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Breakfast Sausage: 5 things to read today

Published by Mike Pound on .

Everybody dance now. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)Everybody dance now. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

1) Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders face off tonight on PBS, and it's probably safe to expect a testier debate, especially on the part of Ms. Clinton, than we've seen from the Democratic candidates in the past. That would be a logical part of a push to alter the message from Camp Clinton, which has to be smarting from the flood of, uh, advice from fellow Democrats following the Granite State Massacre.

2) Meanwhile, Mr. Sanders has become a delicious meme. And we're trying to figure out how to get Banh Mi delivered to the ER newsroom.

3) Super Tuesday is just three weeks away. And the sneaky stuff we saw in Iowa is going to look like amateur hour compared with the dirty tricks that are still to come.

4) Can Marco-Bot shake the notion that he's all style and no substance? We're not sure. Yes, he's being more accessible with the media, but he's still having a hard time straying from his script – and this, apparently, is the media's fault.

5) New Hampshire's other legacy: ending the candidacies of Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie. In the early debates, Ms. Fiorina often sounded like the smartest and most passionate person on the stage. But when she turned her passion towards Planned Parenthood – and her not-even-close-to-being-true claim that the "vast majority of Americans" supported defunding the group – her support started a slide that ended up with her polling better only than Jim Gilmore, who, surprisingly, is still a candidate. As for Mr. Christie? We still have the sneaking suspicion that he would have been the Republican Party's guy, had he run in 2012. But because of a single day in September 2013, a run for Mr. Christie came four years too late.

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Surprise! Funny or Die launches fake Trump film

Published by Mike Pound on .

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If you've found yourself drifting off into a neverland where the words President Trump actually sound plausible, you'll want to visit the video comedians at Funny or Die as soon as possible. They've released a fake movie about The Donald, based on his book "The Art of the Deal." 

Our Maria Sciullo has the story about the 50-minute video, which was a secret until it was released earlier today. And you'll find the full thing right here.

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Perry on Politics: Finding parallels in 1972

Published by James M. Perry on .

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump speak to supporters following their wins in Tuesday's New Hampshire primaries. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times; David Goldman/Associated Press)Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump speak to supporters following their wins in Tuesday's New Hampshire primaries. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times; David Goldman/Associated Press)

Just a few weeks ago, 17 candidates were seeking either the Republican or Democratic nominations for president. After Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, won in convincing fashion by Republican Donald Trump and newly minted Democrat Bernie Sanders, that number has been whittled down to four or five Republicans and two Democrats.

Has there ever been as wild and unpredictable an election as this one?

Maybe 1972, when, in the beginning, there were 18 candidates (Nixon, Muskie, McGovern, Lindsay, Jackson, Wallace, Humphrey, Kennedy, Bayh, Chisholm, Harris, Hartke, Hughes, McCarthy, Mills, Yorty, Ashbrook and McCarthy).

One of them, George Wallace, running as a Democrat, was shot and badly wounded in a shopping mall in Maryland.

Some of them had no business running. Sam Yorty, inept mayor of Los Angeles, bumbled around New Hampshire in the "Yortymobile," touting his endorsement by William Loeb and his arch-conservative Manchester Union-Leader. Vance Hartke was the junior senator from Indiana. Birch Bayh was the senior senator and, together, they were called "Bayh and Bought."

There were some parallels to this year's race. "Put Wallace in some 1972 Democratic primaries," Kevin Phillips said in one of his columns, "and it would be the best political show in years." Mr. Wallace, he said, "would drive the fashionable Establishment nuts with his gutsy populist attacks." So, too, Donald Trump.

Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota was basically a one-issue candidate, a liberal deeply opposed to the tragic war in Vietnam. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is pretty much a one-issue candidate too, deeply opposed to the power of Wall Street and the plight of middle- and working-class Americans.

Almost everyone's favorite to win the 1972 Democratic New Hampshire primary with at least half the vote was Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, and he did win the primary, but with only 46 percent of the vote. So the celebration was all about Mr. McGovern, who finished second with 37 percent. He said it was a "moral victory."

Mr. McGovern, it turned out, was too liberal, and his timing was bad, for the Watergate scandal was just unfolding by Election Day, when he was easily defeated by Richard Nixon. .

Is Mr. Sanders, like Mr. McGovern, too liberal to win the nomination and be elected president? He was after all a self-proclaimed socialist until last year, when he registered as a Democrat. Is Mr. Trump too outrageous, like Mr. Wallace, to win the big prize?

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Sanders is interested in moral victories. They might actually win, unless voters, acting so far like spoiled children, ask themselves questions like these: Do you really want Mr. Trump appointing Supreme Court justices? Do you really want Mr. Sanders as commander-in-chief?

James M. Perry, a prominent veteran political reporter, contributes regular observations to post-gazette.com. Mr. Perry was the chief political correspondent of The Wall Street Journal until his retirement. Prior to that, he covered national politics for the Dow Jones weekly, The National Observer.

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Mean John has a ... Fetterman ... and a smile

Published by Mike Pound on .

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Mean Joe Greene in 1979.

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Mean John Fetterman in 2016.

The resemblence is uncanny, right? Mean Joe's commericial is one of the most successful bits of television advertising ever, the winner of a 1979 Clio award as one of the best TV ads of the year.

We're not certain that the remake made by the campaign of Mr.  Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Pat Toomey's U.s. Senate seat, will quite measure up to those standards, but it has garnered more than a quarter million views in the 24 hours since it was released on Facebook, the campaign announced this afternoon. We're guessing it has something to do with the second T-shirt at the end of the spot.

Thanks, Mayor John!

 

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Just so we're clear

Published by Mike Pound on .

So, Marco Rubio: Do you think Barack Obama knows what he's doing?