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Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor is the lead digital political reporter for NPR. Based in Washington, D.C., she covers the 2016 elections and national politics for NPR digital.

Before joining NPR in May 2015, Taylor was the campaign editor for The Hill newspaper where she oversaw the newspaper's 2014 midterm coverage, managed a team of political reporters and wrote her own biweekly column.

Prior to The Hill, Taylor was a writer and producer for MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd" and a contributor to the NBC News Political Unit. She covered and reported on the 2012 election as a senior analyst for The Rothenberg Gonzales Political Report. Her quotes have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as several state and regional newspapers across the country. Taylor has also appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN and other local network affiliates.

On Election Night 2012, Jessica served as an off-air analyst for CBS News in New York, advising producers and reporters on House and Senate races.

Previously, Jessica was editor of National Journal's "House Race Hotline" and Assistant Editor for POLITICO during the 2010 midterms. She began her career in Washington as the research director for The Almanac of American Politics.

A native of Elizabethton, Tenn., she is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. and now lives in Alexandria, Va.

Jeb Bush isn't pulling punches anymore when it comes to Donald Trump.

The former Florida governor has delicately danced around the billionaire businessman in the 2016 presidential primary so far. But the gloves came off this week when Bush called out Trump as a closet Democrat. He was trying to stunt Trump's rise while attempting to recover his own political mojo.

Donald Trump's summer of defying political gravity is continuing, despite predictions that various missteps would damage him. Instead, he has surged even more after his controversial Fox News debate performance.

But who exactly are the people backing the boisterous billionaire businessman? Some recent polls offer a glimpse into the Trump coalition, which may run strong within a certain section of the GOP but faces many hurdles when it comes to a general election.

Updated at 7:40 p.m.

The biggest punches thrown at the first GOP presidential debate of the evening were at candidates not on the consolation debate stage.

This post was updated at 7:15 p.m.

The final polls are in and the stage is set for Thursday night's first Republican presidential debate.

Those who made the cut, according to Fox News: businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The inaugural 2016 debate for the White House on Thursday will be the first time many voters will be tuning into the volatile GOP campaign, and candidates are praying they'll get a boost and not a bust from the face-off.

"The level of engagement has been very low," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based national GOP strategist. "This will be a week where we will probably have record viewership on Fox News for a primary debate, and it's going to get a lot of attention and a lot of focus."

Sitting vice presidents are usually seen as political heirs to the White House. But not this year.

With Hillary Clinton surging to the front of the Democratic field and the sudden rise of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden has largely been an afterthought.

Scorching temperatures near the triple digits weren't driving away the 325 people gathered to hear Scott Walker speak at a Lexington, S.C., barbecue joint Wednesday.

Packed under an open-air porch with fans that were hardly helping, the heat didn't seem to affect the enthusiasm for the Wisconsin governor on just his second day as an announced presidential candidate — and it's the type of excitement he'll need to generate to win the important South Carolina GOP primary.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ended a probe into Scott Walker's 2012 recall election campaign, sparing the Wisconsin governor a political headache just as he launches his bid for the White House.

The court found that Walker's campaign had not illegally collaborated with outside conservative groups three years ago when the governor faced a recall election following labor backlash over his push to weaken public sector unions.

Scott Walker's path to the presidency runs straight through Iowa — whether he likes it or not.

Ever since an electrifying January speech in the Hawkeye State, the Wisconsin governor has remained the tenuous front-runner in Iowa. He has topped nearly every poll, he has had strong presences at early cattle calls, and his post-announcement tour will be capped by him crisscrossing the state for 11 stops in three days in a Winnebago.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he's in and plans to make an official announcement the first week in August.

Hillary Clinton worked to paint herself as honest and trustworthy in her first national television interview of the 2016 campaign, blaming Republicans for damaging questions about her time at the State Department and her family's charitable foundation.

"This has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years," the Democratic presidential hopeful told CNN's Brianna Keilar in Iowa, noting that she's been "subjected to the kind of constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the right."

Late Tuesday evening the State Department released almost 2,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state. While there was no "smoking gun" regarding the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the latest round of emails gives a look at who she was emailing with, more insight into her daily activities at State — and some daily struggles.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush released 33 years of tax returns on Tuesday, showing that his personal wealth has skyrocketed since he left the Florida governor's office in 2007.

This post has been updated to reflect Christie officially getting in the race for president.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz intends to make his opposition to the Supreme Court's decision last week to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide "front and center" in his presidential campaign.

In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep on Sunday in New York City, the GOP presidential hopeful doubled down on his belief that the court had overstepped its bounds in both the marriage decision and in upholding Obamacare. And as a result, Cruz said, the justices should be subject to elections and lose their lifetime appointments.

On the final day of the Supreme Court's term on Monday, they will issue a ruling that could affect as many as one-third of congressional districts — possibly dramatically remaking the partisan makeup of the next Congress ahead of the 2016 elections.

Since entering the race for president, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has been on the rise against Hillary Clinton, staking out a position as a liberal alternative to the Democratic front-runner.

In the wake of last week's Charleston, S.C., church shootings, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explained his competing concerns between gun rights and gun safety.

"I think guns and gun control is an issue that needs to be discussed," Sanders told NPR's David Greene in an interview airing on Thursday's Morning Edition. "Let me add to that, I think that urban America has got to respect what rural America is about, where 99 percent of the people in my state who hunt are law abiding people."

This story was updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Wednesday he is running for president, becoming the 13th major Republican candidate to enter the race.

Last week's tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine black parishioners gathered for a Bible study has renewed the debate over one of the most controversial Southern symbols — the Confederate flag.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blew away another gathering of religious conservative leaders this week, preaching about threats to religious freedom to a receptive and hungry crowd.

"I will never, ever, ever shy away from standing up and defending the religious liberty of every American," the GOP White House hopeful thundered at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference in Washington.

"Religious liberty has never been more threatened in America than right now today," Cruz added.

President Obama's own party dealt him a stinging rebuke when it rejected a key part of the fast-track trade promotion authority the White House wanted. Not even 11th-hour visits to both the Congressional Baseball Game Thursday night and to Capitol Hill Friday morning could cobble together enough support from his own party to advance the legislation. House Republicans say they will try again next week thanks to a procedural maneuver and the White House has dismissed it as a "snafu," but still it's something this president has spent a lot of political capital on.

A once important political event, which has seen its influence diminished by pay-to-play allegations, breathed its last breath Friday morning.

State Republicans voted to kill the Iowa Straw Poll in a unanimous vote — reversing themselves from a unanimous vote in January to continue it. Amid defections by key 2016 presidential candidates and despite pledged reforms, it was no longer able to survive.

Hillary Clinton's campaign kickoff will draw inspiration from her late mother as she seeks to lay out her vision for America.

By detailing the struggles her mother, Dorothy Rodham, went through, the Democratic presidential hopeful will detail Saturday in New York why she's seeking out reforms and priorities for families, telling everyday Americans, "It is your time."

It's the kind of rhetoric that helped elect President Obama twice. He made the focus of his campaigns, especially his reelection, income inequality, which Republicans derided as "class warfare."

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