New Hampshire Democratic Debate

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Democratic presidential candidates brought a new dynamic to the debate stage Friday night. Contrasts between them sharpened following the messy Iowa caucuses. Here are the highlights from New Hampshire:

  • Race was at the center of a heated debate in the second hour — from drug arrests in Pete Buttigieg’s South Bend, to a Biden supporter accused of racist comments
  • Mike Bloomberg wasn’t on stage, but he was on other candidates’ minds
  • Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg had the top speaking time

And That’s A Wrap!

This was another big week in American politics.

Voting in the primaries began on Monday with an Iowa caucus that experienced severe delays. Tuesday featured President Trump’s State of the Union Address. Wednesday marked an historic Senate acquittal of Trump in his impeachment trial. On Thursday the president gave a post-acquittal “victory” speech and on Friday, the eighth Democratic presidential debate concluded in New Hampshire.

The seven candidates discussed a range of policy issues, which spanned from the cost of health care to widespread substance addiction to gun policy to the prospect for increased rights for black and brown Americans.

The candidates convened just four days before the New Hampshire primary — a contest that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won in 2016 by 22% of the vote. This year Sanders also is considered a favorite in New Hampshire but he enters the race with three competitors who’ve trailed him closely in polls.

For more analysis and takeaways from tonight’s debate, be sure to subscribe to the NPR Politics Podcast for a full post debate recap.

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Who Has Qualified For The Nevada Debate?

Ready for another Democratic presidential debate? In under two weeks, the candidates are set to travel to Nevada for the ninth debate of the 2020 primary.

In order to qualify for the Feb. 19 debate, the Democratic National Committee says candidates need to either surpass a polling threshold or a delegate threshold.

For the polling threshold, candidates must score at least 10% in four different national or state polls. They can also achieve this by scoring over 12% in two state polls specifically from South Carolina and/or Nevada.

Alternatively, the DNC says that candidates can qualify by obtaining at least one pledged delegate in either of the first two presidential contests in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Five candidates have qualified so far for the next debate:

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Trump Campaign Slams Dems Over Their Answers On ‘Socialism’

It isn’t clear yet how many New Hampshire voters watched tonight’s debate ahead of their primary, or how many Americans did more broadly, but President Trump’s campaign officials definitely tuned in.

Communications director Tim Murtaugh slammed the Democrats along some of the very lines that were the subject of discussion, including about the term “socialism.”

“Democrats were given multiple opportunities tonight to denounce socialism and none of them did,” he said.

Murtaugh also contrasted Trump’s decision to kill the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, with the varied answers given by the candidates when they were asked about it. Trump is eager to run against any of the Democrats, Murtaugh said.

“As a major political party they are hopelessly out of touch with the majority of Americans. By contrast, President Trump has reinvigorated the American Dream, brought unemployment to generational lows, increased paychecks for low- and middle-income Americans, and lowered healthcare and prescription drug costs for people nationwide. President Trump will crush whichever Democrat is unlucky enough to face him in November.”

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Who Spoke The Most Tonight?

The debate in New Hampshire lasted for about two and half hours. Here’s how much of the action each candidate got.

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The Candidates Discuss Child Poverty, A Topic Last Raised By Cokie Roberts 20 Years Ago

The moderators closed the debate by highlighting a topic — child poverty — that hasn’t been referenced in a presidential debate since Cokie Roberts of ABC News asked candidates about it in a 1999 Republican presidential debate.

Click here to watch her questioning in 1999.

Roberts died in September of 2019. In addition to shaping television news at ABC, Roberts was also a “founding mother” of National Public Radio, helping make the news organization what it is today with her decades of reporting.

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, another “founding mother” of NPR, honored her friend and colleague here.

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Sanders Defends USMCA Opposition

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his opposition to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Sanders was one of just 10 senators to vote against the trade pact, which updates the old North American Free Trade Agreement, before it was signed by the president.

Sanders said the new agreement does nothing to halt the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico, and criticized its omitting of climate change. That’s why he opposed it, he said.

The other two senators on the stage, Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, both voted in favor of the trade deal.

Klobuchar said the USMCA makes some “major improvements,” including on labor protections, while Warren said the deal makes things “somewhat better” for workers and farmers.

