The Note: Silver State Shuffle

VIDEO: Donald Trump Reacts to Protester in NevadaPlayABCNews.com
WATCH Donald Trump Reacts to Protester in Nevada

NOTABLES

--TONIGHT IN NEVADA: Nevada caucus goers chose Hillary Clinton last Saturday, and today, Republican voters will decide on their favorite GOP hopeful. With only five candidates remaining, the stakes are high in the Silver State. Donald Trump got 33.5 percent of the vote in South Carolina, and a CNN/ORC poll released last Wednesday shows Trump at 45 percent in the Silver State, while Rubio and Cruz are far behind at 19 and 17 percent, respectively, ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ, VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and RYAN STRUYK note. Nevada’s GOP electorate is not nearly as diverse as Democrats’, but one in 10 voters were nonwhite in 2012. The Silver State has a huge base of conservatives -- 83 percent of GOP caucus-goers were conservatives in 2012 and half of all caucus-goers said they were “very conservative” -- more than any other early state. But unlike Iowa and South Carolina, there isn’t a large evangelical base to draw from. Fewer than three in 10 people say they are evangelical Christians.

--CRUZ ASKS FOR COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR’S RESIGNATION: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced Monday in Nevada that he has asked for his Communications Director Rick Tyler's resignation. Cruz's actions comes after Tyler shared on his social media account a subtitled cellphone video that falsely shows Rubio telling a young man that “not many answers” are in the Bible, and after Rubio condemned the move as a "dirty trick." Tyler deleted the post and then apologized for it. But Cruz did not think it was enough. ABC’s INES DE LA CUETARA and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI have more. http://abcn.ws/1LCNiga

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Talk about a bad time for campaign chaos. Ted Cruz is confronting the biggest organizational challenge to his campaign at the same time he faces the biggest existential one. Super Tuesday, with its swath of southern states offering potential Cruz victories, will arrive now without Rick Tyler. It will also arrive with Cruz getting aggressive questions about his campaign style; in South Carolina’s exit polls, only Donald Trump was judged to have run a more unfair campaign than the guy who has “TrusTed” printed in banners behind him. Cruz and his team are savvy political operators and consumers of data who still see a realistic path through next Tuesday and beyond. But it’s Marco Rubio with a touch of challenger’s momentum. And, again, it could be Trump benefiting from the chaos among his rivals – lucky, but also out making his own luck.

 

YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI and PAOLA CHAVEZ

SPIKE LEE ENDORSES BERNIE SANDERS. The battle for African-American celebrity backing and voters continues to be a major part of the Democratic nominating contest this week. And the Bernie Sanders campaign will start running radio ads today in South Carolina featuring another famous voice: Spike Lee. “Waaaaake up! Wake up, South Carolina!” Lee begins in the new spot first obtained by ABC News from the Bernie Sanders campaign, ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS and JOSH HASKELL report. “This is your dude, Spike Lee. And you know that I know that you know that the system is rigged! And for too long we’ve given our votes to corporate puppets. Sold the okie doke. Ninety-nine percent of Americans were hurt by the Great Recession of 2008, and many are still recovering. “That’s why I am officially endorsing my brother, Bernie Sanders. Bernie takes no money from corporations. Nada. Which means he’s not on the tape, and when Bernie gets into the White House, he will do the right thing!” the actor, writer and film producer continues in the ad. http://abcn.ws/1TC7d6L

NOTED: SANDERS MOCKS IDEA THAT WALL STREET MONEY WON’T INFLUENCE CLINTON. During a fiery press conference in Boston Monday afternoon, Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton and her super PAC for their fundraising tactics. “Every candidate who has ever received special interest money always says that the millions and millions of dollars that they receive will never influence them. Never. Never. Never,” he said. “If these contributions from Wall Street and other powerful special interests have no influence over the candidate, why are these special interests making huge campaign contributions? “Maybe they're dummies and maybe they just think they can throw millions of dollars at a candidate and expect to get nothing from that. Maybe. I doubt that very much,” he continued. While Sanders has made similar insinuations about Clinton in the past, yesterday he was more forceful and blunt than he has been recently, ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS notes. http://abcn.ws/1RXSoKu

