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April 28, 2014
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Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan have some things in common. Among other things, they were the GOP's last two vice presidential nominees. But competing profiles out today on each of them seem to demonstrate a clash of visions for the future of the Republican Party.

Over at the Washington Post, Robert Costa argues that Palin is a "diminished figure in the Republican Party" who has glommed onto some of the Tea Party populists she helped elect in the past:

With near-constant internal conflicts roiling the GOP, Palin has veered right, siding with [Ted] Cruz and [Mike] Lee, who were vocal proponents of last year's government shutdown and popular figures among the conservatives who read [Erick] Erickson's RedState blog and donate to the Heritage Foundation. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins writes about Paul Ryan's "inner-city education," noting that "Ryan is doing something rather unprecedented for a Republican: He is spending unchoreographed time with actual poor people."

Something they both have in common? While Palin panders and Ryan reaches, both say things that might not play well outside of red-state America. Palin joked that "waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists," while Coppins' profile cites Ryan joking that "usually when I get up this early, I get up to kill something."

Still, one gets the sense that the last two Republican veep nominees represent opposing visions for the future of the GOP — visions whose trajectories appear to be widening.

Just last week, I wrote about how some conservatives pine for rural America, seeing it as the traditional and "real" America — and why this poses a problem for a GOP facing a demographic time bomb.

Along those lines, Palin and Ryan may be symbolic surrogates in this great struggle for the heart and soul of conservatism. Palin looks backward and plays to the rural-embracing base. Ryan, on the other hand, is heading to the cities and spending time with Americans who don't traditionally vote GOP. In that sense, Ryan is reaching for the stars. Matt K. Lewis

10:08 a.m. ET
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When the Secret Service is talking about Sen. Bernie Sanders, they refer to him as 'Intrepid.' The Democratic presidential candidate's code name surfaced Thursday in a report by The Bill Press Show, just weeks after Sanders' request to receive Secret Service protection was approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

The socialist senator's name is reportedly a reflection of his resolute stand against Wall Street and the establishment. Though Sanders' campaign has yet to confirm his code name, The Bill Press Show says that it's an "absolute fact," citing a source.

Sanders is the fourth candidate in the 2016 race to get Secret Service protection. Fellow Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, code name "Evergreen," also receives protection, as do Republican candidates Donald Trump ("Mogul") and Ben Carson ("Eli"). Becca Stanek

9:41 a.m. ET
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Hillary Clinton will be scrambling to make up lost ground on Bernie Sanders in the sixth Democratic debate Thursday evening — yes, a rare weeknight debate.

After a close shave in Iowa and a double-digit loss in New Hampshire, Clinton will likely have her claws out even as her camp has tried to curb expectations ahead of the Feb. 20 Nevada caucuses. While many still believe Nevada is ripe for Clinton's taking due to its large number of minority voters who tend to support her, Sanders has upped his own rhetoric on race in recent days and could prove to once again be tough to beat.

The debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee begins 9 p.m. EST on PBS and CNN. Jeva Lange

9:11 a.m. ET

The abstract expressionist Mark Rothko is the kind of artist whose work you look at and go, "Well, I could make that." Unfortunately for two unsuspecting art collectors, a Chinese forger did just that — and the couple was duped into buying the fake for $8.5 million from the famous New York art gallery Knoedler & Co.

On Wednesday, Domenico and Eleanore De Sole reached a settlement with Knoedler after they had requested $25 million in damages for purchasing the fake, The New York Times reports. The couple had accused Knoedler and its former president, Ann Freedman, of a "racketeering scheme" that sold over 30 forgeries supposedly by artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. The exact terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The Knoedler gallery shuttered in 2011 after 165 years in the business. Several other lawsuits were brought against the gallery for forged works, although this one was the only one to go to trial. Jeva Lange

8:48 a.m. ET
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Bernie Sanders scored a second big win just one day after dominating the New Hampshire primary Tuesday. Within 24 hours of the Granite State's polls closing, the Vermont senator had topped his $6 million fundraising goal and raised $6.4 million, the Sanders campaign confirmed late Wednesday. The average campaign contribution was just $34, The Hill reports.

Sanders reached his goal in record speed. A mere 18 hours after beating Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, 60 percent to 38 percent, The Hill reports that Sanders was already well on his way to meeting his goal with $5.2 million raised. His fundraising momentum prompted his campaign to push the goal to $7 million. "I'll be honest — right now, the math looks difficult to raise another $1 million today," Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said in an email to supporters. "But I think it's important for us to try, and not just because there are 14 primaries and caucuses over the next three months."

Sanders' post-New Hampshire take beats his former 24-hour fundraising best. After he nearly tied Clinton in the Iowa caucuses, Sanders raised $3 million in 24 hours. Becca Stanek

8:44 a.m. ET
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There are nervous rumblings in the Clinton camp about the upcoming Nevada caucuses on Feb. 20 — nervousness that some think the campaign might be intentionally stoking. "The question is whether their anxiety about the caucuses is real or carefully orchestrated to make sure that Clinton can claim a triumph even if she narrowly wins a state where she has enjoyed a huge polling lead for months," The Hill writes.

Indeed, with Sanders pulling strong support in both New Hampshire and Iowa, some wonder if Nevada — "Clinton country" — could be a tight competition, too.

"A month ago, who would have thought this would be such a competitive race? Nevada will either be a potential firewall or a potential tiebreaker," Sen. Harry Reid's senior strategist Rebecca Lambe told The New York Times.

The demographics of Nevada are starkly different from Iowa and New Hampshire — two states with mainly white voters. In Nevada, approximately 20 percent of the Democratic voters are Hispanic, and 13 percent African-American. Clinton tends to hold a stronger appeal in minority communities.

"For reasons I don't understand, the Clinton campaign seems to be downplaying chances in Nevada. As far as I'm concerned, it's tailor-made for a Clinton victory," another of Reid's strategists, Jim Manley, said. Jeva Lange

8:39 a.m. ET
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Jeb Bush warned at a rally Wednesday that if people thought President Obama was bad, things would only get worse if Donald Trump were elected president. "We will be worse off than we are right now," the former Florida governor said at a rally in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. "And we are pretty bad off right now."

When South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — who endorsed Bush when he dropped out of the race — gave an introduction at the rally, he heeded a very similar warning. "Let's don't go from incompetent, Barack Obama, to crazy, which is about two of the people on our side," Graham said.

After a sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and a fourth-place finish in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, Bush is trying to make a comeback in the Feb. 20 South Carolina primary. Becca Stanek

8:09 a.m. ET
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A long-rumored Bruce Springsteen autobiography is in the works, with sources telling Page Six the book sold to Simon & Schuster for an advance of over $10 million. The Boss had put off writing his life story four years ago when The Who's Pete Townsend and Neil Young both released their own autobiographies.

"I thought, f--k it, I'm not going to do one too," Springsteen told the Daily Mail at the time.

The book will rather unsurprisingly be titled Born to Run. From Springsteen's website:

In Born to Run, Springsteen describes growing up in Freehold, New Jersey amid the "poetry, danger, and darkness” that fueled his imagination. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song "Born to Run" reveals more than we previously realized.

"Writing about yourself is a funny business," Bruce notes in his book. "But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I've tried to do this." [Bruce Springsteen]

Born to Run will be released on Sept. 27. Jeva Lange

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