Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Candidates make final push as New Hampshire polls close – as it happened

Who are you voting for?
Alison Croughwell, 28, from Salem, a farmer and student
Voted for: Bernie Sanders
“I voted for Bernie - I think he’d do a wonderful job. It’s nice to know he has been a leader but he’s also a person like us - he’s not on the same pedestal as other candidates are.”
Do we need a revolution? “Yes, I think we have forgotten where we came from and Bernie reminds us of that. I think people my age can relate to Bernie. It’s the first time at my school where I have heard a lot of kids talking about wanting to vote, and that made me excited.”
Alison Croughwell.
 Alison Croughwell. Photograph: Lee Glendinning for the Guardian
Jennifer McKenzie, 61, of Salem
“I voted for Hillary, I was undecided coming in but I thought she was probably the best candidate. I was really torn as there are not many promising candidates. But I think with the knowledge that she has Hillary can really do something. I was choosing between Hillary and Sanders but I wanted a woman. It’s time for a woman.”
Jennifer McKenzie
 Jennifer McKenzie. Photograph: Lee Glendinning for the Guardian
Tom Parsons, 68, a retired veteran from Salem
“I voted for Donald Trump, I think he’ll bring the country back in the right direction and he’s pro-veteran. I like three or four more of the current Republican field but I decided on Trump after the first debate. We’ve had eight years of a lousy leader and we really need a shake-up.”
Tom Parsons.
 Tom Parsons. Photograph: Lee Glendinning for the Guardian
Who are you voting for?
Gail Schuman, a 68-year-old widow from Manchester, New Hampshire
Voted for: Hillary Clinton (decided “after the last debate”)
“I don’t think she and Bernie are as far apart as they pretend to be. Too bad they’re not running together, as running mates ... I don’t think they [younger voters] grasp the importance of experience. And she has so much experience.”
Gail Schuman.
 Gail Schuman. Photograph: Jonathan Freedland for the Guardian
Curtis Page, a 44-year-old engineer from Manchester
Voted for: Donald Trump (decided “a long time ago”)
Does America need a revolution? Yes. “I want no established politicians. I want a complete outsider. I like what he says about immigration.”
Curtis Page.
 Curtis Page. Photograph: Jonathan Freedland for the Guardian
Who are you voting for?
Jim DiCarlo, a teacher from Exeter
Voted for: Bernie Sanders
Decided: “about a week ago”
Excited about a President Sanders on a scale of one to 10: 7
Excited about a President Clinton: 7
Does American need a revolution? “No, I think it’s more that I like Hillary less than I like Senator Sanders. There’s something about her I just don’t like. I know I ought to, but you don’t always get the whole story from her. Sure, I worry that Bernie can’t get elected against one of the Republicans in November, but I’ll vote for anybody that isn’t one of them. I wish there was a third choice.”
Jim DiCarlo
 Jim DiCarlo Photograph: Matt Sullivan for the Guardian
Kathleen, 52, from Exeter
Voted for: Ted Cruz. She decided late yesterday
Excited about Cruz, on a scale 1-10: 7
Rest of field: “crazy”
Does American need a revolution? “I did vote for him for a revolution, yes. I believe in his views and he showed this week that they’re consistent.”
 Kathleen Photograph: Matt Sullivan for the Guardian
Who are you voting for?
Carol Brewitt, of Exeter, was “very ticked off” because a registration snafu had prevented her from casting a vote for her preferred candidate - “Hillary, of course.”
“I love to travel, I love the world,” she said. “[Clinton is] very professional and she’ll keep the country right in the eyes of the world ... She’s a substantial woman with a brain and she can handle all of that.”
Diane Wright, 72, of Exeter decided to support Bernie Sanders when she walked into the polling station at the Tuck Learning Campus gym in Exeter. “I love Hillary and I always wanted a woman president,” Wright said. “But I don’t really trust her. She reminds me too much of Bill.”
Wright took an online questionnaire to match her views to the best candidate, and Sanders came out on top. “He seems to care about the people,” Wright said.
Bonnie Maney, a senior citizen of Exeter, said she had switched from Clinton to Sanders two weeks ago, when her daughter, who is in her early 30s, finally convinced her.
“Every time I turned around, [my daughter] had another argument” for Sanders, Maney said. “She doesn’t know if she can even afford a house.” Maney said she was impressed when she saw Clinton speak last November, but her daughter “pretty much talked me out of it”.
Richard Pang, also of Exeter, voted for Jeb Bush. He gave Trump a mark of zero out of 10. “He talks a lot of nonsense.” Pang had supported Marco Rubio until the last debate, on Saturday, when he thought Rubio stumbled - and Bush effectively attacked Trump. “He really drew the blood of Donald Trump,” Pang said of Bush.
Mark O’Dowd
 Mark O’Dowd Photograph: Ben Jacobs for the Guardian
Who are you voting for?
Mark O’Dowd, 55, from Manchester, NH
Party: Democrat
Voted for: Hillary Clinton
Made up mind: over a month ago
Opinion on Clinton on a scale of 1-10: 6
Should there be a revolution, like Bernie Sanders has suggested? “Yes, but I don’t know that it is going happen.”
Who are you voting for?
Chris Comfort, 50, from Rochester, voted for Trump this morning.
“I really believe he can make America great again,” said Comfort, a retired pharmacist. “I really believe he’s not owned by anyone and that’s a big thing in politics today.”
Comfort said he also liked Bernie Sanders.
“He is like Donald Trump in the fact that he’s a man of principle. He doesn’t waver,” he said. “Mr Sanders has always been for what he believes in and I respect that.”
Comfort was relaxing in Mel Flanagan’s Irish pub and restaurant. I was in there eating a beef stew.
“If you want to see the value of a man look at his children,” Comfort said of Trump. Comfort is quite taken with Ivanka Trump in particular. He described her as “the American Diana”, referring to the deceased ex-wife of Prince Charles. “She’s a class act.”
Who are you voting for?
Names: Shane and Susie Stevens
Age: 45 and 47
Party: Republican
From: Rochester, New Hampshire
Voted for: Both Trump
When did you decide? Shane: “I didn’t really make up my mind until I stood in the box.” Susie: “This morning.”
Why Trump? Shane: “He has really no reason to run for president. He’s not corrupt he’s just doing it to help the country.”
How excited are you about Trump, on a scale of 1 to 10? “8.” “8.”
How excited for the rest of the GOP field? “8.” “8.”
Do you think we need a revolution? Shane: “Yes. I do. There’s too much corruption.”
Shane and Susie Stevens.
 Shane and Susie Stevens. Photograph: Adam Gabbatt for the Guardian
Here’s what we know at this point, writes Jeb Lund: nothing. Here’s what everyone else knows: nothing.
Hillary Clinton needs to win among people to win New Hampshire, but if Bernie Sanders does better among people he will prevail, especially considering his lead among people. This could really shape our understanding of how Clinton or Sanders do amongst people.
Trump leads the Republican pack, but his voters still might not be real, which could be a problem for him, because that could mean that fewer people will vote for him than another person. That other person? He could be Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich or Jeb Bush. It’s neck and neck between what could happen and another thing that could happen.
Not knowing anything isn’t going to stop 24-hour news from packing the day with the on-air nutritive equivalent of packing peanuts. MSNBC is, by far, the least intolerable of the big three cable networks, and even watching it for a few hours is enough to send you to an animal shelter full of rabies in a hamburger suit.
John Heilemann and Mark Halperin are there to ad lib the sequel to their seminal book, Double Change: Game Down. You could turn the TV off and simulate the process of listening to them by saying: “When it’s warm out, you don’t need to wear a sweater,” then shoving a $5 bill down a whirring garbage disposal. If Michael Bloomberg decides to run for president, his campaign should be dragged into the street and shot merely for the fact that he pays this pair six figures, at a minimum. Rich people know how to fix things!
Helming this cruise off the edge of the world are chair-warmer Mika Brzezinski and sometime legal representative of an abortion-doctor murderer Joe Scarborough, potentially the most luminous mind to ever talk loudly on the streets of Mossy Head, Florida. That he was never locked in a Port-O-Let at the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival and dragged into a barren stretch of scrub oak in 1994 tarnishes Okaloosa County’s legacy of being a place of good folk.
For depth, they’re periodically throwing it to Mike Barnicle, whose every good line should send you to Google just to make sure Mike Royko didn’t say it first. This is programming that makes you yearn for a Jublia ad just to see a more human toenail fungus.
Periodically leavening the broadcast are appearances by campaign strategists. Their candidates are doing very well! Their candidates’ opponents are going to be in trouble, especially if they don’t do well among people, unlike the candidates who are polling well among people. This outcome is going to surprise you, unless it doesn’t, which you shouldn’t have counted out, unless you should have expected it.