KASICH: WOMEN ‘LEFT THEIR KITCHENS’ TO HELP ME GET ELECTED TO OFFICE. Speaking about his early days running for office in the Ohio Legislature, John Kasich referred to women "who left their kitchens" to help him. "How did I get elected?” he told a town hall at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, Monday, referring to campaigning decades ago. "Nobody was -- I didn't have anybody for me. We just got an army of people, who, and many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and to put yard signs up for me. All the way back, when, you know, things were different." According to ABC’s BEN GITTLESON, Kasich, currently the governor of Ohio, first ran for state Senate in Ohio in 1978. http://abcn.ws/1RXjpxV

A CLOSER LOOK AT DONALD TRUMP’S WIN WITH EVANGELICAL VOTERS. There were two big surprises on Saturday: Bernie Sanders won the Hispanic vote in the Nevada Democratic caucuses and evangelicals threw their support behind Donald Trump in the South Carolina primary. Evangelicals were thick on the ground in South Carolina, accounting for 72 percent of voters, up from 65 percent in 2012. ABC’s GARY LANGER has more. http://abcn.ws/1Q6fxGa

HOW HILLARY CLINTON AND BERNIE SANDERS FARED AMONG HISPANICS AND BLACKS. Bernie Sanders’ surprise showing among Hispanics in the Nevada caucuses is worth a closer look. There’s been some head-scratching about the entrance poll result; The New York Times suggested that Sanders’ 8-point win among Hispanics was an unreliable finding, perhaps distorted by the vagaries of cluster sampling. Entrance and exit polls aren’t perfect, for sure; extrapolating from precinct populations to caucus-goers is pretty fraught in itself. And in fact there’s a good reason for Sanders to have done well among Hispanics: They’re young. ABC’s GARY LANGER and JULIE E. PHELAN have more.  http://abcn.ws/1LCK2S4
 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

5 MOST INTERESTING MOMENTS COVERING JEB BUSH. After Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush suspended his campaign Saturday, staffers and reporters reflected on his candidacy. One staffer, through her tears, lamented, "He was just a decent guy." Regardless of his successes and failures as a candidate and irrespective of his policies, Bush was a fun guy to cover. He treated the media with respect, and his staff, ever the consummate professionals, made the candidate accessible, holding press availabilities several times a week. And Bush himself, much to the chagrin of his communications department, was physically unable to not answer a question posed to him. His candor, dry sense of humor, and penchant for joking with the reporters who covered him made the jobs of the traveling press interesting, to say the least. ABC’s CANDACE SMITH has the five most interesting moments covering Bush. http://abcn.ws/1WDsH11

 

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX

CORRECT THE RECORD SAYS SANDERS ‘SOUNDS JUST LIKE A REPUBLICAN’ ON GUNS. A fresh memo from the pro-Hillary Clinton group, Correct the Record, hits rival Bernie Sanders for his stances on gun control. Founder David Brock writes: “Sanders likes to talk about holding corporate America accountable. But when it comes to gun makers, the Senator’s logic falls flat. How else to explain his vote to side with the NRA to oppose victim liability lawsuits? That’s one less tool for the families of Sandy Hook victims. Or his—count them—five votes against the Brady Bill, a law meant to separate firearms from known criminals? Or his vote to block scientific research on gun violence? These examples go back years.” READ: http://bit.ly/20SLpmD

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@katiepack: NEW: @realDonaldTrump and his "Convenient Conservatism" See our strategic memo here: https://media.gractions.com/57C7B3422630ECF30F15C1141454F12E5FFFCA1A/69d9efbb-b496-4f2e-8940-70098fe34cb4.pdf …

@MajorCBS: Marc Short, key $$ player/strategist for Koch Brothers Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce off to @marcorubio for inner circle role #big

@aterkel: DC Republicans who support Trump don't really want to talk about why they back him http://wapo.st/1T2rLWn 

@ktumulty: Underplayed story of the day: Analysts Question Viability of Tax Cuts Proposed by GOP Candidates, via @calmesnyt http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/us/politics/analysts-question-viability-of-deep-tax-cuts-proposed-by-republican-candidates.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share …

@GarrettHaake: I'm not seeing many pre-Super Tuesday candidate visits to VA announced. Could reflect polls showing Trump & Clinton have Virginia sewn up