<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas State Political News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Sat, 13 Feb 2016 02:51:15 -0600 Sat, 13 Feb 2016 02:51:15 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Albright Didn't Mean to Condemn Women Supporting Sanders]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:01:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Madeleine+Albright+Sanders.png

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Friday that she regretted the way her support for Hillary Clinton was perceived, NBC News reported.

"I have spent much of my career as a diplomat. It is an occupation in which words and context matter a great deal. So one might assume I know better than to tell a large number of women to go to hell," Albright said in an op-ed published in the New York Times, in which she renewed her call to women to support each other.

Albright said earlier that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” a line she has used many times in the past.

During the Democratic debate on Thursday, Clinton shrugged off the comment and said she is running on her own experience.  

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Brandon Vance]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 16:58:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/021216_Lone_Star_Politics_Vance_1200x675_622061123914.jpg Texas Congressional District 30 candidate Brandon Vance explains to NBC 5's Kristi Nelson and Gromer Jeffers of The Dallas Morning News why he wants to unseat longtime Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Watch Lone Star Politics on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8:40 a.m.]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Bruce Chadwick]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 16:52:15 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/021216_Lone_Star_Politics_Chadwick_Tease_1200x675_622060099937.jpg On NBC 5's Lone Star Politics, Texas Congressional District 30 candidate Bruce Chadwick employed a magic trick to help explain why he is running for office. Watch Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5.]]> <![CDATA[Donald Trump Threatens 'Birther' Lawsuit Against Ted Cruz]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 17:39:59 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ted-Cruz-Donald-Trump-GettyImages-505043546.jpg

Donald Trump has long questioned whether Sen. Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, is eligible to be president. Now, Trump is threatening to sue Cruz over it.

Trump maintains Cruz may not be a natural born citizen, one of a few qualifications to be president     listed in the Constitution. Trump tweeted Friday he has standing to sue Cruz over the issue. 

Cruz has defended himself from the "birther" claim that he's disqualified from the office, including in a presidential debate in January. 

But Trump's latest remark, coming after a week of negative campaigning between the candidates, is the first time he's threatened to take action over it.

"If @TedCruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen," Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.

There was no immediate response on Ted Cruz's Twitter feed, and his campaign did not reply to a message requesting comment.

The president must be a "natural born citizen,"  35 years old and a 14-year resident of the nation, according to Article II of the Constitution. The 25th Amendment establishes the two-term limit.

Cruz was born a U.S. citizen because his mother was an American living in Canada. Some constitutional scholars – and Trump – have questioned whether the circumstances of Cruz's birth meet the "natural born citizen" requirement.

A veteran attorney in Houston, Cruz's hometown, has already challenged the senator's eligibility in a federal court, one of several suits brought against Cruz.

At the Jan. 17 debate, Trump suggested Cruz voluntarily submit the question to the court system, saying "there's a big question mark over your head." Trump said he wouldn't sue, but Democrats surely would if Cruz became the Republican nominee for president.

But Cruz countered that he was born a citizen, and that two Republicans born outside of the country had already run for president, including John McCain.

"I'm happy to consider naming you as vice president," Cruz quipped at the time. "And if you happen to be right you can get the top job at the end of the day." 

Harvard Law professor Einer R. Elhauge wrote in a January op-ed that Cruz is ineligible to run, based on a straight reading of the Constitution, but said a fixed rule should be implemented to clarify.

In an interview Friday, Elhauge said it's unlikely Trump would have standing to sue the Cruz campaign in federal court, because "federal standards are pretty narrow."

"A candidate would have to have a unique injury to them in order to sue," he said.

But the rules for standing in state courts are broader, he said, so "any candidate or voter can challenge" Cruz.

Now that the field of Republican contenders has narrowed to six, each candidate may constitute a threat to the others' vote totals, and therefore a "unique injury," according to Elhauge. Trump would probably need a state election official to speak up for his claim.

Professor Rick Hasen of the University of California at Irvine told NBC News that it would be unlikely that Trump would have standing in a direct case against Cruz, but that he could sue election officials for allowing Cruz on the ballot.

"And certainly if Cruz were excluded from the ballot by a registrar who said Cruz is ineligible, Cruz would have standing to sue over that," Cruz said.

Patrick Smith contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: File – Scott Olsen/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton to Open Dallas Campaign Office]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:15:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hillary+Clinton5.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is opening a campaign office in Dallas.

Clinton's Dallas campaign office will be located in the 2600 block of Walnut Hill Lane and opens Saturday at 3 p.m.

Congressional Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and other local leaders will be at the opening.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia will also be there to formally endorse Clinton.

After the opening, volunteers will start a phone bank to reach out to voters before early voting on Feb. 16 and the Democratic primary election on March 1.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ted Cruz's New Ad Lets Kids Dump on Trump]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:57:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_548795612767.jpg

A playful new political attack ad that compares Donald Trump to a child joins a long tradition of using kids to make a point in a presidential race.

Called "Playing Trump," Sen. Ted Cruz's ad features three boys playing with a Trump action figure who "pretends to be a Republican," listing Democratic politicians that Trump has supposedly supported: "Hey Hillary, I'll give you money to be my friend," one says.

It culminates with one boy, imitating Trump, telling a woman he's taking her "lousy" house using eminent domain, and the boys gleefully destroying a doll house as two terrified parents look on.

"We wouldn't tolerate these values in our children. Why would we want them in a president?" the narrator concludes.

Trump's campaign didn't respond for a request for comment, though Trump did tweet Friday that if Cruz didn't stop "doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen."

Some of the best known ads of all time have featured children, including "Daisy," which President Lyndon B. Johnson used to cast doubt on his 1964 opponent Barry Goldwater's ability to wield American military power.

