Rand Paul, with his wife Kelley, during a caucus night party in Des Moines Monday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

BREAKING: Rand Paul has just suspended his presidential campaign. Top campaign aides tell The Post's Robert Costa that the Kentucky senator and his wife decided in the past 24 hours. They told staff and key donors last night. The senator will be in Washington today for votes.

STATEMENT: "It's been an incredible honor to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of Liberty. Across the country thousands upon thousands of young people flocked to our message of limited government, privacy, criminal justice reform and a reasonable foreign policy. Brushfires of Liberty were ignited, and those will carry on, as will I. Although, today I will suspend my campaign for President, the fight is far from over. I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term."

Supporters circle Ted Cruz after his town hall at Crossing Life Church in Windham yesterday. It was his first event in New Hampshire after winning Iowa. (Photo by John Tully/For The Washington Post)

THE BIG IDEA:

-- Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses because evangelicals turned out in record numbers and broke his way in the final days. For the Texas senator to win in South Carolina, he’ll need that to happen again. But the Cruz campaign, full of bare-knuckled operatives who pride themselves on their take-no-prisoners approach to politics, might have poisoned the well.

In the hours before Monday’s vote, his campaign circulated rumors that Ben Carson was planning to drop out. This incensed the normally mild-mannered retired neurosurgeon, who had reacted with surprising equanimity in the face of Donald Trump’s vicious attacks last fall. His wife Candy was also visibly upset when she had to deny the rumor at a caucus site.

This is an example of what Cruz surrogates were saying Monday night as Iowans caucused:

Carson called into Fox News yesterday to rip into Cruz. He said there has never been “a more tainted victory.”

After initially pooh-poohing questions about this, calling what his campaign did “fair game,” Cruz apologized to Carson last night. He said his political team was merely sharing a misleading CNN story and added that they should have circulated an updated version that made clear Carson was not getting out.

"First off I want to say that I am a huge fan of Dr. Ben Carson,” Cruz said in the statement, which the campaign sent to my colleague Katie Zezima. “He is a wonderful and talented individual, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time together on the campaign trail. … What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out."

This is probably not enough to patch things over. Carson formally accepted the apology, but he still believes that he lost lots of votes because of the misinformation. And his communications director put out a press release last night saying, “These 'dirty tricks' political tactics are part of the reason Dr. Carson got into this race and reflect the 'Washington values' of win at all cost -- regardless of the damage to the country -- which he is trying to change. This incident further demonstrates that we need an individual who is not a politician to lead and to heal our nation, not someone driven by ambition.”

Carson, who finished fourth with 9 percent in Iowa, went to Florida after the caucuses to get a “change of clothes,” but he’ll be back on the trail tomorrow – going to the National Prayer Breakfast in D.C. and then flying to New Hampshire.

Though he is no longer a credible contender for the nomination, his broadsides against Cruz could be incredibly damaging. And when he eventually drops out, as is likely, it’s now almost impossible to imagine Carson endorsing him. Cruz needs the kinds of voters who like the doctor to coalesce behind him if he’s going to become the GOP nominee, especially with so many in the party establishment so irreconcilably against him.

-- More importantly, it’s not just Carson that Cruz has a problem with in the social conservative community:

Mike Huckabee dropped out Monday night, but he made clear in his final days as a candidate how much he personally disdains Cruz. He attacked him for being born in Canada, saying “the eligibility issue is real,” without even being asked. And the 2008 caucus winner went after the first-term senator for not tithing, essentially questioning the sincerity of his faith. He also accused him of being a phony on the stump, saying one thing in Manhattan and another in Marshalltown.

Rick Santorum, who is now touring every county in South Carolina, was less personal in his attacks on Cruz. But he has questioned his social conservative bona fides, noted his lack of accomplishments and went after him for flip-flopping on immigration.

Donald Trump last night seized on the Cruz-Carson tension. “He insulted Ben Carson by doing what he did to Ben Carson,” the billionaire said in New Hampshire. “That was a disgrace.”

And Marco Rubio, who actually endorsed and campaigned for Huckabee when he was a Florida state legislator in 2008, promises not to cede this group to Cruz. As he tries to position himself as the “bridge” candidate for the nomination, today he will roll out endorsements from Arkansans who have been aligned with Huckabee, including Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin. Reps. Steve Womack and Rick Crawford are also endorsing him. Arkansas is one of the states voting on March 1 in the so-called SEC primary.

