In the GOP race, Mr Trump remains ahead in the polls, but Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American senator, is closing the gap. The latest Boston Globe/Suffolk poll shows the New York property mogul with 29 per cent, compared to 19 per cent for Mr Rubio and seven per cent for Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who won the Iowa caucus. On the Democratic side, an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics finds Mr Sanders with a 17-point lead over Mrs Clinton. But treat the polls with caution given their record in Iowa and the fact that New Hampshire voters are notorious for making up their minds at the last moment.

The Democratic debate in New Hampshire last night was a feisty affair with Bernie Sanders attacking Hillary Clinton over her connections to Wall Street and her willingness to collect more than $200,000 a pop for speeches to financial institutions. The Vermont senator suggested that his rival would be in hock to rich people while his “political revolution” was being funded by campaigns from average Americans. But when the debate veered to foreign policy, he was no match for the former secretary of state. My colleagueCourtney Weaver has this story on the final Democratic debate before New Hampshire holds its primaries on Tuesday. Read more

​Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are taking more shots at each other as the Democrats prepare to spar in New Hampshire tonight in their last debate (which you can watch for free) before the Granite State holds its primaries on Tuesday. The Vermont socialist senator accused the former New York senator of being close to Wall Street despite her vow to clamp down on financial institutions that are taking advantage of Americans.

“You’re looking at the guy who’s not just talking the talk when it comes to campaign finance – I am walking the walk,” Mr Sanders tweeted after reports about the amount of money his rival has raised from Wall StreetRead more

Welcome to the FT’s daily White House countdown newsletter, which we hope will keep readers on top of one of the most fascinating American elections in years. You can sign up to receive it by email here. Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief

Yesterday we urged you to forget about Iowa and move on to New Hampshire. Donald Trump is clearly not reading (yet). After flying to New Hampshire on “Trump Force One” following his loss in Iowa, the billionaire wants everyone to return to the Hawkeye State to re-run Monday’s caucus because of alleged fraud by Ted Cruz. Read more

Welcome to Week 2 of White House countdown, our new daily newsletter which we hope will keep readers on top of one of the most fascinating American elections in years. You can sign up to receive it by email here. Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief

Remember Iowa? Well, forget Iowa. Just hours after Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses with a 27-24 victory over Donald Trump, the presidential contenders were already flocking to New Hampshire for the February 9 primaries. Mr Trump was certainly trying to forget Iowa. After an uncharacteristically long silence (20 hours) on Twitter, the billionaire re-emerged to spin the resultRead more

Welcome to Week 2 of White House countdown, our new daily newsletter which we hope will keep readers on top of one of the most fascinating American elections in years. You can sign up to receive it by email here. Thanks for reading. Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief

DES MOINES – Donald Trump hopes his daughter Ivanka will have her baby (due in 2 weeks) today in Iowa. Chris Christie, the witty New Jersey governor, is entertaining diners at the Machine Shed restaurant with impressions of the former star of The Apprentice. Ted Cruz, the Texas senator, is coming under fire for circulating misleading leaflets which suggest that Iowan residents are engaging in “voter violation” for not participating in elections. The drama adds up to one thing – the Iowa caucuses that kick off the 2016 presidential election are here. Read more

Iowa Trump

It was the Trump event vs the everyone-but-Trump event. The 2016 Republican primary race entered uncharted territory, as the billionaire businessman continued to challenge all parts of the GOP establishment, including the Fox News outlet, traditionally courted by candidates as the most watched cable news channel in America, by holding his own event 3 miles away from the party debate in Iowa.

The FT US political team led by Demetri Sevastopulo and Courtney Weaver in Iowa tracked the action from the rival Trump event and Fox gathering, where the rest of the field of Republican candidates tried to stamp their mark on the race without the noise of the man who is usually the biggest voice in the room. The team was joined by US Online News editor Emiliya Mychasuk.

 

Welcome to White House countdown, a new daily newsletter which we hope will keep our readers on top of one of the most fascinating American elections in years. We welcome your feedback. Thanks for reading. You can sign up to receive it by email here. Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington Bureau Chief

After months of rhetoric, debates, campaign rallies, polls and old-fashioned political brawling, the centre of gravity of American politics has moved to Iowa where voters will soon have their say. The 15 presidential contenders (12 Republicans and 3 Democrats) are making their closing arguments in the midwestern state which officially starts the 2016 race for the White House when it holds its caucuses on Monday, February 1. Read more

03

The Republican White House contenders took the stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for their fourth presidential debate. There were eight contenders on the stage after Fox Business News, which co-hosted the event with media empire stablemate The Wall Street Journal, determined that Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, and Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, did not qualify to participate under their criteria. Marco Rubio built on his momentum, while Jeb Bush did not do much to bolster a wilting campaign, and Donald Trump stood out less than in previous debates as the field narrowed. 

