THE BIG IDEA:
-- Bernie Sanders sounded out of his depth on foreign policy during his first mano-a-mano debate with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire last night.
The Vermont senator, leading in polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary, conceded that the former secretary of state has more experience on international issues, but he argued that he has superior judgment.
When pressed for specifics, though, Sanders offered simplistic answers that were anything but reassuring to experts and elites.
Indeed, he literally made this face when the issue came up:
He ducked twice when asked how long the United States should leave ground troops in Afghanistan, answering instead about Iraq. “The key doctrine of the Sanders administration would be, no, we can’t continue to do it alone,” he said. “We need to work in coalition.”
When MSNBC moderator Chuck Todd asked why he has not laid out “a foreign policy doctrine,” Sanders said he already did -- during a broader speech at Georgetown explaining what it means to be a democratic socialist.
Pressed by Todd to rank North Korea, Iran and Russia in terms of which poses the greatest threat to the United States, he offered a meandering and confusing answer.
“ISIS,” he replied. “ISIS would be.”
“I didn’t say that,” Todd replied. “We already had that. I'm talking about these three countries.”
Sanders then picked North Korea: “Clearly North Korea is a very strange situation because it is such an isolated country run by a handful of dictators, or maybe just one, who seems to be somewhat paranoid. And, who had nuclear weapons. And, our goal there, in my view, is to work and … to do everything we can to put pressure on China.”
He said he disagrees with President Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, who argued this week that Russia poses the most significant national security challenges of the three.
“Russia lives in the world,” Sanders said. “China lives in the world. North Korea is a very, very strange country because it is so isolated, and I do feel that a nation with nuclear weapons, they have got to be dealt with. Dealt with effectively.”
Clinton is vulnerable on national security, despite her experience, because of her vote for invading Iraq 14 years ago, but she made the case that Sanders’s opposition to that war does not mean he’d be an effective president.
“A vote in 2002 is not a plan to defeat ISIS,” she said, noting that she has apologized for what she now considers a mistake. “When New Hampshire voters go on Tuesday to cast your vote, you are voting both for a president and a commander in chief," she said. "And there is no way to predict what comes in the door of that White House from day to day that can pose a threat to the United States or one of our friends and allies, and I think this is a big part of the job interview that we are all conducting with the voters here.”
Clinton is the most trusted 2016 candidate on terrorism, according to Washington Post polling. She benefits from growing fear about possible attacks on the homeland:
Sanders’ weakness on foreign policy matters much more now that he’s not just a message candidate. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Marist College survey yesterday put him up 20 points in New Hampshire, 58 percent to 38 percent. A less reliable CNN-WMUR poll had him up 31 points. We also learned last night that Sanders outraised Clinton by $5 million last month, $20 million to $15 million. These kinds of numbers make questions about his foreign policy very fair game, even though he would clearly prefer to be talking about income inequality.
Watch for the Clinton campaign to emphasize this issue more heavily in the primaries beyond New Hampshire. Last night, after the debate, Hillary addressed supporters near the debate hall a little after 11:30 p.m. Howard Dean, whose 2004 presidential campaign was animated by his opposition to the Iraq war, warmed up the crowd and excused Clinton for her old vote. “I want Hillary Clinton as president because we agree on just about every other thing,” he said. “I want a president who is battle-tested before she gets there and doesn’t have to learn on the job and hope that some theory will get you through. … I want a president who understands foreign policy.”
According to Twitter, foreign affairs and national security were the most buzzed about topics during the debate. This chart shows which issues generated the biggest spikes in tweets:
-- Across the board, thought leaders criticized the senator's answers:
CNN's political director:
6% of Iowa Dem caucusgoers said "terrorism" was top issue. After that foreign policy exchange, I bet Clinton wishes that number was higher.— David Chalian (@DavidChalian) February 5, 2016
The Financial Times' U.S. columnist:
Sanders is shockingly flimsy on foreign policy.— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) February 5, 2016
The Washington correspondent for The Economist:
'N Korea is run by a handful of dictators or maybe just one": Listening to Sanders on foreign policy almost as nerve-wracking as Kim Jong-un— James Astill (@JamesMAstill) February 5, 2016
A New York Times columnist:
Sanders is pretty incoherent on foreign policy. But to his credit he was right on what counted most, the Iraq war, and Clinton was wrong.— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 5, 2016
That's not enough for The Atlantic's national correspondent:
I 100% agree(d) with Sanders, and not with Clinton,about Iraq.— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) February 5, 2016
But that’s the *start* of answers about foreign policy, not the end.
