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Democrats debate liberal credentials on the trail in N.H.

February 3, 2016 at 6:50 PM EDT
As the New Hampshire primary edged closer, Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton traded charges over who's more progressive and Republican rivals Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz wrangled over the outcome in Iowa. Plus, two GOP candidates, Sen. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, quit their presidential campaigns. Judy Woodruff reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The presidential political wars are escalating, as the New Hampshire primary draws another day closer. Democrats traded charges today over who’s more progressive, and two Republicans quit the field, as their rivals wrangled over the outcome in Iowa.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: It’s, honestly, really, really dishonest.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Donald Trump was one of two Republicans who kept their fire trained on Ted Cruz for something that happened on caucus night. In a string of tweets today, Trump said: “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa. He stole it.”

He charged Cruz supporters with spreading rumors as the caucuses got under way that another rival, Ben Carson, was dropping out. Trump called it fraud and insisted — quote — “Either a new election should take place, or the Cruz results nullified.”

A Cruz spokesman denied the campaign officially sanctioned the rumors, but said the Texas senator has apologized to Carson.

He spoke himself today in Washington.

BEN CARSON (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Senator Cruz told me that he wasn’t aware of that when I talked to him, and that he didn’t agree with that kind of thing. And we will wait and see what he does to demonstrate that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The results from Iowa also sealed the fate of two more Republicans.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), Republican Presidential Candidate: Today, I will suspend my campaign for the presidency.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Rand Paul, who finished fifth, said he’s dropping out.

SEN. RAND PAUL: I’m proud of our principled campaign, and the thousands of young people who have been energized by our message of limited constitutional government.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And Rick Santorum, who finished 11th, is following him out the door. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, a surprisingly strong third in Iowa, focused on Democrats.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: We cannot afford to wake up in November to the news that we have a president named Bernie Sanders or a president named Hillary Clinton.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But Rubio also faced criticism again from Chris Christie, who charged the Florida senator won’t give straight answers to New Hampshire voters.

On the Democratic side, the talk was all about liberal credentials.

It began with this yesterday from Bernie Sanders:

QUESTION: Do you think Hillary Clinton is a progressive?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Some days, yes, except when she announces that she is a proud moderate, and then I guess she’s not a progressive.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Clinton shot back today at a rally in Derry, New Hampshire.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I think it was a good day for progressives when I helped to get eight million kids health care under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HILLARY CLINTON: And I think it was a good day for progressives when I joined with colleagues in the Senate to stop George W. Bush from privatizing Social Security.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Clinton and Sanders will appear separately tonight at a CNN town hall.

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