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8 candidates flock to N.H. after Dems' fifth debate

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg may as well have worn a target on his back during Wednesday night’s presidential primary debate, as polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire suggest he may be the front-runner in those early-voting states.

Among likely caucus-goers in Iowa, Buttigieg has a 9-point lead, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday (margin of error: ±4.4 points). Among likely voters in New Hampshire’s primary, Buttigieg has a 10-point lead, according to a St. Anselm College poll released Tuesday (margin of sampling error: ±6.1 points).

In other recent polls, Buttigieg still ranks behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former Vice President Joe Biden in New Hampshire’s race (YouGov, Quinnipiac, UNH)—even so, it’s clear Buttigieg has surged into the top tier of candidates, inviting more scrutiny of his policy proposals, relatively thin resume, and lack of support among black voters.

Despite the implied invitation to attack Buttigieg, the other nine presidential candidates on stage with him Wednesday night largely restrained themselves. Perhaps they expect Buttigieg’s rising star to fade on its own.

Days until Iowa caucuses: 74

Days until New Hampshire primary: 81

Days until general election: 347

Debate recaps & takes worth your time

James Pindell for The Boston Globe: Scorecard: Grading the debate performance of the Democratic candidates:

This debate was too muddled to have an obvious winner, but if there was one candidate who had a better debate than the others, it was Klobuchar. She entered the debate with some momentum after a strong October debate performance and she will likely build her momentum after this debate.

Elena Schneider, Christopher Cadelago, and Laura Barrón-López for Politico: Why Pete Buttigieg got a pass in the debate:

Several campaigns question whether Buttigieg really has staying power in those early state polls and are waiting to see whether he’ll fall back to earth on his own, without a push. “This is just Pete’s moment,” said Jeff Weaver, a Sanders adviser, “and we’ll see, we’ll see whether he stays up or goes down.”

Columnist Renée Graham for The Boston Globe: Candidates make sure debate isn’t a Buttigieg coronation:

Frankly, curbing Buttigieg’s spotlight was fine. His coded language is as grating as it is unmistakable when he says that the way to defeat President Trump is with someone “who actually comes from the kind of communities that [Trump’s] appealing to.” In his campaign, Buttigieg has often positioned himself as the conservative white people whisperer and, yes, folks of color have noticed.

Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. for The Washington Post: A debate that actually covered the issues? This time, we don’t have to imagine:

This was the debate that sent a signal that Democrats differ far more with Trump and the Republicans than they do with each other. The question that came to mind after some of the harsh and more narrowly focused brawls earlier in the year was: How could this party possibly unite? The question that dominated on Wednesday was: Do these contenders really disagree all that much?

National affairs correspondent Joan Walsh for The Nation: What a Debate Run by Women Looks Like:

Wednesday night’s presidential debate was the best yet, and it wasn’t just because women—four moderators, plus four female candidates—outnumbered men on that stage. But that was part of it. […] This debate showed us what American political life would look like if women’s concerns were routinely at the center of the conversation.

Your bird-dogging guide

At least seven Democratic presidential candidates will host in-person events Friday through Monday in the Granite State: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The eighth candidate is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who’s hoping to beat incumbent President Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

Here’s when and where to see the eight candidates (and possibly pin them down on the topic that matters most to you), in chronological order:

Friday, November 22

  • House party with Tulsi Gabbard at the home of Amanda Morrill in Jaffrey, 6:30-8 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Bill Weld at Gas Light Co. in Portsmouth, 6:30-8 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, 8:30-9:30 p.m. (RSVP)

Saturday, November 23

  • House party with Tulsi Gabbard at the home of Donnie and Alycia Harpell in Gilford, 10-11:30 a.m. (RSVP)
  • House party with Cory Booker at the home of state Rep. Rosemarie Rung in Merrimack, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Town hall with Bernie Sanders at Franklin High School in Franklin, 12 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Town hall with Amy Klobuchar at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Michael Bennet and Londonderry Democrats in Londonderry, 1-2 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at Tilton Brothers Brewing in Hampton, 2-3 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Town hall with Elizabeth Warren at Henry J. McLaughlin Middle School in Manchester, 2:45-5:45 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Town hall with Amy Klobuchar at Spark! Community Center Inc. in Lebanon, 3-4 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at Teatotaller in Somersworth, 4-5:30 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Tulsi Gabbard at the Castle on Charles in Rochester, 5:30-7 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at the Governor’s Inn garage in Rochester, 6-7:30 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Town hall with Tulsi Gabbard at at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, 6:30-8 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker and New Hampshire Young Democrats at the To Share Brewing Company in Manchester, 8:30-9:30 p.m. (RSVP)

Sunday, November 24

  • Town hall with Bernie Sanders at the American Legion in Hillsboro, 1-2:30 p.m. (RSVP)
  • Rally with Bernie Sanders at South Church Unitarian Universalist Church in Portsmouth, 5-6:30 p.m. (RSVP)

Monday, November 25

  • Politics & Eggs event with Deval Patrick at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, 8-9:30 a.m. (RSVP)
  • Brunch with Bernie Sanders at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge in Salem, 12-1:30 p.m. (RSVP)