OK, Bernie, STOP TALKING ABOUT NORTH KOREA. You don’t know what you’re talking about here— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) February 5, 2016
Time Magazine's Washington bureau chief:
Bernie Sanders on foreign policy is a bit like Ben Carson. Asked a question, he delivers a book report.— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) February 5, 2016
An NYU political science professor:
Sanders continues to battle Carson for lack of foreign policy acumen title.— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) February 5, 2016
The Reuters reporter covering the Democratic contest:
I will note: Sanders did not answer the (very simple) question of whether he had foreign policy advisors and who they are #DemDebate— Amanda Becker (@AmandaBecker) February 5, 2016
The namesake of the Huffington Post:
An MSNBC host:
The difference between Sanders on topics he knows and is passionate about and his FP answers is really striking.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 5, 2016
President Obama's former strategist:
Many Republicans agreed:
#DemDebate: No surprise, Clinton won Foreign Policy. Getting her mojo back. Sanders still shaky on this issue.— Steve Forbes (@SteveForbesCEO) February 5, 2016
An interesting take from a Bloomberg View columnnist:
Bernie Sanders knows too little about foreign policy to make sense. Hillary Clinton knows too much to issue persuasive sound bytes.— (((Megan McArdle))) (@asymmetricinfo) February 5, 2016
And an interesting idea from a legendary actress:
Now if they could just split the gig- Bernie would cover domestic, Hillary on foreign policy---— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) February 5, 2016
-- A new pressure point on Hillary: when, if ever, will she release the transcripts of her paid speeches?
After losing an exchange on CNN the night before over money she’s taken from Goldman Sachs, Clinton came in well prepared to take umbrage at Sanders’s attacks. She said his raising questions about support she’s received from the financial services industry is tantamount to suggesting she’s corrupt. “Time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth,” she said.
Then defending the paid speeches, she acknowledged she may not have done a good job of explaining what she was doing. “They wanted me to talk about the world,” she said of the groups that paid her $200,000 and more a speech.
Todd, the moderator, then asked Clinton whether she would release transcripts of the closed-door, paid speeches, which the campaign reportedly has in its possession. “I will look into it,” she said.
Clinton has certainly been looking into it for a long time: “The Post has repeatedly asked the campaign to release copies of Clinton’s paid speeches — most directly and pointedly for the last two weeks,” Glenn Kessler notes. “The Post specifically made the request on Jan. 23 and then again on Jan. 24. The request was renewed on Feb. 4, the morning of the MSNBC debate. Other news organizations have asked for copies as well. The silence has been deafening.”
Later in the debate, Clinton was more forceful than ever in defending herself in the face of questions about her emails and an FBI security review. She called herself “100 percent confident” that the bureau's inquiry will not blow up her campaign. “I have absolutely no concerns about it,” she said. “I’ve been vetted. There’s hardly anything you don’t know about me.”
Whether she’ll follow through and release the transcripts looks like it could become an issue in the coming news cycles – especially now that the State Department has released most of her emails. Especially if Sanders calls on her to.
