The Daily 202 – The Republican Party does not look prepared to come out of the wilderness after eight years of Barack Obama.

The Daily 202 – The Republican Party does not look prepared to come out of the wilderness after eight years of Barack Obama.

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Last night’s debate was a disaster for the Republican brand
Marco Rubio&nbsp;talks to Donald Trump during a commercial break in last night&#39;s&nbsp;Republican debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.&nbsp;(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)</p>

Marco Rubio talks to Donald Trump during a commercial break in last night’s Republican debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


The Republican Party does not look prepared to come out of the wilderness after eight years of Barack Obama.

That’s the takeaway of many leading conservatives after last night’s 11th Republican debate.

Just when you probably thought the presidential nominating contest had hit rock bottom, Donald Trump joked about the size of his genitalia.

The two-hour shout-down in Detroit, ahead of Michigan’s primary next Tuesday, suggested that the GOP’s deep wounds will not heal any time soon and raised the odds that Hillary Clinton will wind up president this time next year.

“The spectacle made me ill,” writes the conservative Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti.“On screen I watched decades of work by conservative institutions, activists, and elected officials being lit aflame not only by the New York demagogue but by his enablers who waited until the last possible moment to try and stop him.”

I’ll explain further down why Ted Cruz and John Kasich probably won the Fox News debate on points, and Marco Rubio came out worse for wear, but it’s myopic to think about last night in those terms. Because, in reality, everyone lost.

“Designed to define candidates’ differences, the debates have become tedious and repetitious rather than enlightening or illuminating,” The Post’s chief correspondent, Dan Balz, writes. “No new information was imparted, no truly new arguments advanced. Even the insults have grown tiresome. … Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who drew criticism earlier for trying to limit the number of debates, must be wishing he had pushed for even fewer, given the tone and tenor of Thursday’s forum and last week’s mud bath in Houston.” That’s not to mention the debate before that in South Carolina…

— The messaging guru most looked to by Republicans called Hillary the biggest winner of the debate:

From a senior adviser to Rick Perry:

From one of the GOP’s top pollsters:

From an up-and-coming Republican pollster who specializes in understanding millenials:

From a senior political reporter at National Review:

From the conservative on the New York Times opinion page:

Though Cruz, Rubio and Kasich said they’ll support Trump if he’s the nominee, there were a lot of posts like this on social media (in this case, from a Rubio supporter):

This was the most retweeted tweet during the two-hour debate:

— Here’s a sampling of how conservative media outlets are covering the debate:

  • National Review: “GOP Implosion Accelerates in Motor City Wreck.”
  •, “GOP breaks down in Motor City”: “Much of the fight on the Republican side is centered on who can beat Clinton,” Chris Stirewalt, the digital politics editor, writes. “The growing fear among GOP voters is that the answer might be: ‘None of them.’”
  • Christian Broadcasting Network, “All That Was Missing Was Jerry Springer”:“The Grand Old Party didn’t look grand at all. Instead, they looked gross,” writes CBN political correspondent David Brody. “Reince Priebus is faced with a crucial decision now: does he go with Tylenol or Excedrin? Which medication will take away this big fat headache?”

— The level of discourse slipped to a vulgar new low with Trump’s braggadocio about being well endowed. “I guarantee you there’s no problem,” he said in a quote for the ages.

Donald Trump on his hand size: “I guarantee you there’s no problem” #GOPDebate

No surprise, this was the most buzzed about moment on Facebook and drove the conversation on Twitter. It is also the moment that will utterly dominate the cable conversation today. Here’s a taste of the reaction: 

The Daily Beast’s home page:

And Trump still wouldn’t stop talking about his hands after the debate when he went into the spin room:

— Indeed, it was another debate all about Trump.

But time of possession does not fully reflect how much of their time Cruz and Rubio spent talking about Trump.

Girth jokes aside, Trump lost badly on points – though, of course, it may not dissuade any of his supporters.

Trump hoped to look presidential and ready for a general election. He did not.

He acknowledged that he often changes his positions on issues but spun this attribute as a tribute to his “flexibility.”

He flip-flopped, and then flipped again after the debate ended, on H-1-B visas.

