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Watch the 2016 New Hampshire primary election special

February 9, 2016 at 11:00 PM EDT
New Hampshire voters gave primary wins to Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders. In this special election coverage of the New Hampshire primary, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff get on-the-ground reporting from political director Lisa Desjardins tally, plus analysis from Mark Shields, David Brooks and Amy Walter.

GWEN IFILL: Good evening, and welcome to this special “PBS NewsHour” coverage of the New Hampshire primary.

I’m Gwen Ifill.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.

They finished second in Iowa, but, tonight, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have claimed victory in New Hampshire. Democrat Sanders scored a resounding win over Hillary Clinton. It guarantees him a majority of the 24 delegates at stake. And Republican Trump won big in a crowded field, with John Kasich finishing second. Trump will take at least nine of that state’s 23 GOP delegates.

In the battle for third place on the Republican side, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio continued in a tight race late into the night.

As results came into focus, the candidates came out to claim victory and offer concessions.

GWEN IFILL: Donald Trump was triumphant as he appeared before a crowd of supporters in Manchester.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: We want to thank the people of New Hampshire, right?


DONALD TRUMP: Do we love the people of New Hampshire?


DONALD TRUMP: You know, I said it. And I said it even a year ago. I think, I’m going to do really well there, because I’m here a lot. And it’s so beautiful. And I love it so much. And I love the people.

And I said I actually think they like me a lot. And then, all of a sudden, we started getting numbers in. And everyone said, how come they like Trump so much? But I have so many friends up here. And they are special, special people.

So, New Hampshire, I want to thank you. We love you.


DONALD TRUMP: We’re going to be back a lot. We’re not going to forget you. You started it. Remember, you started it.

GWEN IFILL: Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders revved up a jubilant crowd of his supporters in Concord.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: And let me take this opportunity to thank the many, many thousands of volunteers here in the Granite State who worked so tirelessly.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Our volunteers worked night and day, made phone calls, and knocked on a heck of a lot of doors.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: And we won because of your energy. Thank you all so much.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I want to thank Julia Barnes and our great campaign staff.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Together, we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people, and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs.


GWEN IFILL: And now we go to our political director, Lisa Desjardins, who is reporting for us tonight in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Lisa, you have had your ear to the ground, talking to voters, talking to candidates. What have you learned in the past several days while you have been in New Hampshire that explains what we saw happen tonight?

LISA DESJARDINS: Dramatic results for those of us watching, I think, from outside of New Hampshire, maybe not as dramatic, Gwen, for voters here.

Going to the polls this morning, the names I heard from voters were the same names that are doing well tonight.

Let’s start with Donald Trump. Voters who told me that they were supporting Donald Trump told me that they were doing it despite fact that they think he might be someone who is offensive. They think that this country needs someone who is going to be a strong leader and who — maybe who will offend people, especially offend, in their words, America’s enemies.

I think the strong leader label also might apply in way to Bernie Sanders. When I talked to Democrats who voted for Bernie Sanders today — and there were many, many of them, as the results are showing — they said they like that he has been genuine and he has pushed for his ideas, even when they were remarkably unpopular, to today, when they’re gaining traction.

They see that a kind of strength. Those voters who chose not to go for Hillary Clinton said they felt that she is someone who is trying too hard to say what the people want to hear, vs. strong leader type is what they see in Bernie Sanders.

Not to oversimplify things, but I think that was a very real theme for voters here in New Hampshire today.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lisa, were you able to tell what it is that people want the strong leader to do? What is the source of the unhappiness, the frustration, the anger? Were you able to figure — pick that up from people?

LISA DESJARDINS: Yes, it is absolutely the economy, Judy and Gwen.

Here in New Hampshire, incomes are far above average in the — of the country, unemployment levels are low, but yet many voters here don’t feel like things are getting better. And even more so, they are worried about their children’s future. They’re worried about student loan debt, which is very high in this state.

And they don’t see anything changing to help that situation. They think new ideas are the only way for things to go — get on a better course for them. And they say they weren’t hearing new ideas from other candidates.

Now, all of this said, it should be remarked that John Kasich also had a big night. He won, I think, with voters who are looking for a more stable, proven leader, someone who also they related to personally.

