Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul earned a reprieve from CNN, with the network granting him a spot in Tuesday’s primetime GOP debate despite failing to meet its publish qualifications. The development avoids an embarrassing, and potentially fatal blow to Paul’s beleaguered campaign, which has struggled to carve out a space for the libertarian lawmaker as the race shifts focus to foreign policy issues. Chris Christie, meanwhile, regained a spot in the debate as his New Hampshire surge continues.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has taken the top spot in Iowa polling, and is drawing the ire of Donald Trump, who called him a “maniac” Sunday. Cruz responded in song. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is doing what he can to maintain the GOP’s brand amid a divisive presidential primary, promising that Congress will be more productive in the coming year to counteract the bluster on the campaign trail.
Hillary Clinton is facing new scrutiny over whether she used her position for the gain of her family, after a conservative watchdog group issued a complaint questioning whether Clinton brokered access for a business associate of her son-in-law. It’s the latest controversy to emerge from Clinton’s emails, which are being released on a monthly basis.
Trump says the EPA is hurting his hair. Cruz credits shrinks for his surge. And President Barack Obama takes a climate victory lap.
Here are your must-reads:
Ryan embraces his bully pulpit [New York Times]
After slow start, small signs of success surfacing, TIME’s Mark Thompson reports
Allegations that Clinton intervened to give special access to family member’s business colleagues [TIME]
Last-minute reprieve granted, with little explanation [TIME]
TIME’s Sam Frizell investigates the collectibles
Surging campaig says its tech is putting it over the top [Washington Post]
You look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a, you know, frankly like a little bit of a maniac. You’re never going to get things done that way.” —Donald Trump on Ted Cruz in an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
Bits and Bites
Christie hits Rubio on missed Senate votes: ‘Baloney’ [Washington Post]
Sen. Bob Corker Failed to Properly Disclose Millions of Dollars in Income [Wall Street Journal]
Attack Spurs New Chapter in History of Dread in the U.S. [New York Times]
How Ted Cruz tried to make frenemies with Cher [Washington Post]
Trump really wants to win Iowa; here are 6 signs that he’s worried [Washington Post]
The White House Holiday Photo Line: A Tradition of Awkwardness [New York Times]
Obama’s fragile climate legacy [Politico]
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