Wednesday 22 February 2017

Mellower Trump on verge of first victory

Julie Pace in Bedford

Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Photo: Reuters
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Photo: Reuters

Donald Trump appeared poised to clinch his first victory in the primary in New Hampshire following a humbling second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

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The billionaire Trump has held a commanding lead in New Hampshire preference polls for months as candidates race to collect delegates for parties' nominating conventions later this year.

Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who won in Iowa, is in the mix in New Hampshire with Iowa third-place finisher Marco Rubio. They are also challenged by a trio of governors seeking to stop Rubio's rise after his uneven debate performance over the weekend.

At the heart of the battle between Rubio and Chris Christie, John Kasich and Jeb Bush is whether the Florida senator has the experience.

Without a strong showing, each will face enormous pressure to drop out from Republican Party leaders eager to rally around a single establishment candidate who can challenge the outspoken Cruz and Trump.

It is not as if Trump, notorious for his inflammatory, style, has suddenly gone soft. At an event in Plymouth, he reaffirmed his support for reviving the waterboarding of terrorism suspects and, if necessary, doing "much worse." He mocked "poor Jeb Bush" and talked about the "stupid people" running the government.

But the past week has revealed a mellower Trump who seems less interested in slashing and burning his way to his party's nomination for the November 8 election and more willing to view his competitors with equanimity.

The Democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders swerved in a new direction after a pair of prominent Clinton supporters criticised female voters who support Sanders despite the prospect of electing the first female president.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said over the weekend that there was "a special place in hell" for women who don't help women, while writer and famed feminist Gloria Steinem suggested that women backing Sanders were doing so to meet boys.

"Young women are active, mad as hell about what's happening to them," Steinem wrote. "Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before."

Irish Independent

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