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  • U.S. Economy Slows Sharply in Final Three Months of 2015
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:51 am by Chris Enloe

    Comments (42)

    WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The U.S. economy’s growth slowed sharply in the final three months of 2015 to a 0.7 percent annual rate. Consumers reduced spending, businesses cut back on investment and global problems trimmed exports.

    The slowdown could renew doubts about the durability of the six-and-a-half-year economic expansion.

    The government’s estimate Friday of the economy’s expansion in the October-December period was less than half the 2 percent annual growth rate of the previous quarter and the weakest showing since a severe winter reduced growth to a 0.6 percent annual rate in last year’s first quarter.

    People walk along Wall Street in the financial district, July 9, 2015. (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

    People walk along Wall Street in the financial district. (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

    Activity is expected to rebound in the current January-March period, though economists worry that China’s troubles and sinking oil and stock prices could dampen the recovery.

    A boost this year is expected to come mainly from consumer spending, which typically fuels about two-thirds of economic activity. Continued solid job growth could embolden consumers to spend more.

    The Federal Reserve issued a cautious assessment of the economy this week. The Fed left interest rates unchanged after having raised its benchmark short-term rate in December from record lows. Many analysts think that economic weakness, subpar inflation and global pressures will cause the Fed to slow its pace of rate hikes this year from what had been expected to be four increases to perhaps only two.

    For all of 2015, economists have estimated that the economy grew around 2.3 percent, about equal to the 2.4 percent growth for 2014. That would continue the economy’s pattern of subpar growth since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009.

    For 2016, economists are forecasting another year of modest growth of around 2 percent. At the same time they have nudged up the prospects for a recession this year. While still low, the likelihood is now put at around 20 percent, though most analysts still see an outright recession as unlikely.

    Many economists expect the strength in the domestic economy to offset weakness in export sales and in the U.S. energy sector, which has been slashing investment in response to the plunge in energy prices.

    While economic growth was lackluster last year, hiring was not. The economy added an average of 284,000 jobs a month in the final quarter of last year. The unemployment rate ended the year at a low 5 percent.

    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said he expects strong job growth to keep lowering unemployment and to help boost wages, which have lagged in this recovery. He said the extra consumer spending, which will be aided by lower gas prices, will likely support economic growth of around 2.5 percent in 2016.

    Growth at that level is above the economy’s potential right now, which many analysts put at around 2 percent, reflecting a slower pace of people entering the job market and slower productivity growth.

  • AP Fact Check: Which Candidates Strayed From the Truth on GOP Debate Night
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:10 am by Jon Street

    Comments (108)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential contenders let fly with some inaccuracies when they badmouthed the Obama administration on health care, military readiness and pay for construction workers in their latest debate.

    Republican Presidential candidates (L-R) Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich arrive for the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016.(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

    Republican Presidential candidates (L-R) Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich arrive for the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016.(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

    And from his own event a few miles away in Des Moines Iowa, debate no-show Donald Trump greatly exaggerated the U.S. trade deficit with China.

    A look at some of the claims Thursday night and how they compare with the facts:

    Ted Cruz

    “We have seen now in six years of Obamacare that it has been a disaster. It is the biggest job-killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums skyrocket. ”

    The facts

    Lost jobs? Since the time Obama signed the health care law in March 2010, the nation’s jobless rate has fallen from 9.9 percent to 5 percent. The economy has added more than 13 million jobs over that period.

    Lost insurance? The share of Americans without coverage reached a historic low of 9 percent last year, according to the government’s National Health Interview Survey. More than 16 million people gained coverage since 2013, just before the law’s big coverage expansion got underway.

    Trump

    “China this year in trade will make over $500 billion dollars in terms of our trade deficit. $500 billion. That’s no partnership, and I’m a free trader. I love free trade. But we have to use our head. And we use political hacks to negotiate with the Chinese.”

    The facts

    Trump should re-check his numbers before conducting a trade negotiation. He could be referring to the total U.S. trade deficit with every country in the world. That totaled about $508 billion in 2014, which actually represents an improvement from the $762 billion deficit reached in 2006, according to the Census Bureau.

    But the trade deficit in goods with China was $343 billion in 2014 – significantly below what Trump has suggested in multiple statements

    Marco Rubio

    “You cannot destroy ISIS with a military that’s being diminished.”

    Cruz

    Obama has “dramatically degraded our military.

    The facts

    The charge that President Barack Obama has starved the Pentagon has become a refrain in the GOP primary campaign, but amounts spent on weapons modernization are about the same as they were when Republican George W. Bush was president.

