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McCain wins GOP primary in New Hampshire

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/primary_rdp;_ylt=Asa.fV9RPq4zXG1rDhWu1iOs0NUE McCain wins GOP primary in New Hampshire By DAVID ESPO and PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8 5:48 PM

      McCain wins GOP primary in New Hampshire

      By DAVID ESPO and PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press
      Writers 5 minutes ago

      CONCORD, N.H. - Arizona Sen. John McCain won the New
      Hampshire primary Tuesday night, completing a
      remarkable comeback and climbing back into contention
      for the Republican presidential nomination. Sen.
      Hillary Rodham Clinton dueled with Sen. Barack Obama
      in an unexpectedly tight Democratic race.

      "We showed the people of this country what a real
      comeback looks like," McCain told The Associated Press
      in an interview as he savored his triumph. "We're
      going to move on to Michigan and South Carolina and
      win the nomination."

      The Arizona senator rode a wave of support from
      independent voters to defeat former Gov. Mitt Romney
      of Massachusetts, a showing that reprised his victory
      in the traditional first-in-the-nation primary in

      It was a bitter blow for Romney, who spent millions of
      dollars of his own money in hopes of winning the
      kickoff Iowa caucuses and the first primary — and
      finished second in both.

      Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa
      GOP caucuses last week, was running third in the
      Republican race in New Hampshire.

      Among Republicans, McCain was winning 39 percent of
      the vote, Romney had 28 and Huckabee 12. Former New
      York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had 9 percent, Texas Rep. Ron
      Paul 8.

      Clinton, the former first lady who finished third in
      Iowa, was mounting an unexpectedly stiff challenge to
      Obama in the nation's first primary. Interviews with
      voters leaving their polling places showed she was
      winning handily among registered Democrats, while her
      rival led her by an even larger margin among

      With votes counted from 14 percent of the state's
      precincts, she had 40 percent to 35 percent for Obama,
      who is seeking to become the nation's first black
      president. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina
      trailed with 17 percent.

      Clinton's performance, based on the early returns,
      surprised even her own inner circle.

      In the hours leading up to the poll closing, her
      closest advisers had appeared to be bracing for a
      second defeat at the hands of Obama.

      Officials said her aides were considering whether to
      effectively concede the next two contests — caucuses
      in Nevada on Jan. 19 and a South Carolina primary a
      week later — and instead try to regroup in time for a
      22-state round of contests on Feb. 5.

      These officials also said a campaign shake-up was in
      the works, with longtime Clinton confidante Maggie
      Williams poised to come aboard to help sharpen the
      former first lady's message. Other personnel additions
      are expected, according to these officials, who spoke
      on condition of anonymity while discussing strategy.

      Obama, who won the leadoff Iowa caucuses last week,
      looked for an endorsement from the powerful Culinary
      Workers union in Nevada in the days ahead. South
      Carolina's Democratic electorate is heavily black and
      likely to go for the most viable black presidential
      candidate in history.

      The Republican race turns next to Michigan, where
      McCain and Romney already are advertising on
      television, and where both men planned appearances on
      Wednesday. Huckabee also was expected to campaign in
      the state.

      By custom, the first handful of New Hampshire votes
      was cast, at midnight, in Dixville Notch in the far
      northern tip of the state.

      By tradition, the first primary held the power to
      propel winners into the rush of primaries that follow
      — and to send the also-rans home for good.

      And by registration, New Hampshire's balance of power
      rested with its independent voters, more than 40
      percent of the electorate, neither reliably Democratic
      nor Republican, with the power to settle either race,
      or both.

      McCain, an Arizona senator, in particular, appealed
      for their support in the run-up to the primary. He
      battled Romney, the former governor of next-door
      Massachusetts, and to a lesser extent Mike Huckabee,
      the former Arkansas governor who won last week's Iowa

      According to preliminary results of a survey of voters
      as they left their polling places, more independents
      cast ballots in the Democratic race than in the
      Republican contest. They accounted for four of every
      10 Democratic votes and about a third of Republican
      ballots. The survey was conducted for The Associated
      Press and the television networks.

      Republicans were split roughly evenly in naming the
      nation's top issues: the economy, Iraq, illegal
      immigration and terrorism. Romney had a big lead among
      those naming immigration, while McCain led on the
      other issues.

      Half of Republicans said illegal immigrants should be
      deported, and this group leaned toward Romney. Those
      saying illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply
      for citizenship leaned toward McCain, while the two
      candidates split those saying those here illegally
      should be allowed to stay as temporary workers.

      Among Democrats, about one-third each named the
      economy and Iraq as the top issues facing the country,
      followed by health care. Voters naming the economy
      were split about evenly between Obama and Clinton,
      while Obama had an advantage among those naming the
      other two issues. Clinton has made health care a
      signature issue for years.

      About one-third said if Bill Clinton were running,
      they would have voted for him on Tuesday.

      "It has all the earmarks of a landslide with the
      Dixville Notch vote," an upbeat McCain quipped — he
      got four votes there to Romney's two and one for
      Giuliani — as his campaign bus headed to a polling
      place in Nashua. The crowd of supporters was so big,
      that voters complained and a poll worker pleaded with
      McCain to leave. Seconds later, the bus pulled away.

      Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, Texas Rep. Paul
      and California Rep. Duncan Hunter completed the
      Republican field.

      Obama, too, hoped independent voters would come his
      way, as they did last week in Iowa, where he won the
      first test of the campaign. Clinton, the New York
      senator and former first lady, ran third in Iowa.
      Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina was second.

      Obama drew huge crowds as he swept into New Hampshire,
      and as the front-runner drew plenty of criticism from
      Clinton and her husband. Asked if he expected more,
      Obama said, "Oh, I don't think it will be just in the
      next few days. I think it'll be, you know, until I'm
      the nominee or until I quit." He said he understood
      their frustration.

      Clinton, for her part, retooled her appeal to voters
      on the run. She lessened her emphasis on experience,
      and sought instead to raise questions about Obama's
      ability to bring about the change he promised.

      Win or lose, she said she was in the race to stay —
      never mind Edwards' suggestion that the voters of Iowa
      had told her that her presence was no longer needed.

      There was no letup in the television ad wars.

      TNS Media Intelligence, a firm that tracks political
      advertising, said Clinton spent $5.4 million to reach
      New Hampshire voters, and Obama spent $5 million. The
      total for Edwards was $1.7 million, reflecting a
      smaller campaign treasury. New Mexico Gov. Bill
      Richardson, fourth candidate in the race, could afford
      about $500,000.

      As happened in Iowa, Romney spent more than his rivals
      combined on television for the New Hampshire primary.

      After losing Iowa, he could ill afford another defeat
      after basing his campaign strategy on victories in one
      or both states. Reflecting the stakes, he clashed in
      weekend debates with Huckabee over the Iraq war and
      with McCain over immigration as he tried to right his

      On Tuesday, Romney put a positive face forward. "The
      Republicans will vote for me," he said. "The
      independents will get behind me."

      McCain, too, was in need of a victory. Once the
      perceived front-runner, he suffered through a
      near-death political experience last year when his
      fundraising and support collapsed. He rallied, and by
      the final days of the New Hampshire race, held a
      celebration of sorts to mark his 100th town hall
      meeting in the state he won eight years ago.


      David Espo reported from Washington. AP writers Liz
      Sidoti, Nedra Pickler, Scott Lindlaw, Glen Johnson,
      Beverley Wang, Charles Babington, Holly Ramer and
      Clarke Canfield contributed to this report.
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