Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel shakes hands after speaking about his economic plan for the city on Feb. 8, at Threadless Tees, a t-shirt manufacturing company, in Chicago. M. Spencer Green/AP
Susan Brace of Fort Wayne, Ind., holds signs during a rally at the Indiana state house in Indianapolis on Feb. 8. Teachers gathered to rally against sweeping education changes being pushed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels. Darron Cummings/AP
Activists rally at the state capitol on Feb. 7, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The protesters are against what they view as antiimmigrant policies of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, including a directive that state law enforcement check the immigration status of criminal suspects. Protesters also objected to the governor's push to repeal a state law allowing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. State police estimated about 300 people participated in the rally. Natalie Guillen/The New Mexican/AP
Stella Zuckerman sits on the shoulders of her father Dan Zuckerman while participating in a rally organized to show opposition to the rewrite to Idaho's public school plan purposed by public schools chief Tom Luna on Feb. 7, in Boise, Idaho. Charlie Litchfield/Idaho Press-Tribune/AP
Before a standing ovation by friends, supporters and students, State Treasurer Tate Reeves announces his intention to seek the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor on Feb. 7, at the Florence Middle School in Florence, Miss. Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Former Minnesota Gov. and Republican presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty chats during a book signing before the City Club of Chicago luncheon on Feb. 4, in Chicago. Pawlenty isn't shying away from President Barack Obama's home state, saying he'll make a decision about seeking the GOP presidential nomination in the next couple of months. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant announces her intentions to run for governor at a press conference, on Feb. 3, in Fairmont, W.Va. Tennant was accompanied by her husband, Eric Wells (l.) and her father and mother, John and Rosemary Tennant, at Colasessano's restaurant for the announcement. A special election will be held later this year to fill the term of former Gov. Joe Manchin. Dale Sparks/AP
In this Feb. 2 photo, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is interviewed in New York. The tea party movement is mixing a strange political brew in famously independent New Hampshire, complicating the first-in-the-nation primary strategy for the growing number of potential Republican presidential hopefuls. Richard Drew/AP
The US imposed visa bans on more than 20 Venezuelan officials, citing alleged human rights abuses. The timing of the sanctions could bolster President Maduro's anti-US credentials.
ByAndrew Rosati, Correspondent
The US State Department's travel ban on 24 high-ranking Venezuelan officials is supposed to send a message of zero tolerance for human rights abuses. But analysts warn that the sanctions, announced Wednesday, could ultimately strengthen the hand of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.