Female Bernie Sanders Fans Are Angry At Being Told It's "Their Duty" To Support Hillary Clinton

Women who consider themselves to be supporters of Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are none to please with suggestions by prominent feminist Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that they are betraying their gender for not supporting Hillary Clinton.

Appearing on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, Steinem said that younger women, while more feminist and involved in activism than older women, were flocking to Sanders over Clinton because more boys were supporters of Sanders and they wanted to be around men.

"They're going to get more activist as they get older," Steinem said. "And when you're young, you're thinking, 'Where are the boys?' The boys are with Bernie."

Steinem later apologized for the comment on her Facebook page.

In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what's been...

Posted by Gloria Steinem on Sunday, February 7, 2016

The next day, Albright, speaking at a Clinton rally, said there was a "special place in hell" for women who don't help each other.

Needless to say, many Sanders supporters were not thrilled with the idea that they were somehow being a bad woman or bad feminist by not supporting Clinton, and found Albright and Steinem's remarks to be incredibly condescending.

We are canvassing in New Hampshire for Bernie not to impress boys, but to make a difference #nothereforboys #feministsforbernie

Posted by Millennials For Bernie Sanders on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why I’m one of the #feministsforbernie — and I won't apologize for it! https://t.co/ODpCzRnChW from @EcoSexuality pic.twitter.com/l2b1gxhvsF

— Jewish Daily Forward (@jdforward) February 8, 2016

While I'm the furthest thing from a Sanders supporter, as a woman who is involved in politics and has been involved for a long time, I'd be equally as angry as these women are if someone told me that I was only supporting a candidate in order to attract the male gaze. That's the opposite of feminist thought, and it's a sign of how desperate the Clinton camp is getting.

Would Sanders Have Won Iowa If He Attacked Hillary On Her Email Fiasco?

The Iowa Democratic Caucus last Monday night was a shambles, with the Des Moines Register calling on the state’s Democratic Party to order an audit of the precinct that reportedly had irregular tallies. The Iowan Democratic Party initially rejected calls to review the totals, but relented over the weekend. They’ve since been revised, with Clinton again eking out a win (via The Hill):

The Iowa Democratic Party on Sunday updated the results of the Iowa caucuses after discovering discrepancies in the tallies at five precincts, but the final outcome remains unchanged.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton still places first in the caucuses with 700.47 state delegate equivalents, or 49.84 percent, the party said in a statement.

Primary rival Bernie Sanders comes in second with 696.92 state delegate equivalents, or 49.59 percent.

The total net change gives Sanders an additional 0.1053 state delegate equivalents and strips Clinton of 0.122 state delegate equivalents.

Would have hitting Hillary over her email controversy put him over the top? It’s hard to see how it wouldn’t have given the close voter totals, coupled with the excitement and energy drifting towards the Sanders camp in this primary. Additionally, it’s the most visible, and highly publicized, flaw the Clinton camp has in this election cycle. As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote prior to the Caucuses:

Clinton had long maintained that the leaks of information regarding classified information on her private email server were largely the result of an overzealous intelligence community and part of a broader interagency spat. State finding the same thing that the intelligence community had found regarding what was on Clinton's server suggests that her narrative has been disrupted in a serious way.

On its face, the State Department news seems like just the sort of thing that might tip wavering Iowa Democrats to Sanders's side. In fact, the email issue plays into a broader general-election argument that Sanders has been making in the closing weeks before the Iowa caucuses: That he is a stronger general-election candidate than Clinton.


Politics is about contrasts. For Sanders, the mishegas surrounding Clinton's email server is a perfect way to remind people of their doubts and worries about going back to the Clinton way of politics — and to cast himself as a new and different kind of pol. (Yes, it's weird that a 74-year-old man is the "new" kind of politician, but for Sanders it sells.)

He chose not to do that — at least not directly. If Sanders comes up short in Iowa, expect there to be some significant second-guessing in his campaign over that fateful decision.

His colleague, Greg Sargent, argued that if Sanders went after Clinton’s emails–he would undercut a core part of his campaign’s narrative:

The Sanders candidacy is premised on the idea that our political system is failing people in a very profound and fundamental way — that it has been rendered paralyzed in the face of the immense challenges the country faces. For Sanders, the political media’s obsession with the Clinton email story simply represents another way in which our system is broken so irrevocably that it is incapable of addressing those challenges.


Now, I don’t claim to know whether Sanders’s decision to refrain from attacking Clinton’s email setup is entirely rooted in a principled adherence to this broader story he’s trying to tell. For all I know, if Sanders doesn’t win Iowa, and if his candidacy looks like it’s in some trouble, perhaps he will begin going after her emails, to undermine her integrity and case for electability. But it’s hard to see how he could do this without diluting one of the ingredients most crucial to giving his candidacy the power it has gathered, particularly given that his own previous handling of the email story has transformed it into a massive symbol of everything he’s running against.

Sanders barely lost Iowa, and he’s poised to win big in New Hampshire. But we shall see if this truce over the emails last when the Democratic primary takes a cruise into the south, where Sanders isn’t well known. And where Clinton has an apparent lock on black Democratic primary voters. This is her firewall.

Yet, there could be an area where Sanders could go after Hillary incredibly hard if he’s serious about winning: her donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Sen. Sanders has questioned Hillary’s progressive bona fides since she has a super PAC and takes donations from Wall Street. He noted in the last Democratic debate before the primary how certain policies may have certainly been influenced by large donations from certain industries. There are plenty of instances where Clinton has changed her mind on trade policy after donations were made to the Clinton Foundation, rewarded nations with arms deals after checks to the Foundation were cut, and other interests giving Bill millions for paid speeches, who also had “matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department” at the time. Granted, the latter example is more of an ethical question, but the timing of donations and good things happening to the party handing over the check certainly poses a serious question about whether Clinton is truly independent.

