'This guy's not a Barack Obama': Biden turns up the heat on Buttigieg

Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered his most stinging attacks on Pete Buttigieg yet in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary, mocking his mayoral accomplishments Saturday in an online campaign ad and dismissing him as "not a Barack Obama."

The escalation came as candidates have piled on Buttigieg in the days leading up to New Hampshire's crucial first-in-the-nation primary, following the claim of victory by the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in the chaotic Iowa caucuses and Biden's underwhelming fourth-place finish there.

Saturday evening, the candidates shared a stage with the rest of the field at the McIntyre-Shaheen dinner in Manchester, delivering speeches before a packed arena of New Hampshire Democrats.

In the 90-second ad, Biden contrasted his efforts to help pass the Violence Against Women Act, the Affordable Care Act, a ban on assault weapons, as well as his work to negotiate the Iran nuclear deal and boost the Midwest's economy with Buttigieg's work installing "decorative lights," loosening regulations on pet chip scanners and "laying out decorative brick" on South Bend sidewalks.

Full story here.

New Hampshire primary breaks record

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office has provided verified results for the first in the nation primary.

A record number of ballots cast for a primary with an incumbent president on either side, surpassing the secretary of state's predictions.

TOTAL VOTES: 457,000

DEMOCRATIC: 300,000

GOP: 156,000

DEM TOTALS =

Sanders: 76,352

Buttigieg: 72,443

Klobuchar: 58,774

Warren: 27,427

Biden: 24,911

Turnout in N.H. surpasses 2008 with final results still to come

ANALYSIS: Bloomberg storms to the center of the 2020 presidential fray

Mike Bloomberg is starting to dominate the national political debate like no one in the past five years other than President Donald Trump.

He rocketed into third place nationally this week in a series of recent Democratic presidential primary polls, even though he hasn't participated in the first contests or any of the party's debates.

His name is constantly on the lips of rival candidates, political insiders and pundits — somehow omni-present by virtue of his absence from the primary here.

And he even found himself at the center of his first full-on controversy Tuesday, with the surfacing of audio recordings of him defending his stop-and-frisk policing policy in terms that the Trump campaign and fellow Democrats described as "racist."

But while the fight had been joined even before poll-closing time here Tuesday, there was a growing sense in Democratic and Republican political circles that Bloomberg is only on the verge of exploding onto the scene with his campaign to take the Democratic Party nomination by storm and drive Trump from power. 

Read the analysis.

Bloomberg camp portrays him as 'uniter' amid stop-and-frisk fallout

As Mike Bloomberg copes with the fallout from past controversial comments about the New York Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policies, a senior campaign adviser told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell the former mayor is a uniter. 

"Our theory of the case from the very beginning is that Mike Bloomberg is best positioned in this field to unite various factions of the Democratic Party that need to come together to beat Donald  Trump in November," the adviser, Tim O'Brien, said Wednesday on "Andrea Mitchell Reports." 

Bloomberg was ripped by the president and even fellow Democratic presidential candidates after audio emerged Tuesday of him telling an interviewer in 2015 that "we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods" because "that's where are the crime is."

Symone Sanders, a senior adviser for Joe Biden's campaign, told reporters on Wednesday that she was "extremely disturbed" by Bloomberg's comments.

O'Brien said it "pains" Bloomberg "deeply that anyone would think stop-and-frisk defines who he is as an individual and a candidate. It also does not reflect the totality of Mike’s time as mayor and as a citizen of the world, which is not lost on voters of color either." 

He noted that as New York City mayor, Bloomberg started an outreach program to young men of color, diversified New York's police force and "had the most  progressive immigration policy of any big city mayor. None of that is the mark of someone who is a white racist trying to shove white cops down the throats of black people."

O'Brien also pushed back on criticism from rivals, including Bernie Sanders, that Bloomberg is trying to buy the election. 

"There’s been I think a sort of a cartoonish reliance at this point to just say, well, he’s ahead because of a big ad spend, when in fact, he’s ahead because he’s got an incredible personal story, and a set of public policies that directly have an effect on the well-being of Americans who want to vote  for him," O'Brien insisted before touting the benefits of Bloomberg's big spending.

