Report: As Secretary of State, Hillary Aide Blackmailed Media For Glowing Coverage

I know what you’re thinking: Another Hillary email controversy? Yet, that’s exactly where the New Hampshire also-ran finds herself.

A FOIA request obtained by Gawker reveals a suspicious email exchange between a Hillary Clinton aide and a reporter conniving for flattering coverage of the former secretary of state.

In 2009, Atlantic reporter Marc Ambinder asked Philippe Reines for an advanced copy of Clinton’s speech to the Council on Foreign Relations relating to Obama’s foreign policy. Reines was happy to help Ambinder but insisted on a few requests: He must refer to her speech as “muscular” and that the envoys will be strategically placed in front of her. Oh, and in no way could he say he was blackmailed.

Here’s just an excerpt of what Ambinder produced, clearly following Reines’ instructions.

“When you think of President Obama’s foreign policy, think of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” read the story. “That’s the message behind a muscular speech that Clinton is set to deliver today to the Council on Foreign Relations. The staging gives a clue to its purpose: seated in front of Clinton, subordinate to Clinton, in the first row, will be three potentially rival power centers: envoys Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, and National Security Council senior director Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL).”

Now, Ambinder admits the exchange made him “uncomfortable.”

Clinton has had nothing but bad news, it seems, in recent weeks. Before she cratered in the New Hampshire primary, her email scandal was getting ever more serious with reports that material on her unsecure server were even more top secret than we thought. The FBI confirmed it is undergoing a serious criminal investigation and media everywhere are asking, "Will she be indicted?" 

Then, she raised more voter suspicion after refusing to release her Wall Street speech transcripts, which more than likely show her cozy (and lucrative) relationship with financial firms.

All these controversies help explain those embarrassing exit polls from Tuesday night that show voters do not trust her

BREAKING: Carly Fiorina Suspends Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has suspended her campaign, she announced Wednesday on Twitter.

Her full statement, released to her Facebook page:

This campaign was always about citizenship—taking back our country from a political class that only serves the big, the...

Posted by Carly Fiorina on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

There are now seven candidates remaining in the race for the Republican nomination.

President Obama Says He's Praying for Persecuted Christians in Ash Wednesday Statement

Today marks Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the liturgical season of Lent. President Barack Obama released a statement earlier today commemorating the holiday, and said that he and Michelle would be praying for Christians around the world who are facing persecution for their faith.

The full statement:

Today, Michelle and I join our fellow Christians in marking Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season of reflection, repentance and renewal, a time to rededicate ourselves to God and one another. We remember the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ. We pray for all those who suffer, including those Christians who are subjected to unspeakable violence and persecution for their faith. And we join millions here at home and around the world in giving thanks for this sacred and solemn season that guides us toward the Easter celebration.

Lent ends on Thursday, March 24.

Get Ready For The Hillary Campaign Bloodbath After New Hampshire Loss

Late last week it was rumored a Clinton campaign slim down was on its way

Hillary and Bill Clinton are so dissatisfied with their campaign’s messaging and digital operations they are considering staffing and strategy changes after what’s expected to be a loss in Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire, according to a half-dozen people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Clinton campaign, and Hillary herself, refuted the rumor but admitted campaign staff was being evaluated as she moves into South Carolina. 

"I have no idea what they're talking about or who they are talking to," Clinton said of the Politico report. "We're going to take stock, but it's going to be the campaign that I've got. I'm very confident in the people that I have. I'm very committed to them, they're committed to doing the best we can."

But after last night's annihilation and humiliation from socialist Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, you can bet a serious campaign shakeup is on its way. Not only did Clinton lose women in the Granite State, she lost every demographic of voters outside senior citizens. Further according to exit polling, on the issue of being honest and trustworthy, Sanders destroyed Clinton 95 percent to three. It was very ugly

Don't be surprised if current members of communications staff go first and be on the lookout for campaign surrogates like Madeline Albright to be pulled off the campaign trail...permanently. 

You can see all New Hampshire primary results here.

Sununu: There Are Two Choices for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden

Sen. Bernie Sanders may be a serious contender in the race for the Democratic nomination right now, especially after his monumental win in the Granite State, but that doesn’t mean it’ll end up being a contest between him and the former secretary of state in the long run. That, at least, is what former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu thinks.

Weighing in on the 2016 presidential race, Sununu told SiriusXM’s Andrew Wilkow on "The Wilkow Majority" that Bernie Sanders will never get the nomination.

“There are two choices for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden,” he said.

Wilkow pushed back slightly, wondering if it wasn’t too late for Biden to jump in the race given the expiration date for getting on some of the state ballots.

