UNLV shooting and GOP debate takeaways: Morning Rundown

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Nikki Haley’s momentum made her a target at the fourth Republican presidential debate. The suspect in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas shooting is believed to be a man in his 60s. And a legal battle brews between a “Yellowstone” star and the show’s creator.

Here's what to know today.

Haley takes fire and Christie calls Ramaswamy an ‘obnoxious blowhard’ in GOP debate

A few things were clear after last night’s Republican debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the four remaining candidates battled for voters’ attention. For one, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley has a bigger target on her back after a fresh endorsement from the Koch-backed super PAC Americans for Prosperity. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has clearly become a more agile debater, and that’s agitating former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And most importantly, no one in the GOP field can figure out how to cut into former President Donald Trump’s lead.

DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy used their opening statements to take shots at Haley, proving the two see her as a threat after her big endorsement. Haley brushed them off. “They’re just jealous,” she said.

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Christie didn’t waste time calling out Trump, who hasn’t attended a single GOP debate this season. Later in the debate, Ramaswamy turned Christie’s years as Trump’s counsel, as well as Haley and DeSantis’ past ties with the former president, against them.

Christie also didn’t hesitate to call out his opponents, blasting DeSantis for not directly answering questions posed by NewsNation’s debate moderators and at one point calling Ramaswamy an “obnoxious blowhard.”

Read the full story for more takeaways.

3 killed in shooting at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

At least three people died in a shooting yesterday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, law enforcement officials said. The shooting prompted the closure of campus for the rest of the week as the community mourns. UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield called the incident “unfathomable,” while Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called for action to prevent future shootings. “We must fix this now,” she said.

Students who were nearby when the shooting took place described the shock and terror they felt. Jose Lopez, an 18-year-old freshman, said he “froze like a statue” before bolting away. The reality of what happened was beginning to sink in for Connor Friedman, a 20-year-old junior, when he spoke to NBC News. “People died at my school, in my building, and I was there just a few minutes ago.”

The suspect died in a shootout with police, University Police Chief Adam Garcia said at a news conference. While the shooter’s identity has not been released, three law enforcement sources said he was a man in his 60s. There was no immediate information about the suspect’s motive.

Here’s what else we know.

Senate fails to advance Ukraine and Israel aid bill

The Senate voted 49-51 against beginning debate on President Joe Biden’s national security package in an ongoing fight over the bill’s lack of immigration limits that are crucial to winning Republican support. Sen. Bernie Sanders joined Republicans in voting against moving forward with the bill because he opposes giving aid to Israel unconditionally. The failed vote leaves U.S. aid to Ukraine and Israel on life support, even as Biden makes a plea for approval.

Republicans see a recent comment from Biden about being “willing to make significant compromises on the border” as a step in the right direction for negotiations. But even if the bill passes the Senate, it faces hurdles in the House.

Hostage families’ ‘chaotic’ meeting with Israeli war Cabinet

A meeting earlier this week between the families of those still being held by Hamas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war Cabinet became “chaotic” as arguments erupted over the best way to free the remaining hostages, a participant said. Attendees, including recently freed hostages, disagreed with both the government and one another over the negotiations to free more of their loved ones, said the participant. Recordings of the meeting leaked to Israeli media outlets and verified by NBC News captured tensions in the room.

Israel says its forces are in the heart of southern Gaza’s main city and encircling the home of top Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who is thought to be hiding underground. Follow our live blog for the latest.

U.S. military grounds all Osprey aircraft after fatal crash

The U.S. military is grounding all of its Osprey V-22 helicopters, a week after one of the aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan, killing all eight U.S. airmen aboard. A preliminary investigation of the crash indicates the problem was with the aircraft rather than crew member error, according to the Air Force Special Operations Command. An Air Force official said it was unclear how long the standdown would last but that the Ospreys would not return to the skies until they were deemed safe to fly.

Today’s Talker: Taylor Swift’s big reputation earned her...

… Time magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year, beating out Barbie, Donald Trump and other newsmakers for the honor. The 33-year-old pop star’s influence this year was palpable. She boosted economies in the cities her Eras Tour visited. Top universities launched courses about her business and songwriting process. Her budding romance with a certain NFL star seemed like all anyone could talk about. The list goes on.

Politics in Brief

McCarthy out: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted as House speaker this fall, says he will resign from office at the end of this month. McCarthy’s retirement means a slimmer Republican majority and fresh headaches for his successor.

Biden vs. Academia: A White House spokesperson condemned the presidents of three top universities after they appeared to sidestep questions from Congress about whether students calling for the genocide of Jews violates their schools’ codes of conduct.

Fake electors: Ten Republicans who acted as “alternate” electors for Trump in Wisconsin during the 2020 presidential election settled a civil suit against them by admitting that Joe Biden was the actual winner and promising not to act as electors again in any election in which Trump is on the ballot.

Defamation suit season: Voting machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic are heading back to court next year for a suite of defamation lawsuits against Fox News, Newsmax, Trump and others, likely dragging reams of new evidence into the open as the former president again seeks a second term.

Staff Pick: Triplets trapped in Israel without their parents

The days after giving birth are supposed to be sleepless and joyful. But reading about Hanan and Fathi, separated by a war from their triplets who were born in Israel because they were considered high risk, is devastating. The “trove of delayed happiness’’ our reporter describes — clothes this family was expecting to share with their newborns — is a gut punch.

— Annie Hill, platforms editor

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