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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

February 14th, 2014
05:57 PM ET

Analysis: Cruz doubles down

(CNN) – Republican Senator Ted Cruz is from Texas, but he may not be used to the kind of heat he's been getting from his GOP colleagues over forcing a cloture vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Senator John McCain tweeted a Wall Street Journal editorial calling Cruz "the minority maker," calling it a "must read." The piece criticized Cruz, and called the vote "needless drama" for the party.

But Cruz has no regrets.

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Filed under: Politics Lead

pop lead

February 14th, 2014
05:51 PM ET

Bill Maher 'meddling' in the political process

(CNN) – When can television personalities directly tamper with how Washington works? That's the new game plan for liberal comedian Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."

His show will be "entering into the exciting world of outright meddling with the political process," Maher told The New York Times. The plan is to work with fans to "Flip a District," and knock a lawmaker of his audience's choosing out of power.

Maher spoke exclusively with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" about his new plot in the video above.

For Maher's thoughts on the Republican strategy of reviving the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the late 1990s – a topic that was a boon for every comic back in the day, especially Maher – click on the video below, or watch it here.

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Filed under: Pop Lead

buried lead

February 14th, 2014
05:44 PM ET

Lending a helping paw: Pairing man's best friend with wounded veterans

(CNN) – We've all seen the videos: a loving dog, a proud serviceman, a tear-jerking welcome home from man's best friend. There's no hiding that returning veterans are important to their dogs.

But increasingly thousands of veterans coming home with war wounds are coming to think of dogs as their lifelines.

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Filed under: Buried Lead

world lead

February 14th, 2014
04:49 PM ET

Analysis: Why would Afghanistan free prisoners that pose a threat to American forces?

By CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper

(CNN) – At Bagram Airfield Thursday, the Afghan government freed 65 men accused of being dangerous insurgents. The U.S. military had intensely lobbied to keep the prisoners detained, arguing that the prisoners were directly tied to attacks killing or wounding 32 American or coalition personnel, and 23 Afghans – security personnel and civilians.

But those pleas were rebuffed, much to the disappointment of the White House.

"The Afghan government released detainees that we believe pose a continuing threat to coalition forces and to Afghans," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday.

The news had many people asking, why would the Afghan government free prisoners that pose a threat to our forces?

Well, here's what's really going on.

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Filed under: World Lead

national lead

February 14th, 2014
04:31 PM ET

100-vehicle wreck closes part of Pennsylvania Turnpike near Philly

(CNN) - About 100 vehicles were involved in a series of wrecks on the eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike just north of Philadelphia on Friday morning, injuring at least 30 people and causing an hours-long traffic backup for miles over parts of two counties, officials said.

Glare from the rising sun and ice - left over from a storm that dropped snow and freezing rain in the Philadelphia area - might have been factors, state police Trooper Adam Reed said.


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Filed under: National Lead
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