Tag Archives: new hampshire

Sanders could endorse Clinton on Tuesday

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is set to throw his support behind fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House on Tuesday during a rally they will hold together in New Hampshire, ending a bitterly fought battle for the presidential nomination that had fractured the party.

An endorsement from Sanders could boost Clinton’s chances against Republican rival Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election, and comes after she offered Sanders  concessions on policy issues like education, health care and climate change.

At the New Hampshire event, the pair will discuss a shared “commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” according to statements released Monday by both campaigns.

The rally will be the first of many in which Sanders will “be out there stumping for the Democratic nominee,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said. Weaver would not confirm whether Sanders would formally endorse Clinton on Tuesday.

Sanders had been under pressure for weeks from Democratic Party officials to throw his weight behind Clinton after she locked up the required number of nominating convention delegates last month with a string of wins in state-by-state primary contests.

The former U.S. secretary of state, senator, and first lady needs Sanders’ supporters to boost her chances against Trump in her run for the White House. Only about 40 percent of Sanders’ supporters say they would vote for her, according to recent Reuters/Ipsos polling.

In the past few weeks, both camps have been in regular contact on how to bring Clinton closer to some of Sanders’ progressive stances on issues like wealth inequality, trade, healthcare, education, and the environment in an effort to unify the party, according to Weaver.

Weaver said he and Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook “talk every day, basically, at this point” and said recent shifts in Clinton’s healthcare and education proposals, released last week, were the result of “many, many discussions back and forth about our views.”

Other policy priorities for the senator from Vermont included a $15-an-hour national minimum wage, which was incorporated into the party’s platform at a meeting in Orlando, Florida, this weekend, as well as criminal justice reform and action on climate change.

 

 

 

Stop it with the feminist food fights

A few weeks back, major polling organizations revealed a huge divide among women voting for the Democratic presidential candidates. The polling showed a big generational divide, with large majorities of women under age 30 supporting Bernie Sanders and older women supporting Hillary Clinton.

That’s certainly news and a big concern for the Clinton campaign. What drove the news coverage for weeks, however, were comments by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and longtime feminist Gloria Steinem that were interpreted as patronizing and criticizing young women for not supporting Clinton.

Both women apologized for their comments but not before dozens of media outlets ran stories about “aging feminists” rebuking young women and imposing their views on others, as well as about the “bankruptcy” of 21st-century feminism.

The media love a feminist food fight. Feminist accomplishments, not so much.

It reminded me of the 1980s, when the backlash to the Second Wave of feminism took hold. Major books at the time railed about “The Feminist Mistake” and “The Myth of Women’s Liberation in America.”

In 1987, I wrote my masters thesis on the history of a feminist organization in Milwaukee, the Women’s Coalition. I wrote it to dispel the claims that feminism was somehow a failure and that feminists themselves were responsible for the problems of women, a common complaint of conservatives.

What I found in Milwaukee was hard work and incredible self-sacrifice on the part of feminist activists. They pioneered the battered women’s movement, changed rape and marriage laws, established women’s studies programs, created myriad social services, reformed law enforcement practices and much more.

They achieved these things while also arguing over priorities and personal politics. At different times, there were purges of lesbians, socialists, straight women, men and transgender people. There were passionate fights over inclusion and exclusion, political involvement or cultural separatism, militant tactics or patient consultation.

The feminist movement has always encompassed a multiplicity of individuals and organizations from the grassroots to the national level. Goals vary. Tactics differ. Ideologies shift and often conflict. Leaders are effective or flawed. Mistakes are made. The women’s movement is not monolithic. It is diverse and dynamic.

Feminists do not march in step, nor do they all wear their feminism on their sleeves. They come in all ages, races, classes and sexualities. They range from genderqueer youth organizing on social media to women working across cultures to advance women’s rights in countries where women are treated like dogs.

They are the women who revolutionized women’s health care and the women today working to defend Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive freedom. They are the women leading the fight for the $15 minimum wage and women working to make their churches less sexist.

