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There are now 16 GOP candidates for president, and the first televised debate will include the top ten in public opinion polls.  Donald Trump is currently number one. Does that reflect the real views of Republicans or saturation news coverage and poor polling? 

Also, President Obama speaks before the VFW, and a former speechwriter reveals what it's like to become the voice of a political leader.

Photo: Gage Skidmore

President Obama Speaks before the VFW 6 MIN, 29 SEC

President Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Pittsburgh today and made a case for the nuclear deal with Iran. "In the debate over this deal, we're hearing the echoes of some of the same policies and mindset that failed us in the past.  Some of the same politicians and pundits that are so quick to reject the possibility of a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program are the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq, and said it would take a few months.  And we know the consequences of that choice and what it cost us in blood and treasure."

Leo Shane reports on Congress for the Military Times.

Leo Shane, III, Military Times (@leoshane)

Are Polls Trumping Political Reality? 32 MIN, 56 SEC

In a speech in South Carolina today, Donald Trump gave out the personal cell phone of Lindsay Graham, that state's US Senator and a fellow candidate for President. Trump also called Graham a "lightweight" and "an idiot." The Des Moines Register's editorial board has called Trump a "feckless blowhard" and asked him to drop out of the presidential primary.

Today's Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Trump leading the field of 16 candidates—with 24%, the biggest showing any candidate has made so far this year. Yet the same survey shows that Republicans don't share Trump's views — even on immigration — and 54% say he doesn't reflect Republican values. Other surveys show the same contradiction. Is it all about saturation news coverage, or is something wrong with the polls? The question's especially important this year when the first debate will include only the ten candidates with the biggest numbers.

Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium (@SamWangPhD)
Scott Keeter, Pew Research Center (@pewresearch)
Patrick Egan, New York University (@patrick_j_egan)
David Winston, Winston Group (@dhwinston)
Matt Welch, Reason magazine (@mattwelch)

Princeton Election Consortium on Trump as the frontrummer
Welch's 'The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America'
Welch on Donald Trump's awful speech at Freedom Fest
Huffington Post on its coverage of Donald Trump's 'campaign'

Partisan Priorities

Patrick J. Egan

The Not So Glamorous Life of a Political Speechwriter 10 MIN, 26 SEC

What's it like to write speeches for an American politician? We hear from a writer who calls it a horrible experience…that he wouldn't trade for the world. Barton Swaim was an English major in college who couldn't come up with a job in academia. Then he heard that the Governor South Carolina needed a speechwriter. Now he's author of The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics.

Barton Swaim, speechwriter and author (@bartonswaim)

The Speechwriter

Barton Swaim

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