For Clinton and McCain, a New Hampshire revival
Results in the Granite State mean frontrunners in both parties will continue to duke it out for the nomination.
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In the Republican contest, 37 percent voted for McCain; 32 percent for Mr. Romney; 11 percent for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; 9 percent for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani; 8 percent for US Rep. Ron Paul; and 1 percent for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson.Skip to next paragraph
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New Hampshire is a fickle bellwether for the nation. Paul Tsongas captured the Democratic primary here in 1992, Pat Buchanan was the Republican winner in 1996, and McCain the GOP victor in 2000. None went on to win his party's nomination.
For the moment, however, Clinton owns the spotlight. She reversed expectations and even one-upped her husband's surprise second-place finish here in 1992, when he declared himself the "Comeback Kid."
"Together, let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me," Clinton told jubilant supporters in a victory speech in Manchester. "We're going to take what we've learned here in New Hampshire, and we're going to rally on and make our case. We are in it for the long run."
In his speech, Obama returned to themes of hope and unity and asked supporters to defy "cynics" who might see the outcome Tuesday as a "reality check."
"I'm still fired up and ready to go," he said in Nashua. "We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change."
Consecutive wins in Iowa and New Hampshire would have given Obama a bolt of momentum that would have been difficult to stop. But his loss here clears the way for Clinton to pursue a 50-state strategy, built on a well-funded and disciplined campaign organization and plenty of time to raise new questions about her rival.
A Gallup Poll released Monday showed Clinton and Obama with 33 percent each nationally. In mid-December, Clinton was ahead of Obama, 45 percent to 27 percent.
"I would say Obama did get a bounce in New Hampshire from Iowa – it's why Obama did as well as he did," Linda Fowler, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., said in a phone interview Tuesday night. "It just wasn't enough."
Clinton is well positioned to win Michigan, with its base of traditional Democrats and lower-income voters. But the odds are tougher to call in South Carolina. Obama's strong finishes in two overwhelmingly white states have muted early questions about his electability. Analysts say that African-Americans in the Palmetto State, aware of the historic nature of his candidacy, are unlikely to stand in his way.
Mr. Edwards's third-place showing here, after his second-place finish in Iowa, dims the lights on his campaign. His last hope is South Carolina, his birthplace. He returns there Wednesday for what his campaign is calling "Homecoming Rallies," but he has fared poorly in recent polls.
If he had any thoughts Tuesday about exiting the race, he kept them to himself. "Two races down, 48 states to go," he told supporters.
The Republican candidate most deeply wounded Tuesday was Romney, who had counted on consecutive victories in Iowa and New Hampshire to light a fire under his campaign nationally. He sank tens of millions of dollars into the first-in-the-nation contests and was considered a particular favorite in New Hampshire, next door to the state where he was governor.