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Wednesday April 1st, 2020 7:33PM

The Latest: Biden dismayed Limbaugh awarded Medal of Freedom

By The Associated Press
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The latest on the 2020 election (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

The awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh has left Joe Biden almost speechless.

The Democratic presidential candidate was asked Wednesday during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire about the honor President Donald Trump bestowed on the conservative radio personality during Tuesday's State of the Union. The former vice president made the sign of the cross and looked at the ground for several seconds before responding.

Biden finally said, “Rush Limbaugh spent his entire time on the air dividing people, belittling people,” and started to blame Limbaugh for stirring up racial division before trailing off.

Referencing Limbaugh's recent announcement that he has advanced lung cancer, Biden said he does feel bad that Limbaugh has a terminal illness. But he added that Trump’s bestowing the honor on Limbaugh before a joint session of Congress was, “quite frankly, trying to maintain your right-wing political credentials, rather than anything else.”

President Barack Obama surprised Biden by awarding him with a Presidential Medal of Freedom shortly before he left office in 2017.

___

6:05 p.m.

It remains too early to declare a winner in the Iowa caucuses.

With 86% of precincts reporting early Wednesday evening, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders of 1.3 percentage points in state delegate equivalents.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar are trailing.

There remain too many state delegate equivalents left to be counted to declare a winner from Monday's caucuses. The results were delayed because of a technical problem.

The Iowa Democratic Party is reporting three sets of results. They are “first alignment” of caucusgoers, the “final alignment” and the number of “state delegate equivalents” won by each candidate.

The Associated Press will declare the winner of the Iowa caucuses based on the number of state delegate equivalents each candidate receives.

That’s because Democrats choose their overall nominee based on delegates. While the other results provide insights into the process, state delegate equivalents have the most direct bearing on the metric Democrats use to pick their nominee.

___

2:25 p.m.

The Iowa Democratic Party has released another round of results from Monday’s caucuses after a delay sparked by technical problems.

The party has released 75% of the vote as of Wednesday afternoon. The results show Pete Buttigieg held a slight lead over Bernie Sanders in the number of state delegate equivalents, but it is too early to call a winner.

The partial results show Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar trailing behind. All of the top five candidates have moved on to New Hampshire, the next state on the primary calendar.

___

12:45 p.m.

Joe Biden is attacking two of his major 2020 rivals by name as he campaigns in New Hampshire.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg were both directly criticized by Biden Wednesday after he lamented the impact Iowa has had on his campaign.

Biden said if Sanders is the nominee, “every Democrat in America up and down the ballot, in blue states, red states, purple states and easy districts and competitive ones.” will be stuck with Sanders' democratic socialist label.

Biden says President Donald Trump is “desperate” to pin that label on Democrats.

On Buttigieg, Biden says said he has "great respect" for the 38-year-old. But he says it's a risk to nominate "someone who's never held an office higher than mayor of a town of 100,000 people in Indiana.”

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12:25 p.m.

Joe Biden says he won't sugarcoat the impact of Iowa on his 2020 presidential bid.

Campaigning in New Hampshire Wednesday, Biden says, "we took a gut punch in Iowa, the whole process took a gut punch.”

He told an audience in Somersworth, New Hampshire, that "this isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been knocked down.”

Iowa's Democratic Party has released only partial results of Monday's caucuses, but Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar were trailing in the tally.

Biden is vowing to keep fighting for the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina “and beyond.”

There are an “awful lot of folks out there” writing off his campaign, Biden said.

But, Biden added, “I'm not going anywhere. And I’m counting on New Hampshire. We ’re going to come back.”

___

11:45 a.m.

New Hampshire high school and college students are questioning presidential candidates about climate change and clean energy, starting with Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg.

The Minnesota senator and the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor were the first of seven candidates to speak at a day-long forum in Concord on Wednesday.

Klobuchar and Buttigieg said they would immediately reverse Trump administration decisions to roll back environmental protection regulations. Buttigieg joked that his hand would be sore from signing new executive orders to reverse President Donald Trump’s. Klobuchar was heading back to Washington to vote in the Republican president’s impeachment trial and emphasized several times that the actions she’d take as president would be “legal.”

Klobuchar also criticized her Democratic rivals for proposing a “bumper sticker policy” of free college for all, saying she would instead ensure the economy fits the education system.

Buttigieg said a shift in emotion from “guilt and doom” to pride is needed to propel the nation forward on climate change.

The other 2020 candidates scheduled to appear at the forum in person or by video are Democrats Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer and Republican William Weld.

New Hampshire's presidential primary is next week.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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