Can Obama, McCain capture New Hampshire?

New Hampshire goes to the polls Tuesday for the second key clash of White House hopefuls, with surging Democrat Barack Obama likely to deal a second defeat to former first lady Hillary Clinton.

Just five days after his Iowa triumph spun momentum into his White House quest, Obama enjoyed a solid lead in New Hampshire and for the first time shattered Clinton’s advantage among Democratic voters nationally, polls showed.

In a rare emotional display, Clinton choked back tears on the campaign trail Monday as the strain of her damaged White House bid showed through.

Republican John McCain meanwhile looked set to lock in his advantage over rival Mitt Romney, who needs a strong showing after coming in a grim second last week in the Iowa caucuses, which launched this year’s White House race.

Polls opened in the tiny resort village of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire at midnight (0500 GMT), and closed minutes later after all 17 of its registered voters had cast ballots, in keeping with an eccentric tradition.

Results written on a board showed Obama with seven votes; former senator with John Edwards with two; and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson one, on the Democratic side.

McCain was the Republican victor with four votes, while Romney took two and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, one.

There were no votes for Clinton or Iowa Republican victor Mike Huckabee, who has vaulted to pole position among Republicans nationally in the latest polls.

The New Hampshire primary begins in earnest when polling stations throughout the state open starting at 6:00 am (1100 GMT).

Obama wrapped up his New Hampshire campaign with a raucous rally in Concord late Monday, soaring to rhetorical heights in a bid to rally turnout.

“Starting tomorrow, we’re going to make history, we’re going to repair the nation, we’re going to repair the world!” he cried in a 45-minute speech frequently drowned out by the roars of the crowd.

In a tactic that has begun to draw scorn from Clinton, Obama invoked a pantheon of American political icons, from the founding fathers to the pioneers of the American civil rights movement.

Voice thick with sarcasm, Clinton Monday accused Obama of inflating a thin resume by comparing himself to Democratic icon John F. Kennedy, and civil rights icon Martin Luther King, “two of our greatest heroes.”

“Martin Luther King led a movement… he was beaten, he was jailed, and he gave a speech that was one of the most beautiful, profound speeches ever delivered in America.”

“President Kennedy was in the Congress for fourteen years, he was a war hero, he was a man of great accomplishment,” Clinton said.

Separately, the strain of the Obama juggernaut appeared to be taking its toll, when Clinton welled up when asked how she manages to keep going every day.

“It’s not easy, and I could not do it if I just didn’t passionately believe it was the right thing to do,” she said, her voice quavering, after talking with voters in a coffee shop.

“This is very personal for me … it is not just political … I see what’s happening … we have to reverse it.

“Some people think elections are a game,” said the New York senator, her voice breaking again. “It is about our country, it is about our kids’ futures.”

The latest polls showed Obama as the favorite going into Tuesday’s crucial nominating clash, after he beat Clinton into third place in Iowa after John Edwards.

And a national poll by USA Today/Gallup said that Obama and Clinton each drew 33 percent support from Democrats, compared to an 18-point lead for the former first lady in mid-December, well before Obama’s win in Iowa.

New Hampshire’s primary meanwhile did not look set to clarify fortunes among the crowded Republican field.

McCain is seen as the favorite here, with national frontrunner Huckabee trailing in third and Giuliani still waiting in the wings to attack in subsequent primaries in more populous states.

McCain drew hundreds of people out in cold, wet weather Monday in the state capital Concord for a speech stressing his orthodox budget policies and experience in defense affairs.

“I believe that better days are ahead of us, but it requires leadership with no on-the-job training,” said McCain, who in a debate Sunday said he knew how to get Osama bin Laden and vowed to do so if elected.

McCain, 71, has capitalized on his war hero status, earned by years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.

Former Massachusetts governor Romney is running second to McCain in New Hampshire, a state all the more important to the Mormon following his loss to Huckabee in Iowa.

For the first time, former Arkansas governor Huckabee has vaulted to first place nationally among Republican voters, running at 25 percent to 20 for Giuliani, the USA Today/Gallup poll said.

