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Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee

Republicans hardly unanimous on new Cuba policy

12/18/14 08:00AM

We've grown accustomed to some clear divisions among Republicans on foreign policy, with the Dick Cheney wing of the GOP aggressively at odds with the Rand Paul wing. It's not exactly a 50-50 split -- the former contingent is vastly larger than the latter -- but it's the basis for some spirited intra-party debates.
These fights are largely about military intervention abroad and the utility of using force. They're not, however, the sole basis for Republican disagreements.
For example, one of the lead stories on Politico this morning said Republicans are "livid" over President Obama's new U.S. policy towards Cuba, and there's obviously a great deal of truth to this.
Leading Republicans reacted with outrage Wednesday over the Obama administration's move to normalize relations with Cuba, with some casting it as appeasement and the product of blackmail by the communist Castro government.
GOP critics of the White House's announcement weren't hard to find yesterday. Every Republican who's likely to run for president in 2016 was eager to tell news organizations how outraged they are, as were many GOP congressional leaders. As the day progressed, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) seemed to be having a competition of sorts, with each effectively saying, "No, I'm more enraged than you."
It's hard to know how much of this was sincere and how much of it was knee-jerk opposition to everything the president says, but either way the Republican posturing puts the party at odds with the American mainstream. David Graham noted yesterday, "[I]n every Gallup poll since 1999, a majority of Americans have wanted to normalize relations with Cuba, with the number varying between 55 and 71 percent in favor. And bare majorities -- or in one 2000 poll, a plurality -- have also supported ending the U.S. embargo against the country."
More important, however, is the degree to which the Republican posturing also masked GOP support for Obama's policy shift.

Guantanamo's fate and other headlines

12/18/14 07:55AM

Guantanamo not part of U.S.-Cuban bargain. (Miami Herald)

Not much chance of Congress stopping Cuba policy. (AP)

At annual press conference, Vladimir Putin defies the West. (NBC News)

The return of the Kingmaker: Jim DeMint is getting back in the game. (National Journal)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's planned prayer rally is stirring up controversy. (Times-Picayune)

Pakistan court agrees to let man accused of planning Mumbai attacks go free on bail. (Dawn)

Autopsy results contradict original story of Pennsylvania rampage suspect's death. (AP)

How Justices Scalia and Kagan are spending part of their December break. (Wall Street Journal)

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Cuban expats gain new political prominence

Cuban expats gain new political prominence

12/17/14 09:58PM

Rachel Maddow points out the large number of Cuban defectors in the American arts and sports communities who are about to become powerful lobbying voices for further breaking down the embargo wall between the United States and Cuba. watch

Pope Francis celebrated with mass tango

Pope Francis celebrated with mass tango

12/17/14 09:54PM

Rachel Maddow reports on an especially big day for Pope Francis who is not only credited with brokering a historic deal between the U.S. and Cuba, but who also celebrated his birthday, with thousands turning out to tango in St. Peter's Square. watch

US points at North Korea on Sony hack, threat

US points at North Korea on Sony hack, threat

12/17/14 09:26PM

David Sanger, national security correspondent for the New York Times, talks with Rachel Maddow about the degree of certainty of the U.S. assessment that North Korea is behind the hack of Sony Pictures and the subsequent terror threat against movie... watch

Time to update your diplomacy list

Time to update your diplomacy list

12/17/14 09:24PM

Rachel Maddow lists the few countries with whom the United States does not have diplomatic relations, a list now one country shorter as President Obama has announced the re-opening of relations with Cuba. watch

Spying, skullduggery permeate US/Cuba history

Spying, skullduggery permeate US/Cuba history

12/17/14 09:00PM

Rachel Maddow revisits the history of spying and counter spying between the United States and Cuba, including the conviction of the Cuban Five, behind the prisoner exchange that was a key component of the re-opening of diplomatic relations. watch

Ahead on the 12/17/14 Maddow show

12/17/14 07:29PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian
  • David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times
  • Alan Gomez, USA Today immigration reporter

And here's executive producer Cory Gnazzo with what's coming up tonight:

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