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

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on Monday said that while he does not support the tactics of the militia that has taken over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, he believes that the federal government has too much control over the country's land.

"Well, you know, the tendency for everybody is to, you know, come down on one side or the other side, government's bad, these people are bad," Carson said when asked about the takeover in Oregon. "I would think that we should try to look at things from both perspectives. Why, in fact, do these ranchers feel that way? Let's hear their grievances. I don't condone them taking over, you know, a federal building. You know, we have better ways of expressing our displeasure than that."

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The militia group that has taken over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon has suddenly thrust the Bundy family back into the national spotlight, but members of Cliven Bundy's clan have been trying to recapture the glory of the infamous 2014 standoff at their ranch in other incidents across the west over the last two years.

Bundy and his sons have continued to protest the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in disputes in Oregon and Utah, and they have pushed for legislation to reduce the federal government's authority over land in Nevada.

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday said that he hoped the armed militia that has taken over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon will stand down, noting that individuals do not have the right to threaten use of force.

"Our prayers right now are with everyone involved in what’s happening with Oregon, and especially those in law enforcement that are risking their lives," Cruz said when asked about the militia while in Iowa, according to NBC News.

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During a town hall event in New Hampshire on Sunday, a New Hampshire Republican lawmaker twice attempt to confront Hillary Clinton about the past conduct of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

During the beginning of Clinton's question-and-answer session, Katherine Prudhomme O'Brien, a New Hampshire state representative, began shouting questions at the former secretary of state, according to CNN.

O'Brien again interrupted Clinton later in the event shouting questions.

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday said that the United States government cannot favor one religion over another but that the Constitution does not prohibit the government from preferring religion over secularism, according to the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

Scalia made the comments during a speech at the Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, Louisiana. He said that it is "absurd" to think the Constitution bans the government from supporting religion, according to the Times-Picayune.

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Donald Trump on Monday morning released his first television ad, which promotes the Republican presidential candidate's proposals to ban Muslims from traveling to the United States and to build a wall along the southern border as part of his plan to defeat "radical Islamic terrorism."

The ad will air in Iowa and New Hampshire beginning on Tuesday, and Trump will spend at least $2 million on ads each week, according to a statement from the campaign.

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday responded to a question about Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old black boy who was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, last year, by discussing the Chicago police department.

"I think that Chicago’s got a lot of work to do to rebuild trust. The level of violence is abhorrent," Bush responded when asked about a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who shot Rice, according to video from CNN.

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This post has been updated.

The Georgia attorney general on Wednesday issued a formal opinion that Georgia cannot legally block Syrian refugees from settling in the state, even though Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has pushed to keep refugees from the war-torn country from receiving benefits like food stamps.

Attorney General Sam Olens wrote that he is "unaware of any law or agreement that would permit a state to carve out refugees from particular countries from participation in the refugee resettlement program, no matter how well-intended or justified the desire to carve out such refugees might be," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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A few New Hampshire residents, including a reporter, said they were listed as town chairs supporting Donald Trump's presidential bid even though they don't recall signing up for the slot and don't plan on supporting the candidate.

Daymond Steer, a reporter with the Conway Daily Sun in New Hampshire, noticed last week that he was listed at Trump's town chair in Tamworth even though he does not remember signing up for the role.

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in 2002 used his position as majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives to help his brother-in-law, a convicted drug trafficker just released from prison, obtain a real estate license in the state, according to a Washington Post report.

Rubio sent a letter to the Florida Division of Real Estate recommending Orlando Cicilia for a license, but did not disclose that Cicilia was married to his sister, Barbara, according to records obtained by the Post. Rubio only wrote that he had known Cicilia for more than 25 years. Cicilia was also living with Rubio's parents at the time, and still lives with Rubio's mother, according to the Post.

The state of Florida approves the licenses of convicted felons on a case-by-case basis and granted Cicilia a license after a hearing before the Real Estate Division in 2002, according to the Post.

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