July 16, 2014
Robert Giroux/Getty Images

Two more NBC News/Marist polls paint a mixed picture for Democrats in the race for the Senate, with a tie in one state, and a strong Democratic lead in another over a one-time Republican star.

In Iowa, where longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst are tied at 43 percent each. The poll was conducted from July 7-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leads former Sen. Scott Brown — who moved to New Hampshire and has launched a comeback bid, after he lost re-election in Massachusetts in 2012 — by a solid margin of 50 percent to 42 percent. The poll was also conducted from July 7-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

The polls show that in Iowa, Braley leads among women by a margin of 45 percent to 37 percent, while Ernst leads among men by a similar 48 percent to 40 percent. In New Hampshire, though, Shaheen leads among women by a huge 59 percent to 34 percent, more than balancing out Brown's lead among men of 51 percent to 42 percent. From NBC's analysis: "In this current environment, successful Democratic campaigns are going to need to win female voters by double digits; single digits probably won't cut it." Eric Kleefeld

4:14 a.m. ET

Now that Donald Trump has the Republican presidential field to himself, he spent Wednesday beginning to discuss his vice presidential pick. On Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel had a preview of the presumptive Republican nominee's process. "The way he's planning to find and choose the running mate, I think, is going to be a lot of fun," Kimmel said. If you guessed "reality TV show," of course you're right, but it's not a VP reboot of The Apprentice. Watch below for a preview of Vice President Island — the funny-because-it's-true kicker is at the end. Peter Weber

4:00 a.m. ET

As the 2016 primaries come to an end, so too will Stephen Colbert's joyfully snarky "Hungry for Power Games." On Wednesday's Late Show, he dispatched with the rest of the Republican field, dressed in his Caesar Flickerman persona. "In the past few months, friends, we have lost so many brave tributes, and today, we lost what many are calling more of them," he said, beginning with Wednesday's dropout. "Yes, John Kasich has ended his bid for the White House," Colbert said. "He may be gone, but he's not... who are we talking about again?"

Kasich only won one state, Ohio, but "sadly, even in losing, Tribute Kasich has lost, because last night's big loser was Texas senator and half-kissed frog prince Ted Cruz," Colbert said, showing the inevitable clip of Cruz elbowing his wife in the face three times. "You have to give Ted credit: He went down swinging — even when hugging his wife." After he said he was done roasting/saluting Cruz, Cartoon Donald Trump came on to give some parting shots to the tributes from "District: Deli Meat" and "District: Human?" (and also Carly Fiorina). "Farewell, tributes — I'm sure there's room for you in Trump's cabinet, or at least his trophy room," he said. Watch below — it will likely be the last episode until July. Peter Weber

3:23 a.m. ET

Between Islamic State demolition and booby traps, U.S. airstrikes, and the Iraqi military's campaign to retake the city, Ramadi is a disaster zone. Once home to a million people, the capital of Anbar Province is now filled mostly with Iraqi troops, bomb squad personnel, and miles and miles of destruction, according to photographs and satellite images provided to The Associated Press by DigitalGlobe. Iraqi forces ousted ISIS from the city in January, AP says, "but the cost of winning Ramadi has been the city itself."

The images show that more than 3,000 buildings, 400 roads and bridges, Ramadi's electrical grid, and the city water system were destroyed or severely damaged by ISIS or the campaign to force out the militants. After ISIS was cleared from the city, families were allowed to return, then blocked when dozens of civilian.s died in explosives rigged up by ISIS — booby traps like ISIS has been leaving in every city they are pushed out of. "The bombs are so costly and time-consuming to defuse that much of recently liberated Iraq is now unlivable," AP says. Read more about the destruction of Ramadi at AP, and get a look at some of the images in the AP video below. Peter Weber

2:22 a.m. ET

We already know Gwen Stefani ain't no hollaback girl, but now there's definitive proof that George Clooney isn't one, either.

In the latest installment of carpool karaoke with James Corden, Stefani and the host drive around Los Angeles, singing some of Stefani's greatest hits from her No Doubt and solo albums. Between songs, Stefani, bouncing with so much energy her seatbelt can barely contain her, acts out emojis (except the eggplant) and shares her tips for looking ageless (fall in love and have a hit record). Realizing that they need two more people in order to use the carpool lane, Corden picks up a few very special guests — Clooney and Julia Roberts — and we soon learn that Clooney can spell out "bananas" and knows enough of Stefani's lyrics that he could fill in for her onstage if it's ever necessary.

Watch the video below to see the foursome tackle Queen and share their deep thoughts on what exactly it means to be a hollaback girl. Catherine Garcia

1:40 a.m. ET

A lot has gone on in the past 48 hours — after Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the presidential race, Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, but not before he repeated a conspiracy theory about Cruz's father being with Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK's assassination and Cruz was heckled by a middle schooler.

On Wednesday, Seth Meyers took a closer look at all of these events, and how Trump became the last candidate standing. Republicans, he said, should really think about how a "race baiting, xenophobic, serial liar" like Trump became the presumptive candidate. "It's not a fluke," Meyers said. "The Republican Party is the party of Donald Trump and has been for years." With that, he introduced a clip from all the way back in 2009, when the birther movement, which starred Trump, was going strong. Watch the video below to hear more from Meyers on how Republicans are falling in line behind Trump, including those who previously said they'd never hop aboard the Trump Train. Catherine Garcia

12:32 a.m. ET

Now that the Republican field has been whittled down to Donald Trump, Conan O'Brien decided to give a proper farewell to the 16 candidates who failed to outlast him. Starting with Rick Perry and ending with John Kasich, O'Brien shared the "reason" why each person dropped out — try to guess which candidate was "kicked to death by mother for shaming family name" and who "actually passed away three years ago." Catherine Garcia

12:16 a.m. ET

With Donald Trump the only Republican left in the 2016 race, Jimmy Fallon put on his Trump outfit on Wednesday's Tonight Show and called his President Obama impersonator to brag a bit. Fake Obama congratulated fake Trump on the real Trump's presumptive victory, and Fallon poked fun at Hillary Clinton. "Now that Ted Cruz dropped out, there's only one man standing in my way," Trump said. "You mean, John Kasich?" Obama asked. "No, Hillary."

Trump got his share of mockery, too. "I watched your speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner — it was hilarious," Fallon's Trump said. "I watched your speech on foreign policy, and the feeling is mutual, buddy," Obama replied. Watch below to see the two discuss Bernie Sanders, Game of Thrones, Beyoncé, and whether Obama would be Trump's running mate (spoiler: "Oh hell no!"). Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads