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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

Now that it appears that the Republican presidential primary may boil down to a choice between Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), terrified Republicans have started to openly state that they would have to support Trump over the Texas senator, arguing that Trump's nomination would damage the party less.

Bob Dole, former senator and Republican presidential nominee, told the New York Times this week that he would prefer Trump because Cruz's nomination would result in "wholesale losses in Congress and state offices and governors and legislatures." Dole said that "nobody" likes Cruz and that Trump "has toned down his rhetoric."

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Thursday that both Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) would ruin the Republican Party's chances of winning the general election.

"If you nominate Trump and Cruz, I think you get the same outcome," Graham told reporters, according to the New York Times. "Whether it’s death by being shot or poisoning doesn’t really matter. I don’t think the outcome will be substantially different."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) presidential campaign released a wordless TV ad in Iowa and New Hampshire on Thursday set to Simon and Garfunkel's "America."

The 60-second spot titled "America" does not include any narration or clips of Sanders speaking. The ad shows the senator meeting with voters at rallies and images of people on farms and in cities across the country. The ad ends with the verse, "They've all come to look for America."

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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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