Bloomberg is a "godsend" to the race, reinvigorating the Democratic Party's financial resources and organizational apparatus when it otherwise would be "severely outgunned" by Republicans, O'Brien said.

"As you know, we’ve said that this big machine that we’re building will be at the foot of the party for whoever the nominee is, even if it’s not Mike, because Mike sees this election as the culmination of his life’s work," he said. "Our movement is a stop Donald Trump movement." 

 

Biden advisers assail Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk comments

The Biden campaign held a state of the race conference call with reporters featuring Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., and senior adviser Symone Sanders, insisting the former VP has a path to the nomination while taking aim at the one candidate in particular: Mike Bloomberg.

Sanders said that Bloomberg is "unvetted," and said she was "extremely disturbed" by the leaked audio of Bloomberg discussing stop-and-frisk and racial profiling.

"A quick apology is just not going to cut the mustard," she said.

Richmond added that Bloomberg "has not had his turn in the barrel," and that the campaign "looks forward to drawing the comparison" with him on the debate stage. He referred to Bloomberg as a "billionaire who is all the sudden a Democrat."

The trio also insisted Biden would be able to stay competitive despite the steep imbalance in ad spending with Bloomberg.

"We know our message, we know our base, and we know that people know Joe Biden because Joe Biden knows people."

The New Hampshire primary in graphics: Turnout up, Sanders edges out Buttigieg for the win

The New Hampshire primary is in the books, and Bernie Sanders was the biggest winner of the night, claiming a narrow victory over Pete Buttigieg.

According to the latest numbers, Sanders leads Buttigieg 25.8 percent to 24.5 percent, with 98 percent of the vote in.

Sanders won in all parts of the state Tuesday night. An NBC News analysis of the returns shows he racked up wins in New Hampshire’s three biggest cities, Manchester, Nashua and Concord, and in the state’s smallest townships. 

See NBC News' graphics on how the leading candidates did and turnout

Clyburn says Biden 'has not projected out into the future the way people would like'

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told MSNBC's Craig Melvin on Wednesday that Joe Biden “has not projected out into the future the way people would like for him to do” amid poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Biden is still a strong contender in Clyburn’s home state of South Carolina, which is often viewed as his firewall, but Clyburn, a longtime ally of the former vice president and political kingmaker in his state, said billionaire businessman Tom Steyer has a "great" chance to become a top-tier candidate after building a robust operation there.

"I just think that [Biden] is still, as of this moment, the leading candidate in South Carolina," he said. "I think Steyer is doing well in South Carolina, and so I do believe as we go into South Carolina it is a five-way contest right now." 

Clyburn said that the other billionaire in the Democratic race, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "will have one heck of a challenge trying to overcome" has past remarks supporting New York's previous stop-and-frisk policing policy "because that was a very, very racially charged policy.” 

Clyburn added that Iowa and New Hampshire should “absolutely not” lead off the Democratic nomination process, "and I've been saying that for over 20 years." 

Democratic hopefuls face test of strength with voters of color in Nevada, South Carolina

The New Hampshire primary is over. The Iowa caucus is — kind of, mostly — settled. But the Democratic primary race is just getting started. There are several more nominating contests in the days and weeks ahead that could prove decisive in selecting a Democratic nominee before the party's convention kicks off on July 13 in Milwaukee.

Here's what's next.

Nevada's Democratic caucus is scheduled for Feb. 22. The Democratic electorate here has a significant non-white population, and the caucuses are an opportunity for candidates to show their strength with Latinos, an important Democratic voting bloc. The union vote is also powerful.

The core of the Democratic base, black voters, resides in South Carolina, whose Feb. 29 primary is the first contest in the South and will test candidates' strength with this key demographic. More so than overwhelmingly white Iowa or New Hampshire, the state's electorate more closely resembles the larger Democratic Party, which gives the contest additional significance in selecting the nominee.

Read more about these and the other contests ahead.