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Steve Benen
Works at MSNBC
Attended George Washington University
Lives in Essex Junction, Vermont
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, February 8, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* It was the debate debacle that launched a thousand memes. The Marcobot Moment. The Marco Malfunction. Rubot. Marco Roboto. The larger question now is whether, and how much, it'll matter (http://on.msnbc.com/1PgNN3o).

* On a related note, while you've probably heard about Rubio robotically repeating his talking points, over and over again, everyone hasn't heard that the talking points subtly endorsed an anti-Obama idea from the crackpot fringe (http://on.msnbc.com/1TOLBDa).

* It was alarming enough when Republican presidential candidates spent months expressing tacit support for torture. Over the weekend, it got much, much worse (http://on.msnbc.com/1Ri0Wvv).

* Progressive activists had a specific goal: push Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton into ruling out Social Security cuts. Their efforts are producing important results (http://on.msnbc.com/1Q3LNZm).

* Shortly after accusing Democrats of "extremism" on abortion, one Republican presidential hopeful stated his own far-from-the-mainstream position ... which suggests he may have the whole accusation backwards (http://on.msnbc.com/1Px0Uv7).

* With one day remaining before the New Hampshire primary, the latest polling is a bit of a mess (http://on.msnbc.com/20RrxlR). The only thing the surveys agree on is Donald Trump has a double-digit lead.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, February 4, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Marco Rubio's condemnation of President Obama's first-ever mosque visit was ugly and bewildering -- even by the standards of the 2016 campaign (http://on.msnbc.com/1S2rySa).

* The day after Rick Santorum endorsed Marco Rubio, he was asked to name one of Rubio's accomplishments. It really didn't go well (http://on.msnbc.com/1S32pH3).

* There's an important new wrinkle in the "controversy" surrounding Hillary Clinton's emails: We now know Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice did the exact same thing (http://on.msnbc.com/1VRenBG).

* Ted Cruz went further than anyone yesterday trying to turn the Flint crisis into a partisan food fight. There's just one detail he seems completely unaware of (http://on.msnbc.com/1S2HBzm).

* The way Senate Republicans are treating Adam Szubin makes it that much more difficult to take them seriously on matters of national security (http://on.msnbc.com/1S2wruz).

* Congratulations, Republican voters, party insiders have decided who you're supposed to vote for (http://on.msnbc.com/1PkAlsR).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, February 2, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Republicans may not want to hear this, but their Iowa caucuses didn't bring clarity. They added chaos (http://on.msnbc.com/1VIzt5a).

* Trump won the polls; Rubio won the media hype; but Cruz won the voters. Let's break down the Iowa results from a pitch-vs-hype-vs-truth perspective (http://on.msnbc.com/1maikFx).

* To have credible shot in the coming weeks and months, Bernie Sanders was counting on a win in Iowa. He came just shy of his goal (http://on.msnbc.com/1o2ilN6).

* The polls out of Iowa weren't quite right. We have a pretty good idea why (http://on.msnbc.com/1SqBwxo).

* The timing could hardly be better: House Republicans are voting to repeal "Obamacare" ... on Groundhog Day (http://on.msnbc.com/1maZHBg).

* Not only is the crisis in Flint ongoing, the investigation into this catastrophe appears to be expanding. As of today, the FBI is now involved (http://on.msnbc.com/1SWoV4z).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, January 29, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Many have argued that in order to win a debate, a candidate actually has to show up. As it turns out, the latest Republican debate - and Donald Trump's win - offers proof to the contrary (http://on.msnbc.com/1NFkOlx).

* Despite all the attention on polls lately, much of the political world has missed something: As Americans consider the 2016 field, President Obama's support is going up, not down (http://on.msnbc.com/1PFjCQk).

* Last year, the Snyder administration told Flint residents their tap water safe. Two weeks earlier, the Snyder administration issued a notice to its own employees, saying ... something very different (http://on.msnbc.com/1Kf8IET).

* Bush's Defense Secretary said recently Republican presidential candidates "don't know what they're talking about." By repeating Mitt Romney's discredited talking points, Marco Rubio is helping prove the point (http://on.msnbc.com/1PJWvdH).

* I don't think it's a coincidence that Ted Cruz's fortunes reversed immediately after Trump started talking about Cruz being born on Canadian soil (http://on.msnbc.com/1PYLH5G).

* When it comes to celebrating looming failure, Jeb Bush might want to think twice about using the phrase "mission accomplished" (http://on.msnbc.com/1PnNC7J).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, January 27, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Hillary Clinton believes it would be "a great idea" to put President Obama on the Supreme Court. One key problem may stand in the way (http://on.msnbc.com/23t55l0).

* After seizing a federal building in early January, the Bundys said, "We're planning on staying here for years, absolutely." It's turning out to be quite a bit less time than that. Gunfire interrupted the calm overnight (http://on.msnbc.com/1OP2FWq).

* Does the Republican establishment have a vague plan on how to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination? Yes. It's a convoluted mess that's likely to fail? Yes (http://on.msnbc.com/1SKoLwU).

