The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
By Zeke J Miller
January 20, 2016

One year from today the next president will be sworn-in.

It was a terrible Tuesday for Ted Cruz, who took fire from all sides in Iowa, where he has emerged as the front-runner. First, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who makes an effort to stay neutral in the caucuses, said he believed Cruz should lose owing to his opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard, a rare snub from the popular governor. Then, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump—after endorsing Cruz for Senate in 2012—boosting the national poll leader in the state where he was struggling. Meanwhile, his presidential rivals have stepped up their attacks to sink him in Iowa, but also to mess with a candidate who has made many enemies within the GOP. A particularly biting new ad from Rubio’s super PAC also started airing in Iowa attacking Cruz’s tax plan and referencing his Canadian birth. All of this came while Cruz was on a New Hampshire swing, which in hindsight may have proved to be a misguided and ill-timed effort to expand his appeal after Iowa.

Bernie Sanders has opened a wide lead over Hillary Clinton in the Granite State, putting pressure on her organization in Iowa to avoid giving the insurgent candidate the 1-2 punch that could elongate the primary. Sanders’ appeal in the national Democratic Party is low enough and Clinton’s lead in resources and planning should secure her the nomination regardless, but only after a bitter and elongated fight that Clinton was hoping to avoid after 2008. Sanders, meanwhile, is taking steps to counteract his greatest vulnerability on the campaign trail: the notion in Democratic circles that he can’t win a general election because of his policy proposals. The Clinton campaign is stepping up its opposition research effort against Sanders, pointing to his more controversial past proposals, while questioning his preparedness on foreign policy

A Ben Carson campaign staffer died in a car accident in Iowa, prompting the candidate to suspend his campaign and rival campaigns to tweet and make statements of condolences. Chris Christie reflects on the challenges and realities of marriage in a new book. And the GOP debates have become fundraising bonanzas.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

How Sarah Palin Compounds the Donald Trump Effect
TIME’s Jay Newton-Small on Palin’s incredible timing

Ted Cruz’s Terrible Tuesday
Palin and Branstad were a 1-2 punch for the senator in Iowa, TIME’s Alex Altman reports

Clinton Campaign Accuses Sanders of Following GOP Cues to Attack Her
On belief that Sanders would make easier opponent [Washington Post]

Alarmed Clinton Supporters Begin Focusing on Sanders’s Socialist Edge
The Democratic Primary’s oppo-war heats up [New York Times]

Marco Rubio Finds God with Atheist Question in Iowa
A right-ward shift to take support from Cruz [TIME]

The GOP Debates Have Become Like Super Bowl Parties for Top Donors
Fundraisers and donors mingle on the sidelines of the chaotic show [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“Media heads are spinning. This is going to be so much fun.” — Sarah Palin taking the stage to endorse Donald Trump Tuesday

“I’m not all that much into polls, but the last two national polls that were out have me in once case beating Donald Trump by 13 points, Hillary Clinton was beating him by 7 points. Another poll that came out just the other day had me beating Donald by 15 points, Hillary Clinton beating him by 10 points. So anyone who tells you that I will not be a strong candidate, or a stronger candidate, against Trump and other Republicans I think is wrong.” — Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Carroll, Iowa, touting his poll numbers

Bits and Bites

Ben Carson Volunteer Dies After Iowa Car Crash [TIME]

Rubio Makes Play For Millennial Support In New Ad [TIME]

Sarah Palin Endorses Donald Trump for President [TIME]

Iowa Governor Says He Doesn’t Want Ted Cruz to Win [TIME]

Marco Rubio Trolls Ted Cruz With a Calculator [TIME]

Film Shows Clinton Aide’s Own Struggle With Anthony Weiner Scandal [New York Times]

Hillary Clinton Email Said to Include Material Exceeding ‘Top Secret’ [New York Times]

Clinton Campaign Wields Former National Security Officials to Weaken Sanders [Wall Street Journal]

Chris Christie Offers a Key to Marital Success: Fight in a Walk-In Closet [New York Times]

Donald Trump: Sarah Palin Could ‘Play a Position’ in My Administration [NBC]

CNN/WMUR Poll: Sanders Trouncing Clinton in New Hampshire [CNN]

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