Marco Rubio waves as he arrives at a rally in Exeter, New Hampshire, yesterday. (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

-- But, first, there’s now just six days until the New Hampshire primary. The most pressing question on the Republican side is: Can Rubio consolidate the establishment lane by next Tuesday? After his strong third place finish in Iowa, establishment rivals sharpened their attacks yesterday:

  • Chris Christie slammed Rubio for his “constantly scripted campaign” and suggested he’s not smart or gritty enough to be freewheeling. “Maybe he’ll do more than 40 minutes on a little stage telling everybody his canned speech that he’s memorized,” the New Jersey governor told reporters. “This isn’t a student council election, everybody. This is an election for president of the United States. Let’s get the boy in the bubble out of the bubble.”
  • Jeb Bush, 62, said at a town hall meeting in Rindge that Rubio, 44, and Cruz, 45, do not have the “life experience” to be president and questioned whether either has ever sacrificed his personal ambition for the public good.
  • John Kasich tried to stay more positive, but his strategist John Weaver said Rubio “doesn’t have much of a record” and “does not have a strong ground game.”

-- New Hampshire could help ordain the establishment favorite or, if it’s not Rubio, there could be two from that wing of the party for a few more weeks. That would mean a four-man race, with Cruz, Trump, Rubio and an additional player (could be Jeb, Kasich, or Christie.) “New Hampshire Republicans are the most powerful people in the world right now, bar none,” Christie said at a town hall meeting in Epping. He told voters they’ll take the race from 11 candidates “probably down to four or five.” (Philip Rucker and Dan Balz look at the dynamic here.)

-- Rubio’s establishment rivals have put in far more time on the ground than he has: Kasich held his 89th town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Monday night. Christie has held 114 public events in the state since launching his campaign in June. Bush hosted his 80th public event in the state on Monday night.

-- And Christie continues to get help from his supporters at the Union Leader. The state's largest newspaper runs another front-page editorial touting the governor today. 

-- But the Florida senator is getting valuable air cover as he seeks to portray himself as a unifying figure for the party. Yesterday Rush Limbaugh called Rubio "a legitimate, full-throated conservative." The radio host added, "Nobody's pure, and nobody is ever free of making mistakes." The Weekly Standard posted a transcript here

-- The Rubio campaign says it has raised $2 million since Monday night.

THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:

Volunteers prepare for a Clinton event at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H., early yesterday morning. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

-- Bernie raised $3 million online in the 24 hours after the caucuses. The campaign called it the best fundraising day yet. Sanders also said last night that he is not yet prepared to concede Iowa and will still not commit to debating Clinton on MSNBC Thursday night. In an interview with Chris Matthews, Clinton said: “I’m going to be there.” Sanders told reporters that Clinton is balking at his campaign’s proposal to hold a debate in New York. The candidates will appear jointly tonight for a town hall on CNN. (John Wagner)

-- Meanwhile, Clinton supporters girded for a long battle after her close call in Iowa. “The lack of focus in Clinton’s message to voters has emerged as a weakness," Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane report. "Her stump speech, which can wind on for 40 minutes or more on the minutiae of virtually every major policy detail, tends to impress voters at her events, but it poses a challenge for her surrogates, who are countering a far simpler message from Sanders focused on income inequality.”

  • “I think the whole thing is going to be closer all the way to November,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a possible VP pick, who campaigned on her behalf in Iowa. “I was thinking it’s going to be like a point, or two. Not, you know, 0.3 or 0.4.”
  • “In my view, (Sanders) could run this right down to the convention,” said Harold Ickes, a longtime Clinton adviser who helped oversee her delegate operation in 2008 and who is working outside her campaign with the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action.

-- Team Clinton is pulling the goalie for N.H.: More than 150 staffers from campaign headquarters in Brooklyn have been dispatched to boost the ground game. They’ve driven up in convoys from NYC to NH. (Abby Phillip)

-- Hillary also continued to hug Obama, especially in South Carolina, where he won eight years ago and where African Americans will make up a majority of the electorate later this month. Her first ad in the Palmetto State stars Eric Holder. The former Attorney General, who worked in the Clinton administration, says Clinton has spent her life fighting for children, civil rights, and voting rights. "If you want to make sure Republicans don’t take us backward, help Hillary move us forward," he says. Watch: 

(The campaign says this spot will air in the Charleston, Columbia, Greenville-Spartanburg and Florence-Myrtle Beach markets.)