* Officials from both of parties desperately hoped to avoid drama over candidate debates during the 2016 campaign. As of now, the parties' plans really aren't going well (http://on.msnbc.com/1nyxC8B).

* "The level of dialogue on national security issues would embarrass a middle schooler." When the Bush/Cheney Pentagon chief talks this way about his own party's candidates, it matters (http://on.msnbc.com/20t4cqq).

* Obtaining an unregulated flamethrower is surprisingly easy throughout most of the country. This has led to the greatest name for a piece of legislation in a very long time (http://on.msnbc.com/1TnR5Vr).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, January 25, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* With a week to go before actual voting begins, the race for the Republican nomination is coming into focus in new and bizarre ways (http://on.msnbc.com/20p7tqI).

* Presidential candidates probably shouldn't celebrate natural disasters that kill a lot of Americans, but for some reason, that's exactly what Marco Rubio did over the weekend (http://on.msnbc.com/1QnNuUp)

* There's a lot of punditry that says Bernie Sanders is inheriting President Obama's mantle of change. Obama doesn't agree -- and the reasons matter (http://on.msnbc.com/1SHk0El).

* It's one thing for a politician to fib about Obamacare coverage. It's worse when he fibs about his own Obamacare coverage. Ted Cruz's ACA whopper is a doozy (http://on.msnbc.com/1Pg1Ze3).

* North Dakota passed a law that would have required some women to terminate unwanted pregnancies before they even knew they were pregnant. Did the far-right experiment work out? Today, we received an answer (http://on.msnbc.com/1Jzbtkm).

* Only one governor declared a blizzard-related state of emergency on Friday, and then left home for a New Hampshire fundraiser on Saturday. Here's a hint: it wasn't Chris Christie (http://on.msnbc.com/1TkcL4N).

* A Senate Republican blocking a qualified Army Secretary - during a war - is a bad idea. The GOP senator's excuse is even worse (http://on.msnbc.com/1lKuq88).
With the Iowa caucuses now just a week away, polling suggests only one candidate is headed in the right direction.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, February 5, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* The U.S. unemployment rate has finally dropped below 5%. What makes this especially striking is noting just how long it's been since we've been here (http://on.msnbc.com/1T2O39J).

* There can be little doubt who won the first one-on-one debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: Democratic voters (http://on.msnbc.com/1Kun1W7).

* Republicans used to get a good laugh mocking Affordable Care Act enrollment totals. As of yesterday, the right apparently isn't laughing anymore (http://on.msnbc.com/1UQwbg6).

* Michigan Republicans have a bold new idea: characterizing the Obama administration as the villain in the Flint crisis. It's a deeply flawed argument for one unavoidable reason (http://on.msnbc.com/1K3exVW).

* The good news: Ted Cruz recognizes the addiction crisis as a real, important national issue. The bad news: Ted Cruz's proposed solution is very hard to take seriously (http://on.msnbc.com/1K34oZz).

* I'm glad House Speaker Paul Ryan says he agrees with Democrats on improving voting rights. I just wish he was also willing to do more than nothing to actually get something done on the issue (http://on.msnbc.com/1mi8IIP).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, February 3, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Maybe, before presidential candidates go on a "victory lap," they should actually have a victory first (http://on.msnbc.com/1KqmaWB).

* Sometimes, a short video can capture so much of what's wrong with a struggling candidate. Take a look at the new clip, for example, of Jeb Bush asking one of his audiences, "Please clap" (http://on.msnbc.com/1NQySIV).

* It may not seem like a high-profile, 2016 political issue, but Hillary Clinton hopes "environmental justice" - and water access - is something voters will care about at a fundamental level (http://on.msnbc.com/1KpLjAE).

* Not too long ago, Rand Paul was labeled the "frontrunner" for the Republicans' 2016 nomination. As of today, he's out -- and it's worth understanding why (http://on.msnbc.com/1QG5pGg).

* It's not just Mexico -- Republicans continue to see the Canadian border as a threat to U.S. national security. The question is whether that makes any sense (http://on.msnbc.com/1UKwTM0).

* After coming in second to Mitt Romney last time, Rick Santorum said he was "next in line." The question has always been whether Republican voters would care. Now we know (http://on.msnbc.com/1PATCtT).
When a third-place finisher pretends to have scored an amazing victory, something weird is going on.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, February 1, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* The countdown is over and the Iowa caucuses have arrived. New polling lets us know something important: the Republican contest is likely to be close (http://on.msnbc.com/1NLKsF5).

* And among Iowa Democrats, polling suggests the first nominating contest is going to be even closer (http://on.msnbc.com/23DK1IR).

* Coverage of campaigns can get downright weird when a candidate becomes a media darling. Take the expectations surrounding Marco Rubio -- which are getting increasingly bonkers (http://on.msnbc.com/1nAdiTM).

