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Marco Rubio comes under withering criticism in Republican debate

Marco Rubio faced withering criticism of his readiness to be president and his policy depth in the final Republican debate before Tuesday’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 final 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 preemptive 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.

Diane Roberts: “Morning (hangover) in Iowa” with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio

It was a bad hair day for Donald Trump. The whitest people in America voted for a Canadian anchor baby instead of him.

Incredible.

Flanked by what appeared to be a militia of blond Kardashians, Trump was almost gracious in concession Monday night, saying he was “honored,” even congratulating the winner.

Of course, it didn’t last. By Tuesday morning, the medication had worn off. Trump tweeted: “The media has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly. Brought in record voters and got second highest vote total in history!

Bastard commie media. It’s their fault. Most things are their fault. Ebola. Spirit hoods. Johnny Manziel.

But reporters aren’t the only total losers; the voters of Iowa don’t look too good, either. Back at the Twitter-machine, the Trumpster let loose: “I don’t believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one. I will keep doing, but not worth it!”

But what of Monday night’s big winner, Ayatollah Ted? Shortly after the bastard commie media declared him the winner in Iowa, he started talking. He kept talking.

And talking.

He kicked off with “To God be the Glory!” He rolled out Psalm 30, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Translation: hang on, ‘Murka. You’ve been suffering under the jackbooted thuggishness of affordable health care, a vigorous economy, investment in renewable energy, marriage equality and a nuclear-free Iran — instead of a war. But as soon as Ayatollah Ted gets into the White House, that crap’s history.

Iran deal? Ripped up. Gay marriage? Oh, hell no! Obamacare? That’s nothing but socialism. Try prayer.

And practice saying “Merry Christmas!” Otherwise, your heathen butt might end up in jail.

Ayatollah Ted invoked Jesus. Israel. The God of Wrath. Ronald Reagan. Lots of Ronald Reagan. And “morning” — as in “Iowa has proclaimed to the world, morning is coming. Morning is coming.”

Somehow he made it sound like the approaching Armageddon.

After 33 minutes of Cruz-y sermonizing, the networks cut to Hillary Clinton. Ayatollah Ted was still talking. Morning may have actually come before he finally shut up.

And Marcocito? He polled third in Iowa. A strong third. Which, to him, seemed at least as good as first place. He delivered a victory speech that sounded a lot like, well, a lot like the speech Barack Obama gave when he won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008.

Marcocito gets all hopey-changey. Check it out at The Washington Post.

No doubt the Little Senator That (kind of) Could figured he’d descend on New Hampshire like Apollo from the sky, dominating the Republican conversation.

Then Trump went back to Twitter: “Cruz didn’t win Iowa. He illegally stole it.”

As opposed to legally stealing it.

What the hell is he talking about, you say?

Cruz (who we all know is such a lovely person that not one of his colleagues in the United States Senate has endorsed him) implied that Ben “Sleepy Bear” Carson was dropping out, so the religious freaks, gun nuts, Jade Helmers, Black Helicopter people, and Agenda 21-ers should vote for him, Ayatollah Ted.

The Cruz campaign also sent out a “Voter Violation” mailer implying that if you caucus for Ayatollah Ted, you can erase a mythical “F” grade.

This has upset the PrimaDonald no end. He’s calling for Iowa to scrap the caucus results and do the whole thing over.

Meanwhile, another bunch of white people in another snowy state are getting ready to vote, this time in a primary. If Trump doesn’t win, count on him calling for the Storm Troopers from his Galactic Empire (yooooge!) to intervene and Save Democracy in New Hampshire.

At the very least, he’ll hold his breath till he’s blue and scream till he’s sick — or Super Tuesday, whichever comes first.

• • •

Diane Roberts’ latest book is “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America.” She teaches at Florida State University. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Mitch Perry Report for 2.5.16 – “An artful smear”

Good morning from Nashua, New Hampshire.

I have to admit that my first thoughts this morning are not what happened at last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but will I make it safely to Manchester this morning to see Sanders.

Folks, it’s snowing pretty hard in southern New Hampshire this morning (7:10 a.m.). I ran around in a parking lot about an hour ago to get a workout in, but the snowflakes are piling up.

This California native and Florida resident for the past 16 years has never driven in snow.

OK, enough of my angst. How about last night’s debate? Clinton took the gloves off, saying she was tired of the “attacks by insinuation and innuendo” against her integrity by Sanders, along with his questioning her credentials with the progressive community because of the financial contributions she’s received from Wall Street.