Will “release your speech transcripts!” become the new “release your taxes!”? It was a big headache for Romney 2012. https://t.co/AvJFrn4v1C— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) February 5, 2016
Those Wall Street speeches no doubt include warm word salutations for her paying audiences. Clinton shop must be looking for way to say No— adam nagourney (@adamnagourney) February 5, 2016
From a Paul Ryan spokesman:
Ooh, never leave it hanging out there. "Maybe. I'll look into it" is not a good long-term answer.— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) February 5, 2016
How the broader debate is playing:
-- The Narrative: Clinton is not going down in New Hampshire without a fight, Dan Balz writes: “That was the overriding message that came through … Clinton, apparently carrying a sense of grievance that has been building for some time, leveled her toughest attack yet on her rival. … Sanders reassured his supporters with a ringing defense of the big-government agenda he has championed throughout the campaign. Clinton gave hope to her nervous supporters by rising to the moment, trying to balance progressive passion with governing realism.” Dan concludes that Hillary now finds herself in “the awkward position of having to try to knock down the dreamer, never an easy argument to make, particularly in a party with pent-up desire for many of the ideas Sanders is pushing.” Read his full take here.
-- The Post’s Fact Checkers examine 11 suspicious or otherwise interesting claims. Three highlights, from Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee:
- “Sanders exaggerates when he says he helped write the Affordable Care Act.”
- “Clinton tends to overstate the significance of her visit to Wall Street some month before the crash,” and “she exaggerates the endorsements of her plan.”
- Sanders said in the debate that his campaign “never said that somebody, a newspaper, endorsed us that did not.” That’s not correct; his campaign edited an ad just yesterday to remove an erroneous claim that he was “endorsed by” the Valley News.
- Read the annotated transcript here.
-- The Fix’s Chris Cillizza names Hillary the winner: “This was not a debate in which Clinton scored a knockout blow. It was one, however, that she won on points. Clinton came out super aggressive in the debate's first 30 minutes, pushing Sanders back on his heels on, well, everything: Guns, experience, the tenor of the campaign, what it means to be progressive and plenty of other things. There are those who will see Clinton's tone in those first 30 minutes as over the top and, therefore, ineffective, but it seemed to me that she set up lots and lots of attacks that she can follow through on beyond New Hampshire. … It was a two-person debate; if Clinton won then Sanders, by definition, didn't win.”
-- The Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey describes it as “by far Sanders’ strongest and smoothest performance”: “For a senator with limited experience on the national stage, he was finally able to go toe-to-toe with one of the most skillful debaters in the party —toggling between his signature anger and the occasional joke.”
-- Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin gives both candidates an “A-”: “Both made strong attacks, and both defended effectively.”
-- The Associated Press’ Julie Pace says “Clinton’s fiery performance was a manifestation of the frustration growing inside her campaign for weeks”: “Her team believes Sanders is getting away with breaking his pledge to avoid negative attacks. And they think he’s not being straight with Americans about the cost of his proposals.”
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE—
1. Hillary will go to Flint, Mich., on Sunday to meet with the mayor and talk about the dangerous levels of lead in the city water. (Anne Gearan)
2. Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, will endorse Bernie at an event in New Hampshire today. (John Wagner)
3. The Sanders campaign complained that the Iowa Democratic Party rebuffed its requests for paper records tallying the votes in each precinct. Sanders spokesman Mike Briggs said the campaign isn't contemplating a lawsuit at this time. But after reports of irregularities raised by the Des Moines Register, the Sanders camp is calling up each of its precinct captains to reconstruct the results. (Tom Hamburger)
-- Just how worried are Republicans about losing the Senate? ROB PORTMAN, who was the top U.S. trade official under President George W. Bush, has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Private polling shows that the agreement has become toxic back in Ohio, which has seen a steep decline in manufacturing, and the senator has looked increasingly vulnerable to a challenge from former Gov. Ted Strickland.
- Trump condemns TPP in his stump speech, and other anti-market activists in the fever swamps of the right have taken to calling it ObamaTrade.
- Under pressure from unions, Hillary, too, has flip-flopped on TPP after cheerleading the negotiations as secretary of state.
- Mitch McConnell, a free trader, said this week that he will not make his members cast a tough vote for the deal before the November election.
