Politics

Palin Backs Trump, Accuses Cruz Of "Dirty Politics" After Iowa Win

After Ted Cruz surprised many by winning the Republican Iowa Caucus on Monday, Donald Trump accused his rival of electoral fraud.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Here's What's Happening:

  • Donald Trump on Wednesday said Ted Cruz committed electoral fraud in Iowa, leading to the Texas senator's victory there on Monday night. He wants the results nullified.
  • Also on Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul ended his campaign for the White House. Democrat Martin O'Malley and Republican Mike Huckabee suspended their presidential campaigns on Monday after falling well short in the vote.
  • On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared victory over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a very tight race.
  • Also vying for the GOP nomination are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Updates

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday accused Ted Cruz of "dirty politics," after he had a surprising victory over Donald Trump in Monday's Iowa caucus.

Her comments on Facebook came after Trump earlier accused the Texas senator of "stealing" the victory through electoral fraud.

"Sen. Ted Cruz was spot on when he once noted that 'millions of Americans are asking for accountability and truth.' Which is why it's so curious — and saddens us — this lack of accountability with the lies of Cruz's own campaign," Palin wrote.

"The Cruz Campaign's actions to destroy a good man's efforts to serve are no different than Obama's practice of not holding anyone accountable," she wrote. — David Mack

Here's the full post:

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Donald Trump on Wednesday accused rival Ted Cruz of electoral fraud, after the Texas senator surprised many by claiming victory in Monday's Iowa Caucus.

In a series of tweets, the billionaire New Yorker called for a fresh election to be held in Iowa due to the Cruz campaign's "fraud."

Trump highlighted the Cruz campaign's spreading of a CNN report during Monday's vote that Dr. Ben Carson would not be immediately be traveling to New Hampshire or South Carolina to suggest the retired neurosurgeon was getting out of the race. Staffers did not circulate a statement from the Carson campaign that clarified that he was making a planned trip home to rest and get fresh clothes, before returning to campaigning. Cruz apologized on Tuesday to Carson for the incident.

Trump also pointed to mailers the Cruz campaign sent to Iowa residents last week that told people they had committed a "voting violation" by not voting and urged them to caucus to "improve [their] score." Iowa's secretary of state rebuked the Cruz campaign for "misrepresenting" election law.

"Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus," Trump wrote Wednesday, "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified."

The tweets marked a sudden change in tone from the billionaire developer, after he made a conciliatory concession speech on Monday evening in Iowa, where he placed second. "We finished second, and I want to tell you something, I'm just honored. I'm really honored," Trump said. "And I want to congratulate Ted."

David Mack

Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!

During primetime of the Iowa Caucus, Cruz put out a release that @RealBenCarson was quitting the race, and to caucus (or vote) for Cruz.

Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud. Also, Cruz sent out a VOTER VIOLATION certificate to thousands of voters.

The Voter Violation certificate gave poor marks to the unsuspecting voter(grade of F) and told them to clear it up by voting for Cruz. Fraud

And finally, Cruz strongly told thousands of caucusgoers (voters) that Trump was strongly in favor of ObamaCare and "choice" - a total lie!

Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.

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It's Official, Hillary Takes Iowa

BREAKING: Hillary Clinton wins Democratic caucuses in Iowa.

Clinton has checked Iowa off her list as she gets to work in New Hampshire.

#IowaCaucus: ✅ https://t.co/uhXE6NOmJH

Here's a breakdown of the official results for the Democrats in Iowa.

.@iowademocrats releases official results for Iowa caucuses https://t.co/WYRNlwBhTW

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Trump Tweets For First Time Since Losing Iowa

My experience in Iowa was a great one. I started out with all of the experts saying I couldn't do well there and ended up in 2nd place. Nice

Because I was told I could not do well in Iowa, I spent very little there - a fraction of Cruz & Rubio. Came in a strong second. Great honor

The media has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly. Brought in record voters and got second highest vote total in history!

I will be talking about my wonderful experience in Iowa and the simultaneous unfair treatment by the media-later in New Hampshire. Big crowd

I don't believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one. I will keep doing, but not worth it!

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Shortly after CNN officially declared him a loser, Donald Trump lumbered onto a stage at the Sheraton hotel, peered out over the half-empty ballroom of spectators, and did his very best impression of a gracious runner-up.

"Thank you very much. I love you people. I love you people. Thank you. Unbelievable. I have to start by saying, I simply love the people of Iowa. Unbelievable."

He continued like this for several minutes, thanking his supporters, congratulating his opponents, and sounding nothing at all like the chest-thumping, trouble-making alpha male that has been a campaign sensation for months. When he finished his remarks, one reporter in the room, speaking on behalf of the nation's news media, concluded, "I don't like magnanimous Trump."