He went out, shook hands in this state, sat by firesides, quite literally. And I think that made a difference here for him. I also think it’s really going to be interesting to watch the Marco Rubio-Jeb Bush race with — for number three with Ted Cruz.

I just came from Marco Rubio’s concession speech. Fascinatingly enough, right off the top, he said: This was my fault. It was my poor performance in the debate that led to this.

And he apologized to his followers. He said it won’t happen again. It was a very interesting moment for Marco Rubio, a sign that he is going to try and reverse course or kind of get back on track after New Hampshire.

GWEN IFILL: That’s what I want to ask you about a little bit, Lisa, because Marco Rubio did an unusual thing in admitting that it was his fault.

But we also see lot of other candidates who didn’t necessarily benefit, like Chris Christie, who was a weapon against Marco Rubio the other night. Do we know who might go home after tonight?

LISA DESJARDINS: Well, we know that Chris Christie is taking at least a little bit of time off the trail to sort of recoup and take another look at his campaign.

There were some false reports that he was announcing a suspension earlier tonight. But, instead, what is actually happening, we’re told, is that he is just taking some time to take a look. I do think he’s got he — he’s got to really take a hard look at what’s ahead, especially going into South Carolina.

We haven’t talked about Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina very much. They’re at the very bottom of the New Hampshire pack. And I think, as far as staffing, money, and momentum go, those two candidates have to really make some difficult choices probably in the next few weeks ahead.


Well, Lisa, thank you so much for your contributions tonight and all week long in New Hampshire.

LISA DESJARDINS: It’s been amazing to be here.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we’re joined by Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.

So, Amy, you have been poring over those exit polls, interviews with voters as they left the polling places in New Hampshire. What are you seeing that you could add to what Lisa’s talking — hearing from voters on the ground?

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, it’s very interesting, because what we’re seeing from the exit polls, it lines up in some ways, the idea that Trump is going to be the candidate that is going to shake things up.

But it doesn’t mean that the majority of Republicans in the state feel that that’s what they would like to see going forward. In fact, when you asked the question if Trump won the nomination, would you be satisfied with him as the nominee, voters, Republicans voters were evenly divided; 49 percent said, 48 percent said no.

So, he won a — want to give him his due. He won a big victory tonight, but he’s still a very polarizing figure among Republicans.

GWEN IFILL: So, is it fair to say that neither Republicans who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump tonight and — or Democrats who voted overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders tonight give a fig about electability?


AMY WALTER: It is — that is a heart over the head, I think, is one theme in this election in New Hampshire tonight.

In fact, when I looked at what Democrats were saying, for those who said that the most important issue to them was who can win in November and who has the most experience, Hillary Clinton was winning those voters with 81, 82 percent.

But when you asked them — or when those voters said it was honest — who was honest and trustworthy, who they thought was the most relatable, who understood them, Bernie Sanders wins by big, big, big margins.

The problem for Hillary Clinton is that her message of electability, while she’s winning it, wasn’t seen as important as sort of the heart issues.


AMY WALTER: That’s right. Sixty percent of voters wanted to see somebody who they could relate to and who they saw as honest and trustworthy.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what is the message Hillary Clinton can take from here?

AMY WALTER: Well, that…

JUDY WOODRUFF: She told — she told the crowd tonight: We’re going to go vote after vote, state after state.

But what is the message she carries from New Hampshire?

AMY WALTER: Well, this is going to be her challenge going forward is how she balances that heart and that head.

We talked about this the other night, that the best candidates are the ones who campaign in poetry and then govern in prose. She seems stuck on prose and hasn’t really found much poetry. So, finding a way to get that gap smaller.

And when she is talking about the firewall of these next few states that she’s going to now after New Hampshire, especially South Carolina, that are more diverse — these are overwhelmingly white states — she’s hoping that her success with minority voters will help put her over the top in those states.

But I don’t know. But she’s got to be able to — now that she’s lost in New Hampshire, does she still have that…


GWEN IFILL: Well, that’s the thing. Every piece of conventional wisdom this year has gone out the window.

AMY WALTER: Exactly. Exactly.

GWEN IFILL: So, do firewalls even exist anymore?

AMY WALTER: That’s right.