- Strickland knocked Portman, who last year voted to give the president fast-track authority, for an election-year conversion: “He voted for eight trade deals and I opposed them. He voted to make permanent most favored nation status for China, and I opposed it.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- "America’s job market cooled down at the start of the year, with government data released Friday morning showing the economy added 151,000 positions in January," Ylan Q. Mui reports. "The number was below Wall Street's expectations but still signaled that the U.S. recovery is still chugging along. Investors and policymakers are seeking reassurance after they were left reeling by the turmoil in financial markets last month. The unemployment rate in January dipped to 4.9 percent, close to what many economists believe is its lowest sustainable level."
-- The Vatican says Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a major step to heal the 1000-year-old schism that divided Christianity between East and West. (AP)
-- ABC said Carly Fiorina did not make the cut to appear in Saturday’s GOP debate. The announcement drew criticism from many, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and the guy who won the New Hampshire primary in 2012:
GET SMART FAST:
- Three D.C. residents, including a pregnant woman, have contracted Zika. They all caught the virus while traveling in Latin America. Troublingly, one of the cases was confirmed last year but the D.C. Deparment of Health decided to keep the news secret to avoid alarming the public. (Aaron C. Davis and Julie Zauzmer)
- If U.S. and British negotiators have their way, MI5, the British domestic security service, could one day go directly to American companies like Facebook or Google with a wiretap order for the online chats of British suspects in a counterterrorism investigation. "The transatlantic allies have quietly begun negotiations this month on an agreement that would enable the British government to serve wiretap orders directly on U.S. communication firms for live intercepts in criminal and national security investigations involving its own citizens," Ellen Nakashima and Andrea Peterson scoop.
- A federal grand jury indicted 16 people -- including Ammon and Ryan Bundy -- for obstructing federal officials in connection with the Oregon wildlife refuge standoff. Four people still occupying the refuge were also charged. Each defendant could face up to six years in jail if convicted. (Mark Berman and Leah Sottile)
- Syrian rebels are losing Aleppo to Bashar al-Assad after a blitz of Russian airstrikes. Government forces cut off the rebels’ main supply route from the Turkish border to the portion of Aleppo city that remains under opposition control, Liz Sly and Zakaria Zakaria report. Yesterday the government captured several more villages in the surrounding countryside, prompting fears that the city could soon be entirely surrounded.
- Saudi Arabia said it is ready to send ground troops into Syria to fight ISIS as part of the U.S.-led coalition. (Carol Morello and Karen DeYoung)
- The Russian submarine fleet has returned to the North Atlantic with such gusto that NATO sub commanders are reporting “more activity from Russian submarines than we’ve seen since the days of the Cold War,” according to a top admiral. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
- National legal sales of marijuana grew from $4.6 billion to $5.4 billion in 2015. The forecast for this year's sales is $6.7 billion. (New York Times)
- The town of Kent, Connecticut, is considering training teachers to use guns in its schools in the case of an armed assault. (Associated Press)
- Honda and Fiat Chrysler plan to recall up to five million cars because of an airbag defect. The supplier of the defective part notified the car companies of the problem in January 2008 but didn't notify regulators. (New York Times)
- Two D.C. EMT's were reassigned after failing to diagnose a gunshot wound to a patient they treated and transported to the hospital. (Clarence Williams)
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Colin Powell said he doesn't think emails on Clinton's private server should have been retroactively classified. The former secretary of state said he disagrees with a State Department decision to retroactively classify two emails from his own personal account while in office. The department reported to Congress in recent days that 10 emails with retroactively classified information were found on private accounts of the “immediate staff” of Condoleezza Rice. (Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller)
- President Obama will propose a $10-a-barrel tax on oil to fund "clean transportation" projects in next week's budget. It would also provide a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund. But it will be dead on arrival in Congress. (Steven Mufson)
- Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are considering introducing an emergency spending bill to send money directly to the cash-strapped Kurds. (Karoun Demirjian)
- Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), an underdog for reelection, resurrected a measure to block Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., citing concerns over fake passports. A similar measure failed in in January. (Karoun Demirjian)
- Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) threatened to put a hold on Beth Cobert's nomination to become director of the Office of Personnel Management to protest Obamacare being applied to members of Congress and thier staffs. (Eric Yoder)
- A federal judge allowed Douglas Hughes, the man who flew a gyrocopter onto U.S. Capitol grounds, to return to Florida until he is sentenced so that he can move forward with his primary challenge against DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (Spencer S. Hsu)
MORE ON THE REPUBLICAN RACE:
-- George W. Bush recorded a commercial for Jeb’s super PAC that will begin running today in South Carolina. “The first job of the president is to protect America,” the former president says over patriotic images in the 30-second ad, first reported by Politico's Alex Isenstadt. He says his brother has “a strong backbone”: “He knows how to bring the world together against terror, and he knows when tough measures must be taken. Jeb Bush is a leader who will keep our country safe.” Watch here.
