The candidates will come together for a huge state party conclave in the evening, the annual McIntyre-Shaheen dinner, before thousands of attendees at a big arena in Manchester — perhaps the last time they’ll all be in the same place making their case to voters and activists before the primary.
Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s strategy, where the campaigns are and what they are doing. Our reporters will be fanned out across the state following all the top campaigns — so check back throughout the day as we update this story with key moments and new developments on the campaign trail
Hundreds gather outside arena ahead of McIntyre-Shaheen dinner
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Despite the freezing temperatures (21 degrees!), hundreds of campaign volunteers gathered outside the arena for tonight’s McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner — New Hampshire’s final blockbuster political event before voters head to the polls on Tuesday.
Volunteers gathered outside the Southern New Hampshire University Arena as early as 7 a.m. to stake out spots on the sidewalk.
A group of Bernie Sanders supporters held cardboard cutouts of the senator’s head, played brass instruments and engaged in interpretive dance. A cluster of Trump supporters brought anti-impeachment signs and a giant poster of a cereal box labeled “Biden’s Corn Pops,” an apparent reference to Joe Biden’s gaffe over the summer.
As I walked by the arena, a man in a custom-painted Jeep drove by honking his horn while holding a yellow, full-size “Trump 2020” flag out of his driver’s side window.
James Carville hits the stump for Michael Bennet
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Of all the indignities longshot presidential candidates face, two lines of questioning can be particularly exhausting: why they are failing, and whether they can put on their pundit hats and opine on the rest of the field.
Thankfully for Michael Bennet, he had a punchy James Carville on hand.
Why isn’t Bennet doing better in public opinion polls?
“I really don’t care,” Carville, the former Bill Clinton strategist who has endorsed Bennet, told reporters in New Hampshire on Saturday. “I’m just not concerned of where we are. I’m concerned of where we’re going to be, and I think we’re going to be in a good place.”
And who, Bennet was asked, will he vote for in the presidential election if it reaches Colorado and he no longer is running?
Carville cut in once again.“He’s going to vote for Michael Bennet, that’s who the hell he’s going to vote for,” Carville said.
Carville appealed to reporters to remember that in New Hampshire, “late-breaking things” happen and that the state’s electorate “has a way of surprising.”
Standing in his yellow and purple LSU shirt, the Southern strategist said of the state, “It’s quirky.”
Fire marshal cracks down on Bernie event
MERRIMACK, N.H. —The crowd at a last-minute Bernie Sanders event on Saturday evening was so jam-packed that a municipal official had to close it down.
“I’m told by the fire marshal we have too many people here, so I’m going to be brief,” he said, then continued talking for several minutes.
Sanders also rallied 1,100 people at a town hall in Rochester, according to his campaign’s estimates. He had six public stops on Saturday, which included canvass launches and joint candidate appearances in Concord, Dover and Manchester.
“I apologize for the folks who couldn’t get in,” he said at a union hall. “but I think this speaks to the kind of momentum this campaign has.”
Sanders delivered his typical stump speech throughout the day, adding not-so-subtle references to the wealthy contributors giving to Pete Buttigieg, who is nipping at his heels in some polls in the first-in-the-nation primary.
“When billionaires contribute to a campaign, they’re doing it for a reason,” said Sanders.
Sanders’ team also released a negative online video on Saturday bashing Buttigieg over his billionaire donors. It is not airing on TV in New Hampshire, however.
Biden on Buttigieg: ‘This guy’s not Barack Obama’
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Joe Biden wanted to make one point clear Saturday: Pete Buttigieg is nothing like the last Democratic president.
“This guy’s not Barack Obama. Barack Obama had been a senator of a really large state. Barack Obama had laid out a clear vision [concerning international relations],” Biden told reporters.
“Barack Obama had laid out in detail what he thought should happen with regard to the economy,” he continued. “Barack Obama inherited the worst recession in the history of the nation short of a depression … and laid out what he was going to do about it. This is a very different situation.”
Read more here.
Buttigieg snipes back after critical Biden ad
LEBANON, N.H. — Buttigieg didn’t name Biden by name, but he made it clear who he was talking about at a campaign stop in Lebanon, after the former vice president released a digital ad mocking Buttigieg’s record as mayor and attacking his controversial decision to fire the first black police chief of South Bend.
“There are so many communities, rural areas, small towns, industrial cities and even pockets of our biggest cities, who have felt completely left behind by the ways of Washington,” Buttigieg said. “And we’re tired of being reduced to a punchline by Washington politicians.”
