The Note: Trump, Clinton Trade Insults

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Face Off at
WATCH Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Face Off at Forum


--TRUMP -- 'I HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED' ON HILLARY CLINTON YET: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said last night that Hillary Clinton was having a “tough time” running against Bernie Sanders and that “she certainly has a race that’s a lot different than people thought,” ABC’s BEN GITTLESON notes. "She’s got some guy who’s -- I mean he should be easy to beat,” Trump said during an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" tonight, calling Sanders, with whom she is running neck-and-neck in the polls, not “even a Democrat.” “I mean, how can you lose like this?" Trump said. "He really isn’t even a Democrat. But he said he’s a socialist, and I think he may be a step beyond a socialist."

--CLINTON SAYS SHE GOT DONALD TRUMP ‘NOTHING’ FOR HIS WEDDING: What did Hillary Clinton get the Donald for his wedding? Apparently, nothing, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports. During the Fusion network’s Brown & Black Democratic forum on Monday night in Des Moines, Clinton was asked what she got the Republican frontrunner when she attended his 2005 wedding to model Melania Knauss. “Nothing, nothing,” she said. “He was basically a Democrat before he was a Republican,” Clinton explained. “He was, you know, somebody we all knew in New York, and he was supportive of Democrats and supportive of a lot of causes I care about and people I knew cared about." "Now he seems to have taken another road," she added.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Tuesday night marks an opportunity for President Obama to focus on what he’s leaving behind. And the Democratic race to follow him in office isn’t disappointing in terms of honoring his legacy – and reminding his party of what he’s been about. An insurgent candidate is again challenging Hillary Clinton and the establishment, drawing crowds and donors and polling numbers to a big-change message.  All three Democratic presidential candidates are running to the president’s left to a great extent, challenging in what’s now unison, for example, his immigration enforcement policies as inhumane. Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the frontrunners, are hitting each other at different angles, but virtually all from the left. At a Fusion forum in Iowa last night and beyond, Clinton is questioning Sanders’ record on gun control, while Sanders is undermining Clinton’s commitment to paid family leave. There won’t be another Obama, not in this election cycle. But his lessons and his legacy have been incorporated into an early but already wild campaign to replace him in office.



MOVEON MEMBERS ENDORSE BERNIE SANDERS. According to a press release from the group this morning: “Sanders won the group’s endorsement with more than 78% of the vote, shattering MoveOn records with most votes cast and largest margin of victory. MoveOn will mobilize in support of Sanders with initial focus on turning out 43,000 Iowa and 30,000 New Hampshire MoveOn members—early states where polling shows a neck-and-neck race just weeks out.”


DEBATE EXPECTATIONS: PAUL AND FIORINA CUT FROM NEXT GOP MAINSTAGE DEBATE. Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina have been cut from the next mainstage debate on Thursday, ABC’s RYAN STRUYK notes. According to a newly-announced lineup by debate host Fox Business Network, only seven candidates will appear in the main debate: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich. Rand Paul's campaign tells ABC News that he will not participate in the debate. "By any reasonable criteria, Senator Paul has a top tier campaign," his campaign said in a statement Monday night. "He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa." Fox Business says Paul's campaign has declined their invitation. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum will join Fiorina in the undercard debate. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum will join Fiorina in being invited to the undercard debate.


TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: It’s a packed day in Iowa with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the first caucus state. They are joined by Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. It’s also President Obama’s seventh and final State of the Union address, which is likely to become campaign trail fodder -- especially for the Republicans. Trump will hold a rally this evening at 7pm in Cedar Falls while Clinton has three events. Her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders is off the trail today, but will attend the president’s speech tonight. As will his fellow Republicans running for president Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz is skipping and is instead in New Hampshire for two events today. Chelsea Clinton will hold her first campaign swing of the cycle, stumping for her mother in New Hampshire today. Chris Christie is off the trail and in New Jersey, holding his own state of the state address this afternoon in Trenton. John Kasich is in the West, holding a meet and greet in Reno this afternoon and then a live dial-in tele-town hall. He also will fundraise with investor and former Bill Clinton ally Ron Burkle.


HAPPENING TODAY -- BRADY CAMPAIGN BACKS CLINTON: Hillary Clinton is receiving another big endorsement amid her gun control push, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ notes. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence will announce today that they are supporting Clinton for president, aides to Clinton say. “Hillary Clinton has been a national leader on gun violence prevention for decades. More than any candidate on either side of the aisle, she has the experience, record, and demonstrated commitment to help reach the Brady Campaign’s goal of cutting gun deaths in half by 2025,” Brady Campaign President Dan Gross will say in a statement on Tuesday. Earlier this week, Gabby Giffords and Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, also backed Clinton citing her gun control efforts. 