Both Klobuchar and Warren said they’d aim to negotiate separate climate pacts as president.

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The Candidates Debate Bloomberg As He Ramps Up Staff

Businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t on stage tonight but he was nonetheless present — criticized by the candidates for his massive spending.

Bloomberg announced his candidacy in late November and adopted the unconventional strategy of skipping the early primary and caucus states, instead focusing on the upcoming Super Tuesday contests scheduled for March 3.

In less than three months, Bloomberg has already spent $314 million on advertising. Those numbers far surpass any other candidate running, including billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, who had spent $145 million as of Jan. 31 — and is onstage tonight.

Bloomberg has also reportedly increased his number of staff around the country to more than 2,000.

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Biden Reasserts His Presence In Second Hour

After two hours of debating, former Vice President Joe Biden has now taken the most speaking time. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is far behind the other candidates.

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Steyer Demands Biden Disavow Surrogate’s Remarks

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer has been among the candidates working most aggressively to narrow former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead among South Carolina’s black voters ahead of the Feb. 29 primary. Black voters make up just under two-thirds of South Carolina’s Democratic voters.

During tonight’s debate, Steyer demanded that Biden disavow South Carolina state Sen. Dick Harpootlian for remarks that they say were racially motivated. The Associated Press reports that members of the Legislative Black Caucus say the remarks “insinuated that their group’s chairman had been bought by Biden rival Tom Steyer because he was paid for his work for Steyer’s campaign.”

The remarks in question were in a tweet from Harpootlian, questioning why Black Caucus Chairman Jerry Govan was paid more than $43,000 by Steyer’s campaign, calling Steyer “Mr. Money Bags.”

"Is he pocketing the dough or redistributing the wealth?" Harpootlian asked, referring to Govan.

According to The Associated Press, Harpootlian denies that his comments were racially motivated.

The fight between Steyer and Biden comes with about three weeks to go before South Carolina’s primary, the first Southern primary and the first state in which black voters feature prominently. In South Carolina and nationally, black voters have overwhelmingly supported Biden. But some recent polling in South Carolina has shown Steyer on the rise.

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Filibuster And ‘Packing The Court’ Get The Spotlight

Should Democratic senators, if they regain the Senate, get rid of the legislative filibuster? What about expanding the Supreme Court beyond the nine current justices?

Those two structural governance issues have just been raised in the debate.

When discussing gun control efforts, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought up her willingness to scrap the legislative filibuster, especially on an issue like universal background checks, which polls show has the support of a clear majority of Americans. The filibuster creates a hurdle in the Senate that makes it more difficult to pass legislation.

Warren is one of three Democratic candidates on the record backing the end of the filibuster, along with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

Buttigieg was then asked about expanding the Supreme Court. He’s called for increasing the number of justices to 15, with five of those being “apolitical justices picked by the first 10.” Today the Supreme Court has nine members but the Constitution doesn’t specify how many justices it may include.

Warren, Steyer and entrepreneur Andrew Yang have also expressed support for increasing the size of the court.

When the Supreme Court question came to former Vice President Joe Biden, he said expansion is a bad idea. Biden called it a rare area on which he disagreed with the man he called his idol, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who sought more Supreme Court justices to create a friendlier audience for parts of his New Deal. Biden also said he agrees with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who told NPR last year that “nine seems to be a good number.”

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Biden Ended First Presidential Campaign, Turned To Fight Bork Nomination

In discussing abortion, former Vice President Joe Biden cited his successful fight on the Senate Judiciary Committee to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork, a choice by President Ronald Reagan.

As NPR’s Tamara Keith has reported:

“In late 1987, Joe Biden was in the midst of two high-stakes battles: one for the Democratic presidential nomination, and another, as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to try to stop President Reagan’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Robert Bork.

“His fight for the presidential nomination would end abruptly, dealing Biden his biggest political setback up until that point. But Biden was successful in the other battle, as he thwarted Bork’s nomination to the high court.”

Biden’s first White House bid had been beset by an infamous plagiarism scandal when he dropped out. You can read more about this turning point in Biden’s career.

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Democratic Candidates And Gun Policy

Almost an hour and a half into the debate, the candidates addressed gun violence and gun policy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his record on gun policy — touting his now “D minus” rating from the National Rifle Association. He earned that despite voting against background checks and waiting periods for firearms as a congressman in the 1990s.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has criticized Sanders for his earlier views on gun policy. In the 2016 primary, Hillary Clinton also made this point against Sanders.