That ad opened with a girl in a field counting the petals of a daisy. The ad moved to a close-up of her face as a military-sounding countdown tracked back to 0, before a bomb exploded into a mushroom cloud. "These are the stakes," Johnson said.

According to one political observer, the new Cruz ad is notable for letting the kids do the mudslinging, rather than merely pointing out the stakes in political spats.

"Children were not used to attack in the past," professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center told NBC Owned Television Networks. 

Jamieson said older political ads featuring children fall into two categories. Some show that the United States is vulnerable, including "Daisy" and a 1984 Walter Mondale ad in which the song "Teach Your Children" played over footage of missiles launching.

Others serve to show the president as part of a family, whether his own - as Franklin D. Roosevelt and George H. W. Bush did - or the broader American family, as Ronald Reagan did in his famous 1984 "Morning in America" ad. Reagan's ad prominently featured children looking up at an American flag being raised.

The Cruz ad, with more than 236,000 views on YouTube, leaves almost all the talking to the children. Whether it gets its message across across is another question. 

"The diction in the ad is pretty bad, making it unlikely that the `message' (such that it is) will get across," said Stanford political science professor Shanto Iyengar in an e-mail.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified which school hosts the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Photo Credit: File – AP Photo/Susan Walsh
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<![CDATA[Sen. Cruz Relents, Ambassadors to Sweden and Norway Confirmed]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:37:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-505046612.jpg

The Senate on Friday moved to confirm a handful of ambassadors and State Department officials, including the American ambassadors to Sweden and Norway after Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, lifted his months-long hold on the nominations, NBC News reported.

An aide to Cruz said that he decided to lift his hold, which were in place because of his objection to the Iran nuclear agreement, because he feels the American people "are very aware of the negative consequences of this deal."

In the Senate any one senator can put a "hold" on a nomination, and Cruz had been blocking the speedy consideration of a number of nominations for the past seven months. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eric Garner's Daughter in Bernie Ad]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 12:11:48 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Erica+Garner+II.jpg

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released a new campaign ad Thursday that prominently features the daughter of Eric Garner, the New York City man who died in 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer.

"People are dying. This is real; this is not TV. We need a president that’s going to talk about it," Erica Garner says in a voice-over in the four-minute campaign ad titled "It’s Not Over."

Her father died in July 2014. His death was ruled a homicide, but the officer who restrained him in a chokehold was not indicted by a Staten Island grand jury and argued he was using a different, department-approved take-down maneuver called "the seatbelt."

Eric Garner's final words — "I can't breathe" — became a focal point for the movement against police brutality, a hot-button issue in the country that both Democratic candidates have taken up on the campaign trail.

Sanders' ad begins with Erica Garner discussing how her father's death influenced her decision to become an activist. She then explains the heartbreaking conversations she has with her 6-year-old daughter.

"She just learned about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. She asked me, 'Did Rosa Parks not give up her seat for a white man?' She said, 'But those are in the old days, right, Mommy?' And I had to explain to her it’s not really over," Erica Garner says. 

The ad ends with stirring music played over Sanders pushing to hold law enforcement accountable for deaths in police custody.

"When a police officer breaks the law, that officer must be held accountable," the Vermont senator proclaims to a packed rally.

Erica Garner continues talking about the candidate, calling the 74-year-old a "protester".

"I'm behind anyone who's going to listen and speak up for this," she says. "I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie Sanders."

As the ad ends, Erica Garner gives her endorsement, saying "that's why I'm for Bernie."

The Garner family, however, is divided in their support this election season. Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, publicly endorsed Sanders' rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, last month.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[John Lewis Questions Sanders' Civil Rights History]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:52:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JohnLewis-AP_845681499037.jpg

Rep. John Lewis said Thursday he never saw Sen. Bernie Sanders during the most tumultuous years of the civil rights movement, NBC News reported.

"I never saw him. I never met him," the Georgia congressman said. "I was chair of the student non-violent coordinating committee for 3 years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom ride, the march on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed the board of education project for six years."

Sanders was a prominent figure during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and was arrested for trying to desegregate school housing.

The charge comes as both Sanders and Hillary Clinton are vying for African-American support moving into the South Carolina primary — and as the Congressional Black Congress PAC endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Presidential Campaigns Turn to South Carolina]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 09:38:20 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_politicsam0211_1500x845.jpg Presidential hopefuls are focusing their efforts on South Carolina ahead of the state's upcoming primaries.]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics February 7, 2016 Show]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:26:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), Texas Congressional District 32 talks about campaigning for another term. Also, David Sanchez with the Bernie Sanchez campaign and State Sen. Konni Burton, Sen. Ted Cruz for President supporter talks with NBC 5's Kristi Nelson and Gromer Jeffers of The Dallas Morning News about whether their candidates momentum will last until Super Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Makes Electability Pitch Since N.H. Victory]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:11:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TrumpSouthCarolina-AP_446723142501.jpg

Donald Trump is making his first pitch of electability after a landslide victory in New Hampshire.

Trump told nearly 5,000 people in South Carolina that he could win beyond the Palmetto State, NBC News reported.

"You're next," Trump said to the South Carolinians assembled, citing his large margin of victory in the Granite State and promising that a win here would propel him on to run the table.

He also didn’t miss the chance to swipe at Hillary Clinton for her loss to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whom he called “wacky socialist guy Bernie” 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Congressional Black Caucus to Endorse Clinton]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:38:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/508448996-Hillary-Clinton-necn-Viewer-Question.jpg

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will endorse Hillary Clinton on Thursday, NBC News has confirmed.

The group will help her campaign to win over minority voters in upcoming primary contests.

Clinton has a strong advantage over rival Bernie Sanders among black voters, and the endorsement could help her solidify support in states where the group plays a key role, like in the upcoming South Carolina Democratic primary.