He wasn't alone. So how will Trump — and his fans — cope with his bruising loss in Iowa?

McKay Coppins looks at the fallout within the Trump campaign. Read more here.

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Clinton In Narrow Victory

Clinton has eked out a narrow victory against Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses.

With 1682 of 1683 precincts reporting, Clinton has 49.9% of the vote, while Sanders has 49.6%.

Clinton's campaign released a statement declaring themselves the victor in Iowa. "After thorough reporting — and analysis — of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates."

State delegate equivalents awarded tonight, per Iowa Democratic Party: Clinton: 699.57 Sanders: 695.49 O'Malley: 7.68 Pending: 2.28

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At Least Six Precincts Decided By Coin Toss

The race between Clinton and Sanders was so close, that in some cases a coin flip was actually used to decide which candidate would win a county delegate.

In at least six precincts across Iowa Monday, Democratic caucus votes ended in a tie, forcing a coin toss.

The state's official rules for Democratic caucuses allow for a coin toss to decide a winner in case of a tie.

In a video posted by Univision reporter Fernando Peinado, a coin toss was used to break a tie in Des Moines. Clinton won the toss on a supporter's "tails" call.

"So our official delegate for this precinct is Hillary Clinton. It was very, very close. Remember this is a caucus, it was very, very close. It was called by a coin toss," said Lisa Carlson, who is a Sanders supporter.

As FiveThirtyEight points out, a delegate awarded on a coin toss is only for a county — not a statewide delegate which carries greater importance.

This is how the #IowaCaucus works. A tie is solved tossing a coin @HillaryClinton wins

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Last Friday, Gilmore said he would consider one vote in Iowa a victory.

"If I get one vote, frankly, in Iowa, I'll consider it a victory," Gilmore said on the Iowa radio show Mickelson in the Morning. "A single vote, I'll consider it a victory. Because I've told the press that I couldn't compete in Iowa because of the high expense of the process. So, you know, if all of a sudden, what amounts to a write-in vote basically, if people decide that they actually think I'm the right person to be the president, I'd be grateful for their support and I want your listeners to know that."

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Here's what the Republican field looks like with 99% of results in

After 99% of all Republican precincts reported results, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's website:

*27.7% of caucus-goers supported Cruz*24.3% supported Trump*23.1% supported Rubio*9.3% supported Carson*4.5% supported Paul*2.8% supported Bush*1.9% supported Fiorina*1.9% supported Kasich*1.8% supported Huckabee*1.8% supported Christie*1.0% supported Santorum*0.0% supported Gilmore

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DES MOINES — When Hillary Clinton's voice played through the speakers at Bernie Sanders's caucus night party here Monday night, the crowd booed. When glitches caused the video of Clinton's caucus night speech to freeze, the crowd cheered.

When Clinton could be heard saying "I am a progressive," the crowd lost its collective mind with groans and boos.

This was the scene at the Des Moines airport Holiday Inn, where Sanders supporters milled around for hours watching results trickle in from the caucuses. The final result was basically a tie, theoretically giving both Clinton and Sanders a lot to cheer about but in reality re-engergizing a Sanders campaign that privately had worried their movement-based effort wouldn't get the job done in the all-important opening round of the Democratic nomination contest. — Evan McMorris-Santoro

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In his closing speech after the Iowa Caucus, Bernie Sanders called his tight race with Hillary Clinton "a virtual tie," relishing the opportunity to give his stump speech for a national audience.

"What Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution," Sanders said.

Visibly delighted, Sanders reminded his supporters that only nine months ago he had "no political organization, no money, and no name recognition," and that he'd managed to take on "the most powerful political organization" in the country without the help of any Super PACs.

The Vermont senator then went through a laundry list of the policy issues that have defined his campaign, including campaign finance reform, an increased minimum wage, economic equality for women, free college education, mass incarceration, and climate change.

But, as in almost all his speeches, Sanders' central theme was his commitment to fighting income inequality.

"This is a country that is based on fairness," Sanders said. "And it is not fair when the top 0.01% own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. So, are you ready to hear a radical idea? Well, so is America. And the radical idea is that we are going to create an economy that works for working families — not just for millionaires."

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A top supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio called on his rivals to drop out of the race for president, calling his strong finish in Iowa a decisive sign to Republicans who want to take back the White House.

"Tonight's a clear message: If you're another candidate and you want to win in November, you should get behind Marco Rubio," said Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, in response to a question about Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "They should drop out."

