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Ted Cruz at the Iowa State Fair in 2015. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Iowa State Fair opens Thursday, but top-tier 2020 prospects are largely steering clear of the leadoff presidential state, AP's Tom Beaumont reports: "Top party stars are largely focused on midterm elections ... Still, their absence surprises veteran Iowa activists and stokes ... perennial worries about the future of the small rural state’s early influence."

Why it matters: "For aspiring politicians, the place to make an impact this cycle is Georgia, which has a hot governor’s race and a sizable African-American population."

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios