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Clinton and McCain the comeback kids

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) — Sen. Hillary Clinton has won New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, CNN projects.

Sen. John McCain easily won the Republican primary Tuesday, but Clinton and Barack Obama were locked in a tight race much of the night.

Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice, the New York senator told supporters.

Now together, let’s give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me.

Clinton held a 2 to 3 point lead over Obama throughout most of the night, despite recent polls showing Obama 9 points ahead of the New York senator.

Supporters at her headquarters chanted comeback kid as the results came in.

Clinton’s win comes off a disappointing third-place finish in Iowa last week.

Female voters and older voters seem to be playing in Clinton’s favor, according to exit polls.

In Iowa, Clinton lost out to Obama among women 35 percent to 30 percent. It’s a different story in New Hampshire, where 45 percent of female Democratic primary voters picked Clinton, compared to 36 percent who went for Obama.

Older voters are also overwhelmingly outnumbering younger voters, a proportion that is benefiting Clinton. Sixty-seven percent of Democratic primary voters are over the age of 40, and they are breaking heavily for Clinton over Obama.

The Republican results mark a resurgence for McCain, whose campaign was all but written off this summer.

McCain pinned his win on one strategy — telling the people of New Hampshire what he believes.

Tonight, we sure showed them what a comeback looks like, the Arizona senator said as supporters shouted, Mac is back.

When the pundits declared us finished, I told them, ‘I’m going to New Hampshire where the voters don’t let you make their decisions for them,’ he said. ‘I’m going to New Hampshire, and I’m going to tell people the truth.’

With 64 percent of Republican precincts reporting, McCain had 37 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was second with 32 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the winner of last week’s Iowa GOP caucuses followed with 11 percent.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had 9 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 8 percent.

With 68 percent of precincts counted, Clinton had 39 percent of the vote to Iowa caucus winner Obama’s 36 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards had 17 percent. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had 5 percent, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich had 2 percent.

Edwards will finish third, CNN projects.

Recent polls showed Obama with a 9-point lead over Clinton. Supporters at her headquarters chanted comeback kid as the results came in.

Romney and Huckabee called McCain to congratulate him Tuesday night.

I’ll fight to be back in this state and others, Romney told supporters. Watch Romney congratulate McCain

Huckabee, who earlier said a third-place finish would be huge for him, also promised to return to New Hampshire.

After we secure the nomination, we’ve got to come back here and make sure we carry New Hampshire.

Voters who supported McCain and those who supported projected runner-up Romney differed significantly on what issues they feel are most important, exit polling shows. Watch McCain’s supporters cheer him on

Forty-six percent of those who supported McCain ranked the war in Iraq the most important. Meanwhile, voters who supported Romney overwhelmingly felt immigration was the most important issue.

McCain has been a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, but co-sponsored comprehensive immigration reform legislation that drew the ire of many conservatives in his party. The legislation failed to pass Congress. Romney has been taking a tough stance on immigration.

McCain bested one-time Baptist minister Huckabee among New Hampshire voters who said a candidate’s religious beliefs matter a great deal, according to CNN exit polls. While Huckabee won overwhelmingly among those voters in Iowa, in New Hampshire, 35 percent went to McCain while 31 percent went to Huckabee.

The religious voters made up 14 percent of all Republican primary voters in New Hampshire — much less than in Iowa.

Voters turned out in higher-than-expected numbers Tuesday, with a sizable chunk making decisions on who to support at the last minute, according to early exit polls.

Eighteen percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats said they picked their candidate on Election Day.

But the fate of the candidates could rest in the hands of New Hampshire independent voters, who make up about 40 percent of the electorate. A CNN-WMUR poll Sunday found independent voters split almost evenly between the parties this year.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch predicted a record turnout for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. He said he expected half a million people to vote.

The governor’s prediction followed record-breaking numbers in last week’s Iowa Democratic and Republican caucuses.

New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said high turnout at polling stations forced the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office to send more ballots to some polling locations, including Hampton Falls, Portsmouth, Keene, Hudson and Pelham.

Voting began in two hamlets just after midnight, hours before the rest of the state’s polling places opened.

Asked Tuesday afternoon at a doughnut shop in Manchester whether he would consider himself the front-runner if he were to win in New Hampshire, Obama said, I’m never a front-runner; I’m always the underdog.

Clinton of New York has tried to turn the tide by emphasizing her record as a change agent, as a senator and as first lady.

She fought tears Monday as she described the stakes in the campaign at a forum with uncommitted voters in Portsmouth, calling it one of the most important elections America has ever faced.

This is very personal for me — it’s not just political, it’s not just public, she said in response to a question about the stress of the campaign. I see what’s happening, and we have to reverse it.

Former President Clinton lashed out at the media coverage Monday night, saying Obama should be pressed more fully on Iraq and accusing the senator from Illinois of shifting his position to reflect changing attitudes on the war. Watch as the ex-president tears into Obama’s record

And you took that speech you’re now running on off your Web site in 2004. And there’s no difference in your voting record and Hillary’s ever since.

He added, Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.

Obama dismissed the former president’s comments, saying It seems like you guys have been reporting on me the entire year.

I remember this summer when we were down 20 points, we were getting knocked around pretty good, and I didn’t hear the Clinton camp complaining about how terrible the press was.

Meanwhile, Edwards sharpened his criticism of Clinton, blasting her for taking money from the pharmaceutical and defense interests the former trial lawyer routinely excoriates on the stump.

I’ve never taken any money — any money — from a Washington lobbyist or a special interest PAC. She’s continued to do that. She’s taken more lobbyist money than any candidate, Edwards said Tuesday in Manchester.
found here.

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January 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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