The Guardian | World | U.S. - U.S. Elections 2016 - January 30, 2016: Iowa Counts Down to Caucus as Sanders and Clinton Campaign
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose once-mighty lead in the Hawkeye state has narrowed to paper-thin margins, is focusing on rival Bernie Sanders’ complicated history on gun control in the final days of the Iowa campaign. The former secretary of state will be joined by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a survivor of a 2011 mass shooting that claimed the lives of six people.
Clinton, Giffords and the former congresswoman’s husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, will be in Ames, Iowa, likely to highlight Sanders’ opposition to the Brady bill that mandated background checks, and his previous support for legislation that shielded gun manufacturers from lawsuits. Sanders flipped on protections for gunmakers this week, saying he would co-sponsor a bill to repeal them.
Sanders, meanwhile, has scheduled an event with Dr Cornel West, as well as a Students for Bernie Concert, featuring appearances by Vampire Weekend, Foster The People and actor Josh Hutcherson. Obviously, this mandates a music break:
On the Republican side of the race, Texas senator Ted Cruz is shifting his energy – and campaign reserves – to beating down the rising support of fellow senator Marco Rubio.
Although Cruz and Trump have been locked in a virtual tie in polls of likely caucus-goers for weeks, Cruz has redirected the full force of his campaign’s communications team towards Rubio, whose support has steadily increased in the waning days of the Iowa campaign. The target: Rubio’s waffling history on immigration reform.
Meanwhile, former secretary of defense Chuck Hagel has come out with a near-endorsement of Mike Bloomberg’s rumored presidential aspirations. In an interview with the New York Times, Hagel declared that the billionaire former New York mayor “understands governing, he understands leadership, he understands people. He’s got the qualities that are required for the presidency, starting with character”.
Considering the unpalatability of certain potential nominees, in Hagel’s view the fractured Republican field “would suggest that there may be an opening” for a third-party candidate’s successful campaign.
The Sword of Damocles hanging over all of this is the final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll, due to be drop at 5.45pm local time. The Iowa Poll, considered the “gold standard” of Iowa polling, is the last major poll released before Monday’s caucuses, and the stakes could not be higher. The most recent Iowa Poll showed margin-of-error contests between Republicans Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Let’s kick this baby off.