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March 17, 2014
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One day after Crimea voted almost unanimously to break from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum the West cast as illegitimate and potentially fraudulent, the White House on Monday announced new sanctions on Russian officials and their cohorts. The executive order accuses Moscow of trying to "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine" and authorizes the Treasury to target the financial assets of seven government officials as well as "any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry" and anyone who "acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support" to any senior Moscow officials.

The sanctions specifically name seven Russian officials as well as four others, including pro-Russia Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, and ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not cited by name, with the White House saying such a move would be "highly extraordinary." Still, in a conference call to discuss the sanctions, a White House official called them the "most comprehensive sanctions applied against Russia since the end of the Cold War." Jon Terbush

3:26 p.m. ET

Donald Trump, ostensibly, wants to be president of the United States. Being the leader of the free world generally means you have to care about a lot of stuff — stuff that happens in the U.S., stuff that happens outside the U.S., stuff that happens in small towns and on farms and in the middle of the ocean.

It's a stressful job! That may be why Trump reportedly offered what would be the most powerful vice presidency in history to some potential ticket-mates. But if worse comes to worst, it seems Trump has a secret weapon to stress management, one he divulged to Larry King back in 2004:

You can read the whole transcript of Trump's appearance on Larry King Live here (yes, someone asked about his hair), but suffice it to say: A literal meme may not be the best guiding principle for someone who aspires to the Oval Office. Kimberly Alters

3:12 p.m. ET
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Way before she ran for U.S. president, Senate, or even by association as first lady, Hillary Clinton had big political dreams. In a sprawling new piece for Politico, Michael Kruse painstakingly details Clinton's rise through the student government ranks at Wellesley College in Massachusetts en route to her term as student body president in 1968-1969.

Clinton's transition from Republican to Democrat during her four years at Wellesley is well-documented, but by Kruse's chronology, the change was gradual, deliberate, and not without its confusions. At one point, Clinton wrote a letter to her youth pastor in the Illinois suburb where she grew up, asking: "Can one be a mind conservative and a heart liberal?" But by the time she was campaigning for student body president during her junior year, Clinton had built a steady reputation as a mediator who could get things done and marshal differing opinions — to the point where a group of freshmen published a laudatory song about her in the college newspaper:

Her role as the chair of the Vil Juniors … allowed her to meet, talk with, and be known by students who now were potential voters in campus elections. Two dozen of them had written a song for her their first year on campus, and now they printed it in a letter to the editor in the [Wellesley News]. The lyrics included the lines: "… so Hillary's solving problems" and "… if everything else goes wrong, our faith in Hillary still is strong …" Rodham didn't rest. She spent three weeks walking the halls of dorms asking for votes. [Politico]

The song was to be sung to the tune of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" from the play My Fair Lady. For more on how Clinton the student became Clinton the politician — including the time she sat for a painted portrait, and how she was a "consensus person" with a reputation for moderation even then — read Kruse's entire account at Politico. Kimberly Alters

1:00 p.m. ET

If you're like me, you've shrugged off more than a few morning runs this summer, telling yourself it would be irresponsible to run in this heat/be extra tired at work/get out of bed before you have to. Whatever your excuses, it seems Kansas City Royals center-fielder Jarrod Dyson does not share them, at least if this ridiculous home run-robbing catch he made Thursday night is any indication:

Dyson topped out at nearly 20 mph in his mad dash for the ball, and by fielding what should have been a sure-fire homer for Miami Marlins left-fielder Christian Yelich, Dyson committed the first-ever home-run robbery at Marlins Park.

Now as someone who admittedly gravitates more toward the other Big Four sports, baseball tends to, er, lack the excitement I crave. That said, a cheetah generally tops out at around 60-70 mph, so Dyson is impressively about a third of the way toward matching the world's fastest land animal — but no word on how well the cheetah's hand-eye coordination would translate to defensive baseball. Kimberly Alters

12:03 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) found himself in hot water Friday, after news of a profanity-laced voicemail he left for a state lawmaker made headlines. LePage left state Rep. Drew Gattine (D) an aggressive voicemail, the Portland Press Herald reports, in response to allegations Gattine apparently made suggesting LePage was a racist following the governor's characterization of drug dealers in Maine as "90-plus percent … black and Hispanic."

LePage, who has been an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump for president, reportedly challenged Gattine to back up his alleged accusations of racism:

"Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage," a recording of the governor's phone message says. "I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (expletive). I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I'm a racist. I've spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist (expletive). You … I need you to, just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you." [Maine Gov. Paul LePage, via Portland Press Herald]

In a follow-up encounter with a reporter from the paper, LePage said that he wished "it were 1825" so he could duel Gattine. "I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you," LePage said, referring to Alexander Hamilton's famous, fatal duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. "I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt." Read more about the entire ordeal at the Portland Press Herald. Kimberly Alters

11:23 a.m. ET
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If you seek a pure encapsulation of the festering mess of feelings this presidential election has engendered nationwide, look no further than a dozen swing voters from Brookfield, Wisconsin, who participated in a Washington Post focus group this week. Though 11 of the 12 believe Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump come November, the group cast both candidates as deeply flawed choices in a "cesspool" election.

For Clinton, the most common word mentioned was "liar," and the former secretary of state's image as a self-serving career politician came up frequently. "You can't trust her," said Beth Gramling, who voted for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. "The trust to know between right and wrong, and integrity. I don't think that she has that, and it's a shame."

Trump — labeled America's "drunk uncle" — didn't fare any better. "Trump, the way he acts. Every day you turn on the TV, and I just shake my head," said Sheri LaValley, who also has voted for both Republican and Democratic nominees since 2000.

Even the voters who have decided to vote for one of the two were dispirited in their choice. A Trump supporter said he felt "apprehensive," and worried about Trump's unfettered style, while a Clinton supporter mustered a less-than-ringing endorsement: "I'm choosing what I feel is the lesser of two evils." Bonnie Kristian

11:20 a.m. ET

Trump campaign spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway thinks Donald Trump "deserves credit" for going where most Republicans haven't: into "communities of color." "Republican presidential nominees usually are not bold enough to go into communities of color and take the case right to them and to compete for all ears and compete for all votes. They've been afraid to do that," Conway said Friday on Good Morning America.

Conway's defense of Trump's effort comes amid criticism that he's painting an unnecessarily bleak picture of African-American communities, with comments about high rates of poverty and unemployment and schools that are "no good." "This entire conversation had to be had," Conway said, noting that Hillary Clinton — who far and away leads among black voters — has suggested policies that would leave "many people behind."

"We hope they're listening," Conway said of minority voters. Watch the interview, below. Becca Stanek

11:00 a.m. ET
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday, Oxford Dictionaries launched #OneWordMap, an online survey asking readers to submit their least favorite word in the English language, along with their age, location, and gender. "Moist" was an early frontrunner in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, while "phlegm" took the lead in New Zealand.

Just one day later, though, the whole project has been shut down after answers turned wildly, predictably offensive. "We regret to inform users that due to severe misuse we have had to remove this feature from our website," Oxford Dictionaries said in a brief statement on the now-shuttered project page.

Though the organization declined to specify exactly which "swearwords and religiously offensive" words were winning, comments on Twitter suggest "Islam" and "Israel" were among the more popular choices. Bonnie Kristian

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