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Iowa caucus live updates: Buttigieg, Sanders reach virtual tie with 100 percent of results released

The first-in-the-nation voting state was thrown into disarray late Monday after the Iowa Democratic Party delayed releasing results.

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The Iowa Democratic Party announced the release of 100 percent of the state caucus results Thursday night, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders neck and neck in their lead over the rest of the Democratic candidates. The results could change as more data is examined, and NBC has not called a winner in the race.

The Iowa Democrats' announcement comes after Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez called on state party officials to recanvass the results of Monday's caucuses amid growing concerns about their accuracy (see NBC News' review of the results).

Caucusgoers gathered at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa on Monday night to tally support for their preferred candidates only for the count to be thrown into disarray when what Iowa Democrats called "inconsistencies" delayed the reporting of results.

The state has 41 pledged delegates up for grabs, and the high-stakes contest traditionally plays a major role in determining who is a legitimate contender in the race. Candidates in the crowded Democratic field needed to meet a threshold of support (at least 15 percent of attendees at most caucus sites) to become viable, or they saw supporters move on to someone else.

Highlights from the Iowa caucuses

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Live Blog

Biden downplays potential Iowa loss, pivots to next early states

CONCORD, N.H. — Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday downplayed his potential fourth place loss in the Iowa Caucus by pointing out that there are three early primary states left in the cycle that he could still win.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, which is just days away from holding the first primary of the Democratic race, Biden said that while he wants “to do well in Iowa,” the first four states are an essential part of winning the nomination.

Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Concord, N.H., on Feb. 4, 2020.Rick Wilking / Reuters

“I count to four. The first four are the key,” he said to reporters. “Two caucuses and two primaries. And so we'll see.”

In the final days leading up to Iowa, Biden told caucus-goers that they do not necessarily pick the nominee but instead have the power to open the gate to several candidates in an effort to narrow the field.

Looking ahead to New Hampshire, Biden asked voters gathered in the state capital to get him through to the next round since they “set the tone for the whole, whole rest of the race.”

Biden was succinct at the event, pointing out later to reporters that the full results of Iowa aren’t in yet —especially in rural counties that he courted heavily.

“At this rate, New Hampshire may get the first vote after all,” Biden told the audience of roughly 175 people. “I’d like you to rocket me out of here to make sure this thing works, OK?”

Biden also told reporters that he would not contest the results of the Iowa caucus, and pointed out that his campaign will wait until all of the results go public.

On topics other than the caucus debacle, Biden ticked through his qualifications that make him deserving of the presidency. 

Biden also took direct swipes at Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on his "Medicare for All" plan, suggesting that Sanders has flipped on explaining funding for his plans and addressed his own health care plans. 

“I'm not suggesting that those who are for Medicare for All are playing with people, but … you've got to be able to get something done,” Biden said. “Who's going to support a plan that doesn't specify how much it costs or say how he's going to pay for it?”

Biden then promised voters that if such a plan were to pass, “the middle class is going to pay a big, big premium.”

Warren touts ties to Obama in new ad

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is highlighting her relationship with former President Barack Obama in a new digital ad out today, targeting New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina voters. 

The new ad — reported first by NBC News — comes as Joe Biden, Obama's vice president, falters in Iowa, and on the same day that Michael Bloomberg also debuted an ad featuring his work with Obama.

The ad, titled "Elizabeth understands,” begins with a 2010 Rose Garden address, where Obama lauds Warren for her work fighting for the middle class.

“She’s a janitor’s daughter who has become one of the country’s fiercest advocates for the middle class,” Obama says at the top, his voice present throughout the ad. “She came up with an idea for a new, independent agency standing up for consumers and middle-class families.”

On the campaign trail, Warren often ends her town halls telling audiences about her time fighting to build the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau during the Obama administration, a message that ties into an overall theme in her campaign: She’s a fighter.

The ad also touches on that message, too, with a line from Obama, referring to the uphill battle Warren faced while trying to start the consumer bureau.

“She’s done it while facing some very tough opposition. Fortunately, she’s very tough,” he said.

Warren: 'Our democracy hangs in the balance'

Klobuchar: 'Whenever people get to know me, I do well'

When asked about the partial Iowa results, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told reporters in New Hampshire on Tuesday night that she does well when "people get to know me."

Asked about Pete Buttigieg claiming victory before any of the results were released, Klobuchar said, “He has raised money, and that is true. But at some point, when you look at the big money that's going on from some of these candidates, people are going to be tuning in, they're going to be watching the debates, they're going to be getting to know the candidates, and whenever people get to know me, I do well.”