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn — an influential voice in the state — is still neutral, telling NBC News he will not endorse ahead of the state primary.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Won Despite Ignoring NH's Famed Retail Politics]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:31:53 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509216262.jpg

The governors competing for the Republican presidential nomination all tried to outdo each other in time spent in New Hampshire, staking their campaigns on an electorate more moderate and less religious than in Iowa. But when the polls closed on the country's first primary, it was the candidate who barely stopped for a cup of coffee in the Granite State making the victory speech.

Businessman Donald Trump, who skipped much of the retail politics for which New Hampshire is known, the intimate meet-and-greets at diners, in living rooms and at town meetings, came out on top with 35 percent of the vote. He captured the lead when he announced he was running and held it throughout the race.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished second, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished fourth, both left New Hampshire for the next contest in South Carolina, while New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, so often in New Hampshire that he was criticized for ignoring his own state’s problems, was dropping out.

“If you look at [Trump's] circumstances, you could say that spending time in the state doesn’t matter, and when he did come it was for very large rallies where there was no give-and-take between the candidate and the citizens,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. “On the other hand, John Kasich really did show that retail politics can still make a difference.”

Kasich began with 2 percent of the voters and ended up with 16 percent in a very crowded field, she said. The governor of a swing state who ran a campaign based on issues instead of insults, he was able to capitalize on his appeal to moderates unhappy with Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, exit polling showed.

The outspoken Christie, meanwhile, was overshadowed by the even more brash and controversial Trump, and he struggled to gain his footing with voters. He finished sixth in the Republican pack.

“We came here to say that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters, and that it will always matter in leading our nation,” Christie told supporters Tuesday night. “That message was heard by a lot of folks and it was stood for by a lot of folks here in New Hampshire, just not enough. Not enough tonight.”

Christie, who focused most of his resources on a strong showing in New Hampshire, returned to New Jersey on Wednesday to announce he was suspending his campaign.

Bush was pushing ahead to South Carolina after a fourth-place finish despite also failing to stir much excitement around his campaign. At the start of the year, his super PAC, Right to Rise, still had about half of the $118 million it raised last year.

The three governors had trouble differentiating themselves, and some Republicans worried that Christie had the least chance of winning the nomination, Fowler said. In the past, retail politics have been critical for candidates — Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, for example — but at the same time, the field was much less crowded.

“Meeting voters doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to support you, when they had so many options to choose from,” she said.

New Hampshire’s voters famously demand a chance to see the candidates up close. The state makes a case for its first-in-the-country status by pointing to the scrutiny candidates get as they criss-cross the state for the small gatherings.

On the Democratic side, the primary winner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, swept the state with 60 percent of the vote to 38 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two each made about 90 stops in the state, according to necn's candidate tracker.

Among the Republicans, in the hours before the polls closed, Christie was claiming to have topped Kasich in days on the ground in New Hampshire and town halls attended.

Kasich and Christie each spent about 70 days in New Hampshire to about 55 for Bush. During those visits, Kasich and Christie made 190 stops each at breakfasts, fundraisers, dinners and other events over the course of the campaign, while Bush made 111, according to the necn candidate tracker.

Trump, by contrast, had only 46 stops over 30 days, though his campaign intensified its ground game in the final days.

“We learned a lot about ground games in one week,” he joked after his win.

Fowler cautioned against drawing too much from Trump’s victory, relying as it did on his celebrity.

“It’s hard to generalize because his candidacy is breaking so many rules, not just the one about retail politics,” she said.

Meanwhile, by Wednesday, Carly Fiorina had also suspended her campaign. She had campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, making 149, stops but came in seventh, with only 4 percent of the vote. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[ATPE Pushing Teachers to Get Out, Vote in Elections]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 13:08:03 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/voting+booth+2.jpg

The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) launched an education and election advocacy website, TeachtheVote.org, designed to get teachers out of the classroom and into a voting booth on Election Day.

ATPE has also teamed up with more than 10 other education groups in support of a new initiative called TexasEducatorsVote.com.

The sites push administrators to encourage early voting, of any candidate, and to ensure that every employee is given the time during the workday to get to the polls.

"We’re coming together for the first time in an unprecedented way,” ATPE Governmental Relations Director Brock Gregg said. “Our goal is to implore educators and the public to take action. There are about one million active and retired public school educators in Texas. If they all go out and vote, this could have a tremendous positive impact on public education."

ATPE and other groups are asking every superintendent and principal in the state to join TexasEducatorsVote.com to ensure nothing less than the highest education turnout the state has ever seen.

School administrators have the opportunity to promote voter participation by all school employees and send the message that strong voter turnout among education stakeholders will help ensure the future success of our state’s public education system.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Free Ponies for All' Candidate Vermin Supreme Finishes 4th in NH Primary]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 10:22:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/verminsupreme.jpg

Pony-loving, boot wearing Vermin Supreme finished fourth among Democrats in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in a rout. Martin O'Malley, who dropped out of the race after the Iowa Caucus, finished a distant third.

But the fourth place finisher was a name familiar to many New Hampshire voters: Massachusetts resident Vermin Supreme, the perennial candidate best known for his campaign platform to provide free ponies to every American.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Supreme received 257 votes, only slightly less than half of the 622 votes O'Malley received. That's also more than Republicans Mike Huckabee (214), Rick Santorum (197), Jim Gilmore (132), George Pataki (79) and Bobby Jindal (50) tallied. In their defense, though, all but Gilmore had already dropped out of the race.