They are the women who worked hard for years to build partnerships and raise funds for the new Family Peace Center. It’s a multimillion dollar facility that centralizes all domestic violence services in Milwaukee. It’s an amazing advance from the 1970s, when feminist volunteers risked their lives rescuing women and hiding them in a network of safe houses.

I don’t know if these women will vote for Hillary Clinton, but I believe their work transcends any one political moment. It will continue and it will endure.

So ignore the bad press. Feminism lives!

 

 

Sanders, Trump score big as races head south minus 2

Bernie Sanders sailed to a big win on Feb. 9 in New Hampshire.

And Donald Trump triumphed.

A week after placing second in Iowa, both men placed first in the nation’s first presidential primary. Going into the race, polls showed Trump and Sanders as the favorites, thanks to their mutual status as outsider, anti-establishment candidates.

Trump, AP reported early on Feb. 10, won New Hampshire with an 18-point lead.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, won the Granite State with a 21-point lead over Hillary Clinton.

“Together, we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington and from Maine to California that the government of this great nation belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs,” Sanders told supporters crowded into a high school gymnasium.

“Nine months ago, we began our campaign here in the Granite State,” he said. “We had no campaign organization and we had no money. And we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America, a team that defeated Barack Obama here in the Democratic primary in 2008.”

In exit polls, backers of both said they are angry with the way things are going in Washington and they’re frustrated with politics.

But it’s a long way to the nominating conventions this summer, with votes in 48 more states and U.S. territories to come.

Clinton may have all the endorsements of her party’s bold-faced names, but Sanders is winning over the young people and independents who pushed Barack Obama to the White House.

Meanwhile, many Republican Party leaders may be terrified by Trump’s ascendance, but they’ve yet to divine a way to stop the billionaire real-estate mogul. 

On Feb. 10, establishment-minded Republicans from New Hampshire expressed a mix of frustration and shame that it was their state that delivered Trump’s first victory.

“I refuse to support him under any circumstance,” said Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman. “Trump would be a disaster.”

Cullen likened Trump to Pat Buchanan in 1996, the divisive former Nixon aide and conservative commentator who also won the New Hampshire primary. GOP leaders then quickly coalesced behind mainstream alternative Bob Dole, the former Republican Senate leader who went on win the nomination.

It wasn’t because they loved Dole, Cullen said, but because they feared Buchannan would embarrass the Republican Party. “The party was able to stop Buchannan 20 years ago,” Cullen said. “Today, they’re incapable of doing it.”

For those like Cullen who oppose Trump, it only gets worse. Marco Rubio’s underwhelming performance in New Hampshire calls into question the idea that the Florida senator might emerge as the GOP establishment’s favored alternative as the race heads for South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Competing for the support of the same group of Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who quit the race on Feb. 10, along with Carly Fiorina) and Rubio won enough votes combined to handily beat Trump. But as they fought among themselves — four political insiders against the lone outsider — Trump won with ease.

John Jordan, a California winery owner who runs an outside group backing Rubio, said that “candidate logjam is all going to break in one night,” and suggested that night will be March 15, when Florida is among the states to hold their presidential primaries.

“One of them will do better than the other, and it will be impossible for the relative loser to make the case to donors that he should continue,” he said, referring to the state’s native sons, Bush and Rubio. “Donors will simply move to whoever wins that state, and it will happen nearly instantly.”

But between now and March 15 is South Carolina, Nevada and the more than a dozen states that vote on March 1. That’s time that Trump and others could use to increase their support.

Despite questions about the strength of his ground game, Trump continues to hold a commanding lead in many preference polls in the South’s first primary — and he could get a bump from his New Hampshire success.

Sanders may, too, but he has much farther to climb.

South Carolina and Nevada are more racially diverse states than Iowa and New Hampshire, which should play to Clinton’s longstanding strength with minority voters.

And unlike Republicans, Democrats give hundreds of party insiders a vote at the national convention to cast as they choose.

Among those so-called superdelegates, Clinton already has a commanding 352-delegate edge. Winning the nomination requires a total of  2,382 delegates.

“This is not a two-round boxing match, it’s a 12-round boxing match,” said Bob Mulholland, a longtime California Democratic strategist. “And I want to remind everybody that the last three presidents came in second in New Hampshire — Clinton, Bush and Obama.”