-- Barbara Bush campaigned with her son in New Hampshire last night for the first time.
The former first lady was spot spotted recording a video of Jeb on her iPhone:
Just another mom in the crowd... Barbara Bush filming son with cell phone... pic.twitter.com/Af9cXStdHU— Jordan J Frasier (@jordanjfrasier) February 5, 2016
-- Ben Carson cut more than 50 staff positions as part of an overhaul and downsizing of his campaign. “Salaries are being significantly reduced. Carson’s traveling entourage will shrink to only a handful of advisers. And instead of flying on private jets, Carson may soon return to commercial flights. The employees being released — about half of Carson’s campaign — mostly work in field operations and at his headquarters in Northern Virginia," Robert Costa reports. "Dr. Carson is going to get his campaign lean — really lean," said longtime confidant Armstrong Williams.
-- Polling confirms Rubio has gotten a bounce after his third-place finish in Iowa: A CNN-WMUR tracking poll, conducted entirely after Iowa, puts Trump in the lead among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, with 29 percent, but Rubio has moved into second place, with 18 percent, followed by Cruz (13 percent) and Kasich (12 percent) in a near-tie for third. Jeb holds fifth place at 10 percent, with Christie and Fiorina at 4 percent each. “The fight for second place between Cruz, Rubio and Kasich remains within the survey's margin of sampling error,” CNN notes.
And there are signs on the ground:
Literal signs of change in NH: Spotted homeowner in Durham taking down the massive Kasich sign in her yard and replacing with ... Rubio.— Keith O'Brien (@KeithOB) February 4, 2016
-- Rubio’s rise bringing more money from K Street…: “Rubio is the only presidential candidate whose financial support from Washington lobbyists appeared to grow over time in 2015 and his fundraisers say the momentum is accelerating, post-Iowa,” Catherine Ho reports. “Rubio received about $670,000 from lobbyist bundlers during the final three months of 2015 — a steady uptick from the $365,600 he raked in during the third quarter, and the $133,450 he collected during the second quarter.”
…But also more scrutiny: NBC News, for example, is raising fresh questions about money that Rubio took from Florida International University: “As a visiting professor … he worked less than 10 hours a week and missed three-in-10 classes during his first semester of teaching – all while making more than most part-time visiting professors.”
-- And Rick Santorum, hours after endorsing him, could not name a single Rubio accomplishment in the Senate during a cringe-worthy appearance on “Morning Joe.”
Watch a devastating one-minute video from Christie’s campaign about it:
-- Christie is candid about the stakes for his campaign next Tuesday: “I’ve got to beat Jeb and Kasich here, and if I don’t beat Jeb and Kasich here, I have to think long and hard about whether I go forward or not,” the New Jersey governor told Dan Balz and Philip Rucker in Bow, N.H. He then raised the stakes for Saturday night’s debate: “There will be more desperation by everybody. I’ll perform on Saturday night, and they won’t. And now everyone’s going to be watching and deciding. … I will put on a good show. … It’s 50 percent undecided. If those 50 percent break in a major way towards somebody, it could be a tsunami.”
-- Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of neighboring Massachusetts, will endorse Christie today. The former chairman of the Republican Governors Association already has the support of Maine Gov. Paul LePage.
