- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) Hillary Rodham Clinton tonight squeaked out a victory on Tuesday in New Hampshire’s primary, slowing or perhaps stopping rival Barack Obama’s momentum and showing more than one Clinton can be “the Comeback Kid.”

Clinton, whose husband used a second-place finish in New Hampshire to propel himself to the White House, had trailed Obama in recent polling. In the last days, though, she overhauled her campaign operation here and took a new tone to the trail. Aides, meanwhile, executed the long-laid ground game that even rivals acknowledged was masterful.

Her campaign had braced for a second loss in a key early state but instead celebrated a win in a state her campaign worked aggressively to derail rival Barack Obama’s momentum. Early Thursday, it was still uncertain if their ground-game plan would work.

The campaign had made than 1.4 million phone calls to voters and 6,000 volunteers canvassing the state in the last few days. DEMS0109.jpg

The one-time front-runner saw her advantage evaporate, but she trod onward. She spent Tuesday visiting polling locations and coffee shops and vowed to meet with as many voters as she could before polls closed at 8 p.m.

“We’re going to work all day to get the vote out,” Clinton said before dawn, visiting a polling location with daughter Chelsea. Clinton overhauled her strategy after her Iowa embarrassment. She took voters’ questions and appeared less stymied. She worked hard to connect with voters and appear less imperial. She shuttered her stump speech for one she and husband Bill Clinton reworked. In it, she emphasized change the watchword of this election. “If you want to know what I will do as president, I hope you will look at what I’ve done. Because the election isn’t about choosing change over experience. Change only comes with experience. And with the challenges we face, we’ve never need change more, or the experience and strength to make it happen,” Clinton told New Hampshire reporters in a conference call to sell her final argument. But the once-inevitable second Clinton White House came into serious doubt she placed a devastating third place in Iowa’s caucuses and Obama built momentum from his win. In the end, though, key voting blocs were there for Clinton or weren’t there for Obama, depending on how the campaign frames it. According to exit polling conducted by The Associated Press and the networks, far more women voted than men; Clinton won 45 percent of them compared to 36 for Obama. Also according to exit polls, only half as many New Hampshire voters under 30 turned out as in Iowa, depriving Obama of crucial support.

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