Clinton made $275,000 in some individual speeches over the past couple of years from Wall Street banks, but she called it a “very artful smear” to insinuate that meant she was beholden to those institutions.

Sanders thought that was a rather harsh assessment. MSNBC used the split screen throughout to show Bernie’s various facial expressions throughout the debate, something that will no doubt be used by the other networks for the remaining three debates scheduled.

Speaking of debates, only Jim Gilmore and Carly Fiorina won’t be at Saturday night’s GOP debate to be televised by ABC. What gives with that? Gilmore has barely registered this entire cycle, but Fiorina actually received more votes than both Chris Christie and John Kasich in Iowa.

Yet Christie and Kasich will be on the big stage tomorrow night, while Carly will be watching with the rest of us.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson will once again be absent from the campaign trail today. Although Ted Cruz has had to apologize for having his staff pass the word (based on a CNN report) that Carson was quitting the race after Iowa.

Gentle Ben is apparently still in the contest, but trust me – for all intents and purposes, he might as well be out. This is prime time, and he’s been MIA all week.

OK, wish me luck on my commute!

In other news …

Jeb Bush said there’s been too much anger in this GOP presidential race, saying, “We need someone who has a proven record, who has a servant’s heart.”

• • •

In Keane, New Hampshire, on Thursday Chris Christie told a small crowd how he’d go about selecting Supreme Court justices – just in case he gets that opportunity.

• • •

Will Marco Rubio‘s conflicting stances on immigration ultimately hurt his candidacy? One guy who a lot of reporters spoke to on Wednesday thinks so.

Diane Roberts: ‘Morning (hangover) in Iowa’ with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio

It was a bad hair day for Donald Trump. The whitest people in America voted for a Canadian anchor baby instead of him.

Incredible.

Flanked by what appeared to be a militia of blond Kardashians, Trump was almost gracious in concession Monday night, saying he was “honored,” even congratulating the winner.

Of course, it didn’t last. By Tuesday morning, the medication had worn off. Trump tweeted: “The media has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly. Brought in record voters and got second highest vote total in history!

Bastard commie media. It’s their fault. Most things are their fault. Ebola. Spirit hoods. Johnny Manziel.

But reporters aren’t the only total losers; the voters of Iowa don’t look too good, either. Back at the Twitter-machine, the Trumpster let loose: “I don’t believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one. I will keep doing, but not worth it!”

But what of Monday night’s big winner, Ayatollah Ted? Shortly after the bastard commie media declared him the winner in Iowa, he started talking. He kept talking.

And talking.

He kicked off with “To God be the Glory!” He rolled out Psalm 30, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Translation: hang on, ‘Murka. You’ve been suffering under the jackbooted thuggishness of affordable health care, a vigorous economy, investment in renewable energy, marriage equality and a nuclear-free Iran — instead of a war. But as soon as Ayatollah Ted gets into the White House, that crap’s history.

Iran deal? Ripped up. Gay marriage? Oh, hell no! Obamacare? That’s nothing but socialism. Try prayer.

And practice saying “Merry Christmas!” Otherwise, your heathen butt might end up in jail.

Ayatollah Ted invoked Jesus. Israel. The God of Wrath. Ronald Reagan. Lots of Ronald Reagan. And “morning” — as in “Iowa has proclaimed to the world, morning is coming. Morning is coming.”

Somehow he made it sound like the approaching Armageddon.

After 33 minutes of Cruz-y sermonizing, the networks cut to Hillary Clinton. Ayatollah Ted was still talking. Morning may have actually come before he finally shut up.

And Marcocito? He polled third in Iowa. A strong third. Which, to him, seemed at least as good as first place. He delivered a victory speech that sounded a lot like, well, a lot like the speech Barack Obama gave when he won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008.

Marcocito gets all hopey-changey. Check it out at the Washington Post.

No doubt the Little Senator That (kind of) Could figured he’d descend on New Hampshire like Apollo from the sky, dominating the Republican conversation.

Then Trump went back to Twitter: “Cruz didn’t win Iowa. He illegally stole it.”

As opposed to legally stealing it.

What the hell is he talking about, you say?

Cruz (who we all know is such a lovely person that not one of his colleagues in the United States Senate has endorsed him) implied that Ben “Sleepy Bear” Carson was dropping out, so the religious freaks, gun nuts, Jade Helmers, Black Helicopter people, and Agenda 21-ers should vote for him, Ayatollah Ted.