-- Kasich is trying hard to be the Republican who can stay publicly positive and rise above the fray: He’s making a big show about not going negative. And he lets himself get emotional on the campaign trail. “I guess sometimes when you talk about caring for people, sometimes it is not a tone we’ve heard in the Republican Party for quite a while,” he told Michael Kranish on his campaign bus.
His super PAC is launching a new ad on this theme. “As Kasich has risen, Rubio and Bush have gone negative,” a narrator says. “Doing whatever it takes to win is not presidential.” The spot then calls the Ohio governor “conservative” and “presidential.” Last week, the super PAC launched an attack ad against Rubio but pulled it after the candidate publicly criticized it.
-- Ted Cruz, trying to win Paul supporters, is sounding a lot more libertarian in New Hampshire than he did in Iowa: The vow to investigate Planned Parenthood is gone from the stump speech, and he’s now emphasizing his concerns about NSA surveillance. CNN notes that he’s heaping praise on Rand now.
-- Still, several legislators who’d backed Paul told The Post that they resented the idea that they could flip so easily. “I sort of resent the idea of Cruz claiming he can get the liberty vote,” Ron Paul told David Weigel earlier this week. “I think he’s a real libertarian fake.” Weigel quotes a ton of libertarian activists in New Hampshire explaining why Cruz is not a natural fit.
-- The Cruz campaign says it raised $3 million in the three days after Iowa. (Katie Zezima)
-- Meanwhile, Bush supporter Lindsey Graham said Cruz is “just as wrong as Obama, if not worse,” on foreign policy. (CNN)
-- "Insults, threats and more insults: What it's like to be a reporter covering Trump," by Paul Farhi: "When you cover Trump on a regular basis, say reporters who do, the beatdowns are part of the job. It’s one of the signature things about Trump, one of the many ways he’s broken the rules of presidential politics. No leading presidential candidate — perhaps ever — has been as dismissive, belittling or as downright hostile to the people who follow him on the campaign trail as Trump ... . Less remarked upon, however, has been the special contempt that Trump pours out for the women who chronicle his campaign ... The list of female journalists and commentators who’ve been verbally roughed up by Trump include Associated Press reporter Jill Colvin (“one of the truly bad reporters”); New York Times reporters Amy Chozick and Maggie Haberman (“third-rate reporters”); CNN pundits S.E. Cupp and Ana Navarro (“two of the dumbest people in politics”); Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington (“liberal clown”); Forbes writer Clare O’Connor (“dummy”); MSNBC reporter Kasie Hunt (“poor and purposely inaccurate reporting”); CNN host Alisyn Camerota (“disaster”); Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin (“one of the dumber bloggers”); NPR’s Cokie Roberts (“kooky”); NBC News reporter Katy Tur (“Dishonest!”); and CNN reporter Sara Murray (“absolutely terrible”)."
- In that vein, Clinton told People Magazine in an interview published yesterday that she believes there's a "special amount of venomous commentary" reserved for women in politics and media: "I think it's good that it's maybe off the main stage, but it certainly is still permeating in some parts of our political system in ways that are quite disturbing. And some of the women reporters and commentators who have either read or said something to me find themselves, as Megyn Kelly has, drawn into the political arena, and not just for their professional behavior, opinions – and I think that's obviously fair game – but for their appearance, for what they say and do."
- Trump did an unusual FIVE events in the Granite State yesterday, part of a shift from big rallies to more traditional retail campaigning. “Do you think this is fun? … I don’t know,” he asked a crowd last night. (Robert Costa)
-- "Prosecutor: Virginia tech freshman said "she was excited to be part of something secretive," by Moriah Balingit and Justin Jouvenal: "A Virginia Tech freshman helped plot the killing of a 13-year-old Blacksburg, Va., girl because she was 'excited to be part of something secretive,' helping a classmate pick a spot for the slaying, buying a shovel and ultimately disposing of Nicole Lovell’s body, a prosecutor said Thursday ... [Natalie] Keepers is accused of helping David Eisenhauer, 18, abduct and kill Nicole, a girl who had been bullied in middle school and had survived cancer and a liver transplant ... [The prosecutor] said the plot to kill Nicole slowly and carefully evolved in January. The two engineering students hashed out nearly every aspect, even discussing it once at a cookout. Pettitt said the pair purchased cleaning supplies and a shovel and settled on a final plan: Eisenhauer would slit Nicole’s throat in a remote area outside Blacksburg."