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Donald Trump speaks to the media before a rally in Milford, New Hampshire. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

-- Trump returned to form in New Hampshire last night: He took repeated swipes at the press for its coverage of Rubio’s third-place finish in Iowa. “They make it sound like he had a victory and I didn’t. I came in second,” he said. “There was swagger, curses and confidence, and thousands of people packed into an athletic center, all bundled up in winter coats and many toting signs,” Bob Costa and Jenna Johnson report from Milford. “Speaking for more than 55 minutes, Trump revived the talking points that have defined his campaign: He slammed Jeb Bush. He promised to crack down on illegal immigration, build a wall on the border and bring back jobs from overseas. And the crowd roared when he cursed as he pledged to aggressively target Islamic State terrorists. ‘If we are attacked, somebody attacks us, wouldn't you rather have Trump as president if we're attacked?’ he asked. ‘We'll beat the [expletive] out of them.’”

  • Scott Brown effusively endorsed him at the event.
  • Trump also blamed his Iowa loss on a bad field program. “Yeah, in retrospect, we could have done much better with the ground game, yes," he said on Fox.

Watch Trump complain about the Rubio coverage here:

-- Kasich tangled with a man at a New Hampshire town hall over his support for the federal process that led to the closure of New Hampshire’s Pease Air Force Base in 1991. "While he was explaining the controversial decision to shutter the base, an audience member at Kasich’s town hall event said something inaudible that seemed to rile the governor," Politico's Kyle Cheney reports from Plymouth. "Kasich flashed a quick glance at the man and asked whether he had worked at the base. The man shook his head. Then Kasich turned to him and stepped directly in front of the man, who was seated in the front row. 'You think that I’m going to tell you that I’m going to suck up to you?' he said. 'I’m not going to do that. You don’t have to vote for me. Nobody has to. I’m not going to tell you fables; I’m not going to tell you fairy tales.' The man sat stoically with his arms crossed as Kasich spoke to him." Afterward, he said he appreciated the answer.

-- Denver Broncos safety Ryan Murphy was detained in a prostitution sting in San Jose. The 23-year-old rookie was released after questioning, but his brother, who was with him, received a citation, as did the suspected prostitute. The Broncos, getting ready for Sunday's Super Bowl, immediately announced that he is being sent back to Denver. "The last time the Broncos won the Super Bowl, in 1999, their opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, suffered a major distraction when starting safety Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciation from an undercover police officer the night before the game," Des Bieler recalls

-- The world is a sick and dark place, cont.:

  • A fired NYPD officer allegedly ran a prostitution ring, serving as a pimp for at least 10 women, the New York Times reports.
  • A preliminary investigation has concluded that a 13-year-old Blacksburg girl was stabbed to death, T. Rees Shapiro and Justin Jouvenal report. "Tammy Weeks, Nicole's mother, also spoke at the news conference, clutching a stuffed panda bear to her chest. She spoke in hushed tones about her daughter’s health struggles and love of pandas but grew so emotional that she was forced to stop." Two Virginia Tech students have been charged in connection with her murder. (Petula Dvorak penned a moving column.)
Dr. Valeria Barros treats a 6-week old baby born with microcephaly in Brazil. Authorities have recorded around 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants. The ailment results in an abnormally small head in newborns and is associated with various disorders including decreased brain development. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Dallas health officials said a local resident was infected with the Zika virus by having intercourse with a person who had contracted the disease while traveling in Venezuela. "The case adds a troubling new dimension to a once-obscure disease that is spreading explosively in the Americas and is suspected of being linked to hundreds and perhaps thousands of cases of babies with brain damage in Brazil. Dozens of other Zika cases have surfaced in the United States, but they have involved people who became infected with the mosquito-borne virus while traveling to Zika-affected countries," Lena H. Sun, Brady Dennis and Ariana Eunjung Cha report.

