--WILL HE HELP OR HURT? Hillary has called Bill her “secret weapon,” but her GOP opponents have wasted no time in trying to make him a liability, ABC’s JENNIFER HANSLER writes. Bill was viewed as a "wildcard" in the 2008 presidential race and he engaged in a number of angry exchanges with voters and reporters. He notably called Obama’s contention that he was consistently opposed the Iraq War as “the biggest fairytale [he’d] ever seen.” His remarks equating Obama’s success in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson’s wins there in 1984 and 1988 sparked huge controversy. Those remarks and his subsequent accusations that Obama’s campaign had “played the race card” drew such wide backlash, particularly from the African-American community, that they elicited an apology from Hillary herself. However unpredictable he may be, Bill has the potential to be an extremely valuable asset to his wife’s second run for the White House. He has retained a consistently high public approval rating since leaving office — 56 percent according to a March 2015 NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. http://abcn.ws/1OHCa8g
--ANALYSIS -- ABC’s RICK KLEIN: How do you end “too big to fail”? If Bernie Sanders gets his way, it will be institutions that earn such a label altogether, inside the first year of his presidency. “If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” Sanders plans to say Tuesday in Manhattan, according to his campaign. It’s part of a more aggressive push from Sanders in the closing weeks before Iowa, designed to put Hillary Clinton’s record and positions under fresh scrutiny. Sanders is also now regularly squaring up against Donald Trump, mentioning the GOP frontrunner far more than Clinton these days as he seems to relish the potential general-election matchup. It’s by tapping Trump-level anger on the left that Sanders has the chance – even if a remote one – to make the Democratic race a true contest. And, like Trump, he’ll need to find clear lines of demarcation to make that happen. Breaking up big banks isn’t a border wall, but for a segment of Democratic primary voters, it may as well be.
TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s RYAN STRUYK: Four Republican candidates will be in New Hampshire joining a forum on drug addiction and the heroin epidemic – one of the top issues in the Granite State. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich will be speaking there over the course of the day. All four candidates will also hold other events in New Hampshire today. Donald Trump, who hasn’t been shy in his criticisms of former President Bill Clinton, will be in the Granite State for a rally later tonight, aiming to hold onto his double-digit lead there. Ted Cruz will be campaigning in Iowa, trying to solidify his frontrunner status in the Hawkeye state over the splintered field. His rival Marco Rubio will also be there for three town halls today, while Rep. Darrell Issa takes to New Hampshire to stump for the Florida Senator. Mike Huckabee will be in Iowa for a whopping five events, and Rand Paul is in New Hampshire. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton takes to the Hawkeye State today, aiming to shore up her slim lead in Iowa. She’ll have three events this afternoon, including a town hall later this afternoon. Clinton’s main competition, Bernie Sanders, is slated to make a major speech on Wall Street this afternoon, in which he will vow to break up big backs within the first year of his presidency.
--JEB BUSH RELEASES DRUG POLICY, VOWS TO STOP 'PILL MILLS'. As the heroin epidemic grips the nation, an early-voting state finds itself at the epicenter. In New Hampshire, where there were at least 295 opioid deaths in 2015, according to the state medical examiner, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is using the Granite State as a backdrop for his drug policy rollout, ABC’s CANDACE SMITH notes. His proposed plan, according to a memo released by the campaign, has four tiers: preventing abuse and addiction before it begins; strengthening criminal justice efforts; securing the border; and improving drug abuse treatment plans. He also aims to identify and shut down so-called pill mills, health care facilities focused on chronic pain treatment that over-prescribe, which can cause and enable addiction. He also will use his experience as a former governor of Florida to expand access to drug courts. http://abcn.ws/1OwR5Ac
--FIORINA CALLS TRUMP THE ‘KIM KARDASHIAN OF POLITICS’. Carly Fiorina likened Donald Trump to the Kim Kardashian of politics this morning because she says they’re both famous for being famous, ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS notes. "Donald Trump reminds me of the Kim Kardashian of politics, they’re both famous for being famous and the media plays along,” Fiorina said during an interview on “Fox and Friends.” Fiorina’s Deputy Campaign Manager Sarah Isgur Flores has since taken to Twitter to further hone the argument, tweeting that “Donald Trump=Kim Kardashian. She’s got a big butt. He’s got a big mouth."
