FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 22, 2014
Thinkstock

A Louisiana lawmaker is giving up his effort to make the Bible his state's official book after critics dubbed the effort a pointless distraction.

Republican Rep. Thomas Carmody introduced legislation earlier this year that would have designated the Christian text as the Bayou State's official tome, saying it "would be appropriate" given that the state motto already references God. And Carmody insisted his goal was neither to promote Christianity nor to create a backdoor to to establish a state religion; the bill said nothing about biblical teachings or dogma.

Still, some critics remained skeptical that the bill could truly be religiously impartial. Others worried the particular Bible Carmody picked would not be inclusive enough of various branches of Christianity.

So with the Bible debate trumping more important legislative matters, Carmody said Monday he was scrapping the bill so lawmakers could "concentrate our efforts on those things that are much more important." Jon Terbush

7:57 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

With 4 percent reporting in the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton 53 percent to 45 percent, with 4,814 votes to Clinton's 4,120. In Merrimack, 11 percent of the votes are in, and Sanders is leading 52 percent to 47 percent. Traffic is backed up on the way to the sole polling place, Merrimack High School, and police officers are directing cars. Catherine Garcia

7:43 p.m. ET
Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

With many polls already closed in New Hampshire (and the rest shuttering at 8 p.m.), early results in the first presidential primary place Donald Trump ahead with 34 percent, followed by John Kasich with 14, Jeb Bush with 11, and Ted Cruz with 10 percent. Only 2 percent of precincts have reported so far. With Trump expected to win the state, all eyes have turned to the valuable second place spot, with Chris Christie and Marco Rubio also competitive. Jeva Lange

7:01 p.m. ET
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Ben Carson isn't sticking around to see how he does tonight in New Hampshire's presidential primary — he's already on the road to South Carolina, CBS News reports. According to a statement released by his campaign Tuesday afternoon, "After several stops meeting with New Hampshire voters, supporters, and media today, Dr. Carson will be en route to South Carolina to continue his campaign for faith, integrity, and common sense leadership."

Carson, then, will be missing his own primary night event. However, the campaign's statement stressed that Carson is not dropping out of the race and that it was "sad" that the media is "pre-occupied with dissecting the minutia of [Carson's] schedule."

In very early results on Tuesday, Carson had one vote in New Hampshire. By comparison, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and John Kasich are tied with nine. Jeva Lange

6:59 p.m. ET
Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

It's primary day in the Granite State, and New Hampshire residents are using Google to ask questions about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, and if they're still even in the race.

Google reports that the top trending questions on Hillary Clinton revolve around her stand on the issues, where she went to college, where she will be on Wednesday, who could beat her in the general election, and what Bill Clinton will be called if she wins the election. When it comes to Bernie Sanders, the people want to know if he's pro-choice, how he made his money, when his birthday is, and where he is right now. The top two most searched issues are the same for both candidates: Immigration is number one, followed by gun control.

On the crowded Republican side, the top searched candidate is Donald Trump, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The trending questions for Jeb Bush revolve primarily around his family and name and questions that don't have answers yet — "How old was Jeb Bush when his dad was president?" "Is Jeb Bush related to George Bush?" "Who is Jeb Bush's running mate?" "Is Jeb short for anything?" Ben Carson's top trending question asks if he's "qualified to be president," and New Hampshire residents also are curious to know "Is Ted Cruz a Democrat?" and "Why does Ted Cruz wear two watches?" Three of the trending questions for John Kasich relate to abortion and women's health care, and people are also wondering if Rubio "is American" and if "Chris Christie was charged in Bridgegate."

The oft-forgotten Jim Gilmore should be pleased that the top trending question about him is "What are the pros and cons of Jim Gilmore?" Unfortunately, people also want to know "Is Jim Gilmore still running?" and "Who is Jim Gilmore?" Catherine Garcia

6:47 p.m. ET
Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

In a 5-4 ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court put a hold on the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon emission rules during an appeals process, Reuters reports. States and industry groups brought the legal challenge. The Supreme Court's ruling is a blow to President Obama, whose federal regulations had intended to limit carbon dioxide emissions at power plants to combat climate change. The hold could last for several years as the appeals process moves through the lower courts. Jeva Lange

6:30 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. John Kasich believes that unlike his rivals in the Republican field, he took the high road in his presidential campaign, and because of that, "we feel the momentum."

"There will be no regrets in the Kasich campaign for all the work we've put in, the positivity of all of it," he told CNN Tuesday. Kasich said candidates like Jeb Bush have spent millions on ads attacking him, and it's a "shame to see people take the low road to the highest office in the land."

Speaking of Bush, Kasich has some advice for his campaign: chill. "They're getting more and more desperate," he said. "They need to relax a little bit. You know, it's just an election, a campaign. It's like they're freaking out. Calm down, Bush people. It's not that serious." Catherine Garcia

5:50 p.m. ET
Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

As interesting as it might be to hear who the presidential candidates would pick to win the Super Bowl, there is an art to asking tough questions on the campaign trail. Thanks to a Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee, hundreds of political activists are now equipped with the tools they need to hunt down candidates on the trail and get their questions answered, The Intercept reports.

"It might be at a cafe like this. We find out a candidate will be there and we have a volunteer and he says, 'I'll go and have coffee,'" the New Hampshire co-director Arnie Alpert said at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.

The organization has taught more than 1,100 activists in Iowa and New Hampshire how to formulate important questions, approach candidates, and record the interactions to be spread on social media. During one recent coaching session in New Hampshire, military veterans were taught to make eye contact and introduce themselves as vets to the candidates, although the actual questions were up to them. John Hurd was one such student who attended a Carly Fiorina event at the Nashua Radisson Hotel the day after the lesson:

After Carly Fiorina gave her stump speech, she said she would take a few questions. Jason Hurd, a veteran who participated in the training, shot his hand up and was called on first.

"As an Army combat medic — and I spent a year in Baghdad, policing Iraqis with sometimes brutal tactics — now I see police here at home using the same tactics, with the same weapons, and the same equipment that I used, on black communities," he said. "What would your presidency do to end the militarization of police and stop cops from killing everyday Americans?"

"Thank you for your service, first of all," Fiorina responded. Then she ignored the question, choosing instead to tear into Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for withdrawing troops too quickly from Iraq. [The Intercept]

Read many of the questions asked by the activists here. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads