Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

One of the statement's that got the most attention, and criticism, during Saturday's Democratic presidential debate was Hillary Clinton's assertion that "we now finally are where we need to be" in Syria.

Jeb Bush pounced, along with many others on the right, to call Clinton out on the assertion, given that ISIS still holds a lot of territory in Syria, and given the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

But what's interesting furthermore are the two assertions Clinton made to back up her statement.

Jack Rodolico

At the Democratic presidential debate in Manchester last night, Genera Clay was one of a few hundred Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters dancing with placards – as much to support their candidates as to stay warm on this cold evening. Hours before Saturday night’s debate was set to start, these supporters were penned in by a metal fence, and a big flood light lit up the lawn.

Clay was annoyed the Sanders campaign had been blocked out of a crucial voter database as a punishment for the data breach – a move that temporarily hobbled his campaign.

josh rogers/nhpr

Chris Christie has spent more time in New Hampshire than any major candidate running for president.

His local focus has been by necessity as much as  by choice, but it may pay off.

Polls show him gaining traction, and as Christie told the crowd that joined him at an Exeter auto repair shop as he launched a 4-day bus tour, he believes he’s bonded with voters here.

This post was updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign has filed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee to regain access to the committee's voter file. The DNC blocked the campaign from the resource Friday after a Sanders staffer accessed data collected and organized by Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Associated Press

The Democratic candidates for president will take the stage at Saint Anselm College in Manchester Saturday night for New Hampshire’s first debate of the primary season.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will take part in the debate, which will air on WMUR here in New Hampshire and ABC affiliates nationally.

The Democratic National Committee last week stripped WMUR of its co-sponsor status for the debate due to an ongoing labor dispute at the station.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

The 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary is officially on for Feb. 9, one week after the Iowa caucuses.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who has the final say on the state’s presidential primary schedule, announced the date Thursday morning, for both the Republican and the Democratic races.

The three Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage at Saint Anselm College Saturday night for their next debate.

This will be New Hampshire’s first debate of the primary season.

And while polls show a tight Democratic race here in the Granite State, the numbers nationally tell a different story.

Fresh from a GOP debate in which national security issues were dominant, Florida Senator Marco Rubio assured the crowd at a Manchester banquet hall that on his watch American military forces would never have to undertake a fair fight. They would always be better equipped, better trained, and have better intelligence to guide them.

"You know what all of this will mean. it will mean the world will not be perfect, but it will be safer, and it will be better. When America leads, the world is a safer and better place, and when it doesn't the world is chaotic."

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

When Bill Binnie launched WBIN-TV in 2011, less than a year after losing the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, his goal was to bring more competition to New Hampshire political coverage.

Binnie had another incentive, of course: The tens of millions of dollars spent on political advertising during the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

CNN

Republican Presidential candidates had their last debate of 2015 in Nevada Tuesday night. In Manchester, dozens of New Hampshire voters gathered at Murphy’s Taproom to watch.

Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords spoke in Concord on Tuesday

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords today announced a new advocacy group that will focus on reducing gun violence in New Hampshire. The group will push for tighter restrictions on who can buy guns.

The group is called the Granite State Coalition for Common Sense and counts among its members familiar political faces like former House Speaker Terie Norelli, and former First Lady Susan Lynch, as well as a number of law enforcement officials. 

GIF created using footage from CNN

 It's been a recurring theme throughout this year's presidential primary race: Early states (like New Hampshire) are losing their clout as candidates run what are essentially nationwide campaign.

NHPR/Sheryl Rich-Kern

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is back in the Granite State this week. He spent part of Monday afternoon in Nashua, where he courted students.

Sanders stood behind the podium in a large classroom at Nashua Community College on Monday afternoon. He tailored his remarks for the setting and his audience – about 100 community college students.

Sanders talked about increasing funds for public education, from early childhood learning to college.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In three weeks the House and Senate will return to Concord for a new legislative session and although election year sessions are typically quiet affairs, next year could prove an exception. 

During this session come January, lawmakers will have their hands full with two issues in particular: the opioid crisis and whether to continue the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

The field is set for tomorrow’s GOP presidential debate, with eight candidates set to take the stage for the evening’s main event. The lineup hasn't changed much from the last debate, the main difference being the addition of Chris Christie thanks to his improving poll numbers in New Hampshire.