    Any military cuts GOP contenders are complaining about were approved by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The military budget is being squeezed by the insistence of lawmakers in both parties that money be spent on bases and equipment that the Pentagon says it doesn’t need.

    Cruz on Obama

    “He’s not arming the Kurds.”

    The facts

    He is. The U.S. has allocated a substantial amount of weapons and other military equipment to help the Kurds fight the Islamic State group, and is sending the aid.

    The shipments have not been direct. Rather, under a deal with the Iraqi government, all U.S. weapons sent to help in the fight are delivered to Iraqi officials, and they divide the weapons between Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

    It’s true the Kurds have complained that the assistance is not enough. But they are getting arms and other equipment from Washington.

    Chris Christie

    “For the 45-year-old construction worker out there, who is having a hard time making things meet, he’s lost $4,000 in the last seven years in his income because of this administration.”

    The facts

    There may be some in hard hats who’ve lost income, but on the whole, construction workers are faring much better than they did when Obama first took office.

    The latest federal jobs report showed their average weekly earnings have risen 2.7 percent annually since 2009 – much faster than the national average for non-management employees. Their weekly earnings jumped to $1,021 in December, compared with a weekly income of $858 seven years ago.

    Certainly not everyone has prospered. Overall, the median household income has dropped since 2009 by $1,268, to $53,657.

    Cruz

    (defending his threat to “carpet bomb” Islamic State fighters: “It’s what we did in the first Persian Gulf War.”)

    The facts

    The U.S. conducted an intensive air war against the Saddam Hussein government in the 1991 war. But to call it “carpet bombing” misses one of the most important characteristics of that air campaign: It marked the first large-scale use of precision-guided missiles and bombs in the history of warfare.

    That war also saw the first substantial combat use of the Air Force F-117 stealth fighter, which made it possible for the U.S. to lower risk to pilots flying against enemy air defenses while delivering precision weapons.

    The driving force behind developing precision-guided munitions, which today are even more precise than 25 years ago in the Persian Gulf war, was the goal of reducing the risk of killing civilians. It’s a goal the U.S. military has embraced under Republican as well as Democratic presidents.

    And Cruz has not explained how carpet bombing a terrorism group that is mingled with citizens in areas they control can be done without substantial deaths of innocents.

    Rubio

    Asked to reconcile his past opposition to granting amnesty for people in the United States illegally and his sponsorship of a bill that would grant those people a path to U.S. citizenship, he said “We’re going to keep ISIS out of America” and “enforce our immigration laws.”

    Cruz

    Asked to reconcile his vocal backing for the same bill (along with his attempt to improve its chances with an amendment), and his current claim to never have supported it, said; “The fact that each amendment didn’t fix every problem didn’t mean that I supported the rest of the bill.”

    The facts

    About the only thing that was clear in this exchange is that both are squirming over their past immigration positions in a primary season dominated by conservative voters.

    For Rubio, there was one fact on the stage that he couldn’t escape – fellow candidate Jeb Bush verified that Rubio asked him to support his path-to-citizenship legislation when it was being written in 2013. And Cruz was caught by a video clip of himself on the Senate floor, urging the bill’s passage.

    Both tried to dismiss their previous statements and emphasize their current stance of wanting to secure the nation’s southern border before any other actions are taken to address immigrants living in the country illegally.

  • Wearing Only a Speedo and His Gold Medals, Olympian Michael Phelps Helps Arizona State’s Basketball Team Win
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:10 am by Mike Opelka

    Comments (28)

    Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympic athlete of all time, donned his Speedo swimsuit, swim cap and goggles to help the Arizona State Sun Devils basketball team beat the Oregon State Ducks 86-68 last night.

    Phelps, the new assistant coach for the Arizona State swim team, lent his fame to distract the Ducks’ Stephen Johnson Jr. as he stepped to the free throw line to shoot a pair of foul shots.

    It was all part of a gimmick ASU calls the “Curtain of Distraction.” When playing at home, the Sun Devils deploy the curtain directly behind the basket where their opponents shoot free throws.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    As an opposing player steps to the line, the curtain is opened, revealing something meant to distract the shooter.

    In this case, it seemed to work perfectly as the Oregon player missed both shots.

    Watch.


