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Biden surrogates try to mask disappointing night

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Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden watch as Biden, behind right, and his wife Jill Biden, behind left, appear in a video transmission during a primary election night rally, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A pair of Joe Biden surrogates tried their best to mask a disappointing night for the absent Democratic presidential candidate at his campaign’s New Hampshire watch party.

Biden originally planned to attend, but his campaign announced late Tuesday morning that that he would instead hold an event in South Carolina.

That left former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, to take his place.

Biden Owens said this was “the very beginning of a long marathon to the nomination. And we’re ready to go the distance.”

“While the results don’t seem to be what we hoped, we’re going to take our campaign to every corner of this country,” Biden Owens said.

Appearing to the audience via live stream, Biden vowed to return to defeat President Donald Trump in November’s general election.

“I do love New Hampshire,” Biden said. “And I mean it.”

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8:50 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has addressed her New Hampshire supporters without waiting for results in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.

The Massachusetts senator took the stage at her party near the airport in Manchester barely 20 minutes after polls closed in some areas Tuesday. She spoke for 15 minutes, then had attendees line up for her famous “selfie” line.

Warren said that both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg had “strong nights” and congratulated her “friend and colleague” Amy Klobuchar for how wrong political pundits are “when they count us out.”

She says Sanders and Buttigieg are “both great candidates.” She says, “I respect them both, but the fight between factions in our party has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks.”

Warren calls herself the best candidate to unite the Democratic Party, adding, “The fight we’re in, the fight to save our democracy, is an uphill battle, but our campaign is built for the long haul and we’re just getting started.”

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8:40 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet have dropped out of the 2020 race after disappointing finishes in New Hampshire.

The two made their announcements separately Tuesday night shortly after polls closed in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Yang is an entrepreneur who created buzz for his presidential campaign by championing a universal basic income that would give every American adult $1,000 per month. Bennet is a Colorado senator who staked his bid largely on trying to win New Hampshire but failed to gain traction.

The Democratic field has now dropped to single digits. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg finished in a near tie for the lead in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses last week.

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8 p.m.

President Donald Trump has easily won New Hampshire’s Republican primary against minimal opposition.

Trump was declared the winner as polls in the state closed Tuesday night.

Four years ago, the state offered Trump his first primary victory and helped catapult him to the White House. But Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November general election.

Trump has benefited from strong support from the Republican Party since then, and his campaign has worked to seize control of the nominating process to turn August’s GOP convention into a “four-day infomercial” for his campaign.

The president held a rally in Manchester on Monday night and deployed surrogates throughout the state Tuesday. It was an effort both to energize supporters and to do a test-run of the campaign’s organizing efforts for November. New Hampshire is viewed as the most likely Clinton state to swing toward Trump.

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7 p.m.

Polls have begun closing in New Hampshire for the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

Bernie Sanders is fighting for Democratic front-runner status Tuesday. The party is hoping the primary will bring some clarity to a presidential nomination fight that has so far been marred by dysfunction and doubt.

Polls started closing at 7 p.m. in some areas of the state and will close at 8 p.m. in other parts.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is hoping to seize the backing of his party’s establishment with a strong finish, while former Vice President Joe Biden looks to avert political disaster. He left the state for South Carolina before polls closed.

By night’s end, New Hampshire could begin culling the Democrats’ unwieldy 2020 class, which still features nearly a dozen candidates.

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4 p.m.

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is arguing that her top rivals have flaws that will be exposed over time in the Democratic presidential primary and that their White House bids aren’t built for the long haul like hers is.

A lengthy memo from Warren campaign manager Roger Lau, obtained Tuesday, draws the sharpest contrasts yet between the Massachusetts senator and her rivals, something the candidate has mostly refrained from doing personally.

It suggests Bernie Sanders, the race’s other strong progressive, has a “ceiling” for support, while former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign could soon collapse. It argues that Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, won’t be able to win states that are more diverse and vote later in the year.

Warren finished third in Iowa and isn’t expected to win Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire, even though it borders her home state.

Her campaign says it has staffers in 30-plus states and is built for a long, possibly protracted race. Lau’s memo seeks to reassure supporters that she will make it that far.

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3:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says rival Joe Biden’s planned trip to South Carolina as the New Hampshire primary unfolds means “he’s not here to fight for votes.”

The Massachusetts senator stopped at a polling place in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Tuesday afternoon to hug and shake hands with supporters who cheered and waved her campaign signs in a light rain.

Warren was asked about the former vice president saying he was heading to South Carolina, which holds its primary later this month. She replied, “I think it says that he’s not here to fight for the votes in New Hampshire.”

She added: “I think that this is what democracy is about: Get out, talk to voters, fight for every vote.” Supporters chanted, “It’s time for a woman in the White House!”