Candidates sprint to finish in New Hampshire, prepare for long run

Eyeing their first wins in a capricious campaign, Republican Donald Trump lashed out at his opponents on Feb. 8 while Democrat Bernie Sanders sought to play it safe on the eve of the nation’s initial primary.

GOP contenders vying for second and third saw fresh hopes for survival after New Hampshire as both parties settled in for a drawn-out slog to the nomination.

As snowfall brought yet more uncertainty to the race’s final hours, Hillary Clinton tried to move past talk of a shakeup in her campaign and controversy over comments by supporters that women should feel obliged to vote for her.

Barnstorming New Hampshire with her husband and daughter, she worked to flip Sanders’ favored critique against her by claiming that he, too, had taken big bucks from Wall Street — if only indirectly.

But it was Trump, the billionaire businessman, who launched the harshest attacks — not just against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who had bested him in Iowa, but against Jeb Bush as well. The former Florida governor is one of three Republicans hoping Marco Rubio’s recent stumbles have opened a fresh path for one of them to emerge as the more mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz.

“Jeb is having some kind of a breakdown, I think,” Trump told CNN, calling Bush, the son and brother of presidents, a spoiled child and an embarrassment to his family. “I think it’s a very sad situation that’s taking place.”

The enmity was mutual. Vying for votes in Nashua, Bush described his opponent variably as a loser, a liar, a whiner and the worst choice for president. He blasted what he said was Trump’s proclivity for “insulting women, castigating Hispanics, ridiculing the disabled and calling American POWs losers.”

Trump did get in a shot at Cruz during a massive rally in Manchester on Feb. 8. When an audience member shouted out an insult directed at Cruz – a vulgar term for “coward” — Trump repeated the term and jokingly reprimanded the woman.

Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler responded via email, saying, “Let’s not forget who whipped who in Iowa.”

Still, Trump was running ahead in New Hampshire’s pre-primary polls, as was Sanders on the Democratic side.

Not so long ago, Republicans saw New Hampshire as the proving ground that would winnow their chockablock field of candidates. Rubio’s surge into third place in Iowa one week ago raised the prospect that voters here would anoint him over Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Yet Rubio faced fresh questions about his readiness – and his ability to defeat the Democratic nominee – after Saturday’s debate, when he was mocked for reciting rote talking points about President Barack Obama over and over.

Growing doubts about Rubio seemed to portend a fight for delegates that could extend for weeks or months – to the dismay of Republican Party leaders hoping for a quick consolidation behind anyone but Cruz or Trump. Democrats are already resigned to the likelihood of a protracted primary following Sanders’ strong performance in Iowa.

Rubio insisted his repetitions were part of his plan.

“People said, ‘Oh, you said the same thing three or four times,'” Rubio told some 800 people in a school cafeteria in Londonderry. “I’m going to say it again.”

Sensing Rubio’s vulnerability, nearly everyone seemed to be on the attack.

Bush’s campaign debuted a new ad questioning Kasich’s conservative credentials, while an outside group backing Rubio pulled an ad attacking Cruz and replaced it with one assailing Bush. Christie and Bush both piled on Rubio, claiming he hadn’t been tested the way that governors have.

All of them filled their calendars with campaign events in South Carolina, the next state to vote, signaling they had no intention of dropping out no matter the verdict in New Hampshire.

In the week since Clinton eked out a win in the leadoff Iowa caucuses, her campaign has worked aggressively to lower expectations for New Hampshire, where Sanders has maintained a sizable lead despite Clinton’s victory here eight years ago. Sanders, a Vermont senator, is well known to voters in neighboring New Hampshire.

Clinton was shouldering renewed troubles amid talk of a possible campaign reshuffling. Although campaign manager Robby Mook is expected to stay, some Clinton allies have said new advisers may be brought in after Feb. 9.

The former first lady insisted it was all overblown.

“I have no idea what they’re talking about or who they are talking to,” Clinton said on MSNBC. “We’re going to take stock, but it’s going to be the campaign that I’ve got.”