    __

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  • Graphic FBI Video Emerges of LaVoy Finicum’s Fatal Shooting After Oregon Occupiers Claim He Did Nothing to Provoke Officers
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:52 am by Dave Urbanski

    Comments (993)

    BURNS, Ore. (AP) — A video showing the shooting death of an occupier of an Oregon wildlife refuge appears to show the man reaching into his jacket before he fell into the snow. The FBI said the man had a loaded gun in his pocket.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    Authorities played the video shot by the FBI at a Thursday evening news conference, in an apparent effort to counter claims that the man killed in the confrontation Tuesday on a remote Oregon high-country road — Robert “LaVoy” Finicum — did nothing to provoke officers.

    The FBI’s release of the footage came as four occupiers remaining at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge refused to leave without assurances they wouldn’t be arrested. The group’s jailed leader, Ammon Bundy, urged them to surrender. The occupation began nearly a month ago.

    During the confrontation in which Finicum was killed, the FBI and Oregon State Troopers arrested five main figures in the occupation, including Bundy. Bundy and several of the other occupiers have another federal court hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon.

    The video, shot by the FBI from aircraft, shows Bundy’s vehicle stopped by police on a road. He and an occupier riding with him — Brian Cavalier — were arrested. A white truck driven by Finicum was stopped but took off, with officers in pursuit. The video shows Finicum’s vehicle plowing into a snowbank when encountering a roadblock.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    A man identified as Finicum gets out of the truck. At first, he has his hands up, but then he appears to reach into his pocket and he falls into the snow.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    “On at least two occasions, Finicum appears to reach his right hand toward a pocket on the left inside portion of his jacket,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge for the FBI in Portland.

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    “He did have a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the pocket,” he said.

    Bretzing also said Finicum’s truck nearly hit an FBI agent before it got stuck in the snow.

    “Actions have consequences,” Bretzing said. “The FBI and OSP tried to effect these arrests peacefully.”

    Image source: YouTube

    Image source: YouTube

    The FBI posted the video to its YouTube channel.

    With Finicum lying in the snow, the video shows the arrest of two other occupiers as they got out of the stuck truck: Ryan Bundy, who is Ammon’s brother, and Shawna Cox. Bretzing said another woman was in the truck but was not arrested. He did not identify her.

    Bretzing said agents and troopers “provided medical assistance to Finicum” after they were “confident that they had addressed any further threats.” He said that happened about 10 minutes after the shooting.

    Two loaded .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles and a loaded revolver were found in the truck, Bretzing said.

    Bretzing said that when Finicum’s truck was first stopped, an occupier riding with him — Ryan Payne — got out and surrendered. He said troopers and agents ordered others in the truck to surrender but Finicum sped off.

    Bundy and his followers were on their way to a meeting in the community of John Day when then encountered the FBI-led operation to apprehend them. The FBI acted amid growing calls that something be done to end the occupation, including from Oregon’s governor.

    The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday confirmed the person shot in the Tuesday confrontation was Finicum, a 54-year-old Arizona rancher.

    In this Jan. 9, 2016 file photo, LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, speaks to the media after members of an armed group along with several other organizations arrive at the at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    In this Jan. 9, 2016 file photo, LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, speaks to the media after members of an armed group along with several other organizations arrive at the at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    At the news conference in Burns, Bretzing said four occupiers are still holed up at the wildlife refuge. “The negotiators continue to work around the clock to talk to those four people in an effort to get them to come out peacefully,” he said.

    The occupation by ranchers and others began on Jan. 2, and at one point there were a couple of dozen people holed up, demanding that the federal government turn public lands over to local control. But the compound has been emptying out since the arrest of Bundy, and 10 others over the past few days, and with the death of Finicum.

    Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday spoke with the holdouts and identified them as David Fry, who is from Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Idaho, and Jeff Banta of Nevada.

    Ammon Bundy on Thursday released a statement through his attorney repeating his call for the last occupiers to leave peacefully: “Turn yourselves in and do not use physical force.”

    All 11 people under arrest have been charged with a felony count of conspiring to impede federal officers from carrying out their duties through force or intimidation. Three of the 11 were arrested Wednesday night when they left the refuge.

    Ammon Bundy is the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a tense 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

    The group came to the desert of eastern Oregon in the dead of winter to decry what it calls onerous federal land restrictions and to object to the prison sentences of two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

    The charges against Bundy and others say that the refuge’s 16 employees have been prevented from reporting to work because of threats of violence.

  • ‘We Don’t Really Like Bullies’: Defiant Sheriff’s Absolutely Excoriating Letter to Atheists
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 7:35 am by Billy Hallowell

    Comments (224)

    An Illinois sheriff is locked in a heated “war of words” with atheists following his decision to add two nativities to the grounds of a local courthouse last month, with the sheriff penning an excoriating letter to activists proclaiming that he won’t bow to “bullies.”

