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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

During an interview on CNN Monday night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was asked about the anti-Muslims statements made by Frank Gaffney, a member of the national security team on Cruz's presidential campaign.

"Frank Gaffney is a serious thinker who has been focused on fighting jidahists, fighting jihadism across the globe," Cruz told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And he’s endured attacks from the left, from the media because he speaks out against radical Islamic terrorism, because he speaks out against, for example, the political correctness of the Obama administration that effectively gets in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood."

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During the White House press briefing on Friday, spokesman Josh Earnest indicated that President Obama would not withdraw support from Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland if he was asked to do so by a Democratic president-elect.

"The President stands by his nominee and believes that the Senate should confirm him as soon as possible. And I cannot imagine a scenario where the President would withdraw his support from his nominee," Earnest said when asked whether Obama would pull support for his nominee so that his successor could name a different nominee.

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Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

In a further blow to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell's efforts to hold a hardline on not even considering the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has gone from breaking ranks with McConnell to calling him and other GOP senators out on it.

During an interview on Illinois radio show "The Big John Howell Show," the host told Kirk that the Senate should consider the nominee and hold a vote on Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

"Right," Kirk replied. "Just man up and cast a vote."

"The tough thing about these Senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes," Kirk continued. “Your whole job is to either say yes or no, and explain why."

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After Jane Sanders engaged Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio in an unplanned debate over immigration, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took on the sheriff during a rally in Flagstaff, Arizona on Thursday.

Sanders described Arpaio as "un-American" and told rally attendees that the sheriff had "ambushed" his wife on Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

Jane Sanders visited Tent City, an outdoor jail in Maricopa County, on Wednesday, where Arpaio approached her after his own press conference. When Jane Sanders criticized the conditions in the outdoor jail, Arpaio told her that the conditions are similar to those soldiers experience when fighting overseas, according to the Arizona Republic.

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President Obama on Thursday bashed Senate Republicans' reasoning that the voters should weigh in on the Supreme Court in the 2016 presidential election and that consideration of a nominee should wait until then.

"One of the most puzzling arguments that I've heard from [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and some other Republicans is this notion that the American people should decide. We should let the American people decide as part of this election, who gets to fill this seat," Obama told NPR in an interview set to air in full on Friday morning. "Well, in fact the American people did decide — back in 2012 when they elected me president of the United States with sufficient electoral votes."

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Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Thursday that considering President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, during the lame duck session after the election, as some Republicans have suggested, "makes no sense," according to The Hill.

"I know there has been some members of the press who asked ... how about in a lame-duck session of the Congress," he said, according to The Hill. "I think that is a terrible idea."

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Thursday that the Republicans are now undercutting their own argument for blocking President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

During a press conference with Senate Democrats in front of the Supreme Court, Schumer said the suggestion made by some GOP senators that they could confirm Merrick Garland during the lame duck period after the November election "just undercuts everything they’re saying." He said that they've been pushing to wait until after the 2016 election, "but in this case they’ll make an exception," he noted.

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Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), on Thursday called out Republican senators who have now said that they would be open to confirming Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the November election if a Democrat wins the White House.

"It appears to be getting less and less about principle," Franken said on MSNBC. "We've heard now a number of my Republican colleagues say that they would confirm or take up Judge Garland in a lame duck session if Hillary Clinton wins."

"It's gone from -- even under their reasoning -- from 'Let the people decide' ... to 'Let the people decide unless they decide on Hillary Clinton,'" he continued.

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Frank Gaffney, a prominent anti-Muslim activist and former Reagan administration official, will join the Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) campaign's national security advisory team, according to Bloomberg's Eli Lake.

Other members of Gaffney's Center for Security Policy -- Fred Fleitz, Clare Lopez, and Jim Hanson -- will also join Cruz's national security advisory team, according to Bloomberg.

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