And when you start — when you hear a campaign start talking about firewalls, then you know have a problem, right? When the campaign — that is usually — the issue is the message and the messenger are usually the bigger problem.

And Bernie Sanders, his message is resonating. Again, we haven’t seen it resonate outside two small states that are pretty homogeneous. Let’s see how it — once we get into states that are a little more diverse and bigger if that is still going to work.

But it’s clearly struck a chord. And I think the problems that we’re seeing for Hillary Clinton raised in New Hampshire, raised in Iowa are going to continue to dog her.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And fascinating, the difficulty she’s had with women voters. She made this a central feature of her campaign this time, unlike in 2008. And yet Bernie Sanders won with women. And she had very tough time with women in Iowa.

AMY WALTER: He won with women narrowly.

But here is the other takeaway. He won among men by over 30 points. That is remarkable. So, we spent a whole lot of time talking about, will women rally around her? We kind of ignored the fact that…


GWEN IFILL: There could be a backlash.

AMY WALTER: That’s right, or that she’s not finding a way to connect with men in the way that she needs to.

GWEN IFILL: I don’t want to underplay Donald Trump’s victory tonight. He exceeded expectations, 2-1, I think, over John Kasich, who came in number two.

AMY WALTER: Yes, absolutely.

GWEN IFILL: He even seemed a little bit surprised and muted by it tonight.


GWEN IFILL: So, what does he do next?

AMY WALTER: Well, he goes to South Carolina. And I think this gives him a great, big boost. He’s in a great position in South Carolina.

He was already running ahead in that state. And he also benefits from the fact that that establishment that was supposed to coalesce behind one candidate in New Hampshire still looks like a muddled mess. So, we go into South Carolina with a Rubio, a Christie, a Kasich battling for that.

Cruz, I think, will do well in South Carolina. And right now, that is going to be the big thing to look for, is Cruz vs. Trump in South Carolina. Do they go at it so hard that it allows a third candidate to come up and win?

GWEN IFILL: Fascinating.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating, so many questions.

Amy Walter, thank you.

AMY WALTER: Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we’re going to do some digging now into facts and figures that aren’t results from New Hampshire, but let’s look anyway — Hari Sreenivasan.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Our data team looked at what the numbers say about New Hampshire going into tonight’s primary results. How does the Granite State compare to the rest of the country, and, on social media, what are New Hampshirites saying about this year’s presidential election?

Compared to Iowa and most of the country, New Hampshire is whiter and more wealthy, according to the Census Bureau; 94 percent of the voting-age population is white, vs. 66 percent of the U.S. And the median household income is $66,532. That’s $12,000 more than the amount you find nationwide.

In fact, there are fewer people in poverty in New Hampshire as well. The national poverty rate is nearly 14 percent, almost twice as high as what’s found in New Hampshire, slightly more than 8 percent. And they’re more politically active. Among New Hampshire residents age 18 or older, the census says nearly three out of four are registered to vote, compared to about two out of three Americans.

But what’s on the minds of New Hampshire voters as this year’s election gains momentum? Just like in Iowa last week, Facebook users in this small New England state have more to say about Donald Trump than any other presidential contender, Republican or Democrat. Next, there’s Ted Cruz, who won last week’s Iowa GOP caucus, and then Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

The presidential race’s two Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, follow Trump in generating interest on Facebook there.

Regarding issues that most concern New Hampshire voters, conversation on Facebook may offer some clues. Campaign finance is the most important topic among Facebook users in New Hampshire leading up to today’s primary vote. Next, New Hampshirites are talking about taxes, the economy, Wall Street, and same-sex marriage.

And when New Hampshirites want to learn more about this year’s candidates, what are they Googling? According to the search engine’s News Lab, interest in Rubio peaked after his debate performance Saturday, and top-trending questions among New Hampshire residents include, is Marco Rubio Catholic and is Ben Carson pro-choice?

In an effort to influence the hearts and minds, campaign and special interest groups are buying lots of ads in New Hampshire. The Boston Globe reported that, since December, more ads have aired in New Hampshire both for and against Jeb Bush than anyone else. Interestingly, Ted Cruz was featured in the fewest ads.

Tonight’s vote in New England will show if those ad dollars make the difference.