    The battle unfolded after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, sent a letter to the Jefferson County Board complaining about Sheriff Travis Allen’s decision to put the Christian scenes on display along with other holiday elements.

    The letter said that the nativities are unconstitutional — a charge that the sheriff rejects.

    “We’re not putting crosses at the courthouse. We’re not putting Bible verses up. This is a Christmas display,” Allen told WPSD-TV. “What has our country become when we can’t put a nativity scene out in celebration of Christmas because we’re worried about offending somebody That’s embarrassing!”

    WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority
    He said that he added the nativities to help celebrate the Christmas spirit, noting that there used to be a “big Christmas celebration” in the past and that many citizens had requested that a new display be put out; thus, he complied.

    But Ryan Jayne, a lawyer with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, disagreed with the placement of the nativities.

    “The county courthouse lawn is not the right spot to be having religious debates,” Jayne told WPSD-TV, alleging in a Jan. 22 letter to local officials that Allen “promotes and endorses the Christian religious aspects of Christmas” — something the attorney said is unconstitutional.

    In a Jan. 27 response letter, though, Allen accused the Freedom From Religion Foundation of including “half-truths” in its letter and claimed that the organization did not include photo evidence of the other non-Christian elements that were part of the holiday display.

    “Your letter was full of half truths and I think we both know the court of law does not make decisions in half truths,” Allen wrote. “You did not even take a picture of the inflatable penguin, which I am sure you are also offended by.”

    And he wasn’t done there. Here’s another excoriating portion of the letter:

    In your letter you stated that you had 700 members in Illinois. I would like to know how many reside in Jefferson County. I am not sure I would be bragging about 700 members in a state that has almost 13 million residents. We have almost 10 times as many people on our Facebook page.

    I am sure you sent this letter to the County Board because you thought you could bully them into complying with your demands. The thing is, in Jefferson County we don’t really like bullies and we are not very good at bowing down to organizations. I actually only bow to one man, but you don’t believe in him anyway.

    Allen and the Freedom From Religion Foundation had previously clashed over the presence of “In God We Trust” on squad cars.

    (H/T: WPSD-TV)

  • ‘The Heart of America’: Helping Homeless Kids Survive the Streets
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 6:31 am by Tom Orr

    Comments (14)

    The United States is home to millions of interesting and inspiring people who work to have a positive impact in their communities — often times far from the glare of the media spotlight.

    They are the subject of The Heart of America, a new short video series from TheBlaze Documentary Films.

    Terry O’Connell is a former corporate executive who left his career to dedicate his life to helping the homeless. O’Connell works on the advisory board of the “Star House,” a 24-hour drop-in center for homeless youth in Columbus, Ohio.

    Now in its 10th year, the Star House is a partnership between government, academia and private citizens that offers hot meals, laundry facilities and other basics to children in the streets.

    More from The Heart of America

    Flying With a Veteran
    Making the Symbol of America
    How a Clarinet Helped One Man Become Part of American History
    The Store Where It’s Always Christmas
    Liberty Camp
    Dogs Behind Bars
    Inside the Football Factory
    How a Community Helped Save Its Goodie Shop
    Craftsmanship That Spans Generations
    The Pioneers Rebuilding Detroit One House at a Time
    Vets 4 Vets

  • ‘The Voters of Iowa Should Take Note’: Mark Levin Offers His Succinct Thoughts on Debate
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:38 am by Oliver Darcy

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    Conservative talk show host Mark Levin turned to Facebook to offer his thoughts on Thursday’s Fox News debate.

    Levin said it was clear that “the loser of the debate was Trump by his absence.” The billionaire had chosen to boycott the Fox News debate, choosing to instead host a separate event aimed at raising money for veterans.

    “The voters of Iowa should take note,” he wrote.

    The loser of the debate was Trump by his absence. The voters of Iowa should take note. The candidates did very well. The moderators did well, too.

    Posted by Mark Levin on Thursday, January 28, 2016

    Levin added that he felt the candidates all did “very well” and that moderators also performed “well.”

    The radio host’s comments come as he continues to grow more critical of frontrunner Donald Trump. Earlier this week, he lashed out at the real estate mogul for attacking Ted Cruz, arguing he had “trashed the hell out of the most conservative member of the United States Senate.”

