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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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CNBC's Carl Quintanilla kicked off Wednesday's GOP debate with a simple question for all the participants: What's your biggest weakness?

He stipulated that candidates should answer "without telling us that you tried too hard or that you're a perfectionist." But that didn't stop the candidates from playing fast and loose with the meaning of the word "weakness." Here's how almost all of them awkwardly avoided answering:

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH): My biggest weakness is the other candidates.

"I want to tell you my great concern is we're on the verge of perhaps picking someone who cannot do this job."

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Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) slammed the GOP for its refusal to admit the existence of climate change and said that Republicans too often "question science that everyone accepts."

"One of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts," Pataki said at Wednesday's GOP undercard debate, when asked about his belief that climate change is caused by human activity.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said at Wednesday's GOP undercard debate he would "absolutely" bring his state's no-taxes-at-all-costs budget approach to the federal government, even after moderator John Harwood pointed out it led to Louisiana's $1.6 billion deficit.

"When you came into office with a budget surplus in the state of Louisiana, now years later the state legislature faced a $1.6 billion budget gap and the Republican State Treasurer called one of your approaches to that problem 'Nonsense on a stick,'" Harwood said. "Are you going to do for the federal budget what you did for the Louisiana budget?"

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Pennsylvania state police officials say the massive military blimp that broke free from its tether Wednesday has been grounded, the AP reported. The blimp, known as JLENS, descended near Williamsport in Pennsylvania and was secure, according to Bob Reese, a state police spokesman in Montoursville. NORAD spokesman Capt. Scott Miller has confirmed its grounding as well, according to the Daily Beast.

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Republicans are more likely to view Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unfavorably than favorably, a Gallup survey released Thursday finds. For the first time in the five years the survey has been taken, more Republicans (35 percent) view the Kentuckian negatively than positively (30 percent). A year and a half ago, Republicans were twice as likely to view him favorably than unfavorably.

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A massive Pentagon surveillance blimp broke free from its tether in Aberdeen, Maryland, outside of Washington, Wednesday. The blimp -- technically an "aerostat" in the $2.7 billion Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) program -- is floating somewhere above Pennsylvania, The Baltimore Sun reported.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) kicked off what will likely be a round of the GOP's presidential candidates bashing the bipartisan fiscal deal by vowing to filibuster the bill in the Senate. An aide for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was quick to point out, however, that Paul can't do much more than delay the process.

Paul -- who has been lagging in the polls -- made his vow to block the budget bill Tuesday afternoon in front of a group of reporters in Denver ahead of Wednesday's GOP presidential debate.

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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- who is expected to be elected Speaker of the House later this week -- trashed the process by which congressional leaders cobbled the big fiscal budget deal that will raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for two years.

"About the process, I can say this. I think this process stinks," Ryan said on MSNBC Tuesday. "This is not the way to do the people's business and under new management we are not going to do the people's business this way."

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Before Speaker John Boehner hands over his gavel to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), as expected later this week, he's offering the current Ways and Means chair an enormous gift: a big, almost-miraculous fiscal deal that takes off of the table most of the contentious issues facing Congress between now and the 2016 election.

According to initial reports, the emerging deal includes a hike to the debt limit, a two-year funding bill and even a re-balancing of the Social Security disability trust fund, which was expected to dry up next year. Additionally, short-term transportation legislation giving lawmakers a few more weeks to finish a multi-year bill is also moving forward. If those deals can make it through Congress as planned in the next few days, the initial months of Ryan’s presumed speakership will be a cake walk compared to the high-stakes deadlines he was previously facing.

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A deal between the White House and congressional leaders that would raise the debt ceiling and include two-year spending legislation could be announced as soon as Monday evening, anonymous sources told The Hill.

“Hopefully we’re able to announce something this evening,” an unnamed Senate source said, according to The Hill. The Hill report said that word of the deal had reached sources on the House GOP appropriation staff, and it would possibly be brought up at the Monday Republican leadership meeting.

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