* Over the last several days, Ted Cruz has been pressed to answer a simple question: Show us your alternative to Obamacare. The answer hasn't gone well -- and yesterday it got much worse (http://on.msnbc.com/23EtQL8).

* President Obama surely knows his first trip to a mosque will create a strong reaction on the far-right. The question is whether or not the White House actually cares (http://on.msnbc.com/1UD8CY2).

* For those who believe Washington needs a Cheney in a policymaking role again, there's good news (http://on.msnbc.com/1nzCDx7). For those who believe we're better off without a Cheney in elected office, the news is less good.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, January 28, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* When one presidential candidate is dominating in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina at the same time ... it tends to get everyone's attention (http://on.msnbc.com/1VusrAU).

* It may be time for the GOP to "give up its crusade" against Planned Parenthood, but there's a reason Republicans are having an extremely hard time moving on (http://on.msnbc.com/1Qvfbef).

* As the Flint water crisis continues, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is seeing his political support slowly evaporate (http://on.msnbc.com/1SlpCmx).

* It's not officially over, but the militants' standoff in Oregon is collapsing quickly. We appear to be witnessing the beginning of the end of a tense and dangerous situation (http://on.msnbc.com/1OZN6Jt).

* Asked to name his greatest influence, other than Reagan, Ted Cruz pointed to ... Reagan. Taking a closer look, and given Reagan's actual record, this was arguably even worse than it seems (http://on.msnbc.com/1NDzodj).

* Trump may be the GOP frontrunner, but he has exactly zero congressional endorsements. Who'll be the first to stand behind him? (http://on.msnbc.com/1lXt5ea)
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, January 26, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Conservatives who said there would be criminal indictments in the Planned Parenthood controversy were half-right. But in an amazing twist, the accusers have suddenly become the accused (http://on.msnbc.com/1TlkAXY).

* When is an attack ad not an attack ad? When a Republican mega-donor tries to help Bernie Sanders by pretending to criticize him (http://on.msnbc.com/1WMKcNi).

* Jerry Falwell Jr is to Donald Trump as Pat Robertson is to Rudy Giuliani (http://on.msnbc.com/1NyACGF).

* Glenn Beck thinks Ted Cruz is the next George Washington. And while that's funny, the funnier part is just how often Beck reached this conclusion -- about people other than Cruz (http://on.msnbc.com/1K8w7rv).

* A bipartisan compromise came together on criminal justice reform. It's backed by President Obama - and the Koch brothers. So why do Tom Cotton and his allies plan to kill it? (http://on.msnbc.com/1TlXxw3)

* Why are Ted Cruz and the NRA suddenly so interested in Australian gun control? Here's a hint: it's not because they're looking for a model to follow (http://on.msnbc.com/1QqzdXl).

* When one method of execution is deemed gruesome or cruel, policymakers move towards another. So why does Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) want to bring back the guillotine? (http://on.msnbc.com/1S9hbwh).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, January 21, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Bernie Sanders caused a stir this week, saying he's "taking on" an "establishment" that includes groups like Planned Parenthood. Yesterday, however, Sanders said something very different (http://on.msnbc.com/1JoUiBL).

* Jeb Bush told reporters yesterday, "It's good to get an endorsement from your mother." After listening to Barbara Bush's specific pitch on his behalf, he may change his mind (http://on.msnbc.com/1nqQMgD).

* As Gov. Rick Snyder (R) scrambles in response to the Flint crisis, he's focusing some of his attention on ... "culture in government"? (http://on.msnbc.com/20jm7zK)

* As the presidential race comes into focus, a year's worth of conventional wisdom is being turned on its head (http://on.msnbc.com/1JovtpL).

* The good news: the Senate is moving closer to voting on authorizing the anti-ISIS mission that President Obama launched a year and a half ago. The bad news: the draft AUMF is ridiculous (on.msnbc.com/20iZg7o).

* Do presidential candidates from states neighboring New Hampshire enjoy an advantage in the first-in-the-nation primary? Let's take a stroll down memory lane, because the results are surprisingly interesting (on.msnbc.com/1nqyEUe).
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In his circles
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Work
Employment
  • MSNBC
    Producer, The Rachel Maddow Show, 2012 - present
  • Washington Monthly
    Contributing Writer, 2008 - 2012
  • The Carpetbagger Report
    Founder, Publisher, 2003 - 2008
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State
    Communications Department, 1997 - 2002
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Currently
Essex Junction, Vermont
Previously
Washington, DC - Miami, FL
Story
Tagline
Campaign-covering, chart-making, policy-wonking progressive blogger/reporter/commentator for MSNBC
Introduction

Before joining MSNBC, I was a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, headlining the "Political Animal" blog. I've also written for a variety of other publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com. My blogging career started in February 2003 with the launch of The Carpetbagger Report.

Bragging rights
In July 2009, The Atlantic named me one of the top 50 most influential political commentators in the United States. (I finished one slot above Lou Dobbs, which made the honor that much more satisfying.)
Education
  • George Washington University
    1996
Basic Information
Gender
Male