But the stability onstage belies a shift in the structure of the race, particularly in New Hampshire. After a summer when political neophytes pulled the lion’s share of support, the last few weeks of New Hampshire polling have seen a resurgence by “insider” candidates.

Wikipedia

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.  

NHPR/Michael Brindley

If you’re hosting a party, what kind of music would you play? What kind of food would you serve?

Those are the types of questions Ohio Gov. John Kasich faced recently at one of the more unique series of campaign events during this New Hampshire presidential primary season.

“So what’s your question – who would I invite?” said Kasich, seemingly puzzled by the question of who he would invite to a party he was hosting.

“Who would you invite? What would a party look like if you hosted a party?”

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is kicking off a two-day campaign swing through the Granite State.

The Vermont Senator will meet with students at Nashua Community College Monday afternoon. That will be followed by a town hall meeting in Hollis at 5:30.

And Tuesday evening, Sanders will open a campaign office in Rochester, and is set to hold another town hall meeting in Hampton.

Republican candidates will be in Las Vegas early this week for the next GOP debate Tuesday.

WMUR's news team will have no role in next week's Democratic debate.

WBUR

Donald Trump maintains a comfortable lead in the latest WBUR poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, while Chris Christie saw a boost to second place following the rollout of several high-profile Granite State endorsements that brought renewed attention to his campaign.

Carly Fiorina
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican candidate Carly Fiorina has been crossing New Hampshire this week. As terror attacks in Paris and in California make headlines, Fiorina has been arguing her business background – doing deals in other countries –would make her the best commander in chief. Fiorina’s potential supporters like that argument.

This is Fiorina’s tenth swing through New Hampshire in half as many months.  Through all those stump speeches, her small government, pro-business message hasn’t changed. Neither has her intensity.

Natasha Haverty

Last night Presidential Candidate Donald Trump came to Portsmouth for a few minutes, to pick up an endorsement from the New England’s police union. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As the state’s drug task force plans to wrap up on Tuesday, most of the bills slotted to be fast-tracked next legislative session have more or less been chosen. 

The bills include increasing the penalties for fentanyl, ramping up drug prevention in schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, and creating a 24-hour hotline for those battling addiction.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said without the task force, such proposals would not have been carefully vetted before facing a vote.

Steve Smithe via Flickr

The New Hampshire Medical Society told lawmakers that crafting best practices for prescribing opioids should be left to the medical community.  

National Conference of State Legislatures

New Hampshire’s legislature has the distinction of being the largest in the nation. But according to a new report, it now holds another title: the oldest.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Tonight Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to campaign in Portsmouth. The visit comes in the wake of his call for a “total and and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States.

Trump will start the evening meeting with the New England Police Benevolent Association. This is his first campaign stop in the state since his proposal to bar Muslims from the country.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A day after chiding the media for, as he put it, allowing Trump to play them like a violin, it was Jeb Bush who decided to bring up the real estate mogul, during a panel discussion with young professionals.

Bush was asked by a name two historical figures and one celebrity he'd invite to a party. His answer came immediately.

"I would not invite Donald Trump."

Winston Churchill and Neil Armstrong would be welcome at his party, said Bush, but it was a firm no thanks on the celebrities.

"I really don't believe in celebrity. I find it superficial."

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire’s top Republican elected official, says she disagrees with GOP candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country.

“I do not believe that there should be a religious test in terms of how we decide who’s coming to our country," Ayotte said. "There needs to be a factual, risk-based assessment. We’ve not had a religious test for this and that certainly seems inconsistent with the First Amendment to me.”

But when asked whether she would support Trump if he wins the Republican nomination, Ayotte didn't rule it out.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stopped in Salem on Tuesday where she held an event focused on manufacturing jobs.

 

 

In a packed gym at Woodbury School, Clinton unveiled her proposals to boost employment in that sector. They included the creation of a few tax credits; one aimed at communities hit by layoffs, and another geared toward employee training.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When they return to Concord next month, New Hampshire lawmakers will have hundreds of bills to sift through to begin the new legislative session.  At a forum in Bedford Tuesday morning, top Republican leaders said the focus this session will be on addressing the state’s opioid problem and whether to renew Medicaid expansion.

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