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

Bill Ballenger, a prominent conservative pundit and former Republican lawmaker in Michigan, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday morning that the coverage of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is "exaggerated."

"The publicity about it is overblown. Look, there is a problem with the water in Flint, or there has been," Ballenger said.

He acknowledged that "mistakes were made" in Flint but said that the reports of lead contamination in the city has created "terrible publicity for Flint."

"It's vastly exaggerated," he said.

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When asked on Wednesday about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to endorse Donald Trump, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did not criticize his running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

"I respect her view," McCain told reporters on Capitol Hill when asked about the endorsement, according to The Hill.

"I have great affection and appreciation for her,” he added. "I respect what she does."

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Updated at 11:47 a.m.

Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he told Sarah Palin to talk about her son, Track Palin, during a Wednesday rally in Oklahoma and that he felt it was fair for her to link her son's issues following service in the U.S. military to President Obama.

While speaking at an event for Trump, Palin brought up her son, who served in the Iraq War and was recently arrested on a domestic violence charge. The former Republican vice presidential nominee appeared to link Track Palin's arrest to post-traumatic stress disorder. She mentioned the "elephant in the room," referring to her son, before railing against President Obama for not properly caring for veterans when they return from combat.

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Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he was "sad" that no black actors were nominated for an Academy Award, but noted that white people are not nominated for any Black Entertainment Television Awards.

"I think it's a tough situation. I think it's really sad," Trump said on "Fox and Friends" when asked about the lack of black nominees.

He then mentioned Fox News contributor Stacey Dash's earlier comments on the show, where she said, "If we don’t want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black."

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said on Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) position on renewable fuels would be detrimental to Iowa but stopped short of directly criticizing the Republican presidential candidate.

"I have to look at it from an issues standpoint, not a personality standpoint. Cruz is Cruz, I’m not going to say anything about Cruz. I’m just going to say ethanol and wind are very important in my state," Grassley told Politico while discussing Cruz's opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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The Hillary Clinton campaign on Tuesday said that recent attacks from conservatives show that Republicans are hoping Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will win the Democratic nomination because they believe he would be easier to beat in the general election.

In a Tuesday evening statement, the Clinton campaign's communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, mentioned an ad from the Rove-aligned super PAC American Crossroads, which accused Clinton of being in Wall Street's pocket. Palmieri said the ad suggests that Republicans want to face Sanders in the general election.

"While Senator Sanders tries to make a case on electability based on meaningless polls, Republicans and their super PACs have made clear the candidate they’re actually afraid to face. The Sanders argument falls apart when the GOP spokesman is trying to help him and the Republicans run ads trying to stop Hillary Clinton in the primary," she said in the statement.

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After the Hillary Clinton campaign on Tuesday went after Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) foreign policy background, the Vermont senator criticized Clinton for her 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq War.

"It is fair to say, that in terms of experience, Hillary Clinton was secretary of state for four years, so that gives her a lot of experience, no debate about that," Sanders said in Iowa when asked about his foreign policy credentials, according to the Washington Post. "But there is a difference between experience and judgment. The most important foreign policy vote in the modern history of this country took place in 2002."

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While criticizing President Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, on Tuesday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush incorrectly pronounced Malia Obama's name as "Malayla."

Bush slammed Michelle Obama for failing to attend a California summit between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping that took place in 2013, Politico reported.

"The scandal in China was that Mrs. Obama and the United States government, and the United States, therefore, were insulting China and its first couple by not being there," Bush said. "And every meeting I had in Beijing started out for the first 10 minutes lambasting me about why it was, as an American, why it was that we insulted China. And I’m thinking, you know what, it could be that Mrs. Obama was worried about the science project of Malayla."

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday fired back at Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) for his remarks that the Texas senator's stance on renewable fuels like ethanol would be "damaging" to Iowa.

"It is not a surprise that the establishment is in full panic mode," Cruz told BuzzFeed News in response to Branstad. "We predicted from the very beginning that the Washington cartel would fire every tool in its arsenal to prevent a conservative victory in this primary."

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While explaining that he believes that Donald Trump's success in the Republican party does not mean that establishment conservatism is dying, GOP strategist Rick Wilson dismissed the "childless single men" who support Trump's presidential bid.

"The fact of the matter is, most of them are childless single men who masturbate to anime. They’re not real political players. These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity," Wilson said of Trump supporters on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes."

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