This klatsch of well-fed vampires is being filmed in front of a restaurant of New Hampshire residents, in case you were wondering where the real meat is. If you held a mirror up to it, the only people you’d see would be diners sitting behind a stack of empty, well-lit chairs.
This is Paul Owen taking over the blog from a polling place in Salem,New Hampshire.
The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui files from Derry, New Hampshire, where Marco Rubio is attempting to contain the damage of a disastrous debate performance:
Marco Rubio outside of Gilbert Hood Middle School in Derry, New Hampshire.
 Marco Rubio outside of Gilbert Hood Middle School in Derry, New Hampshire. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP
In the wake of the last Republican presidential debate, Marco Rubio has found himself combating an emerging narrative that he is too scripted - if not incapable of straying from talking points. But the Florida senator on Tuesday showed a more personal side when approached by a New Hampshire voter plagued by a family history of cancer.
It was meant to be a simple drive-by for Rubio, who visited multiple polling centers here as New Hampshire residents cast their votes for the first-in-the-nation primary. Standing outside a middle school, Rubio seamlessly worked his way through a group of volunteers and voters lined up on the sidewalk - shaking their hands and posing for pictures.
It was there that Stephanie Tsepas, a registered independent of Derry, awaited an opportunity to press the senator on cancer research.
Tsepas had met Rubio just a few nights earlier at a rally he held in the same school, but he was ushered away at the time without being able to offer her a response in full
Reintroducing herself, Tsepas spoke of how her husband had been diagnosed with colon cancer as a teenager and now her 12-year-old son was found to have a precursor of the same disease.
Rubio, to her surprise, remembered their previous encounter and this time engaged in a detailed - and deeply personal - conversation about cancer and its toll on society.
“My dad had lung cancer,” Rubio said. “He was 84. He smoked his whole life. It took him pretty quickly.”
There were also two aunts who died of pancreatic cancer, he added, and the diagnosis of his nephew with leukemia.
“He’s done well from it, but it’s tough,” Rubio said of his nephew, now 9 years old. “Every year it’s something different. It’s not just cancer, it’s all the stuff that comes with it. It’s the infections, it’s the chemo, and it’s tough to see in a little boy.”
The tale of Rubio’s father is a staple on the campaign trail - the senator has long captivated crowds with the inspirational tale of his immigrant parents, who worked as a bartender and a maid to leave their children better off. But he has seldom opened up about his father’s passing just two months before Rubio was elected to the US Senate in 2010.
Rubio also discussed with Tsepas his support for more federal funding toward cancer research. Citing the initiative Barack Obama announced in last month’s State of the Union, to be led by vice president Joe Biden, who lost his son Beau to cancer last year, Rubio said he would favor boosting investment in developing and expanding targeted cancer therapies.
He also showed interest in the specific problems Tsepas was facing, ranging from where her son would be treated to whether a procedure to remove the boy’s colon as a preventive measure would be covered by their insurance.
“I’m sorry for what you’re facing,” Rubio said, placing his arm on her shoulder as he wrapped up the conversation.
Tsepas said she walked away more impressed than she had been before. When attending Rubio’s rally on Friday, she said, “I felt like I was in one of his commercials.”
“But today, I loved the honesty. It was definitely more personal for him,” Tsepas added.
Although heading into the polls still undecided, she ultimately chose not to vote for Rubio moments later. It was not that the senator wasn’t personable, she said, adding that it was a tough decision.
In the end, Tsepas simply concluded she was seeking a candidate with more experience.
“I just don’t think now is his time,” she said. “Maybe in four years.”
Who are you voting for?
“I really like Trump.”
 “I really like Trump.” Photograph: Lee Glendinning for the Guardian
Andrew J Stollar
Age: 74
Party: Republican
Profession: Retired
From: Exeter, New Hampshire
Voting for: Donald Trump
Made up his mind: This morning.
Support for Trump, 1-10: 10
“I like Trump’s positions. I was going to vote for Carson on principles, and because he’s more intellectual than Trump, but really I would vote for any of the Republican field except Bush. I’m a solid conservative, and I really like Trump.”
“There doesn’t need to be a revolution in poltics, but there needs to be a revolution in Washington DC and for the distribution of power to come back to the states.”
Who would you vote for?
 On Hillary Clinton: “I think she’s a criminal.”
Who are you voting for?
“We need to find the person who will change the way things are done and I don’t think there is anyone else who will be able to do that apart from Trump.”