“I think he’s got until about the 12th or 15th of March, but, it doesn’t make any difference because the Democrats will change the rules to accommodate,” he noted, “and they can lay hands on their convention anybody they want.”

This would only happen, of course, if Hillary Clinton gets close to being indicted or actually is indicted, he said.

Wilkow then questioned whether his running mate would end up being Sen. Elizabeth Warren. While Sununu wasn’t sure about any potential veep picks, he did say quite enthusiastically that Biden/Warren 2016 would be a dream ticket for Republicans.

“It’s an easy ticket to beat,” he assured Wilkow. 

Why Donald Trump?

If you are looking for a proper, politically correct, or modern answer to this question, please stop reading now. Our country is in tremendous decline.  I cannot emphasize that enough. We are in a cataclysmic decline and no one is doing anything about it. To succeed, we must start by admitting the United States is slowly starting to become just another country in the modern world. The Republican Party’s inability to admit and assess the problem has led us down this dangerous road. I do not blame Obama, Democrats, or kids on college campuses; I blame every elected Republican official from the year 2000 until present day for not acting and taking a front row seat in the demise of our country. They are all to blame in this. If you are in any type of elected office, you will be remembered in the history books for doing absolutely nothing. We have been engaged in a war for 15 years against an enemy in which is merely a fraction of what we are militarily. We overthrew England, toppled Nazi Germany, and even went to the moon in less time than it has taken to kill a few thousand terrorists in the Middle East. It is utterly sickening to watch are finest people suffer because of our belief that we must fight this war in a certain manner. How can we possibly lead the free world if we cannot destroy religious extremists dwelling in a massive sand box?

People say that Donald Trump is not trustworthy and often exaggerates himself. My question to those people is, as opposed to what? Do you honestly believe that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz is trustworthy? Men who have made a living off of taxing other people, forcing them to pay their Senate salary, while gaining or producing absolutely nothing. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. How ignorant could we possibly be to think that a politician could end all of our troubles? Are we really going to fall for that same mirage of hope and believe that a sitting Senator who has done nothing to prevent the downfall of our country will suddenly save the day? 

And for those who do not think that one man can change this country, I beg to differ. If you have been living in the United States for the past eight years then you could never say one man does not have the ability to transform America. Barack Obama has done whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and the Republican party has sat on their hands and done little to stop it.  

To argue for a candidate is simply folly and I often refuse to do it. They all lie, they all exaggerate, and they all are striving for more. The difference between Trump and the establishment leeches is that he does it with his own money and wants restore nationalism in America.

Watch: Media Reacts to Hillary's NH 'Shellacking'

MANCHESTER, NH -- Just in case my previous post failed to fully convey the totality of Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire loss, just pick your way through the exit poll cross tabs.  What those can't show you, incidentally, is the vote gap between Republicans and Democrats.  Just as we saw in Iowa, GOP turnout was up significantly over previous cycles, and ended up beating the Democrats head-to-head.  For example, Donald Trump -- running in a very crowded field -- won more raw votes than Hillary Clinton did in a two-way race.  Overall, with 89 percent of the vote tallied, Republican candidates had earned roughly 261,000 votes from Granite Staters, versus approximately 240,000 for Democrats.  Back to Mrs. Clinton's fiasco, which inspired...unkind media coverage across the board, for obvious reasons.  It started with the Clinton camp's preemptive surrender, and spiraled from there (via the Free Beacon):

The Republican National Committee put out a memo foreclosing Team Hillary's various avenues for spin, arguing that here's no way to downplay the significance of Clinton's landslide setback in what shouldn't have been hostile territory for her:

By the way, everyone assumes Hillary is all teed-up for a smashing South Carolina win in a few weeks. Her polling lead is overwhelming down there, but does her apparent Palmetto State strength tell the whole story moving forward, especially heading into Nevada?  The Washington Post  says no, and Clinton's campaign has already shifted to aggressively downplaying expectations:

I'll leave you with my comments on Fox and Friends earlier, highlighting Hillary's atrocious showing not only on trustworthiness, but on 'caring' and empathy:

Clinton Gets More Delegates Than Sanders Despite NH Blowout

Leave it to the Democratic Party to make their presidential nominating contest as undemocratic as possible. Last night, Senator Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, taking 60% of the vote to Clinton’s 38%. By simple logic, this should mean that Sanders receives more party delegates from the state than Clinton. In a shocking twist to the lopsided victory for Sanders, the opposite is true.

Out of the 24 “pledged” delegates in New Hampshire, Sanders walks away with 13 while Clinton takes 9. Two delegates are not yet allotted to either candidate.

But complicating the primary math are the additional delegates, “superdelegates,” that are shaping up to be Clinton’s insurance plan against the Sanders insurgency. Superdelegates are not decided by popular vote; they are Democrat party officials who can support whichever candidate they choose. Out of the 2,382 total delegates required to win the Democratic nomination, 712 are superdelegates. That means just under 30% of the people who will cast votes at the convention are not bound by the decisions of actual primary voters.

Clinton likely remembers the damage superdelegates dealt her campaign in 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama claimed a dominant majority of them. This time around, her campaign is working overtime to avoid a repeat of that mistake. One source has said the Clinton campaign has already secured the support of 440 superdelegates out of the possible 712, and that report came in August of last year.

Hillary Clinton has the support of six of New Hampshire’s eight superdelegates, so the current Democrat delegate total for New Hampshire is 15 for Clinton, 13 for Sanders.

Yes, after a razor-thin victory in Iowa (assuming, since the Iowa Democratic Party refuses to release the popular vote) and a blowout for Sanders in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is the commanding delegate leader in the Democratic race for president. The majority of “pledged” delegates have yet to be decided, but there can be no question that the deck remains stacked for Clinton.

Tremendous: SCOTUS Blocks Obama's Carbon Rules On Power Plants

As New Hampshire voted last night, some groundbreaking news also dropped: the Supreme Court intervened and blocked a key provision of Obama’s clean energy plan from being implemented. It’s a reversal from the rather disheartening news that emanated from the D.C. Court of Appeals last month. In that decision, the court refused to stay the implementation of the carbon regulations, but agreed to hear arguments on the legality of the plan as early as June–and indication that the jurists understand this is a pressing issue. The Supreme Court stay doesn’t mean that the plan is unconstitutional, but it does indicate that the majority thinks the president’s environmental agenda could cause irreparable harm, according to Politico:

The decision to grant the stay is no guarantee the justices ultimately will strike down the rule, but the development is a bad sign for EPA’s chances, and the agency's foes quickly cheered the news, with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey calling it a “great victory.”

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues,” he said in a statement.

The White House vowed that the rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, will survive, saying it “is based on a strong legal and technical foundation."

“We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits,” press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement late Tuesday night, adding that "the administration will continue to take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions.”

"We're disappointed the rule has been stayed, but you can't stay climate change and you can't stay climate action," EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said in a separate statement. "Millions of people are demanding we confront the risks posed by climate change. And we will do just that."

The Supreme Court issued its short order putting the rule on hold at the request of states and companies that had asked the high court to intercede early — even though a lower court had already declined to do so.

The ruling was on a 5-4 vote, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — the court's liberal wing — lining up against staying the rule.

Environmentalists quickly downplayed the stay, noting that it did not come to any conclusions about the legality of the rule itself.

"The Clean Power Plan has a firm anchor in our nation’s clean air laws and a strong scientific record, and we look forward to presenting our case on the merits in the courts," said Vickie Patton, the Environmental Defense Fund's general counsel.

The justices did not explain their decision, but the order indicates they believe the rule threatens imminent and irreparable harm.

The overall goal of the Clean Power Plan is to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. It’s become a regulatory battle between governors, states, and the Obama administration that’s just as contentious as the fight over Obamacare. States have until September to file their blueprints for how they will accommodate the new regulations, but this will disproportionately impact rural Americans, red states, and fixed-income seniors. Governors in Wyoming and North Dakota have already made the case that they need more time to find ways to accommodate the new regulations without cannibalizing their own economies.

It’s one of the most underreported issues on the 2016 trail, which is an atrocity in itself since the impact of these regulations would mean massive increases in energy costs for millions of Americans. In West Virginia alone, they’re projected to see electricity costs spike 20 percent if this plan is implemented. A majority of states, along with Democratic and Republican attorneys general, have filed lawsuits against the plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone regulations alone have reportedly cost us $56.6 billion in lost wages and 242,000 jobs between 2008-2013. In all, Obama’s war on coal (and American energy) is projected to cost us 125,800 jobs and $650 billion in GDP over a ten-year period. It’s a good thing that the Supreme Court stepped in to avert the economic catastrophe that’s upon us with this administration’s half-baked, and reckless, agenda to curb so-called climate change.

Oh, and these new regulations potentially could gut millions of jobs from black and Hispanic communities. It is one of the policies that made 2015 a record year in government regulations, along with the added notion of being constitutionally reckless.

The Supreme Court may have let conservatives down on Obamacare, but they’re doing the right thing (so far) in this case. Bravo, folks.

Speaker Ryan Looks to Work With Congressional Black Caucus to Fight Poverty

Combating poverty is a goal close to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s heart. The Republican leader helped host the Kemp Forum last month, where he and other conservative leaders engaged in robust conversations about how they can lead the effort to pull people out of economic hardship. At the event, Ryan indicated he was ready to reach across the aisle to achieve this end.