Asked for her thoughts on the irregularities in determining the caucus results, Klobuchar said she doesn’t blame the Iowa Democratic Party “for trying to be really careful,” and added, “I don't think there's any kind of trickery going on. I think that it was just a mess-up with the system. I know they've apologized, and hopefully we will get the results by tomorrow.”

She also said she was proud of her team's efforts leading up to the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

“I know that we are still getting the results in from Iowa,” she said in starting off her remarks. "But I am so proud of the work that our team did. As I've said from the beginning, I announced in the middle of a blizzard, and a lot of people didn't even predict that I could get through the announcement. I knew New Hampshire would understand.”

FIRST READ: The takeaway from Iowa: Buttigieg, Sanders won their respective ideological lanes

Now that there are finally results to count from Iowa after the App-ocalypse that rocked the Hawkeye State, the biggest takeaway is how Pete Buttigieg emerged as the winner from the Democrats’ moderate/pragmatic lane, easily besting Joe Biden.

And how Bernie Sanders walked away from Iowa owning the liberal lane.

Looking at the entrance poll, Buttigieg tied Biden among moderates, who made up 30 percent of all caucus-goers, with Amy Klobuchar coming in right behind them.

But what made Buttigieg’s showing so strong is that he also carried the “somewhat liberals” in Iowa — who made up a great share, 42 percent — followed by Sanders, Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

Get more of First Read.

Biden camp 'not surprised and not deterred' by Iowa

Joe Biden's campaign is "not surprised and not deterred” by the partial results in Iowa, a campaign aide said Tuesday, adding that many more Democrats will soon be able to weigh as state contests continue.

Biden is “holding strong” in New Hampshire against two senators from neighboring states and sees opportunity ahead in Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday, contests that are more reflective of the country’s diversity, the aide said.

Putting the partial Iowa results in context, the campaign always expected a close race there, and the difference in delegates between Biden and other candidates is likely to be no bigger than what is at stake in two congressional districts on Super Tuesday, the aide said.

The Biden campaign also noted that other campaigns have raised issues with how the Iowa caucuses were run and how results were collected and reported, and it continues to believe the Iowa Democratic Party owes candidates a fuller accounting for the outcome.

Buttigieg tells N.H. crowd 'something extraordinary' happened

At his final event of the day on Tuesday, Pete Buttigieg told hundreds of supporters at the Concord City Auditorium in Concord, New Hampshire, that he was 'humbled' by the 'extraordinary' results in Iowa and explained that he knew how well he had done because his campaign was able to track some of the returns.

"I haven't had a lot of sleep in the last 48 hours but I'm having a very good day," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said to applause. "We are having a very good day. And we have a lot of work to do so I'm here humbled by good news that's come over the airwaves today."

"But now we have got to earn a victory one week from today in New Hampshire, and I believe you're going to help us do just that," he added.

When asked when he knew he had secured a “victory” in Iowa, Buttigieg said that because caucuses happen in the open, his team was able to track the results as they came in.

"And what we saw told us that, even as we're getting the final math figured out and waiting for ... those verified results, that something extraordinary had happened, that this campaign that a lot of folks thought shouldn't even be there had taken its place in the very front ranks of this process." 

“Now, let me say that we're still waiting on more math to come through,” he added. “But what we know without any doubt is that our vision has been validated, and that this is an astonishing victory for our organization, our values, our campaign, and our candidacy.”

Sanders says he's 'very proud' of Iowa results

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night touted the partial results from the Iowa caucuses, telling supporters at a rally in New Hampshire that he was "very proud" to tell them he had "received more votes on the first and second round than any other candidate.” 

"For some reason in Iowa, they're having a little bit of trouble counting votes," Sanders said in his first public event since the Iowa caucuses. "But I am confident that here in New Hampshire, I know they'll be able to count your votes on election night. And when you count those votes, I look forward to winning here in New Hampshire.”

Partial returns show the Vermont senator and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the front of the pack of Democratic candidates, with 27 percent and 25 percent respectively. The percentages, based on partial returns of the number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs, and is the traditional result reported by the state Democratic Party.

This year, however, Iowa Democrats also chose to release two other sets of results, what NBC News' elections unit is calling initial preference and reallocated preference — part of a rules change to increase transparency into the process. In those two sets of results, Sanders appears to lead.

Read more about that here.

Weld: 'Despite the formidable obstacle, we came in second'