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  1. In the Trump-less debate, arrows were shot at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was center stage. He complained Fox News was trying to goad his rivals to attack him, taking on a Trump-ian line. The sharpest elbows were thrown between Cruz and Rubio over immigration after Fox News showed past clips of each of them espousing different views and having to defend whether or not they were opposed to legalization for immigrants in the country illegally.

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen has removed state Senator Pam Roach from a task force on human trafficking. Owen said Monday he took the action after receiving several complaints about the senator’s conduct at a December meeting of the task force.

If you weren't tuned in to two hours of late-night cable, you would have missed Democrats making a final urgent pitch to voters Monday night in an Iowa town hall. We'll catch up you up.

-- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., defended being a Democratic socialist — and admitted he'd raise taxes to pay for his health care plan.

After devoting decades of her life to a cause — demonstrating for peace and against nuclear proliferation — Concepcion Picciotto has died. Persisting through cold and rough weather, she was a fixture outside the White House, where she was often called the president's closest neighbor.

Her protest vigil is considered the longest in U.S. history.

Paul Guppy, Bill Radke, Erica Barnett and John Roderick.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Why would lottery riches ruin other people's lives, but not yours? Is President Barack Obama right that we’re too partisan?

Farewell, tipping. Farewell, David Bowie. Hello, The Long Winters' John Roderick,  journalist Erica “Crank” Barnett, Washington Policy Center's Paul Guppy and host Bill Radke on Week In Review.

Donald Trump did not dominate the sixth debate among the most prominent Republican candidates for president, but he may have been its prime beneficiary.

Trump held his own through an evening of challenges from the FOX Business Network moderators and from six rivals with him on stage. There were plenty of slings and arrows all around, yet Trump did nothing to discourage his fans while watching his main rivals carve each other up. He even had a moment of thoughtful connection while defending his "New York values."

Thursday's main Republican debate airs on Fox Business Network beginning at 9 p.m. EST.

It was perhaps fitting that the most memorable passage of President Obama's final State of the Union speech should come near its end.

After nearly an hour on the podium, Obama paused and slipped into a mode more suited to a pulpit. In the next few minutes, the president tried to address the state not of the American union but of American politics.

Olympia on a winter's night.
Flickr Photo/John (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5JRAya

State lawmakers are gathering in Olympia Monday to kick off the 2016 session. No doubt, lobbyists will be roaming the halls of the state capitol this winter. But it's not just big business and special interest pushing their agendas.

The city of Seattle is lobbying, too.

The King County Council unanimously appointed replacements Thursday for departing Washington state Senator Jeanne Kohll-Wells. Kohll-Wells will leave the Senate since she was elected to the County Council in November.

Rep. Jim McDermott has represented the Seattle area for 14 terms.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Jim McDermott has represented Seattle in the U.S. Congress since 1989. He was elected to that office 14 times. But now, he wants to retire, to travel, to teach and to paint.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Here's what we've heard about evangelical voters lately: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and now Ted Cruz are fighting for them. Cruz says that a bunch of them are "missing" (and that he's the man to find them). And anyone will tell you that they play a decisive role in Iowa GOP caucuses.

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?"