Check out NPR’s issue tracker on gun policy to see where each candidate stands on assault weapons bans, red-flag laws and universal background checks.

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Sanders, Buttigieg Get Top Speaking Time In Hour 1

The candidates who came out on top in Iowa and led recent polls in New Hampshire also spoke the most in the first hour of tonight’s debate. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg had the most talk time and were trailed closely by former Vice President Joe Biden.

See how much time all of the candidates have gotten to speak so far:

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Democratic Candidates And Climate Change

The candidates addressed climate change. You can hear more about where they stand on this episode of the NPR science podcast Short Wave, featuring our own Scott Detrow.

And here’s our candidate tracker on where the Democrats stand on the Green New Deal and other climate issues.

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Sanders On Clinton Critique: Let It Go

Presented with Hillary Clinton’s past sharp criticism of him, Sen. Bernie Sanders has a message for America: Let’s move on. In a recently released documentary, Clinton said that “nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.”

Amy Klobuchar, Sanders’ Senate colleague, was asked if that assessment was accurate. “I like Bernie just fine,” she said, the second time she’d pointed out that she and Sanders had worked well together.

Some time later, Sanders urged Americans to look forward and overcome the old hostilities of the 2016 campaign and instead unite around the mission of defeating President Trump.

Sanders said that given the crises facing America, “our job is to look forward and not back, despite 2016.” He said he hopes Clinton and others can come together and do that.

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A Fine Line Between Warren And Biden On Afghanistan

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sounds very much like President Trump in talking about the war in Afghanistan. Warren described the war as an eternal quagmire and seemed to support cutting bait and attempting to move on. Trump has said, in so many words, that he feels the same way, but his administration has struggled to get traction in peace negotiations with the insurgent Taliban.

Former Vice President Joe Biden also said he was frustrated and exhausted with the conflict, but he reflected much more of a Washington consensus view: The risks are too great, he says, for America to withdraw completely from Afghanistan. That would lead to collapse and the risks that terrorists could again use it as an ungoverned space to launch attacks against America or the West.

There are about 12,000 American troops in Afghanistan and unless Trump’s slow-moving negotiations with the Taliban achieve a major breakthrough between now and Election Day, it’s likely that either Trump or whichever Democrat is elected will still need to deal with the Afghanistan dilemma in the next presidential term.

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Steyer’s Real Talk For Democrats

Tom Steyer pleaded with Democratic voters: "We gotta win or we are in deep trouble,” he said, noting that everyone on stage was “right” about the kinds of policies they wanted to implement and the direction they want to take the country.

Politically, he’s right. Democrats have been arguing — honestly, on the margins — about their policies, but these priorities are meaningless if Democrats aren’t in power to implement them.

Some Democrats, especially this year, sometimes seem to give a lot of weight to perfection (health care), and many of them seem to want to fight with one or two hands tied behind their backs (how to raise and use money as a litmus test).

Republicans, on the other hand, are in lockstep behind President Trump. It’s not because all Republicans love or agree with him privately. Plenty of Republicans in Washington worked against this president during the campaign.

But they want to win, and are demonstrating they will do anything to retain that power. If Democrats want to win back the White House, they’d better be acutely aware of that.

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Democrats Fault Trump On Iran Strike

The Democrats tried to differentiate themselves from President Trump on national security by lambasting his style of governance and, in some cases, vowing they wouldn’t have ordered the death of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg sidestepped a direct answer as to whether he might have authorized the drone strike. What he said the United States needs is a clearer plan and a president who’s engaged with the substance of national security policy and geopolitics — which Buttigieg said Trump isn’t.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were more categorical: No, they said, they wouldn’t have ordered the strike on Soleimani. But apart from both delivering a criticism of Trump’s decision-making and, in Sanders’ case, what he called the foolish pursuit of rapprochement with North Korea, neither Democrat outlined a clear alternate path for the Middle East.

One question that will confront any Democrat, if one were elected president, is how different the Middle East may be by the time he or she is inaugurated in January of 2021. The vague consensus among the candidates about trying to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, for example, may not meet with a reality on the ground in the region or in Iran that would make that as simple as just switching the agreement back on.