Buttigieg, who finished well ahead of Biden in Iowa, is leading Biden in polling here in New Hampshire. Biden himself acknowledged on Friday night’s debate stage that he’ll “probably take a hit here” in New Hampshire, too.
Klobuchar raised $2 million after debate
Klobuchar’s campaign said Saturday that it raised $2 million in less than 24 hours after Friday’s debate. Klobuchar notched another sharp performance, slamming Sanders over being a Democratic socialist and skewering Buttigieg for his lack of experience.
Justin Buoen, Klobuchar’s campaign manager, said in a statement that Klobuchar raised money from all 50 states, and the haul “will allow us to compete in New Hampshire and beyond.”
– Elena Schneider
Klobuchar holds over-capacity rally at University of New Hampshire
DURHAM, N.H. — Klobuchar’s rally at the University of New Hampshire Saturday overflowed outside the hall, with dozens weathering the cold outside the event after they couldn’t get inside.
The Minnesota senator sought to continue her rise with moderate and independent voters and called for action on climate change and education. As she did at the debate, Klobuchar criticized Medicare for All, drawing some encouragement from the crowd. But the room erupted when she said that she would fire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on her first day in the presidency.
Klobuchar also warned that the dangers of climate change were now at the doorstep. But she mixed in some personal stories too: Near the end of the rally, she told a story of her husband, John Bessler, who was one of six boys growing up. On one or two occasions, he was left at a gas stations on a family road trip.
“I will not leave New Hampshire,” Klobuchar said. “I will not leave rural America. I will not leave small towns at the gas station.”
Klobuchar has one more stop in Hanover before heading to the state Democratic Party’s 100 Club Dinner event in Manchester Saturday evening.
Warren rallies supporters — many from her home state — to knock on doors on a frigid afternoon
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Elizabeth Warren rallied hundreds of supporters at Manchester Community College on Saturday to pump them up before knocking on doors in the frigid New England cold.
“I’m so glad you’re here. I am so glad you’re here,” she told volunteers excitedly.
She quickly went through her topline policy proposals — corruption, canceling college debt, investing in public education — and then appeared to address any lingering worries about her chances against Donald Trump in November. “I’ve been winning unwinnable fights pretty much all of my life,” she said to cheers.
The campaign estimated the crowd to be over 775 people with two overflow areas (that number could not be independently confirmed). Based on the license plates in the parking lot and several voter interviews, many of the volunteers were from neighboring Massachusetts, Warren’s home state, rather than New Hampshire voters themselves.
After Warren’s brief speech, the campaign tried to rally the crowd with the chant “I am a Warren Democrat! I am a Warren Democrat!” The campaign has long been trying to make “Warren Democrat” a theme, even selling t-shirts — but Warren doesn’t often mention it on the stump.
“This is one badass canvass launch!” Warren’s bodyperson Nora Kate Keefe tweeted. “Let’s go knock some doors.”
Klobuchar races to leverage debate performance into surprise N.H. finish
CONCORD, N.H. — Amy Klobuchar keeps doing well in debates. Now she desperately needs to convert her latest performance into a strong finish in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
On Saturday, Klobuchar was met with applause at an Our Rights, Our Courts presidential forum in a packed gym on New Hampshire Technical Institute’s campus.
The Minnesota senator touted her plans to curb the influence of big money in politics and to codify Roe v. Wade. The crowd ate up her jokes about raising $17,000 in campaign donations from ex-boyfriends, and about her daughter wanting to cut her out of a photo of them with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to post on Facebook.
Klobuchar forcefully rebutted an assertion from a moderator that she voted to confirm most of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominations, saying it was a falsehood spread online. She says she was appalled by some of Trump’s picks and hopes to nominate judges who “respect the law” and “respect precedence.”
“We cannot tolerate another four years of Donald Trump,” Klobuchar said. “Our laws can’t tolerate four years of a president who thinks he’s above them.”
Michael J. Fox introduces Buttigieg with comparison to meeting Obama
KEENE, N.H. — Actor Michael J. Fox introduced Pete Buttigieg for his first town hall on Saturday by telling a story about President Barack Obama. Fox said in 2006, he met then-Sen. Obama in Chicago, smoking a cigarette. Fox said he called his wife and told her he’d met the next president. He said he “felt the same way” when he met Buttigieg.
Buttigieg leaned into those same general election themes when he took the stage, urging voters that they “can’t take the risk of falling back on the familiar.”
He put it most bluntly off the top of his stump speech: “I am the candidate best prepared to defeat Donald Trump.”
Also Saturday, Joe Biden’s campaign released a new digital ad that slams Buttigieg for his record, offering a mocking split-screen between Biden and Buttigieg’s time in office. The ad goes after Buttigieg for installing “decorative lights under bridges,” in South Bend, Ind., while Biden helped pass the Affordable Care Act.
