— -- NOTABLES
--TRUMP MORE THAN DOUBLES CRUZ: This morning’s new CNN/ORC poll -- conducted after the most recent the GOP debate -- gave frontrunner Donald Trump a commanding lead with 39 percent support, ABC’s CORINNE CATHCART notes. Cruz came in second with 18 percent, while Rubio came in third – tied with Ben Carson - with 10 percent. http://abcn.ws/1m6Drtf
--THE DONALD CLAIMS DEROGATORY REMARK AIMED AT CLINTON 'NOT VULGAR': Donald Trump hit back at suggestions that a remark he made about Hillary Clinton was sexually derogatory -- tweeting Tuesday night that the phrase was "not vulgar." Trump has been under fire since Monday for making eyebrow-raising remarks about the former Secretary of State, including that he thought that her use of a bathroom break during the most recent Democratic debate was "disgusting" and that she "got [expletive]" during the 2008 election, when she lost to Barack Obama. In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump called the media "dishonest" for its characterization of his remarks and said that the term he used was "not vulgar." "When I said Hillary got [expletive] that meant beaten badly," he said, according to ABC’s JOHN SANTUCCI and TOM LIDDY: http://abcn.ws/1J3MlS3
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Another poll with Trump on top? That’s not a surprise anymore. But widen the lens of this race and the year is ending in some unexpected ways, even without vulgar nouns turning into verbs. First, Donald Trump still hasn’t substantially tapped his fortune for TV ads, not with his free-media campaign succeeding the way it is. Second, he’s barely getting attacked by his main rivals anymore. Jeb Bush’s and John Kasich’s super PACs are knocking him hard, but their numbers are headed more toward Graham territory than Trump. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio is being attacked by Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie, to make no mention of Trump’s occasional jabs. Rubio is spending most of his time hitting Cruz, in the developing battle for Iowa, amid Ben Carson’s fade. The banking-on-New Hampshire crowd of Bush, Kasich, and Christie are tangling with each other. And now, of course, Trump’s biggest fight isn’t with any Republican: It’s with Hillary Clinton.
--JEB BUSH ON HILLARY -- ‘GREAT AT BEING THE VICTIM’: Jeb Bush said that Hillary Clinton is "great at being the victim" after he was asked about controversial remarks the real estate mogul made about the former First Lady, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH reports. Speaking after a town Hall in New Hampshire yesterday, Bush denounced Trump, calling him a "chaos candidate" and, rather than coming to her defense, went on to slam Clinton. "She’s great at being the victim. You know the victim, this will enhance her victimology status this is what, this is what she loves doing," he said. http://abcn.ws/1mg7UV2
TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s CORINNE CATHCART: With just days until Christmas, most candidates are down for the holiday. Still, GOP candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are out on the trail in New Hampshire and Oklahoma respectively. Rubio has a pancake breakfast in Franklin and Cruz has stops in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. On the Democratic side, candidate Bernie Sanders has the busiest day with a two stops in the Hawkeye State in the morning, followed by a community gathering and press conference in Illinois.
YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL:
--HILLARY CLINTON STANDS BY CLAIM THAT ISIS USES DONALD TRUMP IN VIDEOS. While campaigning in Iowa yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stood by her claim that ISIS operatives are using Republican front-runner Donald Trump in recruitment videos for the terrorist organization. "If you go on Arabic television, as we have, and you look at what is being blasted out, video of Mr. Trump being translated into Arabic, no Muslims coming into the United States, other kinds of derogatory, defamatory statements," Clinton said. "It is playing into the hands of the violent jihadists." More from ABC’s JOSH HASKELL and LIZ KREUTZ: http://abcn.ws/1m6i5fz
--CLINTON CAMP CALLS TRUMP’S COMMENTS ‘DEGRADING’ TO WOMEN. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign today blasted Republican front-runner Donald Trump for what it called sexually derogatory comments he made at a campaign rally Monday night. "We are not responding to Trump but everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should,” communications director Jen Palmieri tweeted. (Kreutz/Santucci) http://abcn.ws/1MuzdQR
@ezraklein: The mystery isn’t why support for Trump is so high. It’s why it’s so low: http://www.vox.com/2015/12/23/10657516/donald-trump-polls?utm_campaign=ezraklein&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter …
@JoeBrettell: Attacks on #Cruz in past 24 hrs have been a joke. First his kids (never ok) then a non-story about semantics at a fundraiser? C'mon...
@McCormackJohn: On cable news last night the only "story" seemed to be Trump saying "schlonged." What a dumb time to be alive.