Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Not quite content with his second-place showing in Iowa, Donald Trump this morning accused Ted Cruz of “stealing” the caucuses and committing “fraud.” Trump was apparently referring to this controversy surrounding the Cruz campaign telling voters Ben Carson was quitting, a move Cruz has since apologized for.
* In the first New Hampshire poll conducted after the Iowa caucuses, a UMass Lowell poll released this morning found Trump leading the GOP primary with 38% support, followed by Cruz’s 14%. Marco Rubio is third in the poll with 12%; Jeb Bush is fourth with 9%; followed by John Kasich at 7% and Chris Christie at 6%.
* On a related note, Kasich reiterated this morning that without a strong showing in New Hampshire, he’ll quit. “If we don’t do well, we’re not going to be dragging around like some band of minstrels who beg people to come to our show,” the Ohio governor said. Kasich, who finished eighth in Iowa, did not specify exactly what “doing well” in New Hampshire means.
* NBC News has learned that Bernie Sanders will begin traveling with U.S. Secret Service protection within the next 24 hours.
* Campaigning in New Hampshire yesterday, Jeb Bush delivered a “fiery riff about protecting the country as commander in chief.” When it was met with total silence by the audience, the Florida Republican said, “Please clap.”
* There’s a fair amount of speculation about who’ll be the next Republican presidential candidate to quit, and NBC is keeping an eye on a certain former senator: “Late last night, Rick Santorum’s campaign released a press advisory announcing that Santorum was delaying his South Carolina kickoff events and is participating in ‘media activities’ in DC.” Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses four years ago, finished in 11th place on Monday night with just 1% of the vote.
* Hillary Clinton’s first television ad in South Carolina, released yesterday, features support from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. In the spot, Holder says, “If you want to make sure Republicans don’t take us backward, help Hillary move us forward.”
* As Rachel noted on the show last night, Christie slammed Rubio at a New Hampshire event yesterday, mocking the Florida senator for avoiding questions and ducking the press. Christie referred to Rubio as “the boy in the bubble.”
* And in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) continues to drop hints about running for a third term in 2018. On Monday, however, he added, “My wife says if I thought about a fourth term, she’d slit my throat.”