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Trump, Sanders First In New Hampshire

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Two of the presidential candidates on the outskirts of mainstream politics won big in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.Republican Donald Trump rebounded strongly from a second place finish to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses last week, pulling in 35 percent of the vote in the Granite State. He started off his victory speech Tuesday night with the phrase heard and seen – mostly on hats – for much of the past year.

“We are going to make America great again,” said Trump.

On the Democratic side, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders garnered 60 percent of the vote, 22 percentage points above former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. New Hampshire follows Sanders’ extremely narrow defeat in Iowa.

“Tonight, we served notice to the political and economic establishment of this country that the American people will not continue to accept a corrupt campaign finance system that is undermining American democracy,” Sanders said. “And we will not accept a rigged economy in which ordinary Americans work longer hours for lower wages, while almost all new income and wealth goes to the top percent.”

Trump, a real estate mogul, noted businessman and reality television star, and the self-described Democratic socialist Sanders aren’t exactly typical presidential candidates. Trump was once a registered Democrat, something Sanders has not been. Coming in second behind Trump was Ohio Governor John Kasich, a result that surprised many.

“At a time when clearly change is in the air maybe, just maybe, we are turning the page on a dark part of American politics because tonight the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning,” said Kasich.

The former chair of the U.S. House Budget Committee who spent much of the 2000s in banking said he held 106 town halls in the Granite State.

“What it takes for somebody to be a leader – it’s not just what’s up here in the head, it’s also what’s deep here in the heart and the people of New Hampshire have taught me a lesson and from this day forward I’m going to go slower and spend my time listening, healing, helping and bringing people together to fix our great country,” said Kasich.

Clinton, a former U.S. Senator from New York, acknowledged Sanders’ wave of support among young people.

"I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people, but I will repeat again what I have said this week,” Clinton said. “Even if they are not supporting me now, I support them. Because I know I've had a blessed life, but I also know what it's like to stumble and fall. And so many people across America know that feeling."

Referring to Sanders’ attacks on her connections to Wall Street and super PACs, Clinton said the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was a right-wing attack on her previous presidential candidacy.

“You’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me,” Clinton said. “We also agree that Wall Street can never be allowed to once again threaten main street, and I will fight to rein in Wall Street, and you know what, I know how to do it."

Speaking for roughly a half-hour, Sanders continued his message of ending income inequality with ideas he says will be paid for by taxes on Wall Street.

“We’re going to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” Sanders said. “And, we are going to bring pay equity for women. And, when we need the best educated workforce in the world, yes, we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free.”

Like Sanders, Trump reiterated much of what he has spoken about throughout the campaign – repealing and replacing Obamacare, eliminating Common Core and preserving the 2nd Amendment.

“If we had protection in California recently and so many other places, you can even look to Paris,” Trump said. “France has the toughest gun laws in the world. These animals go in. They start shooting. One, two, three…130 people with many people horribly wounded, right now in the hospital. If there were bullets going in the other direction, believe me it would’ve been a whole different story, folks.”

The remaining Republicans finished in this order: Cruz in third, then Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and finally Ben Carson. On Wednesday, Fiorina announced she was ending her presidential campaign.

South Carolina Republicans vote in their primary February 20 followed by Democrats a week later. Nevada’s Democratic caucus is February 20. The state’s Republican caucus is February 23. Vermont and Massachusetts are among the 13 states holding primaries or caucuses for at least one party on Super Tuesday, March 1.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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