With his large beard and boot hat, Supreme has become somewhat of a cult figure in New Hampshire, where he spent a great deal of time attending candidate events and handing out candy. He was banned from the annual "Lesser Known Candidates Forum" at Saint Anselm College this year after he famously glitter-bombed the event four years ago, causing a mess that proved costly for the college to clean up.

He also hosted a giant party and concert over Labor Day weekend. "Burning Vermin: Vermin Supreme Labor Day Telethon Money Bomb," was held at a farm in Croydon, New Hampshire, and featured a pig roast, bands and readings by Supreme.

Photo Credit: necn/Marc Fortier]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign Trail Heads Next to South Carolina]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:05:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/juan-julie-snow-new-hampshire.jpg

Parting thoughts from New Hampshire: If I never see snow again, it will be too soon (Unless I am skiing, then it is fine.).

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came in third in New Hampshire and is already in South Carolina where he is currently listed second in the polls.

Donald Trump is the frontrunner in South Carolina, but Cruz should do well there. I'm told he has a strong ground game.

In the Senator's speech Tuesday night he sounded like a candidate in it for the long haul. He should have strong support in the south on Super Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) had a big night, but Clinton should rebound big in South Carolina. But this is a race.

I'm interested to see what happens with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. His strongest support is in the states that vote after Super Tuesday. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush moves on too.

Ever wonder if debates matter? They do. Just look at U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). He headed into New Hampshire riding a wave of momentum. Then, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie schooled him in the debate, saying he used the same 25-second canned answer repeatedly.

For two days after, Rubio said he did well in the debate. Last night, after a fifth place finish he told supporters he did not.

The irony? Christie, who delivered the blow, didn't do well either in New Hampshire. He may not make it to South Carolina. Rubio will.

I'll be there too. In the meantime, all I've eaten since Monday are sandwiches and eggs. That ends today. I'll be home to eat salad, work two debates, do some laundry, sleep as much as possible and get back on a plane to South Carolina. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Photo Credit: Julie Fine, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Returns to Illinois]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:00:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/obama-AP_481030974134.jpg

President Barack Obama arrived in Springfield on Wednesday morning prepared to make history, becoming the fourth U.S. president to address the Illinois General Assembly.

Nine years ago was Obama’s last time in Springfield for the frigid February announcement of his candidacy for president. Springfield was just as bitter cold for his arrival Wednesday as it was then, but the welcome for the president was warm. 

"It's great to see so many old friends," Obama said at the start of his address to a standing ovation. "I missed you guys."

Obama spoke on unity and bipartisanship before a body in Illinois that has been criticized for exhibiting neither characteristic. 

The address comes amid a historic state budget impasse in Illinois, something the president did not ignore in his speech. 

"When I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I’m not impressed," Obama said. "All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments, like fixing roads, educating kids, passing budgets, cleaning our environment, making our streets safe."

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The nod to the budget crisis in Springfield received standing ovation from many in the crowd. 

Most of Obama's speech centered around what he called "better politics" and the need to fix the "poisonous political climate that pushes people away from participating."

He continuously emphasized the need for compromise between parties.

"In a big complicated democracy like ours if we can’t compromise, by definition we can’t govern ourselves," he said, noting that "trying to find common ground doesn't make me less of a Democrat or less of a Progressive." 

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama accepts that his call for better politics will be hard.

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"It is a lot easier to be cynical than to accept that change is possible," he said. "The president will again call on a politics of hard-won hope."

Rauner said in a statement before the speech he looked forward to "hearing (Obama) speak about finding common ground between Republicans and Democrats."

"Despite our political differences, the President and I share a passion for improving education, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a belief in the benefits of term limits and redistricting reform for restoring good government, and a strong desire to see more economic opportunity for all Illinoisans," Rauner said. "I know we can achieve great things for Illinois by having mutual respect for one another and focusing on bipartisan compromise to achieve what’s best for the long-term future of our great state.”

Still, Rauner and other Republicans did not stand when Obama spoke of how collective bargaining is critical to the middle class. 

It has been nearly four decades since a president made such an address in Illinois, the last time being when Jimmy Carter spoke to the state’s lawmaking body in 1978. The difference in Obama’s visit is that he is the first president to have served in the General Assembly and also address them.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin stood with Obama in Springfield when he announced his historic run for president and arrived with the president as he landed in Springfield. 

“Working together, we can accomplish great things," Durbin said in a statement. "The promise of hope and change that President Obama brought to Springfield back in 2007 can only become a reality if we are willing to compromise and find common ground.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[ICYMI: 5 Things to Know From the NH Primary]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:06:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Spotlight-Graphic-5Things-Th.jpg Here's a quick summary of what happened on Tuesday night at the New Hampshire primary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:25:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000010361555_1200x675_619909187632.jpg After winning the New Hampshire GOP primary, Donald Trump claimed he would be the "greatest jobs president that God every created." He also stated that the unemployment rate could be as high as 28 or even 42 percent, which is not true, according to PolitiFact.]]> <![CDATA[Sanders Wins New Hampshire Primary]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:44:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000010361223_1200x675_619865667712.jpg Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, beating Hillary Clinton. He slammed Republican policies and "establishment politics" for supporting the interests of large donor groups instead of the common interest of citizens.]]> <![CDATA[Clinton Concedes New Hampshire Primary to Sanders]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:44:56 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000010360982_1200x675_619843651985.jpg Hillary Clinton conceded the New Hampshire primary to Bernie Sanders, appealing to his voters in her address by discussing income inequality and Citizens United.]]> <![CDATA[See Photos of NH Primary Vote]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 07:18:40 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509278698-bernie-sanders-new-hampshire.jpg Voters in New Hampshire took to their polling places to cast their ballots on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump, Cruz Trade Barbs as New Hampshire Hits the Polls]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:42:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nh-polls-julie-fine.jpg

Well, voting is very different in New Hampshire. They have yellow tape at polling locations (yes, the kind you see at crime scenes), that signals where campaigning must stop!

