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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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After weeks of trading barbs over each other's immigration positions while remaining vague on their own, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) finally had their big, climatic showdown on the so-called "amnesty" question, with Rubio in some respects turning the tables on Cruz.

Going into Tuesday debate, immigration had been a weakness for Rubio among conservative voters and Cruz had been dogging him on the issue from afar on the campaign trail. Ultimately, Rubio didn't have to give up much -- he landed on supporting green cards for undocumented immigrants -- but he was able to put Cruz on the spot for his own waffling on the issue.

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Asked by GOP debate moderator Hugh Hewitt whether he would be willing to order airstrikes that would kill thousands of innocent children, Ben Carson compared making such a call to the experience of operating on a child, as he did as an acclaimed pediatric neurosurgeon.

"You should see the eyes of some of those children when I say to them, 'We are going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor.' They're not happy about it and they don't like me very much at that point. But later on, they love me," Carson said. "Later on, they really realize what's going on. And by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture, and understand that it's actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather death by a thousand pricks."

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) took an unconventional approach in Tuesday's GOP debate to winning America's youth vote, telling them they could forget legalized marijuana and a subsidized college education under a Huckabee administration and gear up for military service instead.

As the candidates in the undercard debate duked it out over how to deal with the Islamic State, Huckabee defended his willingness to put troops on the ground.

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As the candidates in Tuesday's GOP undercard debate were asked to weigh in on Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from immigrating into the United States, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) defended Trump by arguing his ban targeted President Obama's policies, not Muslims.

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The Virginia detective who led a notorious investigation into a 2014 teen "sexting" case -- in which he sought a warrant to photograph the erect penis of one of the teens involved -- committed suicide Tuesday when faced with arrest for alleged child sex crimes.

When authorities showed up at the home of Manassas City police detective David Edward Abbott -- a hockey coach and member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes against Children Task Force -- to arrest him, Abbott pulled out a gun and shot himself, WUSA9 reported. Abbott was accused of soliciting a minor in an investigation into the detective's relationship with a 13-year-old boy that the authorities said began earlier this month.

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A Washington state man accused of posting threats on Fox Nation against employees of a Planned Parenthood partner in California was arrested by federal authorities last week, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Scott Anthony Orton posted comments vowing to pay anyone willing to kill employees for StemExpress, according to the criminal complaint from the FBI. StemExpress is a biotech firm that came under scrutiny for its work with Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program and was a target of anti-abortion "sting" videos.

The comments Orton allegedly wrote called one particular StemExpress officer a "death-profiteer" who should be "hung by the neck using piano wire and propped on the lawn in front of the building with a note attached."

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is leading the charge to include a provision in a year-end tax package that would delay the Obamacare Cadillac tax, according to a report by The Hill.

The tax is despised by members of both parties, but health care economists and policy wonks defend it as an important cost-savings measure. Though the Obama administration has also held firm in its support for the Cadillac tax, it may be forced to swallow the delay -- which would put off the implementation of the tax from 2018 to 2020 -- as a part of the larger "tax extender" package that could include other extensions of tax breaks the administration favors.

Neither Reid nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) commented for The Hill report.

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) bashed Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for suggesting affirmative action was sending Africans Americans to schools too advanced for them. Reid called the comments -- made during Wednesday's oral arguments for a major affirmative action case -- "stunning," "deeply disturbing" and "racist."

"It is deeply disturbing to hear a Supreme Court justice endorse racist ideas from the bench on the nation's highest court," Reid said from the Senate floor Thursday. "His endorsement of racist theories has frightening ramifications, not least of which is to undermine the academic achievements of Americans, African Americans especially."

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