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  • Krauthammer on Who Did ‘Very Well’ At Debate, Who Had ‘Rockiest Night’ and ‘Most Interesting Aspect’
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:11 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (66)

    Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer said he felt Jeb Bush offered one of his best performances yet at Thursday’s Fox News debate, while Marco Rubio struggled to explain his past positions on immigration.

    Krauthammer told host Megyn Kelly that he felt Bush did “very well” throughout the night — particularly in an exchange with Rubio over a pathway to citizenship.

    The syndicated columnist contended Rubio had his “rockiest night” yet and felt that when Kelly played clips of his former immigration stance he had trouble “arguing his way out of that box.” His analysis ran contrary to a Frank Luntz focus group that found Rubio to be the clear winner of the debate.

    Krauthammer said Chris Christie did “well” and said he has a talent for his ability to rise above the political bickering.

    And despite disagreeing with many of his policy positions, Krauthammer offered praise for Rand Paul. He said that Paul “does show the importance of libertarianism as a critique to mainstream conservatism.”

    “Having him on the stage was an addition,” he said.

    The “most interesting aspect” of the night was “how little people went after” frontrunner Donald Trump, who chose to boycott the debate.

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  • Frank Luntz Asked Focus Group Who Won Debate — and the Answer Was Nearly Unanimous
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:34 am by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (315)

    Republican pollster Frank Luntz asked an Iowa focus group who won Thursday night’s GOP debate — and the members overwhelmingly chose one candidate.

    According to Luntz, 23 of the 27 participants said that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was the clear winner.

    The pollster played a video clip of Rubio explaining his position on immigration. When he asked the group for its reaction, the room erupted in applause.

    Members of the focus group described Rubio as as “aspirational,” “honest,” “powerful,” “prepared,” “electable,” “game-changer” and “positive.”

    Prior to the debate, only three individuals said they supported Rubio. At the end of the debate, that number had tripled.

    “That’s the impact of a single debate,” Luntz commented.

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  • Cruz Takes Heavy Fire in Trump’s Wake at Crucial Final Debate Before Iowa Caucuses
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:33 am by Leigh Munsil

    Comments (247)

    DES MOINES, Iowa — In the absence of Donald Trump, the Republican debate moderators and GOP candidates found a new punching bag — the frontrunner’s closest competition in Iowa, Sen. Ted Cruz.

    Thursday night’s Fox News debate at the Iowa Events Center had some competition for ratings, after the field’s frontrunner decided not to show. Trump instead held his own event less than three miles from the venue, raising money for veterans and ensuring sole access to the spotlight with just four days until Iowa voters head to the caucuses on Monday.

    But in the meantime, Fox News’s moderators and the other six remaining candidates spent much of Thursday’s debate going after Cruz for voting against national defense authorization bills, opposing ethanol subsidies prized by Iowans — and his historic stance on immigration.

    The timing couldn’t have been worse for Cruz, who’s hoping to pull out a victory in Iowa on Monday despite Trump’s continued lead in the polls.

    Sen. Ted Cruz leaves the stage after Thursday's debate in Des Moines. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

    Sen. Ted Cruz leaves the stage after Thursday’s debate in Des Moines. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

    In a rarely-seen debate format, Fox News played clips of Cruz defending an amendment to the 2013 bipartisan immigration reform effort in Congress. Cruz has portrayed his role in that debate as inserting a “poison pill” meant to sink the legislation, which he viewed as too lenient on illegal immigrants.

    But in the clips Fox News showed, Cruz appeared to be an avid supporter of the reform package he now takes credit for helping kill.

    After showing the clips, Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked, “Was that all an act?”

    Other candidates piled on, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, who both had reason to distinguish themselves at Thursday’s debate, in hopes of emerging as the clear Trump alternative.

    Cruz argued that his amendment removed a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and wasn’t an endorsement of the Gang of Eight’s immigration plan, but he was fighting an uphill battle against the combined voices of Kelly, Rubio and Paul.

    But if Cruz had taken offense at the barbs tossed his way, he didn’t show it after the debate. Cruz told Kelly on her show following the end of the debate that the level of civility on stage was a nice change of pace from previous debates with Trump.

    “The exchanges were much more civil,” Cruz said. “You didn’t have any gratuitous insults.”

    Trump’s campaign sent an email right after the debate ended with the total sum raised at the candidate’s alternate event: Trump himself gave $1 million, and he raised an additional $5 million by the end of the one-hour event.

    In some ways, Trump’s decision not to show up worked in his favor.