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Sanders received more mentions online during the debate than Clinton.
And the Vermonter won the debate when it came to what people were searching for on Google in New Hampshire. These are the top five questions for each candidate:
- How old is Hillary?
- Who can beat Hillary?
- Where is Hillary today?
- Will Hillary win?
- How much is Hillary worth?
- Where will Bernie be speaking?
- Why Bernie?
- Who would be Sanders' VP?
- How to donate to Bernie
- Where can I see Bernie in NH?
Both Democratic and Republican pundits took note of the debate's lively tone, especially the exchange over whether Bernie was tarring Hillary with an "artful smear" for suggesting she was too close to Wall Street. Here's what Mitt Romney's lead pollster in 2012 had to say:
Bernie's personal outrage is so authentic; gotta be appealing to the DEM base.— Neil Newhouse (@KCkid) February 5, 2016
Prominent liberals said Sanders was being unrealistic:
Sanders believes a sufficiently large crowd outside McConnell's window would make him support campaign finance reform. I do not.— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) February 5, 2016
Virtually no elites think Sanders could win a general election:
Anyone who remembers McGovern in 1972 has trouble with Sanders' electability. It's true that he has won hearts in Vermont. But...— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 5, 2016
Clinton's closing received lots of praise:
even Sanders offered some applause for that Clinton close. Heart and head. Well-thought out and crisp.— Rick Klein (@rickklein) February 5, 2016
This short-term strategy of attacking Bernie to close gap in NH will not serve HRC well in the long-term. Doesn't need it to be nominee.— Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithMO) February 5, 2016
Here's a selection of Bernie's best faces from last night:
"Blah blah blah":
This is the Clinton campaign's high command watching the debate:
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump continued to go after Ted Cruz for his win in Iowa:
This is the Cruz voter violation certificate sent to everyone, a misdemeanor at minimum. pic.twitter.com/tMav17UGkf— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2016
Ben Carson did the same in an email to supporters:
CARSON: "I call on Senator Cruz to take decisive action at a senior level within his campaign." pic.twitter.com/3113KH4frd— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) February 5, 2016
Rubio's campaign made fun of an attack ad from a Cruz super PAC:
And on his Twitter feed:
Montel Williams endorsed Kasich:
Christie took a break from campaigning to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert in Boston:
On Capitol Hill, everyone's attention focused on Martin Shkreli's testimony before the House Oversight Committee, where he pleaded the fifth to everything:
Gowdy: Is it Wu Tang Clan…the name of the group?— Ari Melber MSNBC (@AriMelber) February 4, 2016
Shkreli: On advice of counsel, I invoke my 5th amendment privilege
Fleeing reporters, the pharma bro tried to get into the wrong SUV:
Later, Shkreli attacked Congress:
Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) February 4, 2016
My lawyer will be on @CNBC at 4:20 to talk about today's "hearing" (Congress talking to itself, having facts wrong, etc.). Tune in!— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) February 4, 2016
Watch Shkreli's bizarre exchange with lawmakers:
The Golden State Warriors were at the White House to celebrate their NBA championship win:
Obama did an impression of Steph Curry:
Earlier in the day, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama struck the Heisman pose with Alabama running back Derrick Henry (watch a clip of the moment here):
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) also got a moment with Henry:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sat with Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett at the prayer breakfast:
Conservative radio hosts slammed National Review over a piece critical of Trump supporters:
I can't imagine NR printing anything this hateful about any other group of voters. https://t.co/GihyFgntYl— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 4, 2016
Fox's Greta Van Susteren celebrated the 14th anniversary of her show, "On the Record":
Barbie made an Abby Wambach doll:
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with Obama yesterday, with the U.S. president promising to ask for $450 million to help Colombia rebuild as it strikes a peace deal with the leftist-guerrilla FARC insurgents. The new "Peace Colombia" program will replace the controversial anti-drug and anti-rebel "Plan Colombia," which is ending:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- The New York Times, "Congresswoman's long quest: Bringing pandas to New York," by Alexander Burns: "This is the story of Representative Carolyn B. Maloney and her unusual ursine quest: to bring a pair of pandas to the city ... Securing pandas for any American city is an undertaking of extraordinary diplomatic and financial complexity. The costs of leasing pandas from China, feeding them and building a suitable habitat would run into the tens of millions of dollars ... And yet, Ms. Maloney has been undeterred ... 'After the financial crisis, 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, it’s about time to have something happy,' she said on a recent Monday, as she strode through the Bronx Zoo, wrapped in a scarf ornamented with pandas. 'Let’s have a panda.'"
