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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The epic GOP meltdown of 2015 should not come as a surprise.

The modern Republican Party had been careening toward this kind of wheels-off-the-track moment for a long time. Its knee-jerk rejectionism, high-stakes brinksmanship, strict demands for ideological purity, and willingness to take hostages had been on display in one form or another in a series of political clashes since the 1990s.

But you knew that already if you read the 2012 book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism." While not predicting the current GOP leadership crisis, it sounded the alarm that the party was on a dangerous course and taking the country with it. The book argued that responsible governance had been severely crippled by the Republican Party's push to the right and its adoption of take-no-prisoners politicking.

TPM asked one of the co-authors if he was feeling any vindication.

“Damn straight I do,” Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview with TPM late last week. “But I would have rather been proven wrong -- honest to God -- because we're talking about the fucking country that is at stake here.”

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Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), a chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said he intended to run for speaker of the House in an interview with the Texas Tribune Monday. He said he would launch his campaign for the gavel as long as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- who has been asked to run by many Republicans -- continues to stay out of the race.

“I don’t want to share private conversations, but he was still a 'no' as of yesterday when I spoke to him,” Flores said.

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After a relatively staid speech about some of Donald Trump’s favorite subjects -- dissing President Obama, boycotting Oreos and building ice rinks -- the GOP frontrunner’s appearance at the centrist No Labels convention went predictably off the rails when the floor was opened up for questions.

At “Problem Solvers” event in New Hampshire Monday sponsored by the group No Labels -- which emphasizes compromise and bipartisan solutions -- attendees grilled Trump about the Tea Party and on whether he was a friend to women. Trump also asked a questioner wearing a Harvard shirt who asked about South Korea if he was South Korean. The young man was born in Texas.

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Donald Trump does not to let one criticize his candidacy without responding, especially if it's the President of United States.

Trump took a shot at President Obama's "60 Minutes" interview Sunday, during which Obama called the GOP 2016 frontrunner "the classic reality TV character" and a "great publicity-seeker." On Twitter, Trump called the interview "terrible" and said that his appearance on the show last month was "much better."

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Since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dropped from the speaker race, Republicans have coalesced around the idea of Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan as their knight in shining armor, even as Ryan himself has expressed reluctance to enter the race.

However, while some of the hardliners who pushed back at McCarthy have expressed their support of Ryan, other conservatives are already begin to raise their concerns about Ryan's record. The question is not just whether Ryan would have the votes necessary to win the speakership on the House floor, but also his ability if elected to bring the hardliners in line and avoid shutdowns, debt defaults, and the array of looming government crises.

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Rep. Pete King (R-NY), a moderate in the Republican caucus, joined Democrats in urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to call a vote on lifting the debt ceiling while the House remains in flux over who will replace him.

Asked by a reporter Friday if Boehner is liberated to raise the debt ceiling now that he has announced his resignation, King said, "Yes, I would hope he does."

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As Republicans put the full court press on Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to run for House Speaker, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) expressed cautious optimism at the prospect.

"Paul is looking at it but, it's his decision. If he decides to do it he would be an amazing speaker," McCarthy, whose withdrawal from the speaker race has caused chaos on Capitol Hill, told reporters. "But he has got to decide on his own."

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With the House Republican caucus in disarray over whom to nominate as the next House speaker, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) invoked George Washington in saying he would come to his country's aid in its hour of need.

"If you were to say to me 218 have called you up and given you their pledge, obviously no citizen could ever turn down that kind of challenge," Gingrich told conservative radio host Sean Hannity Thursday, as reported by the Washington Examiner. "This is why George Washington came out of retirement — because there are moments you can't avoid."

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While some are suggesting House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will be holding the gavel for the foreseeable future, Boehner reportedly called Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Thursday after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthry (R-CA) announced he was dropping out of the speaker's race and asked Ryan to run.

Two unnamed sources confirmed to the Washington Post the conversation, which took place over two "long" phone calls. According to the Post's Robert Costa, Boehner told Ryan -- a budget wonk who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee -- he could influence policy from the leadership post while serving as a healer for the divided caucus.

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