US Campaign Update, 27/01/16: Top 10 Stories

1. In CNN, Eugene Scott and Tom LoBianco report that Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. endorses Trump.


Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. is endorsing Donald Trump for president, a blow to the GOP front-runner's chief challenger, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
"(Trump) is a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again," Falwell said in a statement released by Trump's campaign.


2. In Huffington Post, Jonathan Cohn reports that Trump plans to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to obtain lower prices of prescription drugs.


Trump could be calling for the government to bargain with drugmakers over the price of pharmaceuticals that seniors obtain through Medicare Part D. It’s also possible, although less likely, that he could have something far more ambitious in mind, like having the government negotiate the price for all drugs sold in the U.S.
And of course, it’s possible Trump was speaking off-script, without much attention to detail. It wouldn't be the first time.
But if the reports are right and Trump sticks with his position, he'd be squarely on the Democratic side of a debate that has divided the two parties for at least 20 years. Americans today pay far more for drugs than people living overseas because the governments of other countries deal directly with drug companies and set prices as part of their national health systems.


3. In Des Moines Register, Jeff Charis-Carlson reports that Trump won’t participate in the next Republican debate.


"Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away," read the statement posted on Trump's Twitter Tuesday night following a campaign appearance in Iowa City.
The businessman had previously said to reporters in Marshalltown earlier that he “probably won’t bother” to participate.
The statement added that Trump would instead hold a fundraising event for wounded veterans rather than taking the stage at the scheduled Fox News/Google debate on Thursday.


 4. In Politico, Steven Shepard and Daniel Strauss report that Rand Paul will join the Fox debate.


The main stage at Fox News Channel’s Republican presidential primary debate on Thursday night will feature as many as eight candidates — including the return of Rand Paul, who had been booted because of low poll numbers two weeks ago.
The field of candidates invited to Thursday’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, is comprised of the same seven candidates who participated in the previous debate – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich – plus Paul, who qualified because of his standing in the most recent polls in Iowa.


5. In CNN, Dan Merica reports that Clinton lauds the idea of nominating Obama to the Supreme Court.


"Wow. What a great idea. Nobody has ever suggested that to me. Wow," Clinton said to laughter and applause from the audience. "He may have a few other things to do," Clinton added.
After noting how the next president will nominate "at least three" Supreme Court justices and that she isn't happy with the current Supreme Court, Clinton went back to the voter's question.
"I would certainly take that under advisement," Clinton said. "I mean, he is brilliant and he can set forth an argument and he was a law professor. He has got all the credentials."


6. In The Boston Globe, Tracy Jan explains why Ted Cruz’s father could give him an edge among conservative Christians.

“If the righteous are not running for office and not even voting, what is left?” he asked during Sunday morning service at Grace Baptist Church in Iowa. “The wicked electing the wicked. And we get what we deserve.”
Meet Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s 76-year-old father, a crucial — if sometimes divisive — element of the Texas senator’s campaign to win over conservative Christian voters. The senior Cruz’s crusades at churches across Iowa have paid big dividends; with strong support among evangelicals, Cruz has pulled within striking distance of front-runner Donald Trump in next week’s first-in-the-nation caucus.


7. In Politico, Anna Palmer writes about Rubio’s final strategy in Iowa.


"Will faith influence me as president? Absolutely," Rubio told potential caucus-goers at Marshalltown Community College. "Our nation should hope that our next president is someone who every day and every night and at every moment drops to their knees and asks the Lord for guidance and asks the holy spirit for inspiration and asks him for wisdom. The wisdom of Solomon to make difficult decisions on behalf of the greatest and most important country."
Rubio's move to highlight his faith and how he would govern as a Christian comes as he has reintroduced the more optimistic part of his personal biography on the campaign trail. It also comes as his operation sees an opening to try and lock down more of the key Iowa evangelical-voter bloc as Sen. Ted Cruz's support has shown signs of splintering.



8. In Reuters, Eric Walsh reports that Joe Arpaio, the provocative Arizona sheriff known for his tough stance on illegal immigration, endorses Trump.


“Donald Trump is a leader. He produces results and is ready to get tough in order to protect American jobs and families," Arpaio was quoted as saying.
"I have fought on the front lines to prevent illegal immigration. I know Donald Trump will stand with me and countless Americans to secure our border. I am proud to support him as the best candidate for president of the United States of America,” Arpaio added.
Arpaio, 83, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, since 1993, has been found guilty of racial profiling in a federal court, and been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds and unlawful enforcement of immigration laws. He bills himself as "America's toughest sheriff."



9. In Huffington Post, Megan Cassella explains why former Republican presidential candidate George Pataki has endorsed Marco Rubio for the party's presidential nomination.


Pataki, a former New York governor who suspended his own presidential bid in late December, said in an interview on Fox News that Rubio's experience in Congress will help him lead the military and stand up to threats from abroad.
"I have no doubt that Marco Rubio is ready today to lead this country, to serve and lead as our president, and to bring us together," he said.


 10. In The Associated Press, Ken Thomas reports that Sanders can still win if he loses in Iowa.


If I lose Iowa by two votes and end up with virtually the same number of delegates, is that a must-lose situation? Is that a tragedy? No," Sanders said aboard a charter flight en route to Duluth, Minnesota, where he spoke at a rally with 6,000 supporters. "We are running a campaign that will take us to the convention and I'm very proud of the kinds of enormous gains we have made."
Sanders has said previously that he could win Iowa but his comments suggested an attempt to lower expectations in the final week before the caucuses. Asked if the Iowa contest is a must-win, he responded: "That's mythology."
Sanders told reporters earlier in the day in Des Moines that if he could generate large turnout among non-traditional voters, young people and workers, he could claim victory.