Supporters and candidates can be INSIDE the polling locations. So can cameras.

We talked to voters seconds after they voted and some said they saw about 20 advertisements on TV a day and answered at least five phone calls. One man said he is excited for the ads to end and looks forward to once again watching ads about cars and beer.

Then it was on to a Ted Cruz event. According to the polls, he is in a heated battle for second place with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and former Florida Gov. Bush.

But Cruz had questions Tuesday that did not have to do with the race.

Here is the background, if you have not already heard. Monday night at a Donald Trump rally a supporter called Cruz a derogatory term. Trump then repeated it in front of thousands of people. Tuesday, Cruz was asked about that and said he would not respond in kind. Here is video or his response to me.


Cruz answered the question at a small event at a diner, and I can assure you, there were more cameras than voters. It is really hard getting in there in a tight group like that. Believe it or not, since I am short, sometimes that helps and I can kind of squeeze through. Other times, it is not so easy. Today, my photographer Juan Rodriguez and I were in good places, so it all worked out.

Monday night we will be at Cruz's election watch party. Hopefully I can tweet out as many results as possible, but the Internet isn't great here so cross your fingers.

Photo Credit: Julie Fine, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cruz Takes High Road in Response to Trump's Profanity]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:52:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cruz-trump-statement.jpg

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz took the high road Tuesday in his response to rival Donald Trump's use of profanity to describe the Texas Republican.

Trump, the GOP frontrunner, derided his opponents while addressing about 5,000 people at a rally Monday, the day before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary election. He contrasted his recent statements on bringing back waterboarding to those of Cruz.

"You know he's concerned about the answer because well, some people," Trump said pointing to a woman in the audience, "she just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out 'cause I don't wanna."

Then he said it anyway: "She said, 'He's a p---y.'"

When asked about the comment Tuesday in New Hampshire, Cruz shrugged.

"Oh, listen. Nothing Donald says surprises anyone. Donald does not handle losing very well. He didn't like that he lost in Iowa and his response often is to simply yell and insult and engage in profanity," Cruz said. "My approach is not to respond in kind ... I'm going to stay focused on the issues. I'm going to stay focused on the substance."


All polls in New Hampshire close by 8 p.m. EST. Up for grabs are 23 Republican delegates, awarded proportionately. Cruz currently leads the delegate count with eight to Trump's seven after the Iowa caucus.

Both candidates — and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — earned nine primary votes in New Hampshire's three smallest communities, where residents cast their ballots at midnight.

Photo Credit: Julie Fine, NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Ben Carson Says He Feels Confident in NH]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:21:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/julie_web_carson_1200x675_619463235683.jpg Presidential candidate Ben Carson tells NBC 5's Julie Fine he feels confident heading into the NH primary and is off to South Carolina.]]> <![CDATA[N.H.'s Undeclared: Less Independent Than You Might Think]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:36:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/24907310025_d9d6fcc234_o.jpg

New Hampshire voters have a reputation of being free thinkers, but truly independent voters could be hard to find in the Granite State.

Undeclared voters in the state are allowed to vote in Tuesday's Democratic or Republican primary, which has made them a valuable get for candidates in both parties. 

But just because a voter is Undeclared does not mean they’re undecided or don’t identify with the standard parties, according to a professor at the University of New Hampshire who has studied voter patterns and interviews with several voters days before the primary. 

“I think you’d have a hard time finding a true independent voter in New Hampshire,” said Peter Soreff, 73, an attendee of the New Hampshire Democratic National Convention’s McIntyre Shaheen dinner in Manchester on Friday. “Voters are really either liberal or conservative and they’re basically Republican or Democrat.”

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Soreff, of Nottingham, has called voters and canvassed homes for the past month and a half as a volunteer with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Most people didn't answer their phones and of the roughly 20 people with whom he spoke, none were interested in being swayed, he said. Soreff said the idea that independents have enough weight in the primary to determine a candidate’s outcome is “oversimplified” as voters have usually made up their minds, at least over which party they most identify.

“I know we’re supposed to say ‘we choose the person not the party,’ but that’s garbage. If you go and see how people vote, they usually vote a straight ticket,” Soreff said.

A recent WBUR poll found that 44 percent of the state’s voters are Undeclared, a population that pollster and University of New Hampshire Associate Professor of Political Science Andrew Smith says should be viewed as “Democrat lites” and “Republican lites.”

His center's analysis of polling data since 1999 found just one-third were true independents.

While much attention is placed on obtaining these independents’ votes, such voters are actually the least likely to show up on Election Day, Smith said.

“People out of the state, the press, and locals as well, are guilty of calling them Independents,” Smith said. “That’s fine if you understand that they’re not truly independent. If you say ‘Independent’ for a long enough time, you get the impression that they’re not partisan and not locked in with one party. The truth is, they’re very much locked into one party. They’re quite partisan with their positions.”

People often wonder which way independent voters will swing in an election, but that’s the wrong way to look at them, Smith said.

“We should ask ourselves which of the races is exciting those people that are less likely to vote more, the Republican or the Democratic race? The race that is more exciting, especially if it’s close, pulls out more of those Undeclared voters,” Smith said.

An exciting race can pull out voters of all parties, though, and may even prompt voters to reconsider where they stand.

Crystal Berberich, 41 of Manchester, is a registered Republican, but said she considered becoming Undeclared.

“I share a lot of views of the Republicans, but I also have a lot of very liberal views as well,” said Berberich during her post-run coffee stop in downtown Manchester on Saturday. “I’m going to vote Republican in the primary because I don’t want Trump to get any further and I may vote for a Democrat in the general election. I’m so anti-Donald Trump I think that if he was to make it to the final election, I'm hoping you would see some people switch parties.”

