What you missed in politics during your holiday vacation

Story highlights

  • While you were celebrating, the candidates were campaigning
  • Catch up quick on the last two weeks with CNN's handy recap

(CNN)So much for a holiday lull.

The 2016 presidential campaign didn't let up in the dying days of 2015. Even as millions of Americans tuned out during their Christmas and New Year's celebrations, the candidates kept up the excitement, rolling out fresh new attacks and, in the case of one early favorite, what could be a last-ditch attempt to keep his White House dreams alive.
As the presidential candidates enter 2016 and step up the action in the long primary contest, let's take a quick look back at what you might have missed during your holiday break.

    Tuesday, December 22: "Schlonged," con't

    A day after Donald Trump told supporters that Hillary Clinton "got schlonged" in her 2008 race with President Barack Obama, the former secretary of state stuck to policy, introducing a $2 billion annual initiative to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
    Top communications aide Jennifer Palmieri tweeted that the campaign would not respond to Trump's comments, but said "everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should."
    Meanwhile, The Washington Post ran (and subsequently pulled down) a cartoon showing Ted Cruz using his daughters, who looked more like monkeys than young children, as campaign props.

    Wednesday, December 23: 'Penchant for sexism'

    Clinton told the Des Moines Register, "It's not the first time he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism," when asked about Trump's comments about her.
    That prompted Trump to launch the first volley of a sustained attack now spilling into its second week.
    "Hillary, when you complain about 'a penchant for sexism,' who are you referring to. I have great respect for women. BE CAREFUL!," Trump tweeted late in the day.
    In other news, Ben Carson hinted at changes to come for his campaign staff (more on that soon) and in line with tradition, Rand Paul aired his "Festivus" grievances.

    Thursday, December 24: Not so silent night

    Trump used the relative quiet of Christmas Eve to launch a series of insults at his favorite targets.
    "Poor @JebBush spent $50 million on his campaign, I spent almost nothing. He's bottom (and gone), I'm top (by a lot). That's what U.S. needs!," he said in one tweet, describing Bush's bid as "SO SAD!" in another.
    Trump also hinted at his New Year's plans, which included, "running against Hillary Clinton, a totally flawed candidate, and beating her soundly."
    The only other business: Democrats Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley railed against Obama's plan, as first reported in The Washington Post, to launch raids to track down and deport the families of undocumented immigrants from Central America.

    Friday, December 25: A (mostly) quiet Christmas

    Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures across the country, the candidates mostly kept the mitts on during the holiday. Here's our collection of their Christmas messages. Meanwhile in Hawaii, a vacationing Obama spoke to troops at a Marine Corps Base and promised to "never take for granted all what all of you to for the American people."
    One bit of unfortunate news: Former President Bill Clinton's first home, a National Historic Site, was damaged in an early morning fire in what authorities believe was a case of arson.

    Saturday, December 26: Trump goes there

    The Christmas spirit having quickly departed, Trump on Boxing Day launched a barrage of attacks on Bill Clinton over the ex-president's history of confessed and alleged extramarital affairs.
    "Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE'S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!" Trump tweeted.
    "Hillary Clinton has some nerve to talk about the war on women and the bigotry toward women when she has a serious problem in her husband," Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "Erin Burnett OutFront" later that night.
    On December 30, Pierson made headlines of her own by sporting a necklace made of bullets during an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto.

    Sunday, December 27: "The woman's card"

    On Sunday morning, Trump dialed in to Fox to claim Hillary Clinton is "playing the woman's card" and declared Bill Clinton "fair game because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled because of all the things that she's talking to me about."
    Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders pitched himself to Trump supporters and a Washington Post report suggested Trump's poll numbers might not translate into votes once the primaries and caucuses begin in a few weeks.

    Monday, December 28: Weather drives candidates underground

    A massive winter storm threw the campaign off course, if only for a day, as candidates canceled events across snowy Iowa. The one holdout, Martin O'Malley, settled for a smaller audience during a visit to Tama, when only one man turned up. Identified as "Kenneth" by a reporter on the scene, he did not commit to voting for the former Maryland governor, but did promise to think it over.
    Meanwhile, Trump continued his attack on the Clintons, tweeting, "If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!"
    This time, however, the Clinton campaign fired back, calling Trump's language "demeaning" and "destructive."
    And Jeb Bush offered some pointers on the art of the selfie during a stop in West Palm Beach.
    1) "Young people do it better than older people."
    2) "It's cooler to do it diagonally rather than straight up."
    3) "It's better to do it higher than lower, because you look skinnier."

    Tuesday, December 29: Welcome back, Monica

    Upping the ante once again, Trump first made it known that Monica Lewinsky and her relationship with Bill Clinton were "fair game," then threatened in an interview on NBC to come "right after the ex-president" in response to attacks by Hillary Clinton's campaign. (CNN's Dan Merica caught up with Clinton later in the day, but she ignored him when he asked for a response.)
    Meanwhile, George Pataki ended his campaign, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told Marco Rubio to do the same and go back to Washington and do his job, as the establishment candidates zeroed in on the Florida senator.

    Wednesday, December 30: Jeb rejiggers, Trump declares "war"

    The Bush campaign said it is all but clearing out its Miami headquarters, sending new troops to New Hampshire and other early voting states while canceling millions of dollars in TV ad buys in the Hawkeye State and South Carolina, where he trails badly in the polls.
    If that wasn't enough, Bush that night "nicknamed" a friendly lawmaker after Hurricane Katrina, in a botched attempt at humor. And after a meet-and-greet at the same event, he mistakenly answered a question about the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, which took place in Cleveland, with a comment about a different high-profile incident in Chicago.
    Trump, meanwhile, said at a rally he would refrain from calling Hillary Clinton "low energy" only because he'd used it so frequently on Bush.
    "I just don't like to use the same thing twice on one of my enemies, because I consider them enemies," he told supporters in South Carolina. "We view this as war. Don't we view this as war? It's war, it's war!"

    Thursday, December 31: Carson campaign implodes

    Three top advisers to Ben Carson resigned, throwing the retired neurosurgeon's campaign, which is flagging in the polls despite raising a ton of new money over the past three months, into disarray.
    We also learned that Trump would not, for the time being, be banned from entering the United Kingdom, despite more than 500,000 signatures on a petition, that O'Malley did not qualify for the Ohio primary, and that some New Hampshire state lawmakers are deeply worried about their colleagues' desire to breastfeed at work.

    Friday, January 1: Donald gets trumped by skywriters

    The skywriters stole the show on New Year's Day at the Rose Bowl, as Trump had the social media tables turned on him for once.
    "America is great! Trump is disgusting," was the message they dashed across the otherwise clear Southern California sky during the annual Rose Parade. At least six planes executed the high-flying troll attack.
    The display lit up the Internet.
    Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign rang in the new year by reporting it raised $37 million in the final quarter of 2015, putting the total since entering the race in April at $112 million and smashing the $100 million goal set earlier in the year.

    Saturday, January 2: Trump blames Obama, Clinton for ISIS

    Trump made his latest bombastic claim at a rally in Mississippi, saying that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "created ISIS" -- another assertion that the Democrats are to blame for the Middle East's problems.
    "They've created ISIS. Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama," Trump said.
    He couched his hit in a brief discussion of the Iranian protests outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which erupted after Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including a dissident Shiite cleric.
    "In Tehran, they're burning down the Saudi embassy, you see that?" Trump said. "Now, what that is Iran wants to take over Saudi Arabia. They always have. They want the oil, OK? They've always wanted that."