The Note: Attack of the Clintons

VIDEO: Donald Trump and Sarah Palin Hit the Campaign
WATCH Donald Trump and Sarah Palin Hit the Campaign Trail


--HILLARY CLINTON DEFENDS ENDORSEMENTS AGAINST BERNIE SANDERS’ CLAIM THEY’RE ‘ESTABLISHMENT’: With the race for the Democratic nomination neck-and-neck in the early states of New Hampshire and Iowa, Hillary Clinton last night defended the endorsements she's received from Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, which she believes should be seen as positives. “I was somewhat confused when Senator Sanders said well you know Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign, they’re part of the establishment," Clinton told a crowd of 500 in Burlington, Iowa, referring to comments Bernie Sanders made Tuesday, ABC’s JOSH HASKELL reports. Sanders told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that several organizations that have backed Clinton are part of the "establishment" wing of the Democratic Party, which Sanders is trying to defeat.

--BILL CLINTON ATTACKS SANDERS ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD AND HEALTH CARE: On his third campaign trip to New Hampshire, former President Bill Clinton did not hold back on his criticism of Sanders, who is currently holding a 27 point lead over Hillary Clinton and polling at a 91 percent favorability among voters in the state, according to the most recent WMUR/CNN poll. Clinton didn't mention the senator from Vermont by name but regularly referred to him as "her opponent." ABC’s MATTHEW CLAIBORNE has more.

--DEMI LOVATO DAY IN HILLARYWORLD: Let’s hear it for…another pop star hitting the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. In an attempt to boost the Democratic candidate's support among young voters, Demi Lovato – the 23-year-old “Confident” singer — will appear alongside Clinton at a concert/rally at the University of Iowa in Iowa City tonight, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ notes.  Lovato, who has struggled publicly with depression and anorexia, follows a string of youth-friendly celebrities to endorse Clinton, including Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Abby Wambach and Scandal star Tony Goldwyn. The reason? Likely, numbers like this: A recent CBS News/NYT poll shows Bernie Sanders leading Clinton by 29 points in support among voters under the age of 45. 

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: It’s un-endorsement season for Ted Cruz, whose momentum in Iowa seems to have stalled in a storm kicked up by Donald Trump. Having Sarah Palin go with Trump, and then Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad go with anybody-but-Cruz, and then Bob Dole say nobody’s worse than Cruz – that’s not the week Cruz had in mind. But from Cruz’s perspective – when, at any point in this race, has a traditional “establishment” sentiment impacted the trajectory? If this is about outsider status, Cruz can hold up the fact that Dole, Branstad, and the likes of John McCain and George W. Bush don’t want him elected as a sign that he’s the more pure conservative. (Palin is, as always, a more complicated subject.) Cruz on Wednesday put his best spin on the developments, framing it all as a sign that the establishment is giving up on Marco Rubio and going all-in with Trump. Trump will take this week, particularly so close to Iowa. But it’s a mistake to assume that un-endorsing Cruz would hurt his standing.


FROM THE IOWA CAUCUS BUREAU with ABC’s JOSH HASKELL: As we’re 11 days from the Iowa caucuses, candidates campaigning in the state are shifting their stump speeches to put a heavy emphasis on motivating Iowa voters to not just caucus for them, but get everyone they know to do the same. In Burlington, IA Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton began her remarks by telling the crowd of 500 “I just want to say thank you. You know, coming here as I did again starting last April I’ve had the opportunity to talk with and listen by now to thousands of Iowans, and you have impressed upon me all of your concerns, your hopes.” Donald Trump’s approach has been less subtle telling Iowa Republicans that they “haven’t elected a lot of winners” referring to how the past two winners, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, did not get the nomination. Another theme you hear at Iowa rallies as of late is how the state will not lose their “first in the nation status” if that particular candidate becomes president, something very important to Iowans who take a lot of pride with voting first.


PREDICTING ELECTION 2016: WHERE THE MARKET STANDS 12 DAYS BEFORE IOWA. In Iowa, the prediction market Pivit, which uses historical data, real-time information and public opinion to make predictions, shows Ted Cruz with a massive lead over Trump to winning the caucus, 70 percent odds to 28 percent. And according to Pivit’s Iowa caucus market, Sen. Bernie Sanders has better odds than Hillary Clinton, 63 percent to 34 percent. Pivit is also forecasting that Sanders will win the New Hampshire primary by a large margin – 92 percent to 8 percent. As for how the Republicans might do in the Granite State, Pivit’s “market makers” are saying although Trump wins New Hampshire, “the real contest” is who places second after the Donald. READ MORE:


DISS OF THE DAY with ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW: D’OH DOLE. Twenty years ago, then Sen. Bob Dole was the Republican candidate for president. Now, he’s sharing sharp words for 2016’s potential GOP nominees. In an interview with The New York Times yesterday, Dole, who endorsed Jeb Bush and serves as his National Veterans Chairman, said Cruz doesn’t have a shot at beating Clinton. “If he does it, I think she’ll win in a waltz,” Dole said. But instead of backing up Bush -- the candidate he enthusiastically endorsed -- Dole candidly shared his opinion on Trump’s potential success in Washington. Trump, Dole said, could “probably work with Congress, because he’s, you know, he’s got the right personality and he’s kind of a deal-maker.”


TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Donald Trump is in Las Vegas for an afternoon rally and then he appears this evening at the Outdoor Sportsman Awards, also in Vegas. Bill Clinton is also in Vegas for an evening organizing event. Hillary Clinton is in Iowa, although much of the action today is in the Granite State. She holds two afternoon organizing events in Indianola and Vinton. This evening is her signature event of the day holding an organizing event and rally with pop star Demi Lovato, trying to get those millennial voters away from Bernie Sanders. Sanders is in New Hampshire today. He will meet with seniors in the afternoon in Peterborough before meeting with students. He also attends a forum on Politics, Poverty and the Presidency this afternoon before attending a town hall this evening in Wolfeboro. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Martin O’Malley, and even Jim Gilmore are all in New Hampshire today. Martin O’Malley holds town hall in Henniker. He also appears at the Politics, Poverty and the Presidency forum in Nashua before stopping by Timberland in Stratham. He ends the day phone banking with volunteers in Manchester. Jim Gilmore has five events today starting this morning at 8AM at the famous Tilt’n Diner in Tilton and ending this evening at 5pm in Ossipee. Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee are also in Iowa.


IN THE NOTE’S INBOX -- NEW CARLY FOR AMERICA RADIO AD IS ALL BUSINESS.  The SuperPAC supporting Carly Fiorina announced today a $333,000 radio ad buy in Iowa. The one-minute ad touts Fiorina’s experience as HP’s CEO as well as mention her personal accomplishments. “Carly Fiorina is the one to get our economy back on track,” the ad says. “Nearly 70 percent of likely caucus goers have not yet committed to a candidate and nearly 26 percent still don't yet know Carly. This ad is designed to target those caucus goers who will make a decision in the final days,” the SuperPAC wrote in a statement released today. The air will run starting today right up to the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1st. LISTEN:



SARAH PALIN SUGGESTS ARRESTED SON TRACK SUFFERS FROM PTSD. Speaking at a rally Wednesday for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin suggested that her son Track, who was arrested this week for a domestic violence incident, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, PAOLA CHAVEZ and BEN GITTLESON report. “I guess it’s kind of an elephant in the room, because my own family -- going through what we’re going through today,” Palin said at the event in Oklahoma alluding to Track’s arrest. “My son, a combat vet, having served in a Stryker Brigade for you all, America in the war zone; but my son, like so many others, they came back a bit different.”