Sanders, wary of upsetting a race trending his way, stuck to core campaign themes as he addressed cheering supporters in Nashua. In recent days Bill Clinton has accused some Sanders’ supporters of waging “sexist” attacks, and feminist Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have criticized women who aren’t supporting Clinton.

Yet Sanders passed up all that on Feb. 8, instead telling supporters in Nashua, “We have come a long way in the last nine months.” But his campaign did take issue with Clinton’s claim that Sanders benefited from Wall Street money donated to Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, with campaign manager Jeff Weaver arguing it “suggests the kind of disarray that the Clinton campaign finds itself in today.”

Political tourists flock to New Hampshire for political theater

Ann and Jon Vitti hopped on a flight from Los Angeles to snowy New Hampshire last week to witness first-hand what they can’t see on their TV: The more personal side of presidential politics.

“The campaign’s always over by the time it gets to California and we never get to see it, so we had to go to the campaign,” Jon Vitti, a television writer, said Friday night after watching Chris Christie take voters’ questions for nearly two hours in Salem, New Hampshire.

The Vittis are just two of many voters who have flocked to New Hampshire as political tourists in the week leading up to the state’s Feb. 9 presidential primary. They come from as far as California and as nearby as neighboring Massachusetts to engage in an up-close civics lesson and pose direct questions to the potential next president, an opportunity virtually unheard of in the rest of the country.

While the campaign plays out through televised debates and advertisements in the rest of the nation, the town hall meeting is a staple of New Hampshire campaigning. At these events, held in high school gymnasiums and VFW halls, voters seek detailed explanations from candidates on everything from drug addiction to stemming the rising costs of health care.

It’s here that voters can witness poignant or unscripted moments. After a woman told an emotional story about her son’s fight against drug addiction, for example, John Kasich offered to call the young man and offer words of encouragement. Christie, ever the showman, asked one of his staffers to pull a dollar out of his pocket and hand it to a young voter in the crowd at a recent town hall as a means of mocking Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ plan to make college tuition free.

Alex and Peter Tsipis, brothers from Wayland, Massachusetts, wanted to see Kasich up close to make sure he was as great a candidate as they believed. They made a 45-minute jaunt to Nashua on Sunday morning, arriving two hours early to get front-row seats. The brothers, 20 and 18 years old, respectively, came away with selfies and stronger convictions that Kasich is their guy.

“Seeing it up in person, you really get your own perspective on it and you can interpret it any way you want,” said Peter, a high school junior who will vote for the first time on March 1. “I really loved the whole format.”

Les Liman of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, flew to Manchester in early January to stay with an old friend and take in the scenes. Over two and a half days, he saw Kasich, Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul. Scott Landry, meanwhile, took a quick drive over the border from Massachusetts so his 14-year-old son, who writes a political satire column for his middle school newspaper, could see Christie and Rubio up-close. Landry said despite living nearby, this trip was his first time coming to New Hampshire for a political event.

“Every four years I want to do it,” he said.

Efforts to build a marketing campaign around the primary were quickly blocked in 2007 by Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a fierce defender of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status. At the time, Gardner said he didn’t want to give other states the impression that New Hampshire fights to be first for the money that comes from an uptick in hotel stays and restaurant visits.

“Some people accuse of us being so adamant about protecting it because we do it for the money,” Gardner told The Associated Press then. “That’s not why we do it.”

Indeed, New Hampshire natives and visitors alike see the primary as a valuable opportunity to press candidates on the issues that matter before the campaign moves to a bigger stage. Dan Kipnis, a retired fishing captain, ventured from Miami Beach to New Hampshire this week to press Jeb Bush and Rubio about climate change and rising sea levels.

Asked why he didn’t wait until next month when Florida holds its presidential primary to bring up the issue, Kipnis said, “New Hampshire is where all the voting begins.”

“I want the presidential candidates to talk about it – now,” he said following a Bush town hall. “We can’t wait.”

Rubio campaign reeling after sharp attacks during last Republican debate

Marco Rubio faced withering criticism of his readiness to be president and his policy depth in the last Republican debate before tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other candidates launched an aggressive campaign to slow the Florida senator’s rise.