Gardner's words — he lamented that "this race is setting records for how much money Republicans are spending against Republicans" — marks the opening of a new phase of the race: intense pressure on Bush, and Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich, to at the very least dial back their attacks on Rubio. The Florida senator was the only one of them to finish with double digits in Iowa and heads into New Hampshire with the momentum that has typically been key to presidential campaigns.

Bush's super PAC, Right to Rise, has spent tens of millions of dollars trying to stop Rubio, a wave of negative advertising that has infuriated establishment Republicans who see Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as the greater threats. Rubio aides declined to speak on the record about Bush in Iowa — indeed, Rubio didn't mention Bush's name — but they made no secret of their disdain for Rubio's former mentor.

"Jeb Bush and Mike Murphy should reevaluate their strategy of trying to tear down Marco, because it's obviously not working," said a Rubio aide.

—Ben Smith

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As results showed her neck-in-neck with rival Bernie Sanders, Clinton said she is looking forward to debating the best direction for the Democratic party.

"I am excited about really getting into the debate with Sen. Sanders about the best way forward to fight for us and America," she said.

She added that she plans to keep fighting for what she believes in because there is "so much stake in this election."

"I will keep standing up for you, I will keep fighting for you," she said. "I will always work to achieve the America that I believe in, where the promise of that dream that we hold out to our children and our grandchildren never fades, but inspires generations to come."

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In his victory speech after winning the Iowa caucus, Cruz thanked his supporters for handing him a win that he said no one in the media thought was possible.

"When the media said, in one voice, 'A conservative cannot win!,' courageous conservatives said 'Yes, we can!'" Cruz said, echoing the sitting president's famous campaign slogan.

Cruz also repeated his critique of "the Washington establishment" and the Obama administration, saying that not one personality could hope to fix the damage done in the last seven years.

The Texas senator also emphasized his commitment to "free markets, constitutional liberty, and Judeo-Christian values," as well as the "revolutionary understanding that all men and all women are created equal, and that our rights do not come from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party or even the Tea Party, but from our creator."

"Weeping may last for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning," Cruz said, quoting the Bible. "Tonight, Iowa has proclaimed to the world, 'morning is coming.'"

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Trump didn't live up to his expectations in Iowa, finishing in second to Ted Cruz. In a brief speech to his supporters, he was uncharacteristically subdued and gracious to the other candidates in the race.

"We finished second, and I want to tell you something, I'm just honored. I'm really honored," Trump said. "And I want to congratulate Ted, and I want to congratulate all of the incredible candidates, including Mike Huckabee, who's become a really good friend of mine. Congratulations to everybody."

Trump said he was looking ahead to New Hampshire and South Carolina, where, he said, he hopes to proclaim victory.

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Rubio finished third in Iowa, but did much better in the state than the polls predicted he would, almost edging out Trump for a second place finish.

"So this is the moment they said would never happen," Rubio told his supporters at a victory party in Iowa.

He continued, "For months, for months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us because we offer too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance. For months they told us because we didn't have the right endorsements or the right political connections, we had no chance. They told me that we have no chance because my hair wasn't gray enough and my boots were too high. They told me I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line. But tonight, tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message. After seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back."

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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announced on Twitter he'll suspend his campaign for the Republican nomination

I am officially suspending my campaign. Thank you for all your loyal support. #ImWithHucK

After failing to gain traction eight years after he won the Iowa caucuses, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announced on Monday night he would suspend his campaign.

In recent weeks, Huckabee allies have spent more than $1 million attacking Ted Cruz — the Republican victor on Monday night — questioning his Christian faith.

Huckabee himself appeared last week with Donald Trump on the night he skipped the Republican debate, prompting some to speculate that Huckabee would endorse the billionaire.

But spokesman Hogan Gidley told BuzzFeed News on Monday night that Huckabee will not attend an upcoming Trump event — a source of that speculation — in Arkansas.

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In a major victory for his campaign, Cruz edged out Trump to win the Republican Iowa caucuses. Trump is now in a tight race with Rubio for second place, with only one percentage point separating the two candidates.

Cruz's victory in Iowa is a major blow to Trump, who has led the polls in Iowa for the better part of the past seven months. Earlier on Monday, Trump's campaign manager said that anything less than a first-place finish in Iowa for Trump would be a defeat.

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Marjorie From Iowa Says She Supports Trump Because He Rebuilt the World Trade Center (He Didn't)

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An Iowan woman named Marjorie told NRP on Monday evening she supported Donald Trump because he rebuilt the World Trade Center after the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Trump had no involvement in the reconstruction of the World Trade Center.

"I think a lot of Iowans are forgetting something with Donald Trump," said Marjorie. "You remember when the airplanes hit the twin towers and people were jumping off the twin towers and it all collapsed and the bodies were laying all over the place. That's exactly what Donald Trump was talking about. He built that great big building. Bigger than before. He made it a memorial to those people."

