On the trail: Sanders, Buttigieg lead charge as Democrats barnstorm New Hampshire

HUDSON/LEBANON, N.H. (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contenders including Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, who topped the field in the Iowa caucuses, enter their last full day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday as they fight for the chance to seek the White House. On the eve of New Hampshire’s primary, the pair are looking to build on momentum from Iowa last week, where they emerged first and second in delegates, respectively, while nine rivals including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden try to gain ground. The man they are all seeking to take on in November, Republican President Donald Trump, will try to command the national spotlight with a campaign rally of his own on Monday night in Manchester, the state’s largest city. Sanders, 78, an impassioned progressive who serves as a U.S. senator for neighboring Vermont, has long led in opinion polls for the New Hampshire contest. But Buttigieg, a 38-year-old moderate and military veteran who served two terms as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has rapidly gained ground since Iowa. Here are highlights from Sunday’s campaigning and a look ahead to Monday: BATTLE OVER BILLIONAIRE BUCKS Buttigieg, who would be the first openly gay U.S. president, and Sanders sparred on Sunday over visions for their party and fundraising models. “The idea that we’ve either got to wait for a revolution or wait for the status quo leaves most of us out,” Buttigieg said in a thinly veiled references to Sanders and Biden. “We need a politics that brings all of us in.” Sanders, speaking in Plymouth, criticized Buttigieg for taking money from “40 billionaires,” adding: “Our agenda is the agenda that represents working families.” Buttigieg noted he was the least wealthy of the Democratic candidates and said he had never hesitated to stand up to industry. “Bernie’s pretty rich, and I would happily accept a contribution from him,” Buttigieg said on CNN. Julia Cervone, a 54-year-old healthcare worker who supports Warren, said she came to Buttigieg’s Sunday rally in her hometown of Salem out of curiosity. “I wanted to see what all the buzz was about,” Cervone said. Since signing up for Buttigieg’s rally, she has been bombarded by texts and emails from his campaign but received nothing from Warren’s, even though she is a registered supporter, Cervone said. She said that made her worried for Warren’s candidacy. “My guess is Pete got a big financial boost from Iowa and he’s spending it,” Cervone said. ‘IT MAKES ME ANGRY!’ Deeply trailing in New Hampshire polls, a somber Biden spoke in Hudson on Sunday with empathy about the challenges Americans face in their lives: illness, unemployment, domestic abuse and hunger, while telling stories about the people he had met in his travels. He described his visit to a Manchester food bank on Saturday, where he and his wife, Jill, handed out food in the middle of a parking lot on a bitterly cold morning. “Little kids,” Biden said, with an angry edge in his voice. “It was 22 degrees, and the wind was blowing hard. It was cold as hell. Women and children, being handed boxes, so they could walk along the line ling of tables.” The attendees in the high school gymnasium sat largely silent for more than 20 minutes as he spoke. “What in God’s name is happening to us?” he roared. “This is the United States of America, and it makes me angry!” MONDAY RALLIES The Sanders campaign expects to draw a large crowd in Durham on Monday evening when progressive star U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and rock band The Strokes join him for a rally. Warren, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and the rest of the Democratic field also plan events through the state. Warren sought to excite voters on Sunday with her detailed “a plan for that” pitchbook. “This is not the moment for small ideas, this is not the moment to nibble around the edges of big problems, this is the moment to meet big problems head on with bigger solutions,” she told a Sunday night crowd in Lebanon. “This is the moment for big, structural change!”

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