Critics of President Obama's handling of foreign policy say he must move more aggressively to rein in Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Yet Obama — as he did during past foreign crises in Syria, Iran, and elsewhere — has talked tough about the worsening situation in Ukraine without shedding his light-touch, diplomacy-first approach. And in doing so, he's actually hewing closely to public opinion. As Pew found back in December, Americans' opposition to foreign intervention is at an all-time high:
Certainly that could change now that Russia has crossed the border into Ukraine. But after the long, costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are no longer so gung-ho about sending troops overseas. Jon Terbush
"This is a 5-4 court — the next election needs to be a referendum on the court," Cruz said. "People need to decide."
Other Republicans in the Senate have made similar calls, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Meanwhile, Obama said Saturday he'll name a nominee soon, and Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are urging their colleagues to approve him or her before Obama leaves office.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 14, 2016
"I don't think the American people want a court that will strip our religious liberties," Cruz said. "I don't think the American people want a court that will mandate unlimited abortions on demand, partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding and no parental notification, and I don't think the American people want a court that will write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution."
Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina may have been the rowdiest yet, and not just on the part of the candidates. Here are some of the people and things the crowd deemed worthy of booing:
Facts: When Ted Cruz falsely claimed no Supreme Court justices have been appointed during election years in the last 80 years, moderator John Dickerson pointed out Anthony Kennedy. "I just want to get the facts straight for the audience," Dickerson said.
Donald Trump: In another tiff with Bush, Trump criticized his brother, former President George W. Bush, saying "How did he keep us safe? The World Trade Center came down."
Donald Trump, again: In a tiff with Bush (surprise, surprise), Trump said he was wrong about the billionaire's close ties to Russia.
Donald Trump, for a change: In the same exchange, Trump responded to the booing by claiming the jeers came from lobbyists supporting Bush.
Viewers were understandably a little perplexed by all of the booing.
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) February 14, 2016
If you missed out, here's a nice supercut of the most memorable sound from Saturday night. Julie Kliegman
— Fusion (@ThisIsFusion) February 14, 2016
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine topped the Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon in Saturday's Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. It's the second year in a row LaVine has won the All-Star weekend event, a feat only three other players in history — including Michael Jordan — have managed.
"There was some stuff that's never been done before. I don't want to get into the greats — Mike, they're in a different breath," LaVine said. "If you really look at it as a whole, we were doing dunks that professional dunkers take four or five tries to do, and we were doing it on the first try. It was ridiculous, man."
In the second tiebreaker, LaVine sealed his victory with a between-the-legs dunk from the free-throw line. Watch below. Julie Kliegman
After years of delay, Twitter feuds, and technical difficulties, Kanye West has finally bestowed upon us his seventh album, The Life of Pablo. You can stream it through Tidal, buy it from his website, or just watch a couple of his Saturday Night Live performances below. Here's "Highlights":
And this is "Ultralight Beam." Enjoy. Julie Kliegman
In his first full day in Mexico, Pope Francis spoke directly to the issues facing the nation Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"I beg that you not underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the church," he told church leaders at a Mexico City cathedral.
The pope also delivered a speech to politicians alongside President Enrique Peña Nieto. Francis stressed the need to care about the common good, not just those who are privileged.
"Each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few, to the detriment of the good of all, the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence, and also human trafficking, kidnapping, and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development," Francis said. Julie Kliegman
In 2015, 3,545 civilians were killed due to war in Afghanistan, while 7,457 were injured, the United Nations said in a report released Sunday, The Associated Press reports.
That's a 4-percent decrease in deaths, but a 9-percent increase in injuries. The majority of the violence can be attributed to civilians caught in the ongoing crossfire between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Julie Kliegman
Donald Trump is backed into a corner in South Carolina, where he has been routinely booed by the debate audience for everything from insulting Jeb Bush to insinuating 9/11 was George W. Bush's fault. Perhaps as a result, when Ted Cruz turned his criticism on Trump, Trump came back swinging with a particular vengeance.
"You are the single biggest liar, you're probably worse than Jeb Bush," Trump said — a mighty insult in his book. Trump added that Cruz is a "nasty guy."
"This guy lied about Ben Carson…and he just continues," Trump went on.
However, Trump was met with what is becoming a familiar sound this Saturday: Boos. Watch below. Jeva Lange
— POLITICO (@politico) February 14, 2016