The host interjected that it was not a Trump building, but the caller assured him that it was.

"Well, I understand that he has and I think when he said he was angry, he was angry about all bodies that were laying down underneath there. I believe he's compassionate. I believe he says he wants to protect this country and he loves this country. And I believe that he can do the job, and also with the military, and I believe that he can do a lot of great things if we give him a chance."

Marjorie said she's too sick to caucus. —Andrew Kaczynski

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At 10:10 p.m. ET: Clinton leads Sanders by 1%; Cruz has 3% over Trump

After 77% of all Democratic precincts reported results, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's website:

*50.3% of caucus-goers supported Clinton*49.1% supported Sanders*0.5% supported O'Malley

After 71% of all Republican precincts reported results, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's website:

*27.8% of caucus-goers supported Cruz*24.7% supported Trump*22.5% supported Rubio*9.4% supported Carson*4.5% supported Paul*2.8% supported Bush*1.9% supported Huckabee*1.8% supported Fiorina*1.7% supported Kasich*1.7% supported Christie*1.0% supported Santorum*0.0% supported Gilmore

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Trump got 40 votes and Cruz was next with 31 out of 92 Republican votes cast in Precinct 31.

One voter named Robert said that he was a Democrat previously, but voted for Trump this time around. It was his first caucus.

On the Democratic side, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted it was "73-73 between Hillary and Bernie" in the precinct.

"There were six O'Malley people," he said. "Two left and four went for Bernie."

The Republican caucus at Stowe Elementary School in Des Moines has gone for Trump, BuzzFeed News' Rosie Gray reports.

Trump gets 40, Cruz 31 in precinct 31 here in Des Moines

Trump got 40 votes and Cruz was next with 31 out of 92 Republican votes cast in Precinct 31.

One voter named Robert said that he was a Democrat previously, but voted for Trump this time around. It was his first caucus.

On the Democratic side, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted it was "73-73 between Hillary and Bernie" in the precinct.

"There were six O'Malley people," he said. "Two left and four went for Bernie."

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Martin O'Malley Is Suspending His Campaign

NEWS Sources close to O'Malley tell @BuzzFeedNews News he'll suspend his campaign at 9.30 tonight in an Iowa speech.

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Anti-Trump PAC will skip New Hampshire after initial numbers show its target losing ground

Our Principles, an anti-Trump political action committee, will focus instead on South Carolina, the group told BuzzFeed News.

Katie Packer, the PAC's spokesperson and a former staffer for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, said she expects donations to flow if early numbers showing Trump losing ground hold up.

"If we can show we took a chunk out of his hide, that's a great pitch for us," she said.—Ben Smith

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Ben Carson's leaving the campaign trail — to get fresh clothes.

Carson's business manager and adviser Armstrong Williams told BuzzFeed News on Monday night that the neurosurgeon was leaving Iowa because of a scheduled trip back home to Florida to rest after weeks on the campaign trail.

"You know what it's like being on the road campaigning for weeks?" Williams said in a phone interview, "Don't you need to refresh sometimes?" Williams also asked if the reporters sometimes needed to get themselves fresh clothes. — Chris Massie, Andrew Kaczynski, and Jim Waterson

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At 9:40 p.m. ET: Clinton and Cruz hold small leads over Sanders and Trump

After 64% of all Democratic precincts reported results, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's website:

*50.8% of caucus-goers supported Clinton*48.6% supported Sanders*0.5% supported O'Malley

After 51% of all Republican precincts reported results, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's website:

*28.9% of caucus-goers supported Cruz*25.2% supported Trump*21.1% supported Rubio*9.7% supported Carson*4.5% supported Paul*2.7% supported Bush*1.8% supported Huckabee*1.8% supported Fiorina*1.7% supported Kasich*1.5% supported Christie*1.0% supported Santorum*0.0% supported Gilmore

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And in the East Windsor Democratic caucus, the press was consigned to the kids table...

Press told to sit at the kids' table at this caucus

...where the young, green-haired caucus-goers overwhelmingly supported Sanders.

(The kids at the kids table, of course, are too young to actually participate in the caucus.)—Ben Smith

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In West Des Moines, Republican spectrum is on full display

Early on Tuesday night, the crowd at the Republican caucus held at Clive Elementary School in West Des Moines included a wide swath of the party's spectrum — from older Tump supporters to libertarians-turned-conservatives and first-time caucus goers.

Tom Leahy, a 78-year-old retired lawyer, said he was supporting Trump.

"Hopefully he can do for the economy what he did for his business," Leahy told BuzzFeed News.

Close by, a family of Rubio supporters expressed concern for the divisiveness of the campaign.

