s campaign. However, Musk has made it clear in social media posts that he wants to see Biden defeated. The Times wrote, “… and people who have spoken to Mr. Musk privately confirmed that is indeed his view.”

NPR media reporter David Folkenflik has a good look at an ongoing media controversy in “Newsroom at New York Times fractures over story on Hamas attacks.”

It centers on a story published in the Times last December written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jeffrey Gettleman and two freelancers (Anat Schwartz and Adam Sella): “‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7.”

There are questions about whether some of the anecdotes in the story are accurate.

Folkenflik wrote, “As Times audio producers were preparing to do an episode of ‘The Daily’ podcast based on the story, they questioned how solid the underlying evidence was that their colleagues had gathered. To date, no such episode has aired, more than two months later.”

Internal doubts about the story became public when The Intercept published a story about the podcast in late January, based on sources inside the Times. The Times then launched an investigation to find the source of the leaks.

Things got more messy this week when The Times Guild, which represents nearly 1,500 journalists at the paper, filed a grievance, accusing Times executives of “targeted interrogation” of journalists of Middle Eastern descent. The Guild said some of its members “faced extensive questions about the involvement in (Middle Eastern North African employee group) events and discussions and about their views of the Times’ Middle East coverage.”

The Times has denied the guild’s allegations.

Folkenflik obtained a note written by Times executives — executive editor Joe Kahn and managing editors Marc Lacey and Carolyn Ryan — that said a rare investigation about internal leaks was launched because outside media companies had gained “confidential planning documents and draft scripts.”

They added, “Revealing editing drafts, reporter notes or other confidential materials to outside media erodes trust and undermines our culture of collaboration. No one in our newsroom or company has been or will be scrutinized because of ethnic or national origin. … Any such thing would be deeply offensive to us and the Guild’s accusation is wrong.”

There are many more details in Folkenflik’s report, including remaining questions about the accuracy of the story that started this whole thing.

Earlier this week, NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell, who is the president of the White House Press Corps, announced that the White House will no longer require routine, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for the press corps.

O’Donnell wrote in a memo, “That means no testing for our pool to travel on Air Force One and Air Force Two. No daily testing on trips. No required testing in advance of interactions with the president and other principals. In short, farewell to the multi-colored wristbands.”

O’Donnell added, “The White House says its policy is aligning with current CDC guidance. After infection, officials say stay home until you are symptom and fever free for 24 hours. Be advised that after COVID illness, you could be asked to mask, distance and test on campus.”

For years, one of the NFL’s best rivalries was Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts and Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. Now, the two could be joining the same media production team.

The Athletic’s Andrew Marchand reports that Manning is trying to convince Belichick to join Omaha Productions, Manning’s entertainment company.

Belichick is looking for work after parting ways with New England, where he coached for 24 seasons and won six Super Bowls. There is talk that Belichick is drawing interest from networks that carry the NFL to become an analyst. ESPN is said to be very interested in Belichick, who also has talked to CBS and NBC, according to Marchand.

Manning does work with ESPN. Along with his brother, Eli, he does a “Monday Night Football” broadcast called the “ManningCast.” The two brothers watch the game from their homes and talk casually — unlike a detailed broadcast. They often add high-profile celebrities from the entertainment and sports world. The broadcast is aired on ESPN2, but is owned by Omaha Productions.

Marchand reports that Omaha could put together a “ManningCast”-type show with Belichick and Nick Saban, another coaching legend who recently retired as coach of the University of Alabama. Saban, who will work on ESPN’s “College GameDay” next season, is friends with Belichick.

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