Back on Capitol Hill, he's ready to take action. Ryan is encouraging his fellow Republicans to seek out members of the Congressional Black Caucus to further the worthy agenda.

Rep. Hal Rogers is one legislator ready to help Ryan establish the important relationship.

At Ryan’s request, Rogers said he intends to broach the topic of targeted poverty funding with Rep. James —Clyburn (D-S.C.), an influential CBC member who’s been the most vocal proponent of the so-called 10-20-30 strategy. 

The 10-20-30 program would require that a minimum of 10 percent of federal spending on discretionary programs be directed to communities in which at least 20 percent of the population has lived below the poverty line for at least 30 years, reports the Daily Wire.

While this issue has largely been ignored by the GOP in recent years, Ryan is determined that won't happen on his watch.

High San Francisco Rent Prices Means Nuns Are Facing Eviction

The sisters of Fraternité Notre-Dame in San Francisco are facing eviction after their rent price increased by over $1,000 per month--a 50 percent increase over their current rent of $3,465. The sisters, whose mission is to feed the needy and homeless, cannot afford the new rent rate and are having trouble finding a location in San Francisco that is willing to let a soup kitchen operate.

"Everywhere the rent is very high, and many places don't want a soup kitchen in their place," said Sister Mary Benedicte on Tuesday, in her French-accented English. "It's very, very hard to find a place for a soup kitchen where people can feel welcome and where we can set up a kitchen for a reasonable price."

Since 2008, the modest kitchen has sat on a derelict street in the Tenderloin neighborhood, long associated with homelessness and drug use. But it's also within walking distance of a revitalizing middle Market Street area, led by the relocation of Twitter in 2012.

Brad Lagomarsino, an executive vice president with commercial real estate company Colliers International, said that since 2010 there's been a "dramatic increase" in residential and retail rents in the middle Market area, leading to spillover increases in the Tenderloin.

The still-seedy neighborhood, in other words, is trending up.

This is incredibly unfortunate, and it's a sign of a bigger problem facing cities. There is an extreme wealth disparity in San Francisco, and the cities neediest--and those who seek to help them--are getting squeezed out.

Iranian Media Releases Footage of US Sailors Crying After Capture

Iran continues to exploit the unfortunate incident in which 10 American sailors were captured in the Persian Gulf last month after their boat engine faltered. In the days following the capture, Iran celebrated the incident, even handing out awards to the Iranian troops who had detained the Americans. One of those medal recipients, Sardar Fadavi, head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy, taunted the U.S. by threatening to release information his personnel captured from the sailors' belongings, as well as other footage from the incident.

“If U.S. officials say they are angry with and frustrated by the footage released, they would be 100 times more embarrassed if the IRGC releases other films of the capture, the Iranian commander said,” Tasnim, the state-owned news agency reported.

Iranian General Hossein Salami also claimed the sailors cried after their detainment. 

Now, it appears as if some of the teased footage has surfaced. 

While this video has not been confirmed by officials, it appears to be another very real embarrassment for our military. 

The U.S. sailors were released after 12 hours of detainment, but only after being forced on their knees with guns pointed toward their heads.

Is this the "peaceful" relationship with Iran President Obama ensured us would develop after his administration's nuclear deal?

BREAKING: It Looks Like Chris Christie is Suspending His Campaign

After announcing that he was going to go home and "take a deep breath," reports are surfacing that indicate that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will be suspending his campaign. Christie finished in sixth place in last night's New Hampshire primaries.

Eight candidates remain in the race for the Republican nomination.

This post will be updated as more information is released.

While We Were Focused on New Hampshire, Obama Proposed Trillions in Tax Hikes

While we were all focused on the New Hampshire presidential primary yesterday, President Obama introduced his final budget plan complete with a whopping $3.4 trillion dollar tax hike for American families. ATR has the details: 

The President’s adjusted baseline predicts revenues of $43.1 trillion over the ten year window, while his proposed budget calls for revenues totaling $46.5 trillion – an increase of $3.4 trillion.

The Obama budget will result in massive new taxes on already overtaxed American families.

Many of Obama’s new tax hikes violate the spirit – if not the letter -- of Obama’s “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on any American earning less than $250,000.

One previously announced tax hike in the Obama budget calls for a $320 billion energy tax increase on the American people. This new tax comes in the form of a $10 tax per barrel of oil that will be passed onto drivers in the form of higher prices at the pump.