    He didn’t have to face tough questions like the ones hurled at Cruz and Rubio, and in a Google Trends graphic that flashed on the screens in the media filing center, Trump clearly was the most-searched candidate throughout the two-hour debate nationally as well as in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.


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  • ‘Was That All An Act?’: Cruz Confronted by Kelly, Paul and Rubio Over Immigration History
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:35 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (138)

    Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz came under fire Thursday night, being accused by his 2016 rivals of not being truthful about his former position on immigration.

    The Texas senator was first grilled by moderator Megyn Kelly on the issue. She played video of Cruz saying he was in favor of passing immigration reform in 2013 if a pathway to citizenship was removed by way of an amendment he had proposed. Such reform would have still allowed for legalizing individuals who had not lawfully entered the U.S.

    “Was that all an act?” Kelly asked after playing multiple video clips of Cruz. “It was pretty convincing.”

    Cruz said that his amendment only removed a pathway to citizenship and his support for it did not mean he endorsed everything else in the so-called Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

    Kelly asked Rand Paul if he bought the argument.

    “I saw Ted Cruz say if we take citizenship off the table and then the bill will pass and I’m for the bill. The bill would involve legalization,” Paul said. “He can’t have it both ways.”

    “But what is particularly insulting though is he is the king of saying you are for amnesty. Everybody is for amnesty except for Ted Cruz. But it is a falseness and that is an authenticity problem,” Paul added. “That everybody he knows is not as perfect as him because we are all for amnesty … so was Ted, but now he says it wasn’t so. That is not true.”

    Cruz responded by noting that Marco Rubio was part of the Gang of Eight and supported a pathway to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally, while he did not.

    “This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on and Rand touched upon it,” Rubio countered. “That he’s the most conservative guy and everybody else is a RINO. The truth is Ted, throughout this campaign you’ve been willing to say or do anything to get votes.”

    Rubio argued that Cruz worked on President George W. Bush’s campaign and helped craft his immigration policy.

    In his response, Cruz said that Rubio promised voters before being elected to the U.S. Senate to oppose amnesty, but ended up supporting it in Washington.

    “Marco made the choice to go the direction of major donors … I honored my commitments,” Cruz said.

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  • Blaze Poll: Who Won the Iowa Fox News Debate?
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (685)

  • Fact Check: Jeb Bush Claimed His Book Only Costs $2.99 — He Was Off by Only $9
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:53 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (34)

    A claim made by Jeb Bush Thursday night at the Fox News GOP debate did not hold up to the facts.

    When discussing immigration, the former Florida governor claimed that a book he wrote on the subject, “Immigration Wars,” was available online for just a few dollars.

    “You can get it at Amazon for $2.99, it’s not a best-seller,” Bush said.

    But a search on the e-commerce website proved the claim false. On Amazon, the least expensive copy of the book sold for $11 — not $2.99 as Bush had said.

    Image source: Amazon.com

    Image source: Amazon.com

    It should be noted, however, that a cheaper copy was available if the individual enrolled in the website’s Audible.com service.

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  • Watch Protesters Get Dragged Out of Trump Event — and See the Billionaire’s Response to the Demonstration
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:41 pm by Josiah Ryan

    Comments (273)

    A small group of protesters attempted to disrupt Donald Trump’s rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday night and were swiftly removed by security.

    The rally was being protected by Trump’s own security team, local police and the Secret Service.

    As the protesters were escorted outside, Trump explained to the audience how he has a love for protests.

    He noted, however, that it was unfortunate the few seats inside were occupied by protesters since there were “thousands of people” outside who didn’t get in.

    A few minutes later it happened again. Security moved into action and swiftly removed the protesters who were chanting anti-war slogans.

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    Twitter (@JosiahRyan) and Instagram (@ahhdannyboy.)

  • Watch Ted Cruz Insult Everybody on the Debate Stage, For A Surprising Reason
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm by Leigh Munsil

    Comments (163)

    DES MOINES — Ted Cruz took aim at every candidate on the debate stage Thursday night, calling his fellow Republican presidential contenders “stupid, fat and ugly.”

    But the candidate he was really attacking was businessman Donald Trump.

    “Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way,” the Texas senator said, prompting laughs from the crowd and the moderators for his jab at Trump’s competing event during the Fox News debate.

    “I want to thank everyone here for showing the men and women of Iowa the respect to show up and make the case to the people of this state and the people of the country why each of us believe we would make the best commander in chief,” said Cruz, who’s polling very closely behind Trump in the key early voting state.

