Domenico Montanaro

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy's Select Committee on Benghazi announced Friday in a statement that Hillary Clinton had wiped her private email server clean; that the committee is getting no additional emails from her; that it's leaving open the possibility of a third-party investigation; and that Republicans are promising to bring Clinton in for more questioning.

Harry Reid, the wily Democratic Senate leader, was likely — once again — to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election in 2016.

Few, though, would have bet the house against Reid — a sharp-elbowed campaigner — especially in a presidential year when demography will favor Democrats in a state where almost 3 in 10 people are Hispanic.

"Do you really want to go up against Harry Reid?" said one national GOP operative, pointing out Reid's bare-knuckles style of campaigning.

Harry Reid's exit could have ignited a scramble to fill the power vacuum among Senate Democrats.

But the Nevada senator is doing his best to avoid what he called a "knock-down, drag-out fight" by endorsing Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat better known as Chuck, who has been Reid's top lieutenant for years.

"He will be elected to replace me in 22 months," Reid told KNPR about Schumer. "One reason that will happen is because I want him to be my replacement."

Reid called Schumer "a brilliant man" and "a tremendous asset."

The health care law, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Whatever you call it, five years after President Obama signed the law, it remains polarizing.

Through his chief of staff, President Obama is strongly countering rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a two-state, Israeli-Palestinian solution.

"An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state," Denis McDonough, President Obama's chief of staff, said Monday at the annual conference of J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel group.

And they're off.

After a midnight tweet, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tied together the American Revolution, nostalgia for a better time, and an appeal to social conservatives in his official kickoff speech at Liberty University in Virginia.

"God's blessing has been on America from the beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn't done with America yet," Cruz said at the Christian evangelical university founded by preacher Jerry Falwell. "I believe in you; I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives to reignite the power of America.

There will be a question from some about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's eligibility to run for president.

That's because even though Cruz grew up in Texas, he was born in Canada. (He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2013.)

Democrats are sure to remind voters of Cruz's Canadian birth since some on the right have questioned where President Obama was born. The president is a native of Hawaii.

The 2016 presidential campaign has its first official candidate. Republican Ted Cruz jumped into the race for the presidency, announcing his intentions in a tweet at 12:09 am EDT Monday morning.

"I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support!" the firebrand Texas senator tweeted simply with an embedded video.

Australia has near 100 percent turnout in its elections. How do the Aussies do it? They, like 25 other countries, require people to vote.

President Obama wondered aloud Wednesday whether it was time for the United States to consider a similar move.

"In Australia and some other countries, there's mandatory voting," Obama said at an economic event in Cleveland. "It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything."

President Barack Obama didn't exactly go out on a limb with his college-basketball picks this year.

Like most people, he picked Kentucky to run the table, go 40-0, and win the NCAA Tournament. He also picked three No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 to make it to the Final Four.

"I don't think you can play a perfect basketball game anymore than you can do anything perfectly," the president said of Kentucky, "but these guys are coming pretty close."

The president did mix in a little politics.