Warren avoids horse-race talk, ties Republican focus on courts to corruption message
CONCORD, N.H. — Elizabeth Warren’s first public event of the day was at the “Our Rights, Our Courts” presidential forum at the New Hampshire Technical Institute here. She did not engage in much horse-race talk — little about Iowa or New Hampshire — and focused on the courts and her message about corruption.
Warren took her own party to task for not focusing on the courts as much as Republicans in recent decades. “Democrats just didn’t focus on this,” she told forum moderator Stephanie Ruhle. “Democrats left open seats, Democrats delayed, Democrats did not make it a priority in either direction.”
Warren tried to tie the courts back to her overall message of the system being rigged by the wealthy and powerful. “We see an America where the government works better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” she said. “We need a court system that is not part of the tilt to the right.”
Warren’s surrogates are spread throughout the state Saturday although former presidential candidate Julián Castro was dispatched to Colorado, a Super Tuesday state. She is going to kick off a canvass in Manchester shortly.
Biden sharpens attacks on Sanders, Buttigieg to kick off three-day N.H. tour
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Biden started his three-day spring to the first-in-the-nation primary in the bitter cold of Manchester at a New Hampshire food bank. Billed as an off-the-record stop (no questions from the press, no speeches), the stop highlighted what Biden loves best about the campaign trail: making small talk with regular folks, shaking hands and taking selfies.
From there, Biden headed to The Rex Theater, a small venue in downtown Manchester where he gave his standard stump speech about how this presidential campaign is for the “soul of the nation.” Biden has added a wrinkle to his speeches since coming in a disappointing fourth in Iowa by pointedly criticizing Bernie Sanders as a socialist and Pete Buttigieg as too inexperienced, a theme he echoed the night before at Friday’s debate at St. Anselm College.
Biden has two more local stops before finishing the evening at the 100 Club Dinner event in Manchester.
Sanders: Wealthy voters welcome ‘if you believe in the concept of justice’
CONCORD, N.H. — Are wealthy people welcome in Bernie Sanders’ political revolution?
The Vermont senator was asked that question by MNSNC anchor Stephanie Ruhle at the Our Rights Our Courts New Hampshire presidential forum in Concord Saturday morning.
“One might argue that Bernie Sanders does stand for that person who is struggling, who wants to rise up,” she said. “But what about that affluent person? Are they welcome in your modern family?”
Sanders, who performed best among low-income voters in the Iowa caucuses, according to Associated Press/Fox News polling, responded affirmatively while stressing that he is focused on the working class. He said that the “more human life” is about improving the lives of others.
It was a fascinating moment, especially given the question was posed by Ruhle, a former banking executive who is a face of the “corporate media” that Sanders frequently criticizes.
“We certainly welcome you into our movement if you believe in the concept of justice,” Sanders told Ruhle. “Not greed, not corruption, not lies, but justice and compassion.”
In other words, Sanders’ message to rich voters is to ask them to be allies to the working class, which he said is “not making a nickel more” than it did 45 years ago. He frequently pitches a similar theme of solidarity and voting beyond one’s self-interest on the campaign trail. But will well-heeled voters buy into that argument?
Of course, Sanders doesn’t need to win over the 1 percent: They’re only 1 percent of Americans. But if he could perform better among upper-middle-class voters, it would help him stave off rival Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire, who has surged in the Granite State on the heels of a strong performance in last Monday’s Iowa caucuses, where he did especially well with better-off voters.
Buttigieg lays out how he’d deal with McConnell at courts forum
CONCORD, N.H. — Buttigieg has four events across the state Saturday, and by 8:30 a.m., microphone in hand, he was at a forum on court reform telling several hundred voters that the issue is personal to him, saying his marriage is only possible “by the grace of a single vote.”
Buttigieg walked through his idea to expand the Supreme Court, but the focus of conversation revolved chiefly around the current setup in the courts and the prospect of working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Power is the only language the Senate GOP responds to,” Buttigieg said. He added that “we don’t have to imitate those we’re fighting to box them out,” though Democrats’ “fair play” has “come back to bite us.” Asked if Trump’s confirmed Supreme Court justices are “illegitimate,” Buttigieg called it “problematic at best.”
“There is a stain on the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh,” he added.
Onstage, Buttigieg also made the case that Democrats need a nominee with long downballot coattails in order to reshape the judicial system. “If we can’t change Congress, we’re screwed,” Buttigieg said. “We’ve got to do it with a big enough margin that it sends Trumpism into the history books.”