The Note: Bill Clinton Strikes Back


--BY THE NUMBERS:  In the latest UMass-Lowell New Hampshire primary tracking poll released this morning, Donald Trump still holds on to his lead in the Granite State at 34 percent; Marco Rubio is in a tie with Ted Cruz at 13 percent; and John Kasich and Jeb Bush are tied at 10 percent each. Forty-four percent of Republicans say they could still change their minds before they head to the polls tomorrow, ABC’s LISSETTE RODRIGUEZ notes. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is holding on to his double-digit lead at 56 percent with Hillary Clinton at 40 percent. Of those Democrat voters, 78 percent say they definitely will vote for their candidate and 22 percent say they could change their mind. The poll was conducted Feb. 5 through Feb. 7.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Bill Clinton has taken to remarking in recent years that he’s not angry at anyone, a nod to the elder-statesman status that fuels his continued popularity, and a wink at some of his past campaign mini-explosions. Now, on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, the attack dog is back. Clinton is hitting Bernie Sanders on politics and policy, even indirectly blaming his campaign for misogynistic and hateful comments that pop up online. (Has he been on the Internet?) For those who remember the infamous “fairy tale” comment from 2008, this Clinton line delivered Friday in Nevada might refresh some memories: “This is not a cartoon. This is real life.” One story of the Democratic primary to date has been that the former president has been on his best behavior. A new tone from Clinton would represent a new dynamic for the race, just as things heat up.


CHRISTIE SAYS THE 'ANOINTMENT' OF MARCO RUBIO IS 'OVER'. After his bludgeoning of rival presidential candidate Marco Rubio in Saturday night’s debate, Chris Christie declared on Sunday that the "anointment" of Rubio is over, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS and INES DELACUETARA report. "That anointment is now over," Christie told reporters after a stop at a local pub here. "I think it changes the entire race." Christie repeatedly challenged Rubio at the debate, hosted by ABC News, and the Florida senator's performance was met with more than a few poor reviews. "The anointed one last night didn't look like he was ready for the game," Christie said, making the case that his late strike on Rubio was all part of his strategy. "I told all of you ... I would do it in a time and a place of my choosing and I did it in a time and a place of my choosing, and when I did it, I did it well."

CLINTON BLASTS 'STATE'S NEGLECT' FOR FLINT WATER CRISIS DURING VISIT. Hillary Clinton blasted the "state's neglect" for the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, during an emotional visit yesterday to an African-American church in the city, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports. "We don't yet know how many children have been affected by lead poisoning, we don't yet know how many challenges they will face," she said from the pulpit of Flint's House of Prayers. "What we do know we know is that even a single child suffering lead poisoning due to the state's neglect is one child too many." Clinton, who took a break from campaigning in New Hampshire to visit Flint, is the first presidential candidate to visit the city. She called for Congress to approve a $600 million amendment to help the city.

TRUMP WANTS TO AUTHORIZE 'SOMETHING BEYOND WATERBOARDING'. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said the United States needs to authorize "something beyond waterboarding" in order to better fight terror groups, ABC’s NICKI ROSSOLL reports. Trump justified the use of waterboarding and other unnamed advanced interrogation techniques because terror groups use greater measures to inflict fear and harm. He added that groups like ISIS go well beyond waterboarding. "I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding and believe me, it will be effective," he said Sunday on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "You have our enemy cutting heads off of Christians and plenty of others, by the hundreds, by the thousands." "Do we win by being more like them?" asked Stephanopoulos. "Yes," replied Trump. "I'm sorry. You have to do it that way."

CLINTON SAYS SHE HAS 'NEVER, EVER' LET A DONOR INFLUENCE HER VOTE. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended her voting record Sunday in an interview on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," saying she has never been influenced to vote one way or another by a donor, according to ABC’s JENNIFER HANSLER. “I have never, ever been influenced in a view or a vote by anyone who has given me any kind of funding,” she said. The defense came in the wake of criticism over Clinton’s alleged ties to Wall Street from her rival for the nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

DEBATE REDUX: RUBIO MISSES MOMENT AS TRUMP RISES, GOP BRACES FOR LONG HAUL. The establishment finally struck back. But not in the way anyone might have imagined. The first Republican debate since voting began revealed a still-unsettled field with as many variables as quarrels among the candidates. Marco Rubio's post-Iowa momentum likely stalled in a flurry of repetition while the three governors in the field made strong, final pitches for New Hampshire to revive their candidacies, ABC’s RICK KLEIN writes. By the end of ABC News’ debate Saturday, the GOP’s new center of gravity looked much like the old one: Donald Trump, center stage, poised to start winning. As for those not winning, Rubio took the attacks he knew were coming and answered them -- pretty much the same way. Consistency may be a virtue -- except when you’re being criticized for going rote in a field where others go rogue.


THE MOST UNIQUE CAMPAIGN STOPS IN THE GRANITE STATE. The campaign trail can take presidential candidates to some pretty interesting places. Along with all of the diners, town halls and colleges these presidential hopefuls visited, they also went to some pretty fun places. ABC’s ANDREA GONZALES has more


9-YEAR-OLD TAKES TED CRUZ'S STAGE AND MIC AT NEW HAMPSHIRE TOWN HALL. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz handed over his mic and stage to a 9-year-old with a burning question yesterday in Peterborough, New Hampshire, ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER notes. The Texas senator was taking questions from a packed room when a young boy named Hank stood up to ask his question. When the mic wasn't working and Hank was too far back for the senator to hear, Cruz invited him to come towards the front. Hank took the invitation one step further and walked up onto the stage. Cruz smiled, shook his hand and then handed his mic over to him. "In 1992, Hillary Clinton said she didn't come to Washington to bake cookies, so why does she have so many waffles now?" Hank asked. Cruz laughed and gave an answer that fired up his conservative base. "My view on Hillary Clinton is I think she is running on an agenda of ideas that don't work," Cruz said.


@DraperRobert: Jeb! and Koch Bros! ads hitting @JohnKasich in NH for being an "Obama Republican"

@ScottFConroy: Team Kasich is feeling really good about tomorrow, as 3 groups have internals showing him in 2nd (w @howardfineman): …

@PhilipRucker: An unmistakable evolution in GOP race: It's not revolving solely around Trump.  w/ @costareports

@alexis_levinson: “I talked to Trump personally about that: ‘Don’t attack Kasich in Ohio." Trump said he’d take it under advisement. …

@jonathanchait: Things I have in common with Rubio: love of football, extreme need for hydration, haven't appeared on Morning Joe …