Welcome to Trail Guide, your host through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Sunday, Jan. 31, and here's what we're talking about:
- Donald Trump says he disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision allowing same-sex marriage and would try to overturn it
- Democrats agree to another debate -- a few days before the New Hampshire primary
- Hillary Clinton says emails found on her private server and deemed to be classified should be released
- On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, The Times' Mark Z. Barabak explains how they work and why they matter so much
- Candidates barnstorm Iowa -- Trump inviting kids onto his private jet and Bernie Sanders singing with Vampire Weekend -- as they woo voters down to the wire
- Iowa's most deeply conservative and strongly liberal pockets are united in one way: a sense of dread. What voters there are telling us
Jeb Bush's campaign raised $7 million at the end of last year -- half as much as Marco Rubio's and a fraction of Ted Cruz's haul.
The former Florida governor, who has vast backing from a super PAC, has trailed the Republican field going into the Iowa caucuses Monday.
The campaign also reported about as much, $7.5 million, cash on hand.
"We are confident our campaign will have the resources needed," the campaign said late Sunday, before the Federal Election Commission deadline for filing fourth-quarter reports.
Marco Rubio's campaign raised $14 million in the final quarter of last year -- still less than chief rival Ted Cruz's.
The Florida senator's backers were bullish heading into Sunday's filing deadline, noting that fundraising picked up substantially last fall as donors began to coalesce around the candidate. He doubled the amount raised in the previous quarter, the campaign said.
But Rubio started 2016 with $10 million cash on hand. His money trails that of Ted Cruz, whose team has boasted of $19 million raised, thanks in part to the Texas senator's wife, Heidi, a Goldman Sachs executive on leave, who has become a fundraising dynamo.
Cruz is locked in a heated contest with Donald Trump in Monday's Iowa caucus and must compete against the billionaire's personal wealth.
Rubio's team has lower expectations for a strong third-place finish in Iowa and believes fundraising will flow to the campaign as more donors see him as the alternative to Trump and Cruz.
The campaign noted its 93,000 contributions came from 50 states. The money has been spent on $8 million worth of TV ads, 431 Uber rides and enough Chick-fil-A to total 1,348 nuggets.
We have ideas that will make America better, and we need to share them, and we need to each stand up and be open....
I get a lot of attacks, but I get a lot of great letters on how what we’re doing has changed people’s lives....
And as you might expect, I get a lot of questions about, ‘Why are you dedicating so much of your life, and so much of your resources to trying to make America better — particularly when you get so much garbage thrown at you?' I don’t enjoy eating garbage anymore than anybody else.
Iowa has become a family affair for the Clintons in the final days before the caucuses.
Hillary Clinton is stumping with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea to rev up supporters. Not only that, Chelsea brought her baby daughter, Charlotte, with her to Iowa, although not to any campaign rallies.
“It’s an absolute thrill and delight to have my daughter with me as we criss-cross Iowa," Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Council Bluffs. "And as much as I love that, I really love the fact that she brought my granddaughter with her to Des Moines. I get to have a little time with Charlotte.”
Clinton has been trying to secure a victory in Iowa over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. She's repeatedly questioned whether some of his most liberal ideas, like universal healthcare run by the federal government, are realistic.
“I don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver,” Clinton said. “I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver.”
Near the end of her speech, she implored the crowd, “Stick with me. Stick with a plan. Stick with the experience."
Donors are digging into their pockets with small-dollar contributions for Democrat Bernie Sanders, who raised $20 million in January alone, putting him on track to beat Hillary Clinton's first-quarter 2016 goal.
The Vermont senator, whose campaign shuns super PAC contributions, kept pace with Clinton late last year. His team said their fourth-quarter filing, due Sunday at the Federal Election Commission, would show $33 million raised.
But the more notable development was the former long-shot candidate's January total.
Sanders' $20 million for the month was raised almost entirely online from more than 770,000 contributions, the campaign said. Overall the campaign has collected 3.25 million contributions -- a record at this point in the cycle for any previous White House bid.
"Working Americans chipping in a few dollars each month are not only challenging but beating the greatest fundraising machine ever assembled," campaign manager Jeff Weaver said.
Weaver said the haul put Sanders on pace to beat Clinton's $50-million goal for the first quarter of 2016.
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump tried to shore up his standing among conservative Christians by attending church Sunday and bringing his wife, a rare campaign appearance for her.
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University in Virginia, vouched for Trump’s moral fiber at a school rally with the Republican presidential candidate in Council Bluffs on the western edge of Iowa.