He sounded like he said something to the New York Times editorial board about immigration that he doesn’t want to be made public. This scared many on the right who are otherwise sympathetic:

He also could not offer a coherent or persuasive defense about Trump University, saying the issue won’t be settled for a few more years. “Trump became flustered as he tried to defend what has been one of his greatest assets: his business record,” writes The Weekly Standard’s Michael Warren. “As the aphorism goes, if you’re explaining, you’re losing, especially when what you’re explaining a massive civil suit against your company that claims you defrauded thousands of people for millions of dollars.”

Moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace take the stage at Fox Theatre&nbsp;last night.&nbsp;(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)</p>

Moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace take the stage at Fox Theatre last night. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

— To their credit, the moderators pressed Trump harder and more effectively than the other candidates did. You could understand why The Donald skipped the Fox News debate before Iowa! They put up facts and figures that show just how unrealistic much of what he promises is. They showed video clips of him saying three things and then insisting adamantly – in one case, the next day – that he never said them. Megyn Kelly quoted a federal court ruling that said Trump acted like a “con artist” and compared his victims to those of Bernie Madoff.

Kelly especially received high praise from across the ideological spectrum:

Other storylines:

— Cruz and Rubio did not attack each other. The Cuban American Non-Aggression Pact held. USA Today leads with the tag-team element: “For the first time in a debate, they created a united anti-Trump front. In response, Trump brushed them off, sneeringly calling them ‘little Marco’ and ‘lying Ted.’”

— Five key conservative talking heads declared that Cruz had the best night of anyone:

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)</p>

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“Cruz had a terrific night,” writes National Review executive editor Rich Lowry. “He was strong and in command in his exchanges with Trump, and drew blood on Trump’s Hillary donations and the New York Times transcript. He avoided getting dragged down into the mud with Trump in the same way Rubio did. In general, he was firing on all cylinders, and his answer on Detroit was particularly good.”

— There’s near consensus that Rubio diminished himself.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)</p>

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“The Florida senator seemed to have resigned himself to a kamikaze mission against Trump during this debate,” writes The Fix’s Chris Cillizza, who puts him on his list of losers.“He jabbed at and with Trump over and over again in the debate’s first 60 minutes, turning every question — and answer — into an attack on Trump. It hurt Trump but hurt Rubio, too, as he struggled to get back to his more positive ‘new American century’ message. Rubio improved in the second half of the debate, but Cruz was better throughout. It’s hard to see how this debate changes the dynamic set in place on Tuesday night: Trump as the favorite, Cruz with the next best chance of being the nominee, Rubio as Trump spoiler.”

— By trying to stay above the fray, Kasich probably helped inject himself back into the debate and improved his chances of winning his home state of Ohio on March 15. In that 25-person focus group run by Luntz, 18 picked Kasich as the winner. Six picked Cruz, one picked Trump and none picked Rubio.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)</p>

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

This total mentions chart from our analytics partners at Zignal Labs, which shows media mentions between 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern, indicates Kasich may have had a bit of a breakthrough during tonight’s debate:

Kasich gave a solid performance of strength, sense, charm, and gravitas that was further elevated when contrasted with the three heated squabblers on stage beside him,” writes Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin. “Some rousing moments recounting his campaign trail and Ohio experiences that will potentially leave a lingering positive impression with Main Street Republican voters.”

From a USA Today political reporter:

This is George Costanza from Seinfeld:

— But, but, but: Kasich would still rather watch his party combust than directly engage Trump. Shown a web video that his own campaign released mocking the front-runner for praising Vladimir Putin, the governor of Ohio refused to comment about it. “I’m not biting,” he said. That sounded like a consummate and calculating politician, not a statesman staying above the fray. Now is a gut-check moment for leadership, not dodges.

— The Post’s Fact Checkers flag 14 fishy claims made during the debate. From Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

  • Trump seriously overstates the case when he claims the United States is getting “absolutely crushed” in trade with “every other country.”
  • Cruz continues to say that Trump financed the Gang of Eight. But this is misleading. The majority of Trump’s donations was made long before the 2013 Gang of Eight’s support for comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Rubio dropped his estimate of Trump’s inheritance from $200 million to $100 million, but that’s probably still too high. Trump and his siblings were reported to have expected $35 million each before Trump’s father died. But, as we have explained, Trump’s “$1 million to $10 billion” claim is also false.
  • What could account for Trump’s strange notion that the 9/11 hijackers were married and shipped their wives home just before the attacks? Perhaps he is conflating reports of Saudi nationals leaving the United States after the attacks. But even so, it would have made little sense for such a carefully planned plot to have such poor operational security.
  • Cruz is exaggerating his law-enforcement credentials.
  • Trump University actually earned a D- from BBB before it was shut down.

