Sam Sanders

Sam has worked at Vermont Public Radio since October 1978 in various capacities â

Depending on whom you ask, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's State of the Union response this week was either going to save the modern Republican Party or kill conservatism.

This week, those differing responses evoked two different hashtags. Both, in some ways, were about Haley's heritage, and they bring to light the tricky way she'll have to navigate race should she take on a more prominent role in the 2016 election.

#DeportNikkiHaley

Phil Robertson, patriarch of the hit A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president. The announcement was made with a YouTube video showing Robertson and Cruz in full camo gear and face paint, hunting ducks.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We talk a lot about the Iowa caucuses and look ahead to what's going to happen because voters there will be first up in choosing who they want to be president. The Iowa caucuses have been first since 1972.

Everyone agrees that Hillary Clinton is a grandmother. But some aren't so sure she's an abuela.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Over the last few days, the Democratic candidates for president have not stopped talking about Donald Trump. Even the country's top Democrat had a go at him. NPR's Sam Sanders has been tracking all of the trumping.

In a wide-ranging interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep, President Obama had some advice for college protesters across the country.

It seems everybody loves Beyoncé. But not everyone can say her name.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was asked about the performer Wednesday by an audience member at a town hall in Iowa: "If you could choose, would you rather be the president or Beyoncé?"

A day before the last Republican presidential debate of the year, two Republican candidates held rallies near the Las Vegas strip, less than a mile apart. In spite of their proximity, the events had almost nothing in common.

Marco Rubio was in a medium-size hotel ballroom, with a few hundred people in attendance. It seemed, at first, that Rubio might struggle to fill the room, as supporters came in slowly. But fill it did.

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