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Weekly Digest

The following front-page stories received the most comments during the preceding week.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders square off Thursday night for a head-to-head debate on MSNBC. The debate will air live on MSNBC, beginning at 9 p.m. ET You can also watch the live stream of the debate online at MSNBC.com. In a new New Hampshire poll, Sanders leads Clinton in the state 58 percent to 36 percent.


According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the national debt broke records Friday when the total climbed over $19 trillion. But it didn't take too long to get there. The total rose by $1 trillion in about 13 months. About $13.7 trillion of that debt is held by the public. Internal government borrowing makes up the rest at about $5.3 trillion. read more


Gov. Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and three other Republican presidential candidates gather in New Hampshire for the eighth GOP debate at 8 p.m. Saturday night. It's the last debate before New Hampshire hosts the nation's first presidential primary Tuesday.


The Denver Broncos win Super Bowl 50, beating the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24-10. The Broncos -- led by Peyton Manning who, at 39, is the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history -- scored first on a first-quarter field goal and never relinquished the lead in a game that many speculate will be Manning's last.


The largest cross in the US is coming to the "Body of Christ," also known as Corpus Christi, Texas. The Corpus Christi Cross Project broke ground at the Abundant Life Fellowship campus off Interstate 37 on Sunday. Pastor Rick Milby says the massive cross will eventually stretch 95 feet wide and 210 feet high, making it the biggest in the Western Hemisphere. ... [A]s for whether such winds can topple it, Milby says the concrete foundation's 24 piers will be anchored 48 feet deep, "so if it were to blow over, it would pull up about three acres of land with it." read more


New Hampshire votes Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Polls will open across most of the Granite state at 8 a.m. Eastern, though a trickle of voters made it to the polls early in the snow-bound hamlet of Dixville Notch. The latest CNN/WMUR daily tracking poll on Monday showed Bernie Sanders with a 26-point lead over Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, Donald Trump maintained the lead he has held for months, 31% to next-best Marco Rubio with 17%.


Norm Ornstein, The Atlantic: Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz have something in common. Both have an electoral strategy predicated on the ability of a purist candidate to revolutionize the electorate -- bringing droves of chronic non-voters to the polls because at last they have a choice, not an echo -- and along the way transforming the political system. But is there any real evidence that there is a hidden "sleeper cell" of potential voters who are waiting for the signal to emerge and transform the electorate? No. read more


MSNBC host and professor Melissa Harris-Perry said that a man confronted her in a highly threatening and potentially violent manner on Monday night in Iowa as the caucuses were being held. She writes, "I don't know if he was there to kill me. Monday night I was sitting in a hotel lobby in downtown Des Moines with my back to a wall of windows, my eyes fixed on the TV, my attention wholly focused on early caucus results. I didn't notice until he was standing right next to me, much closer than is ordinary or comfortable. ... Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me. I just want you to know why I am doing this.'"


CNN's Eric Bradner has five things to watch in tonight's town hall between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: 1. How low can Clinton's expectations go? 2. How angry will Sanders be? 3. Clinton on the attack 4. What about the Republicans? 5. Griping over who won Iowa.


State Department officials have determined that classified information was sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, NBC News has learned. In a letter to Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy dated Feb. 3, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick said that the State Department has determined that 12 emails examined from State's archives contained national security information now classified "Secret" or "Confidential." The letter was obtained by NBC News.


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