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Steyer: We’ve Got To Take Trump Down On The Economy

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer pivoted from the topic of impeachment to the issue of the economy.

“[President Trump’s] economy isn’t delivering for working people,” Steyer said. “The jobs don’t pay enough for people to live on. We’ve got to take him down on the economy.”

It’s a tricky issue for Democrats, as America is well into a multi-year economic expansion, the U.S. unemployment rate is near a 50-year low, and Trump’s best public approval numbers are on his economic stewardship. Just today, in fact, the federal government said that U.S. employers last month added more jobs than forecasters expected, especially this late into the recovery.

The strong indicators have left Democrats to focus on other aspects of the economy, including widening income and wealth inequality and how the compensation of many jobs has lagged certain costs, including for health care, housing and education.

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Fact check

What Buttigieg Said About Cartoons And Impeachment

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has often used these Democratic debates to go after Pete Buttigieg — and she did again tonight.

She criticized the former South Bend, Ind., mayor for saying that he found the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump to be “exhausting” and that he’d rather be watching cartoons.

“It is easy to go after Washington, because that’s a popular thing to do,” Klobuchar said. “It is much harder to lead and take those difficult positions.”

She also referenced Trump, saying that having a newcomer in office is not necessarily a good thing.

Here’s what Buttigieg actually said on the Iowa trail: “I live and breathe politics and I’m exhausted.” He almost wants to “switch it off and just watch cartoons or something,” he said.

In response to Klobuchar’s jab on the debate stage, Buttigieg indicated that his exhaustion was a reflection of the exhaustion he sees around the country. Part of his campaign pitch — as a 38-year-old candidate — is to speak of a promising future and a new way forward.

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Democrats Divided Over How To Move Ahead After Impeachment

President Trump doesn’t only divide the Democrats over how they might reverse his policies. He also divides them as to how they’d deal with his specific case.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she’d explore empowering an independent commission within the U.S. Justice Department that could investigate crimes in the government, and specifically, a prosecution of Trump.

“We need to establish the rule of law in this country.”

Trump has endured a number of allegations that, for another person, might have brought criminal charges. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report raised the prospect that Trump might have broken the law by obstructing justice. Former aides of Trump have alleged that his business practices might have violated the law. But the Justice Department has opined that a president cannot be indicted.

Democrats’ attempt to impeach Trump in connection with what they called other wrongdoing, in the Ukraine affair, was stopped by Republicans in the Senate. So Warren and the other candidates were asked tonight and before tonight about how they might resolve the Trump matter if they wound up in the White House when he becomes a private citizen again — and potentially susceptible to prosecution.

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang urged Democrats to try to move on. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wasn’t as specific as Warren but blasted Trump for what he called his abuse of power and contempt for the Constitution.

About all that’s clear is that the fate of Trump is a live question for these Democrats and may remain so through the election, raising the stakes both for the challengers and the incumbent and his supporters, who might have an even greater incentive for Trump to keep the White House given these prospective legal perils.

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Newly Fired Vindman Praised By The Candidates

Earlier today, National Security Council Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was “escorted” out of the White House, two days after President Trump was acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial.

Vindman testified in the House impeachment hearings back in November and described his concerns about Trump’s July phone conversation with Ukraine’s president.

Following his departure, Democratic candidates are praising him on the debate stage.

“He should be pinning a medal on Vindman and not Rush Limbaugh,” said former Vice President Joe Biden. He urged the crowd to rise to its feet to applaud the Ukraine-born career Army officer.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also praised Vindman and also spotlighted the votes of Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, two senators who faced heavy political pressure to acquit Trump, but instead publicly spoke out against him and voted for his removal.

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Klobuchar Praises Romney In Defense Of Impeachment

Politics is a strange business. Democrats pilloried Mitt Romney in 2012 when he was the Republican Party’s nominee for president. They derided him for ruling out much of the electorate when he said “47%” of people would never support him because they were “dependent on government assistance.” They mocked him when he said the biggest geopolitical threat to the United States in the 21st century would be Russia. Tonight, a Democratic candidate for president hailed Romney for what she called his courage.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she and the other active members of Congress onstage have been doing serious work in Washington while, she said, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg scoffed and said he was ready to change the channel. And she praised the relevance of the impeachment proceedings and what she called the bravery of those who testified — and of Romney, who was the only Republican to vote with Democrats to convict Trump on one article of impeachment.

