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.  

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.  

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?  

North Carolinians See Cruz as Moral Choice

Cruz takes the stage at a town-hall style interview in Raleigh. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

RALEIGH, N.C. — As a former pastor, Fred Wolfe has seen plenty of evangelical Christians make a distinction between religion and politics. They look for "toughness, not morals" in their candidates, he said, and so are probably voting for GOP front-runner Donald Trump this year. Wolfe himself, though, is canvassing for Sen. Ted Cruz in North Carolina.  

"He's the first Republican candidate I've been able to support with a clean conscience,"  said Wolfe, 37, one of many conservative Christians who turned out to the hear the Texas Republican speak at Calvary Baptist Church here.  

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.  

Rubio Wouldn't Name a Justice in His Final Year as President, if Elected

Rubio said a president must be held accountable for his Supreme Court picks.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — GOP White House hopeful Marco Rubio said he would pledge not to nominate a Supreme Court justice in the final year of his term, if elected.  

Republicans have said President Barack Obama, who leaves office in January, should leave the business of nominating a successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia to the next chief executive. They argue that Americans should have a voice in the selection of the next justice through the presidential election.  

What We Learned from Thursday's Debate

Cruz let Rubio and Trump duke it out while he stayed above the fray, one veteran strategist said. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Marco Rubio hit Donald Trump on his business ventures. Sen. Ted Cruz told Donald Trump to count to 10. Trump shifted his position on worker visas. And former GOP nominee Mitt Romney threw out the first pitch.  

Just like previous debates. Trump was riding his momentum while Rubio and Cruz tried to slow it down. But too little, too late?  

The Elephant on the CPAC Stage

A cardboard cutout of Trump stands in the CPAC Hub room. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. — The last two Republican presidential nominees forcefully denounced Donald Trump on Thursday, but at one of the largest conservative confabs of the year, the GOP front-runner's name hardly came up.  

In fact, explicit references to the presidential race were few and far between at the first day of speeches at the Conservative Political Action Conference.  

What We Learned From Super Tuesday

Clinton is a big Super Tuesday winner. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Have his Super Tuesday wins propelled Donald Trump toward the Republican presidential nomination or have strong showings outside his home state of Texas renewed the campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz? What do some disappointing results, despite high-profile endorsements and tough attacks on the front-runner, mean for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio? Will Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders soldier on, buoyed by a few wins and close contests, though Hillary Clinton is looking inevitable?  

Roll Call asked political analysts and strategists to weigh in:  

Trump, Clinton Tighten Grip on Nominations

Trump won seven of the 11 states being contested on Super Tuesday. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton put more distance between themselves and their rivals on Super Tuesday, with both front-runners winning seven of the 11 states holding elections or caucuses.  

"This has been an amazing evening," Trump declared at his exclusive Mar-al-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and said he was expanding the Republican Party's base.   Already taking aim at Trump, Clinton repeated what has become a mantra as of late. "America never stopped being great," she said, jabbing at Trump's "Make America Great Again," slogan. "We have to make America whole. We have to fill in what's been hollowed out," she added.