Politics & Government

Politics, elections, law, military and veteran's affairs

Hundred of reporters are lined up in rows, looking at flat-screen televisions like bettors at a racetrack. Producers are recording on iPhones and reporters are deploying selfie sticks to capture live shots, while crew toting video cameras stalk bigger game.

The quarry — presidential candidates and their surrogates — are announced by a party staffer carrying a vertical placard, hoping to draw the attention of the fickle journalistic hordes.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

As national security has come to dominate the 2016 presidential race, the GOP contenders in particular are being pushed to define where they stand on a contentious matter: how suspected terrorists should be interrogated. Specifically, they've been asked about the currently banned use of waterboarding — a simulated drowning technique the CIA used on at least three alleged terrorists.

Donald Trump wrote in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, that his grandfather came from Sweden. These days, the Republican presidential hopeful and real estate mogul embraces different paternal roots.

The teetotaler's grandfather actually comes from a medieval wine-making village called Kallstadt, in the southwestern German state of Rhineland Palatinate. Like many Americans of German descent, the Trumps apparently stopped referring to their German heritage during the World Wars.

Jim Gilmore's quixotic presidential campaign came to a surreptitious end Friday.

His resume reads like someone who should have been a top-tier candidate — former governor of swing-state Virginia, a former Republican National Committee chairman, and the only military veteran in a primary campaign where national security is a top concern among voters.

Abraham Lincoln trended on Twitter this week. Wait, what? Honest Abe proved what's become a hipster creed: Everything old becomes new again.

Friday would have been the 16th president's 207th birthday — as good a time as any to bring him back with a party hat on him (like the House Republicans did):

There were also memes of Lincoln holding pizzas, stereos and cellphones. But the memes also quickly became about the presidential candidates, with the hashtag #ThingsLincolnDidntSay. Talk about putting words in someone's mouth.

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Now that the primary battle has arrived in South Carolina, we wondered about the state's reputation for dirty politics. Here's NPR's Susan Davis, Ron Elving, Sarah McCammon and Sam Sanders taking that on in NPR's Politics Podcast.

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President Obama has designated three desert areas in California as national monuments.

The move permanently protects "nearly 1.8 million acres of America's public lands," the White House says in a news release.

All three areas lie east of Los Angeles. Two of the new monuments — Castle Mountains and Mojave Trails — are near California's border with Nevada.

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Just 48 hours after his landslide win in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders was in Milwaukee, Wis., reminding everyone how far he had come in his quest for the presidency — and perhaps realizing how far he still has to go.

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As Bernie Sanders sees it, Wall Street got a big boost when U.S. taxpayers bailed out some of the largest financial institutions in 2008. Now it's time for Wall Street to return the favor.

Sanders has proposed something he calls a speculation tax, a small levy on every stock, bond or derivative sold in the United States.

The revenue would go toward free tuition at public colleges and universities and would also be used to pare down student debt and pay for work-study programs, as well as other programs, Sanders says.

The director of the federal government team that interrogates key terrorism suspects has a message for people who want to see a return to waterboarding and other abusive strategies: They don't work.

Frazier Thompson, who leads the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, said research demonstrates that "rapport-based techniques elicit the most credible information."

In an interview at FBI headquarters this week, Thompson added: "I can tell you that everything that we do is humane, lawful and based on the best science available."

In Thursday night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — each with one nominating contest victory — looked ahead to the upcoming primaries in Nevada and South Carolina. Here are a few of the big takeaways from the debate.

1. A focus on African-American issues

Jeb Bush has struggled in the fight for the Republican nomination and now he's asking his big brother — George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States — for help.

The two will be together for a rally Monday evening in North Charleston, S.C.

As the Republican primary moves to South Carolina, political observers are predicting that the race could get nasty in the state that historically plays a major role in choosing the party's nominee.

"South Carolina is brutal. It's bare-knuckle. It is the toughest of tough political environments to play in," says Hogan Gidley, a former director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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If you can't figure out what the establishment is, the political philosopher Jack Black has a good definition.

"You don't know the man? Oh, well, he's everywhere. In the White House, down the hall," he rants in the movie School of Rock. He adds, "And there used to be a way to stick it to the man. It was called rock 'n' roll."

This idea is at the core of what establishment means in the 2016 presidential race, according to one (actual) political analyst.

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When Ted Cruz took the stage at his primary night party in Hollis, N.H., he gave what sounded like a victory speech. And in some ways, he may have been an overlooked winner of the night.

"Washington insiders were convinced our wave of support would break in the Granite State," the Texas senator thundered. "The men and women of New Hampshire proved them wrong."

The TVs flanking him showed the results; he was edging out former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Cruz finished with just under 12 percent, good enough in the crowded field for third place.

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(Note: Tonight's debate, moderated by PBS NewsHour anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, will be simulcast on CNN and NPR and streamed live on NPR.org. NPR's Tamara Keith will be part of the debate broadcast, providing analysis during and after the event.)

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton meet Thursday night on a debate stage in Milwaukee. It's their first face-to-face matchup since Tuesday's New Hampshire primary where Sanders beat Clinton by more than 20 points.

After a razor-thin victory in the Iowa caucuses, and a double-digit loss to Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton is looking to South Carolina for a big win later this month. And she's counting on strong black support in that state to give her a definitive victory.

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