If Bernie doesn’t think that there’s anything fishy about these donations, their consequences, and the ethical questions relating to the Foundation, then he’s not serious about winning. Yes, it’s not in the news as often as Mrs. Clinton’s email drama… yet. It should be. And if it doesn’t become as hot a topic as Hillary’s emails, then we’ve opened another area of media scrutiny.

Video: Personal Stories, Powerful Answers at GOP Debate

One critical political metric on which Democrats often vastly outperform Republicans pertains to the question of caring about people. This so-called 'empathy gap' is a major explanatory factor behind Barack Obama's re-election victory over Mitt Romney, and it's one of several reasons why Hillary Clinton is a risky bet for Democrats in 2016, beyond the email scandal and ethical struggles. Maybe the GOP is finally starting to learn and adapt. At Saturday's Republican debate, several candidates gave outstanding answers related to policy matters that were very personal in nature, and even emotionally moving. Connecting with voters requires making policy points while appealing to people's hearts. Here are four examples of Republicans achieving this balance in front of millions of viewers:

(1) Ted Cruz on drug addiction. Cruz, who is sometimes criticized for being too slick and calculating, opened up on a very personal level in his discussion of the impact of drug addiction on his family. He spoke about the tragic case of his half-sister, who died of an overdose, and tied her story into his signature issue of border control. I can tell you that you could hear a pin drop in the debate's media filing center as Cruz relayed this heartbreaking story:

(2) Rubio on his brother's struggles with the VA.  The Republican field as a whole offered a much more substantive and forward-looking discussion of the VA's failures than the Democrats did on Thursday night.  While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders defended a failed status quo, lobbing disingenuous grenades at Republicans and attacking the Koch brothers (!) in their responses, Republicans talked about the importance of solving problems and guaranteeing veterans strong options for care.  Marco Rubio personalized the issue by raising an example about his brother, who has battled the VA for decades over simple dental care arising from an accident suffered while he was serving with the US Army's special forces:

In spite of all the talk about Rubio's repetition debacle during the Christie confrontation, Rubio citation of his brother's situation was by far the most Googled event of the debate, from any candidate. Cruz's story about his sister came in second:

The Washington Post  writes that after Google released search trends in New Hampshire alone, "Rubio dominated during the second half of the debate, where he performed much better. The media (like me) makes a lot out of fights like the one he had with Christie. But voters maybe are paying less attention to it."  Team Marco undoubtedly hopes that's the case.  But look at that chart again.  For all the buzzy media moments on Saturday night, the two events after which the most Americans opened up their browsers to seek more information about a candidate occurred when Rubio and Cruz spoke about their siblings, tying those anecdotes to serious national problems.

(3) Chris Christie on raising his daughters.  In the context of a question about women registering for the draft (on which Bush, Rubio and Christie seemed to be in agreement, prompting a strong Cruz dissent after the debate), the New Jersey governor described the values he and his wife have instilled in their two daughters:

(4) Donald Trump on the perils of negotiating with terrorists. In one of his best answers of the night, Donald Trump handled a difficult question about the appropriateness of ISIS hostage relatives raising ransom money for in an effort to save their loved ones with deftness, compassion, and conviction. He cited his personal relationship with the family of beheading victim James Foley, praising them to the hilt, before stating the principled case for why negotiating with terrorists is a dangerous idea (the key piece starts at the 1:45 mark):

Voter behavior, often to conservatives' consternation, is frequently dictated by how candidates make people feel, not hard statistics or empirical data. The political sweet spot for Republicans is to convey their ideas and policy cases on the latter front after or while they arrest people's attention and demonstrate their own humanity on the former.   These clips show how it can be done.

Hypocrisy: Democrats Blasted Cost Of Benghazi Committee, But Gave Staffers Thousands In Bonuses

The House Democrats on the Select Committee On Benghazi have wasted $2 million obstructing the body’s investigation into the 2012 terrorist attack that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead. Thus far, the Democrats on the committee have not called one member of the Obama administration to testify, nor have they requested any documents from the administration for review. Now, after complaining about the committee’s cost, it’s been reported that these very Democrats have doled out tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses to staffers (via Fox News):

Democrats on the House committee probing the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks awarded tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses to their staff, while at the same time repeatedly attacking Republicans over the rising cost of the investigation.

According to publicly available reports, a total of $33,600 was given to six Democratic staffers at the end of 2014 and 2015.

While the bonuses make up only a fraction of the panel's total expenses to date, critics suggested they undermine the minority members' complaints about the budget.


Democrats complain the committee’s investigation, established in May 2014, has gone on longer than the 9/11 Commission's review of the 2001 terror attacks and have accused Republicans of using the committee as a political weapon to attack Democratic 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton -- who was secretary of state at the time of the Benghazi attacks.

And they have been relentless in describing the investigation as a waste of money, even including a “Benghazi Spending Tracker” on their website. The total taxpayer tab is now at nearly $6 million.

Hypocrisy thy name is Democrat.

Boston Globe: Even Hillary's Staff Admits a NH Win Is 'Nearly Impossible'

It was no wonder why, after barely squeaking out a win in Iowa last week, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton bolted from her “victory” rally in just 5 minutes, knowing New Hampshire would be a much steeper climb. Her opponent Bernie Sanders has had a commanding double digit lead in the Granite State for weeks.

The fact that this particular state once boosted her and her husband’s political careers makes her fall from grace in New Hampshire especially painful, writes The Boston Globe.

Team Clinton once saw the Granite State as friendly territory — after all, voters here rescued her husband’s 1992 presidential campaign and injected energy into her 2008 contest. The relationship with the state’s voters seems to have frayed quite a bit since then, with even some top supporters acknowledging that a win Tuesday looks nearly impossible.

