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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at an American Legion Hall in Oskaloosa, Ia., Jan. 26, 2016. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Rubio rising: Enter the goldilocks candidate

01/30/16 07:22PM

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – For Jay Schneider, Donald Trump is “too brash,” and Dr. Ben Carson is “too timid.” Maybe Sen. Ted Cruz? “He makes me a little nervous,” the gas and oil worker who lives in Council Bluffs said.  Enter the goldilocks candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio. In the wake of a strong debate performance by the Florida senator and as other... read more

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders at a rally for campaign workers in Ottumwa, Iowa, Jan, 28, 2016. (Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC)

Caucus math: An NBC News primer

01/30/16 01:26PM

On Monday night, thousands of Iowans will gather in community centers, fire stations, libraries and town halls to have the nation's first say in who the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees should be.But the famed Iowa caucuses don't work the same way as the typical Election Day ritual you probably know.Rather than cast... read more

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Jeb Bush speak at a break during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Jan. 14, 2016. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

Republicans attack Clinton over 'secret' email information

01/30/16 10:14AM

Republicans quickly pounced on Hillary Clinton Friday after it was revealed that some emails on her private server would not be released because they contain information deemed "top secret."Donald Trump called the email declaration "a disaster" for Clinton. Marco Rubio called it "unacceptable" and said, "this... read more

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) hugs his wife, Heidi Cruz, before he is introduced during a campaign event at 3 Generations Bar & Grill on Jan. 29, 2016 in Ringsted, Ia. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)

Cruz retunes Iowa messaging in final push

01/30/16 09:59AM

RINGSTED, Iowa -- Ted Cruz changed his campaign tune on Friday, opting to not attack Donald Trump - a shift for Cruz after two weeks of publicly chipping away at the frontrunner's record.Instead, the Texas senator delivered stump speeches that mimicked those he delivered through the fall and early part of winter and led him to the top of... read more

President Ronald Reagan speaks during a news conference at the White House in January, 1986.

A lot like Reagan? Not one GOP candidate replied to this survey

01/30/16 09:38AM

Can you guess what the three presidential office seekers who responded to the most comprehensive candidate survey of HIV/AIDS conducted to date in the 2016 cycle have in common?  They’re all Democrats.On Dec. 3, 2015, all major candidates running for the White House were asked to submit their plans to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic to GMHC, the world... read more

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to voters during a campaign event at Cafe Dodici Jan. 29, 2016 in Washington, Iowa. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty)

Seeing opportunity, Sanders intensifies jabs at Clinton

01/29/16 07:48PM

BURLINGTON, Iowa— Seeing the opportunity for a surprise victory in the opening contest of the Democratic presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders has set his sights squarely on Hillary Clinton just days before the Iowa caucuses.At the end of the first day of Sanders' final bus tour through Iowa, the Vermont senator unleashed a barrage of... read more

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson talks to the press after speaking at a Meet and Greet at Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 25, 2016. (Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters)

Ben Carson's campaign makes a last stand in Iowa

01/29/16 04:43PM

Tucked in the slew of campaign mail shipped to voters hours before the Iowa caucuses, for some will be a postcard that reads in red, block-letters: “Polls Change, Integrity Doesn’t.” Underneath, a picture of a smiling Dr. Ben Carson, with more words: “Carson for President.” While the postcards aren’t from the official campaign, they reflect the... read more

Republican presidential candidates and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio shake hands at the end of the debate held by Fox News in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 28, 2015. (Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Cruz turns his crosshairs on Rubio in final hours

01/29/16 04:14PM

Cruz turns his crosshairs on Rubio in final hours RINGSTED, Iowa – Sen. Ted Cruz turned up the heat on Marco Rubio on Friday, after the Florida senator’s strong debate performance set him up as an unexpected but very real threat to Cruz in Iowa just three days out from the caucus. Cruz is turning the crosshairs that have been trained on... read more

A crowd waits in line in hopes of seeing Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe cable television show at Java Joe's Coffee House in Des Moines, Ia., Jan. 15, 2016. (Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters)

What it's like to live in Iowa during a presidential election

01/29/16 12:55PM

DES MOINES, IOWA - Call it a blessing or a burden: Living in Iowa every presidential cycle.Iowans have the unprecedented role of having the nation's first say about who the next president will be. But along with that responsibility comes a cost.Never. Escaping. Politics.Candidates swarm the state, willing to travel to all 99 counties and... read more

Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul speaks to Jeb Bush during a commercial break at the debate held by Fox News in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 28, 2015. (Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Fact-checking the seventh Republican debate

01/29/16 12:53PM

Seven Republican presidential candidates duked it out on issues ranging from immigration to ethanol mandates during Thursday night's primetime debate on Fox News. But there was one notably absent voice: Donald Trump. But that did not mean the GOP frontrunner was expempt from fact-checkers.NBC News' partner Politifact took a look at how... read more

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as the crowd applauds during a campaign stop at the Radisson Hotel on Jan. 29, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (Photo by John Minchillo/AP)

Trump calls Cruz 'an anchor baby in Canada'

01/29/16 12:11PM

Donald Trump said his decision to skip the Fox News GOP presidential debate "turned out great" and called chief rival Ted Cruz "an anchor baby in Canada" during a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Friday."I did something that was very risky and I think it turned out great because I'm on the front page of every paper... read more

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looks downward while listening to a question from the crowd at a campaign event at Bridge View Center, Jan. 26, 2016, in Ottumwa, Ia. (Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP)

By taking on Donald Trump, Ted Cruz places risky wager

01/29/16 10:16AM

DES MOINES, IOWA -- It was never part of Ted Cruz's strategy to engage Donald Trump in a one-on-one fight this early — but his hand was forced, and that move may now be backfiring.With just days remaining before the Iowa caucuses, Cruz's campaign is facing a potentially consequential shift in momentum — one that could lift Trump to a... read more

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he speaks to veterans at Drake University on Jan. 28, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty)

First Read: Why Donald Trump won the debate without showing up

01/29/16 09:36AM

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.Why Trump won the debate without even showing upDES MOINES, IA -- Earlier this week, we wrote that Donald Trump's decision not to attend Thursday's GOP debate could be a brilliant... read more

Republican presidential candidates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz talk after the Republican presidential debate on Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The most memorable, head-scratching moments from the 7th GOP debate

01/29/16 09:28AM

Who knew a debate without Donald Trump could still be so entertaining. On Thursday night, the top tier (and undercard) Republican 2016 candidates faced off in the shadow of the ubiquitous GOP front-runner, and while they probably did little to blunt his momentum in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, it was clear the candidates... read more