Candidates offer final pitches before New Hampshire polls open

With less than 24 hours before polling starts in New Hampshire, presidential candidates made one final push for support around the state. Jeb Bush and Gov. Chris Christie criticized Sen. Marco Rubio for his debate performance and lack of experience, while Sen. Bernie Sanders’ drew sharper attacks from Hillary Clinton’s camp. Political director Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    It is primary eve in what is, for now, the center of the political universe, New Hampshire.

    Political director Lisa Desjardins is in the Granite State, as she kicks off our coverage of the high-stakes sprint to the finish.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Good to see you guys.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    They were in Manchester, chatting with diners.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: Let me tell you, sir.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    And in Plaistow, taking questions from veterans.

    Republicans and Democrats, favorites and long shots, nearly all the candidates were going all out, seeking out undecideds and trying to turn their rivals' supporters into their own. For Republican Marco Rubio, that meant shaking off criticism that he came off as canned in Saturday night's debate and pressing his message at a town hall in Nashua.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: People keep — there's — in the press, anyway, oh, why do you keep saying the same thing about Obama trying to change America? I'm going to keep saying that a million times, because I believe it's true.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    For Chris Christie, Rubio's dogged debate night foe, it meant keeping the heat on the Florida senator at a town hall of his own in nearby Hudson.

    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), Republican Presidential Candidate: When the lights get that bright, you either shine or you melt. We cannot afford to have a president who melts.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    And for Jeb Bush, Rubio's one-time-mentor-turned-rival, it meant taking up his own line of attack this morning on MSNBC.

    FORMER GOV. JEB BUSH (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: He doesn't have a record. That's not to say he's not gifted, because he is. He's a gifted person. And he will be a leader going forward. But he doesn't have a proven record.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Bush's campaign also put up an ad today hitting at another of his rivals, John Kasich.

  • MAN:

    The CATO Institute gave you a D on its government's report card this last year.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    But Kasich, at a town hall in Plaistow, stood by his record on budget issues as Ohio governor.

  • GOV. JOHN KASICH:

    We were way in the hole. Now we're way in the black.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    In the meantime, the Republican front-runner here, Donald Trump, has switched tactics after his runner-up finish in Iowa. He tried his hand at retail politics in Salem, instead of holding one of his signature rallies.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I love these things, even more than making a speech, because I love to hear the feedback. I get some good questions.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    And on the Democratic side:

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Join with us in making that political revolution.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

    Thank you all very much.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Next-door neighbor and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders pressed his apparent advantage in the polls in New Hampshire. He also drew ever sharper attacks from Hillary Clinton's camp. Last night, in Milford, it was former President Bill Clinton.

  • FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON:

    For her, this is not about grand theories of revolution. This is about whether we can improve people's lives.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    The former chief executive went further, accusing Sanders supporters of profane and sexist attacks on his wife. And on Saturday, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright chastised women voters who back Sanders instead of Clinton.

    MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, Former Secretary of State: Just remember, there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Feminist icon Gloria Steinem went ever further on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher." She explained Clinton's lagging support among young women by saying — quote — "When you're young, you're thinking where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie."

    Steinem later apologized in a Facebook post. The candidate herself steered clear of all that fracas and stuck to a more traditional appeal in Manchester.

  • HILLARY CLINTON:

    Imagine that, finally, women not only get equal pay, but our rights to make our own decisions are finally respected.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Of course, with 24 hours yet to go, some voters here already have gotten all the politics they can handle.

  • WOMAN:

    I will just be really glad when the primary is over. I am up to here with the ads on TV, and you just — you can't get away from it.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    But some candidates may get away from it for good after tomorrow, forced out of the race if they finish out of the money.

    And late tonight, some candidates have sent out somewhat typical last-minute requests for funding. But that includes some like Carly Fiorina, who are needing a change in momentum. It seems certain that both Democrats running for president will survive New Hampshire, but it looks like, of the nine Republicans running for president, no one expects all nine will still be running on Friday — from a snowy New Hampshire, Judy, back to you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Lisa Desjardins, we thank you.

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