Rubio’s responded with an uneven performance on Saturday night that could hurt his bid to emerge as an alternative to Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. If anything, his showing gave new hope to Christie, Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all of whom need strong finishes in New Hampshire to keep their White House bids afloat.

Cruz, the Iowa caucuses winner, also took criticism at the debate for controversial political tactics, with one candidate disparaging him for having “Washington ethics” and being willing to test the campaign’s legal limits.

New Hampshire’s primary could further winnow an already shrinking GOP field or leave the primary muddled. Hard-fought, expensive and far-ranging, the campaign has become a fight for the future of the Republican Party, though the direction the GOP will ultimately take remains deeply uncertain.

Rubio, a first-term senator from Florida, has sought to appeal both to mainstream Republicans and those eager to upend the status quo. But his rivals, particularly Christie, have been blistering in their criticism of what they see as his slim qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable,” Christie said. “You just simply haven’t.”

Christie has built his closing argument around his criticism of Rubio, and he kept up that approach on the debate stage. He accused the senator of being a candidate governed by talking points — then pounced when the senator played into his hands by repeating multiple times what appeared to be a planned response to criticisms about his qualifications.

“That’s what Washington D.C. does,” Christie said. “The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.”

Rubio wavered in defending his decision to walk away from the sweeping immigration bill he originally backed in the Senate — perhaps the legislation he’s most closely associated with — and said he wouldn’t pursue similar legislation as president.

“We can’t get that legislation passed,” Rubio said of the bill that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the United States illegally. The senator found his footing later in the debate when outlining his call for more aggressive action to fight the Islamic State and emphasizing his anti-abortion stance.

Cruz was the victor in Iowa, triumphing over billionaire Trump by drawing heavily on the support of evangelical voters. But he’s faced criticism for messages his campaign sent to voters ahead of the caucuses saying rival Ben Carson — another favorite of religious conservatives — was dropping out and urging the retired neurosurgeon’s supporters to back him instead.

Cruz apologized for his campaign’s actions Saturday, but not before Carson jabbed him for having “Washington ethics.”

Those ethics, he said, “say if it’s legal, you do what you do to win.”

Trump was back on the debate stage after skipping the last contest before the Iowa caucuses. After spending the past several days disputing his second-place finish in Iowa, he sought to refocus on the core messages of his campaign, including blocking Muslims from coming to the U.S. and deporting all people in the country illegally, all while maintaining he has the temperament to serve as president.

“When I came out, I hit immigration, I hit it very hard,” Trump said. “Everybody said, ‘Oh, the temperament,’ because I talked about illegal immigration.”

Kasich, who has staked his White House hopes on New Hampshire, offered a more moderate view on immigration, though one that’s unpopular with many GOP primary voters. He said that if elected president, he would introduce legislation that would provide a pathway to legalization, though not citizenship, within his first 100 days in office.

The debate began shortly after North Korea defied international warnings and launched a long-range rocket that the United Nations and others call a cover for a banned test of technology for a missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.

Asked how he would respond to North Korea’s provocations, Bush said he would authorize a pre-emptive strike against such rockets if it was necessary to keep America safe. Cruz demurred, saying he wouldn’t speculate about how he’d handle the situation without a full intelligence briefing. And Trump said he’d rely on China to “quickly and surgically” handle North Korea.

Associated Press writer Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

Clinton defends progressive record against Sanders’ attack

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders opened up a new line of attack in the Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 3, putting Hillary Clinton on the defensive over her liberal credentials just days after she eked a slim victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Sanders, who has a sizable lead in the upcoming New Hampshire primary, rattled off a list of issues where he says Clinton isn’t in sync with the liberal wing of the party, including trade, Wall Street regulation, climate change, campaign finance and the 2002 authorization of the war in Iraq.

“I do not know any progressive who has a super PAC and takes $15 million from Wall Street,” Sanders said, during a candidate forum sponsored by CNN. “That’s just not progressive.”

Clinton moved quickly to defend her record, saying that under Sanders’ criteria President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and even the deceased Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, a champion of liberal causes, would not be considered progressive.