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The Democratic Primary Race Has Gotten Real

There’s a real sense of urgency that’s broken out on the Democratic debate stage, more so than for any past debate yet. The candidates, for the first time, are intent on drawing bold lines between not just their policies but their political arguments.

Biden struck an aggressive tone, saying Sanders has used the “democratic socialist” label, something Trump would use against him and other Democrats. And he went after Buttigieg saying he’s a “risk” as a mayor of a “small city” and hasn’t proven he can win black and Latino voters.

Buttigieg said he’s “not interested in labels,” but in the type of politics that can win, and also govern. Then he said the biggest risk is to put someone up that would be “falling back on the familiar” (Biden) or a candidate who would be “dividing people” and that if you don’t go “all the way to the edge” it doesn’t count.

"Are you talking about Sen. Sanders?" moderator George Stephanopoulos asked.

"Yes," Buttigieg said affirmatively.

Even Sen. Amy Klobuchar got in on the act, hitting Sanders on Medicare for All, noting that what he wants to do is “not real” because two-thirds of Democrats “are not on board with your bill.” And going after Buttigieg for wanting to “watch cartoons” rather than watch the impeachment hearings.

Clearly, Klobuchar and Buttigieg see an opening against Biden. After Iowa, many Democratic strategists wondered if there would be a Biden implosion. There’s definitely a crack in the door, and Buttigieg and Klobuchar are trying to push it wide open.

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A Democratic Debate Revolves Around Health Care Again

The candidates found their way to health care again. It’s been the No. 1 topic for Democratic voters — and the No. 1 topic in these many Democratic debates.

Again, it exposed a relative-progressive-vs.-more-moderate divide, with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s support for Medicare for All on one side, and other candidates’ backing of a “public option” on the other.

Check out our detailed rundown of where the Democratic candidates — those on stage and those not on stage — stand on the issue of health care.

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Fact check

Sanders Did Honeymoon In Moscow

When moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Sanders how he planned to respond to President Trump’s criticisms of him as a democratic socialist, Stephanopoulos referenced that Sanders had spent his “honeymoon” in Moscow. Sanders dismissed the claims, saying that the president was lying.

According to The Washington Post, Sanders did travel to Moscow after he first married Jane O’Meara in 1988. The two spent 10 days in the former Soviet Union and Sanders called the visit, “a very strange honeymoon.”

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Our First Debate Topic: Democratic Socialism

President Trump and Republicans are likely to link any Democratic nominee to socialism, but former Vice President Joe Biden, seeking to draw distinctions with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, reiterated a recent talking point: that Sanders’ self-avowed “democratic socialism” hurts the senator’s electability case and also makes it harder for Democrats to win down the ticket.

Moderator George Stephanopoulos then asked if anyone was opposed to a democratic socialist being the party’s nominee. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar jumped in — but rather than using the opportunity to attack Sanders, she cited her own electability case: what she called the ability to pull in support from independents and Republicans, and winning big in purple-ish Minnesota.

The entire exchange illustrates Democrats’ key focus — and point of anxiety: Which candidate would be the best to take on Trump?

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Steyer Touts Support From Black Voters

Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and activist, is using the debate to argue that he has a broad coalition of support behind his bid for the presidency. His campaign has said that they are more focused on the states of South Carolina and Nevada, rather than Iowa and New Hampshire, as the path to victory.

In South Carolina in particular, Steyer has been spending heavily on television ads and a direct mail campaign. In a state where African Americans make up 60% of the Democratic electorate, Steyer’s campaign has also made a point of employing black vendors and hiring local organizers. While Joe Biden still holds a wide lead in South Carolina polls, and in national polls of African Americans, in-state polls have shown Steyer on the rise. His team hopes to capitalize it. The day before New Hampshire voters head to the polls, Steyer will be campaigning in South Carolina instead.

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Where Do The Top Four Candidates Stand

Similar to the finish in Iowa, New Hampshire polls indicate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg vying for first place, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden further back.

Since mid-January, Sanders has held a consistent average lead in Granite State polls. Buttigieg only recently saw a bump, post-Iowa.

