MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – With about a month to go before early voting begins, Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are coming out of the holidays in full swings.
Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have been the consistent favorites in polls overall. But they are not equal in that regard.
On Monday, the former first lady kicked off a two day swing in Iowa. Also stumping through the state were second-time Republican hopeful, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz.
While Hillary Clinton focused on Iowa, her husband Bill stumped on behalf of his wife in New Hampshire talking both about her campaign promises and his own experience in the White House.
In a wide-ranging address that took voters through his wife’s work as a young lawyer in Arkansas, ways to combat heroin addiction, the political achievements of President Barack Obama and the failings of America’s fourteenth president, Franklin Pierce, Bill Clinton argued that the Democratic front-runner offers the best plan to restore “broadly shared prosperity.”
The event marked the former president’s debut solo appearance for Hillary Clinton’s, part of a broader strategy to boost the Democratic front-runner’s campaign in the run-up to early voting next month.
“I do not believe in my lifetime anybody has run for this job at a moment of great importance who was better qualified by knowledge, experience and temperament to do what needs to be done now,” he told several hundred New Hampshire voters gathered in a college auditorium.
He methodically described the issues he sees as motivating voters in the next election. Clinton warned voters that the next president could appoint as many as three Supreme Court justices and reverse the health care law and environmental programs of the Obama administration.
Hillary Clinton, her husband said, offers the best path to economic prosperity, dealing with social problems like heroin addiction and foreign policy that doesn’t undermine the American character.
Republican Carly Fiorina also kicked off 2016 in New Hampshire on Monday, contending that Republicans want to see her debate Clinton, “because you know what’s going to happen: I’m going to win.”
Senator Marco Rubio criticized his Republican rivals in a New Hampshire speech focused on national security. The Florida senator declined to call them out by name in the Monday morning address, but said some would weaken the nation’s military and intelligence programs designed to prevent terrorism.
Rubio’s former mentor Jeb Bush focused on his new set of policies aimed at curbing addiction and stopping the flow of illegal drugs.
His proposal comes a day before he joins five other presidential hopefuls at an addiction forum in New Hampshire, where an estimated 400 people died from drug overdoses in 2015.
Bush’s team says his new policy focuses on heroin and other drug abuse as both a health and criminal justice issue.
His ideas include creating more drug courts to send non-violent drug offenders through treatment programs and cracking down on the overprescribing of painkillers and the flow of illicit drugs into the country. He said he’d make the Director of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy a cabinet-level position.
A summary of Bush’s plans provided by the campaign do not outline how much Bush would spend on drug-related policies. But his plan suggests the federal government is currently spending money inefficiently, and he promises a review and overhaul of spending to focus on evidence-based practices.
Several presidential candidates have visited a peer-based recovery center while campaigning in New Hampshire, and Bush specifically highlights support for such programs in his plan.
Bernie Sanders, an independent socialist senator from Vermont, also campaigned Monday in New Hampshire, which votes February 9th.
If Sanders wants a chance at beating Clinton, he has to win New Hampshire.
In front of a raucous crowd of nearly 1,000 people, the Democratic candidate took shots at Trump.
He accused Donald Trump of running a campaign based on demagoguery and division, a strategy Sanders says has been used for decades to pit Americans against each other.
“That’s the oldest trick in the book — he didn’t invent it,” he said.
He added Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims and immigrants is designed to “create a nation of hatred.”
Sanders said turning Americans against each other only makes the rich richer while ordinary people are “fighting with each other for the crumbs.”
Trump sought to derail his rivals Monday, debuting his first television ad in both New Hampshire and Iowa, featuring dark images of the San Bernardino, California, shooters, body bags, and images of masked men.
The ad reinforced highly criticized remarks he made last month proposing a temporary ban on Muslims looking to enter the United States, which sparked outrage from Republican and Democratic rivals alike. The comments threatened the party’s drive to attract minorities, an effort already complicated by Trump’s negativity toward Mexican immigrants.
Trump says he plans to spend at least $2 million per week on television ads in Iowa and New Hampshire overall.
Trump steered clear of attacking Bill Clinton on Monday evening, after days of charging the former president and husband of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton of having a history of abusing women.
He drew a crowd of thousands to a sports arena rally in Lowell, Massachusetts where he did go after Hillary Clinton, mocking her for using “the biggest teleprompters I’ve ever seen” at her events and comparing her with a group of protesters who interrupted his speech.
He said the protesters “remind me a little bit of Hillary. No energy, no stamina, no strength.”
Trump was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who drew loud boos from the crowd.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)