GWEN IFILL: The candidates all took turns coming to the podium tonight, some to claim victory, some to concede mistakes.

Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, staked the future of his campaign on New Hampshire, and his surprise second-place finish gives him room to move on.

He addressed his supporters a short time ago in Concord.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: We’re all made to be part of healing of this world.

And if we would just slow down and, by the way, heal the divisions within our own families, be willing to listen to the person that lives next door, when you’re in such a hurry to get out of the driveway or such a hurry to get out of the shopping center, just slow down. Look them in the eye. Give them a hug.

You see, it doesn’t take government. It takes our hearts, our hearts to change America. And in this campaign, I have become convinced even more about what it takes to win a political campaign and what it takes for somebody to be a leader. It’s not just what’s up here in the head. It’s also what’s deep in here in the heart.

And the people of New Hampshire have taught me a lesson. And from this day forward, I’m going to go slower and spend my time listening and healing and helping and bringing people together to fix our great country.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Over on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s second-place victory didn’t drive as much enthusiasm, but she vowed to supporters in Hooksett it is a long road to the nomination.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Republican Presidential Candidate: Thank you all.

I just want to begin…

CROWD: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you all very, very much. My goodness.

I don’t know what we’d have done tonight if we’d actually won. This is a pretty exciting event.

And I’m very grateful to all of you.


HILLARY CLINTON: I want to begin by congratulating Senator Sanders on his victory tonight. And I want to thank each and every one of you.

And I want to say, I still love New Hampshire. And I always will.


HILLARY CLINTON: And here’s what we’re going to do.

Now we take this campaign to the entire country. We’re going to fight for every vote in every state. We’re going to fight for real solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives.

GWEN IFILL: And now to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields, and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who tonight is in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Mark Shields, we just heard Hillary Clinton trying to put the best possible face on what could not have been a good evening.

MARK SHIELDS: She did. And she had a very enthusiastic crowd there.

And — but the problem is, she got 39 percent eight years ago and beat Barack Obama. She got 39 percent tonight and got her clock cleaned by Bernie Sanders. And this wasn’t to happen six months ago, three months ago. And it really — the coronation that we anticipated a year ago of the — Bush and the Clintons has certainly been interrupted.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, David, from New Hampshire, what are the Democrats to do with a Democratic socialist as their standard-bearer, at least at this point?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, to get under 40 percent for Hillary Clinton, that’s bad. To lose every single demographic except households making over $200,000 a year, that’s bad.

She’s got to sort of retool. And, tonight, she adopted some of that Sanders rhetoric. I’m not sure she can be better at being Bernie Sanders than he can be.

I think she’s got to go some other way. Let’s face it. What we learned tonight is, this is a country with an underwhelming economy and a population that doesn’t believe the political system is at all functional, and wants transformational change.

And if you’re running for office, you better touch those hard, broken spots in the American psyche. And Sanders and Trump are doing it. Clinton seems pragmatic, but she is just not touching those spots quite as directly and quite as vibrantly.

GWEN IFILL: Mark, what does going another way mean for Hillary Clinton?

MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think David is right. You can’t run against Bernie Sanders as you’re going be tougher on Wall Street or you’re going to be tougher on economic interests. You have got to draw differences.

What strikes me, Gwen, more than anything else is the similarity of the victories between Trump and Bernie Sanders tonight. Both of them ran as outsiders, critical of the establishment, against the conventional wisdom of a country that trade pacts and treaties are good. They’re both against them.

They both emphasize their opposition to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. They both are against money traditionally raised in politics and its sources. And both are critical of Wall Street, obviously Bernie Sanders a lot more so.

This is really an electorate that is so dissatisfied, so alienated and so angry at the political system that they feel has failed them. It’s not just Democrats or Republicans. It’s across the board.

And I think both Trump and Sanders were the beneficiaries of that. And they touched into that. I don’t know — Hillary Clinton’s got to make her case differently. I don’t think it’s going to involve somehow leveling Bernie Sanders. I mean, they tried to do that today by trying to associate him with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fund-raising, which involved some money from Wall Street.

You’re not going to tarnish him on that. He is believable as the outsider and the bomb-thrower that he’s been.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, is there some hope for Hillary Clinton, or worry, conversely, for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders that the territory to come is not going to be as friendly to them as New Hampshire and Iowa have been?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, we shouldn’t overestimate any one night.

