Today in One Paragraph
President Obama pledged to nominate a Supreme Court justice despite pushback from Republicans. Ted Cruz announced an extensive—and hugely expensive—plan to expand the military. In a step toward normalizing relations, the Department of Transportation officially opened up commercial air travel between the U.S. and Cuba. Abroad, three Americans kidnapped in Iraq were released. And former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali died.
Obama Criticizes ‘Venom and Rancor in Washington.’ The president said in a press conference that he fully intends to nominate an “indisputably qualified” justice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, emphasizing that “this would be a good moment to rise above” Washington’s partisan politics (David Nakamura, The Washington Post)
‘More Tooth, Less Tail.’ Ted Cruz announced his plan for a much larger military in South Carolina, vowing to increase the Navy’s fleet, expand the Air Force by nearly 20 percent, and ensure that the Army have a minimum force of 525,000 troops. The plan would be extremely costly, but the senator warned, “If you think it’s too expensive to defend this nation, try not defending it.” (David Graham, The Atlantic)
The First Flights in Decades. The U.S. and Cuba signed an agreement to restore commercial flights between the two countries for the first time in nearly 60 years. The U.S. Department of Transportation is now accepting applications from airlines to operate the flights. (Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge)
Captives Released. State Department officials confirmed that three kidnapped American contractors were freed after being abducted in southern Baghdad in January. (Tim Arango, The New York Times)
Former UN Head Dies. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former United Nations secretary general, died in Cairo. Boutros-Ghali was the first Arab leader of the UN and the first to serve only one term. He was 93. (BBC News)
Tomorrow in One Paragraph: Hillary Clinton will be in Chicago for several fundraising and campaign events, while the Republican presidential candidates are on the road in South Carolina ahead of the state’s primary on Saturday.
“Moderate Republicans will not control the Court, because for all intents and purposes they no longer exist. For the foreseeable future, the median vote on the Court will reliably vote with the liberal or conservative faction on politically salient issues, and the gap between liberal and conservative constitutional visions is likely to get wider.” The New Republic’s Scott Lemieux on the uncertain future of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The First Bernie Bro. In an interview with Time, the Vermont senator’s older brother Larry Sanders, who was recently appointed health spokesperson for the Green Party in the U.K., weighed in on the state of health-care policy in the U.S. and compared Bernie’s platform with that of his own party. (Oliver Griffin)
Just Say ‘No.’ Since President Obama has “trampled on legislative power at every opportunity,” The National Review’s Rich Lowry argues, the Senate can and should vote against any forthcoming Supreme Court nominee.
‘Laughable, But in a Dangerous Way.’ Days away from the state’s primary, many long-time Republican voters in South Carolina are concerned that Donald Trump is the current GOP favorite—and might secure the nomination. (Ben Terris, The Washington Post)
Super Campaign Dodger. Political TV ads aired every 45 seconds two days before the Iowa caucuses. The Atlantic’s Andrew McGill recreated the deluge—in game form. Can you navigate the channels while maintaining your sanity?
What Can We Learn From Early Election Results? The Atlantic’s Caty Green sat down with Clare Foran to find out. Watch the video here.
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