PRIORITIES USA FRIDAY HOT TAKES: RUBIO CREDIT CARD SCANDAL EXPLODES — PRIORITIES RELEASES 2 NEW WEB ADS — GOP MOBILIZING LATINOS…FOR HILLARY — CARSON CAMPAIGN GETTING WEIRD — MORE POLLS SHOW HILLARY’S STRENGTH

Good afternoon and welcome to the latest edition of “Friday Hot Takes” where I promise not to try and convince you that I ever tried and failed to stab someone. Honestly each week seems to get weirder, no? But unfortunately for Marco Rubio, it wasn’t weird enough to distract from wall to wall coverage of his credit card scandal that led to his worst week on the trail all year. To the week that was…

RUBIO CREDIT CARD SCANDAL EXPLODES. Who would have thought that this week would end with Marco Rubio wishing we were still talking about his bad attendance record in the Senate? It all started when the Tampa Bay Times reported “as speaker of the Florida House, Rubio was one of about a half-dozen lawmakers given Republican Party of Florida credit cards. During the Senate race, the Times/Herald obtained Rubio’s statements from 2007 and 2008, showing he routinely charged personal expenses, from a $10.50 movie ticket to a four-day, $10,000 family reunion…In those two years he charged about $110,000, and he said he sent about $16,000 to American Express to cover personal expenses, though the expenses were never detailed.”

More importantly, “through it all, Rubio has refused to provide credit card statements from 2005 and 2006.”

IN FACE OF SCANDAL, RUBIO’S LYING. It doesn’t help Marco’s cause that he appears to tell the truth about the credit cards as often as he shows up to vote in the Senate. MSNBC reports…“For example, Rubio said yesterday that he went through his charges “every month” and reimbursed the personal expenses initially paid for with party money. However, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “Records show Rubio sent payments to American Express totaling $13,900 for his personal expenses during his tenure as House speaker. But those payments were not made monthly…” Rubio also said yesterday, “[E]very expense on that card is detailed in the Republican Party accounts that they file every month with, reports that they have to file with the state.” But this doesn’t appear to be quite right, since there are still two years of undisclosed charges. Rubio claimed two weeks ago that all of these line of inquiry have been “discredited.” But we know this isn’t true — all of these questions point to evidence that hasn’t been refuted.”

Tampa Bay Times: Marco Rubio spent lavishly on a GOP credit card, but some transactions are still secret
MSNBC — Rubio’s personal finances under scrutiny
ABC News: Marco Rubio Defends Himself Against Attacks Over Personal Finances
CNN: Marco Rubio dismisses questions about his finance
Wall Street Journal: Marco Rubio Defends Use of Florida GOP Credit Card
New York Times: Marco Rubio Confronts New Scrutiny Over Use of Party Credit Card
People Magazine: A $10K Family Reunion: Marco Rubio’s Mysterious ‘Business’ Expenses Land Him in 2016 Campaign Hot Seat
Politico: Rubio fights back to defend financial past
Washington Post: Marco Rubio says he’ll release new credit card records ‘in the next few weeks’
MSNBC — Explaining Marco Rubio’s money problems
Mother Jones: Rubio Will Release Records of GOP Credit Card He Used for Personal Expenses
ABC News: Marco Rubio to Release Records for Controversial Card Charges in a ‘Few Weeks’
MSNBC: Rubio’s controversial finances keep getting messier
CNN: Marco Rubio campaign says state GOP credit card use rules unclear
Tampa Bay Times: GOP credit card only part of Marco Rubio’s story

OUR TAKE: Marco Rubio’s shady financial past is a major liability for him and his propensity for repeating debunked falsehoods in the face of easily verifiable evidence is making things much worse. What exactly is Marco Rubio hiding?

CARSON CAMPAIGN GETS WEIRD. It’s entirely possible that if Donald Trump wasn’t running then co-GOP frontrunner Ben Carson’s campaign would win the award for being the most disturbing. This week Ben Carson spent energy trying to convince us all that he really did try to stab someone after multiple stories reported that “nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described.”