Obama's budget has been met with immediate rejection from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"The President’s final budget is clearly about promoting his liberal legacy instead of securing America’s financial future. Why is he wasting his last opportunity in office to tackle the real challenges facing our country? While a $3.4 trillion tax increase and $2.5 trillion in new spending over the next decade might please very liberal voters, they will only make life more expensive for the vast majority of Americans. This document will not prevent American jobs from moving overseas, Medicare from going bankrupt, and healthcare spending from continuing to rise," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady released in a statement. “Later this week, Ways and Means Republicans will have an opportunity to speak with Secretaries Burwell and Lew about this budget. We’re going to express our concerns on specific proposals, including the President’s new oil tax that will drive up energy bills and destroy jobs."

Texas Senator John Cornyn said Obama's budget is "unserious" and dead upon arrival.

“Rather than something that sends a signal that he wants to work with Congress, it basically is more of the same: a $4 trillion budget that is unserious, partisan, and contains reckless spending. And in it, he does include several new proposals, proposals he knows will be dead on arrival here in the United States Congress," Cornyn said in a floor speech yesterday. “At a time when our country is producing more energy domestically than it ever has and just beginning to export that energy to our friends and allies around the world, the President’s budget reveals that he has little interest in growing our energy independence and little interest in jump-starting our economy.”

Keep in mind over his tenure in the White House, all of Obama's annual budget plans have been roundly rejected, usually unanimously. 

Analysis: Trump and Sanders Dominate, Rubio Crumbles, in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, NH -- This time, the polls were right. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won overwhelming victories here in New Hampshire, beating out their closest rivals by double-digit margins.  Here are five takeaways from last night's First in the Nation primary:

(1) A Socialist Swamp: The Democratic primary was a bloodbath.  Socialist Bernie Sanders absolutely dismantled Hillary Clinton across the board, beating her by more than 20 points.  In spite of heavy, desperate demagoguery, Democratic women in the Granite State sided with Sanders by double digits, led by young women.  Hillary carried voters who prioritize experience and electability.  Bernie blew her away among those who prize shared values, empathy, and honesty.  You think Benghazi, the email scandal, opacity on Wall Street speeches, and Clinton Foundation-related ethical questions aren't taking a toll on even Democratic voters?  This is breathtaking:

That screen grab of exit polling data shows Clinton getting dismantled among the 60 percent of New Hampshire Democrats who value "caring" and honesty as candidate characteristics. There's no getting around it: Her weakness on empathy and trustworthiness and -- relatedly, I believe -- among young voters are dramatic general election handicaps.  So is the gender gap she inspires.  Sanders beat her among women, but he  in New Hampshire for quite some time.  She needs to win a commanding victory in the Palmetto State to prevent a growing sense of unease from metastasizing into full-blown panic.

(2) Tremendous Trump: Donald Trump's win in the Republican primary was comprehensive.  When exit polls started rolling in showing two-thirds of voters in the GOP race agreeing with his controversial temporary Muslim ban, it was clear it was going to be a good night for the bombastic businessman.  When fully half of Republican voters responded that they felt "betrayed" by their own party, it was a fait accompli.  Finalized exit polling tells the story of Trump's romp.  He won by double digits among: Men and women, across all age groups, across all education levels (except for postgraduates, but winning nearly half of all non-college grads), across all income groups, among Republicans and independents, and among "very conservative" and "somewhat conservative" voters (also carrying moderates).  He won across every issue category polled, and led the pack on every personal quality question except for "shares my values."  It was a rout, aided by a crowded, splintered field.  Trump enters South Carolina as a double-digit favorite.  And by the way, unlike Iowa, he outperformed his public polls in New Hampshire.

(3) Rubio Rocked: Here's how I assessed the state of play yesterday: "A silver medal for Rubio here keeps him on pace to make a strong play for the GOP crown, especially as rivals continue to drop out...The field will thin out, and Rubio will take a major step closer to the three-man race he wants. Another bronze would be an under-performance, as the conventional wisdom would take root that Rubio's debate gaffe inflicted real damage, ramping up pressure to over-perform in at least one of the two remaining February nominating contests. Not good, but salvageable. But if the Florida Senator ends up in fourth place or worse, it's a catastrophe for his candidacy."  Well, the Rubio campaign finds itself staring at door number three.  Rubio finished fifth, although essentially in a logjam with Cruz and Bush, both of whose final polling numbers were spot on.  Given what I'd heard from multiple sources about Rubio's meteoric trajectory in New Hampshire internal polling after Iowa, there is now no question whatsoever that his debate confrontation with Chris Christie hurt him.  Badly.  Rubio admitted as much in a strikingly humble, candid speech to supporters:

Rubio's right -- he has no one to blame but himself.  He stepped into a predictable trap under the brightest of lights and dealt a serious blow to one of the central rationales of his candidacy: That he's an exceptionally gifted communicator, a quality that has allowed him to tamp down concerns about his experience.  He undermined himself in a hyper-public way, at the worst possible moment.  That's not on Jeb Bush's carpet-bombing SuperPAC.  That's not on a pugnacious Chris Christie.  That's not even on the press, which showered Rubio with praise after Iowa, then hyped his bad debate moment for days (media narratives giveth and taketh away).  That's on Rubio.  There's still a long road ahead, and Rubio still has a path to the nomination, albeit much narrower than it seemed 24 hours ago; the '3-2-1' strategy, which Rubio's team now tells never came from the campaign, is officially inoperative.  But in order to thread this needle, he's going to have to over-perform in South Carolina and/or Nevada in order to garner any needed momentum into the crucial, delegate-heavy first half of March.

