New Hampshire Offers Trump a Clean Slate and Potentially More Stable Ground

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.22.55 PMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Good Wednesday morning. The dust is still settling in Iowa and the horizon has fixed on New Hampshire, as the candidates who fell short, or not far enough ahead for their liking, must decide how to move forward.

As the presidential race moved to New Hampshire from Iowa on Tuesday morning, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton were the two main events — both looking to regain momentum after setbacks in the Hawkeye State.

At a rally with Scott P. Brown, a Republican former senator from Massachusetts, and the conservative radio host Ann Coulter, Mr. Trump talked repeatedly about the military, about national security and about immigration, themes that helped vault him to the top of opinion polls before the Iowa caucuses. It was a return to form for Mr. Trump, whose message in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses was erratic and lacked consistency. After seeming subdued at a news conference ahead of the rally as he discussed his second-place finish in Iowa, Mr. Trump fed off the crowd once he took the stage and found his sea legs.

He remains the favorite to win in New Hampshire, a state that is a better fit for him than Iowa. But he still seemed befuddled by losing Iowa and angry that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida had outspun him with his third-place showing.

Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, was trying to hunker down in the state she won in 2008, but where she has been polling well behind Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

She is trying hard to show she is not abandoning the state. But it remains an uphill battle for her, and it puts emphasis on the importance of Nevada, the next state to vote after New Hampshire. She won there in 2008, but is not guaranteed a repeat performance.

The Republican race for four candidates who, for different reasons, must perform well in New Hampshire — Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mr. Rubio — began in earnest. Mr. Christie said Mr. Rubio was living in a “bubble” where he hasn’t had to face tough questions. But, for Mr. Rubio, finding cover behind the other candidates chasing establishment-minded voters could help him keep fighting and avoid the Klieg lights.