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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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politics lead

November 20th, 2014
05:13 PM ET

GOP presidential hopefuls hedge on immigration

Boca Raton, Florida (CNN) - Chris Christie - a self-styled truth teller with a penchant for political combat - was notably cautious Wednesday when pressed on President Barack Obama's plan to issue immigration executive orders.

At the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Association here, the New Jersey governor and potential 2016 presidential contender repeatedly avoided weighing on the Obama plan that could defer deportation for almost four million undocumented immigrants.

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politics lead

November 5th, 2014
05:52 PM ET

Get ready: 2016 starts now

Washington (CNN) - Attention Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and everyone else "seriously considering" a run for president.

You can stop pretending now.

The midterm elections, which traditionally double as the unofficial starting gun for the next presidential race, are finally over. But the truth is that the 2016 campaign has been under way for two years.

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politics lead

May 6th, 2014
05:38 PM ET

GOP establishment looks nervously at North Carolina Senate primary

Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) - For a Republican establishment still spooked by the ghosts of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock - grassroots-backed conservatives who threw away winnable Senate races in recent elections with tone-deaf remarks about abortion - Tuesday can't come soon enough.

In North Carolina, Republicans are watching closely to see if Thom Tillis, the state House speaker and maybe the party's best bet to unseat endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan this November, can capture 40% of the vote in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary.

If he does, Tillis will become the party's Senate nominee, and Washington Republicans will breathe a little easier knowing they've dodged a long and expensive runoff battle between Tillis, the consensus frontrunner, and a flame-throwing conservative rival. Perhaps more importantly, Republicans will have picked a Senate candidate who doesn't immediately jeopardize their chances of defeating Hagan, whose approval ratings are dangerously low, and flipping a crucial swing state Senate seat into GOP hands.

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February 24th, 2014
05:41 PM ET

In South Carolina, Clinton forces try to tap Obama magic

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – To hear some tell it, the 2008 South Carolina primary clash between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was a few steps away from a full-blown race riot.

"It was unbelievable down here in 2007 and 2008," said Bridget Tripp, a Democratic organizer from Lexington who supported Obama in that year's primary. "Bill Clinton was going through downtown Columbia calling Barack Obama a racist."

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January 23rd, 2014
05:25 PM ET

Huckabee invokes 'libido' in birth control debate

Washington (CNN) – Mike Huckabee urged Republicans to aggressively fight back against Democratic attempts to make female "libido" a campaign issue – language that may inflame the ongoing war of words between Republicans and Democrats over women's health issues.

Addressing a Republican National Committee luncheon in Washington, Huckabee said Thursday Democrats have invented a phony "war on women" in an effort to lure female voters into their fold.

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