-- Matt Bai, writing what amounts to a possibly premature obituary of the Bush campaign for Yahoo News, argues that Bush did not realize Trump’s surge had “nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with a sense of futility”: “Thinking that Trump was really just playing the role to him that two Pats (Robertson and Buchanan) had played to his father, Jeb’s first instinct was to demonstrate that he was the truer conservative. In what was probably the worst day of his campaign, Bush marched down to the border with Mexico, declared himself tough on illegal immigrants and defended his use of the term ‘anchor babies.’ He came off as pandering, and his attacks on Trump’s lack of conviction did nothing to dampen the uprising.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Rick Santorum can't say what Rubio has accomplished in the Senate. From the Huffington Post: "Santorum appeared on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' on Thursday, hours after throwing his support behind the Florida senator. The 'Morning Joe' hosts repeatedly asked him to name a single one of Rubio's accomplishments, but Santorum came up short." Watch the video here.
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Chelsea Clinton slips, says "President Sanders." From the American Mirror: While she was campaigning for her mother in Minnesota, she slipped and said 'President Sanders.' The candidate's daughter said, "We also need to strip away the immunity that President Sanders — excuse me — Senator Sanders, I hope not President Sanders — Senator Sanders…'" Watch the video here.
On the campaign trail: All New Hampshire, all the time (for the most part). Here's the rundown:
Sanders: Manchester, Exeter
Christie: Dover, Stratham, Sandown, Salem
Kasich: Atkinson, Hollis, Bedford
Fiorina: Manchester, Merrimack
Gilmore: Portsmouth, Manchester
Trump, meanwhile, rallies supporters in Florence, S.C.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will do a telephone town hall for Kasich with New Hampshire voters tonight.
At the White House: President Obama meets with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to discuss national security issues.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are in recess.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- "The winter weather advisory for the city has been canceled. It’s still in effect to the east until 10 a.m. ...Some light activity remains lined up near I-95 but it’s not doing too much locally. For the most part, accumulation remains focused in southern Maryland and across the bay," per the Capital Weather Gang.
-- Ex-D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray plans to run for the Ward 7 City Council seat following the end of a federal probe into his 2010 campaign.
-- The Washington Capitals powered to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders, with Alex Ovechkin back on the ice.
-- A U.S. Court of Appeals sent Maryland's automatic weapons ban back to a lower court, with a judge ruling that the law “significantly burdens the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home." The ban remains effective while a lower court reviews it.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
If you missed it, our video team put together a two-and-a-half-minute package with the debate's buzziest moments:
Check out video of El Jefe, the only known wild jaguar currently in the United States:
Bei Bei went outside for the first time Thursday:
Andrea Bocelli sang Amazing Grace at the National Prayer Breakfast:
An Iowa mom dressed her baby up like Bernie Sanders:
Alicia Keys asked Paul Ryan to be her Valentine in a video about criminal justice reform:
It's a good time to be a Trump impersonator: