A sorority at the University of Alabama reportedly offered some of its members free drinks, Hummer limo rides, and other incentives for voting in the district's Board of Education election. In an email, sorority members residing in a district in Tuscaloosa were encouraged to vote for two candidates who were university alumni. The members were offered free limo rides to the election, "points" for their sorority, and vouchers for free drinks at a local bar. Both candidates were elected by a slim margin. Samantha Rollins
Former president George W. Bush made his first public appearance campaigning for Jeb Bush in New Hampshire and South Carolina on Sunday — in a Super Bowl ad. Crowdfunded by the Super PAC Right to Rise, Bush's 30-second spot aired locally during the second half of the game between the Broncos and the Panthers, The Associated Press reports.
"I know Jeb. I know his good heart and his strong backbone," the former president says, adding he believes the younger Bush has the experience and judgment to keep America safe.
Good results in New Hampshire and South Carolina's primaries are critical for Jeb Bush, who was all but forgotten in the Iowa caucuses. He currently holds 9.7 percent of support in the Granite State according to RealClearPolitics, which places Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump ahead of him.
Watch the ad, below. Jeva Lange
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was widely mocked for repeating the same attack on President Obama verbatim four times during Saturday night's Republican debate, even after being called a speech-memorizing lightweight by Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.). The flub has taken a toll on his poll numbers, according to a survey Sunday by New Day for America super PAC, a group supporting the campaign of Gov. John Kasich (Ohio). In the group's poll of 500 likely New Hampshire voters, Rubio notched 10 percent, putting him in fourth place behind Donald Trump (35 percent), Kasich (15 percent), and Jeb Bush (13 percent). In most New Hampshire polls before the debate, Rubio was in second place, Politico reports.
Christie and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) are tied at 8 percent in the poll, which has a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. If verified in other polls, the numbers suggest a quick end of Rubio's post-Iowa ascendance in the GOP race. "It's one of the most dramatic drops I have ever seen in 48 hours," says Matt David, chief strategist for the pro-Kasich super PAC. "A rock doesn't do it justice." Peter Weber
U.S. and British intelligence have identified a second member of a quartet of brutal Islamic State prison guards and executioners known by former Western prisoners as the "Beatles" because of their British accents, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News report. The leader, "Jihadi John" (Mohammed Emwazi), is believed to have been killed in a U.S. airstrike in November 2015, but the whereabouts of the second identified member, Alexanda Kotey — either "Ringo" or "George" — are unknown.
— ITV News (@itvnews) February 7, 2016
Kotey, 32, was raised in West London by a Cypriot mother; his Ghanian father died when Kotey was a toddler. He reportedly converted to Islam in his 20s, after falling in love with a Muslim woman with whom he had two daughters, and he is believed to have become radicalized at the same mosque attended by Emwazi, or through a London-based Islamic extremist group known as the London Boys. Kotey left England in 2009 as part of an aid convoy to Gaza organized by British politician George Galloway.
The quartet of Britons earned a reputation as one of the cruelest groups of ISIS guards, subjecting their prisoners to torture and mock executions. Britain's Home Office said through a spokeswoman that she could "neither confirm nor deny" Kotey's identity and role in ISIS. The "Beatles" are responsible for executing seven British, U.S., and Japanese hostages, plus 18 Syrian army troops. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert had the unenviable task of doing a live show after the Super Bowl on Sunday night, and he kicked it off by throwing a football around the world, and out of the world, with some help from the magic of television. His first pass was to a passel of U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, and then he tossed the ball to Scott Kelly in the International Space Station. Finally, he threw the football to President Obama in the White House, who, even though the segment was pre-taped, knew who won Super Bowl 50.
"All the Super Bowl winners for the next 50 years are written on the back of the Constitution," Obama explained. "That's the plot of National Treasure 3." Colbert protested, "Sir, there is no National Treasure 3." To which Obama replied: "Ha — that's what you think. There will be. The script is on the back of the Declaration of Independence." Touché. Watch below. Peter Weber
It took five decades, but Betty Morrell, 82, finally tracked down her 96-year-old birth mother after stumbling upon a key piece of information online.
Morrell was adopted as an infant, and told that her biological mother died during childbirth. She waited until her adoptive parents died before trying to find her birth mother, and since it was a closed adoption, information was scarce. Morrell was finally able to determine that she was born in Utica, New York, in 1933 to a 13-year-old ward of the state named Lena Pierce. Her name at birth was Eva May.
Morrell's granddaughter, Kimberly Miccio, 32, spent years helping her grandmother search for any details on her birth family, and in September, she finally found on Ancestry.com the name of a distant relative, who put her in touch with Pierce's daughter, Millie Hawk. "I had found my baby sister, who's 65," Morrell told The Associated Press. "We just clicked. It was like we had known each other all our lives." It turns out, she also has three other sisters and two brothers, and Pierce is still alive and living in Hallstead, Pennsylvania.
Hawk said when she told her mother about Morrell, "she just sat down in a chair and cried. She said, 'My Eva May, they found her?' It was just so emotional." Morrell flew up from Florida with Miccio to meet her newfound family, and there were tears, Pierce said. "It sure was a joy to finally meet up with her," she added. "It's kind of hard when you have a child that you get separated from. I never wanted to give her up." Morrell and Hawk now talk all the time, and they're already planning their next visit. Morrell told AP that people searching for their birth families should keep hope alive: "I say absolutely don't give up. There's always something that will link it. It's a lot of work. It took me 50 years." Catherine Garcia
The premise of James Corden's carpool karaoke ride with Elton John, released online Sunday night, is that he needs somebody to help him drive to work in the Los Angeles rain, because L.A. drivers are a mess when there's any precipitation. So naturally, once John was in the car, Corden drove with his hands off the wheel, belting out Elton John's greatest hits, sometimes dressed up in silly costumes. But he did get John to talk about what it's like to be Elton John, including not having a cellphone (though he does have an iPad).
Sir Elton and Corden started out with "Your Song," which John and Bernie Taupin wrote in 1970. After John put music to Taupin's lyrics, he told Corden, "we both realized that this was a huge step forward in our songwriting. We never looked back from that song." Corden noted that John has had "some amazing looks over the years," and John said that he dressed up in part because he was told he's not a very good dancer. Also, "I was never a lead vocalist, not like Bowie or Jagger — I was stuck at a piano," he said. "And I wasn't, you know, a sex symbol, and so I had fun with my outfits. And I just went for it." And he's not done. John told Corden that when he hears a young artist that inspires him, he vows to push on. Which he can do, because he has the energy of a 20-year-old, the 68-year-old John said. "Once you stop, you die." Watch the singing and talking below. Peter Weber
A visibly upset Cam Newton abruptly left a press conference following the Carolina Panthers' 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, telling reporters: "I'm done, man."
ESPN has the transcript from his post-game remarks, and the quarterback kept it brief, answering just a few questions with terse responses. When asked if he had a message for fans of the Panthers, he simply said, "We'll be back," and said his team lost because they "got outplayed" (when pressed, he repeated: "Got outplayed, bro"). Newton did elaborate a bit after saying the Broncos "just played better than us," explaining: "We dropped balls, we turned the ball over, gave up sacks, threw errant passes. That's it. They scored more points than us." After that, he got up, shook his head, and announced: "I'm done, man." Catherine Garcia