— Read an annotated transcript of the debate here.

— If you missed it, watch a three-minute recap of the debate from our video team:

The Fox News GOP debate, in less than 3 minutes
Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost’s morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@b_deppy) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)


— “A Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania announced it will post the names online of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children, a decision that came two days after a dramatic grand jury report alleged a decades-long cover-up,” Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer report. “The report relied on a secret archive at the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, which dates back to the 1950s and was opened after authorities obtained a search warrant. The grand jury interviewed surviving priests and their victims, and compiled a 147-page account detailing accusations against more than 50 religious leaders. ‘These findings are staggering and sobering … Hundreds of children have fallen victim to child predators wrapped in the authority and integrity of an honorable faith,’ the grand jury wrote, describing the actions of two previous bishops – one of whom has died, and the other retired – as criminal. Both bishops moved known abusers to new assignments where they could harm children again, and pressured law enforcement not to prosecute clergy, the report said.”

“North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has ordered his military to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time, saying they were needed given the ‘ferocious hostility’ of new ‘gangster-like’ sanctions leveled against Pyongyang,” our Anna Fifield reports from Tokyo. “The order is the second outburst from Pyongyang in response to new multilateral sanctions aimed at punishing Kim’s regime for its recent nuclear test and missile launch. Yesterday, the North Korean military fired six projectiles into the Sea of Japan. ‘The only way for defending our nation is to bolster up nuclear force,’ Kim said, stressing the ‘need to get nuclear warheads … ready to be fired at any moment.’ While there are plenty of question marks hanging over North Korea’s actual technical capacity, analysts say Pyongyang is clearly trying to increase its bargaining power. Pyongyang has a habit of making grandiose threats in colorful language, part of the regime’s efforts to maintain a climate of fear and signal defiance to the outside world.”

Jesse Ventura in 2014&nbsp;(AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores, File)</p>

Jesse Ventura in 2014 (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores, File)

— Jesse Ventura is considering a third-party presidential bid. The former Minnesota governor told CNN’s Don Lemon that he will decide “in the next month” whether or not to run as a third-party candidate. “Absolutely, I’m considering it,” said Ventura, who said he was invited to an upcoming Libertarian convention. “I’m a centrist … fiscally conservative and socially liberal. All the people in the middle, that’s how I won [in Minnesota]. It’s the middle that controls your election.”

Bernie Sander&nbsp;meets 3-month-old Oliver Jack Carter Lomas-Davis, of Venice, Calif., during a rally in Las Vegas last month. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)</p>

Bernie Sander meets 3-month-old Oliver Jack Carter Lomas-Davis, of Venice, Calif., during a rally in Las Vegas last month. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

“Bernie Baby, the cheerful infant who won the affections of people of all political stripes after his mom posted photos on social media of him greeting Bernie Sanders in a lookalike white-haired wig, oversized glasses and plaid tie, has died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” the AP reports from Los Angeles. “He was 4 months old.”


  1. President Obama will remain in Washington after his presidency so that Sasha can finish high school. (Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin)
  2. Syria was hit with a nationwide blackout yesterday, in the throes of a partial cease-fire brokered by world powers. (Hugh Naylor)
  3. Israel will soon begin to deploy one of the most sophisticated missile defense systems in the world, which will be able to knock down not only ballistic missiles but also orbiting satellites. The U.S. has provided more than $3.3 billion to support the program. (Ruth Eglash and William Booth)
  4. A potential British departure from the EU could have “disastrous repercussions” for Western security. Experts said the U.S.-led post-Cold War order relies heavily on a united Europe to deter adversaries, saying a “Brexit” could blunt their collective punch and heighten vulnerability to future attacks.  (Griff Witte)
  5. European Council president Donald Tusk told migrants “Do not come to Europe.”His stark warning came as the U.N. cautioned that as many as 70,000 people could be “trapped” in Greece for weeks due to European countries shutting their borders, transforming that country into a holding pen for migrants desperate to leave. (James McAuley and Karla Adam)
  6. House Republican leaders pitched a new budget plan in hopes of convincing conservatives to back a bipartisan spending agreement struck last year – but the right-wingers aren’t biting. Republican leaders have made passing such a bill a top priority for the year, saying it would show the party’s ability to govern. (Kelsey Snell)
  7. You can die from a broken heart – and apparently, from a happy one too.Researchers found that “broken heart syndrome,” which can be caused by sad or stressful events, can also be triggered by happy occasions. (Elahe Izadi)

