As the Republican Party ponders its future, this year's Conservative Political Action Conference showcased two men who could be its leader: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who activists saw as the man who can unite their movement, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has staked his claim to be the GOP's fighting heart.
Republicans found themselves facing agonizing day-after questions Wednesday that they admit are nearly impossible to answer while trying to hold together their diverse electoral coalition and ensure their survival as America's conservative party.
Both presidential campaigns and their super PAC allies are now running television ads in Pennsylvania, with Republicans making a late push to try to swing the state their way, and Democrats moving to block them.
The struggling economy is even making its presence felt on state ballots across the country this November, as initiatives on social issues such as abortion, immigration and gay rights are giving way to bread-and-butter questions about taxes and government spending.
Republicans this fall are hoping that what doesn't tear them apart will only make them stronger.
Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel crossed party lines again yesterday to endorse Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak, casting the former U.S. Navy admiral and U.S. Senate candidate as someone who is not afraid to buck party leaders on Capitol Hill.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has bet on the right horse in an impressive string of Senate primary contests this year, but the freshman Republican's biggest challenge will likely be how he and his band of conservative outsiders fit into the GOP establishment.