  2. The FBI has joined the investigation into Flint, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit announced. The bureau joins the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA's Office of Inspector General and the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in exploring who might be to blame for the lead poisoning. (Reuters)

  3. The top officers in the Army and Marine Corps testified that they believe it is time for women to register for the draft. (Dan Lamothe)

  4. There were 149 people exonerated in the United States last year after being wrongly convicted of crimes, a record tally that includes dozens convicted of murder. (Mark Berman)

  5. Georgia, early this morning, executed a 72-year-old man for killing a convenience store manager in the late 1970s. He was the oldest guy on death row in the state. (Mark Berman)
  6. A civilian oversight panel found that Los Angeles police officers were justified in the fatal March 2015 shooting of an unarmed black man on the city’s Skid Row. (Sarah Kaplan)
  7. The president's budget, dropping next week, will request $1.2 billion in new funding over the next two years to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic. Of that, $920 million would go to the states. Another $500 million, some of which is a continuation of existing funds, would support work by HHS and Justice to expand access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. (Juliet Eilperin)

  8. The House GOP effort to override Obama's veto of a bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood failed to get two-thirds, as expected. (Kelsey Snell)

  9. The NSA is undertaking a major reorganization, dubbed NSA21, to bolster cybersecurity initiatives and make the organization less vulnerable. (Ellen Nakashima)
  10. A molecular biologist at the University of Chicago resigned after a university recommendation that he be fired for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policy. (NYT)

  11. Yahoo will cut 15 percent of its workforce as part of a $400 million cost-cutting effort. (Mike Snider and Kaja Whitehouse)
  12. Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma has required all 900 freshmen to wear Fitbits to track their physical activity. (Todd C. Frankel)
  13. A Scottish tourist was gored by an enraged elephant and trampled to death during a trekking tour in Thailand. (Lindsey Bever)
  14. A California man who posed as a priest for years was arrested and charged with defrauding churchgoers. (Los Angeles Times)
  15. A vicious dog mauled an off-duty member of the Secret Service in Ward 4. (Julie Zauzmer)
  16. The Intercept said a former reporter fabricated quotations in some of his articles and impersonated other people by using email accounts in their names. (NYT)

POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:

  1. Obama focused his meeting with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell on areas where there seems to be bipartisan support for legislation this year, including the financial crisis in Puerto Rico, the heroin epidemic and criminal justice reform. (Greg Jaffe and Mike DeBonis)
  2. The former district attorney who investigated a sexual assault complaint by a young Temple University staff member against Bill Cosby a decade ago testified that he had believed her account but had declined to prosecute because he questioned whether the woman would make a credible witness at trial, the New York Times reports.

  3. The former attorney for the “D.C. Madam” is seeking permission in court to release 815 names of her former clients and 40 other Washington-based escort services, claiming they could be “relevant” to the presidential election. (Emily Heil)
  4. Loser.com redirects to Trump's Wikipedia page.
  5. HP CEO Meg Whitman campaigned with Christie in New Hampshire, which is notable because Carly Fiorina (a predecessor in that job) was also campaigning in the state.
  6. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) announced he will not run for Senate, just days after Chris Van Hollen announced he raised more than $1 million last quarter in his primary battle with Donna Edwards. (Rachel Weiner)
  7. Chaka Fattah Jr., son of the indicted Pennsylvania lawmaker, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison after being convicted of fraud and tax-related charges. (Politico)
  8. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) called on Republicans to give $1 billion to the EPA in an emergency appropriation to help Flint. (Detroit Free Press)
  9. The Cleveland Browns have finally decided to waive problem-child quarterback Johnny Manziel. (Cindy Boren)
  10. Ibtihaj Muhammad, a devout Muslim, qualified for the U.S. Olympic fencing team in Rio. That means the 30-year-old will become the first American athlete to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab. (Des Bieler)

-- Liz Cheney botches her rollout and reinforces the perception that she's a carpet bagger: After her disastrous primary challenge against Sen. Mike Enzi in 2014, the daughter of the former vice president is much better positioned now that she's running for an open House seat in Wyoming. But one of the issues that dogged her so much last time was a lack of meaningful roots in the state. So we were baffled when the announcement on her Facebook page Monday said that it was posted in Alexandria, Va. The geo-tag has since been removed, but talk about an unforced error!

(Facebook screengrab from Deb Oakley Simpson)

-- Sneak peek – Paul Ryan will take a bunch of implicit digs at Trump-ism in a 9:10 a.m. speech to the Heritage Action Conservative Policy Summit: From his prepared remarks: “We need to be inspirational. We need to be inclusive. We need to show how our principles and policies are universal and how they apply to everybody. We know that the economy is weak. We know that the world is on fire. We know that the future is uncertain. There’s a lot of frustration and anger out there. And is it justified? It sure is. BUT we should not follow the Democrats and play identity politics. Let's talk to people in ways that unite us … That’s what I think people are hungry for. And that really is the essence of the Republican Party—or, more importantly, the essence of the conservative movement.”