(4) Two Governors Survive, For Now:  Like Jon Huntsman in 2012, Ohio Governor John Kasich more or less lived in New Hampshire for weeks, achieving a solid second place outcome (Huntsman ended up in third with a Kasichesque 16.9 percent of the vote).  But Kasich still lost to Trump by roughly a two-to-one margin, and he has no real capacity to mount a national campaign moving forward.  Jeb Bush, on the other hand, does.  But what his team is casting as an important spring board is ultimately a fourth place finish, narrowly sandwiched between Cruz and Rubio. Try this statistic on for size:

Thirty-five million dollars for fourth place, after spending a fortune in Iowa with little to show for it. Meanwhile, sixth-place finisher Chris Christie -- who, like Kasich, placed almost all of his eggs in the Granite State basket -- has announced that he's heading home to New Jersey to reassess the race.  He's ineligible for this weekend's South Carolina debate, so it sounds like he's likely done.  Elsewhere, Carly Fiorina (four percent) says she's carrying on past New Hampshire with a "wind at her back," whatever that means, and Ben Carson (two percent) continues to confound.  The end feels near for both of them.

(5) 'Not Trump' Coalition In Disarray: The Rubio campaign desperately wanted New Hampshire to lock in their "three-man race" storyline, which would have applied immense pressure on non-Trump and non-Cruz candidates to get out of the way and give Cruz and Rubio the space to take on Trump (and each other) in a significantly winnowed field.  That winnowing has now been delayed indefinitely, much to the delight of Team Trump.  A crowded, distracted and confused GOP field benefits him more than anyone else, although it arguably helps Cruz, too.  Cruz wants a two-man race -- and if the status quo doesn't get shaken up soon, he may get his wish.  Bottom line: New Hampshire just voted for an open Socialist who literally honeymooned in the Soviet Union, and for an f-bomb-dropping nationalistic populist whose campaign is pretty well encapsulated by quotes like this:

What a time to be alive.  I'll leave you with the winners declaring victory:

UPDATE - I discussed the breadth of Trump's win with Megyn Kelly last night:

Report: Criminologists, Economists Find Benefits to Gun Ownership

This past December marked three years since the massacre at Sandy Hook. Commemorating the anniversary, President Obama took to Facebook to pen a post that wondered how we as a nation explain congressional inaction on gun control to the victims' families.  This type of rhetoric has been a common refrain from the president in the wake of other mass shootings since Newtown and the near-daily shootings in cities like Chicago. But despite attempts by President Obama, congressional Democrats, and the gun control lobby to push for stricter gun laws as the answer to gun violence, the nation remains divided on the issue.  

So where do academics stand on the relationship between gun ownership and crime? A newly released survey of experts from the Crime Prevention Research center found that researchers supported what Second Amendment advocates have argued all along regarding concealed handgun laws, gun-free zones, self-defense and crime, and suicide and guns. 

Authors of the report John R. Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, and Gary Mauser, Professor Emeritus of the Marketing Department at Simon Fraser University, surveyed criminologists and economists who had published peer-reviewed empirical research on gun issues. The survey found that differences exist between these two groups of academics, with the economists much more inclined to believe guns makes people safer. Criminologists, on the other hand, do not hold this belief as strongly. They are also more divided on the idea of deterrence than economists. Still, when their responses are combined, the results show that the researchers believe guns are used more for self defense than crime; gun-free zones fail to deter criminals, rather, they attract them; guns in the house don’t increase the risk of suicide; those who hold concealed handgun permits are more law-abiding than the average American; and permitted concealed handguns lower the murder rate.

"Economists and criminologists have very different approaches to research and different political views, but they both generally find benefits from gun ownership," Lott told Townhall in an email. "Economists, on the whole, were much more likely than criminologists to believe that there are benefits from gun ownership.  By a factor of 12-to-1, economists believe that permitted concealed handguns reduce rather than increase murder rates.  Despite their differences, still criminologists also believe this by a factor of just 2-to-1."

