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March 18, 2014
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As Russia claims Crimea for its own, it's no surprise that members of the Republican Party are piling on President Obama for "losing" Crimea in a Cold War-esque face-off with Vladimir Putin. The most prominent attack this week came from Mitt Romney in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, which one would assume would borrow from Romney's 2012 campaign in claiming that Obama's wimpy apologizing for America had allowed the thuggish likes of Putin to play Nelson to Obama's Milhouse.

But Romney tries a far more modest tack instead, blaming Obama for failing to act at the "propitious point" that would have magically paved the way for American triumphs in a series of foreign policy events ranging from the protests in Tahrir Square to the protests in Kiev's Maidan. Obama has too often been caught in an "analysis paralysis," Romney suggests, while Romney's ideal president — himself perhaps? — would have been able to "anticipate events, prepare for them, and act in time to shape them."

This is, of course, a hindsight-is-20/20 argument of the highest order, and virtually useless in prescribing a better foreign policy other than blandly requiring that America's leaders be decisive. However, it is a useful insight into a GOP that is struggling to find a unified message on foreign policy. Romney has clearly adopted a less belligerent line than, say, John McCain, a recognition that voters have no interest in an interventionist foreign policy of the Bush variety. Meanwhile, Romney's argument is to the right of Rand Paul, who has come to represent the budding isolationist wing of the party and is struggling mightily to remain relevant (and coherent) amid the drama in Ukraine.

But in seeking middle ground, Romney ends up in a weird no man's land in which he fails to offer any real alternative to Obama's policies. "Timing is of the essence," Romney concludes — which doesn't have quite the stentorian ring of "peace through strength." Ryu Spaeth

3:00 a.m. ET

While presenting Rihanna with the Video Vanguard Award at Sunday's Video Music Awards, Drake decided it was as good a time as any to profess his undying love for the singer.

"She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old," the 29-year-old said. "She's one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I've looked up to her, even though she's younger than me." Rihanna's response? She laughed, then rolled her eyes.

As if the original declaration of love wasn't enough, it appears as though Drake went in for a kiss after Rihanna received her Moonman, but was rebuffed.

Things took a twist, though, when the pair held hands as they walked offstage. There have been rumblings that the two "secretly dated" earlier this year, so now the question is whether or not they'll become the next It Couple. S.O.S. please someone help me understand what exactly is going on with this relationship. Catherine Garcia

2:25 a.m. ET

Hey, remember that time Donald Trump got in a high-profile fight with Pope Francis? Well, it appears that American Catholics might, and while that may not be the root cause of Trump's "massive Catholic problem," as diagnosed by The Washington Post's Aaron Blake, calling a popular pope a stooge for the Mexican government isn't a great first impression to make on a key swing bloc of voters. Blake calls Trump's weakness among Catholics "one of the really undersold story lines of the 2016 election," and has a chart showing how much better Hillary Clinton is faring among Catholics against Trump than President Obama's performed in 2012, when, according to exit polls, he beat Republican Mitt Romney by 2 percentage points among Catholics.

That 21-point swing toward Clinton would be huge, though New York Times poll-cruncher Nate Cohn has some serious problems with mixing opinion polls and exit polls. Even if you look at just the opinion polls, however, Trump appears to have a big problem — Blake cites a new Public Religion Research Institute poll showing Clinton crushing Trump among Catholics, 55 percent to 32 percent, and a Washington Post/ABC News poll from earlier this month that has Clinton ahead among Catholics, 61 percent to 34 percent. A Pew poll from July had Clinton beating Trump among Catholics 56 percent to 39 percent (with a 77/16 split among Hispanic Catholic voters and 46/50 split among white Catholic voters).

This is such a problem for Trump, Blake says, because Catholics make up about 25 percent of the electorate, versus, for example, 28 percent of non-whites, 29 percent of independents, and 10 percent for Latinos. Trump's Latino deficit is worth about 1 point in the general election, but "when talking about Catholics," he explains, "Trump is basically adding 5 to 7 percentage points to Clinton's overall margin. If 25 percent of the electorate is Catholic, Clinton is currently taking 14 to 15 points worth of that chunk, while Trump is taking 8 or 8.5 points. And this is a group, again, that is usually close to tied."

Why Trump is doing so poorly among Catholics is a matter of conjecture — and John Gehring at Religion News Service has some informed speculation — but since the U.S. elects presidents by state electors rather than popular vote, Trump should maybe be most worried about the large Catholic populations in Ohio and Florida. In Florida, though, Trump has one bright ray of hope, according to The Wall Street Journal: A "new influx of white retirees" is helping to offset the state's growing Latino population. Peter Weber

1:57 a.m. ET
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Traffic is now gridlocked and flights delayed following the unfounded report of an active shooter Sunday night at Los Angeles International Airport.

