Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Now that House Republicans have elected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as speaker, members of the House Freedom Caucus are preparing to push changes to the Republican steering committee.

Members of the conservative caucus that pushed to oust Boehner have started circulating a plan to reduce the power of the GOP leadership team on the panel that decides committee assignments, The Hill reported on Wednesday.

Currently, the speaker has five votes on the Steering Committee and the majority leader has two. The Freedom Caucus would keep the representatives in six top leadership spots on the committee, but give those individuals the same voting power as the rest of the Steering Committee's members.

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Fox News Megyn Kelly, who has expressed skepticism of Republican candidates' demands following the CNBC debate, on Tuesday night quizzed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on his pitch that only Republican journalists moderate the Republican primary debates.

Kelly first asked Cruz about a few candidates' plan to send a letter to networks with a list of demands for future debates.

"I'm not interested in signing onto a letter of demands," Cruz said before launching into his thoughts on "liberal" moderators. “The one point I have made — and I’ve made it several times — is why is it that we have Republican primary debates that are moderated by liberal Democrats? Liberal Democrats moderate the Democratic debates and they moderate the Republican debates. I don’t think that makes any sense."

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Dr. Ben Carson's plot to force changes to future presidential debates appeared to largely collapse on Tuesday as more of his GOP rivals refused to go along with him, and he dialed back many of the demands he hoped to make to television networks.

Carson's campaign in recent days had attempted to build a coalition of Republican candidates to send a letter to networks demand changes to future debates after last week's rocky match-up hosted by the financial news network CNBC.

On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he would not sign the letter, and an aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that the campaign had "no intention to" either, Politico reported.

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Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and real estate mogul Donald Trump are effectively tied for the lead in a national poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday.

Among Republican voters, Trump received 24 percent support and Carson received 23 percent support. Following the two frontrunners, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) got 14 percent of voters and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) got 13 percent of the vote. The rest of the Republican candidates polled in the single digits.

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Voters in Jefferson County, Colorado, on Tuesday voted to oust three conservative members of the district's school board following a push to recall the members over their stance on issues like teacher pay, school choice, and curriculum, the Denver Post reported.

The three board members -- Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk -- made the national news last year when Williams proposed controversial changes to the AP U.S. History curriculum. She wanted the make sure the class would "present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage" and not "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law." Students in the county staged walk-outs protesting the changes, which the JeffCo board eventually dropped.

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Despite a few candidates' decisions to drop out of the GOP effort to change the format of upcoming presidential debates, some campaigns will still commit to the list of demands for networks drafted earlier this week.

The campaigns for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed to The Hill that their candidates will sign the letter.

"Our issue is not the letter," Jindal spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told The Hill. "Our issue continues to be that the Party and the networks continue to try and winnow out candidates before the voters have a chance to weigh in. No matter who you are for, or what side you are on, that’s just wrong."

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President Obama on Monday night mocked the Republican candidates who complained heavily about the CNBC debate moderators and called for major changes to the debate format.

"Have you noticed that every one of these candidates say, 'Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out,'" Obama said. "And then it turns out, they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators."

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Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Monday night mocked the letter drafted by Republican presidential campaigns listing a series of rules and questions for networks hosting future debates.

After listing some of the demands, including that networks not allow lightning rounds or candidate-to-candidate questioning, Kelly jokingly suggested, "And then maybe the foot massage?"

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After Donald Trump's campaign on Monday rejected the letter to be sent to networks by his fellow Republican presidential candidates with demands for upcoming debates, a few additional Republican campaigns followed suit in declining to sign the letter.

The campaigns for Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters that they are not as concerned about the debates as their fellow candidates.

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