Entries in New Hampshire Primary (8)


Paul Finishes Second in NH, Says ‘I Didn’t Know You Were Out There’

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Ron Paul managed to hold on to expectations, finishing a strong second Tuesday night in the New Hampshire primary.

It was validation for the 76-year-old congressmen who has spent an entire political career preaching his free market ideas and non-interventionist ideology, mostly toiling in the confines of political obscurity.

Now in the spotlight, Paul admitted that he never expected the groundswell of support, adding: “I didn’t know you were out there.”

“It’s no longer that irate, tireless minority that is stirring up the troops, now that irate majority,” said Paul to cheers of “Ron Paul, President Paul.”

Walking on stage to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” Paul thanked his family, campaign staff, and the Manchester Union Leader for not endorsing him for president.  The leading New Hampshire publication endorsed Newt Gingrich.

Paul’s strong second place in New Hampshire was hard fought and a boost to the campaign, which managed to hold off his GOP rivals despite taking two days off in the past week and keeping a light campaign schedule.

It was in New Hampshire that Paul launched his bid for president, announcing it on ABC’s Good Morning America last May.

He subsequently made more than 50 campaign stops, augmented with a strong ground game that included a small army of volunteers from around the country and also supported by $2 million worth of television advertising.

Although the campaign had hoped to woo over undecided voters by stressing Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy, they said they knew they would be unlikely to topple Mitt Romney.

But with a strong second place showing, Paul said on Tuesday night he was “nipping at his heels.”

The campaign is already looking forward to South Carolina, which votes on Jan. 21.  The congressman is scheduled to hold a rally Wednesday afternoon in Columbia.  Paul’s foreign policy views and antiwar positions might be expected to hurt him in a state with large military institutions and a heavy defense industry, but Paul says that he receives more money from members of the military than all the other candidates combined.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says His Opponents' Attacks over Bain Capital 'Fell Flat'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Fresh off a win in the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney on Wednesday brushed aside criticism from his Republican opponents and said their argument against his record at Bain Capital won’t work in South Carolina.

“I think their argument fell flat here in New Hampshire.  They tried it very hard, ran ads here, were up and down the state campaigning, and people in the state here said, look, 'We want a guy who spent some time in the private sector, not someone who spent their entire life in Washington.'  So I think it’s working for my benefit,” the former Massachusetts governor told ABC News' chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have criticized Romney’s record as head of the venture capital company.  Perry called firms such as Bain “vultures” who “leave the skeleton” behind -- a message that his opponents hope will resonate in South Carolina where unemployment stands at 10 percent.

It’s also an argument the Obama campaign is laying out.  On Tuesday night, Vice President Joe Biden said Romney “thinks it’s more important for the stockholders and the shareholders and the investors and the venture capital guys to do well than for those employees to be part of the bargain.”

Romney told ABC News he’ll deal with that line of attack straight on, saying the president and vice president -- who are actually the ones presiding over the shaky economy n South Carolina and elsewhere -- shouldn't throw stones.

“The vice president and the president, for instance, oversaw General Motors and Chrysler and what did they do?  They came in and closed factories, closed dealerships, laid people off.  They did it to try and save the business and every time we had a reduction in employment it was designed to try and make the business more successful and, ultimately, re-grow it,” he said.  “And tens of thousands of jobs created by virtue of the work we were doing.  I’m pretty proud of that record.”

But Romney was careful not to appear overconfident coming off Tuesday night’s decisive victory, and would not say if he expects to win South Carolina or the nomination.  He pointed out that he came in fourth in the Palmetto State in 2008 and called this year, "an uphill battle.”

“I’m hopeful I will be [the nominee]. I’m going to do everything in my power to become that nominee," Romney told ABC News. "I think to post up against President Obama it is essential to have a record of credibility on the economy, and the economy is what I know, it’s what I’ve done all my life and that’s why I think I’m the best guy to go up against him,” Romney said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Says ‘On to South Carolina’; Campaign ‘Loaded for Bear’

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Rick Santorum had a disappointing showing in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, battling with Newt Gingrich for fourth place, and just cracking double digits late Tuesday evening.

Despite the result, Santorum, standing next to his wife Karen, told supporters he would keep fighting.