Chuck Grassley (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)</p>

Chuck Grassley (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


— Former Iowa Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge (D) will challenge Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) because of his refusal to even hold a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. From The Des Moines Register: “Judge said she was largely considering a run because of Grassley’s stance on the court vacancy. ‘I don’t like this deliberate obstruction,’ she said. ‘Sen. Grassley owes us better. He’s been with us a long time … Maybe too long.’ Kurt Meyer, a Democratic activist in Iowa, said Judge’s history in politics could make her a credible [competitor.] ‘If Patty gets into the race, it’s going to shake things up a bit.’ … Grassley’s re-election campaign spokesman Eric Woolson said he looked forward to contrasting their records. ‘Judge was part of an administration soundly rejected after only one term,’ he said. ‘Iowans looked at her record and said, ‘we don’t want another day of that failed leadership.’”

— A new poll, however, shows Grassley remains relatively popular in Iowa: The latestDes Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows Grassley’s approval rating at 57 percent, while just 28 percent say they disapprove of the job he’s doing … suggesting that even Iowans who are frustrated by Grassley’s role in blocking the nomination proceedings aren’t ready to deny him the seventh term he’s seeking this fall. But Obama carried Iowa twice, and Grassley now has a race on his hands.


— “What Trump said under oath about the Trump University fraud claims — just weeks ago,” by Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Alice Crites: “Trump claims he has the ‘world’s greatest memory,’ but when it came time this winter to give testimony in fraud cases filed against him and a real estate training program known as ‘Trump University,’ he displayed repeated inability to recall names and faces of instructors he claimed to have hired personally. New depositions released Thursday show Trump spent considerable time personally engaged in litigation, even in the heat of the campaign … He sat for one deposition in New York in December from 10:05 am until 5:02 pm. He then sat again for nearly three hours in Vegas, concluding the deposition just before he appeared at a rally in the city … The depositions quote Trump acknowledging a lack of close involvement with mentors and students. ‘Did you do anything personally to confirm the expertise of any of the Trump University mentors?’ Trump was asked in the depositions. ‘No, I didn’t,’ he responded.

— “What ever happened to all that money Trump raised for the veterans?” by David A. Fahrenthold: “In January, Trump skipped a Republican debate and held his own event instead – a rally to raise money for veterans. ‘One hour. Six million dollars,’ said Trump. ‘The vets are amazing, amazing people.’ His fundraiser highlighted the candidate’s remarkable ability to draw people, attention and money to any cause he chooses. But the aftermath showed another side of Trump’s campaign: its tendency to focus on front-end spectacle over back-end details. In the days following, donations to veterans became campaign centerpiece … He would frequently call leaders of local charities onstage, hanging them a huge check in front of the cameras and the crowds. But more than a month later, only half of the money, roughly $3 million, has been donated to veterans’ charities … And the rollout of contributions has raised questions about how long Trump would keep donated funds within the Trump Foundation, a personal charity whose gifts can boost his political brand.”

Hillary speaks at her victory party in Miami&nbsp;on Tuesday.&nbsp;(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)</p>

Hillary speaks at her victory party in Miami on Tuesday. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— The revelation that the Justice Department has granted immunity to Bryan Pagliano, a former State Department staff member who set up Hillary’s private email server, is actually a likely indication that the investigation is nearing a conclusion and should not be read as a sign that the Democratic presidential candidate will face criminal charges. From Matt Zapotosky: “‘I wouldn’t necessarily claim that someone has ‘flipped’ and is going to say a bunch of incriminating things about other people,’ said Justin Shur, a former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. ‘It could be an indication that agents and prosecutors are winding down an inquiry that will not result in charges.’ As the FBI is looks to wrap up the Clinton inquiry — a criminal investigation of the possible mishandling of classified information — in the coming months, there are no outward signs that prosecutors have convened a grand jury, a powerful tool allowing them to subpoena witnesses.”