7 Responses to "Can Obama, McCain capture New Hampshire?"

  1. JoyfulC  January 8, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Typical election fare. They’re all telling us what we want to hear. But the one who can actually save us will be the one who tells us what we really don’t want to hear, and helps us accept it.

  2. Sandra Price  January 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

    It is still an emotional two party system. The GOP (except Ron Paul) wants the prohibitions on abortions, same sex marriages and death with dignity. The Democrats hope to destroy big corporations and will wonder where the jobs went?

    What I want to hear is that the 10th Amendment to the Constitution will be recognized and get the federal government out of our personal lives. If any American is opposed to abortions, they simply will not have one. Even late term abortions are often done to save the life of the mother and often are caused by incest within the family. There’s a lot we can do to stop this fight but not by legislation.

    I am not a Christian and do not believe life starts at conception. I have never claimed to have been a Christian so what’s the big deal?

  3. Cobaltkid  January 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    The two party system has been decimated – predominately by the religious right. It used to be there was a place for those of us who have socially moderate views but hold strict fiscal and monetary beliefs along with a very strong grounding in the constitution. Now, the Dems tend to be socialist who want to tax and spend. The Republicans have made a polarizing move to the right due to the born again neocons. Bush has even made matters worse by his total disregard for the Constituition and his disastrous policies of borrow and spend.

    Unfortunately, Ron Paul, as previously ststed, has bought in to the abortion position advocated by the religious right. There are very few politicians now who haven’t been pushed into one of the extremes. You may laugh, but Arlen Specter still represents the kind of politician I support.

  4. Steve Horn  January 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    I’ll go you one better – I claim that the evolution of the two party system has CAUSED the problems we’re facing in this nation. Why do I say that? In the attempt to appeal to as many people as possible BOTH parties are starting to sound very much alike. Sure, there are subtle differences (minimum wages, abortion) but on the broad issues, the GOP, which used to stand for small government and a rather constitutional nature has changed to embrace ever larger and more intrusive government. The Dem’s, which used to embrace large government and social services (which could be seen as being somewhat intrusive into an individuals personal life) have taken on the cause of social responsibility, balanced trade and the such.
    The two are so darned similar at this point in time that we’re really not left with any real, honest choices.
    Left in that pit of roiled mire, we try to select the most appropriate “stepford candidate” from the bunch – the one who’s the most visually appealing or who says the right stuff at the right time.
    That’s not how it’s supposed to be, at least not from my understanding of the consitution.
    If we had a couple strong “minor” parties our national health would be a LOT better – more ideas, greater diversity of ideas, but as it is we’re left with selecting the lesser of two self serving morons, cycle after cycle.
    Sorry for the rant, Cobaltkid, but you touched a raw, exposed and sensitive nerve.

    Peace

    Steve

  5. yarply  January 8, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Obamas message of change is certainly different than the others yet no different from the policies of the presidential predecessors. He says if he is elected “we can change the world”. I would rather he/they would quit worrying so much about the world and just try to fix things here in this country. We already have had Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr., trying to change the world and look where that has led us. I admit we need change,, buy we need the right kind of change. Clean up our own house and yard and then the neighbors will look on with envy and change theirs.

  6. Ardie  January 8, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Now I am really concerned for Sen. Obama. He is too popular and may well have signed his own death warrant. Read Green Beret Lt. Col. Daniel Marvin’s book Expendable Elite. It is about the absolute evil of the U.S. government during the Vietnam War.

    Lt. Col. Marvin was supposed to assassinate the Crown Prince of Cambodia to make it look like a Viet Cong job (he refused). He was later called upon to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr.–and this is what draws forth my deep concern.

    If our government, using Special Forces, could implement the assassination of MLK it is still capable of more nefarious acts and false flag operations.

  7. mikee59  January 8, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    The candidates can crow and whine about change all they want, nothing will happen without the approval of Congress. Bush has been an exception, of course, with a Congress of lackeys and boot-lickers.

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