 “We need to find the person who will change the way things are done and I don’t think there is anyone else who will be able to do that apart from Trump.” Photograph: Lee Glendinning for the Guardian
Robert Goeman
Age: 66
Party: Republican
Profession: Retired three weeks ago
From: Exeter, New Hampshire
Voted for: Donald Trump
Made up his mind: About a month ago
Opinion on Donald Trump, scale 1-10: 9
Do we need a revolution? “Well, yes and no. We need to find the person who will change the way things are done and I don’t think there is anyone else who will be able to do that apart from Trump. We need an outsider to be able to achieve that.”
Like Taylor Swift, Ted Cruz’s response to Donald Trump repeating the vulgar insult of a primary voter was to “shake it off.”
Speaking briefly to reporters at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester,New Hampshire, Cruz said that Trump’s repetition of a criticism that labeled him “a pussy” was typical Trump behavior. “He didn’t like that he lost in Iowa and his response is to simply yell and insult and engage in profanity,” Cruz said. “My approach is not respond in kind. From the beginning of campaign when he and others have chosen to insult, to go to the gutter I don’t respond in kind.”
Cruz then pivoted to claim “a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Obamacare” and to claim “if you vote for Donald Trump, you vote for Bernie Sanders style socialized medicine.”
The Texas senator defeated Trump in the Iowa caucuses by a margin of 27.6% to 24.3%.
The Democratic and/or Republican candidate selected by the town of Rochester has ultimately won the New Hampshire primary every election since 1972. (Apart from 1992. That year Rochester voted for Bill Clinton. Paul Tsongas ended up winning in New Hampshire.)
So Rochester should serve as a good indicator of who will be crowned Premier of the Primaries this evening. And according to the twenty minutes I just spent at Rochester’s Voting Ward 2, Donald Trump is going to win. And win big!!
Christine Draper
Age: 47
Party: Republican
From: Rochester, New Hampshire
Voting for: Jeb Bush
Made up her mind: Last week
Opinion on Donald Trump, scale of 1 -10: 4
“I believe Donald Trump, when he spouts his stuff, he doesn’t necessarily mean it the way it comes out. But that’s not good.”
 “I believe Donald Trump, when he spouts his stuff, he doesn’t necessarily mean it the way it comes out. But that’s not good.” Photograph: Adam Gabbatt for the Guardian
“I would have preferred to vote for Bernie Sanders, but I’m a declared Republican so I couldn’t.” By the time Draper decided on Sanders it was too late to switch her affiliation. “I knew what Bernie’s message was – it was once I heard his plan to put it in place [that I decided I would have voted for him].”
“I believe Donald Trump, when he spouts his stuff, he doesn’t necessarily mean it the way it comes out. But that’s not good.”
Do you think we need a revolution? “I do, I absolutely do. I don’t believe the political system as it is represents what the people want.”
Who are you voting for?
“You gotta vote ABC: anybody but Clinton. That woman cannot be trusted.”
 “You gotta vote ABC: anybody but Clinton. That woman cannot be trusted.” Photograph: Matt Sullivan for the Guardian
Glenn Klink
Age: 55
Party: Independent
Profession: Unemployed, on disability
From: Exeter, New Hampshire
Voting for: Dr. Ben Carson, the “most reasonable, kind-hearted man in the field.”
Do we need a revolution? “Should be, yeah - and what I tweeted out to all my independent friends is that if you’re gonna vote Democrat, vote for Bernie ... Don’t forget, you gotta vote ABC: anybody but Clinton. That woman cannot be trusted.”
Less than a month after Donald Trump began his improbable presidential campaign that has brought him to the cusp of victory in the New Hampshire primaries, the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs (a latter-day Cassandra who prefers to be known as a latter-day Jeremiah) pointed out that the “loudmouth who has never spent a day in public office” was resonating with voters in a way seldom seen before.
Seven months later, his initial instincts about Trump’s candidacy are eerily prescient:
Donald Trump announces his candidacy. We were so young then.
 Donald Trump announces his candidacy. We were so young then. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA
Donald Trump is a loudmouth who has never spent a day in public office. And that is why his supporters want him to be president.
The controversial billionaire’s rise in polls regarding the Republican field has been met by the chattering classes with a sense of shock and disgust. Trump has been tabloid fodder for decades, for a colorful personal life, a propensity foroutlandish statements and, of course, his hair.
But as Republican candidates back away from him over his remarks about Mexico and immigrants, and corporate partners cut business ties, Trump has rocketed in the polls. The very qualities that earn the former host of The Celebrity Apprentice the scorn of media and political elites cause many everyday voters to embrace him.
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