Sanders will participate in an hour-long town hall hosted by Fox News next week.Clinton has declined the invitation, and a Sanders’ spokesman said there have been discussions involving having Trump participate instead. (John Wagner)

Clinton’s tax proposal would raise $1.1 trillion in new revenue over the next decade, according to a new study. Under Clinton’s plan, the top 1 percent would pay for three quarters of the revenue gains, and the bottom 95 percent would see “very little change” in their taxes. Her plan mirrors the “Buffett rule,” the concept advanced by investor Warren Buffett that people earning more than $1 million should never pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class earners. (Kelsey Snell)

Clinton won the endorsement of the United Farm Workers, the largest farmworkers union in the country. The union, which also endorsed Clinton in 2008, is active in ten states and has a largely Latino membership. (AP)

Sanders hit Clinton on U.S. trade policy, telling voters in Michigan that her trade policies have been a “disaster” and ticking off a series of trade pacts that he had opposed and Clinton supported. (John Wagner)


Trump named Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) the chairman of his “national security advisory committee.”

— Caitlyn Jenner said in an interview with The Advocate that, should Cruz win the nomination, she would like to serve as a trans ambassador in the White House.

— Trump told Fox News’ Tony Snow in 1999 that “he wishes Bush would have finished the war” and toppled Saddam Hussein from power, something he has vehemently denied on the trail. (Buzzfeed)

— At the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is going on into the weekend, certain conservative leaders found it best not to speak of Trump at all. “Onstage, some politicians who had been openly critical of Trump opted not to mention his name. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of the first elected Republicans to say he would never vote for Trump — and whose state holds caucuses this Saturday — asked activists to take the Constitution seriously, his Trump barbs carefully buried between the lines. ‘I am anti-establishment, but we [don’t] need someone to breathe fire onto Washington,’ he said.” (David Weigel)

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union (which puts on CPAC), said he believes the conservative base is realigning in the fact of Trump’s rise. But he said that conservatives can’t use adherence to principles as a reason to ignore what voters care about, because it will reduce the movement’s impact on the political discourse and cause it to miss an opportunity to grow in numbers and influence. “We’re going to be vigilant of our values,’ he told the Washington Examiner’s David M. Drucker. “But we also have to listen to what’s happening out there in the country, and the message [voters] are sending … What I want to do is marry both of them together.”


— Rubio’s best moment of the night came when Cruz and Trump were arguing.

“Donald has a tenuous relationship with the truth,” Cruz said.

As Trump responded with an insult, Cruz replied calmly: “Breathe, breathe, breathe, you can do it. I know it’s hard.”

Rubio jumped in: “When they’re done with the yoga, can I answer a question?”

“I hope we don’t see yoga on this stage,” Cruz said.

“Well, he’s very flexible, so you never know,” Rubio said.

The crowd roared. And the Rubio campaign quickly tried to raise money off of it:

Here’s a take from The Atlantic:

Romney defended his pursuit of Trump’s support in 2012:

Mitt’s body man during the 2012 election claimed that Trump told Romney to use birther rhetoric because “rightwing crazies will believe it.”

Flashback: When party elites were freaked out about Barry Goldwater in 1964, moderate Michigan Gov. George Romney said he would not support him as the GOP nominee.

Here’s the cover of today’s Daily News:

A few shots from GOP debate day:

Trump supporters love to vote in online polls:

— Hundreds of protestors rallied outside of the debate in Detroit, chanting “Flint lives matter,” and demanding attention be paid to civil rights issues. (USA Today)

Cory Booker snapped a campaign trail selfie:

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Houston:

And enjoyed his first dinner back on earth:

David Cicilline bumped into some VEEP cast members:

Joe Kennedy brought daughter Ellie to the Capitol for the first time:

Ron Johnson made a new friend:

Lynn Jenkins celebrated the 75th birthday of M&Ms:

John Dingell was craving a cupcake:


ICYMI: How three fierce female justices took control of the Supreme Court. From Slate: “It felt as if, for the first time in history, the gender playing field at the high court was finally leveled, and as a consequence the court’s female justices were emboldened to just ignore the rules …  It’s hard to imagine President Obama conjuring up, from even the darkest, most devious underground lab, a new justice who would be half as fierce as the four-car train of whoop-ass we saw today.”


Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a trans ambassador for Ted Cruz. From theHuffington Post: “Caitlyn Jenner told The Advocate that she’s vying to be named America’s ‘trans ambassador’ if Cruz is elected president in November … ‘I think he’s very conservative, and a great constitutionalist, and a very articulate man,’ she said. She does, however, take issue with the GOP presidential hopeful’s evangelical Christian beliefs and that, consequently, he’s ‘probably one of the worst ones when it comes to trans issues.'”


On the campaign trail: Lots of candidates are in Michigan. Here’s the rundown:

  • Clinton: Detroit, Mich.
  • Sanders: Edwardsville, Ill.; Traverse City, Allendale, Mich.
  • Trump: Warren, Cadillac, Mich.; New Orleans, La.
  • Rubio: Berryton, Wichita, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Cruz: Orono, Maine; National Harbor, Md.; Mandeville, La.
  • Kasich: Holland, Mich.

At the White House: President Obama meets with Secretary of State John Kerry.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are adjourned until Monday.


“I want everyone to know for those who were concerned: I wasn’t being held hostage, I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t despondent,” Chris Christie said during a news conference in Trenton. “I was not sitting up there thinking, ‘Oh, my God, what have I done?’” (Katie Zezima)


Don’t ditch the hat or gloves just yet. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Snow showers taper off fairly quick early this morning if they’re not already done as you wake up. One exception may be around St. Mary’s County where a winter storm warning was hoisted late night. Even there, it shouldn’t last too long. But dress for breeziness in the storm’s wake. A few patchy icy spots may remain in spots before the sun rises high above the horizon. Clouds hang tough early, though they should be in full on breaking mode during the afternoon. High temperatures in the near 40 to mid-40s range gives any necessary melting some assistance.”

— School closures: Page County Schools, Prince William County Schools, Providence Christian Academy

— Two-hour delays: Calvert County Schools, Certified Learning Centers, Christ Chapel Academy (OPENS AT 10 AM), Colonial Beach Public Schools, Fredericksburg Public Schools, King George County Public Schools, Manassas City School, Matthew’s Center for Visual Learning, Mt. Carmel Christian Academy,  Shenandoah University (OPENS AT 9 AM), Spotsylvania County Schools, St. Mary’s County Schools, Stafford County Schools, Star of Bethlehem Christian Academy

A man in Manassas was charged after firing shots at moving vehicles. No one was injured, and police are continuing to search for a believed second suspect in the case. (Clarence Williams)

— FUN FRIDAY READ, from Julie Zauzmer: “Forget the campaign going on in the rest of the country. Jesse and Jennifer Nielsen are in the midst of a presidential election within their own household. Should they vote for Reagan? Opt for Kennedy? The Arlington couple needs to choose a presidential namesake for their fourth child. The Nielsens have three children, all named for presidents: Grant, 4, for Ulysses S., who was in the White House from 1869 to 1877; Madison, 2, for our fourth president, James; and little girl McKinley, 1, named for William, who was elected in 1896. They’re expecting their fourth in May. Since five presidents have shared surnames with a predecessor, the Nielsens are down to just 36 options to choose from.” So cute. So D.C.

Jennifer Nielsen, left to right, poses for a portrait with her children, Grant Nielson, 4, Madison &quot;Maddie&quot; Nielson, 2, McKinley Nielsen, 1, and Jennifer&#39;s husband, Jesse,&nbsp;at the family&#39;s home in Arlington.&nbsp;(Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)</p>

Jennifer Nielsen, left to right, poses for a portrait with her children, Grant Nielson, 4, Madison “Maddie” Nielson, 2, McKinley Nielsen, 1, and Jennifer’s husband, Jesse, at the family’s home in Arlington. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)


Bill O’Reilly’s had an awkward  post-debate interview with Trump on the debate stage. “You’ve become very negative, I do think,” Trump said. “Me? Why? Why would I do that?” O’Reilly asked. “You’ll have to ask your psychiatrist,” said Trump. “But I think you’ve become very negative.” Watch:

Donald Trump reacts to the GOP debate in Detroit

Watch kids react to Trump:


Because he has a cold, Rubio avoided shaking the hands of his rivals at the end of the debate. Instead he gave elbow bumps.

Trump and Rubio nearly made the mistake of shaking each other’s hands.

Some debategoers goofed off when they realized they were on camera:

finally someone dabbed at a presidential debate

Watch the highlights from Mitt’s Trump take-down:

Mitt Romney’s speech on Donald Trump in less than 3 minutes

Conan O’Brien poked fun at Christie’s hostage face:

Chris Christie’s Hostage Face Looks Familiar – CONAN on TBS

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