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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) suggested Tuesday that a Kentucky clerk who is refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was "making a stand" and "an important part of the American way." But he argued the whole situation could have been avoided if states stopped processing marriage licenses entirely.

"I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way," Paul told Boston Herald Radio, according to The Washington Post.

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Facing criticisms from various quarters that the way CNN had structured its Sept. 16 debate would leave out Carly Fiorina despite her bump in the polls after August's "kiddie table" debate, CNN announced a rule change Tuesday that will open the door for candidates who have surged in more recent polls to participate in the main debate.

Under the previous criteria, the candidates that placed in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16 and September 10 would be invited to the main debate, which is being held in Simi Valley California.

The rule change announced Tuesday stipulates that if a candidate does not make that top 10 cut off, but makes the top 10 based on polls between August 7 and September 10, he or she "will be added to the debate stage and will appear in 'Segment B' of the debate." Segment B is the main debate of the top-tier candidates.

As things stand now, Fiorina would not qualify for the main debate under the old criteria, but would qualify under the new criteria, CNN said in its report on the change. The rule change means that more than 10 candidates could end up participating in the main debate.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Tuesday that things had "run amok" with reports that he was open to building a wall on the U.S.' northern border and that all the talk was "just a joke."

Appearing on Fox News' "America’s Newsroom," the 2016 candidate addressed criticisms he had received after he said Sunday that building a wall was a "legitimate issue" to be considered.

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A well-known confidante of Dr. Ben Carson said Tuesday that questions about the candidate's views on a Kentucky clerk's refusal to grant marriage licenses to gay couples are just "trying to create something that's new."

“Dr. Carson has said since the Supreme Court ruling that it is the law of land and that's what he respects,” a highly agitated Armstrong Williams told TPM in a phone interview.

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James O'Keefe promised a new undercover video campaign that would expose "illegal activity conducted by high-level employees within Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign." Tuesday, he released the first video, produced by his group Project Veritas Action.

His group's big scoop?

That a Canadian citizen spent $75 on Hillary swag at Clinton's June campaign kickoff event.

Reporters at the press conference O'Keefe held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to unveil the latest "gotcha" could not contain their disdain.

"Is this a joke?" one reporter asked O'Keefe.

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The havoc Donald Trump is wreaking on the presidential race is just the beginning of the problems he is poised to cause Republicans in 2016. Already Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric is becoming a flashpoint in the down-the-ballot campaigns. The direction he is pulling his fellow Republicans could put in jeopardy the GOP's majority in the Senate, as some of the cycle's most competitive races are taking place in states with heavy Latino populations.

Of the five states that had the largest share of Hispanic voters in 2012 cycle, Florida, Colorado and Nevada are holding what are expected to be extremely contentious Senate races. And already, some of the candidates in those races have been expected to weigh in on Trump's antics, which involve labeling Mexicans "rapists" and calling for the end of birth citizenship.

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A local clerk in Kentucky currently fighting a court battle to deny gay couples marriage licenses inadvertently granted a marriage license to a transgender man and his wife last February, the couple said.

Camryn Colen, who decided to transition in 2010, and his wife Alexis Colen, told the Courier-Journal that they had no issue getting the license when they applied for it in February. They said that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis had advised her staff to process the paperwork without requesting to look at Camryn's birth certificate, which still lists him as female.

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If there's one thing Donald Trump and Miley Cyrus have in common, it's their ability to get attention. So maybe it's not so surprising that the 2016 GOP frontrunner was a fan of the pop star's performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards, where her "twerking" became a national controversy.

"I was staying at the Trump Hotel and Donald Trump literally called and said, basically, 'I know everyone’s talking about it, but I loved it.' I had no idea anyone was talking about it yet," Cyrus said in an interview with the New York Times, which she gave ahead of hosting the MTV award show this Sunday.

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