LAX is the third busiest airport in the U.S. and the seventh busiest in the world. An LAPD spokesman said no shots were fired, and it was actually loud noises that triggered panicked 911 calls at around 9 p.m. The airport shut down the upper departure level and lower arrival level of the central terminal, and a ground stop was temporarily initiated. Witnesses told KTLA passengers were sprinting away from the terminals, leaving their bags behind as they ran, and some were trying to hide in luggage chutes. Other passengers stood outside on the tarmac. By 10:30 p.m., some terminals were cleared and passengers were allowed back in to be re-screened.

On Twitter, the airport announced an "individual in [a] Zorro costume has been detained" by airport police for an unknown reason, and NBC Los Angeles says he has already been released. It's not immediately clear how many flights will be impacted, and passengers are being asked to check with their airline for flight status. Traffic is snarled, with side streets around the airport jammed. Two weeks ago, a similar incident took place at New York City's JFK Airport, when several people called police to report hearing gunshots. Those reports were also unfounded, police said. Catherine Garcia

1:04 a.m. ET
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Police in Scotland said two United Airlines pilots were arrested Saturday, suspected of being drunk before they were set to fly 141 passengers to New Jersey.

The pilots, ages 35 and 45, were arrested at Glasgow Airport, and will be arraigned Monday in the Glasgow suburb of Paisley, facing charges connected with Britain's transport safety laws, The Associated Press reports. The pilots were scheduled to fly from Glasgow to Newark, and United Airlines said the flight was delayed 10 hours while they found replacement pilots. United spokeswoman Erin Benson said the pilots have been "removed from service and their flying duties. We are cooperating with the authorities and will conduct our own investigation as well. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority."

Last month, two Canadian pilots from Air Transat were arrested at Glasgow Airport and charged with attempting to fly while intoxicated. Catherine Garcia

12:11 a.m. ET

Beyoncé's "Formation" won Video of the Year Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York City.

Earlier in the evening, she won Best Female Video for "Hold Up" and Breakthrough Long-Form Video for "Lemonade," and she took the stage for an extended performance featuring songs from Lemonade. Beyoncé had a record 11 nominations, and "Formation" also won an editing award, cinematography award, and choreography award. On the red carpet, Beyoncé was joined by Mothers of the Movement, women whose children were killed in gun violence, as well as her daughter, Blue Ivy.

Britney Spears, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj also performed, and Rihanna received the Video Vanguard Award. Other winners include DNCE (Best New Artist); Drake for "Hotline Bling" (Best Hip Hop Video); Calvin Harris for "This is What You Came For," featuring Rihanna (Best Male Video); and Fifth Harmony for "All in My Head," featuring Fetty Wap (Song of Summer). Catherine Garcia

August 28, 2016

Last Week Tonight is on hiatus, but on Sunday, John Oliver showed up on the internet anyway to, he said, "do the most internet thing imaginable, and that is complain about superhero movies." Like every summer, this one had a glut of movies from the same old production companies, often starring the same old superheroes. "Now, each of these movies have their strengths and weaknesses — which will not go into because I would like to feel the touch of another human at least once more before I die — but I do think some audience members are feeling a little fatigued at seeing the same characters over and over again," Oliver said.

But "fear not," he added, "because I have a solution for fans who are looking for something beyond the Marvel and DC universes." Judging by box office receipts, that's not a huge number of fans, but Oliver offered up a new character anyway, and it's one he says he created in fifth grade. "By day, he is mild-mannered fifth grader John Olivier — not relation," Oliver explained, "but from the time school lets out until dinner, he becomes the, let's say, unconventionally handsome hero Johnny Strong." Since you are dying to know all about your new summer blockbuster swoon, Oliver walked us all through the first issue of Johnny Strong and teased the second, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

August 28, 2016

Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he will make a speech about immigration Wednesday in Arizona.

Last week, he postponed a speech he was planning to make in Colorado on the topic. Early in his campaign, Trump said he would build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. On Wednesday, he said "there's no amnesty, but we work with them," adding that his policies "could certainly be softening, because we're not looking to hurt people." The next day, he told Anderson Cooper there's "no path to legalization unless they leave the country," and his plan is not "a softening. I've had people say it's a hardening, actually." Catherine Garcia

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