  • Trump Says Fox News Called Him This Evening — Here’s What He Claims a Network Executive Said
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:02 pm by Oliver Darcy

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    Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said in an interview Thursday evening that representatives from the Fox News Channel have called him “many” times in attempts to persuade him to participate in the debate.

    The remarks came in an interview on Trump’s plane with CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

    “By the time they apologized—,” Trump said, before Keilar interjected.

    “They on the phone call apologized?” the CNN reporter asked.

    “They could not have been nicer,” Trump said.

    “You got an apology?” Keilar asked.

    “Yes. Could not have been nicer,” Trump said.

    The billionaire, however, declined to name the executive that he said issued the apology.

    A representative for the network said in a statement that Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes had three “brief conversations” with Trump Thursday.

    “In the course of those conversations, we acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quell the attacks on Megyn Kelly, and prevent her from being smeared any further,” the statement said.

    The New York Times reported that Trump said he had considered attending the debate, but concluded it would not be feasible because the event he was hosting that night was at the same time. A representative for Fox News said that Trump offered to participate in the debate if the network agreed to donate $5 million to his charities.

    Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comment from Fox News.

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  • ‘I’ve Got Nothing Else Going On’: Santorum, Huckabee Wrap Up Undercard, Head to Join Trump at Veterans’ Event
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 8:49 pm by Leigh Munsil

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    DES MOINES — After making their final pitches to voters ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, Republican candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee got ready to head to Donald Trump’s event for veterans two-and-a-half miles across town.

    “I’ve got nothing else going on tonight, so let’s go over there and support them,” said Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, in the spin room following the Fox News undercard debate.

    Huckabee also defended Trump’s decision to funnel money raised through the Donald J. Trump Foundation, arguing that no one’s accusing Trump of lining his pockets with money meant for veterans.

    Candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum interact at a debate. (AP Photo)

    Candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum interact at a debate. (AP Photo)

    “There’s one guy on the planet who doesn’t need it, and it’s him,” he said.

    Santorum told reporters that Trump’s event in a competing time slot with the GOP Debate is a double-edged sword for candidates in the undercard debate.

    “If you get invited and you don’t go, then you’re not supporting veterans,” Santorum said. “If you get invited and you do go, you’re supporting Donald Trump.”

    Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, said he doesn’t let the “Twitterverse” decide what he should do — he tries to do the right thing.

    Plus, he didn’t have any other plans.

    “As I said before, I’m not busy tonight,” Santorum said.

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  • ‘Audit the Ted’: Crowd of Rand Paul Supporters Break Into Boos For Ted Cruz Hours Before Debate
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 7:14 pm by Josiah Ryan

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    A crowd of Sen. Rand Paul supporters at Drake University in Iowa on Thursday broke into boos for the senator from Texas as Paul slammed him for failing to vote for legislation in the Senate that would have provided for a full audit of the Federal Reserve.

    Cruz previously told TheBlaze he “strongly” supported the legislation and would have traveled to D.C. to vote for it if his vote “would have made a difference in it passing.”

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  • Among Clinton, Sanders and Trump, See Which Candidate Glenn Beck Says Is the ‘Best Bet’
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm by Tré Goins-Phillips

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    Glenn Beck gave Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton a compliment Thursday evening — sort of.

    After analyzing Clinton, Democratic hopeful Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican candidate Donald Trump, Beck concluded that — among those three — the former secretary of state is the country’s “best bet.”

    “Honestly, between the three, the woman who should be in prison is probably the best,” Beck told his live studio audience during Thursday’s episode of The Glenn Beck Program.

    Beck says he came to that conclusion because he believes Clinton, even though he holds that she should be in prison, is the only one of those three candidates who will maintain the status quo in Washington, D.C., claiming the other two would “retool” the Constitution and government.

    “She’s the one that’s the slimiest to keep the whole thing together. Bernie Sanders wants to retool [government] and Donald Trump, I think, has fascistic tendencies and will retool it,” the popular commentator, who has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination, said.

    “That’s how much trouble we’re in,” he added.

    It is important to note, however, that throughout the program, Beck made it clear he would never vote for Clinton in a general election.

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  • Rand Paul: Not Having Donald Trump on Debate Stage ‘Sucking Up the Air’ Is a ‘Win Win Situation’
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm by Josiah Ryan

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    Calling Donald Trump’s exit from the Fox News debate a “win win situation” for all, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul suggested the debate could be his best ever.

