Today in One Paragraph
President Obama delivers his final State of the Union tonight, which promises to have a broader scope than the usual laundry list of policy proposals. Just hours before the president makes his way to Capitol Hill, senior U.S. officials said Iran detained 10 U.S. sailors on two Navy vessels. The U.S. Supreme Court declared Florida’s death-penalty system unconstitutional. A suicide bomber detonated a bomb in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district, killing 10 and wounding 15. In Washington buzz, a newly released poll shows Bernie Sanders ahead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa, and a White House aide went to talk to Democrats on the Hill about the administration’s immigration raids.
Obama Prepares to Deliver SOTU. The president will give his annual address for the seventh and final time on Tuesday, but this time, it’s likely to sound like a farewell. Obama is expected to do away with a litany of policy proposals and provide a vision for the country, as can be seen through the White House’s guest list. And after the president’s address, Nikki Haley will deliver the response. (The Atlantic staff)
American Sailors Taken Into Iranian Custody. U.S. officials said they’ve been assured by Iran that the 10 sailors being held will be released. Officials said the boats were doing training exercises when one of the boats had mechanical problems and drifted into Iranian water, where they were picked up by the Iranian coast guard. (Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube, NBC News)
A Jury, Not a Judge. In an 8-1 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida’s capital-sentencing system, which, the court found, gives too much power to judges. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the majority, said: “The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death.” (Anna Phillips, The Tampa Bay Times)
Attack in Istanbul. The White House condemned the attack, which left 10 foreign citizens dead, in the “strongest terms.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the bomber entered the country through Syria. The attack could complicate Turkey’s “cooperation with the European Union in stemming the flow of migrants from Syria entering through Turkey.” (Ceylan Yeginsu, The New York Times)
Bernie Takes the Lead. A new Iowa poll found the Vermont senator edging out Hillary Clinton, just weeks away from the caucuses. The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, shows Bernie Sanders with 49 percent support to Clinton’s 44 percent. (Ryan Struyk, ABC News)
Raids on Hold? After a speaking with the secretary of homeland security, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said that he thinks there may be “a pause in these deportations,” referring to recent federal raids. The raids have been a point of contention between Democratic lawmakers and the administration. (Seung Min Kim, Politico)
Tomorrow in One Paragraph: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz will hit South Carolina. Jeb Bush will be in Iowa, and Donald Trump will make a trip to Florida. Hillary Clinton will campaign in Maryland.
“Such a dynamic—Ryan competing with a Republican presidential nominee for the heart of the party and the favor of his conference—could spell a resurgence of the civil strife that has wracked the party in the past few years and that the new speaker has so far made strides in quieting.” The National Review’s Elaina Plott on the challenges House Speaker Paul Ryan faces if his agenda clashes with Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as the nominee.
Progressive Etymology. While the term “progressive” is popular in today’s political lexicon—both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are vying for the label—the word, which originated in the early 1900s, was once embraced by both Republicans and Democrats at the same time. (Beverly Gage, New York Times Magazine)
Bill Cosby’s Backers. Bill Cosby has people in his corner, but “only tribalism and power can explain the theory put forth by Cosby’s defenders—that some 40 women have joined together in a wide-ranging conspiracy to bring a powerful black man down.” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic)
SOTU Language, Past and Present. With so many predecessors, it’s hard for presidents not to get a little repetitive in the State of the Union. Search this graphic to see what words came up most often in the address’s history. (Benjamin Schmidt and Mitch Fraas, The Atlantic)
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