The Cruz campaign also sent out a “Voter Violation” mailer implying that if you caucus for Ayatollah Ted, you can erase a mythical “F” grade.

This has upset the PrimaDonald no end. He’s calling for Iowa to scrap the caucus results and do the whole thing over.

Meanwhile, another bunch of white people in another snowy state are getting ready to vote, this time in a primary. If Trump doesn’t win, count on him calling for the Storm Troopers from his Galactic Empire (yooooge!) to intervene and Save Democracy in New Hampshire.

At the very least, he’ll hold his breath till he’s blue and scream till he’s sick — or Super Tuesday, whichever comes first.

***

Diane Roberts’ latest book is Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She teaches at Florida State. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Ben Carson downsizing his campaign staff

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is downsizing his campaign staff after his fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, a spokesman confirms.

Larry Ross gave no details on how many staff members are being laid off or how many will remain, but said the personnel cuts “were made to wisely and prudently position the campaign for the coming months.”

Carson last month accepted the resignation of his finance chairman, Dean Parker, who had been criticized for his spending on salaries and consultants.

Carson’s campaign paid about two dozen staffers during the final three months of 2015, newly released campaign finance records show. Those salaries totaled about $250,000, among the lower end of what campaigns had spent on payroll in recent months.

Carly Fiorina calls debate process “broken” after she’s shut out of Saturday night forum

With Rand Paul dropping out of the GOP presidential race, the field is winnowing out.

That doesn’t mean that the rest of the 10-person field gets to stand on one debate stage this Saturday night.

Although ABC, the debate sponsor, hasn’t yet announced the lineup, Carly Fiorina said she’s learned she won’t be invited, and she’s not pleased.

“Our debate process is broken,” the only female Republican candidate wrote to party Chairman  Reince Priebus and other members of the Republican National Committee. “Networks are making up these debate rules as they go along – not to be able to fit candidates on the stage – but arbitrarily to decide which candidates make for the best TV in their opinion. Now it is time for the RNC to act in the best interest of the Party that it represents.”

Fiorina said she will be the only candidate still in the race not invited on to the stage  at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Fiorina said it’s ridiculous that although she fared better in the Iowa caucuses than some other candidates, they’ve been invited to the debate while she has been shunned.

“To review, we beat Governors Christie and Kasich in Iowa this week when voters actually had their say. This campaign has the same number of delegates as Governors Bush and Kasich while Governor Christie has zero. We’re ahead of Dr. Carson in New Hampshire polling. We are 6th in hard dollars raised and have twice the cash on hand as either Governors Christie or Kasich. We are already on the ballot in 32 states, and there is a ground game with paid staff in 12 states.

“Yet, all of these candidates will be invited to the ABC debate. I will not.”

No word yet from the RNC on her statement.

Donald Trump calls for Iowa election do-over

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is accusing rival Ted Cruz of stealing the Iowa caucuses and is demanding a do-over.

On his official Twitter account Wednesday, Trump said: “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.” He based his claim of fraud largely on developments that had been known for days and had not stopped him from congratulating Cruz on his victory Monday night. The Cruz campaign had no immediate response.

Trump tweeted earlier: “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated.”

The inflammatory accusation marked a reversal for Trump, who on Monday night delivered a concession speech thanking Iowans for his second-place finish and congratulating Cruz. On Tuesday night in New Hampshire, he told reporters he was “very happy with what happened in Iowa.”

But by Wednesday, Trump was laying out a list of accusations. He said Cruz had told Iowans that “Trump was strongly in favor of ObamaCare and ‘choice’ – a total lie!” Trump says he would repeal President Obama’s health care law if he’s elected. He used to support abortion rights, but changed.

He pointed to a mailer sent by the Cruz campaign that was headlined “voting violation” and resembled an official notice. The mailer showed recipients their history of voting or not in past caucuses, along with the turnout record of their neighbors, and drew complaints from Iowa’s secretary of state.

And Trump called out Cruz backers for circulating a false rumor Monday night that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race as caucusing was underway.

“Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud,” Trump wrote, suggesting the efforts may have given Cruz a winning edge.

Iowa Rep. Steve King, a national co-chairman of Cruz’s campaign, wrote on Twitter Monday evening: “Looks like (Carson) is out. … Skipping NH & SC is the equivalent of suspending. Too bad this information won’t get to all caucus goers.” Carson has called the comments “dirty tricks.”

Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN on Wednesday that Cruz apologized personally to Carson for the mistake. He said the Cruz team “as a campaign” never alleged Carson was dropping out.