Falwell recalled that Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor who divorced and remarried before he unseated President Carter in 1980, making an implicit comparison to Trump, who is a reality television star who has married three times.
“Carter was a great Sunday school teacher, but look how he did as president,” Falwell said.
Trump, the New York billionaire, and his wife, Melania, attended services at First Christian Church in Council Bluffs before the rally, where she made brief remarks.
“Hello, Iowa, it’s great to be here,” she told the crowd, then echoed her husband while advocating for his candidacy: “He will be unbelievable – the best deal-maker, the best master negotiator.”
Trump’s last burst of campaigning in conservative western Iowa came as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and at least two super PACs run scathing television ads highlighting his past support for abortion rights and government-funded healthcare.
At the Council Bluffs rally, Trump attacked Cruz for a mailer sent to Iowans telling them they had committed a “violation” by failing to cast ballots in previous elections and urging them to participate in the caucuses Monday.
“It’s so dishonest,” Trump said.
Iowa’s Republican secretary of state, Paul Pate, said Cruz’s mailing “misrepresents Iowa election law,” but Cruz declined to apologize for it, insisting he was using every tool he had to encourage voters to cast ballots.
There's one likely explanation why Marco Rubio has waited until the last possible moment to file Sunday's campaign finance report.
Rubio has trailed rival senator-turned-candidate Ted Cruz not only in polls, but in the money race.
Team Cruz trumpeted the Texan's fourth quarter haul of $19 million in December.
Cruz's wife, Heidi, a former Goldman Sachs executive, is a fundraising powerhouse, and he needs the money to remain competitive with billionaire front-runner Donald Trump, whose own wealth is fueling his campaign.
Rubio has lagged behind, raising half as much as Cruz in the third quarter of 2015. But Rubio's team promised a big year-end finish. Money had been easier to shake loose in the fall than all year, one fundraiser said.
But staring down Sunday's midnight deadline, crickets.
Rubio's team has always counted on an outpouring of financial support once he emerged as the preferred GOP candidate.
That may be needed more now than ever.
Democratic presidential candidates will gather twice in New Hampshire this week, including at a newly added debate, giving them opportunities to make their pitch and undercut their rivals in the race to win the state's primary Feb. 9.
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley will square off in a newly added debate on Thursday on MSNBC. As the race has tightened, front-runners Clinton and Sanders have both sought to add debates.
A night earlier, the three will participate in a forum hosted by CNN. Candidates will appear separately to take questions from voters and news anchor Anderson Cooper.
Details of the debate will be finalized after Monday's Iowa caucuses, the Democratic National Committee said.
For months we've seen all these horse-race polls, probably close to one a day. Those will all go into the rear-view mirror and candidate momentum will be based on actual voter judgments.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace that he thinks the Supreme Court, which last year ruled that same-sex marriage does not violate the Constitution, should have left decisions about single-sex marriage to individual states.
Trump and fellow Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are battling for the support of Iowa's evangelical voters as the state prepares for Monday night's first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Trump said he’d “strongly consider” appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn the court’s 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage across the country.
"I don't like the way they ruled … I disagree with the Supreme Court from the standpoint that it should be a states' rights issue and that's the way it should have been ruled on," Trump said. "I would have much preferred that they ruled at a state level and let the states make those rulings themselves.”
On CNN’S "State of the Union," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sought to contrast his immigration stance with that of fellow GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), continuing a spat that has dominated recent days.
“I oppose amnesty. I oppose citizenship. I oppose legalization,” Cruz said. “I have pledged on day one to rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive order issued by Barack Obama.”
Cruz said he would revoke Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which exempted from deportation certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before 2007 as children.
“Marco has gone on Univision in Spanish and told Jorge Ramos he will not repeal, he will not rescind Obama's illegal executive amnesty on day one," Cruz said. "He says you can't do it overnight, and he won't do it. Now, that's a sharp difference. That's not a personal difference. It's not a personal insult. It's just a difference in policy."
Rubio responded on NBC’s "Meet the Press," calling Cruz’s characterization of the Univision interview inaccurate.
“That just never happened. What I've always said is that the president's DACA on adults needs to be -- well, now it's being stayed by a court, but I'll repeal it, and DACA needs to end too. And I've always said that,” he said.
“The only thing with DACA is, you know, people that are on it now would not be allowed to re-register and we shouldn't be adding new people to it. And that's consistently my position.”
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton again called for the State Department to publicly release 22 emails stored on her personal server that the agency is withholding because officials recently determined that they contain classified information.
“I just want this matter resolved. The best way to resolve is to do what I asked months ago, release these, let the public see them and let's move on,” she said on ABC's "This Week."