Peter Noonen, of Manchester, is also straddling party lines. Noonen, 44, is the type of open-to-influence voter candidates search for when campaigning in New Hampshire. He has campaigned for George W. Bush, but voted for President Barack Obama. This year his top two candidates are Republican former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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“I’m a registered Republican, but we have the ability in New Hampshire to go back and forth," Noones said. "It takes an extra five minutes to undeclare yourself and then, if you really feel passionately about someone on the other side of the ticket, you can say, ‘Yes, I want to vote for that person.’ I've done it before for governor, even for mayor for Manchester.” 

Although Berberich and Noonen are registered Republicans, their open-mindedness suggests a certain independent spirit.

Megan Doyle, a political reporter at the Concord Monitor, said that the common theme she has noticed when interviewing voters in New Hampshire is not their partisanship, but their passion.

“They want someone authentic. They want someone they feel like they connect to,” Doyle said. “They can’t always articulate why they like that person, or what puts them over the edge to support them, but when you get to a primary like this where candidates can line up similarly on issues, I’ve noticed voters will talk a lot about passion and character. That’s one of the hallmarks of the New Hampshire primary. Voters are very much putting candidates to a character test here, in addition to grilling them on the issues that they care about.”

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Arakelian
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<![CDATA[Tales from the Trail: Snow Not an Issue for Candidates in N.H.]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:41:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/new-hampshire-snow.jpg

There was a new twist on the campaign trail Monday in New Hampshire: lots of snow. Snow fell all day while we tried to get to several candidate events the day before the state's primary election.

But the candidates were dealing with it as well.

For myself and NBC 5 photographer Juan Rodriguez, the day started off by tracking down volunteers from Texas in Manchester. Neal Mehrotra was in law school in Austin, but decided to take some time off to volunteer after meeting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).


Mehrotra has been on the trail for nine months and is so accustomed to cold weather he's not even wearing a jacket while he works.

Mehrotra said he is determined and when he met one woman who said she was supporting Ben Carson, he stood outside in the cold and wind for 10 minutes, trying to get her to change her mind.

The next stop was in Nashua, which should have been a 15-minute drive but was much longer because of the snow. Rodriguez, my Texas-born photographer, is an excellent driver in the snow. (I am, too, by the way. It's the Buffalo, N.Y., roots.)

Luckily, we made it on time to hear from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. His son, Jeb Bush Jr., spoke with us about the campaign falling short of early expectations. He said they always expected it to be a grind and have a good ground game in New Hampshire.


Then came a 40-minute drive in the snow to a Cruz event, where the Senator spoke with us briefly about his Texas volunteers and he said the support from them is incredible.


NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt said he expects some type of surprise in the primary results Tuesday night, but does not know what it will be.

So, all in all, Monday was a very busy day. Now it's time for a bowl of chowder to warm up.

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<![CDATA[Iowa vs. New Hampshire: Who Better Predicts GOP Nominee]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 11:04:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GOP-Primary.jpg

"Iowa picks corn and New Hampshire picks presidents," former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu famously said.

Among Republicans, New Hampshire's primary results over the last few decades have been better than Iowa's caucus results at predicting who would go on to become the presidential nominee.

In the last 10 elections in years without an unopposed candidate, the winner of the New Hampshire GOP primary won the nomination half the time. The winner of the Iowa caucus earned the party nomination a quarter of the time, according to InsideGov.

We'll have to see how 2016 shakes out for Republicans in a lively race for the party's nomination after voters in the Granite State make their choice on Feb. 9. 


Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Bloomberg Talks WH Bid: Report]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:14:38 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-501810656.jpg

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has confirmed that he is thinking about running for president as an independent candidate in 2016.

In a story published Monday in the Financial Times, Bloomberg said for the first time that he was considering a White House bid and that he was "looking at all the options" for the upcoming election.

“I’m listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing,” he told Financial Times.

The New York Times had reported last month that the billionaire former mayor was telling advisors to work on plans for an independent campaign with a March deadline.

NBC News later confirmed the mayor's plan, noting that Bloomberg would be most likely to run if either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz were nominated as the Republican candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders received the nod from Democrats.

Bloomberg told the Financial Times he would need to start the process of getting his name on ballots by the beginning of March. 

If he ran, the 73-year-old Bloomberg would be the second-oldest candidate in the field; Sanders is 74. If either won, they would eclipse Ronald Reagan as the oldest candidate to win the office. 

Rumors of Bloomberg's presidential aspirations have been swirling since 2007 when the then-NYC mayor left the Republican party and registered as an Independent.

The billionaire and former CEO of his financial services company was a life-long Democrat before switching to the GOP for his first mayoral run. 

Photo Credit: File – Getty Images for Jazz at Lincoln Center]]>
<![CDATA['I Need Your Vote': Trump in NH]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:42:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Donald+Trump+NH+020716.jpg

Donald Trump, the billionaire business mogul who has enjoyed the top spot atop the Republican polls in New Hampshire, urged his supporters to come out for him in Tuesday's primary.

Trump held a rally Sunday afternoon at Plymouth State University in Holderness.

"If you're not going to vote for me, do not vote," Trump told the large crowd gathered in a university athletics center.

Not everyone at the rally had their minds made up about how they will vote Tuesday. Nancy McIver of Holderness said she will vote Republican, but is still checking out all the candidates, especially Trump and his opponents who have served as governors.

"Here it is, Sunday, and I have to vote on Tuesday, and I still don't know," McIver said, noting the economy and how to care for veterans and the elderly are of prime interest to her. "I'm running out of time - I've got to make up my mind!"