Because Clinton is trailing at an embarrassing rate, her team now seems to be downplaying the importance of the primary win. That’s why, The Boston Globe suspects, Clinton decided to leave New Hampshire for a few hours to travel to Flint, Mich. While The Globe says the trip was “designed” for Clinton to raise awareness for the families who have been affected by lead poisoning, it also seemed to serve as a disguised opportunity to escape an obvious defeat.

Up until now, Clinton has had name recognition and money on her side. Sanders, however, is gaining on her in both areas.  His progressive message is resonating with Democrats – especially young voters – and for the first time last month he raised more money than Team Hillary.

No wonder she doesn’t want to look New Hampshire in the eye.

Ratings Gold: GOP's NH Debate Crushes Dems, Draws 13.2 Million Viewers

CONCORD, NH -- Saturday night's Republican debate in Manchester drew a robust 9.3 rating, attracting an average of 13.2 million viewers.  This was up slightly from Fox News' pre-Iowa debate, likely due to three factors: High voter interest now that actual balloting is underway, its airing on over-the-air broadcast network, and the anticipated return of Donald Trump to the stage.  Although these numbers are substantially down from the sky-high ratings of the first few Republican debates -- which ranged from 18 to 24 million viewers -- they're still historically high.  ABC's forum held on the same weekend of the 2012 campaign was that cycle's highest-rated primary debate, at 7.6 million.  Saturday's clash beat that number by more than five million viewers; every GOP debate audience in 2016 has exceeded 11 million.  Another striking trend in 2016 is that interest in the Republican race far outstrips the Democratic nominating contest.  Some statistics:

In this election season, debates on cable news channels have generally out-rated debates on broadcast networks. But ABC's debate was the highest-rated one on any broadcast network to date. ABC's Republican match-up also far surpassed MSNBC's Democratic debate earlier in the week. That forum, which was a late addition to the schedule, had 4.5 million viewers, a new low for the debates this season. The second lowest debate of the season was on ABC. There were 7.8 million viewers for its Democratic debate on the Saturday before Christmas.

Caveats about networks and air dates aside, the GOP's New Hampshire debate drew nearlynine million more viewers than the Democrats' version. Pair that data with the record-shattering Republican voter turnout in Iowa, and an enthusiasm gap narrative begins to emerge. Here's another interesting ratings tidbit:

ABC also benefited from enviable timing, three days before the New Hampshire primaries, with all the major candidates fiercely fighting for votes. The debate ratings rose each half hour between 8 and 10 p.m., indicating that viewers stuck with the program despite an embarrassing flub during the candidate introductions. (Two candidates initially didn't come on stage, and then the moderators seemingly forgot to invite John Kasich on.)

This may come as welcome news at Rubio headquarters, given that ABC's audience continued to build after the Florida Senator's wince-inducing takedown by Chris Christie.  Following that brutal exchange, Rubio improved dramatically over the remainder of the debate.  Then again, the negative press focusing on that moment has been significant, as the lowlights have made the rounds online and on-air.  The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last has written a perceptive piece gaming out how Rubio's "repeat button" stumble might play out.  He points out that the anti-Obama attack Rubio repeatedly advanced on Saturday is likely shared widely among the Republican electorate, also noting (as others have) that an unrattled Rubio seemed at ease and at peace on the campaign trail the very next day.  Indeed, Rubio appeared on ABC's This Week and aggressively defended his message by thanking Democrats and rival campaigns for circulating clips of him describing how, in his view, Obama is deliberately and fundamentally changing America.  "I'm going to keep saying it," he tells host George Stephanopolous.  I've embedded the clip below. So that's the upbeat, bullish take.  The bearish side of the equation is obvious and ought to be worrying for the Rubio camp:

The pessimistic case (if you're a Rubio supporter) goes like this: Rubio needed to close the sale with New Hampshire voters and he blew it...But it's worse than that. The best political attacks turn an opponent's strength into a weakness. By indicting Rubio's candidate skills—the fact that he's so polished and talks so well—Chris Christie was attempting not just to blow up Rubio in the debate, but to diminish his biggest advantage and poison everything voters hear from him going forward. Voters will wonder, Is that answer Rubio just gave on ISIS, or vaccinations, or the estate tax a sign of a smart, fluid candidate? Or just another rehearsed, scripted soundbite?

There's some thin evidence, based on meh data and several anecdotes, that Rubio may be weathering the storm. There's equally questionable data and anecdotes that suggest he's taking a real hit. We'll know the truth soon enough. Here's what I'm still scratching my head over:

There were so many avenues he could have taken to has at Christie and repackage his point, but instead, he fell directly into Christie's trap. Worse, he seemed self-unaware about what was happening and totally failed to adjust. Assuming he doesn't absolutely tank over one poor (partial) debate showing -- remember this? -- Rubio would be well-served in the next debate to poke a bit of fun at himself, with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. "You know what? Let me repeat what I just said..." As promised, I'll leave you with this:

He's better here, certainly, but has the momentum irreparably shifted? And if so, who is the primary beneficiary?  If I had to bet, I'd put more chips on this guy than anyone else.

North Korean Satellite Flew Over Super Bowl

According to the Associated Press, the recently launched North Korean satellite Kwangmyongsong, or "Shining Star," soared over the San Fransisco Bay area in close proximity to Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night.  

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the North Korean satellite absolutely passed near the area around the time the game was finished.  

"I have no idea when the end of the Super Bowl was, not a sports fan," he said. "But KMS-4 did pass over that part of California at 8:27 p.m. PST at an altitude of 480 kilometers. I calculate it was 35 miles west and 300 miles up as it passed overhead heading almost due north."

For a little perspective of what the Super Bowl looks like from space, astronaut Scott kelly shared his first experience of the big game from Earth's atmosphere.

