Lauren Fox

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

Articles by Lauren

A Public Policy Polling survey out Thursday reveals New Jersey Chris Christie is making a comeback, at least in New Hampshire.

After lingering near the bottom of the presidential pack and being relegated to the under card debate last time around, the poll shows Christie in fourth place with 10 percent of the vote in New Hampshire among Republican primary voters.

Donald Trump is still leading the back with 27 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz is in second place with 13 percent of the vote and Rubio is holding on in third with 11 percent.

Christie's rise, however, is significant given that the same poll in October found the governor was in the low single digits with 3 percent of the vote. Christie – who has bet his campaign on success in New Hampshire–won a key endorsement from the New Hampshire Union Leader Sunday. Since the Paris terrorist attacks, he has also worked to contrast his experience as U.S. Attorney who prosecuted terrorists after 9/11 with the death of foreign policy experience coming from Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Christie's favorability rating now exceeds every other Republican candidate in the race at 61 percent.

“Chris Christie’s rise in New Hampshire is good news not just for him but possibly for the other candidates struggling to gain traction right now,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “It shows that there’s still plenty of time for people to turn their campaigns around.”

The poll was conducted on landlines and online between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 and included 454 Republican primary voters. The margin of error was 4.6 percent.

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Republican presidential contender Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) unleashed on his party Thursday morning an off-the-cuff remarks decrying Ted Cruz and Donald Trump's bombastic rhetoric toward abortion and immigration.

"I am going to talk to you about winning an election," Graham told the audience at the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Graham had planned to address national security issues including the Islamic State and the Iranian nuclear deal upfront, but after following Cruz, Graham proceeded to engage the audience in some electoral real talk.

"Why we lose," Graham argued had nothing to do with not being "hard ass enough on immigration."

"I believe that it is not about turning out evangelical Christians. It is about repairing the damage done by incredibly hateful rhetoric driving a wall between us and the fastest growing Demographic in America," Graham said.

He called Trump out by name.

"I believe Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party's chance at winning an election we cannot afford to lose," Graham said.

Graham's departure from prepared remarks spoke to a larger battle waging in the Republican Party at the moment. While Graham is only polling at 1 percent, he is one of the few voices in the establishment willing to to openly discuss how dangerous the primary rhetoric has been for the GOP's chances in the general election. With the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, Republican Party is growing deeply concerned that Trump or Cruz could rise to be the nominee and seriously endanger the party's chances of defeating Hillary Clinton.

Beyond immigration, Graham took issue with fellow candidates' absolutist stance on abortion, which he said was out of touch.

"It is not because of social issues that we will lose. It is the positions we take in regard to social issues that can disconnect us from the world at large," Graham said. "If you don't understand the following we are making a big mistake. The nominee of the Republican party will not allow for an exception for rape and incest, they will not win."

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The state of Texas filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the federal government and a resettlement agency to block Syrian refugees from being resettled in the state.

The suit was filed by Texas's Health and Human Services Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The move comes as a family of Syrian refugees was poised to fly from Jordan and arrive in Texas Friday, in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott's directive that no more Syrian refugees should be resettled in his state.

Texas is alleging the federal government did not consult with the state as required under the Refugee Act of 1980. Texas is also alleging it is "undertaking more than its share" of the burden or resettling refugees and that the state has welcomed more refugees than any other in the country.

The state claims that "in light of these concerns with the federal government massively expanding the admission of refugees who have materially supported terrorists," it was not kept adequately in the loop about who may be coming to their state.

Texas is asking not to have to resettle refugees until Dec. 9 at the earliest. They are requesting a hearing on a preliminary injunction on that date.

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Republicans have included a rider in a must-pass spending bill that enhances screening for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Democratic leaders rejected it, raising the stakes for a game of chicken over government funding.

Congressional leaders have already set spending caps, but are up against a Dec. 11 deadline to determine how that money should be spent. Controversial riders like the one on refugees endanger the process of meeting the deadline and expand the possibility that lawmakers may need to pass a short-term spending bill to extend the deadline to Dec. 18.

While Republicans and Democrats alike dismiss that there is any real threat of a shutdown, the issue of refugees specifically has the potential to trip up the ongoing negotiations over the omnibus spending bill.

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Tuesday that Republicans and Democrats had a lot of work to do before the holiday break. Not on the list? Making it harder for Syrian refugees to come to America.

“We have a lot to do and a lot of things to worry about, but refugees is not one," Reid said in response to a question about whether or not inserting language to slow the flow of Syrian refugees could be a poison pill for the omnibus bill.

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The Republican-controlled Senate is moving forward with plans to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and gut Obamacare despite a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that left three dead and nine injured.

"It's not like it's new around here," the Senate's No. 3 Republican John Thune told reporters late Monday when asked how the shooting may change the political calculus. "It's a vote we expected to have."

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