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.  

Trump Campaign Manager, Seasoned Political Operative

Lewandowski, campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is under a microscope. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Who is Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager accused of manhandling a female reporter trying to interview his boss, Donald Trump?  

A former lobbyist. A former aspiring politician. A former employee of the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity. In short, a seasoned campaign operative, working for a candidate with a professed disdain for such political professionals. The world is quickly getting to know Lewandowski under the glare of an ugly episode Tuesday, when Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields approached Trump at a post-election event in Florida to ask a question. Fields was grabbed from behind, an incident she described in a post on Breitbart on Thursday:  

Mike Lee: It's Time to Unify Behind Ted Cruz

Lee, center, endorsed Cruz for president, while encouraging Rubio to drop out of the race. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mike Lee traveled to Sen. Marco Rubio's home turf in Miami on Thursday with a message for Republicans: It's time for conservatives to come together behind fellow Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for president.  

And for Rubio to step aside.  

Mike Lee Is First Senator to Back Cruz

Lee and Cruz stride through the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP White House hopeful Ted Cruz picked up his first endorsement from a fellow U.S. senator on Thursday -- Utah's Mike Lee.  

"There is a big difference between confusion and confidence, and Ted is that difference," said Lee, who also is a Republican.

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 Female Trump Voters Think He'll Widen the GOP Tent

Trump greets supporters after a campaign rally at the Crown Center Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C, on Wednesday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The Republican establishment, after his three Tuesday night wins, continues to fret that Donald Trump is costing the party support among the demographics it most needs to court: Hispanics and women. And the candidate's behavior at a rally here Wednesday night — his second in the state this week — didn't give them any reason to feel comfortable with the idea of him becoming the nominee. It was another exercise in eviction. "This is lots more fun than a Trump rally, right?” the GOP front-runner yelled, watching as police in the Crown Coliseum forcibly removed protesters An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday showed 60 percent of voters think Trump is hurting the GOP's image. Some conservatives echoed those concerns at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington last weekend.  

But Republican primary voters in the NBC/WSJ poll were almost evenly split about whether Trump is positive or harmful to the party. Plenty of Trump's supporters, especially women for whom the economy is more important than social issues, told Roll Call they believe Trump is actually widening the GOP tent by bringing in not just new voters, but voters who see him as more willing to negotiate than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.  

Fiorina Endorses Cruz

Fiorina is throwing her support to Cruz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz isn't having much luck getting the endorsements of his Senate colleagues, but he has picked up one from a former foe: Carly Fiorina.  

“Ted Cruz is a fearless fighter for our constitutional rights. He has spent his life protecting Americans’ God-given liberties, and he has always stood by his word. Unlike the status-quo political class in D.C., Ted Cruz didn’t cower when he got to Washington – he stood unequivocally for the American people. I know Ted, and he’ll do the same as president,” the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard said in a statement.  

What We Learned From Tuesday's Primaries

Tuesday night was a good one for Donald Trump. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump stayed strong in the south and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign looked weak, despite high-profile endorsement in the Republican primaries. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won by a large margin over Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders in Mississippi, continuing her southern dominance, though in Michigan, Sanders pulled out a close win and a stunning upset. And the race continues.  

So what's next for the campaigns and how will they adjust strategies before upcoming debates and important primaries?  

This Ad Links Trump to SCOTUS Opening, Bashes Ayotte

Democratic ad seeks to gain ground with voters in the New Hampshire Senate race by magnifying GOP turmoil on the campaign trail and its position on an Obama Supreme Court nominee. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats love to criticize Republican senators about Donald Trump’s candidacy and the Supreme Court vacancy. Now, they’re combining the two issues into one TV ad.  

A Super PAC aligned with Senate Democrats is airing a new ad aimed at New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, linking her refusal to consider a new Supreme Court justice with the front-runner of the GOP presidential primary.  

Clinton, Trump Win Mississippi

Clinton won an easy victory in Mississippi. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hillary Clinton secured a lopsided win ahead of Bernie Sanders in the Mississippi Democratic primary Tuesday night, while Donald Trump scored a solid victory in the GOP field, according to early reports.  

Clinton continued her string of victories in Southern states, winning nine out of 10 votes in Mississippi's African-American community. Mississippi has 36 Democratic delegates in play for the race.