"He's really stuck out to me as the one who's a unifier and positive and looks at the GOP as a big tent," said Jay Fifield, a stockbroker who came to the caucus with his wife, Dori, and their 17-year-old son. "Some of the others are kind of on the aggressive side."

Fifield said it was the first time he'd attended a caucus.

"It's important this time," he explained.

Also in attendance was Sam Grimes, a 25-year-old who works as a substitute teacher and bartender. Grimes said he'd previously supported Ron Paul, but that he'd changed his mind and was trying to decide whether to caucus for Rubio or Cruz.

"I was a lot more libertarian, but so much has changed," Grimes told BuzzFeed News. "I've gotten older and out of college and I've had to start paying loans and paying for health care."

Asked for his thoughts about Trump, the young bartender was skeptical.

"I like how he is perceived, but I just can't with the comments he's made," he said. "He comes off as a bully."—Ben Smith

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The Loneliness Of The O’Malley Supporter

O'Malley supporters are being told to go upstairs in this school auditorium to caucus for him. It's... not busy.

In eastern Iowa City, the loneliest thing you can be is a Martin O'Malley supporter. The caucus for precinct 17 is being held in a local high school auditorium where Hillary Clinton supporters are asked to sit on the right side of the room, with Bernie Sanders supporters on the left. The room is already overflowing.

By contrast, O'Malley supporters are asked to go upstairs to the auditorium balcony. Half an hour before the caucus was due to begin, there wasn't a single one of them. — Jim Waterson

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It's 7 p.m. CST, and the Iowa caucuses have officially begun. Results will begin rolling in throughout the evening.

The Democratic #IowaCaucus site I'm attending tonight is in an actual barn. Lots of folks here already.

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CNN: Carson To Take A Break From Campaigning After Tonight's Caucuses

Ben Carson will likely speak at his victory party in Iowa before caucus results are in so he can catch a flight.

Carson won't go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He'll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.

Ben Carson's campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight.

And then PBS NewsHour's Lisa Desjardins tweeted this, seemingly clearing up any speculation Carson was taking a break from campaigning:

BREAKING ON CARSON: Campaign tells me he's NOT changing campaign sched... just leaving Iowa early b/c of storm... to get more clothes.

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The National Weather Service has updated its forecast for Tuesday night in Iowa, with the most recent predictions projecting less snow than originally anticipated.

Earlier in the day, meteorologists said they were anticipating a powerful storm that could bring up to a foot of snow in the Des Moines metropolitan area — but more recent models predict three to six inches in the state's capital.

The northwestern part of the state, however, could still see heavy precipitation. The NWS anticipates that eight to 12 inches of snow could fall overnight. A blizzard warning remains in place.

Most of the snow will fall after midnight local time, with the storm expected to be at its worst around 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. Caucuses are generally over by 10:00 p.m.

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Rubio Criticizes Controversial Cruz Campaign Mailers

Check out the controversial Ted Cruz mailer that temporarily blew up #IACaucus Twitter. https://t.co/yabOQVNfiZ

In an interview on the Simon Conway Show, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized Ted Cruz for his campaign's controversial mailers sent to some Iowa residents notifying them that they had committed a "voting violation."

Rubio said, "Obviously a lot of people are disturbed by it because it actually lists the names of your neighbors and gives them a grade for voting and so a lot of people obviously feel like that's a violation of their privacy and in some instances it's not accurate.

He continued, "I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to motivate people to go vote, I think when you start listing their neighbors' names on a list, you know, real people, real names, and assigning them an 'F' grade for never having caucused before, I know a lot of people got upset about that." — Chris Massie

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Bush said in a radio interview on Monday that he thought he would do "better than expected" in Iowa, but pivoted to the importance of South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Nevada, noting candidates shouldn't brag about momentum after doing well in Iowa.

"I know for a fact from personal experience candidates that start bragging about momentum in New Hampshire need to be weary," said Bush on Concord News Radio. "The greatest man (his dad) alive talked about 'big mo' in 1980, and he came in second after winning Iowa. The race is always different. It's always different. It has a different rhythm and a beat to it every election cycle. This one is different for a lot of reasons. I think candidates are gonna have to go earn it in New Hampshire and then they're gonna have to go do it in South Carolina."

Bush pointed out that less than five percent of the delegates would be selected by March.

"This is a long haul process," he added. — Andrew Kaczynski

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Republican Sen. Joni Ernst expressed disappointment that Donald Trump didn't attend last week's Fox News debate in her state, saying he missed a chance to showcase his positions and answer questions.