More from the speech: “To quote William Wallace in Braveheart, we have to unite the clans. … We have to unite conservatives around a bold, pro-growth agenda that will get America back on track …. We have to be straight with each other, and more importantly, we have to be straight with the American people. We can’t promise that we can repeal Obamacare when a guy with the last name Obama is president. All that does is set us up for failure and disappointment and recriminations." Heritage will livestream the speech here.

-- The speech comes as the new Speaker seeks to quell Freedom Caucus anger over the budget. Last night, Ryan invited members of the group over to his office for beers and to hear them out, Politico's Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan report.

Tim Scott (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

THE BATTLE FOR ENDORSEMENTS IN SOUTH CAROLINA: 

-- Why Tim Scott backed Rubio: “When I put together a strong position on national defense and foreign policy, coupled with a compassionate attachment for people to alleviate poverty using conservative principles exclusively, Marco Rubio became the only candidate that I honestly believe can do both,” the freshman senator told Paul Kane in an interview. Scott said that he drew up a list of pros and cons about each of the major candidates based on notes he took during a dozen town halls that he hosted around the state. “Yellow pads and blue ink, a lot of it,” he said, describing the process. Rubio celebrated the endorsement in an interview with The State: “I think it’s a great validator, and I know the people of South Carolina trust him.”

-- The state's congressional delegation has divvied up its endorsements: Jeff Duncan endorsed Cruz yesterday. Trey Gowdy backed Rubio last month, and Mick Mulvaney signed on with Rand Paul last September. Lindsey Graham plans to campaign around the state with Jeb Bush. One question mark is Gov. Nikki Haley, who all the governors running have courted. It's not clear whether she'll endorse. Four years ago, she went all in for Mitt Romney -- and he got crushed by Newt in the Palmetto State. Meanwhile, up in New Hampshire, ex-Rep. Charlie Bass backed Kasich. 

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS -- Smart follow-ups on what the Iowa results mean:

-- “The Iowa caucus voters defined three themes that are likely to roll through the rest of this year’s campaign: alienation, disruption and resilience,” David Ignatius writes in his column today. “Let me unpack those words. Our political system has been shaken by the anger of middle-class voters who doubt the elite’s political nostrums; the insurgent candidates’ provocative, populist counterarguments have had a disruptive effect on both parties; and yet, the most extreme and demagogic responses seem to have been rejected by a resilient electorate.”

-- “Clinton's base isn't all women; it's married women,” Chris Cillizza explains: “Clinton dominated among married women, winning 60 percent to 33 percent for Sanders. But among unmarried women, it was Sanders on top; he won that group 53 percent to 43 percent. Again, because Sanders won young people so overwhelmingly — and because young people tend to be more likely to be unmarried — there's an obvious correlation there. Still, it is somewhat remarkable that Sanders was able to win among any female subgroup given Clinton's historic potential to be the first female presidential nominee for a major party.”

-- “Age 45 is a stark dividing line in the Clinton-Sanders contest," Rosalind S. Helderman and Scott Clement note: “Voters that age or older went decisively for Clinton, while those younger flocked to Sanders. Voters under 30 were the most emphatic, with an astonishing 84 percent backing the 74-year-old senator from Vermont.” A Hillary supporter at her rally in Nashua yesterday explained why: “Clinton fatigue is a thing. It really is,” said Chloe Bruning, a 21-year-old Boston University student who says it’s a struggle to convince classmates to give HRC a look. We made a cool interactive graphic to visualize the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in the entrance polls. See it here.

(Photos by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

-- “A sigh of relief in Northern Virginia as Trump falls short in Iowa,” by Joel Achenbach and Paul Kane: “Mike Swiger, 60, a lawyer in Ashburn, Va., and a Republican, awoke Tuesday to what he hoped would be the first day of the After Trump phase of the 2016 campaign. ‘I think Trump is a disaster for the Republican party,’ Swiger said as he sat in the café of the Wegman’s supermarket in Sterling. His only fear is that Trump could run as an independent." This was a common refrain during interviews across the 10th District, where Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock could very likely lose in November if Trump becomes the GOP nominee:

  • “Trump wears thin after a while,” said retired federal worker Joe Menickelly, 80, an independent in Ashburn.
  • “I’m not sure how conservative Trump really is,” evangelical Christian James Murphy said in Leesburg.
  • “He’s a pig. I don’t like the way he talks about women,” said financial adviser Mark Radcliffe, a Republican who likes Cruz.

