The Note: The Jeb Files

By MICHAEL FALCONE

NOTABLES

--BUSH INSISTS 'NO WAY' HE'LL DROP OUT OF CAMPAIGN BEFORE IOWA: GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush said yesterday he will not drop out of the presidential race before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, despite his sinking poll numbers. ABC's JONATHAN KARL joined Bush on his campaign bus after a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire. When asked about his sagging numbers, Bush told Karl it isn't affecting his newly rebooted campaign. "I don't even care; it's not relevant," Bush said. "History is full of examples of people who were high in the polls and dropped out. Good examples of people who were low in the polls who ended up winning. So, I just gotta go earn it." ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN has more. http://abcn.ws/1GLxyKW

--BUSH HOLDS UP HIS RECORD TO RIVALS: Bush is laying out a comeback plan for his faltering campaign, downplaying sinking poll numbers while pitting his leadership record against rivals like Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. In an exclusive first interview on board his campaign bus yesterday, Bush said that campaigning for president is "a contact sport." "I've just got to go earn it," Bush said. "I don't talk about the process because people don't care about the process." Bush plans to stick closer to his "comfort zone" by telling his story as governor of Florida in a positive way, holding up his record against his political rivals, ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN reports. http://abcn.ws/1H8td4t

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: Beneath the churn, polling is starting to suggest a modicum of stability inside the Republican race. Donald Trump may look weaker of late in a head-to-head with Ben Carson, but both men are polling consistently in the mid 20s -- your first tier. The other two candidates who crack double digits -- Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz -- mark a second tier. The third tier could be the rest of those who make the main stage at debates -- a shrinking group, potentially, based on how Fox Business News decides to handle things. Then there's the rest of the field, mired in the low single digits and struggling to get out. Movement is possible, of course, in the coming months. But for all the odd developments in the race to date, it looks like things are stabilizing -- to the frustration of anyone not in the top four right now.

--NOTED -- HOW JEB BUSH CHEATS ON HIS DIET: Bush revealed earlier this year the secret behind pictures showing his significant weight loss as he launched his bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination: the Paleo diet. However, in a tour of Bush's campaign bus, Bush revealed that even a candidate for the nation's highest office can get away with cheating every once in a while. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1l8i4qG

--'PAIN IS PART OF LIFE': On the second New Hampshire day of GOP candidate Jeb Bush's bus tour, he waded into murky waters, as old views resurfaced at a campaign stop, ABC's CANDACE SMITH notes. While at Hollis Pharmacy and General Store, Bush was asked about the growing drug problem across the country. He proceeded to talk about the FDA's allowance of prescribing oxycontin to children, Bush decrying the perils of over-prescribing. "We have to take a pause, we're not you know, pain is part of life that you have to monitor pain for sure and you have to deal with it but over-prescribing creates all sorts of adverse outcomes," Bush said. http://abcn.ws/1Nu0ZT4

FIRST ON ABC -- LISTEN TO BEN CARSON'S NEW RAP AD AIMED AT AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTERS. To add to Ben Carson's unconventional and unorthodox campaign style, his campaign is launching a bit of a different advertising strategy. Rapping. Yes, Dr. Carson is launching a new 60-second urban radio advertisement scheduled to air Friday in eight markets, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS reports. His new $150,000 radio ad buy, called "Freedom," will air for two weeks in Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee and Little Rock, Arkansas. AUDIO: http://abcn.ws/1Q6L1jq

HAPPENING TODAY -- WHY BERNIE SANDERS PLANS TO GET ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE BALLOT MIGHT BE TRICKY. This afternoon, the longest-serving independent in Congress, Bernie Sanders, will declare himself a "Democrat" in order to appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot. The fact that an independent has been running for the Democratic Party's nomination has only created linguistic challenges for journalists, but there remains a slim chance that it could create ballot challenges for the progressive superstar during the party primary process too. The New Hampshire 'Declaration of Candidacy' form requires candidates to fill in this ominous blank: "I am a registered member of the ___________________ party." The Sanders campaign confirmed to ABC News that Sanders will write in "Democrat" on the form. The question is now: will New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner accept the form from Sanders? http://abcn.ws/1l938Zh

THE BUZZ

with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ

LISTEN TO DONALD TRUMP'S FIRST RADIO ADS OF 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump is releasing his first radio ads of the 2016 campaign, ABC's RYAN STRUYK reports. "If the people of Iowa vote for me, you'll never be disappointed," Trump says in an ad first played this morning on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. "My opponents have no experience in creating jobs or making deals," he says in the 60-second ad. "Obamacare is a total disaster. It will be repealed and replaced with something much better." The ads repeat several of Trump's classic lines from the campaign trail. They will start airing today in early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The buy is for $300,000. http://abcn.ws/1HbnnPL