"This was the last opportunity that any of our candidates had to really state their positions and answer some tough questions and he wasn't there to do that, so, we'll see what happens on Monday night but I would have loved to have heard additional answers to questions," Ernst said on Chicago's Morning Answer on AM560 on Friday. "But we weren't given that opportunity."

Asked about Trump's event held for veterans at the same time, Ernst said Trump was Johnny-come-lately to veterans issues.

"Great for Mr. Trump for wanting to raise money for veterans, however, I think that it could have been done at another time," she stated, saying she hoped he continued to support veterans.

"Past performance in that area has indicated that he hasn't been as active in veterans issues," she continued. "I love to see that he's engaging now, but again, maybe he does something before the debate or after the debate for veterans. Really, he had an opportunity to stand on that stage and tell what he was going to do to solve the problems that veterans are facing in the United States today, and he lost that opportunity when he didn't attend the debate." — Andrew Kaczynski

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At his final rally in Iowa before the caucuses begin, Trump spoke about U.S. military equipment being stolen by enemy forces, and in the process, raised eyebrows with his description of what happens when soldiers in armored vehicles are hit by an IED.

"You know I have a friend, he's got a young son, who's a great, great young man. He was over for two tours of duty, and I said, 'How, how is it…' — Middle East — 'How is it over there?' He said, 'It's so sad Mr. Trump, we have old equipment. The enemy has the good stuff.' And I said, 'what are you talking about?' He said, 'We give equipment to people that we think are on our side, a bullet's fired in the air, they run, the enemy goes and takes the equipment.' And I talk about it all the time — 2,300, brand-new, armored-plated humvees," Trump said.

He continued, "The best in the world, armor-plated, top, bottom, all over. If a bomb goes off, our wounded warriors, instead of losing their legs, their arms, worse, they're okay. They go for a little ride upward, and they come down. The best stuff, all gone. Taken by the enemy. Taken by the enemy."

Trump's description, "go for a little ride," didn't sit well with some on Twitter.

When uparmored vehicles are hit by IEDs, troops don't just "go for a little ride" It leaves people with TBI and worse.

So, Trump's memory missed the IED era of the Iraq war where up-armored Humvees were blowing up and the body count soared @igorbobic @jaunte

Kyle Blaine and Austin Hunt

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Trump has used Adele's music to rally supporters before events. BUt apparently he's doing so without the singer's permission.

"Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning," a spokesperson for Adele told BuzzFeed News.

Trump has particularly been using "Skyfall" and "Rolling in the Deep." —Stephanie McNeal

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Approximately 119 previous Jeb Bush donors gave to Marco Rubio for the first time in December.

That's part of an accelerating trend over the last few months as Bush's candidacy slowly tanked during the fall, according to a BuzzFeed News data analysis of the most recent campaign finance reports. — Katherine Miller and Jeremy Singer-Vine

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The rise of Trump points to something that those of us who have spent a long time fighting about the relative importance of TV and new media to politics didn't quite anticipate: that rather than being at war with one another, the new medium and the old are locked in an awkward embrace.

A few years ago, we spent our time tweeting about what we saw on cable news. Now much of cable news amounts to reading Twitter aloud. Trump dominates and serves television, and he uses social media to program it. —Ben Smith

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Democrats have to show up, listen to speeches, stand in groups and move around until their groups are large enough to count as "viable." It's all public, so everyone's friends and neighbors know whom they caucused for. Republicans show up, listen to speeches, cast a secret ballot, and then go home. —Evan McMorris Santoro

Read more here.

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Here's the breakdown of how much the candidates from both parties are being discussed in Iowa on Facebook, according to data collected by Facebook from midnight CT to noon today:

*Bernie Sanders — 42.2%

*Donald Trump — 21.7%

*Hillary Clinton — 13.1%

*Ted Cruz — 10.7%

*Rand Paul — 4.7%

*Ben Carson — 2.6%

*Marco Rubio — 1.9%

(Martin O'Malley, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Jim Gilmore all received <1% each.)

Here's the breakdown by party:

Democrats:

*Bernie Sanders — 73%

*Hillary Clinton — 25%

*Martin O'Malley — 1%

Republicans:

*Donald Trump — 50%

*Ted Cruz — 23%

*Rand Paul — 11%

*Ben Carson — 6%

*Marco Rubio — 4%

*Mike Huckabee — 2%

*Chris Christie — 1%

*Rick Santorum — 1%

*Carly Fiorina — 1%

*Jeb Bush — <1%

*John Kasich — <1%

*Jim Gilmore — <1%

And here are the top issues Iowans are discussing on Facebook:

*The Economy — 16%

*Same-Sex Marriage — 10%

*State Department Emails — 9%

*Religion — 8%

*The Affordable Care Act — 7%

*All Others — 51%

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Rand Paul Predicts Doing Better Than Two-Thirds Of The Candidates In Iowa

Rand Paul predicts he will exceed expectations in Iowa, saying he will beat two-thirds of his rival candidates, which would place him in fourth.