Clinton, her campaign and several members of Congress, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is a ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, downplayed the sensitivity of the emails, saying they weren’t marked top secret when they were sent, and noting that one is a New York Times article.
“That seems a little hard to understand, that we would retroactively... classify a public newspaper article,” Clinton said.
She said Republicans will continue to criticize her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State, just as they have criticized her response to the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
“You know, the Republicans are going to continue to use it, beat up on me,” she said. “But after 11 hours of testimony, answering every single question, in public, which I have requested for many months, I think it's pretty clear they're grasping at straws.”
Later in the show, Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) reiterated that he won't criticize Clinton over the emails.
“I'm not going to politicize that issue. I am not [going to] attack Hillary Clinton on that issue. I stand by what I said in the first debate,” he said.
Jake Tapper asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) on CNN’s "State of the Union" about a critical editorial in the Washington Post that accused the Democratic presidential candidate of pandering to liberal voters, saying “Sanders is not a brave truth-teller.”
“Look, I am not greatly beloved by the economic establishment, by Wall Street, by the big-money interests, or by, you know, the major media of this country, including "The Washington Post," Sanders said.
Calling the newspaper part of the establishment, Sanders added, "Doesn't surprise me they don't like my ideas.”
Jimmy Centers is a keen-eyed observer of Iowa politics, a former spokesman for the state's governor, Terry Branstad, and a Republican strategist in Des Moines.
After digesting the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, he offered these three takeaways on the eve of the GOP caucus.
Donald Trump is in control.
"Trump has secured his position as the front-runner for caucus night. He is above [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz by more than the margin of error and his people appear committed to be there" on caucus night.
But Ted Cruz is feeling pressure.
"If he doesn't get second place, this is a runaway train and it's going to be really difficult for him to rebound. Iowa was always Ted Cruz's bread-and-butter. He needed to win Iowa to have a shot at this. Now, all of a sudden ... he's in big trouble."
Marco Rubio and Ben Carson might surprise you.
"Rubio has room to grow in the state and I'm not so sure Carson" -- an erstwhile Iowa front-runner -- "gets into double digits. There could be a surprise down below Carson in that pack down below right now in single digits."
Except for perhaps Bill Clinton, no candidate spouse in the 2016 presidential campaign has proved as productive and effective as Heidi Cruz.
Beyond the mother-of-two charm that softens Sen. Ted Cruz’s hard edges and a deep Christian faith, the California-born Heidi Cruz, 43, is an accomplished executive and political adviser -- more in the model of Democrats like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton than Republicans like Laura Bush.
Her impressive resume includes a master's in business administration from Harvard, a stint in the George W. Bush White House and a high-paying job at investment giant Goldman Sachs, where her Wall Street savvy has made her a fundraising dynamo.
But also perhaps with the exception of former President Clinton, no other political spouse faces as much risk of turning from asset to liability.
A sense of dread is about the only thing that unites Orange City, a bastion of religious conservatism in northwest Iowa, and Iowa City, known for its blue-sky liberalism. Together they bookend not only the state's geography but its political spectrum as Iowa prepares to kick off the presidential selection process Monday night with its closely watched caucuses.
The two communities, located in the most lopsidedly partisan counties in the state, reflect the vast political chasm here and across the country, a divide that President Obama was unable to bridge and that may prove insurmountable for whoever takes his place.
But the division goes far beyond a profound disagreement on issues. While partisan tensions are nothing new, they have deepened and intensified during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama as the parties have splintered along the lines of age, race and culture. The result is a separation of America into mutually estranged and suspicious tribes.
On Monday, at 7 p.m. local time, Iowa voters will begin the process of picking the country’s next president at a series of nearly 1,700 gatherings in meeting halls, high school gymnasiums and community centers stretching from the Missouri to the Mississippi rivers.
The Iowa caucuses will go a long way toward shaping the presidential race, even though the results have little bearing on the delegates whom Iowa will send to the national nominating conventions.
If it sounds arcane and confusing, that’s because it is. We’re here to help.
Prominent figures campaign with Democrats
- Hillary Clinton campaigns with Gabrielle Giffords
- Bernie Sanders sings along with Vampire Weekend
- Clinton holds a narrow lead in Iowa's top poll
- Both campaigns bicker over debates as they seek an edge in the final hours before voting
Republicans attack while Trump shows off his jet
- Donald Trump arrives in Dubuque, Iowa, on his private jet with the theme from "Air Force One" blasting
- Ted Cruz attacks Marco Rubio in new ad
- Trump leads Cruz 28%-23% in Iowa's leading poll
- Rubio accuses Cruz of distorting his words out of desperation