Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to 2018 Parkland school massacre

Trump aiming for N.H. win, rivals aim to survive

Josh Lederman
Associated Press

Salem, N.H. – — Eyeing their first wins in a capricious campaign, Republican Donald Trump lashed out at his opponents Monday while Democrat Bernie Sanders sought to play it safe on the eve of the nation’s initial primary. GOP contenders vying for second and third saw fresh hopes for survival after New Hampshire as both parties settled in for a drawn-out slog to the nomination.

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he is considering mounting an independent campaign for president. Bloomberg told the Financial Times on Monday that he was “looking at all the options” when it comes to a bid.

As snowfall brought yet more uncertainty to the race’s final hours, Hillary Clinton tried to move past talk of a shakeup in her campaign and controversy over comments by supporters that women should feel obliged to vote for her.

But it was Trump, the billionaire businessman, who launched the harshest attacks — not against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who had bested him in Iowa, but against Jeb Bush. The former Florida governor is one of three Republicans hoping Marco Rubio’s recent stumbles have opened a fresh path for one of them to emerge as the more mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz.

“Jeb is having some kind of a breakdown, I think,” Trump told CNN, calling Bush, the son and brother of presidents, a spoiled child and an embarrassment to his family. “I think it’s a very sad situation that’s taking place.”

The enmity was mutual. Vying for votes in Nashua, Bush described his opponent variably as a loser, a liar, a whiner and the worst choice for president. He blasted what he said was Trump’s proclivity for “insulting women, castigating Hispanics, ridiculing the disabled and calling American POWs losers.”

Still, Trump was running ahead in pre-primary polls, as was Sanders on the Democratic side.

In the week since Clinton eked out a win in the leadoff Iowa caucuses, her campaign has worked aggressively to lower expectations for New Hampshire, where Sanders has maintained a sizable lead despite Clinton’s victory here eight years ago. Sanders, a Vermont senator, is well known to voters in neighboring New Hampshire.

Clinton was shouldering renewed troubles amid talk of a possible campaign reshuffling. Although campaign manager Robby Mook is expected to stay, some Clinton allies have said new advisers may be brought in after Tuesday.

Sanders, wary of upsetting a race trending his way, stuck to core campaign themes as he addressed cheering supporters in Nashua. In recent days Bill Clinton has accused some Sanders’ supporters of waging “sexist” attacks, and feminist Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have criticized women who aren’t supporting Clinton.

Dems update

■On Tuesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will join other Detroit-area Democrats supporting Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton’s candidacy at a 6 p.m. opening of her Detroit campaign office.

The Clinton campaign is renting office space inside the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25 state headquarters at 600 W. Lafayette Blvd. Her campaign plans to open two other offices in Flint and Grand Rapids over the next week.

■On Thursday, Chelsea Clinton will swing through Michigan to make campaign stops for her mom in Detroit and Flint.

■On Friday, former President Bill Clinton will drop into Grand Rapids for a fundraiser for his wife’s campaign.

■Fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign plans to open offices in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Lansing in the next week.

Chad Livengood