"We think we're really gonna defy a lot of expectations, and it's been tough, because we're going against the winds of perception," Paul told Glenn Beck this morning. "We think we're gonna beat two thirds of the candidates or more here."

Out of the 12 Republicans still in the race, this would put him in fourth place. In the latest Real Clear Politics average of Iowa polls, Paul is tied with Jeb Bush in fifth place with 4.1 points. —Nate McDermott

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Cruz seems "like someone who was made in a lab to win Iowa."

...he has stumped with discipline and hit upon a hardline religious conservative message that resonates with the evangelical voters who are so key to winning Iowa. His campaign prides itself on its ability to reach and turn out voters in this state, has locked up high-profile endorsements both in Iowa and the wider conservative movement, and marginalized other evangelical candidates.

Cruz has done everything right. Yet he is no sure thing to win on Monday — a potential rejection of everything we thought we knew about Iowa politics, or if he does win, a reaffirmation of the state's fundamentals.


—Rosie Gray

Read the full report here.

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Big Rubio Supporter Predicts The Florida Senator Will Be A "Strong Third" In Iowa

Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, a prominent supporter of Rubio, said on Monday that Rubio would come in a "strong third" in Iowa.

"I have no special insider knowledge that the rest of the world doesn't have, so I'm looking at the same polls you are," Gowdy, who is the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, told Boston Herald Radio.

"I noticed late last night that there is at least some anecdotal evidence that I think Marco's third finish might be a stronger third as opposed to a more tepid third, but I think he's on the ascendency I just, I don't know that he can get to second." —Megan Apper

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BuzzFeed News U.K. political correspondent Jim Waterson spent an hour in an Iowa hotel room wading through political TV ads. And he may never be the same.

In the space of an hour there were at least 17 political adverts, many of them running side by side with directly contradictory messages, sometimes beside identical messages from associated super PACs, and sometimes just repeatedly hammering the same message until any sane person would want to turn off the TV.

Read the rest of this gem here.

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Trump's Team Has High Expectations

Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski set high expectations for his candidate on Monday, saying anything short of a first-place finish would be a defeat.

"I'd love to have the opportunity to tell you today that we could leave Iowa with a second place or third place and be happy. Mr. Trump doesn't want to be a second place finisher, he wants to win, I want to win," Lewandowski said on on SiriusXM.

Lewandowski said polls would be meaningless if Trump's supporters did show up to vote.

"I'd love to say that second place is great but it's not a win and I know that's a terrible expectation to set but our country needs to win again," he added. —Andrew Kaczynski

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A New Crop of Registered Iowa Voters

The number of registered voters in Iowa increased by 1,444 in a week, the secretary of state said Monday.

Here's a breakdown of the weekly increases:

That's a 1,444 increase in registration over a week.

And there was an increase of 6,720 voters over the month of January.

Here's the breakdown:

And a increase of 6,720 voters over the month of January.

Here are the totals as of Monday:

  • Democrats: 586,835
  • Republicans: 615,763
  • Other: 7,607
  • Total: 1,937,317

"These numbers indicate Iowans are engaged in the Iowa Caucus process and are anxious to cast their ballot for the presidential candidate of their choice. I encourage all eligible Iowans to participate in the Caucuses tonight," Secretary Paul Pate said. "I also want to remind Iowans that they can register to vote or update their registration information at their precinct location. If you need to do that, please give yourself extra time by arriving early."

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America Ferrera Exhorts Latinos To Vote In Iowa

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Actress America Ferrera on Monday urged young Latinos to vote in the Iowa caucus in a video for Voto Latino, given first to BuzzFeed News.

Ferrera, the star of Superstore, explains how caucusing works on the Democratic and Republican sides and describes the makeup of a caucus room — one side is like kale supporters, another quinoa, the last pizza, she said.

While Iowa has a small number of Latino voters in the state, polls show the races are close between Clinton and Sanders, as well as between Trump and Cruz. In 2012, Santorum beat Mitt Romney by a razor-thin 34 votes.

An effort by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), first reported by BuzzFeed News, hopes to turn out 10,000 Hispanic voters out of the 50,000 who are registered. In 2012, an anemic 1,000 of them turned out, ensuring there would be no broad effort to engage the voting bloc.

The Latino vote is small in the first two states of Iowa and New Hampshire, but will be much larger in the early state of Nevada.

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Sanders Supporter Looking For A Democrat Different From Obama

RoseAnn DeMoro, the longtime executive director of the National Nurses Union, was a speaker at Sanders's end-of-caucus rally and she wants Sanders to be a different kind of Democrat than Obama has been.

