What We Learned From Thursday's GOP Debate

The stakes were high for Rubio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The GOP stage is a lot less crowded now, and the tone was a lot calmer than the candidates' previous meeting. It's down to four candidates in the Republican presidential primary race, and time is running out for those party leaders who want to stop front-runner Donald Trump. (He managed to mention that former candidate Ben Carson would endorse him, which happened on Friday).  

During Thursday's CNN debate in Miami, which took place less than a week before the Florida primary and other winner-take-all contests that will more heavily influence the delegate count, Sen. Marco Rubio was under pressure to make his case in his home state.  

What We Learned From Wednesday's Democratic Debate

Sanders entered the debate after a close primary win in Michigan. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

The day after former secretary of state Hillary Clinton won a big primary victory in Mississippi and Sen. Bernie Sanders kept the race going with an upset victory, a close one, in Michigan, the two faced off in Miami. Broadcast on CNN  in English, and on Univision in Spanish, immigration was just one of the issues the candidates covered. Differences with Republicans were stark.  

Why Stopping Trump at Convention Is No Cure-All

Cruz’s unexpectedly strong victories in Maine and Kansas give some Republicans fresh hope that Trump will fail to win the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Michael Najvar is part of the Republican Party’s electoral bedrock: The 67-year-old Texan says he has voted for every GOP presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan. But that’s a streak that might end this fall, the Donald Trump supporter says, if rival campaigns and party bosses use a contested convention to block the New York billionaire from the presidential nomination.  

“If they used a brokered convention, they’d destroy the GOP,” says Navjar, who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday wearing Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” red hat.  

What We Learned From Sunday's Democratic Debate

Several strategists pointed out the difference in tone between Democrats' and Republican debates. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sunday was the Democrats' turn in the debate spotlight. The setting was indeed newsworthy. The host city for the CNN debate was Flint, Mich., where residents continue to deal with a toxic water crisis. The two candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both have spoken about challenges in Flint, and issues of racial and economic fairness and accountability of government.  

After splitting wins on Saturday, and before Tuesday's primaries, how did they do? Several Democratic-leaning analysts who weighed in favored Clinton:  

Tulsi Gabbard Resigns from DNC to Back Bernie Sanders

Gabbard said Sanders knew "how and when we use our military power — and just as importantly, when we don't use that military power." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced on "Meet the Press"   on Sunday that she was stepping down as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and endorsing Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders for president.  

"As a veteran, as a soldier, I've seen firsthand the true cost of war," Gabbard said. "As we look at our choices as to who our next commander-in-chief will be is to recognize the necessity to have a commander-in-chief who has foresight. Who exercises good judgment. Who looks beyond the consequences. Who looks at the consequences of the actions that they are willing to take before they take those actions. So that we don't continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life," Gabbard said.  

What We Learned From Thursday's Debate


Florida Sen. Marco Rubio went after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in Thursday's debate and gave his strongest performance to date five days ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries.  

Kasich's Moment of Truth Comes on Budget Day

Kasich has made his budget chops a big part of his argument to be president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says Tuesday's New Hampshire primary is his last stand, and the pivotal election of his career comes, coincidentally, on Budget Day, when proposed federal spending levels are released. The budget is an issue to which Kasich traces his biggest accomplishments, and he has embraced those in his run for the presidency.  

"You know what this is? This is sloppy," Kasich said Monday afternoon at a town hall in Windham, N.H., pointing to a "Our National Debt" clock that kept adding to its $19 trillion-plus total as he spoke. "This lacks discipline. This is a bunch of people who are not doing their jobs," he said. Then he made his pitch, an unabashed one to his time in Washington when he was the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee. "We can't seem to control this. When I was in Washington, we did," he said. Kasich was Budget chairman from 1995 through 2000, years when budget matters animated national politics. He was a key player in negotiating with the GOP Senate and Democratic President Bill Clinton on a deficit reduction pattern that led to a budget surplus, and he’s presided over a budget turnaround in the Buckeye State as well.  

The Threat, and the Politics, of Homegrown Terrorism

Rubio is among the presidential candidates warning of the dangers of homegrown domestic terrorism. A new documentary on HBO explores the extent of the threat. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

The threat of domestic Islamic terrorism is a political issue wielded by political candidates and debated hotly in Congress. But how serious is the threat?  

A documentary premiering on HBO Monday night, "Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma" by Greg Barker, and a related book, Peter Bergen's "United States of Jihad," seek to answer that question. The film's release comes as presidential candidates, particularly those in the Republican field, are warning of the problem.  

Anti-Abortion Groups to GOP: Include Fiorina in Debate

Fiorina arrives at an addiction recovery roundtable at the Hope for NH Recovery center in Manchester, N.H., on Friday. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The leaders of two influential anti-abortion rights groups are blasting the decision to exclude Carly Fiorina from Saturday’s presidential debate, arguing that GOP voters deserve to see the primary field’s lone female candidate -- and one of the race’s sharpest critics of Planned Parenthood -- on stage in New Hampshire.  

In a statement shared with Roll Call, the women -- Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, and Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life – said that they are “dumbfounded” at Fiorina’s exclusion.  

Is Any '16 Frontrunner Likable Enough?

Clinton has high unfavorable ratings but the lion's share of congressional endorsements. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"You're likable enough, Hillary."  

It's one of the most famous political put-downs, then-Sen. Barack Obama's stinging primary debate rejoinder to Hillary Clinton on Jan. 5, 2008. And even though it may have been Obama's least likable moment of the campaign — and he went on to lose the New Hampshire primary to Clinton a few days later — the micro-aggression suggests a question that every presidential campaign faces: Just how likable to do you have to be to get invited into America's livings rooms (and onto its iPads and smartphones) for the next four years?