“On to South Carolina,” he said to a small group of journalists and supporters gathered at a restaurant in Manchester, N.H.

Late Tuesday night, Santorum and his team planned to head to the Palmetto State, where they will try to engage with an electorate that is more aligned with his socially conservative policy stances to regain the momentum he grabbed with his virtual tie with Mitt Romney in Iowa last week.

Santorum’s national communications director, Hogan Gidley, said they would dump much of the $3 million they have earned since Iowa into the Palmetto State.

“We are loaded for bear,” Gidley said after Santorum’s speech.

Santorum said he wanted to “respect the process” by coming to New Hampshire and competing there, adding that they wanted to “respect the fact that we are going to campaign in every single state, states that were good for us and states that may be a little tougher.”

He also gave Romney, the New Hampshire victor, a gracious congratulation, saying the campaign front-runner “fought hard in this state.”

“For those who would like to say this would be over in one or two states that have been, well, let’s say the backyard and the home of a certain candidate, which by the way I want to absolutely congratulate Mitt Romney on a great victory tonight,” Santorum said.  “(I’m) looking forward to engaging on the subject of issues, talking about records, how we are we going to put the best foot forward, the best person forward.”

Santorum added to cheers: “We can win this race.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What Mitt Romney’s Win in New Hampshire Means

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- A crowded field is once again Mitt Romney’s best friend.

Though Romney can boast of a 16-point margin of victory in the New Hampshire primary, his overall percentage of the vote was just under 40 percent.  In other words, more than 60 percent of Republican voters in New Hampshire -- the state that he basically calls home -- voted for someone other than Romney.


But, the best news for Romney is that the guys who came in second and third place -- Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman -- are two of his weakest opponents in the upcoming South Carolina primary.  The most recent polling showed Paul in fourth place there behind Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.  As for Huntsman, his moderate profile is going to be a tough sell in deeply conservative South Carolina.

Paul is also a very polarizing figure, even within the Republican electorate.  In a new ABC/Washington Post poll, just 40 percent of Republicans view Paul favorably, while 39 percent view him unfavorably.  Among all voters, Paul is seen more unfavorably than favorably -- 38 percent to 31 percent.

Meanwhile, the only two candidates who could give Romney a run for South Carolina -- Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich -- just lost a bunch of momentum Tuesday night.  They are currently in a battle for a distant fourth place in New Hampshire.

With all of these candidates pledging to move onto South Carolina, it’s more than likely that they will once again divide the “not-Romney” vote, allowing Romney to win with a plurality.

Meanwhile, Romney will get a boost from the New Hampshire win that he can take with him to South Carolina.  Despite its reputation as a conservative state that differs markedly from Iowa and New Hampshire, voters in South Carolina take their cues from the results of those early contests.

South Carolina voters like to be on the side of a winner, and at this point, Romney is the guy to beat.

History is also on Romney’s side.  Since 1980, no candidate who has lost Iowa and New Hampshire has gone on to win South Carolina

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Dives into Romney’s NH Exit Poll Results

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama won New Hampshire in the general election -- though not the Democratic primary -- in 2008, turning it from Red to Blue in 2008, 54 percent to 45 percent.  A key to that victory was the substantial independent vote in the state.

On Tuesday night, the Obama team was watching those independents carefully, as well as other key demographic groups.  They focused on how former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney performed in the New Hampshire primary, since he’s the candidate they’ve long been convinced will win the GOP nomination.

Based on current exit polls, members of Team Obama said that:

-- Mitt Romney lost to Ron Paul by four points among self-identifying independents -- Paul: 31 percent, Romney: 27 percent;

-- Romney finished a distant fourth among voters who thought “Strong Moral Character” is the most important candidate quality, losing to Paul by 21 points;

-- And Romney won the wealthy, but lost the middle class.  His biggest margin was among those making over $200,000 followed by those making $100,000-$200,000.  Among those making under $50,000, he lost by four points.

“So he loses independents and low income voters,” said a top Obama campaign official.  “His right-turn isn’t going to help these things.”

Another top Democrat said he’s looking at Romney’s performance in lower- and middle-income wards and areas of the Granite state.

“Like Iowa, he did not do well here,” the Democrat said. “ Wait to see what happens in South Carolina with those groups after a couple million dollars and relentless ‘corporate raider’ pounding.”