WATCH: Mary Katharine Ham Questions Candidates at GOP Debate

In case you missed it Saturday night, Hot Air (a property of Townhall Media and Salem Communications) Editor-at-Large Mary Katharine Ham questioned GOP presidential candidates during the debate hosted by ABC News in Manchester. Not surprisingly, she was a total pro. 

Watch below: 

Also, be sure to check out Guy's analysis of the debate from New Hampshire.

ICYMI: January Set Another Record For Gun Sales

Last December, we saw 3.3 million background checks being conducted by the FBI on firearm purchases. That’s a record number. In all, 23.1 million total checks were run through the National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) system, making 2015 a record year for gun sales. Again, the reasons for the dramatic increase are straightforward. We have a pro-gun control Democratic president; we’ve seen a rash of horrific terrorist attacks; and said president has enacted a series of executive actions on gun control.

For January, gun sales set yet another record, as Stephen Gutowksi of the Free Beacon wrote earlier this month:

With 2,545,802 checks processed through the National Instant Background Check System, January 2016 beat the previous record, set in January 2013, by 50,326 checks. Though January’s number represents a drop from the all-time single month record set in December 2015, it is also marks the ninth month in a row that has set a record. It is also the third month in a row with more than two million background checks.

The number of background checks conducted by the FBI is widely considered the most reliable estimate for gun sales in the country since all sales conducted through federally licensed gun dealers and some sales conducted by private parties are required by law to obtain a check.

However, the number is not a one-to-one representation of gun sales. Many private sales are not included in the system. Also, in some cases a single background check can apply to the sale of multiple guns. Some states use background checks for their gun carry permitting process, which does not involve the sale of a gun.

So, Americans are buying guns, going through the process to obtain a carry permit to exercise their rights, or obtaining a carry permit before they eventually buy a gun. These are all good things. On a less than positive note, the surge in sales has led the NICS system to become overloaded, with appeals being forced to the side due to lack of staff. Citizens who may share the same name with a known felon and were denied a transfer file such appeals. This could be depriving Americans of their Second Amendment rights. The NICS system has no more than 100 analysts, while other employees for the database have been denied leave since Thanksgiving to process all the requests. Congress maybe mulling approving additional staff to help with the workflow, with the National Rifle Association not opposing such an initiative, as long as the additional funds and NICS employees are used to fix the processing delays and not harass law-abiding Americans.

Lastly, the January sales report continues to reinforce the notion that President Obama, the Democratic Party, the anti-gun wing of America, and the media are members of an elite squad of gun salesmen, who have encouraged Americans to buy over 100 million firearms since the beginning of Obama’s presidency. Take a bow, folks!

Oh Yeah: Gun Permits Are Surging In Minnesota

Minnesota residents are lining up to obtain gun permits, with an uptick of 6,000 permits last month. Fears over terrorism and President Obama’s recent executive actions on gun control are responsible for the rush, though the Star Tribune added that some of their numbers might be permit renewals. Regardless, there still was a drastic increase in Minnesotans who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights:

Since the beginning of the new year, there have been at least 221,712 active permit holders — a 6,189 increase from December 2015, according to a monthly data report from the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The largest spike was in March 2013 with 7,213 active permit holders, a few months after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and subsequent calls for national gun control measures.

A similar pattern of jumps in permit holders and applications are typically seen after prominent mass shootings, including the November Paris terrorist attacks and the December killings in San Bernardino, Calif.


Almost in reflex, there’s a run on ammunition, gun sale background checks increase, interest in and enrollment in permit classes go up, and more people get their permits, said Andrew Rothman, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA), which released the report Thursday.

“It’s not always a reaction to mass shootings, although there is some of that,” Rothman said. “But probably the bigger part is the reaction when people hear about the political rhetoric following a horrible murder … that’s what gets people very interested in exercising their rights.”

The number of active carry permits in the state has grown by more than 20,000 in six months. Now, about one in 19 eligible Minnesota adults have a permit to carry, according to GOCRA.

In neighboring Iowa, fellow Hawkeye residents are also applying for permits and buying firearms. For some dealers, it’s at a rate where they cannot keep up with demand.

Surprise: Hillary Campaign Balks At Releasing Wall Street Speech Transcripts

Vintage Hillary. As she fashions herself as a hardcore anti-Wall Street progressive in the midst of a surprisingly competitive Democratic primary, she's trying to explain away her six-figure speeches to major financial institutions, who also happen to be her generous campaign benefactors. At Thursday's (very low-rated) debate against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton claimed that when she delivered these lucrative addresses, she spoke truth to power -- bravely warning about the subprime mortgage collapse prior to the 2008 financial crisis:

Given this alleged, evidence-free prescience, one might think that Mrs. Clinton would be eager to release video and transcripts of these speeches -- to showcase how right she was, and to highlight her fierce independence. When she was asked about producing these records prior to the debate, she laughed out loud:

When MSNBC's moderators pressed her on the same question on the debate stage, she served up a quintessentially Clintonesque punt. She'd...look into it:

Again, if she's the paragon of transparency that she claims to be (snicker), and if her Wall Street speeches were as prophetic and civic-minded as she says, her campaign should be turning them into ads. Instead, surprise:

In response to a question at Thursday night’s debate, Hillary Clinton said she would “look into” the possibility of releasing transcripts of her paid remarks to banking, corporate and financial services companies like Goldman Sachs. But by Friday morning, it did not appear that much looking was underway. Joel Benenson, Mrs. Clinton’s pollster, gave little indication at a Wall Street Journal breakfast with reporters that the transcripts would be forthcoming. “I don’t think voters are interested in the transcripts of her speeches,” he said. Whether they are made public is up to the Clinton campaign. Speaking contracts typically give the speaker the right to decide whether any material from a particular speech can be shared beyond the room. Goldman Sachs, for one, declined to make an on-the-record statement...Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, has accused Mrs. Clinton of being in the pocket of Wall Street and big business by noting that she has received major donations from them and was paid more than $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. She has struggled to explain why she took that money, saying at a CNN forum on Wednesday night: “Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered.”