“I know where I stand,” said Clinton. “But I don’t think it helps for the senator to be making those kinds of comparisons because clearly we all share the same hopes and aspirations for our country.”

She also pushed back on charges by Sanders and his allies that she cannot be trusted to regulate Wall Street because of the millions in speaking fees she made from the industry before announcing her presidential bid. An Associated Press analysis of public disclosure forms and records released by her campaign found that Clinton made $9 million from appearances sponsored by banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate businesses.

Clinton said she was still deciding whether to run for president when she accepted the appearances

“I don’t know,” she said, when asked why she was paid such a high speaking fee. “That is what they offered.”

The back-and-forth on progressive credentials was the latest example of tensions between Clinton and Sanders as the race nears the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary. The Democratic rivals are expected to appear at a debate on Thursday night and both camps have quarreled over the timing and locations of three debates planned for later this spring.

Clinton has questioned Sanders’ commitment to gun control and whether his proposal to create a universal health care system might endanger Obama’s signature health care law. Sanders, meanwhile, casts Clinton as an establishment figure and an inconsistent champion of liberal causes such as the environment, trade and campaign finance reform.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire earlier in the day, the former secretary of state called Sanders attacks on her ideology a “low blow,” before listing a series of liberal accomplishments that she described as progressive, including her work on expanding access to children’s health insurance, advocating for women and gay people and pushing for gun control measures.

“We’ve been fighting the progressive fight and getting results for people for years,” Clinton said. “I hope we keep it on the issues. Because if it’s about our records, hey, I’m going to win by a landslide.”

But Clinton’s team clearly sees an opening in Sanders’ comment. On Twitter, Clinton’s top spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri compared it to the moment in 2008 when President Barack Obama said during a debate that Clinton was “likable enough,” which prompted criticism from Clinton supporters.

The attack came from a comment Clinton made at a campaign event in September, when she was describing tax cuts passed under former President George W. Bush and noted that she’s occasionally been called a moderate. “I plead guilty,” she told the crowd in Columbus, Ohio.

Sanders cited her words in a Wednesday evening news conference in Concord, before noting that she has done some “progressive things” like advocating for children.

“This is not a low blow. There’s nothing wrong with people who are moderates. Some of my best friends are moderates,” he said. “All I was doing was repeating what she actually said.”

Sanders’ razor-thin loss in the Iowa caucuses Monday, and his formidable lead in New Hampshire polls, have heightened the possibility that the two remaining Democrats will be involved in a protracted fight for the nomination.

“We are in this until the convention,” Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. He said the narrow Iowa outcome showed his campaign’s ability to take on Clinton’s vast political network and address doubts among voters about his electability.

Clinton acknowledged that she yet to win over broad swaths of the party, particularly younger voters. In Iowa, Sanders won 84 percent of voters under age 30 and 58 percent of those aged 30-44 according to entrance polls.

“I respect the fact that I have work to do,” said Clinton. “They don’t have to be for me, I will be for them.” 

Cruz trumps Trump, Clinton narrowly defeats Sanders in Iowa

Turnout was huge.

But still not enough to put Bernie Sanders over the top. By the narrowest margin, the liberal firebrand lost to Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side on Feb. 1. The race was so close, Sanders’ campaign referred to it as a “virtual draw.”

On the GOP side, Iowa voters created a three-person race. Evangelical heavyweight Ted Cruz came in first, followed by billionaire Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Reports show turnout in Iowa was historically large, providing big boosts for both Rubio, considered the “establishment” candidate in the Republican race, and for Sanders, the insurgent candidate in the Democratic race.

“We have taken the first step, but an important step, to winning the nomination,” Rubio told supporters in Des Moines.

“Nine months ago we had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the country,” Sanders said.

“It looks like we’ll have about half of the Iowa delegates,” he added.

The night ended Martin O’Malley’s campaign for the White House. Also Mike Huckabee’s bid.

And even before the final tallies were in on caucus night, the focus had turned to New Hampshire, where the first-in-the-nation primary is set for Feb. 9. There, polls show Sanders, a U.S. senator from neighboring Vermont, up by 20 points and Trump also holding a commanding lead.

