Barack Obama

In no uncertain terms, President Obama promised to destroy the Islamic State.

"We are intensifying our strategy on all fronts, with local partners on the ground. We are going to keep on rolling back ISIL in Iraq and in Syria, and take out more of their leaders and commanders so that they do not threaten us," Obama said Sunday, using an acronym for the Islamic State. "We will destroy this terrorist organization."

Obama spoke at the end of a nine-day trip to Turkey, the Philippines and Malaysia.

One year after President Obama announced new executive actions on immigration, his administration is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the new policies.

The executive actions in question — the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, as well as an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA — would have affected millions of immigrants.

Republican Sen. John McCain critiqued President Obama's strategy against ISIS today, casting doubt on claims that a political settlement may be near in Syria.

He also responded to Obama, who yesterday challenged critics of his administration's strategy. "If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan," the president said, sparking an Internet sensation.

Morning Edition played the president's remark to McCain, who has been one of the administration's leading critics. "You want to pop off?" I asked him.

Following a meeting of the Group of 20 in Turkey, Russian president Vladimir Putin signaled that his country's isolation from the West may soon be a thing of the past.

Putin said Russia had proposed cooperating with the United States and others in the fight against terrorism, but that the U.S. rebuffed Russia's offer.

"Life indeed moves on, often very quickly, and teaches us lessons," Putin said. "It seems to me that everyone is coming around to the realization that we can wage an effective fight only together."

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Updated at 1:22 a.m. ET

In the wake of controversy of any kind, even terrorist attacks, U.S. politics is never far behind. The American political response — from President Obama to the candidates vying to replace him — in the hours following the Paris attacks has been unsurprisingly split along party lines.

What is interesting, however, is that Democrats, who are set to debate Saturday night, have kept their responses generally to thoughts and prayers — with little in the way of policy prescriptions.

It's now within a year of Election Day 2016. The Republican race for the nomination is still completely unsettled, the Democratic race a little less. But hardly anything has worked out according to conventional wisdom.

With that caveat, here are five big things that (we think!) will help determine the outcome of next year's election.

1. Voter mood

(Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET.)

A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt President Obama a big blow on Monday when it ruled that Obama had overstepped his legal authority in attempting to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation.

The Obama administration has vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Ending a process that has lingered for much of his time in the Oval Office, President Obama announced Friday that the U.S. has rejected TransCanada's application for a permit to complete the Keystone XL pipeline.

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