The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats gear up for crucial New Hampshire debate

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report — From the trail in New Hampshire: Democrats gear up for crucial debate | What to watch as Dems take the stage | Buttigieg, Sanders in dead heat with Iowa results finally in | How Iowa deepened the divide between Sanders, DNC | Buttigieg surges in new NH poll | Sights and sounds from the Granite State | Sanders speaks at 'Politics & Eggs' breakfast | Vermin Supreme blocks Buttigieg's SUV



Bernt eggs!

...annnnd with that, we've made it to the 'bad pun' phase of primary coverage:

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Biden's 'allies' gearing up to sink his campaign Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support MORE (I-Vt.) hit the classic New Hampshire campaign stop -- the New England Council's "Politics & Eggs" breakfast -- this morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, a few hundred yards from tonight's debate venue. 

This feels so luxurious: The venue has strong Wi-Fi, I have a seat, I was able to park on-site, there is coffee and I didn't have to wait outside in the cold to get in. I can't tell you how rare that is to find on the campaign trail. 

And when they say, "Politics & Eggs," they mean eggs: Per tradition, the tables have wicker baskets of wooden commemorative eggs. Collectors like to get the eggs signed by presidential candidates.

Photo of the basket of eggs: Aren't they adorable?

And an up-close photo of the egg's logo:

But it's not just a tease: The breakfasts do always have actual breakfast eggs. Photo of the breakfast buffet:

^ Check out that woman's patriotic outfit.

Bernie Sanders went to sign a few eggs and then asked out loud: "Does the New Hampshire Institute of Politics have a pen?" realizing he did not have one. Photo:

There. Is. So. Much. Press.: Here's a photo of just part of the packed room. Plus, there's an overflow press room. My photo of the room:

^ LOL -- here is that same photo, but from the other side of the room: From The New Hampshire Institute of Politics's executive director Neil Levesque. Hi, Neil!

Bernie to the press: "Isn't it nice to go to an event where you're not considered the enemy of the people?"

Livestream of the event: It's a classic.


Happy Friday from New Hampshire! Four days until the first-in-the-nation primary. Filing from Saint Anselm College before tonight's Democratic presidential debate, I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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You guys, presidential candidate (ish?) Vermin Supreme is back (!): Supreme runs for president most cycles. He wears a boot on his head. If you don't know about him, here's a quick primer -- it does not disappoint:

Anyway, Supreme asked Gabbard an odd question -- 'What are you going to name your pony?': Seriously, that was his question. Tulsi Gabbard's (D-Hawaii) response: "My pony? .. oh that's right. You have the free pony for everyone plan. Right." Watch -- it's just as weird as you think:  

Here's a photo of Gabbard with Supreme -- and his signature boot hat: It's a rite of passage to pose for a photo with him. The photo:



He's booking it -- that windswept look!: Here is Sanders's entry at a rally. Watch:

I declare 'VICTORY!!!' -- yes, in Michael Scott's voice: Yesterday, Sanders declared victory in the Iowa Caucuses with him in a dead heat with former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPhoto from Bernie's noon press conference yesterday:

This split screen is my life these days: Sanders's press conference yesterday happened at the same time as President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE's post-acquittal press conference. Photo of The Boston Globe's James Pindell covering both  


FROM Joe BidenJoe BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report MORE'S CAMPAIGN:

Biden held no campaign stops in New Hampshire yesterday: Here is what his campaign schedule looked like:

FWIW, here's a strategy idea for Biden -- from Blackout's Scott Conroy, who knows New Hampshire very well: "Biden needs to toss out the script completely these next five days and just talk from the heart in New Hampshire. This has worked many times before for frontrunners with their backs against the wall (Hillary in '08, McCain in '08, Bill in '92, etc.) and it could work again."



When I say 'everyone and their mother,' it still feels like an understatement: A few towns from the Manchester epicenter and with not many competing candidate events yesterday afternoon, Buttigieg held a campaign stop in Merrimack -- and it seemed like literally every member of the media showed up.

Here's a photo of some (!) of the press at the Merrimack event:

Several dozen members of the press were turned away: Photo of some of the crowd -- journalists and New Hampshirites-- being denied access:

So Mayor Pete came to tell everyone the bad news: "I'm so sorry. It sounds like we have more than filled up and won't be able to fit everybody in the space." Video of Buttigieg getting out of his SUV to make the announcement:

If you watch one video today -- here is the reason the campaign trail is so, so strange, but entertaining:




Wooooo, Iowa ~finally~ hit 100 percent of the results

Hey, I'm a New Hampshirite -- I can't not make these snarky comments:


With 100 percent of the caucus results in, former Buttigieg and Sanders are in a dead heat for first place in Iowa. 

The numbers:

Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE: 26.2 percent

Bernie Sanders: 26.1 percent

Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP Biden should name a 'team of colleagues' MORE: 18 percent

Vice President Joe Biden: 15.8 percent

Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP Biden should name a 'team of colleagues' MORE: 12.3 percent



A hell of a time to surge:

Four days before the first-in-the-nation primary, Buttigieg is surging, according to a new WBZ/Boston Globe/Suffolk University daily tracking poll of New Hampshire voters.

The numbers

Bernie Sanders: 24 percent

Pete Buttigieg: 23 percent, up four points in the past 24 hours

Elizabeth Warren: 13 percent 

Joe Biden: 11 percent

The full poll:

Op-ed --'This will be a wild weekend in New Hampshire':


Spotted: Bernie and Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE seeking relationship counseling:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley in Manchester, N.H., "the vote-counting debacle around the Iowa caucuses has furthered distrust and hardened anger between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the national Democratic Party."



Happy first Friday of the month!:

Via The Hill's Sylvan Lane, "The U.S. added 225,000 jobs in January as a decline in trade tensions and mild winter weather boosted a resilient labor market, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)."

For context: "The January jobs gain was far beyond the projections of economists, who expected the U.S. to add between 150,000 and 160,000 workers."

The unemployment rate: "The unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6 percent as the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percent to 63.4."



Classic combo:


Happening outside the debate venue:




  1. Will Buttigieg and Sanders clash?
  2. Will centrists go after one another — or Sanders?
  3. Warren and Sanders are sharing the stage again
  4. Does Bloomberg hover over the debate?
  5. Will anyone actually be watching? It is on a Friday night...

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Max Greenwood:



The House is in. The Senate is out. President Trump is in Charlotte, N.C. and Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

11 a.m. EST: President Trump leaves for Charlotte, N.C.

11 a.m. -- 12 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

11:30 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Twitter says Trump violates rules with 'shooting' threat The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX launch The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Crowds return during Memorial Day weekend MORE host a lunch for governors. 

1:20 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit in Charlotte.

4 p.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House.

7:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the Republican Governors Association Finance Dinner in Washington, D.C.

3 p.m. EST Monday: The Senate returns. The Senate's full schedule:



8 p.m. EST: The Democratic presidential debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Details and how to watch: s

Sunday morning: Former Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press."



Today is National Bubble Gum Day. Its' also National Fettuccine Alfredo Day.


Why would you EVER?:

Via Washingtonian's Jane Recker, "What's It Like to Hit All 91 Metro Stops in a Single Trip?: We gave the Metro Challenge a shot." How it went:


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here's a little girl trying out for the part of Elsa in the next 'Frozen' movie: