The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
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October 1, 2015 8:33 AM EDT

CNBC is trying to narrow the GOP field, limiting participation in its primetime debate on Oct 28 to only those candidates with a polling average above 2.5 percent. That threshold may keep Rand Paul off the debate stage if he can’t improve his numbers nationally, while Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee are at risk of dropping off if their support falls. Those polling at 1 percent in any of the accepted polls between Sept. 17 and Oct. 21, a standard that Lindsey Graham does not yet meet. The move is consistent with the Republican National Committee’s hopes that the networks would begin to tighten the field as voting nears, but has drawn condemnation from those candidates forced into the undercard debate.

Ben Carson‘s unlikely candidacy is deeply intertwined with his faith, TIME’s Philip Elliott and Tessa Berenson write in this week’s magazine, as he credits God with his successes and gives him the blame for his failures. His rapid rise from doctor to darling of the GOP base has left many in the party shaking their heads in disbelief, and Carson struggling to adapt to a radically different environment.

Likely House Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s “Kinsley gaffe” (saying something true he shouldn’t have said) about the political undercurrent of the House Benghazi Committee has given Democrats more fodder as Hillary Clinton prepares to testify under oath later this month. For some Republican insiders, it was a troubling sign of what’s to come, as a relative novice prepares to take the helm of the chamber.

Jeb Bush is comparing his tax plan to Ronald Reagan’s in a new video. Huckabee channels Donald Trump in one of his own. Trump pledges to send back Syrian refugees. A congressman raises money off snubbing Pope Francis. And that time a White House operator believed Hillary Clinton was an impostor.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Inside Ben Carson’s Unlikely—and Uncommonly Spiritual—Campaign
In this week’s magazine, TIME’s Philip Elliott and Tessa Berenson examine the unconventional Carson campaign

Debate Over Airbnb Rages in San Francisco Ahead of November Vote
TIME’s Katy Steinmetz on the latest fight over the “sharing economy”

U.S.-Russian Air War Begins Over Syria
Targeting different rebel groups is likely to prolong conflict, TIME’s Mark Thompson writes

Hillary Clinton Camp Is Making Moves to Check Joe Biden
Campaign is trying to lock down “superdelegates” and donors [New York Times]

Can Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker Favorite, Go From Buddy to Boss?
His meteoric rise in the House will make for some awkwardness [New York Times]

Campaigns Scramble to Lock Up Scott Walker’s Financial Backers
Looking to claim to be the beneficiary of his exit [Washington Post]

Hillary Clinton Emails Had a Two-Month Gap
Archive of messages turned over to officials begins weeks into the start of her tenure [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“I’m putting the people here on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration that if I win, if I win, they’re going back. They’re going back, I’m telling you, they’re going back.” — Donald Trump on humanitarian refugees in New Hampshire Wednesday night

“That was back in the day before they would shoot you … I’m just kidding, you know they wouldn’t do that.” — Ben Carson telling a New Hampshire audience about his time jumping over fences running from policy officers as a child

Bits and Bites

Bernie Sanders Is Outpacing Obama 2008 in Total Contributors [TIME]

Read the 6 Most Interesting Hillary Clinton Emails [TIME]

Carly Fiorina killed in the televised debates. But how would she do in person? [Washington Post]

Jeb Bush Defends Redskins Name [TIME]

Melania Trump, the Silent Partner [New York Times]

Health Program for Sept. 11 First Responders Set to Expire [Associated Press]

Secret Service Official Wanted to Embarrass Congressman [Washington Post]

Congressman Raises Money Off Boycotting Pope Francis [Washington Post]

Next Republican Debate Is Likely to Have a Smaller Field [New York Times]

Kentucky’s GOP Candidate for Governor Backs Carson, Not Paul, for President [Washington Post]

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