Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K

Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K

Yesterday, CNN led with a big story on how senior  Marco Rubio staffers were encouraging Marco Rubio to get out of the race before he gets shellacked in Florida next week. Sound advice if Rubio has any political aspirations. Getting thumped in your home state by Donald Trump is not a great vote of confidence in your electability to most anything. The Rubio campaign cried foul. According to Rubio spokesman Alex Conant the story was untrue because a) he said so and b) CNN had not given him a chance to comment before the story ran and c) he said so.

As of this writing CNN is standing by its story. You can call it false if you want to, but to do so you are forced to chose between the word of Rubio's spokesman who has demonstrated he'll say most anything to advance Rubio's campaign (and he gets paid for saying it) and a half-assed news gathering organization that will say most anything to convince people it is relevant. It is possible that either or both of them are lying. Be that as it may, the story stands without correction by CNN. That it might be damaging to Rubio or that it might not even be true has zero bearing on that fact.

Later Monday night, Conant fired off a fundraising email that said the CNN reporter had never spoken to the campaign.

"She has terrible sources on the campaign — I was the only senior staffer who even knew who she was when she went on air," Conant wrote.

CNN told POLITICO the organization stands by the reporting “100 percent.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/marco-rubio-ted-cruz-hawaii-dirty-tricks-220423#ixzz42LBJ196S
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The root cause of the story, though, is that it is very plausible. CNN's report on Ben Carson heading home to change his drawers after Iowa was interpreted as a sign that he was getting out of the race because that was the logical inference. The story about Rubio quitting before Florida is plausible because based on Rubio's past and projected future campaign successes he is finished. It makes sense that he wouldn't want to be humiliated in Florida.

Some time after the CNN story ran, this started circulating in Hawaii and the Rubio campaign and its fanboys lost their s***.

(I have no idea who this Ellen Carmichael person is, I'm must using her tweet because it has the offending image and her frothing.)

Since then the Rubio campaign has tried on its post-Iowa strategy for size yet again:

The Cruz campaign has issued a comprehensive denial that they are affiliated with the group that sent the image beyond those people wanting to elect Ted Cruz:

That isn't good enough for the Rubio fans. Back to Ellen Carmichael who is chasing the vestiges of her sanity with a butterfly net:

By this logic if I declare myself to be King of France on my website that means I am, no matter what the French say. And now the Rubio campaign is trying to raise money by accusing Ted Cruz of quoting CNN:

rubio fundraiser

All of this is nonsense. If I fault the Cruz campaign for anything here it is for not putting that CNN headline on every television ad they run between now and March 15. It is not the Cruz campaign's job to knock down stories that harm Rubio. That is the job of the Rubio campaign. And the way they are handling this is a textbook violation of how one deals with an allegation that is false: you don't repeat the allegation. I guarantee you that by now more people have heard of the CNN story by the Rubio campaign's efforts than heard of it by virtue of paying attention to CNN.