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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Ben Carson's campaign is launching a new ad featuring a Carson-themed rap song in a move to attract African-American votes, ABC News reported.

Carson himself doesn't rap in the 60-second radio spot, which will play for two weeks in Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas. A rapper named Aspiring Mogul raps, "Vote and support Ben Carson for our next president and be awesome," over clips of Carson remarks about freedom and personal responsibility.

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Matt Bevin wouldn't be the first politician to over-promise and under-deliver.

But what the Obamacare-hating Bevin has promised to do as Kentucky's new Republican governor versus what he may actually be able to do offers new insight into how entrenched Obamacare already is in the health care economy.

Top health policy experts contacted by TPM the day after Bevin's victory weren't panicking or predicting a dramatic rollback of Obamacare in Kentucky. They were generally concerned about mischief Bevin could make at the margins, because any additional hassle faced by insurance customers can dampen participation. But experts watching closely said they were skeptical Bevin would be able to deliver a grave setback to the progress the state has made through its Obamacare programs.

“It is nearly politically impossible to take benefits from people -- even for Republicans,” Caroline Pearson, vice president of Avalere Health, an independent consulting firm and a top expert on health policy, told TPM. “I think that’s not likely to happen, even though that might sell well on the campaign trail.”

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GOP frontrunner Ben Carson, in a 1998 commencement address, floated his own personal theory that the pyramids in Egypt were built by Joseph -- the biblical patriarch known for his coat of many colors -- to store grain, Buzzfeed reported.

In the speech -- given at Andrews University, a school with ties to Carson's Seventh-day Adventist faith -- the neurosurgeon shot down claim that aliens had built the pyramids. But he also disagreed with the archaeological consensus that the pyramids were constructed as tombs for the pharaohs.

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With the viral video of a police officer violently arresting a black female student at high school in South Carolina reinvigorating the debate over school resource officers, new research bolsters critics' claims that school security can have a negative effect on students, particularly African Americans.

The new study by two academics in New York showed that the mere presence of African American students at a school makes it more likely the school will take on security measures, even when controlling for neighborhood crime and school misconduct.

The study also found, among other things, greater racial disparities in student suspensions and arrests in schools where there are cops present or other security measures are taken. Those arrest and suspensions are believed to contribute to the so-called "school-to-prison pipeline."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who ran for president in 2008, joined the chorus of other conservatives wary of the demands some of the 2016 GOP contenders are floating for future debates.

"I think their complaints are legitimate, but come on, man up and move on," McCain said while in the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, according to Reuters. "I think it’s OK if the temperature isn’t exactly 67 degrees."

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Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) kicked off his first GOP leadership conference Tuesday by holding his firm line on advancing immigration reform while President Obama is in office.

Ryan was asked if he would consider moving forward with reform once a new president is elected.

"My positions are very well known and unchanged on this issue," Ryan said, referring to his previous openness to creating a pathway citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

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A new round of chaos in the 2016 presidential primary has erupted, with a full-on revolt by GOP 2016ers against this cycle’s debate structures.

After widespread frustration with the tough questioning candidates faced in last week’s CNBC debate, a shake-up at the Republican National Committee has been ordered. A draft letter is being circulating with candidates making their own demands of the networks in return for participating in debates. And Donald Trump -- the most volatile element in the entire field -- has defected from his rival candidates to set up his own set of conditions.

The idea of a candidate-controlled debate cycle is not just causing the media concern for its loss of influence. It is prompting new headaches for the already exhausted GOP elites, and some Republicans are worried that too much coddling will harm their party in the long run.

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Federal officials Monday approved Montana's application to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, the AP reported.

"This agreement will bring much needed access to health care coverage to more than 70,000 low-income Montanans,” said Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “The administration looks forward to working with other states to expand Medicaid by designing programs that meet state’s needs while providing needed services to residents and significant economic benefits to states.”

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A letter threatening a lawsuit has made the Obama administration an unlikely target of voting rights groups, as the president is typically seen as an ally in efforts to expand the franchise.

The groups' concerns are colliding with another priority of Obama's presidency: his sweeping health care law. Voting rights activists say that in rolling out Obamacare -- specifically its federally operated health care exchanges -- the administration hasn't done enough to comply with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. They are threatening to sue the administration over the alleged violations, according to a letter sent by Demos, ProjectVote and League of Women Voters of the U.S. to the White House Wednesday.

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Voting rights groups sent a letter to the Obama administration Wednesday expressing their concern with what they say is a failure to comply with a voting registration law. The groups accused the administration of violating the National Voter Registration Act -- a 1993 law that expanded the opportunities for Americans to register to vote -- by not offering the proper voting registration services through the federal healthcare exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. The letter suggested potential for a lawsuit.

"We hope to avoid litigation, but we note that the NVRA includes a private right of action," the letter -- signed by the presidents of Demos, ProjectVote and League of Women Voters of the U.S -- states.

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