Fact check on that last point:

She's so bad at this. But remember, Hillary wants you to know that the Clintons can't be bought. Alas, the public record raises serious questions on that front, and who knows that the FBI has dug up in those 32,000 deleted emails. Might their discoveries have anything to do with their reported decision to expand their criminal investigation to entail public corruption?

Bernie Sanders Appears on SNL; Speaks Against The One Percent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live last night, playing a character named "Bernie Sanderswitzky" who was upset at a passenger on a sinking ship was attempting to hop the line for a lifeboat due to his higher economic status. "Sanderswitzky" said that he was not a socialist, rather that the policy was "democratic socialism," and that the difference between the two was "yuge."

Watch here, and it's actually pretty funny:

The episode was hosted by comedian Larry David, and word of Sanders' cameo had leaked in the days before the episode aired.

Earlier in the night, SNL aired a skit titled "Bern Your Enthusiasm" that purportedly showed how Sanders (played by David) lost the Iowa caucuses by upsetting five potential supporters:

During the episode, Sanders changed the avatar on his official campaign Twitter account to a picture of David playing Sanders on the show.

Sanders is the third 2016 presidential candidate to appear on SNL this season.

Rubio Ran Into Some Granite, Had Shaky Defense Against Christie in New Hampshire Debate

First, please go read Guy’s analysis about last night’s debate, which was hosted by ABC News and IJ Review. Voters will decide in New Hampshire on February 9. The whole event got off to a rocky start with moderators Martha Raddatz and David Muir botching the candidate announcements, but the debate moved forward. Hot Air's Mary Katharine Ham was also present to ask questions, which some are were the best of the night. As for Rubio, he had a rough night, especially when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pressed him on his record and experience. 

The introduction of the candidates at the Republican debate got awkward.

Posted by POLITICO on Saturday, February 6, 2016

From ht outset, Trump made something absolutely clear to the voters; the GOP is going to win with Trump. The Iowa Caucuses drama between Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson was also addressed, with the Texas senator apologizing to Carson over the mishap that seems to be blown way out of proportion.

It didn’t take long for Rubio to become the target of  Gov. Chris Christie. Rubio said that President Obama is taking drastic steps to change America for the worse, and that if elected; he is going to re-embrace what makes this country great.

It’s here that Gov. Christie said that he wakes up every morning thinking about ways to make New Jersey residents' lives better, and that he’s held accountable for his actions. Se. Rubio, who he said he likes, doesn’t have that same level of accountability, being able to spin his way out of such standards through talking points. He also hit the freshman Florida senator over his absence in the Senate, especially concerning the Hezbollah sanctions act, calling it truancy not leadership. 

Rubio hit back by saying that Christie presides over a state whose credit rating has been downgraded nine times. Still, Rubio kept repeating most of his opening remarks; the optics of which were not so good.

When immigration was brought up, Sen. Cruz propose building a wall and tripling the amount of border patrol agents. He noted that once you’ve secured the border, we could tackle our illegal immigration problem. On the wall Cruz added, “I’ve got someone in mind to build it,” while looking at Trump.

Rubio wants to expand the border patrol, have an entry/exit system to track the number of visa overstays, and have mandatory e-verify for businesses. Yet, the ghosts of the 2013 “Gang of 8” bill reared its head, with Christie chiming in pushing the senator if he fought for his bill. Again, Christie noted that this is a difference between a governor and a legislator, touting his record in taking on the teachers unions–and winning the fight over tenure. When Jersey Democrats wanted a tax increase and threatened a government shutdown, Christie took pride in the fact that he told them that he would go to Drumthwacket (the governor’s mansion) order a pizza and watch the Mets and wait for the government to reopen because he wasn’t signing an increase. The Democrats didn’t shut down the government, and the tax increase wasn’t passed, because they knew, according to Christie, that he would fight for what he thinks is right for the state.

Hot Air’s Mary Katharine Ham asked Donald Trump whether he was closer to Bernie Sanders than the conservative movement regarding health care policy, quoting the billionaire magnate for saying that everyone’s got to be covered. Oh, and the government is going to pay for it.

Trump said, “I’m closer to common sense,” while saying there are so many examples of something that we could do to fix our health care system. It was a garrulous, rambling answer that said the insurance companies are getting rich on Obamacare (they’re not), and that we’re not going to let people die.

Cruz added that socialized medicine would hurt the American people, while adding that he would allow Americans to buy insurance across state lines. This would drive down prices since competition and choice would be expanded concerning shopping for plans in this market. Carson said he wants to establish health empowerment accounts, which would allow families to function as their own insurance provider; there would be no middlemen.

Another spat highlighted by Leah occurred between Bush and Trump over eminent domain. Trump said that it’s key to provide the many services we have, and sometimes take for granted, in this country. Bush hit Trump for trying to seize a woman’s home to build a parking lot for limousines.

The rest of the night was dotted with questions about what it means to be a conservative, how to fight ISIS, the possibility of redeploying forces to Libya, the selective service, bringing back waterboarding, and whether the party’s positions on social issues might be too extreme.

You can re-watch the debate below since ABC News live streamed it over YouTube [debate begins at 1:17:10 mark]:

Over at RedState, Leon Wolf offers his won analysis, while saying that we should stop having Martha Raddatz moderating GOP debates; he’s right.

Oh, and what about Carly Fiorina. Well, she had a date night with her husband.

Parting Thought: For those you worried about Rubio's performance, there's this from Allahpundit.

