Rising in polls, Fiorina is new target

Conservative author and media personality Ann Coulter declared on a recent radio show that she despised Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina "with the hot, hot hate of a thousand suns" over her support for birthright citizenship. Her ascension in the GOP field was prompted by "affirmative action among Republicans," Coulter said.

Former Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was a front-runner in the presidential polls at this point four years ago, and other conservatives questioned Fiorina's judgment for a speech she made shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks praising the contributions of Muslims to society. And in recent weeks, Democrats have been highlighting stories about Fiorina's rocky tenure at Hewlett-Packard Co.

"Nobody was worried too much about her before; no one was attacking her, looking at her record. All of those things can happen once you actually become a threat to somebody," said Katie Packer Gage, a GOP strategist. "That's a good problem to have."

1 judge sought for Clinton e-mails

The government asked a federal court Thursday to assign to a single judge the cases involving Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private e-mail server during her stint as secretary of state.

Clinton's e-mail saga has sparked more than 30 public-records lawsuits assigned to 17 different judges in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The e-mails are also likely to contain records responsive to hundreds of Freedom of Information requests not currently in litigation. Congress has slashed State Department appropriations for that task.

One judge could ensure conflicting orders aren't entered, and could take into account the demands on a State Department "whose FOIA-processing resources are overextended," the motion said. The agency is under orders from one judge to release to the public 53,000 pages worth of 30,000 Clinton e-mails by January 2016.

Biden defends nuclear deal

Exploring a presidential campaign, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday offered a robust defense of a nuclear accord with Iran strongly backed by the White House, the latest sign of his work to present himself as a natural heir to President Obama. "I tell you, I firmly believe, and I will go into some detail here, it will make us and Israel safer, not weaker," Biden said at a round-table alongside Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chair of the Democratic National Committee, who remains uncommitted on the pact.

Biden sought to allay concerns of South Florida Jewish leaders who fear Iran won too many concessions in the agreement, which seeks to curb the country's nuclear program in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.

Santorum 1st to complete Iowa tour

Is it a savvy strategy or a campaign gimmick? Many presidential candidates see a path to success in Iowa by visiting all 99 counties in the leadoff caucus state.

This week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was the first to complete the tour with a stop at Rock Rapids. Others pursuing the goal include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

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