We take New Hampshire, we think it’s epic-changing. And we take an event in Iowa, we think it’s epic-changing. But there are going to be a bunch of epic-changing events over of the next three or four months.

And so the big challenge for Sanders is, can he win minority votes, African-Americans, Latino votes? He’s getting crushed right now. Can he take some of this momentum and at least introduce himself to those voters and, with some of the his policies, the minimum wage at $15 or something like that, can he win chunk of those voters over? That’s the big question on the Democratic side.

GWEN IFILL: Let me ask you both about John Kasich tonight, who came in second on the Republican side.

Part of the case he made in his — David, he made in his speech tonight was, listen, maybe I represent the kinder, gentler face of the Republican Party.

But I don’t see that on either party, that that’s what anyone is longing for.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I admired it, though. He had to take a shot.

Listen, Kasich did super well here, but he has no organization in South Carolina. He has no money. He has no organization anywhere else or really a potential path to the nomination until maybe he gets to the Midwestern states.

So, he had to take his shot. And his shot is running as anti-Trump. I totally get the logic. I think it’s a smart thing to do.

I happened to be at the Rubio rally here tonight. And he did a smart thing. He said: This wasn’t about you people who are working for me. This defeat — and it was a defeat — was on me. I messed up in the debate. It will never happen again.

He was — and it was an effective owning of this defeat. And so, as this thing goes on, the people who react well to success and to failure will do well. I thought both Kasich and Rubio handled their own situation quite well. And so they took — they took the best shot that’s available to them.


MARK SHIELDS: Well, I agree.

I think Rubio manned up. I have never seen a candidate do that, say: It was me, my fault, that — maybe I misunderstood it, but he took full responsibility.

And, to some degree, I think that may be an antidote to the narrative that it was: I repeat myself. Excuse me. I repeat myself.

Repetition is the first law of learning.

I think John Kasich has made a strong case for himself as a vice presidential candidate. I don’t think he has the resources right now to compete with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s victory really is exceptional. I mean, after Iowa, this man, who predicated his whole campaign on I’m a winner, everybody else is a loser, lost. And he buckled. He was unsure of himself. He was publicly chastened. He blamed Ted Cruz’s campaign’s tactics for his defeat.

And he nearly seemed unsure. And he really got his footing back. And this is an important, important victory. He is now the clear and established front-runner for the Republican nomination.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It was striking tonight, David.

We heard Donald Trump say he was going to be the greatest president God’s ever created. There’s no shortage of self-regard.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, that’s a real humble brag.


DAVID BROOKS: Yes. No, he really is dominant right now. Mark’s right.

I still don’t think he’s going to get the nomination. But I have trouble seeing how it’s not going to happen. He just is — has become a force of nature.

And the question for Donald Trump is, where’s the ceiling? A, can he make himself broadly acceptable to all parts of the party? And, B, is there an alternative? Is anybody going to rise up and become the rival?

Will it ever be a one-on-one race, Trump vs. someone else? Right now, it looks like Cruz is the most likely of those possible alternatives. Among the mainstream conservatives, maybe there is no alternative. Maybe there is no viable unifying force.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it is fascinating. And, boy, do we have lot to talk about and look at over the next days.

Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you both.

GWEN IFILL: And, again, we turn the results tonight in the year’s first presidential primary.

Democrat Bernie Sanders claimed a big win in New Hampshire over Hillary Clinton, after she had barely edged him out in Iowa. Donald Trump walked away with the Republican race, far outpacing John Kasich in second place.

Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were tightly bunched in a fight for third place in the GOP field. But Chris Christie could do no better than sixth place. He said he’s going home to New Jersey to ponder his future course.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we ask you to tune in on Thursday, because Gwen and I will moderate the Democratic presidential debate, in partnership with Facebook. And that’s from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. That will start Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

GWEN IFILL: Can’t wait.

And that’s all for our special coverage of the Iowa caucuses (sic) here on the “PBS NewsHour.” I’m Gwen Ifill.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.

Join us online and again right here tomorrow evening for more analysis on our regular evening newscast.

For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and good night.