Analysis: Governors Soar, Rubio Stumbles Early On in Crucial NH Debate

MANCHESTER, NH-- In desperate need of a strong showing in New Hampshire, three Republican governors stepped up and won tonight's debate. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich all turned in outstanding performances, which may disrupt the state of play ahead of Tuesday's votes.  In a cycle that has been notably unkind to governors, these chief executives finally broke through.  Marco Rubiosurging out of Iowa, endured a brutal opening segment, getting sliced and diced by Christie. The New Jerseyan attacked Rubio as scripted and untested, which Rubio parried well at first, but then proceeded to repeat almost the same verbatim defense of himself as Christie poked and prodded. With each similar Rubio response, Christie urged the audience to take note of how the Floridian was confirming the knock the governor was advancing.  This was Christie the prosecutor, puncturing a reluctant witness on the stand:

A cringeworthy stretch for Rubio. Let's see if he suffers because of it. I should add that Rubio rebounded quite well later in the program, offering excellent and detailed answers on a host of questions -- particularly in exchanges on ISIS and abortion. But the fact that Rubio wasn't prepared to go several rounds with Christie, after a week of Christie telegraphing those very attacks, is mystifying.  It was as if Rubio was ready to go toe-to-toe with Bush (over attacks that never came), and hadn't anticipated Christie's intense barrage.  A big miscalculation. The Florida Senator can be very agile on his feet as a politician; in those opening minutes, he was not.  Ted Cruz also started off a bit shaky, but recovered with a string of characteristically detailed answers across a spectrum of issues. Overall, he felt like less of a factor in this debate than he did in recent forums.  His victory dance on beating the ethanol lobby in Iowa was a sweet moment for fans of the free market. Donald Trumpleading in the polls, had a decent night. He offered several good answers (negotiating with terrorists comes to mind), and a few bad ones (he lost the eminent domain battle to Jeb, and was incoherent on foreign policy).  If the polls are accurate, Trump remains the odds-on frontrunner heading into Tuesday; a good night for him.  Ben Carson overcame the awkward snafu during candidate introductions and did a nice job, connecting with voters on a personal level several times.  His response to the Cruz 'rumor' story was handled almost flawlessly -- leading to one of his best moments, and one of Cruz's toughest.  Overall, this was an informative and substantive debate, with a special home-team shout-out to Mary Katharine Ham for her superb questioning on healthcare, executive power and abortion.  I'll leave you with one X-factor that I believe impacted this debate's "intangibles" and optics:

ABC News reported after the debate that Democrats who were worried about Rubio's post-Iowa ascension were "relieved" by his early struggles. Instead of solidifying his standing with a sharp, poised performance, Rubio stumbled in the opening minutes of the debate. That may be a "teachable moment," but how much will it cost him?  And how much did his recovery negate his ugly start?  Bottom line: After tonight, Trump's position as the leader in the clubhouse is unchanged -- and the fight over finishing in New Hampshire's top tier may have gotten a lot more interesting.

-- Since I gave you video of Rubio getting totally overmatched rhetorically by Christie, here's his A+ answer on the pro-life question:

He also followed-up by stating that although he views all life as sacred, he would sign pro-life legislation with exceptions as president. Also, this analysis might be vindicated in the coming days, but that's not how I watched that back-and-forth in real time. I saw Christie draw political blood:

Gloves Come Off Between Bush, Trump Over Eminent Domain

Donald Trump’s history of using, and many would argue abusing, eminent domain in his business life has surfaced time and again on the campaign trail, with Saturday night’s GOP debate as no exception. 

ABC News’ David Muir asked the real estate mogul about a project in New Hampshire that would bring hydroelectric power from Canada into the Northeastern grid. "Do you see eminent domain as an appropriate tool to get that project done?” he asked, pointing to Trump’s past business endeavors and his support for its use for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Trump was defensive from the start, knocking the number of people who have hit him over the issue.

“Eminent domain is an absolute necessity for a country, for our country—without it you wouldn’t have roads, you wouldn’t have hospitals, you wouldn’t have anything, you wouldn’t have schools, you wouldn’t have bridges, you need eminent domain,” he argued.

Trump also used it as a platform to attack ‘big conservatives,’ suggesting that their criticisms of him for his support of it are hypocritical, given how much they support the Keystone Pipeline.

“The Keystone Pipeline without eminent domain—it wouldn’t go 10 feet, OK? You need eminent domain, and eminent domain is a good thing, not a bad thing,” he said, adding that it’s fair because when it’s used to take someone’s property, that person is given at least market value if not ‘two or three times’ what it’s worth.

Gov. Jeb Bush didn’t let him have the last word on the issue, however, as he interjected that the “difference between eminent domain for public purpose as Donald said, roads and infrastructure … but what Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City—that is not public purpose, that is downright wrong.”

Trump attempted to argue that he didn’t take the property, failing to mention (as Jeb rightly pointed out) that that was because he lost in court. 

Their exchange really heated up at the 2:10 mark when Trump said Bush was just trying to ‘be a tough guy.’ The Florida governor kept slamming him on the issue, however: "how tough is it to take property from an elderly woman?” 

Check out the clip below and decide who you think performed best: 

Trump: I Would Bring Back Worse Than Waterboarding

At Saturday night's GOP debate, Sen. Ted Cruz lamented how we have failed to fully support our troops.

"Our soldiers are going into combat with their arms tied behind their backs," he said. "Allow our soldiers to do their jobs."

Our military prowess came up later in the night when the ABC News moderators brought up the always controversial enhanced interrogation process known as waterboarding, which many people have defined as torture. President Obama ended the procedure by executive order. Would the candidates bring it back? the moderators wondered.

While Cruz didn't say he would revive it, he did say he would do "whatever was necessary" to combat terrorism.

Donald Trump was a little more blunt. 

"I would bring it back, he said. "We have people chopping heads off people," he continued. Not since the Medieval Times, he said, have we seen such barbarism.

"I would bring back waterboarding," he repeated. "I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."

