Russia knows who our next president is: Do we need to even bother with the debates anymore? The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for World Economy and International Relations’ has put out it’s annual foreign policy forecast which is apparently written “to inform Russian policymakers on trends in foreign policy“. The report predicts Hillary Clinton will beat Marco Rubio in November. Sputnik International News also reveals “the entire female electorate of the Democratic Party supports Clinton”. BTW, they’re serious.

Found one! Finally found a poll. And let me just say lately it’s been like hunting for truffles. But, I found one this morning in Utah in the Salt Lake Tribune conducted by Survey USA.  Unfortunately, the poll doesn’t tell us much since statistically the top four vote getters are right on top of each other.  Ted Cruz leads with 18%, Donald Trump is second with 17; and Rubio and Carson tie at 15, with other candidates way in the back. But the margin of error is 4.9%. So, make of those numbers what you will.  The Utah primary is Mar.22nd. But what’s really interesting about this article… is what’s posted just below.

A back door candidate: The article in the Tribune where that Utah survey was mentioned also highlighted some other news. Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans is convinced Utah voters want Mitt Romney.  Evans has a plan to make it happen. It involves eight states and the GOP national convention.

  “So if eight states come together and say we want to nominate Mitt Romney, then his name will go in for consideration. A lot of states are talking,” Evans said. “I have support from seven states. I’ve got one more to go.”

Turning to South Carolina:  And here’s another poll! RCP has the numbers up on an Augusta Chronicle poll showing Trump leading with 32 points, Cruz at 18, Bush 13, and Rubio at 11. Click on the link to get all the other good stuff on this one.

Today’s fun read: Mainly for political fans who are also NFL fans. If you haven’t done so, read this from Politico . It explains what might happen if the Patriots make it to and win the Superbowl Feb 7th. Normally a victory parade takes place on the following Tuesday which is Nov 9th, election day in New Hampshire.  Sure the parade is in Boston, but they figure 25-30 percent attendance could come from New Hampshire. Voters, candidate workers, and all manner of things have been sussed out in this article. There was also a theory posited by one person interviewed that if the Pats won and there was a parade, Trump would be the one most adversely effected.  Still, there are a few “ifs”.  The Pats would still need to win the AFC title. And then, of course, they would have to win the Superbowl.

Your mayor might be busy next week:  Nearly 300 mayors are in D.C. next week to listen to administration officials, lawmakers, and business leaders at the annual Conference of Mayors.  Newswire has the full schedule here.  Some of the sessions include: an immigration task force related to refugee resettlement; one dealing with campus unrest and violence; and a panel on reducing violence and strengthening police and community trust.  When mayors get back to their home cities don’t be surprised when they try to implement programs based on what they heard here.

Today is Ben Franklin Day: There are many things you can do to celebrate today. But I’d start by digging up a $100 bill (might be the hardest part of this holiday) and doing something with it. Kiss it, spend it, talk to it, whatever. A founding father of this great nation, he quit school at the age of 10. Something that teacher’s really don’t like to talk about.

Thanks for stopping by the watercooler.  Hope you found something interesting. Drop a comment below if anything caught your fancy. Remember the cooler is always an Open Thread, so you’re welcome to leave breaking news or other bits and pieces here if you don’t want to write up a full diary.