Posted: 7:41 pm Monday, August 10th, 2015

The GOP shakeout is underway 

By Jamie Dupree

For all of the attention on GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, the first Republican debate last week in Cleveland may already be having its intended effect, boosting some of those running for President, and making it difficult for others to continue on even before the first ballot has been counted.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be the first casualty, as word spread yesterday that his campaign has stopped paying his staff – and basically told employees that if they want to look for another job, now is the time.

That obviously does not indicate a good future for Perry, who had hoped to be a serious challenger in 2016.

Perry’s debate performance last week was seen as okay – but he did not get the lion’s share of attention in the pre-debate debate, as that went instead to Carly Fiorina.

Perry isn’t the only one having money issues; Rick Santorum in recent days shifted some of his top staff to a Super PAC that’s backing him, as the former Senator has struggled to recapture his momentum of four years ago, when he won in Iowa and ten other states.

As for the next debate on September 16, CNN announced on Tuesday morning that the network has invited 16 of the 17 major Republicans – all but former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore – because he has not achieved 1 percent in any national poll.

It seems unlikely that Gilmore will reach that level over the next month, so he may also be pushed out of the GOP field.

Another GOP hopeful struggling is former New York Gov. George Pataki – a poll by PPP in Iowa in recent days found no one – not a single voter – choosing Pataki as their candidate.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reported a surge in post-debate donations to his campaign in the wake of the debate, and new poll numbers gave him a boost in Iowa as well.

As for Trump, he will be back in the spotlight on Tuesday, as he flies to Michigan to speak at a GOP dinner.

Ignoring the weekend furor over his spat with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Trump did what he’s best at, trolling other Republicans via social media.

In an Instagram video that only lasted 15 seconds, Trump managed to take jabs at President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, ending with a graphic that says:

Trump also last night trolled Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Twitter:

Clinton jabs at Trump, spars with Rubio

Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton weighed in on the controversy involving Donald Trump, and took aim at one Republican in particular over abortion.

“I said it was offensive, I said it was outrageous; I stand by that,” Clinton said of Trump’s scrap with Megyn Kelly.

Clinton then jabbed at the entire Republican field over abortion, and one GOP Senator specifically, on whether there should be an exception in anti-abortion laws for rape and incest.

“What Marco Rubio said has as much of an impact as to where the Republican Party is today,” Clinton said, labeling it an “offensive and troubling comment” that Rubio would not support such a plan.

Rubio fired right back.

“Hillary Clinton supports abortion even at the stage when an unborn child can feel pain,” Rubio said in a statement, adding that “she supports funding Planned Parenthood even after they have been exposed for their role in selling the organs of unborn children.”

Rubio’s camp meanwhile felt they were targeted for a reason.

In a sense, Rubio had edged Trump in the Hillary Clinton sweepstakes; while Clinton had taken a jab at Trump, she clearly felt it was more important to single out Rubio as well.

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