Perhaps surveys such as this will help Americans take a level-headed approach to gun control in the future. 

New Hampshire: Sanders Bathes In The Afterglow Of Victory, Unloads on Republicans

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) addressed his rabid crowd of supporters, where he laid out his agenda for America that drastically drags the country towards the left.

He thanked the people of New Hampshire, and congratulated Hillary Clinton and her supporters for a vigorous campaign.

Yet, he also acknowledged the many thousands of his supporters, who worked tirelessly, day and night knocking on doors and making phone calls. He noted that they won because of their energy. Sanders also said that his win sends a message that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people, and not just a handful of wealthy donors and their super PACS.

He noted that his campaign from the outset had no money (and no real organization) in the beginning, but they were going to take on one of the most powerful political machines in the country. Because of a huge turnout, and he channeled his inner Trump by saying “YUGE,” he said we won because we harnessed the energy and the excitement that the Democratic Party will need to succeed.

Sanders said that what happened tonight, in terms of enthusiasm and an aroused electorate, is what’s going to happen across this country. He reminded his supporters that Democrats and progressives should never forget that they win when voter turnout is high; Republicans win when people are demoralized and voter turnout is low.

He also said this win will send notice to the political establishment of the county, that the American people will not accept a corrupt campaign finance system. We will not bring back huge tax breaks for billionaires–and we cannot allow right-wing Republicans win in November. The people want real change.

In reflecting that change, Sanders took pride in the fact that he doesn’t have a super PAC and he will never have one, which drew loud cheers among the crowd. Sanders added that his campaign’s financial support comes from 3.7 million individual contributions, with an average of $27.

In typical Bernie fashion, he said that America was founded on the principle of fairness, and that it’s not fair that we have such a horrible income inequality problem, where the 20 wealthiest Americans in this country own more wealth than the bottom half in the nation.

Sanders also tried to explain to his detractors that he would pay for his free college initiative by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculation. He also said that he is going to stop the practice of mass incarceration, and that it was our moral responsibility to work with other countries to transform our energy system that’s more sustainable and cleaner.

The rest of his address was a red meat buffet for the progressive left. He supported a Medicare for all, single-payer health care system. Sanders said that he would defend the nation responsibly (gee, I hope so), and that he was right to vote against the Iraq War. He stressed that we cannot be the policemen of the world.

On immigration, Sanders proposed fixing it, creating a pathway for citizenship to bring these people out of the shadows. He also voiced his support for abortion rights, and for expanding Social Security so people can live with dignity in retirement. Corporations will also pay their fair share in taxes.

The self-described democratic socialist described his humble beginnings in Brooklyn, New York before saying he’s ready to fight in Nevada, South Carolina, and beyond.

Chris Christie "Taking a Breath"; Think Over Campaign

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will be heading back to New Jersey to 'take a deep breath' and figure out the state of his campaign after his sixth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Due to his sixth-place finish, Christie does not qualify for the debate on Saturday in South Carolina.

While this isn't an outright campaign suspension, it's certainly not looking good for the Christie camp.

Hillary: "I Have Some Work To Do With Young People"

Hillary Clinton’s supporters were still cheering her name after her crushing defeat in New Hampshire Tuesday night during her concession speech. Her voice sounded tired and cracked after a week of campaigning in the Granite State.

“I still love New Hampshire and I always will,” she assured voters.

Clinton's progressive opponent Bernie Sanders beat her soundly and quickly in the first Democratic primary of the 2016 race. She congratulated him and immediately switched her focus to the future.

“Now we take this campaign to the entire country,” she continued. “We’re going to fight for every vote and every state.”

One of those is Michigan. She took a brief detour from campaigning in New Hampshire on Sunday to travel to Flint and speak to residents who were affected by the lead poisoning crisis.

“The kids I met in Flint were poisoned because their governor wanted to save money,” she fumed.

She is ready to work for people who are angry, yet “hungry for solutions,” she insisted.

She admitted, however, that she has room to improve on certain demographics.

“I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people.”

The millennial vote in New Hampshire went to Sanders overwhelmingly - particularly young women. They chose Sanders by a rate of 82 percent to Clinton's 18 percent. 

In fact, the only demographic she did win was voters who earn over $200,000 or more.

She also pledged to rein in Wall Street – another promise that voters are likely to question

Donald Trump Victory Speech Highlights

"So beautiful," said Donald Trump as he walked on to the stage to give is victory speech in New Hampshire.  

Donald Trump thanked his entire family, those who help and volunteered for his campaign, and ultimately the people of New Hampshire.

Trump went on to highlight the main principles of his campaign and acknowledged the other Republican candidates. 

"I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," Trump said.  "By the way, we're going to knock the hell of ISIS."