The Democrat also said that before Iowa Romney had about a 30-point lead.  “He will have lost almost two-thirds of that in one week,” the Democrat noted.

One polling guru, who didn't want his name disclosed, takes the larger point that Romney needs to be stronger with independents, as well as lower- and middle-income groups, but splashes cold water on some of the numbers members of Team Obama have thrown around.

“Given the margin of sampling error in the exit poll, Paul’s four-point margin over Romney among independents is not statistically significant.  We’re saying they ran about evenly in this group.  Ditto for those who make less than $50,000 a year,” the expert said.


New Hampshire Results: Candidates in Their Words

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- ABC News Tuesday projected just after 8 p.m. EST that Mitt Romney would win the New Hampshire primary. Within half an hour he had taken the stage at his victory party to rally the troops.

ABC Projects Mitt Romney Will Win New Hampshire Primary

Based on exit polls, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman will finish 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

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Romney: Tonight We Celebrate. Tomorrow, We Go Back to Work

The N.H. primary winner criticizes Obama in speech, looks ahead to South Carolina.

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Feisty Ron Paul Says Momentum Can’t Be Stopped

Paul congratulates Romney on New Hampshire win; says, “We’re nibbling at his heels.”

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Jon Huntsman: Third Place Is a Ticket to Ride

2012 candidate says finish in New Hampshire primary guarantees he will move on to South Carolina.

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Newt Gingrich Says Campaign Will Go On to South Carolina

The 2012 candidate shut out of top three in New Hampshire primary.

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Rick Santorum: We Knew New Hampshire Would Be Tough

The 2012 candidate shut out of the top three in N.H.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Projected to Win New Hampshire Primary

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- ABC News projects that Mitt Romney will win the nation's first primary in New Hampshire, marking the first time since 1976 that a Republican candidate has won the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary back to back.

Based on the exit poll data and ABC News' analysis of the vote in so far, Rep. Ron Paul is projected to be second and Jon Huntsman will place third.

Crowds at Romney's gathering in New Hampshire erupted in cheers as the results were announced.

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In a race in which electability was the top concern for voters, most picked the former Massachusetts governor as the GOP candidate most likely to beat President Obama. Underscoring GOP unhappiness with the current administration, exit polls showed that eight in 10 New Hampshire primary voters were either dissatisfied or downright angry with the Obama administration, mainly stemming from economic discontent.

Independents turned out in greater-than-usual numbers in the primaries, a trend that could bode well for Romney in November if he nabs the nomination. Independent voters are expected to play a crucial role in this swing state for both the incumbent president and his challenger. 

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Exit polls showed that concerns about electability, economic discontent and a less conservative but more divided base than in Iowa last week helped shape the New Hampshire primary.

Though experts say the race is far from decided, the Granite State has a good track record of picking the eventual nominee on the Republican side.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Analysis: Were New Hampshire Independents Really Independent?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The first thing that pops out at you when looking at the New Hampshire exit polls is the large number of independents who turned out to vote. Almost half the electorate in New Hampshire’s Republican primary defined themselves as independent (47 percent), while 48 percent said they were Republicans.

Why such a big surge?

First, it’s clear that Ron Paul attracts a group of voters that aren’t traditional Republican activists. In fact, Paul won the independent vote with 31 percent. Mitt Romney took 27 percent and Jon Huntsman took 23 percent of this group.  Of the 13 percent of voters that said they’d never voted in a Republican primary before Tuesday, Paul carried 37 percent of them.

Still, there are also signs that these voters may call themselves independents, but in ideology and past voting behavior they are really more like Republicans.

A huge percentage of these independent voters -- 85 percent -- say they have voted in a Republican primary before Tuesday. Ron Paul carried those voters who said they had never voted in a Republican primary with 37 percent.

Moreover, even as the percentage of independents increased, we didn’t see much change in the ideological makeup of the Republican electorate from where it was in 2008.  In 2008, for example, 55 percent of Republican primary voters called themselves conservative or very conservative. This year, 52 percent identify as conservative or very conservative.

In other words, many of these voters who are identifying themselves as independents are really Republicans. Given the surge we’ve seen nationally in the number of voters who call themselves independents, it’s not surprising to see that playing out in New Hampshire as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio