Today in One Paragraph

The Republican presidential candidates will debate tonight at 9 p.m. ET in Detroit. Hours before the candidates line up on the stage, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney publicly denounced Donald Trump, calling him a “phony.” President Obama visited Wisconsin where he praised the state’s success under the Affordable Care Act. And the United Nations estimated that at least 9,160 people have died since the conflict in Ukraine began nearly two years ago.


Top News

Down to Four. The Republican presidential candidates—sans Ben Carson—will square off in Detroit at 9 p.m. ET in a debate hosted by Fox News. It’ll be the first debate after the Super Tuesday nominating contests—and the anticipated reunion of Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly who’ve clashed in the past. Follow along here as The Atlantic covers the action in real time.

Romney Calls Trump a ‘Phony.’ During a speech at the University of Utah, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee said that if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, “prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.” Trump fired back, tweeting that Romney ran “the worst campaign ever” in 2012 and was “begging” for Trump’s endorsement. (David Jackson, USA Today)

Obamacare Reaches 20 Million New Enrollees. President Obama visited Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to applaud the city for winning the nationwide competition Healthy Communities and enrolling more than 38,000 people in private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Obama also announced that the health care law’s success is growing: “Today I can announce that thanks to the law, 20 million more Americans now know the security of health insurance,” Obama said. (Gardiner Harris, The New York Times)

Death Toll in Ukraine. The United Nations reported that 236 civilians have been killed in the country in the past year as a result of fighting between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian groups, and an estimated 9,160 people have died since the beginning of the conflict in April 2014. (Nick Cumming-Bruce, The New York Times)

Tomorrow in One Paragraph. Ben Carson is expected to make a formal announcement on the future of his presidential campaign at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will be rallying voters in Louisiana, and Marco Rubio is in Kansas ahead of this weekend’s nominating contests in the two states. John Kasich is in Michigan, and Bernie Sanders will be campaigning in Illinois.


Follow stories throughout the day with our new Politics & Policy page. And keep on top of the campaign with our 2016 Distilled election dashboard.


Top Read

“Sure, he’s rich, but still: this guy, this slightly beefy macher from an outer New York City borough with a head for numbers and the gift of gab, is the only news in the world? This guy, of all people, the beauty-pageant promoter, Mr. Luxury Condo, is living a scene from a James Bond movie. Blazing through the Carolina blue sky inside his personal flying penthouse, he watches as, far below, the planet babbles heatedly about him.” Time staff on Donald Trump’s bid for the White House.


Top Lines

Clinton 2.0. After a crushing defeat in New Hampshire and near-loss in Iowa, Hillary Clinton’s level head—and renewed trust in her advisers—has given her campaign its second wind. (Glenn Thrush and Annie Karni, Politico)

Abortion Rights: A Matter of Religious Freedom? U.S. courts tend to base women’s health cases on the right to privacy, but when it comes to deciding when life begins, Stephanie Russell-Kraft argues, perhaps it all comes down to religious freedom. (The Atlantic)

Top Views

Blocking Trump. The New York businessman is on his way to becoming the Republican nominee, but if he’s not, what’s next? Here’s a guide on what lies ahead. (Kevin Schaul and Kevin Urmacher, The Washington Post)

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