Bush team warns of ‘dirty tricks’ as N.H. vote nears

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is raising the specter of “dirty tricks” by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as New Hampshire primary voters get ready to head to the polls on Tuesday.

Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz allegedly gathered top aides on Monday and warned of election-day underhandedness by Rubio’s team, a source told Politico.

A CNN poll released Monday shows Bush as one of many Republican presidential hopefuls vying for a second-place finish to Donald Trump.

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Trump polls at 31 percent while Marco Rubio comes in a distant second with 15 percent. He is joined by Cruz at 13 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 11 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 10 percent.

A WHDH-7 Boston/UMass poll released Monday closely mirrors CNN’s poll, with Trump collecting 34 percent of the vote compared to Rubio’s 13 percent.

Polls show Donald Trump with a commanding lead in New Hampshire less than 24 hours before primary voters cast their votes

Polls show Donald Trump with a commanding lead in New Hampshire less than 24 hours before primary voters cast their votes

The cluster of second-tier candidates does not include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose attacks on Rubio during Saturday’s ABC News debate rattled the senator.

“I want the people at home to see this. That is what Washington, D.C., does,” Christie said Saturday when Rubio deflected multiple questions about his record by mentioning President Obama. “The drive-by attack at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech.”

Pundits have wondered whether Christie’s attacks will halt so-called “Marcomentum” from his third-place finish during the Iowa caucus.

Rubio was unapologetic for his debate performance afterward.

“I’m going to keep saying it because it’s true,” Rubio told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “Barack Obama … said he wanted to change the country. He’s doing it in a way that is robbing us of everything that is special.”

Rubio’s overall strategy got the backing of radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday. The conservative icon said Rubio knows it is “crucially important to Republican voters” for someone to hold President Obama accountable for his public-policy failures.

“To people inside the Beltway, it’s kind of a chuckle [to obsessively attack Obama],” said Limbaugh. “‘There they go again, those right wingers!’ To people inside the Beltway, to the elites, to the establishment, Obama’s just the latest Democrat to come along. … They don’t see what Obama’s doing as anything except maybe a young, inexperienced – this is Christie’s point – incompetent boob. Well, that’s not who Obama is. Rubio’s opponents are using it to disqualify him.”

Limbaugh said Cruz and Rubio are the only candidates who have made the case that Obama systematically goes about his mission to “fundamentally transform” America.

“Ted Cruz had a great night, and the evidence of that is that nobody wanted to talk about it. If Ted Cruz had had a bad night, folks, you would still be hearing about it, everywhere,” the radio host said.

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Cruz, as he did in Iowa, now appears focused on using a strong ground-game to outperform polls.

“Barrington, get ready to #ChooseCruz! Find your polling place & bring 9 friends w/ you http://votetedcruz.com/nh/ #fitn,” the Texan tweeted on Monday.

Bush, whose campaign may sputter to a halt with a disappointing showing, found himself yet again sniping at Trump via social media.

“@realDonaldTrump, you aren’t just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner. John McCain is a hero. Over and out,” Bush tweeted Monday regarding a comment Trump made in July. The billionaire said Arizona Sen. John McCain’s hero status is on some level tied to his capture during the Vietnam War, as opposed to impressive skills as an aviator.

“Everybody is laughing at Jeb Bush – spent $100 million and is at bottom of pack. A pathetic figure!” Trump tweeted on Monday.

Meanwhile, on the Democrats’ side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton is allegedly weighing a campaign shake-up if she falls to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. Sources told Politico the former secretary of state is frustrated with the campaign’s digital operations and messaging.

“The Clintons are not happy, and have been letting all of us know that,” a Democrat official told the website. “There’s no sense of panic, but there is an urgency to fix these problems right now.”

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CNN’s poll has Sanders defeating Clinton 54 percent to 40 percent in the Granite State.

State law in New Hampshire requires polls to open by 11 a.m. at the latest and close by 7 p.m. at the earliest, although towns and cities set their own hours.

Some locations will open by 6 a.m. and remain open until 8 p.m. EST.

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