Democratic debate in New Hampshire

By Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 11:31 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020
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8:29 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Klobuchar says she'd be concerned about having a Democratic socialist at the top of the ticket

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised her hand tonight when the candidates were asked if they were concerned about "having a Democratic socialist on the top of the ticket."

Sen. Bernie Sanders quickly responded to the question, saying, "I am not."

Klobuchar laughed and went on to explain that she and Sanders work together all the time.

"But I think we are not going to be able to out-divide the divider-in-chief," she said. "I think we need someone to head up this ticket that actually brings people with her, instead of shutting them out."

8:24 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Biden says he’ll "probably take a hit" in New Hampshire primary 

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden all but forecasted a loss in New Hampshire’s primary, opening the Democratic debate Friday night by saying he "took a hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take a hit here."

Biden argued he is more electable than his primary rivals -- particularly Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 

He said President Donald Trump would slap Sanders’ “democratic socialist” label on every Democratic candidate on the ballot in 2020 -- damaging Democrats’ hopes of also winning control of the Senate. 

He also said Buttigieg “has not demonstrated the ability” to win over black and Latino voters, both of whom are crucial to the Democratic base. 

8:30 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Here are the rules for tonight's debate

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The candidates will have a minute and 15 seconds to answer a direct question during tonight's debate in New Hampshire, according to the moderators.

They will also have 45 seconds for a rebuttal. The candidates will see green and yellow lights indicating how much time they have left.

The lights will turn red when their time is up.

Cillizza explains what it takes to win the presidential debate:

8:18 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

NOW: Candidates take the stage in New Hampshire

Brian Snyder/Reuters
Brian Snyder/Reuters

The Democratic presidential candidates are taking the stage at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, for tonight's debate.

8:00 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Biden elevates Obama veteran in senior staff change after Iowa loss

From CNN's Arlette Saenz and Eric Bradner

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Joe Biden is shifting his senior staff structure after a disappointing fourth-place showing in the Iowa caucuses, elevating a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama to help coordinate his campaign operation.

Anita Dunn, who already worked as an adviser to Biden, traveling at times with the former vice president and leading his debate preparation, will now coordinate campaign strategy and also oversee the budget and personnel.

Campaign manager Greg Schultz and longtime Biden adviser Steve Ricchetti informed campaign staff of the move in an email on Thursday.

"Most of you already know Anita or may have seen her hanging around communications - she will be working closely with us on campaign strategy and overall coordination on budget and personnel as we build a bigger campaign for the next phase," the email from Schultz and Ricchetti said.

Why this matter: The move, first reported by The New York Times, comes as Biden looks to ease the concerns of donors and allies and regain his footing ahead of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

Calling his Iowa loss a "gut punch," he has shifted his tone on the campaign trail, displaying a new willingness to attack his Democratic rivals — particularly Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

7:52 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Iowa Democratic Party extends deadline for campaigns to ask for recanvass or recount

From CNN's Adam Levy and Dan Merica

On the eve of the Democratic debate tonight in New Hampshire, the Iowa Democratic Party announced that it was extending the time that campaigns have to call for a recanvass or recount of the Iowa caucuses, further drawing out the chaos that has consumed the state's caucus process.

The deadline had been noon CT/1 p.m. ET on Friday, but the party said it was moving the deadline to the same time on Monday, giving campaigns three additional days to review the results and decide whether they want to challenge them.

The state party added that campaigns have until Saturday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET to "submit documentary evidence of inconsistencies between the data reported and the records of result for correction."

This means that the results from Iowa will not be finalized until at least a full week after Iowans across the state caucuses on Feb. 3.

What this means for Sanders and Buttigieg: With 100% precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg holds a slim lead over Bernie Sanders in the caucuses. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor leads the Vermont senator by one-tenth of one percentage point in the all-important state delegate equivalent count. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar trail the top two candidates.

Sanders on Friday confirmed for the first time that his campaign will not ask for a full recanvass of the Iowa results in a one-on-one interview with CNN's Ryan Nobles. Sanders did point out that there were some precincts that had irregularities that he wants the Iowa Democratic party to look at.

7:47 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Biden will take an aggressive approach against Sanders and Buttigieg tonight, aides say

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s senior aides downplayed New Hampshire’s importance in a pre-debate briefing with reporters today, refusing to say where they expect to finish and pointing out that two of his rivals — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — are from neighboring states. 

One aide also said former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has an “incredibly homogenous electorate.”

“When this nomination gets to a place where diverse voices and people from all over the country have their say, we’re confident that Joe Biden is going to be the candidate that they choose,” the aide said.

The aides refused to directly answer a question about whether Biden needs to win Nevada, the third state to vote.

Ahead of tonight’s Democratic debate in Manchester, senior aides acknowledged what Biden has admitted: Iowa’s results were a blow for his campaign.

They said in the debate, Biden will continue an approach that began this week in his three events in New Hampshire — taking a more aggressive approach against Sanders and Buttigieg.

Asked about fundraising since Iowa caucus night, one aide said Biden’s campaign is “not at all discouraged by what we see in terms of money coming in.”

A second aide said: “We have the resources we need to run our race. We are not running out of money.”

7:38 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Here's how much 2020 candidates have spent on TV and Facebook ads in New Hampshire

From CNN's David Wright

Businessman Tom Steyer has spent more than three times as much as his closest competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders, with Steyer's campaign at nearly $20 million on TV ads and just under $1 million on Facebook ads,

The Sanders campaign spent $5.9 million on TV ads and $163,000 on Facebook ads.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in third, with nearly $4 million on TV ads and about $412,000 on Facebook ads.

The TV ad spending covers Jan. 1 through the week of Feb. 4 and the Facebook spending covers just March 30, 2019 through Feb. 1. 

Notably, there's been a rush of outside spending in this primary — groups supporting Joe Biden, Deval Patrick, and Buttigieg have combined to spend over $4 million on New Hampshire advertising.

The pro-Patrick super PAC, Reason To Believe, is leading the way with $1.8 million on TV ads; VoteVets, supporting Buttigieg, is spending $1.6 million on TV ads; and the pro-Biden super PAC, Unite The Country, is spending $722,000 on TV ads. The pro-Andrew Yang group, Math PAC, has spent $139,000 on TV ads.

Biden's campaign has spent little on New Hampshire advertising, at under $100,000 in TV ads and a little over $42,000 on Facebook ads. That's far less than lower tier contenders like Tulsi Gabbard ($1.2 million) and Deval Patrick ($107,000).

7:30 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Bernie Sanders hits Pete Buttigieg over wealthy donors ahead of New Hampshire debate

From CNN's Annie Grayer

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders attacked former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg today for accepting money from wealthy donors, zeroing in on a direct contrast between the two candidates and previewing a sharper line of attack hours before they face off on the debate stage in New Hampshire.

Speaking at the Politics & Eggs event in Manchester, Sanders read out a variety of headlines that depicted Buttigieg as cozying up to moneyed interests. With Sanders and Buttigieg emerging as the top tier candidates out of Iowa, the Vermont senator took the opportunity Friday morning while speaking in a room adorned with corporate banners to squarely contrast himself with Buttigieg, and shape the narrative about the relationship each candidate has with corporate interests.

"This campaign is about which side are you on," Sanders told the crowd, referencing the Woody Guthrie song. "Are you on the side of the working class of this country, which has been battered for the last 45 years, are you willing to take on the greed and corruption of the billionaire class and the one percent, or will you continue to stand with the big money?"