McIver's husband, Jeff, said he is strongly leaning toward Trump, but noted he did want to first check out the candidate's temperament in person, to gauge how well he may hold up in a general election.

"There's going to be an onslaught of negativity if Mr. Trump is the nominee, I believe, thrown at him," Jeff McIver said. "And he has to prove, to me anyway, that he has a way of dealing with that without losing his temper and prove to the American people that he's a leader."

Two other rally attendees, who described themselves as being "95 percent" and "99 percent" leaning toward Trump, said they had some concerns about the way the candidate, known for his bluntness and sometimes politically incorrect remarks, may treat others if he is the Republican party's nominee.

"He's not very thick-skinned, so I'm a bit worried about that," said Susan Peoples of Salem. "But I do like all his ideas."

"It's the way he words things to people - he might need to tone it down," Kelley Teunessen of Gilmanton told necn, adding she likes Jeb Bush, but was drawn to Trump because he is not a career politician.

At one point during the rally, a shirtless protestor calling Trump "racist," in reference to the candidate's call on a temporary ban on Muslims who want to move to the U.S. from foreign countries, was escorted from the venue.

While security removed the man, who had "Trump is racist" written on his body, Trump supporters loudly chanted the candidate's name.

Outside, another Trump protestor, Plymouth State student Hannah Dutton, said the candidate's presence on campus did not reflect her values or those of many other students.

"I will not be voting for Donald Trump, that is for sure," Dutton told necn. "I do not support his America."

In his energetic speech, Trump claimed victory in Saturday night's Republican debate on ABC, and said he is the candidate who can be tough with foreign leaders while addressing issues at home like growing jobs and stemming the flow of heroin from Mexico into the United States.

Furthermore, Trump promised his supporters in Holderness that because his campaign is largely self-funded, he is not beholden to special interest groups or wealthy donors, so will not always side with influential lobbies.

"I don't need your money; I need your vote," Trump told the crowd at the rally.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Gloria Steinem Apologizes for Comments About Young Women]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 17:26:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GloriaSteinem-GettyImages-508082072.jpg

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has apologized for implying that younger women have chosen to support Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton because they want to meet men, NBC News reported.

"In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what's been misinterpreted as implying young women aren't serious in their politics,” she said in a statement posted on Facebook.

On the Friday edition of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host asked why so many young women were not supporting Clinton during her bid for presidency. Steinem replied that young women were thinking “’Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Calls Flint Water Crisis 'Immoral']]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:10:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ClintonFlint-AP_578549665494.jpg

Hillary Clinton called for “action now” to fight the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in a speech she made to a packed congregation in the city, NBC News reported.

Clinton, who stepped away from the campaign trail in New Hampshire to visit Flint, called on Congress to pass a $200 million bill to replace the city’s water infrastructure.

"This has to be a national priority," Clinton said at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church. "What happened in Flint is immoral. The children of Flint are just as precious as the children of any part of America."

Clinton promised residents she would return to the city and not to be discouraged. With the DNC sanctioning an additional debate in Flint for March 6, Clinton will be back in the city two days before the Michigan primary.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tales from the Trail: On the Road to NH]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:30:55 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/julie-juan-lede.jpg

Pack. Unpack. Rinse. Repeat. Refuel.

Juan and I are on the way to New Hampshire. Juan, like Stewy, who you met in Iowa, is the calm to my storm. He is also like a vault. I remember talking to him once, adding, "You know this is between us, right?" He responded, "Don't worry. I probably won't even remember."

Juan has a great sense of humor, and is a great photojournalist.

Iowa ended up being warmer than expected. It hit the 40's every day, except the day we flew out. It's a different story in New Hampshire. We are looking at the high of 30 every day and lows in the teens.

Now many of you may know by now I am from Buffalo, New York. So when I m heading to cold weather, people often say, "You will be fine. You are from Buffalo." Just because you are from Buffalo does not mean you are born with a layer of Under Armor. Cold is cold.

Politically, New Hampshire could be full of surprises. Donald Trump leads in the polls but got more than a few boos during the debate Saturday. All of the governors, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich, need to do well in New Hampshire. They each had strong performances in the debate. Christie attacked U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL-R).

Rubio, who has been on his way up, did not have a good night. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz(TX-R) had an emotional moment talking about his sister, who died of a drug overdose.

Like in Iowa, there are Texans volunteering for Cruz in New Hampshire. We hope to track down some for you. Thanks for following along again!!

Photo Credit: Julie Fine, NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Trump Says Iowa Caucus Results 'Very Unfair']]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:23:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Trump+MTP+New+Hampshire.png

Donald Trump said Sunday that he does not need to win the New Hampshire primary and that the Iowa caucus results were "very unfair" to him and Ben Carson.

"There are those that say I actually came in first, depending on how you want to count the votes, to be honest, because that was a horrible thing that took place," Trump said on "Meet The Press."

Iowa caucus winner Ted Cruz apologized to Ben Carson after supporters spread rumors that Carson was planning to end his campaign in an effort to get them to support Cruz. Trump has said it may have pushed Cruz over the top and caused him to fall to second.

Trump said he would like to do well in the Granite State, but dismissed the idea it is a must win. 

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Sanders Defends His Foreign Policy Credentials]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 11:53:19 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Sander+Defends+Foreign+Policy.png

Senator Bernie Sanders defended himself Sunday against criticism that he does not have sufficient depth or interest in foreign policy matters.

"Let me reassure the American people…it goes without saying that a president must be well-versed in foreign policy, must have a foreign policy position. And I will of course do that," Sanders said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in response to criticism by some of his debate performance Thursday on the issue of foreign policy.

Sanders has faced intense scrutiny during his presidential campaign for not being as comfortable or fluent as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when discussing foreign affairs.