New Hampshire isn’t favorable territory for Cruz, whose religious conservatism appealed to Iowa Republicans. New Hampshire’s GOP voters tend to favor more mainstream, boosting Rubio’s odds of a strong finish, or lean “live free or die” Libertarian, making Trump the favorite.

Thanking supporters at a rally in Iowa, Trump displayed a rare hint of modesty as he congratulated Cruz and the other Republicans.

“We finished second, and I want to tell you something: I’m just honored,” Trump said. “We’re just so happy with the way everything worked out.”

Although Clinton said she was “breathing a big sigh of relief,” and her campaign said it had won an outright victory, the neck-and-neck contest was a blow, evoking the setback she faced in 2008 after her upset loss to then-Sen. Obama.

After losing in Iowa eight years ago, Clinton went on to New Hampshire and secured a big win. That isn’t likely this time around.

In the delegate count from Feb. 1, Cruz had at least eight of the GOP delegates. Trump won seven and Rubio six.

Clinton, according to early reports from The AP, had 22 delegates and Sanders had 21. When the votes are finalized, Clinton is expected to pick up one more delegate.

Democrats have 24 delegates at stake in New Hampshire and Republicans have 23.

Sanders, Clinton cool to Michael Bloomberg’s potential presidential run

Democratic presidential candidates gave a cool reception on Jan. 24 to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s potential independent White House run, with Bernie Sanders saying it would add another billionaire like Republican Donald Trump to the race.

With eight days to go until Iowa holds the first nominating contest on the road to the Nov. 8 presidential election, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio basked in the glow of an endorsement from the Des Moines Register, the state’s biggest newspaper.

The weekend disclosure from a source close to the situation that Bloomberg is laying the groundwork for a run that he could launch should Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton falter, sent shock waves rippling through the entire presidential field.

Sanders, a democratic socialist and Vermont senator who is threatening Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, told ABC’s “This Week” program that Bloomberg’s entry would add a second billionaire to the field. Trump, a real estate mogul, is leading the crowded Republican field.

Sanders has railed against “millionaires and billionaires” and the political power they wield throughout his insurgent campaign for the Democratic nomination.

“That is not what, to my view, American democracy is supposed to be about, a contest between billionaires. If that takes place, I am confident that we will win it,” Sanders said.

Many analysts believe a Bloomberg entry into the race could siphon Democratic votes and be another blow to Clinton, a former secretary of state and the wife of former President Bill Clinton.

An independent bid would be a heavy lift for Bloomberg. The last major third-party candidate, Ross Perot, won 18.9 percent of the vote in 1992, which some observers believe enabled Bill Clinton to defeat President George H.W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton, who won the Register’s endorsement on the Democratic side, said she expected to negate Bloomberg’s rationale for running.

“He’s a good friend of mine and I am going to do the best I can that I get the nomination and we’ll go from there,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The way I read what he said is that if I didn’t get the nomination, he would do it. … I will relieve him of that,” she said.

Bloomberg, 73, a media magnate who has long privately flirted with the idea of a presidential run, served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. He switched his party affiliation from Republican to independent in 2007 and has spent millions in recent years on national campaigns to tighten U.S. gun laws and reform immigration.

TRUMP ‘WOULD LOVE’ BLOOMBERG IN RACE

Trump noted that he and Bloomberg had differences on the issues of gun control and abortion and that he would love to run against him. Bloomberg favors reproductive choice.

“I know Michael very well and would love to compete with him. He is very opposite from me on guns and pro-life. … I would love to have Michael get in the race,” Trump told CNN.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told the ABC program that Bloomberg had been a “great mayor,” who was unlikely to get into the race unless Trump and Sanders were the parties’ nominees.

“But that’s way off into the future,” Bush said.

Rubio, at a town hall meeting in Marion, Iowa, brought up Bloomberg’s attempts for more gun control. He said he had been asked in a television interview to comment on Bloomberg’s potential candidacy.

“I said he’s not a candidate. If he gets in, we’ll talk about his record and his hatred for the Second Amendment,” Rubio said, referring to the constitutional amendment granting Americans the right to bear arms.

Bloomberg’s news service competes with Reuters.