Here’s a small update on where each of the four front-runners stands tonight:

Sanders Sanders finished in a virtual tie in Iowa and takes the debate stage tonight just a day after his campaign announced it raised $25 million last month. The campaign said it was its “single best fundraising month to date.” And that’s saying something, considering Sanders has led fundraising in the Democratic field for much of the past year. In the same announcement, the campaign said it would also be increasing staff in Super Tuesday states. And remember, Sanders comes into this New Hampshire primary after winning it in 2016 by 22 percentage points.

Buttigieg Despite no official winner called out of Iowa, Buttigieg appears to have gotten a bounce after leading in estimated delegates and finishing in a virtual tie with Sanders. It sent a message to his competitors that he might be the one to beat among the moderates. New Hampshire, like Iowa, is also an overwhelmingly white electorate, which could help Buttigieg, given his struggles in the polls with voters of color. But New Hampshire also poses a potentially greater challenge than Iowa, given Sanders and Warren have something of home-state advantages being from states next door.

Warren After finishing third in Iowa, Warren heads into the debate tonight with a lot on the line. She needs to do well in New Hampshire, and that means at least finishing ahead of — or very close to — Sanders. Warren has high name recognition here being from neighboring Massachusetts, but Sanders also has home-turf advantage being from neighboring Vermont.

Biden Following a fourth-place finish in Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden admitted to supporters Wednesday that the caucus results had been “a gut punch.” Biden continues to poll well in Nevada and South Carolina, two states with more diverse electorates than Iowa and New Hampshire, but Biden can’t afford anymore bad headlines. South Carolina is a must-win for Biden. He has overwhelming support with black voters, who make up the majority of the electorate in the Palmetto State, but he needs to perform well at tonight’s debate to reassure those voters that he’s got what it takes.

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Dems Skittish After Iowa Debacle

Democrats are convening tonight in New Hampshire after their first-in-the-nation caucuses this week imploded in a huge embarrassment. As NPR’s Miles Parks and Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne reported beforehand, Iowa’s state party attempted to deploy a previously little-known app to help with the caucuses — one that failed spectacularly to perform as hoped. New Hampshire runs a conventional primary, not a caucus, and state leaders there say they’re more confident about a more normal night on Tuesday. All the same, the Iowa debacle has underscored that this year’s elections may bring more reasons to shake Americans’ confidence in elections even four years after the Russian attack on the 2016 race.

As you wait to see whether tonight’s candidates address Iowa or other primary political activity, one thing has become clear about another upcoming caucus, in Nevada: As NPR’s Pam Fessler reported, it will not be using an app.

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Of Those On Stage, Yang Has Held The Most N.H. Events

Former tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang has held 97 events in New Hampshire since late June 2019, according to New Hampshire Public Radio’s candidate tracker.

That’s tops among the candidates on stage tonight — and tied with two candidates who didn’t qualify for this debate: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Here’s the event tally for the other six candidates on stage:

  • Pete Buttigieg: 69
  • Amy Klobuchar: 67
  • Bernie Sanders: 61
  • Elizabeth Warren: 37
  • Joe Biden: 35
  • Tom Steyer: 31
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Sanders Is Tops In N.H. Polling, With Buttigieg Surging

Ahead of tonight’s debate from Manchester — and four days ahead of the Democratic primary there — here’s what the polling looks like:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who easily won the 2016 New Hampshire primary, is ahead again, at about 26% in the Real Clear Politics polling average.

Second is former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s risen from 13.7% in the polling average on Monday — the day of his strong result in the Iowa caucuses — to 21.8% today.

While Buttigieg has surged, former Vice President Joe Biden has dropped. He’s now at 13% in the polling average — just behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s at 13.3%.

Also keep an eye on Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who’s at 8% in the polling average, twice what her support was in the RCP average a month ago.

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After the messy Iowa caucuses, the political world now turns to New Hampshire. Seven candidates will take the debate stage in Manchester, N.H., tonight at 8 p.m. ET. That state hosts its primary Tuesday.

You can read more on what to expect from the debate here.

NPR’s politics team will be providing live analysis and fact checks throughout the night right here.

And as always, you can connect with the team on Instagram, Facebook and subscribe to the NPR Politics podcast.

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