    “Not having Donald Trump sucking up the air is a good idea,” Paul told TheBlaze. “[T]here are many things about not having Donald Trump on the stage that are a great advantage.”

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    Bin Talal, who previously called Trump a “disgrace” to America, issued a blistering response.

    “Trump:You base your statements on photoshopped pics?I bailed you out twice;a 3rd time,maybe?” he asked.

    The Saudi prince linked to a BuzzFeed story about him purchasing a yacht from Trump when the real estate mogul was in debt $900 million.

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  • Eric Holder’s Ominous Warning of What Happens if Hillary Clinton Isn’t Elected
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm by Fred Lucas

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    Former Attorney General Eric Holder — one of the most controversial Cabinet members of the Obama administration, found in contempt of Congress by a bipartisan vote and even threatened with impeachment — is doing a radio ad for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in South Carolina.

    In the ad, Holder even makes some incendiary warnings about what would happen if a Republican is elected president:

    If the Republicans win, we’ll all lose. They want to roll back the clock on civil rights. They want to make it harder for African-Americans to vote — not easier. And they’ve got no plan to deal with gun violence or any of the issues we’re facing in our communities.

    “She’s fought her whole life for children, to protect civil rights, voting rights, and today, Hillary is pushing hard for tougher gun laws and police accountability,” the ad continues.

    As attorney general, Holder withheld thousands of documents from Congress in the Fast and Furious investigation. The House voted 255-67 in favor of a criminal contempt resolution, with 17 Democrats joining Republicans, and 258-95 for a civil contempt resolution, including 21 Democrats. Operation Fast and Furious was a botched gun-walking program that allowed about 2,000 guns to flow from the United States to Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. The program was halted when one of the guns was found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

    He also came under fire for dismissing the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party in 2009.

    Holder was also involved in numerous other scandals dating back to his time in the Clinton Justice Department, including having played a significant role in President Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich and working out the pardon of the Armed Forced of National Liberation, or the FALN, terrorists.

    Here’s the transcript of the Hillary Clinton ad with Holder:

    This is former Attorney General Eric Holder. Serving under President Obama was one of the proudest moments of my life, and I believe it’s so important that we build on the progress that he’s made.

    But if the Republicans win, we’ll all lose. They want to roll back the clock on civil rights. The want to make it harder for African Americans to vote—not easier. And they’ve got no plan to deal with gun violence or any of the issues we’re facing in our communities.

    I’ve served with Hillary Clinton in the president’s cabinet and I’ve known her for almost 25 years.

    She’s fought her whole life for children, to protect civil rights, voting rights, and today, Hillary is pushing hard for tougher gun laws and police accountability.

    South Carolina—if you want to build on the progress that we’ve made and make sure Republicans don’t take us backward, help Hillary move us forward.

  • Watch as the Two Stars of One of the Most Iconic NFL Commercials Reunite Nearly 40 Years Later
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:13 pm by Kathryn Blackhurst

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    NFL legend “Mean” Joe Greene and Tommy Okon — the kid with the bottle of Coke in the iconic cola commercial — reunited to shoot a video clip for the upcoming “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials 2016″ special on CBS nearly 40 years after the two starred in one of the most beloved Super Bowl spots ever.

    "Mean" Joe Greene in his iconic 1979 ad for Coke (Image source: YouTube)

    “Mean” Joe Greene in his iconic 1979 ad for Coke (Image source: YouTube)

    Greene and Okon are featured in a clip posted by People.com as the two meet at the Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas, and reminisce about the Clio Award-winning commercial, which originally debuted in October 1979 but was most notably aired during Super Bowl XIV in 1980. In the clip, the two discussed why the commercial — which had been part of the ”Have a Coke and a Smile” ad campaign and pioneered the now-famous tagline, ”Hey kid, catch!” — still resonates with faithful football fans today.

    “I think the people that created it wrote a great commercial that really tells a story,” Okon said in the video. “That commercial’s kind of what Joe is: tough football player who’s a nice guy.”

    The original commercial featured a worn-out and limping Greene exiting the stadium as a 9-year-old Okon followed him and caught up with him, saying, “I just want you to know I think you’re the best ever.”

    Greene, however, was not convinced until Okon offered him his Coke. As Okon begins to walk away, Greene called after him, saying, “Hey kid, catch!” as he tosses his football jersey to the beaming boy.

    “Still special, after all these years,” Greene said in the new CBS special as he wiped his eyes.

    “Not so mean,” Okon said. “Not so mean, this guy.”

    The special is set to air on CBS Feb. 2 at 8 p.m.

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