• Politics

What to Expect at Tonight’s GOP Debate

4 minute read

Republican presidential candidates will face off in their fifth match-up Tuesday night in Las Vegas, where foreign policy and big money are on the agenda. CNN, which is hosting the debate, has pledged a focus on national security and ISIS following the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. And the hosting casino, The Venetian, is spotlighting the race for cash, as several candidates meet with owner Sheldon Adelson before the debate. The storylines are clear: How will Donald Trump fight off a surging Ted Cruz? Can Cruz handle the scrutiny after pulling ahead in Iowa? Can Ben Carson prove his mettle on foreign policy? Will Jeb Bush find a path back to relevance? And how will Marco Rubio and Chris Christie take on the rest of the field?

Trump’s “maniac” attack on Cruz is backfiring, with major conservative radio hosts turning on him—marking what may be a pivotal moment in the primary. Trump has been bolstered by the fiery talk radio shows and a shift could well see his support erode, or else rob one of the last remaining powerhouses in GOP politics of its influence. Rubio is out with a new ad in Iowa that seeks to tap into voter frustrations, while providing them with a path to vent it that isn’t Trump.

The Obama Administration is under fire for the Environmental Protection Agency’s social media campaign in favor of the controversial Waters of the United States clean-water rule, which vastly broadens the agency’s reach. The agency’s efforts ran afoul of government anti-grassroots campaigning restrictions, a government auditor found, providing Republicans with another talking point to use in opposing the rule.

Bernie Sanders is sticking with his focus on economic issues, even as the national debate has shifted to foreign policy. Democrats will face off for the first time in a month on Saturday in New Hampshire.

Cruz comes under fire from Hispanic leaders. What Obama didn’t say in his Pentagon briefing on ISIS. And how Trump has eroded the power of super PACs.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

8 Things To Watch for at the Las Vegas Republican Debate
Ganging up on Cruz to the Adelson primary [TIME]

Reading Between the Lines of President Obama’s ISIS Pentagon Briefing
TIME’s Mark Thompson on what he said, what he meant and what he left unsaid

Bono’s Anti-Poverty Effort Turns to 2016 Presidential Race
The U2 front-man’s bipartisan group looks to protect foreign aid budget, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports

How Trump Has Neutralized Super-PAC Cash
Free media trumps anything donors can buy [Bloomberg]

What Happened to Carly Fiorina?
The only woman in the GOP field has seen her support erode [Washington Post]

Inside the Secret Meeting Where Conservative Leaders Pledged Allegiance to Ted Cruz
How they coalesced [National Review]

E.P.A. Broke Law With Social Media Push for Water Rule, Auditor Finds
“Covert propaganda” from the Obama administration [New York Times]

Sound Off

“ISIL leaders cannot hide. Our next message to them is simple—you are next.” — President Obama on leaders of the terrorist group Monday

“For any of you who are holding out hope that Trump is a genuine conservative. A genuine conservative, even in the Republican field, would not go after Cruz this way. So that just raised a red flag for me, made me somewhat curious.” — Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh Monday, turning on Trump after his comments critical of Ted Cruz

Bits and Bites

Americans Now View Gun Violence as a Permanent Part of Life [TIME]

Donald Trump’s Health Is ‘Astonishingly Excellent,’ His Doctor Says [TIME]

Obama Was ‘Up for Anything’ During Alaskan Wilderness Trek, Host Says [TIME]

Rush Limbaugh Stands in Ted Cruz’s Corner After Attacks by Donald Trump [New York Times]

Can Secretary of State John Kerry break through in Syria? [The New Yorker]

Bernie Sanders: Sticking to Script Regardless of How It Ends [Washington Post]

Marco Rubio Releases New Television Ad in Iowa [Des Moines Register]

Hispanic Republicans Blast Ted Cruz After Private Meeting With Campaign Chairman [BuzzFeed]

Marco Rubio’s Wife: A Partner Ready to Puncture His Ego [New York Times]


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