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: The day after Iowa, Trump was still the biggest story on broadcast media and the most mentioned candidate on social media. Interestingly, TV coverage was more focused on the GOP contest, while Sanders continues to attract a disproportionate share of the social-media chatter, according to our analytics partners at Zignal Labs.

— Pictures of the day:

Golden Globe winner Jessica Chastain was on Capitol Hill researching a role (via chastainiac):

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) snapped a selfie with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on the way to House votes (via @tammyduckworth):

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and family welcomed a son, Roman Victor Castro (via @JoaquinCastrotx):

Snow is still slowly melting in DC (via rephartzler):

— Tweets of the day:

Trump posted this picture of himself flying to New Hampshire. After going dark for nearly 15 hours on Twitter after losing Iowa, he took to the platform to spin his second-place finish:

Here's more from Trump:

At his rally in New Hampshire, there was naturally a little more self-congratulation:

There were lots of puns about the Adele music that plays at Trump's rallies:

Team Hillary hit back at the post-Iowa coverage:

NBC asked Sanders if Hillary is a progressive. "Some days," he responded. Clinton's communicaitons director likened the moment to when Obama told her she was "likable enough" eight years ago:

Cruz also posted pictures with little ones:

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) made a "twinning" joke:

Lawmakers made lots of Groundhog Day jokes, especially about Obamacare:

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) remembered Chris Kyle:

— Instagrams of the day:

Looks like we'll have a Bernie Sanders sketch on SNL this weekend:

 

Montel Williams and former CIA director James Woolsey spoke at a Capitol Hill symposium about hemp:

It was Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) birthday:

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) celebrated the one-year anniversary of the DNC Vegetarian Lunch Club. Our hunch is the RNC does not have such a club...

Sorry, vegans: Bernie likes to eat meatHe sticks to a mostly meat-and-vegetables diet, according to a Jan. 20 People magazine profile. His stepdaughter Carina Driscoll might have put it best: “He was Paleo before Paleo was a thing,” she said. Sanders has also been treated for gout, according to his doctor, a condition sometimes tied to over-consumption of meat. He even wrote the foreword to a 2010 book called “Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat.”

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

Labor activists cheer at a Seattle City Council meeting after a December vote allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize. (Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight)

-- New York Times, "Uber drivers and others in the gig economy take a stand," by Noam Scheiber: "In the rapid growth of the online gig economy, many workers have felt squeezed and at times dehumanized by a business structure that promises independence but often leaves them at the mercy of increasingly powerful companies. Some are beginning to band together in search of leverage and to secure what they see as fairer treatment from the platforms that make the work possible. ... Perhaps the most prominent effort was a measure to give ride-hailing drivers the right to unionize in Seattle, which was approved by the City Council in December. But while many campaigns by alienated workers have shunned this more traditional labor-organizing approach, they have highlighted a basis for advancing the interests of gig economy workers collectively. The efforts extend well beyond drivers for Uber and its prime competitor, Lyft. A group of couriers who find work on the platform Postmates is waging a campaign to create an 'I’m done after this delivery' button. ... The National Domestic Workers Alliance, which organizes nannies and housekeepers, recently produced what it calls the Good Work Code, which it has urged gig economy companies to adopt."

-- Wall Street Journal, “Fresh Ingredients Came Back to Haunt Chipotle,” by Julie Jargon and Jesse Newman: “Chipotle on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter net income (was) … down 44% from a year earlier. … What caused the E. coli may remain a mystery after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the outbreaks appeared to be over. … CEO Steve Ells’ team sometimes was at odds with the CDC, which helped investigate the outbreak of E. coli tied to Chipotle that sickened 55 people across America … Chipotle executives publicly complained the CDC was issuing too many updates. The CDC, in turn, bristled at Chipotle’s going public with statements such as Mr. Ells’s mid-January suggestion that the agency could soon declare the outbreaks over. … Behind the scenes, Chipotle also disagreed with health officials about the E. coli’s likely source. … Government officials leaned toward produce. Chipotle concluded the E. coli was most likely from contaminated Australian beef.”
 

-- USA Today, “Political experts pointed to three reasons the polls were off base,” by Deirdre Shesgreen: “This is an extremely volatile political climate, driven by an angry electorate whose voting preferences are difficult to gauge; Pollsters low-balled turnout among evangelical voters and underestimated Cruz’s get-out-the-vote operation; The Iowa caucuses are uniquely tough to predict, with a quirky process and lots of last-minute deciders.”