Biden’s campaign has said he and his wife will travel to Columbia, South Carolina, on Tuesday night for a launch party. The campaign says Biden will address supporters in New Hampshire via livestream.

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2 p.m.

Bernie Sanders hugged and shook hands with supporters outside a Manchester polling place as he awaits the results of the New Hampshire primary.

Sanders wouldn’t speculate as to whether he expects a “resounding” victory in Tuesday’s primary but said he’s hoping for a win. He didn’t comment on rival Joe Biden’s decision to essentially cede New Hampshire and travel to South Carolina later Tuesday.

Sanders says he’s proud “that we have spoke to tens of thousands of people in New Hampshire.”

Supporters outside the polling place wished Sanders luck and said they were proud of him.

One of those voters was Linda Bouldin, 63, who just moved to New Hampshire where her daughter lives last year.

She voted for Sanders in the 2016 Texas primary and “I never stopped loving him.”

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11:35 a.m.

As votes are counted in New Hampshire, former Vice President Joe Biden is shifting ahead to South Carolina, where success is critical to his campaign.

Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign says he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel to Columbia on Tuesday night for a “launch” party. U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond is Biden’s campaign co-chairman and had already been planning to attend the event.

The campaign says Biden will address supporters in New Hampshire via livestream while his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, will thank them in person.

Biden has a lot at stake in South Carolina, where he has led polling and has long relationships with the heavily black electorate. But other candidates including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire Tom Steyer have been campaigning hard in the state.

Biden says in a release he plans to travel later in the week to Nevada, which holds its caucus vote later this month.

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9:40 a.m.

Elizabeth Warren says anyone looking for contrasts between her and fellow progressive Bernie Sanders can find them.

The Massachusetts senator is stopping at polling stations across New Hampshire on Tuesday to greet people voting in the state’s primary. Asked if she’d done enough to differentiate herself from Sanders, Warren said there were key differences that were obvious to voters.

Warren says she doesn’t want to denigrate Sanders but says she has a deep political record of accomplishments, including helping to create a federal agency to protect consumers during the Obama administration. Both Warren and Sanders have been careful not to criticize each other harshly for months as they compete in the Democratic presidential primary.

Near a polling station at Portsmouth Middle School, Warren handed out doughnuts to supporters and spoke to a man on a bike, even using his cellphone to urge his daughter to vote.

Asked if she had any advice for those heading to the polls, Warren quipped “vote for me.”

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9:25 a.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has visited two polling places in New Hampshire’s largest city on primary day. She’s savoring what she calls her “landslide” win in two tiny northern communities that voted just after midnight.

Klobuchar said in Manchester on Tuesday she was “feeling good” and had “just met a lot of people” who voted for her. She says she feels good about “those early results in those gigantic voting locations up there.”

Klobuchar won the Democratic primary in Hart’s Location with six votes and in Millsfield with two. But former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won Dixville Notch with two write-in votes.

Klobuchar says Bloomberg “needs to be on the debate stage” and then she can be on equal footing with him. She says she’s “never going to beat” the billionaire on the airwaves but “can beat him on the debate stage.”

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9 a.m.

Pete Buttigieg says he’s feeling “very good” about his prospects in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is riding a wave as a centrist front-runner following last week’s Iowa caucuses. He essentially tied with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the self-described democratic socialist.

Buttigieg concedes that he’s up against “some neighborhood competition” in Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. But he says he has good momentum and he’s “going to have a great show.”

Asked about his struggle for support among African Americans, Buttigieg told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, “No one is feeling the pain of living in this administration” more than voters of color. Buttigieg says he’s reaching out to voters of color. He says he believes many of them “are taking a second look at candidates” now that the field has been whittled down from more than 20.

Buttigieg says he still has to pinch himself about his performance as just one of those presidential hopefuls. He says just a year and a half ago he was driving his Chevy to work.

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8:45 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is portraying himself as “an underdog” in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

The former vice president noted on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won New Hampshire by 20 percentage points in 2016 and has a next-door neighbor advantage and “real enthusiasm going” for him. But Biden says Sanders’ label as a democratic socialist will not be helpful in the South and other places.

Biden says “I think I’m an underdog here” in New Hampshire but he still feels “good” and is in the race for the “long haul.”

Biden says their party’s 2020 presidential nominee will need significant support from African Americans as well as keeping “working-class white folks,” two areas Biden sees as his strength. Biden says “if you can’t win in Pennsylvania, if you can’t help win Senate seats in North Carolina and Georgia, then it’s going to be awful hard” to beat President Donald Trump.

Biden also took a swipe at billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg for the hundreds of millions of dollars he says they’ve spent on TV advertising. Biden says he’s looking forward to debating Bloomberg because he can’t compete with Bloomberg’s money.

Asked about polling suggesting Bloomberg is cutting into Biden’s support among moderate Americans, Biden says, “It’s amazing what $500 million can do.”

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