"People keep asking what's the distinction between Obama's campaign and Bernie Sanders's campaign," she said. "It's pretty simple, Wall Street was Obama's number-one funder. And Bernie has nothing to do with Wall Street."

Sanders who had been critical of the president in the past said on Meet the Press Sunday that Obama has done a "fantastic job" as president and has rejected the idea he had left progressives disappointed.

Read more here about Sanders and how he's trying to capture same insurgent, outsider spirit that propelled Obama in the 2008 campaign. —Evan McMorris-Santoro and Ben Smith in Des Moines, Iowa

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Winter Storm To Miss Iowa Caucuses

Blizzard conditions &amp; heavy snow on tap Tuesday into Tuesday night. Thundersnow possible in the warned area! #iawx

Mother Nature has given voters in Iowa a break as forecasts now predict a massive winter storm, expected to deliver blizzard-like conditions in some areas, won't hit the state until around midnight Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

However, it is possible that in some areas snow will begin to fall late Monday, leading to unsafe road conditions.

"Enough snow and a wintry mix will occur to make roads slippery in the southern third of Iowa as people are heading home from the caucuses," according to Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.

Upwards of a foot of snow is expected in parts of Central Iowa with temperatures in the 20s and winds gusting up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The storm is expected to hit overnight Tuesday and continue through most of the day. —Jessica Simeone in New York

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Trump: "Everyone Is A Threat"

Trump said he can not guarantee that he will win the Iowa caucus.

Speaking to Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on the Today show he toned down his usually confident rhetoric.

"We've had the biggest crowds, bigger than anybody. I just don't know. I can't tell you that I think so," he said when asked if he was confident of a win.

"I will tell you, it's been an amazing journey,'' he continued.

But he went on to say, "Everybody's a threat. I think everybody in the race is a threat. You never know what's gonna happen, it's politics."

Trump did, however, continue his attack on Cruz for being born in Canada.

"I said he was born in Canada, which is true, and a lot of people have a question as to whether or not he's even able to serve as president,'' Trump said. "And that's come out loud and strong.

"That's a big cloud over his head, and I say he should try and remove that cloud by asking for a declaratory judgement to the courts. Numerous lawyers have come out saying that he's not allowed to run, he's not allowed to serve as president. That's a tough thing, and I think that's affected him quite a bit by a lot of people, frankly."

—Alicia Melville-Smith in London

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Clinton Backers Are Instructing Supporters To Block Sanders — By Voting For O'Malley

The tactical move is rooted in the complex math of the Iowa caucuses Monday night, where the campaign is looking to defeat Sanders in a state whose caucusgoers have historically backed progressive challengers.

A precinct captain, Jerome Lehtola, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the campaign has trained precinct captains to release supporters to O'Malley if the move can make him "viable" without hurting Clinton. A Clinton aide said the campaign has trained more than 4,000 volunteer precinct captains to handle a host of different scenarios, including ones where caucusgoers are released to or recruited from another camp.

Read more about the tactic — which a Sanders aide called "sad" and "telling," here.

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BuzzFeed News reporter McKay Coppins on the Bush strategist, Mike Murphy, who has aimed his cutting attack on Rubio — and not the billionaire businessman. As Coppins writes:

Critics argue that Murphy recklessly enabled Trump's rise last year by cavalierly dismissing him as a "zombie frontrunner" and stubbornly refusing to use the vast war chest at his disposal to take the billionaire down. ("Trump is, frankly, other people's problem," he said when asked about it in August.) Meanwhile, the super PAC went on to spend approximately $30 million on attack ads targeting Marco Rubio — a candidate many (including Bush donors) believe to be the party's last best hope to stop The Donald. In spite of it all, Murphy shows no signs of letting up: in the final sprint to Iowa, Right to Rise has reportedly spent nearly $1 million per day hammering Rubio on everything from his immigration record to his insufficiently masculine boots.

"I have a lot of respect for Mike Murphy, but I have no idea what the hell he is doing right now."

Now, with the spectre of the Trumpocalypse looming over the GOP on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, rivals, critics, and even some admirers are questioning Murphy's motives.
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Cruz's Controversial Mailers

Cruz got into a bit of trouble on Saturday when Iowa's secretary of state rebuked him for sending out mailers that appears to show people getting a "voting violation" for apparently not planning to go to the caucuses.

Paul Pate, the Iowa secretary of state, said, "Accusing citizens of Iowa of a 'voting violation' based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act."

But Cruz's campaign called the mailers "common practice" and the candidate said he would apologize to "nobody." —Rosie Gray

Read more here.