HOT ON THE LEFT

Transgender Girl Scout stands up to bully who wouldn't buy cookies "from a boy in a dress." From Lindsey Bever: "Nine-year-old Stormi set out last month to sell cookies just like every other Girl Scout — with a sales pitch and a goal. But when Stormi, who is transgender, started knocking on neighbors’ doors near her home in Herrin, Ill., one man turned her away, saying: 'Nobody wants to buy cookies from a boy in a dress.' 'It made me sad,' Stormi told BuzzFeed News. 'Because I’m a girl.' So, she said, she found a way to shut down her bully and sell more than 3,000 boxes of cookies."

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT

U.K. survey asks 13-year-olds to pick their gender from a list of 25. From National Review: "Schoolchildren as young as 13 in Brighton, England were told to fill out a government survey that asked them to pick out their gender (or genders) from a list of 25 options ...  Among the options were 'tri-gender' (having exactly three genders), 'gender fluid' (having your gender change over time), 'demi-boy/demi-girl' (someone who is only partially male/female), and 'all genders' (which would be an infinite number because gender is obviously a spectrum)."

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Most of the field is still in New Hampshire. At 9 p.m., Clinton and Sanders will participate in a Democratic town hall on CNN.

Here's the action before then in the Granite State:

  • Clinton: Derry, Dover, Manchester
  • Sanders: Derry, Rochester
  • Cruz: Henniker, Hooksett, Goffstown, Amherst, Nashua
  • Rubio: Bow, Pittsfield, Laconia, Dover
  • Kasich: Durham, Raymond, Derry, Manchester
  • Bush: New London, Laconia
  • Christie: Lebanon, Bow, Milford
  • Fiorina: Portsmouth, Stratham, Manchester, Londonderry, Brentwood

-- Trump, meanwhile, is in Little Rock, Ark.

-- And Bill Clinton is in Columbia, S.C.

At the White House: President Obama travels to Baltimore to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque and hold a roundtable. Vice President Biden meets with Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Salim al-Jabouri at the White House.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. to consider the Energy Policy Modernization Act. The House meets at noon for legislative business and will consider the Encouraging Employee Ownership Act.

For planning purposes: The Post is hosting an event called "Out of Jail, Into Society" on Feb. 10. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah will join experts in criminal justice for live onstage conversations about efforts to assist individuals as they are released and transition into their communities. Register to attend here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

"My wife says if I thought about a fourth term, she'd slit my throat.” – Scott Walker, discussing his political future (Appleton Post-Crescent)

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- There is not much wintry about today, except for the snow cover that remains, as temperatures rise into the 60s with showers and a chance of thunder. "We’ll cool down tomorrow and even more so on Friday, though nothing frigid is in the immediate forecast," forecasts the Capital Weather Gang.

-- The Caps lost to the Florida Panthers 5-2. Alex Ovechkin wasn’t in the lineup, suspended by the NHL for skipping the All-Star Game.

-- "The District will begin studying whether to license private pot clubs under a measure that the D.C. Council approved Tuesday, potentially giving residents and visitors places to gather and smoke marijuana socially in the nation’s capital as early as next year. The council action amounted to a compromise between allies of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who had sought to continue a complete ban on pot clubs, and a growing contingent of council members who had threatened to override the mayor and approve a plan to license clubs." (Aaron C. Davis and Abigail Hauslohner)

-- "Potomac wine merchant David Trone entered Maryland’s 8th Congressional District Democratic primary last week as a first-time candidate promising an alternative to Washington politics-as-usual. On Tuesday, he announced that he had fired three staffers from his fledgling campaign for one of the oldest types of ­election-season deception — posing as volunteers for his two principal opponents, state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin and former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews." (Bill Turque)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

A 102-year old came out to caucus in Iowa (she backs Hillary):

A "Trump: for white men" parody ad takes aim at the candidate's most controversial positions:

Jeb released a two-minute ad urging voters to "Turn Off Trump" to air in New Hampshire. The first half recounts some of The Donald's most incendiary comments. The second features footage of Bush decrying him.

The lights went out at a Jeb event:

Watch an eagle destroy a drone in a Dutch police video:

Finally, here are a couple of the best scenes from Groundhog Day (Ned Ryerson and "I'm a God"):