CARSON CAMPAIGN GETS WEIRDER. But don’t worry, Ben Carson released this ad to show us all that he really is a serious candidate for President.

PRIORITIES RELEASES TWO NEW WEB ADS. This week priorities released two new web ads in the 1.5 million dollar “Wrong For Us” campaign. The first, titled “The GOP” Wrong For Seniors” was initially reported by the Washington Post and underscored GOP plans to gut Medicare & Social Security for our seniors. The second new spot called “Wrong For Ending Gun Violence” was first reported in Politico and contrasted the GOP’s do nothing attitude on gun violence with Hillary’s commitment to ending gun violence and saving lives.

WATCH: “Wrong For Ending Gun Violence”

WATCH: “The GOP: Wrong For Seniors”

GOP MOBILIZING LATINOS…FOR HILLARY. USA Today reports that “the first signs of a major U.S. Latino voter mobilization are forming, and it’s Republicans turbocharging an effort likely to help Hillary Clinton… The primary force behind the efforts is rhetoric by some leading Republicans, especially real estate billionaire Donald Trump, who’s called undocumented immigrants rapists and wants to build a border wall.”

RUBIO ANTI-DREAMER. This week “Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he’d eventually end protections for young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — a move that would take away the ability to work legally from tens of thousands of so-called Dreamers.”

Thanks guys!

POLL VAULTING. This week we saw Hillary’s support hit 50% nationally while she increased her lead in primary states. Meanwhile Donald Trump & Ben Carson continue to lead the GOP field with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio & Jeb! fighting it out for the other top two spots, which of course means home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

OH YEAH, THE ATTENDANCE THING. With so much focus on Rubio’s credit card scandal, I almost forgot that the week started with Rubio backpedaling over his shoddy attendance record in the Senate as he was forced to cancel campaign events to actually show up in DC and vote.

WAPO ON RUBIO’S BOGUS ATTENDANCE EXCUSE: The problem with Marco Rubio’s defense of his missed votes

GOP TAX PLANS UNDER FIRE. Vox reports “CTJ has also analyzed Donald Trump and Jeb Bush’s tax plans, and Rubio’s proposal cuts taxes for the top 1 percent about as much as Trump and more than Bush. Rubio would totally eliminate all taxes on investment income, which goes overwhelmingly to rich people”

MOSTLY FALSE, JEB! Politifact examined Jeb’s claim that the middle class gets the biggest tax break under his plan. “Bush said, “My plan actually gives the middle class the greatest break: $2,000 per family.” Middle-class families could potentially realize a higher percentage tax break, based on Bush’s plan. But that’s only counting those who would file their tax returns using the standard deduction, something the wealthy aren’t likely to do…Bush’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.”

DON’T MISS:

Bloomberg: Marco Rubio Dodges on ‘Personhood,’ Attacks Hillary Clinton on Abortion (I feel like we’ll be talking about this again)

Sun Sentinel: Five reasons Marco Rubio won’t be president

Pilot Tribune: King says Clinton campaign targeting him (LOL, OK.)

Orlando Sentinel: Rubio’s ugly record was hidden by ugly debate

The Daily Beast: Marco Rubio’s Slimy Pal Slithers Back

Politico: Ben Carson’s Medicare muddle

Fusion: Rubio received donations from execs of hedge funds invested in Puerto Rican debt before opposing bankruptcy

Huffington Post Blog: Follow the Money: Marco Rubio, Paul Singer, and the Argentine Connection

TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s tweet of the week goes to National Journal’s Emily Schultheis, who tweets “This Ben Carson radio rap/ad feels more like parody than real life https://soundcloud.com/abcpolitics/ben-carson-radio-adIt sure does, Emily.

Enjoy the weekend!

Justin Barasky @JustinBarasky |

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