"We don't win with anything," he said.  

To close his speech, Trump emphatically expressed his excitement to start campaigning in South Carolina for the primary held on Saturday, Feb. 20.    

Here's Bernie Sanders, Just Shooting Some Hoops

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) celebrated his victory in the New Hampshire Democratic primary by shooting some hoops in a gym before his speech.

The image was shared on his official Snapchat account @bernie.sanders.

What a time to be alive.

Twitter users were amused by the candidate's unusual victory celebration:

Hillary Clinton Loses Women in New Hampshire

Despite being told by aging feminists and a former secretary of state that a vote for Bernie Sanders was betraying their gender and risking eternal damnation, women in New Hampshire were feeling the Bern on Tuesday night. Sanders won the female vote by seven points, and won men by 31.

At the time of publication, Sanders had a nearly 20-point lead over Clinton in the Granite State. In the Iowa caucuses, Sanders was narrowly defeated by Clinton.

While the results aren't exactly a shock, as Sanders had been polling extremely well in New Hampshire since August, his success with New Hampshire women is definitely notable. In Iowa, Clinton won the female vote by 11 points, a gap that stretched to 26 points when narrowed down to married women. (Sanders won both unmarried men and unmarried women in Iowa by 10 points and 36 points, respectively.)

New Hampshire has to serve as a wake-up call for the Clinton campaign: women clearly aren't going to blindly vote for another woman, and attempts to make sexism a campaign issue are not going to work.

Total Defeat: Sanders Destroyed Clinton in New Hampshire Primary

Well, it's over:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) certainly used his home court advantage, beating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by almost double-digits. With 15 percent of the vote in, Sanders is leading Clinton 58/40–and destroyed her with voters who held trust/honesty and “cares about folks like me” in high regard. As Cortney noted earlier this evening, only five percent of New Hampshire Democrats viewed the former first lady as honest and trustworthy.

Concerning women, more than four out of five women broke for Sanders over Clinton (82/18). With age, 67 percent of Hillary’s support came from voters over 50; 60 percent of Sanders’ supporters came from those are under 50. Regarding income, the only bracket Clinton won...was Democrats who make $200k or more; Sanders took the rest. 

Again, like in Iowa, it’s the old guard vs. the new order. It’s young vs. old. It’s authenticity vs. charlatanism. It’s honesty vs. untrustworthiness. And in most cases, Clinton is losing to Sanders.

At the same time, it’s a bit remarkable that a disheveled senior citizen, who is a democratic socialist, is driving turnout.

Sanders is celebrating his victory playing basketball with his grandchildren.

Parting Thought: Over 50 percent of Democrats were dissatisfied with the federal government. Is that because a large portion of Democratic voters (41 percent) want a president more liberal than Obama?

Over at the RNC, they're quite happy, of course.

“After an embarrassing showing in Iowa, Hillary Clinton’s resounding loss in New Hampshire is another devastating blow for her campaign. No amount of spin can make up for such a crushing defeat in a state that has for decades been in the Clintons’ corner. It’s clear that the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s reckless conduct as Secretary of State has become a massive liability for her campaign and that even Democrats find her dishonesty and hypocrisy unacceptable. The prospect that Democrats could nominate a self-avowed socialist is growing more probable by the day, and shows how off course Hillary Clinton’s coronation has gone.

UPDATE: The Clinton camp has conceded:(via The Hill):

After splitting the first two contests, an outcome we've long anticipated, attention will inevitably focus on the next two of the 'early four states," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in the memo.

"The nomination will very likely be won in March, not February, and we believe that Hillary Clinton is well positioned to build a strong – potentially insurmountable – delegate lead next month."

Well, on the delegate math, the Clinton crew might be onto something.

58 Presidential Candidates on the Ballot in New Hampshire

Apparently in the New Hampshire primary, all you need is $1,000 or 100 signatures to run for President of the United States.

Along with the nine republican and two democratic candidates that most of us know, 47 other names will be on the ballot for selection on Tuesday.  All told, there are 58 people on the two ballots combined; 30 Republicans and 28 Democrats.

Ouch: Only 5 Percent in NH Poll Say Hillary is Trustworthy, Sanders 93 Percent

We knew it wasn't going to be a good night for Hillary Clinton. But, this early exit poll indicates it's going to be a downright hellish evening in New Hampshire for the Democratic presidential candidate. Democrats in the Granite State were asked to judge the trustworthiness of Clinton and her opponent Bernie Sanders. They were almost unanimous.


Perhaps this poll helps explain why Sanders is ahead in New Hampshire by double digits. Her dismissive attitude toward her email scandal and Wall Street connections may account for why the state is giving her the cold shoulder. 

The numbers to come may be just as painful.