"It is not just experience that matters, it is judgment," argued the Vermont senator.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Ben Carson Waits in the Wings in Debate Introduction]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 11:23:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BenCarsonDebate-AP_47261554959.jpg

The Republican debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, got off to a bit of an awkward start on Saturday.

It began on a high note, when ABC moderator David Muir introduced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

Ben Carson's name, drowned out by applause, was called second. But instead of making his way onto the stage, he stood off to the side as the moderators continued on down the candidate list. 

Carson then started to make his way out, but suddenly stopped short when the moderators called out Ted Cruz’s name. 

Someone from backstage, who popped his head out from behind the curtain, tried shooing Carson to walk out, but to no avail. 

Donald Trump appeared in the wings after his name was called, but instead of coming to the stage, he stood back with Carson. Marco Rubio barreled past the two other candidates, smiling as he walked past them. Next came former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who gave the two a quizzical look before leaving Carson and Trump behind.

Social media lit up with reaction to Carson’s late entry onto the stage.

Others were more sympathetic to the GOP candidate and laid the blame elsewhere. 

But it didn't end there. Muir could faintly be heard calling out Ohio Gov. John Kasich's name, but that too, was drowned out by applause. Both Muir and fellow moderator, Martha Raddatz, who had their backs to the stage, then realized they were missing and gave Carson and Trump another call to the stage.

“Dr. Ben Carson, please come out on the stage, he’s standing there as well,” Muir said.

“And Donald Trump,” Raddatz said.

As the moderators took their seats, Kasich was still missing.

“Where’s Kasich?” someone could be heard saying.

“Yes, yes, we’re going to introduce Ohio Gov. John Kasich.” 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[GOP Debate in NH: Christie vs. Rubio, More Top Moments]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 11:04:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rubio-at-debate.jpg

Donald Trump was back, Carly Fiorina was out, excluded by the rules of the ABC News debate, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was drawing attacks after his strong showing in Iowa.

The GOP presidential candidates were on stage Saturday night for the final debate before the New Hampshire primary, where some of the Republicans must do well if they are to continue. Trump, who finished second behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the Iowa caucuses, returned after skipping the previous debate. 

Here are some of the liveliest moments of the evening. 

The debate got off to an awkward start as Dr. Ben Carson hesitated going onto the stage even as he was waved on. Trump lingered with Carson until they both entered, but then Kasich was left behind. Carson later said that he did not hear his name called.

Rubio tried to defend his relatively short time in the U.S. Senate by saying if years spent as a senator were the measure of a candidate everyone on the stage should be rallying around Vice President Joe Biden. Biden represented Delaware for 36 years.

But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie quickly attacked Rubio for failing to make a single decision of consequence in the Senate for which he was held accountable and mocked him for giving his “30-second” prepared speech. Memorized speeches don’t get the snow plowed or help rebuild a state destroyed by superstorm Sandy, he said. And he criticized Rubio for listing the Hezbollah Sanctions Act as an accomplishment but failing to show up for the vote.

“That’s not leadership," Christie said. "That’s truancy.”

Rubio rejoined by telling Christie he had to be shamed into returning to New Jersey from New Hampshire during the recent blizzard. And he brought up New Jersey’s credit rating, downgraded nine times since Christie became governor.

But Rubio also continued to repeat himself several times with the same comments criticizing President Barack Obama.

"You see everybody. I want the people at home to think about this. That's what Washington, D.C., does," Christie rebutted. "The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech...Marco, the thing is this: When you're president of the United States, when you're a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person."

Carson was asked about messages sent by Cruz’s campaign just before the Iowa caucuses, claiming falsely that Carson was leaving the race.

“I’m not going to use this opportunity to savage the reputation of Senator Cruz,” he said.

Carson said he owed it to his volunteers, one of whom died in a traffic accident in Iowa, to stay in the competition. And he added that he was disappointed in the display of what he called “Washington ethics” — doing what is needed to do to win, not what is right.

Cruz apologized, and blamed CNN for reporting that Carson was taking a break from his campaign.

But Carson responded that CNN’s initial tweet was quickly followed by a second one saying he was still in the race. Voters can make their own judgement, he said.

At the end of the debate, Trump got a dig in, saying Cruz had received Carson's votes.

Trump and Bush got into a sharp disagreement over eminent domain, the process by which the government can take private property for public good. Trump, who has benefited from it, defended it as a way to build roads and schools.

Bush countered with a jab at Trump's attempt to take a woman’s house in Atlantic City to use as a parking lot for limousines, next to one of his casinos.

"Jeb wants to be a tough guy,” Trump snapped.

The woman went to state court and ended up keeping her home.

Trump at one point said his team was unable to get tickets for the audience because they had gone to “donors, special interests, the people who put up the money.”

As the audience booed, he added, “The reason they’re not loving me is I don’t want their money.”

Trump makes a point of saying he is funding his campaign himself.

Carson showed his frustration at not getting as much time as the others.

"I’m not here just to add beauty to the stage," Carson said as he jumped into a discussion about the Middle East.

In his closing remarks he said the media had tried to ignore him

"I’m still here and I’m not going any place either," he said.

Cruz, asked about the heroin epidemic in New Hampshire, talked about the death of his half-sister, Miriam, from a drug overdose. He and his father, Rafael, tried to rescue her from a crack house, but failed, he said. After his sister’s death, he put her son, Joey, into a military school with a $20,000 loan on a credit card.

He joins Christie and Fiorina in discussing addictions from the vantage of their families. 

Christie talks about a law school friend who died after injuring his back and becoming addicted to Percocet.

Fiorina's step-daughter, Lori, died at age 35 after a struggle with alcohol and prescription pills.

Photo Credit: AP]]>