For Sanders, Iowa is chance to turn revolution into reality

Bernie Sanders was halfway through his opening statement — a stern, 45-minute lecture on domestic policy leavened with a dash of political pep talk — when he realized the crowd had missed one of his rare attempts at humor.

“That was a joke!” he bellowed. Laughter briefly rippled through the audience as the Vermont senator returned to his statistic-rich pitch for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and breaking up big Wall Street banks.

Bernie Sanders’ down-to-business demeanor on the campaign trail belies the youthful enthusiasm that’s accompanied his unexpected rise in the Democratic race for president. With less than two weeks until voting begins, the 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist could win both Iowa and New Hampshire, a once unthinkable outcome in a primary campaign that was supposed to be tailor-made for Hillary Clinton.

“Today the inevitable candidate doesn’t look quite so inevitable,” Sanders told voters who braved icy roads and single-digit temperatures to see him speak Tuesday morning in Fort Dodge.

While Sanders first garnered attention for the overflow crowds he drew around the country last summer, he’s making more intimate appeals to voters in the final few days before the Iowa’s Feb. 1 caucuses. On Tuesday, he slipped into a luxury bus (“You can walk around, it’s got comfortable seats,” he said of his new ride) for a day of smaller town hall meetings across central and northwest Iowa.

As voters filed into the events, a campaign soundtrack played a heavy rotation of songs touting revolution, a nod to Sanders’ call for a “political revolution” in America. Singer Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” is a favorite, as is the band Flogging Molly’s “Revolution”.

Young people with nose rings, green and purple tinted hair, and wearing an array of hoodies filled the seats directly behind the candidate, though the rest of the audience skewed older. A campaign supporter in Carroll used a Robert Frost poem to introduce the senator, urging supporters to make sure Sanders’ “road less traveled” takes him to the White House.

Yet there’s little lightness once Sanders begins to speak _ no amusing anecdote to open his remarks, save for a small quip about how Iowa’s winter reminds him of his home state. Sanders leans into the lectern and his Brooklyn-accented voice quickly reaches a shout. He repeatedly jabs his index finger at the audience, and when he’s ready to make a point of emphasis, he lifts both arms into the air as if conducting an orchestra.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats on Capitol Hill, began his campaign with firm rules about what he was not willing to do to win the presidency. He’s among the most vigorous critics of super PACs, political groups that can accept donations of any size, and frequently touts his campaign’s reliance on small donations. He also vowed to avoid negative, personal attacks on his rivals.

But with the prospect of victory in the early states at hand, Sanders is testing the limits of that latter pledge. In addition to his shots at Clinton’s evaporating inevitability, he relishes pointing out the big-money speaking fees Clinton received from Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street giant that’s a frequent villain in Sanders’ speeches.

“Goldman Sachs also provides very, very generous speaking fees to some unnamed candidates,” he said during a town hall at a winery in Carroll, just across the street from Clinton’s campaign office in town.

While Sanders may be striking a chord with voters seeking an outsider candidate, he’s also a practiced politician and it’s clear he’s acutely aware of his standing in the Democratic race.

Taking a page out of Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s playbook, Sanders has recently started opening his remarks with lengthy references to his improving poll numbers. He’s particularly fixated on surveys showing he’s more likely to beat Trump in the general election than Clinton, underscoring his irritation with suggestions from within his own party that’s he’s unelectable.

He also knows he lacks foreign policy experience, particularly when his record is stacked up next to Clinton’s four years as secretary of state. So he reaches for an easy applause line with his liberal base, reminding voters of Clinton’s vote in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq — then noting former Vice President Dick Cheney also had foreign policy experience.

Even if Sanders can turn his momentum into victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are daunting challenges ahead. He’s less well known among minority populations, which some Democrats see as a vulnerability for him as the race heads to states with more racially diverse populations.

Sanders seems well aware of this, too. He’s making an effort in South Carolina in particular to reach out to black voters, hoping that like the crowds that greet him in snowy Iowa, they’ll see the rumpled, aging socialist as their advocate.

“This is it. Here I am,” Sanders said as he closed an event in Iowa. “For better or worse.”