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

Hillary Clinton defended her support of Planned Parenthood on Thursday evening after being asked to respond to Carly Fiorina's comments during the Republican debate about the sting videos targeting the group.

During the Wednesday debate Fiorina blasted Clinton for standing by Planned Parenthood and criticized the clinic's work with fetal tissue, describing a scene she claims she saw in the sting videos released by an anti-abortion group. Fiorina said she saw "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain." No such scene takes place in the videos, according to those who have watched the entire set of available videos.

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Actress Emily Blunt apologized on Thursday for a joke bashing the first Republican presidential debate after she received some flack for the diss.

"It was so not the intention to hurt anybody or cause any offense, so I really apologize to those that I caused offense," Blunt said on NBC's "Today." "It was just an offhand joke. I think I'll probably leave the political jokes to late night or something."

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Donald Trump on Thursday night did not correct a supporter who declared that President Obama is a Muslim and not American during a question about "training camps" for Muslims at a town hall event in New Hampshire.

"We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims," the man began. "We know our current president is one."

"Right," Trump said as he was listening to the first part of the question.

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After many members of the media said that Carly Fiorina had the strongest performance at the CNN Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said on Thursday that he knew that Fiorina would have gotten a lot of attention no matter how the debate played out.

"I think going in, we knew the narrative, no matter what was gonna happen, was they were gonna say that Carly had a big night, no matter what, and obviously, they said that," Walker told radio host Glenn Beck, according to audio published by Buzzfeed News. "I think the other impression was — the feedback I got from folks, not just in the press but from across the country, we talked to was a frustration that there wasn’t more talk."

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Carly Fiorina on Thursday morning defended claims she made during the CNN Republican presidential debate that the Planned Parenthood sting videos showed a kicking fetus as employees discussed harvesting its organs. However, reports indicate that the videos recently released by the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress did not include the scene Fiorina described.

During the debate, Fiorina told her Democratic opponents to look at the videos and "watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

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A probate judge in Alabama on Wednesday filed a petition to the state supreme court asking the court to protect officials who refuse to issue or sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples for religious reasons, citing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' recent stint in jail.

Probate Judge Nick Williams is one of a few probate judges in Alabama who have refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, according to AL.com.

"The jailing of Kentucky clerk Kimberly B. Davis put at immediate risk the liberty interest of all faithful and religiously sincere public officials in Alabama whose office has responsibility for making decisions as to whether to give sanction and honor to homosexual relationships to include the issuance of a license to engage in sodomy," a petition filed by Williams' attorney, Jack Hinton, reads, according to AL.com

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Carly Fiorina earned a round of applause at the CNN debate when she responded to Donald Trump's recent comment about her appearance, but Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Fiorina's opponent in 2010, recalled on Wednesday a time when the former Hewlett Packard CEO made fun of her hair.

Before the debate on Wednesday night, Boxer spoke with MSNBC's Chris Matthews about her Senate race against Fiorina in 2010. Boxer criticized Trump's comment about Fiorina's "face," but the senator also noted Fiorina's own comments about Boxer in 2010.

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Preliminary ratings for the prime-time CNN Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night show that the event will likely break the network's ratings record.

The debate earned an overall 14.7 rating, indicating that that more than 20 million Americans tuned in to the debate, according to CNN. Nielsen has not yet calculated the final ratings and viewership for the program.

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Donald Trump, the star of CNN's three-hour Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, said that even he felt it focused to much on him and ran too long.

Immediately following the debate, Trump said he thought the debate "questions were really good." On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday morning, co-host Joe Scarborough asked Trump why he felt that way when so many of the questions were about the real estate mogul.

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On "The Late Show" Wednesday night, host Stephen Colbert mocked the Republican presidential candidates' attempts to "get their Ronnie on" as the second debate took place at President Ronald Reagan's presidential library.

Colbert narrowed in on a new ad that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) aired during the CNN debate and on Fox News afterward. The ad uses a scorpion to represent the threat of terrorism in the Middle East, noting that some "refuse to even speak its name" -- a reference to Cruz's criticism that Obama is hesitant to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism."

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