LIVE: 2016 Republican Granite State Rumble

We’re about an hour into the Republican debate in New Hampshire. The IJ Review/ABC News debate is being live streamed here:

Ted Cruz: "Ben, I'm Sorry"

In Saturday night's republican debate, Ben Carson was asked to respond to the fact that Ted Cruz's campaign workers misinformed the public that Carson was dropping out of the race just moments before the Iowa caucus.  

Carson expressed that he was upset and referenced that similar tactics are often used in Washington, D.C.  

Ted Cruz responded by saying, "Ben, I'm sorry."

What is Carly Fiorina Doing For Debate Night?

As you know by now, despite beating John Kasich and Chris Christie in Iowa, after pressure from a number of high-profile politicians and evidence of voter support in New Hampshire, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will not be on the ABC News GOP presidential debate stage tonight. After the final decision was made to leave her off stage, Fiorina called the game "rigged." 

So, what will she be doing? According to an email sent out by her campaign, Mrs. Fiorina will enjoy date night with husband, Frank Fiorina.

"Despite the efforts of the media and professional political class to stand in her way, Carly will not stop fighting to take our country back," the campaign released in a statement. Instead of the debate, Carly and Frank will be having a date night of dinner and a movie in Room 306."

As GOP Debate Begins, North Korea Conducts Missile Test

The Republican candidates are literally about to take their spots on the debate stage in Manchester, New Hampshire–and North Korea has launched a long-range missile (via CNN):

North Korea has launched a long-range "missile," a South Korean defense ministry official told CNN Sunday.

North Korea has moved up the launch window for a rocket by one day, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Saturday.

The new window, which was also narrowed, is February 7-14; the old window was February 8-25. The areas where debris would fall remain unchanged.

The announcement comes just days after the reclusive country's initial launch plans came to light, which drew condemnation from South Korea and Japan. And it means blastoff could come as early as 7 a.m. Sunday in North Korea (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday).

Though North Korea says it's putting a satellite into orbit, the launch is viewed by others as a front for a ballistic missile test.

Last week, South Korea warned against the launch, with North Korea they’re launching a rocket containing an observational satellite.

Behold: The Most Tone-Deaf Tweet in the History of Twitter

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose "maximize exposure" debate schedule was so bad unauthorized debates were scheduled, has sent out what is quite possibly the most tone-deaf tweet in the history of Twitter:


Let's compare, shall we?

The Republicans have had eight debates (including tonight's, in Manchester, NH) this election season, dating back to August. Exactly one of those (tonight's) has been held on a weekend, and the lowest-rated debate still had more viewers than three of the four Democratic debates.

Conversely, the DNC has hosted five debates: Three were on weekends (one on a Saturday night, one the weekend before Christmas, and another was on another holiday weekend), and one, February 4th's debate in New Hampshire, was a last-second addition and was initially unsanctioned by the party.

New Hampshire has a primary on Tuesday, so it makes sense to host a debate in the area immediately prior to the election, even if it may be the eve of Super Bowl Sunday. (To this author's knowledge, "Super Bowl Eve" is not an event that people celebrate, plus, with the Patriots not in the game, many New Hampshirites will not be watching.) Now, if the RNC had decided to hold the debate during the Super Bowl, I'd say Wasserman Schultz was on to something. However, holding debates during football games is more of a Democrat thing, anyways.

You're projecting, Debbie. It's not a good look.

Tonight's debate will be hosted by ABC and IJ Review, and will feature Hot Air's Mary Katharine Ham as one of the panelists questioning the candidates.

LIVE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE: Republicans' Saturday Night Brawl on ABC News

UPDATE (Matt): You can watch the fireworks here:

***Original Post***

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Ted Cruz has a small delegate lead and a big win under his belt. Marco Rubio is riding major momentum, both in New Hampshire and nationally. Donald Trump owns a double-digit polling lead in this first-in-the-nation primary. The three remaining governors all need big results on Tuesday, or risk suffering a fatal blow to their campaigns. And two other Republican hopefuls may be on the brink of ending their candidacies. The stage is set for tonight's high-stakes GOP debate on the campus of Saint Anselm College, where the remaining field of eight candidates has been (controversially) whittled down to seven, following Carly Fiorina's exclusion under ABC News' participation threshold formula.  Three storylines to keep an eye on:

(1) Get Rubio.  On the heels of an unexpectedly strong finish in Iowa and a flurry of endorsements, the Florida Senator is surging.  His campaign has been framing the nominating contest as a three-man race among Rubio, Trump and Cruz -- a narrative that several other candidates are heavily invested in exploding.  Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have been hammering Rubio as inexperienced, unaccomplished, and too conservative to win, with reports circulating that the two governors' aides have informally colluded to bring down the younger Senator.  For what it's worth, Ohio Governor John Kasich has effectively lived in this state for weeks, has largely eschewed attacks, and has been polling well.  He's openly conceded that a swing-and-miss here on Tuesday will doom his candidacy.  Ted Cruz also senses Rubio coming on strong, and will be eager to cement himself as the most conservative man in the race.  Rubio has earned the spotlight, which is a blessing and a curse.  He'll be the target of intense criticism tonight, under the brightest of lights: A primetime debate on a national broadcast network in the thick of a high-interest primary battle.  Team Rubio knows this is coming.  But when the red light flips on, will he be ready?

(2) "Fraud" and Trump's temperament.  Billionaire Donald Trump, the heavy frontrunner in New Hampshire according to the polls, has been all over the map over recent days.  Literally.  He's spent surprisingly little time in the Granite State, evidently betting that his polling cushion and the state's more primary voting system (which, to his advantage, includes independent voters) will carry the day on Tuesday.  He's also swung wildly from accepting his Iowa loss graciously, to accusing Ted Cruz of "stealing" the election through "fraud," to shrugging off that incendiary allegation, to reiterating it:

The Texas Senator has argued that this turbulent sore-loser "Trumper tantrum" underscores Trump's erratic behavior, directly suggesting that he's too unstable to be trusted with the presidency.  So who will show up tonight?  The Donald Trump who was furiously demanding a re-do in Iowa and branding Cruz a "total liar," or the Donald Trump who's putting the Hawkeye State in the rearview mirror and hailing Cruz as a possible running mate?   Expect questions based on both Trump's cries of "fraud," and Cruz's "nuke Denmark" retort -- probably right out of the gate.

