This just in from the political beat

Running 400 points behind Donald Trump, Ted Cruz's decision to name Carly Fiorina as his running mate early seems "the political equivalent of a student pulling a fire alarm," writes NYT's Jonathan Martin (breaking news at 7,500+ shares so far). "Cruz is losing but choosing a veep? It's so HIM. Should have seen this coming a mile away," reflects Frank Bruni, also at the NY Times. And actually, Matt Lewis at The Daily Caller did call it in advance: "More than a month ago, I wrote that Cruz should pick Fiorina as his running mate--early." Well spotted. "Last underdog to try naming a running mate was Reagan in '76 -- but it backfired by angering the right," notes NYT's chief White House correspondent Peter Baker. " So how will this play out with Trump? "Fiorina *really* agitates Trump – aides begged him last spring/summer to tone down attacks," points out NYT political correspondent Alex Burns.

On that note, Julia Ioffe scored a heckuva Melania Trump interview for GQ, in which Ioffe perfectly writes, ""Melania is as tailored to The Donald as if a divine plastic surgeon had sculpted her out of his rib." At GQ, Jason Zengerle observes, "@juliaioffe went to Slovenia and all she got was this scoop on the half-brother Melania Trump never knew she had." Oh, is that all. And then there was The Donald's recent foreign policy speech, in which he struggled to explain his "America first" approach. "On national security Trump has benefited from perception Obama is too restrained. Hard to see why he'd tone it down," notes Katty Kay at BBC World News America. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders' campaign began laying off staff, as the senator turned his focus to California. "It's better to fade away than bern out?" guesses Fortune's Daniel Bentley. Also, today marked the legal reckoning of onetime Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who has just been sentenced to 15 months for being a "serial child molester." Katharine Q. Seelye with the NY Times calls it a "Stunning fall from grace, from 2d in line to president to jail for sex abuse."

Two more items, just for fun: first, feast your eyes on the official trailer for SNOWDEN, Oliver Stone's newest flick on just that. "I wouldn't have thought of casting Zachary Quinto to play @ggreenwald, but it looks like a good choice," muses Daniel Drezner at the Washington Post, while Edward Snowden himself tweets, "For two minutes and thirty nine seconds, everybody at NSA just stopped working." And you can't overlook what might be Alexandra Petri's best work yet,  on how to play the "woman card," which includes observations like, "Unlike Man Cards, Woman Cards do not increase in value as they age. Even in mint condition, they are worthless." Neda Semnani at The Baffler Magazine jokes, "This woman is a card!"

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