“It may be that some of the surrogates or some of our caucus precinct captains … went too far,” Tyler told CNN. If so, he added, “that was in error, that was wrong.”

Trump’s Twitter reaction to his Iowa showing strayed significantly from his public comments on several morning TV shows Wednesday and at a rally on Tuesday night.

Asked about Cruz at a press conference before the rally, Trump said Cruz had insulted Carson and Iowans but would not say whether he thought the Texas senator had run a dirty campaign.

“I don’t know, I can’t tell you yet,” he said.

But Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was pointed on the matter Wednesday.

“What Senator Cruz did to Ben Carson was a disgrace and an insult to Doctor Carson and the process,” he said. “What Senator Cruz did to the voters of Iowa was also a disgrace in regard to their phony voter violation form. Additionally, they misrepresented Mr. Trump and unfortunately this happens all the time with crooked politicians.”

Asked whether the campaign planned to file a formal complaint, he said: “Wait and see.” Officials from the Iowa Republican Party did not respond immediately to questions about their process for handling complaints like Trump’s.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Donald Trump bashes Ted Cruz as “dishonest” in speech in Milford, N.H.

Milford, New Hampshire –

Because of the sheer ubiquitous cable news coverage he’s enjoyed over the past half-year, there are parts of a Donald Trump speech that are familiar territory, even if their new rants, such as his description about why he boycotted last week’s Fox News debate.

The presumptive GOP front-runner was in Milford, New Hampshire on Tuesday night, giving his second speech since being humbled on Monday evening, when he lost out to Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses, despite polls that said that he was the favorite going into the first election of the 2016 presidential cycle.

Trump would get around to Cruz in due time, but he seemed exasperated by what he felt was excessive coverage of the man who finished behind him in Iowa, Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

“The headlines said, ‘Trump Comes In Second. He’s humiliated!’ There were 17 people when we started. Now you have 11. I come in second. I’m not humiliated,” he said, as the sympathetic crowd cheered.

“Trump: no good. Rubio: unbelievable night!” he said, mocking the press coverage. “They said, ‘he’s very, very close,’ before noting the actual distance between second and third was over 2,000 votes.

“How come the person that comes in third on many of the networks, is being covered like one of the great victories in the history of politics in this country?” he asked.

Trump later trashed his top rival for the moment — Ted Cruz.

On Tuesday, Cruz issued an apology to Ben Carson after his staff falsely told Iowa caucus goers that Carson planned to quit the race, calling it a “mistake.” Cruz had also been criticized by the Iowa Secretary of State because of a mailer was sent out to potential Iowa voters that seemed designed to look like an official notice warning recipients about “low voter turnout in your area.”

Trump trashed Cruz for those actions.

“These are truly dishonest people,” Trump said. “What kind of people do we have running for office?” he asked.

“I think I know why. You know why? Because he’s born in Canada!,” Trump said with expert timing, adding that if the Texas Senator gets the GOP nomination, the Democrats are going to “sue his ass.”

The New York City real estate magnate also couldn’t resist bashing “the legendary”Jeb Bush for his rather pathetic showing on Monday, a sixth-place finish that broke down into paying $2,884 for every vote. Trump said Bush should have just promised every voter a thousand dollars if they voted for him. “He would have won,” he mused.

Introducing Trump was former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who formally endorsed him in his brief speech.

Organizers opened up a second room with a video screen because of the size of the crowd, though there was still plenty of space inside the hall in Milford.

Before the speech, Trump supporters said they weren’t surprised or upset about his loss in Iowa.

“Nobody thought he had a chance, ever,” said Robert Ferry, a resident of Worcester, Massachusetts. “He got into it and fought and fought, and he came in a very respectful second, for a guy who people said he’d never make it and self-destruct, he didn’t.”

Rich Peters, also from Worcester, said if Trump doesn’t get elected this year, “we’re screwed.”

Peters agreed when I asked if he thought that Trump was lacking details in his policy prescriptions. Then he said he read his recently published book, and no longer thinks that.

“His book explains everything,” he said, adding that “it’s probably the finest political book I’ve ever read.”

Peters also likes Ted Cruz, but said even Mike Huckabee (who quit the race after Iowa), saying, “He’d be better than Hillary.”

“We can’t go socialist,” Peters added. “It’s never worked in the world in history,” before saying again how screwed up the country would be if Trump doesn’t win the election.