SANDERS TALKS SEX AND 5 OTHER MOMENTS AT DEMOCRATIC FORUM. All three Democratic presidential candidates were in Iowa Monday night for a forum and the talk heated up the snowy Midwest. The annual Black and Brown Forum, hosted by Fusion, a joint venture between ABC News and Univision, touched on issues ranging from the Obama administration's deportation policy to sexuality in America and the White House as "public housing." Here are five moments that mattered, courtesy of ABC’s JOSH HASKELL, MARYALICE PARKS and LIZ KREUTZ:

FRIENDS, ALUMNI OF PRESIDENTS BUSH HIT THE STREETS OF SOUTH CAROLINA FOR JEB. As more than 50 volunteers gathered in the Embassy Suites on a misty Friday afternoon, the message was clear. "We're here en masse and we're not messing around," Eric Thomas, 22, said. He was one of the youngest volunteers for Jeb Bush last weekend. Many old pals of the former Florida governor and alumni of his father and brother's administration came out in droves, most traveling from the sunshine state to door knock, phone bank, and engage in some old fashioned retail politicking, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH reports. It was a trip organized by Husein Cumber, an executive vice president with Florida East Coast Industries who has known Bush for years, after volunteering for his 1998 gubernatorial campaign. “By having us tell them these personal stories, they [voters] now have the opportunity to know Jeb in a personal way that you can't get in a 30 second sound bite …but can only get by someone knocking on the door and having a conversation with you,” Cumber said.

NEW IOWA POLL SHOWS TED CRUZ AND DONALD TRUMP IN TIGHT BATTLE. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are locked in a tight battle for the lead in Iowa, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. Just three weeks from the crucial, first-in-the-nation contest, real estate mogul Donald Trump earns 31 percent support in the poll. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has 29 percent support -- within the poll's margin of error. Third place belongs to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with 15 percent. Ben Carson has tumbled from his previous lead down to only 7 percent. ABC’S RYAN STRUYK reports these numbers are similar to the Quinnipiac poll results released in mid-December.



AMERICA RISING, FUTURE45 TO HOST DC SCREENING OF ’13 HOURS.’ America Rising PAC and Future45 are teaming up on Friday, Jan. 15 to host a Washington, DC screening of “13 Hours,” a new film directed by Michael Bay dramatizing the September 2012 terrorist attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Sen Tom Cotton will be a special guest at the event and will take part in a discussion after the screening. "The release of 13 Hours will re-start the conversation over Benghazi and introduce a whole new audience to the events of that night," said Brian O. Walsh, President of Future45. “Coming just weeks before the first votes are cast and in the form of a major motion picture from Hollywood, the timing couldn’t be worse for Secretary Clinton.” Colin Reed, Executive Director of America Rising PAC added: “Without even appearing in the movie, 13 Hours is an indictment of the failed leadership and bad judgment of Secretary Clinton. The deteriorating conditions, the increased terrorist activity, the ignored requests for more security, the lack of adequate resources and personnel: these are all things that happened on Secretary Clinton’s watch and breakdowns she has to answer for."



BEN CARSON VS. REPORTER: HOW THE CANDIDATE CRUSHED ME AT SKEE BALL. It’s a busy day for Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, but he did manage to take time out of his busy schedule to play a game of skee-ball. Carson, whose routine is to shoot a game of pool before GOP debates, decided to accept my skee-ball challenge after a morning town hall at Fort Frenzy, an arcade in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Carson, who predicted he would lose the game, won by a landslide with a score of 31,000 to 18,000. ABC’S KATHERINE FAULDERS has more.



@matthewjdowd: I know we are at a time of great disruption and frustration but there are reasons to be optimistic. …

@ZekeJMiller: Jeb Bush super PAC @r2rusa hits Rubio on his boots …

@JRubinBlogger: This might be the rare SOTU in which there is more genuine interest in the respondent than the president. 

@mviser: In today’s Globe: Chris Christe’s record of switching positions gives fodder for foes. …

@MrWalterShapiro: Smartest piece I've read (and I've read a lot) on the relevance of "Hamilton" to 2016 campaign. From @mcurtisnc3: