LONDONDERRY, N.H. — On the rise in a tightening race, Marco Rubio shouldered intensifying attacks Friday from moderate-leaning Republicans who fear a strong Rubio showing
in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary could spell the end for their frazzled presidential campaigns.
Jeb Bush and Chris Christie accused Rubio of a lackluster set of accomplishments. Bush, campaigning with his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, summed up the Florida senator's achievements in one word: "Nothing."
On the Democratic side, the gloves were off in a campaign that had shown more signs of comity than rancor — until now. A day after jousting in a feisty debate, Hillary Clinton struggled to defend herself against Bernie Sanders' insinuations that she's beholden to Wall Street, while Sanders faced fresh doubts about his experience on foreign policy.
As candidates crisscrossed the state, a burst of soggy snow became the latest obstacle to winning support among undecided voters. The winter surprise sidelined Donald Trump and Sanders, who canceled afternoon events.
Blizzard notwithstanding, the all-out push for votes illustrated the growing stakes for Tuesday's vote. New polls showed Rubio on the rise in New Hampshire and nationally, raising his hopes that Republican Party leaders would unite behind him in a bid to defeat the two polarizing front-runners: Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz, the victor in last week's Iowa caucuses, was struggling to put complaints about his campaign's tactics in the rearview mirror, as new evidence emerged of what challenger Ben Carson has dubbed "dirty tricks." Carson told a Fox News podcast that Cruz's lackadaisical defense brought to mind Clinton's response to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
"I'm not saying that it rises to the level of Benghazi. I'm saying it's the same kind of attitude," Carson said. "The attitude being: It's water under the bridge."