YESTERDAY ON THE TRAIL
HOW CHRIS CHRISTIE GOT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NUMBER. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, President Obama gave Chris Christie his personal phone number written on a small piece of paper, the New Jersey governor told a town hall Monday night ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS notes. “He said listen, if anybody in the federal government is saying no to you for anything, call me,” Christie said. Christie first used the number the to ask for extra gasoline as New Jersey residents without power struggled to heat their homes. “So I call the president … I say we need gasoline, and he said ‘okay, how much?’” Christie recalls. “I said, ‘Excuse me, Mr. President did you ask how much gasoline do we need,’ looking at the people around the table like, help me out here, man. It felt like I was on ‘Who Wants to be A Millionaire,’ and I was trying to phone a friend.” After Obama quickly granted Christie’s request with the direct help of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Christie had to call the president a second time – this time at 12:30 at night – after FEMA initially refused to release the gasoline without first collecting payment from the gas owners. The president took Christie’s late-night call and the hiccup with FEMA was quickly resolved.
BEN CARSON CONFRONTED AT TOWN HALL: 'DO YOU THINK I CHOSE TO BE GAY?'. As Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson shook hands after a New York town hall meeting Monday night, one attendee among a small crowd asked, "Do you think I chose to be gay?" and cursed at the neurosurgeon after his response, ABC’s BEN GITTLESON reports. "I have a quick question," said the attendee, who was wearing a tee shirt of a nearby LGBT community center while the candidate walked down a rope line and greeted supporters. "Do you think I chose to be gay?" "Did you choose to be gay?" Carson responded. "Yes, do you think I chose to be gay?" the attendee asked again. "That’s a long conversation," Carson said and repeated as he posed for a photograph with a supporter. "I think you’re full of s---," his questioner responded, smiling, before walking away. "OK," was Carson's only response as he continued to pose for pictures. http://abcn.ws/1TBlI7N
WHAT DONALD TRUMP’S FIRST TELEVISION AD MEANS FOR THE 2016 RACE. If you’re looking for the “greatest hits” of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, look no further: The Republican front-runner’s first television ad highlights the core positions that have thrust the real estate mogul’s unconventional 2016 bid into the spotlight, according to ABC’s RYAN STRUYK. The new 30-second spot unveiled this morning underscores his position to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, as well as his repeated calls to build a wall along the southern border to stop undocumented immigration. "In terms of its content, if anyone had missed what Trump believed, this ad is telling them," explained Ken Goldstein, a professor at the University of San Francisco and an ABC News consultant. "It’s not trying to tell people other stuff or introduce another face of Donald Trump...but it’s trying to introduce those people who still haven’t heard his messages amplified over the free media." http://abcn.ws/1Z1wVQz
NOTED: TRUMP CALLS USE OF MOROCCO BORDER FOOTAGE IN AD 'IRRELEVANT'. Both Donald Trump and his campaign are defending their use of footage of the border between Morocco and Spain in an ad that touts Trump’s hardline stance on illegal immigration into the United States, ABC’s JENNIFER HANSLER and PAOLA CHAVEZ note. “I think it’s irrelevant,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News Monday night. “It's really merely a display of what a dumping ground is going to look like. And that's what our country is becoming very rapidly.” The 30-second television, ad unveiled Monday, shows footage of dozens of people fleeing across what appears to be a national border, as the narrator says, "He'll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for." http://abcn.ws/1O7gU6k
GOP CANDIDATES URGE PEACEFUL END TO OREGON STANDOFF. Republican presidential candidates and the White House called Monday for a peaceful resolution to the armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, a location where a group of militia members along with some family members of the Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, are occupying a building on federal land. ABC’s EVAN MCMURRY rounds up the responses: http://abcn.ws/1ZL93CL
@SaraMurray: NH student asks Christie if he really thinks he can beat Trump. "If I didn't think I could beat him I wouldn't be standing here!"
@politicoalex: Scoop: as gop establishment frets, veteran ad man Alex castellanos has been gauging interest in anti trump effort http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/donald-trump-ted-cruz-gop-fear-217345 …
@mkraju: Rubio, speaking to voters in Iowa, laments how those who want marriage to be bw "one man and one woman" are called "bigots"
@MichelleFields: Cruz tells me that Rubio's foreign policy is just like Obama and Hillary's foreign policy http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/04/exclusive-ted-cruz-marco-rubio-foreign-policy-obama-hillary-clinton/ …