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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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Jeb Bush's attempt to confront Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was foreshadowed by Florida-based Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who tweeted prior to Wednesday's CNBC main debate "the dumb, pre-planned move a certain campaign is about to make in the big debate is campaign-ending stupid."

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While his GOP 2016 rivals used their closing statements in Wednesday's CNBC debate to lay out their vision for the country, Trump bragged about his reported hardball negotiations with the network to limit the debate to two hours.

"I went out and said, 'It's ridiculous, I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours,'" Trump said.

He recounted: "In about two minutes I renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad."

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CNBC's Carl Quintanilla kicked off Wednesday's GOP debate with a simple question for all the participants: What's your biggest weakness?

He stipulated that candidates should answer "without telling us that you tried too hard or that you're a perfectionist." But that didn't stop the candidates from playing fast and loose with the meaning of the word "weakness." Here's how almost all of them awkwardly avoided answering:

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH): My biggest weakness is the other candidates.

"I want to tell you my great concern is we're on the verge of perhaps picking someone who cannot do this job."

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Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) slammed the GOP for its refusal to admit the existence of climate change and said that Republicans too often "question science that everyone accepts."

"One of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts," Pataki said at Wednesday's GOP undercard debate, when asked about his belief that climate change is caused by human activity.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said at Wednesday's GOP undercard debate he would "absolutely" bring his state's no-taxes-at-all-costs budget approach to the federal government, even after moderator John Harwood pointed out it led to Louisiana's $1.6 billion deficit.

"When you came into office with a budget surplus in the state of Louisiana, now years later the state legislature faced a $1.6 billion budget gap and the Republican State Treasurer called one of your approaches to that problem 'Nonsense on a stick,'" Harwood said. "Are you going to do for the federal budget what you did for the Louisiana budget?"

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Pennsylvania state police officials say the massive military blimp that broke free from its tether Wednesday has been grounded, the AP reported. The blimp, known as JLENS, descended near Williamsport in Pennsylvania and was secure, according to Bob Reese, a state police spokesman in Montoursville. NORAD spokesman Capt. Scott Miller has confirmed its grounding as well, according to the Daily Beast.

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Republicans are more likely to view Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unfavorably than favorably, a Gallup survey released Thursday finds. For the first time in the five years the survey has been taken, more Republicans (35 percent) view the Kentuckian negatively than positively (30 percent). A year and a half ago, Republicans were twice as likely to view him favorably than unfavorably.

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A massive Pentagon surveillance blimp broke free from its tether in Aberdeen, Maryland, outside of Washington, Wednesday. The blimp -- technically an "aerostat" in the $2.7 billion Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) program -- is floating somewhere above Pennsylvania, The Baltimore Sun reported.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) kicked off what will likely be a round of the GOP's presidential candidates bashing the bipartisan fiscal deal by vowing to filibuster the bill in the Senate. An aide for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was quick to point out, however, that Paul can't do much more than delay the process.

Paul -- who has been lagging in the polls -- made his vow to block the budget bill Tuesday afternoon in front of a group of reporters in Denver ahead of Wednesday's GOP presidential debate.

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