(3) Nearing the end of the line for Carson and Carly?  Given the flare-up over the false rumors over Carson's next moves after Iowa (which I've concluded basically amounted to the Cruz campaign ruthlessly and perhaps underhandedly exploiting an odd decision by Team Carson, but that didn't significantly impact the outcome), it may be risky to raise the specter of Carson leaving the race.  Then again, his campaign has undergone significant layoffs, with more to come after New Hampshire, we're told.  Hmm.  And though I understand and mostly share Team Fiorina's frustration over Carly being the only candidate left off the debate stage this evening, her strong debating skills have not translated into growing support for whatever reason.  A poor showing on what should theoretically be favorable terrain for her may push her out of the race.

Finally, on a more personal note, our Townhall Media colleague Mary Katharine Ham -- my close friend and co-author -- will serve as tonight's conservative moderator.  I know firsthand how diligently and thoughtfully she's honed and refined her questions (I'm sworn to secrecy) and cannot wait to see her in action.  We'll see you post-debate for instant analysis.  In the meantime, follow our team's live tweets throughout the debate, and feel free to add your running thoughts in the comments section  And away we go...

Survey: Voters Still Believe American Dream Is 'Alive and Well'

Eureka College, the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan, released its first annual “American Opportunity Index,” this week, which measured how much freedom and opportunity Americans feel they have to pursue their dreams.

Based on respondents’ views, American opportunity stands at 66 percent of its full potential. These findings, carried out in partnership with national research and polling firm McLaughlin & Associates, are based on seven metrics: personal access, equality of access, compared to past generations, compared to other nations, attitude about the future, belief in the future of American Opportunity and leadership.          

“As the smallest college to graduate a President of the United States and as a college that provides opportunities for all our students, we believe it is essential to assess the general perspectives of the American people on opportunity,” said Eureka College President, Dr. J. David Arnold. “The results from the 2016 American Opportunity Index are also a litmus test whether index respondents share President Reagan’s optimism about the future—do they, like President Reagan, view America as a ‘shining city on a hill.'”

A random sampling of 1,000 adults were asked seven questions, which were then collectively scored to create the Index. Here are the findings:

-91 percent agree that America gives them the freedoms & opportunities to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams

-2:1 agree that every American today has the same freedom and opportunity to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams.

-54 percent agree that they have the same freedoms and opportunities to pursue their dreams today that their parents and grandparents had.

-50 percent agree that future generations will have the same freedoms and opportunities to pursue their dreams compared to today.

-90 percent agree that Americans have greater freedoms and opportunities to pursue their dreams compared to people living in other countries.

-73 percent believe the concept of the overall promise of freedom and opportunity will exist in America’s future.

-57 percent believe that leaders are working to make sure Americans have the freedom and opportunity to use their talents and skills to pursue their dreams.

The Index results varied across sub-groups, however, such as political party affiliation, race and ethnicity, and generations.

“The idea of freedom and opportunity in America is alive and well, but skepticism exists when voters are asked in a more personal fashion,” the report states, noting the lower Index score among younger voters is not surprising given the current economic and societal conditions.

“Will this translate into political disillusionment for younger voters or perhaps motivate them to turnout? The American Opportunity Index will help to answer these questions and gauge these sentiments from year to year and it will be quite instructive to see how the Index is affected one year from now, on the heels of the inauguration of our next President,” it concludes. 

You can take a sample version of the poll here and see how your answers stack up to the other respondents. 

Bernie Sanders Will Be on SNL Tonight

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who effectively tied Hillary Clinton in Monday's Iowa caucuses, will appear on Saturday Night Live tonight in a special cameo appearance. The episode is hosted by comedian Larry David, who did a hilarious impersonation of the candidate on the show in October.

A Sanders official confirmed that the appearance was happening:

Hillary Clinton appeared on the show in October, and Donald Trump was the host of the November 7, 2015 episode.

Iowa Democratic Party Capitulates, Will Review Caucus Results

After the Iowa Democratic Party rejected calls for an audit of last Monday night’s results, they have finally agreed to look at the tallies, following concerns that some precincts had irregular numbers.

Allegations of voter fraud have also been hurled. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said during the Democrats’ New Hampshire debate that he would welcome an audit, but he doesn’t want to blow this out of proportion; noting that both he or Hillary need 2,382 delegates to clinch the nomination.

The Iowa Caucuses allocated 23 delegates to Clinton and 21 to Sanders. This isn’t the end of the world for the Sanders camp. The self-described democratic socialist also mentioned that if an audit would occur, it would probably break even between him and Mrs. Clinton.

And that appears to be what they’re doing (via Des Moines Register):

Iowa Democratic Party officials are reviewing results from the Iowa caucuses and making updates where discrepancies have been found.

Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire the day after Monday's caucuses said no review would be conducted, and that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s narrow victory over Bernie Sanders was final.

But as errors are being discovered, the final tally is being changed, party officials confirmed to the Des Moines Register on Friday.

"Both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have flagged a very small number of concerns for us, and we are looking at them all on a case-by-case basis," Iowa Democratic Party spokesman Sam Lau told the Register.

The latest development follows widespread questions among Iowa Democrats and national media about the accuracy of the counts reported on caucus night, which saw the second-highest number of participants and closest result in Democrats' caucus history.

The Register had previously called the Democratic Iowa Caucus a “debacle,” and implored the state party to conduct an audit, including a list of each precinct that executed a coin flip to break a tie and the results.