Tim Bryce: Reports of dirty tricks during Iowa vote

The Iowa caucuses are now in the books and the candidates have moved on to the next battlefield, New Hampshire.

But there are some nagging questions about dirty dealings in Iowa.  As we all know, the caucuses are conducted differently than regular voting.

There are rumors that voter identification was not checked, allowing anyone to attend any of the caucuses and vote.

However, Breitbart reported what seems to be an odd coincidence. Six Democratic precincts were deadlocked, causing officials to toss a coin to break the tie.

In all six coin-tosses, Hillary Clinton remarkably won.  The odds of doing so are 64-to-1.  The Des Moines Register noted that one coin toss, coming from a precinct in Ames, was conducted even when “60 caucus participants apparently disappeared from the proceedings.”

Another report claims Sen. Bernie Sanders accused Mrs. Clinton of using a paid out-of-state staffer as a precinct captain, very much a no-no in Iowa.

Politico reported that Ben Carson took issue with Ted Cruz, claiming campaigners were spreading falsehoods that Carson had suspended his campaign just prior to the caucuses.  Even Rep. Steve King, a Cruz supporter, was caught tweeting, “Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope.”

Carson is understandably upset and is demanding Cruz fire anyone in his campaign who is guilty of the offense.

Finally, a photo surfaced showing precinct captains counting votes from the Dallas County GOP caucus at a brewpub.  It wasn’t very flattering and didn’t suggest a professional image in counting votes.

So, here we are at the dawn of a new primary season and learning of sloppy electoral practices and questionable campaigning tactics.  One can only wonder what is next.  Will we be returning to graveyard precincts?

Let’s hope the other primary states and campaigners clean up their act before New Hampshire.

***

Tim Bryce is an independent writer in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  timbryce.com   Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Mitch Perry Report for 2.2.16 — Clinton 23 gets delegates, Sanders 21 in Iowa

We’re on to New Hampshire, but first …

Ted Cruz deserves plaudits for grinding out a great victory for himself in Iowa last night, but can he win enough delegates to earn the nomination? I maintain that he can’t and won’t, which makes Marco Rubio‘s strong third-place victory the big story going into the next week.

Let’s look at the incredibly close results in the Democratic Primary.

First off, Hillary Clinton is being called “the apparent victor” by every media organization.

NBC News has allocated 21 of the 50 available delegates to Clinton and 20 to Bernie Sanders as of 2:37 a.m. EST.

“Tonight’s result is a victory for our political revolution, ” Sanders emailed his followers early this morning in a fundraising pitch. “We have proved that when people come together, anything is possible.”

Nate Cohn from the NY Times sort of rains on the Bernie Revolution today, though, writing,” a virtual tie in Iowa is an acceptable, if not ideal, result for Mrs. Clinton and an ominous one for Mr. Sanders. He failed to win a state tailor-made to his strengths.”

That’s true, but look at where he came from to get to this point.

Hillary Clinton has to campaign — and campaign hard — in New Hampshire, even though the odds don’t look good for her there.

Nevada and South Carolina follow, with the latter state looking a whole lot better for her.

Can Sanders turn around nonwhite voters who flocked to Barack Obama in ’08 and ’12 yet seem to be supporting Clinton strongly in the polls.

That is the question as the Democratic race continues.

Meanwhile, Martin O’Malley is out. I have to admit I’m sorry to hear that, as I would have liked to have seen the former Maryland Governor in action for a little while longer. But hey, he worked hard in Iowa, and the good people there simply weren’t into his message.

Mike Huckabee is out on the GOP side, but Jim Gilmore and Rick Santorum remain in — as of now. And no, Ben Carson isn’t dropping out. However, he is in West Palm Beach this morning, apparently getting a new change of clothes before returning to the trail in New Hampshire.

In other news..-

What will Jack Latvala do? The powerful Pinellas Republican was the source of some discussion at yesterday’s HART meeting regarding a pet project for the transit agency.

A study conducted by a transportation consultant of HART riders reports that 80 percent of them are satisfied the agency’s work.

Hillsborough County Commission candidate Brian Willis is touting his fundraising totals in his race for the Hillsborough County District 6 seat.

A committee in the Florida House has approved legislation that would make it much harder for the PTC to regulate Uber and Lyft.

The political world moves today from Iowa to New Hampshire, where the first in the nation primary takes place a week from today. Among those in the Granite State are a contingent of USFSP students, working for various presidential candidates.

Bob Buckhorn and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine are also going to NH — to stump for Hillary Clinton.

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