MARCO RUBIO TO RELEASE RECORDS FOR CONTROVERSIAL CARD CHARGES IN A 'FEW WEEKS'. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio told ABC's JONATHAN KARL he would release records for a Florida Republican Party charge card "in a few weeks" after talk of his use of it for personal expenses surfaced again, ABC's INES DELACUETARA and ARLETTE SAENZ note. "We're going through them to make sure we have everything in place, that we don't have to do it twice. These are old records," Rubio said. "All of the expenses are already detailed in the Republican Party's filings, in department of State, in the department of Elections. In the next few weeks we'll make that public." While Rubio was Speaker of the House in Florida, he used a charge card issued by the state Republican Party for personal expenses. The expenses originally surfaced during his 2010 Senate race following investigations by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times. They came up again during the third Republican debate. http://abcn.ws/1Ntrs37

BEN CARSON'S UNUSUAL THEORY ABOUT EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson yesterday reinforced his longstanding belief that Egyptian pyramids were built by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS notes. Archaeologists have long asserted that these tombs were constructed for pharaohs. "It's still my belief, yes," the retired neurosurgeon told reporters Wednesday at a book tour stop in Naples, Fla. "Well, the pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time." Carson first articulated his theory at a 1998 commencement speech at Andrews University, a school founded by Seventh-day Adventists. http://abcn.ws/1OqBCmu

HERE'S WHO COULD MISS THE NEXT GOP DEBATE. It's possible that we could have already seen our last GOP debate with 10 candidates packed onto a stage. An ABC News analysis of recent national polls shows that Chris Christie is likely to be excluded from the fourth GOP debate slated for next Tuesday. In order to make the mainstage debate, a candidate must hit an average of 2.5 percent in the four most recent national polls, according to Fox Business criteria. A candidate must hit at least 1 percent in at least one of those four of those polls to make the undercard debate. A Fox Business rep told ABC News that the network will reveal the debate stage participants today at 7 p.m., ABC's RYAN STRUYK reports. http://abcn.ws/1kbZDB4

MARCO RUBIO FEELS 'A LITTLE BIT SORRY' FOR DARTH VADER. Marco Rubio seems to know the power of the dark side. Presidential candidates are often scrutinized for their flip-flops on matters of policy, but it's Rubio's references to the hit sci-fi franchise that have people buzzing like lightsabers -- including appearing to confuse two of the movies. "I used to hate Darth Vader. Now I kind of feel a little bit sorry for him because I know what he went through to get to that point," Rubio said of the iconic "Star Wars" villain during a campaign stop at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on Wednesday. With a new "Star Wars" movie set to hit theaters in December, Rubio fielded a question about the original film, offering a detailed character analysis of one of the most famous screen villains of all time. ABC's MICHAEL FALCONE, RYAN STRUYK and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI have more. http://abcn.ws/1l8gHbu



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

MARIJUANA, AIRBNB AND THE $15 MINIMUM WAGE: HOW 5 BALLOT MEASURES FARED ON ELECTION DAY. Local issues took the spotlight on Election Day 2015 as voters from San Francisco to Houston cast their ballots on important -- and controversial -- initiatives. The issues at stake included raising the minimum wage in Tacoma, Washington, legalizing marijuana in Ohio and enacting LGBT anti-discrimination laws in Texas. ABC's MADISON JAROS notes five key results from Tuesday's local elections. http://abcn.ws/1ksS3ll

WHO'S TWEETING?

@ZekeJMiller: .@michaelscherer: How Rubio Is Rising Like a 'GOP Obama' http://time.com/4101196/how-rubio-is-rising-like-a-gop-obama/ ...

@amychozick: More evidence that *everyone* is Group 2 RT @LACaldwellDC Sanders is on my flight this morning. Boarding in group 2

@tackettdc: "The big mistake that was made was letting Cheney bring in kind of his own State Department" http://nyti.ms/1RwW03c

@OKnox: .@timkaine tells me that, 16 months in, Obama still lacks a credible, comprehensive strategy for Syria. http://yhoo.it/1MKuuB9

@MarcACaputo: Is Jeb's "comeback" tour perfectly timed? If he stays in, he can only rise in the polls http://politi.co/1PcwhiO

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