Hillary Clinton Testifies Before House Select Committee On Benghazi Attacks

Hillary Clinton faced her next big challenge in her quest for the 2016 US presidential race with an appearance before a Republican led congressional committee to testify about the 2012 Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens. Barney Jopson followed the action from Washington with Demetri Sevastopulo, DC Bureau Chief and Emiliya Mychasuk, US Online News Editor. A link to the live stream of the hearing is here  

Democratic Presidential Candidates Hold First Debate In Las Vegas

Welcome to our coverage of the first Democratic presidential debate. My colleagues – Gina Chon and Shannon Bond – and I will provide the live updates from the debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas. Here is our primer on what to watch in the debate.  

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The 2nd Republican presidential debate saw Donald Trump face off against 10 other GOP contenders for the White House, as the challengers tried to gain ground against the bombastic billionaire, who has surprised the pundits by leading the field by a long way. Carly Fiorina made her debut in the big league, joining the main debate for the first time. 

Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, has accused China of using intimidation and coercion to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea and said America “will not look the other way”.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian defence forum, Mr Hagel said China ​had in recent months undermined​ its own claims that the South China Sea was a “sea of peace, friendship and co-operation”. Read more

By Daniel Dombey, US Diplomatic Correspondent

Robert Gates, the US’s mild mannered secretary of defence, isn’t exactly an in-your-face kind of guy. So why did he begin his trip to Beijing, long awaited and sought for by Washington, by emphasising how the US will be spending billions of dollars on weapons that could be used against China? The answer, probably, is because he could.

 Read more

By Mure Dickie, Japan bureau chief

Barack Obama’s critics will no doubt see it as a metaphor. During his recent visit to Tokyo, the US president bowed so low to Japan’s Emperor Akihito that some people wondered if he had spotted a Y100 coin on the Imperial Palace’s immaculately swept porch. Read more

By Geoff Dyer, FT China bureau chief

Barack Obama made one last final attempt to speak directly to ordinary Chinese people at the end of his three-day visit, giving an interview in Beijing yesterday to Southern Weekend, one of China’s more outspoken newspapers. Read more

By Zach Coleman, FT Asia world news editor

Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president, may have looked like he was bulking up ahead of Barack Obama’s first presidential visit to Seoul this week when he sported a sweater under his suit jacket.

In fact, Lee and his cabinet – who joined him adding some layers of protection – were trying to lead by example as they committed the country to cut its carbon emissions in a symbolically under-heated meeting room during a cold snap.

How Seoul will reduce emissions by four per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 has not yet been spelled out. But the track record of other leaders using sartorial gestures to promote energy conservation has been mixed.

Months after becoming US president, Jimmy Carter donned a cardigan to underscore that the energy crisis was the “moral equivalent of war”. Carter hoped to summon public solidarity to conserve energy and reduce oil imports through steps such as reducing wintertime heating and driving more efficent cars.

But in the heyday of the Pontiac TransAm, his plea for sacrifice didn’t resonate with the American public (how would Hummer owners react now?). Oil imports continued to climb and Carter was eventually sent packing by the sunnier optimism of Ronald Reagan. Read more

By Geoff Dyer, FT China bureau chief

Have we just watched the launch of the G2? As Barack Obama has said several times this week, there are few big global problems that can be solved without the agreement of the US and China. And talking in terms of a G2 captures some of the shifting balance of global power where a wounded US is seeking to find common cause with a rising China. Read more

By Mure Dickie, FT Tokyo bureau chief

The depth of Barack Obama’s pavement-scraping bow to Japan’s Emperor Akihito last weekend has become a matter of controversy at home drawing individous comparisons with the upright Dick Cheney  (see this Los Angeles Times blog).

So here’s my verdict on the president’s protocol performance.

First off, Obama definitely wins some credit for being so obviously keen to show respect for local feelings. This is an important message to convey given that his administration has been rather brusquely waving aside calls by Japan’s new government for a rethink on a controversial Marine base relocation plan.

Like people everywhere, the Japanese appreciate when visitors abide by the old injunction to “follow village ways when in the village” (the local equivalent of “When in Rome…”). And bowing is very much a part of Japanese etiquette. Read more

By Geoff Dyer, FT China bureau chief

Barack Obama’s efforts to reach out to ordinary Chinese on his Asia tour may have fallen a little flat, but there is one trump card he can play to score points with his hosts – the three members of Obama’s Cabinet who can get by in Chinese. Read more

By Christian Oliver, FT South Korea bureau chief

Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper last week speculated on the most important question surrounding the South Korea leg of Barack Obama’s Asia tour: whether the presidential lunch would be accompanied by Korean rice liquor, or a fruity Californian red?

On the eve of Mr Obama’s arrival in Seoul on Wednesay, officials said it would most likely be an American wine. The South Koreans probably intend those bottles of Californian wine to deliver a none-too-subtle message about the importance of a trade agreement between Washington and Seoul, currently held up mainly by resistance from US automakers.

But that bottle – Zinfandel? – could also raise deeper questions about trade deals with South Korea. Read more