WHAT SARAH PALIN’S ENDORSEMENT REALLY MEANS FOR DONALD TRUMP: Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump Tuesday night with a fiery and rambling speech, throwing out red meat to the conservative crowd and providing a potential boon to his Iowa effort less than two weeks before the caucuses, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. Her backing comes at a time when the New York real estate mogul is being questioned by some conservatives and hammered by Sen. Ted Cruz for his “New York Values.” Cruz is leading in Iowa state polls, but just barely, which means the former Alaska governor’s endorsement could help push Trump over the finish line.

NOTED: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SARAH PALIN AND DONALD TRUMP’S FRIENDSHIP. Sarah Palin's endorsement of Donald Trump's presidential campaign marks the strongest and most public declaration of the pair's friendly relationship yet. The former governor of Alaska and the real estate tycoon have known each other for years. ABC’s MEGHAN KENEALLY looks at how the New York City billionaire and the "hockey mom" from Alaska ended up standing next to one another on stage in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday.

MCCAIN ‘RESPECTS’ PALIN’S ENDORSEMENT OF TRUMP. Former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain said he “respects” his former running mate Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump -- who assailed the Arizona lawmaker's military service record, ABC’s ALI WEINBERG reports. “I respect Sarah’s view. She and I have an excellent friendship and relationship and I certainly respect her decision,” McCain told reporters Wednesday. “I’m neither surprised nor unsurprised.”

TRUMP ENVISIONS ROLE FOR PALIN IN HIS ADMINISTRATION. Trump said there would be a place for the former Alaska governor in his administration. “Certainly, there would be a role somewhere in the administration, if she wanted, and I'm not sure that she does want that, but there would certainly be a role,” Trump told NBC’s “Today Show” Wednesday in a phone interview. But Trump stressed that Palin never broached the subject: “She never made a deal like so many people want to try to make deals. She just said, ‘I really like what's going on. It's an amazing thing. I've never seen anything like it in politics.’” ABC’s VERONICA STRACQUALURSI has more.

HILLARY CLINTON ACCUSED AGAIN OF HANDLING TOP SECRET INFO THROUGH PRIVATE EMAIL. There are fresh allegations from the intelligence community that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was handling some of the most closely held intelligence secrets available through her private email. According to a newly revealed letter sent from the Intelligence Community's Inspector General to members of Congress on Jan. 14, "several dozen" of Clinton's emails contained "CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAP" information, ABC’s JUSTIN FISHEL reports.

WHAT THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN IS SAYING: "This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received," campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement to ABC News. "It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The Justice Department's inquiry should be allowed to proceed without any further interference."

CHRISTIE EXPLAINS WHY HE’S NOT ‘SMACKING’ TRUMP. Why is Chris Christie not “smacking” Donald Trump? That’s the question a voter who recently attended a Trump event posed to the New Jersey governor at his town hall Wednesday night, complaining that the frontrunner had "nothing to say." “When are you...going to take the gloves off and start smacking him around? You don't have much time,” the woman said, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS notes. "I think it’s the first time in my political career people have said to me you’re not aggressive enough,” Christie replied. “You know when I will? When I think it makes sense to.”



DONALD TRUMP OR SARAH PALIN: WHO SAID WHAT? Donald Trump got the backing of the Sarah Palin Tuesday, officially announcing the former Alaskan governor’s endorsement at a rally in Ames, Iowa. ABC’s PAOLA CHAVEZ and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI note Palin spoke for nearly 20 minutes, hailing Trump’s experience in the private sector rather than as a politician in Washington, D.C. So who said what, Trump or Palin? Test your luck.



@Timodc: Jeb: On Syria, Other Candidates Have Been All over the Place …

@mckaycoppins: As Cruz rallies evangelicals, a growing chorus of Christians (and rivals) wants to know why he doesn't tithe more. …

@washingtonpost: Sarah Palin’s son, and the link between combat duty and veteran violence 

@JordynPhelps: Christie says being called a goomba in Derry last night is "one of the highlights of the campaign so far"

@JohnJHarwood: reminder: there is no such thing as "the Republican Establishment"