Trump Admits Pressure of Debate

Donald Trump told WMUR that he felt the pressure at last night’s debate.

Said Trump: “I’m very, very happy the debate is over with, but I enjoyed the experience. It was a lot of pressure. It was a lot of pressure on the debate, to be honest with you, for everybody, not just for me.”

He added: “I’ve always like pressure to be honest with you, I actually like pressure and we came out very well.”

Jeb Bush May Still Have a Shot

Franklin Foer: “With his few remaining breaths as a candidate, however, Bush may have a path out from his debacle, an actual shot at the nomination. For months, he tried and failed to crush Sen. Marco Rubio. But he wielded the hatchet like a man who would rather be sailing. What he needed was a wingman. Last night, Gov. Chris Christie, with his bully’s instinct for weakness, baited the golden boy into choking—thereby, relieving Bush of all the throbbing pressure to stage a miraculous New Hampshire comeback.”

“Nobody — not the media, not the GOP establishment — can now consider Rubio a fait accompli. Republicans can see the fear in Rubio’s eyes, and it has panicked them, confirming all their nagging anxieties. There was a reason that the party has resisted its urge to fully rally around the perfect paper candidate.”

“As Republicans scrounge for their center-right tribune, they will find themselves coming full circle. Christie has no cash and no organization beyond New Hampshire. Kasich is out-of-synch with his party; his moderation won’t play outside a few suburban pockets. Which only leaves one.”

Trump Way Ahead with Jam for Second Place

A new Monmouth University poll in New Hampshire finds Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential race with 30%, followed by John Kasich at 14%, Marco Rubio at 13%, Jeb Bush at 13%, Ted Cruz at 12% and Chris Christie at 6%.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton, 52% to 42%.

A new Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce poll finds Trump leading with 31%, followed by Cruz at 16%, Rubio at 15%, Kasich at 11% and Bush at 10%.

One the Democratic side, Sanders leads Clinton, 51% to 44%.

Clinton Goes After Rubio on Abortion

Hillary Clinton went after Sen. Marco Rubio over his defense of his opposition to abortions, Politico reports.

Said Clinton: “It’s really quite sad to see what Senator Rubio is becoming in this campaign. Everybody understands that he is diving as far right as he possibly can. I’ve been on record for many years about where I stand on abortion, how it should be safe and legal. And I’ve had the same position that I’ve had for a very long time. But what’s really going on here is an effort by the Republicans to keep pushing as far as they can to overturn Roe v. Wade, to defund Planned Parenthood, to make accusations and attacks that are really extreme.”

Time for the GOP Establishment to Panic

Brian Beutler: “The Republican establishment’s fondest hope before Saturday night’s debate was that Marco Rubio would deliver yet another solid (if unmemorable) debate performance, and that Donald Trump would fall on his face—compounding the damage he suffered in Iowa, and surrendering more, if not all, of his lead in New Hampshire over to Rubio, who’s in second place and climbing.”

“Instead, the establishment got almost exactly the opposite.”

James Hohmann: “Rubio’s loss means that there will be at least four tickets, and maybe even five, out of New Hampshire on Tuesday night.”

Flashback Description of Marco Rubio

Jonathan Chait, back in March 2011:

“Do you get the feeling that ‘Marco Rubio’ is not an actual human being at all but some kind of computer program designed by the Republican Party? Imagine they had the technical know-how to create a candidate like this. What would they come up with? They’d come up with Marco Rubio, a cinematically handsome Latino from Florida who hews to the Tea Party line while spitting out patriotic cliches that sound as if they were programmed like a computer.”

“I’m not saying I’m sure Rubio is a robot. I’m just saying that I want to watch him walk through a metal detector.”

Rubio Chokes In New Hampshire Debate

Politico: “Marco Rubio knew exactly what he was doing on Saturday night. The problem was he flubbed it.”

“Rubio awkwardly pivoted four times to a well-rehearsed line that President Obama ‘knows exactly what he’s doing’ as he tried to drill home the idea that he’s the inevitable general election candidate – an unforced error that his rivals pounced on and that quickly went viral.”

Dan Balz: “Rubio knew the attacks were coming, but instead of answering them directly, he sought to change the subject. Once, twice, three times he offered a quick counterpunch and then slid off the criticisms to turn to an attack on President Obama, repeating his language almost word for word and drawing boos from the audience.”