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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

Members of the audience watch the Fox News/Google GOP Debate, Jan. 28, 2016, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

Three takeaways from the Iowa GOP debate without you-know-who

01/29/16 12:25AM

Imagine a world in which Donald Trump never ran for president.For a few brief stretches during Thursday’s GOP debate, which Trump boycotted over a feud with Fox News, it was almost possible to see it. The candidates were less combative early on, and there were longer and more substantive answers on policy, like Rand Paul discussing Ferguson and... read more

Chris Christie takes his turn to speak at a Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News and Google at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 28, 2016. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

Candidates thread the needle on 'religious freedom'

01/28/16 11:30PM

Republican presidential candidates who’ve typically shied away from contentious social issues attempted to thread the needle on the role of faith in government Thursday during the final GOP presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses -- a nominating contest shaped more forcefully by evangelical voters than those in other early states.Asked... read more

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to the crowd at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 28, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP)

Trump's quick-and-dirty variety hour raises cash, avoids debate

01/28/16 11:21PM

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Donald Trump played host to a veteran-themed variety hour that drew two other candidates, veterans, YouTube’s Trump-loving sister duo Diamond and Silk, and some rich friends on stage for a handful of quick speeches interspersed with a little Trumpian rhetoric.The event was thrown together to be counter programming: anything... read more

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, answers a question during a Republican presidential primary debate, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Cruz won't back down on carpet bombing ISIS

01/28/16 10:14PM

Republican candidates offered full-throated vows on Thursday to stop ISIS.Ted Cruz, who has been criticized for vowing on the campaign trail to “carpet bomb” ISIS, said Thursday that he will “apologize to nobody” for that promise.“It is not tough talk, it is a different fundamental military startegy than what we’ve seen from Barack Obama,” Cruz... read more