Comebacks in New Hampshire Revive Campaigns
Hillary and Bill Clinton after Mrs. Clinton won the Democratic primary
Tuesday night in Manchester, N.H.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York rode a wave of female support to a surprise victory over Senator Barack Obama in the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday night. In the Republican primary, Senator John McCain of Arizona revived his presidential bid with a Lazarus-like victory.
The success of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain followed their third- and fourth-place finishes in the Iowa caucuses last week. Mrs. Clinton’s victory came after her advisers had lowered expectations with talk of missteps in strategy and concern about Mr. Obama’s momentum after his first-place finish in Iowa. Her team is now planning to add advisers and undertake a huge fund-raising drive to prepare for a tough and expensive fight with Mr. Obama in the Democratic nominating contests over the next four weeks.
Mr. McCain had pursued a meticulous and dogged turnaround effort: his second bid for the White House was in tatters last summer because of weak fund-raising and a blurred political message, leading him to fire senior advisers and refocus his energy on New Hampshire.
Several New Hampshire women, some of them undecided until Tuesday, said that a galvanizing moment for them had been Mrs. Clinton’s unusual display of emotion on Monday as she described the pressures of the race and her goals for the nation — a moment Mrs. Clinton herself acknowledged as a breakthrough.
“I come tonight with a very, very full heart, and I want especially to thank New Hampshire,” Mrs. Clinton, who is seeking to become the first woman to be elected president, told supporters in Manchester. “Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice.”
“I felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and I am so gratified you responded,” Mrs. Clinton said. Then, echoing her husband’s “Comeback Kid” speech after his surprise second-place finish in the primary here in 1992, she added, “Now together, let’s give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me.”
The scene was noticeably different from the one in Iowa when Mrs. Clinton spoke after her loss in the caucuses. Instead of being surrounded by longtime Clinton supporters like former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, she went on stage with teenagers and young adults behind her.
Mr. Obama leaves here with political popularity that is still considerable, after his victory in Iowa and his growing support in the nominating contests ahead. Mrs. Clinton had been struggling to stop Mr. Obama, turning on Tuesday to new advisers to shore up her campaign team, and both of them are strongly positioned heading into the Nevada caucuses on Jan. 19 and the South Carolina primary a week later.
“We know the battle ahead will be long,” Mr. Obama told supporters in Nashua Tuesday night. “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.”
With 91 percent of the electoral precincts reporting, Mrs. Clinton had 39 percent of the vote, Mr. Obama 36 percent, and John Edwards 17 percent. On the Republican side, Mr. McCain had 37 percent, Mr. Romney 32 percent and Mike Huckabee 11 percent.
The New Hampshire results foreshadow a historic free-for-all for both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations in the weeks to come. Mr. McCain’s victory dealt another serious blow to Mitt Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Mr. Romney campaigned hard and spent heavily as he sought wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, only to come up short in both states.
Mr. McCain, after watching television reports of his victory in his Nashua hotel room, took congratulatory calls from Mr. Romney and Mr. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won the Republican caucus in Iowa. He then went downstairs to declare victory.
To cheers of “Mac is back,” Mr. McCain told supporters last night: “My friends, you know I’m past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it. But tonight, we sure showed them what a comeback looks like.”
Mr. Obama, like Mrs. Clinton, devoted considerable financial resources to Iowa and New Hampshire, and his advisers said they planned to spend carefully in the coming contests. He has a major fund-raiser scheduled for Wednesday night in Manhattan — Mrs. Clinton’s home turf — and intends to seek donations from online donors and major party figures. He is also seeking endorsements from members of the Senate and labor groups that have thus far been torn between him and Mrs. Clinton.
The voting in New Hampshire did little to clarify the muddied Republican field. The McCain, Romney and Huckabee campaigns are all girding for battle, and some political analysts still see Fred D. Thompson of Tennessee as a wild card in Southern primaries. Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose strategy calls for winning big in later states like Florida and the Feb. 5 primaries in New York, New Jersey and California, finished near the back of the pack here.
Mr. Romney, stoically smiling in remarks to supporters Tuesday night, is now looking ahead to Michigan primary on Jan. 15; he grew up in the state, where his father was a popular governor, and has been advertising on television there since mid-December.
“Another silver,” Mr. Romney, who ran the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, said in his concession speech. He went on to call for sending someone to Washington “who can actually get the job done,” and added, “I don’t think it’s going to get done by Washington insiders.” He vowed to fight on.
Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Thompson are hoping for a huge lift from fellow Southerners in the South Carolina primary on Jan. 19. And Mr. Giuliani, speaking to supporters before flying to Florida, said the toughest fights were still to come. “By the time it’s over with, by Feb. 5, it’s clear that we’re going to be the nominee of the Republican Party,” Mr. Giuliani said. He added that, perhaps, “we’ve lulled our opponents into a false sense of confidence.”
Mrs. Clinton plans to stay off the campaign trail on Wednesday and huddle with her husband and advisers about the way forward. She is planning to add new strategists and advertising advisers to her team, including a longtime aide, Maggie Williams, and advertising adviser, Roy Spence, as she seeks to build on a strategy memorandum written by another ally, James Carville, to show more fight and grit against Mr. Obama in Nevada.
Even before polls had closed Tuesday, advisers to Mrs. Clinton were portraying her performance here as a gratifying revival and surprise, given her loss in Iowa and Mr. Obama’s double-digit lead in some public opinion polls going into Tuesday’s vote. Advisers and female voters pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s emotional moment on Monday as decisive, with advisers promising that voters would see more personal touches in the days to come.
“Women finally saw a woman — perhaps a tough woman, but a woman with a gentle heart,” said Elaine Marquis, a receptionist from Manchester, who had been torn between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton but was leaning her way when she bared her feelings.
Exit polls of voters on Tuesday showed that women, registered Democrats, and older people — especially older women — came out solidly for Mrs. Clinton, while independents, men and younger voters went for Mr. Obama.
It was an especially remarkable night for Mr. McCain, who had to lay off much of his staff after he nearly ran out of money because of his effort to run a national campaign last spring along the lines of President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. All but counted out, Mr. McCain retrenched and focused his limited resources largely on advertising and campaigning in New Hampshire, where he enjoyed a reservoir of support among Republicans and independents from his 2000 run here.
He got back on his emblematic bus, the Straight Talk Express, chatting with the few reporters who continued to cover him and working to persuade the state’s voters one by one in a seemingly incessant stream of town-hall-style meetings.
And while Mr. Romney outspent him on television commercials by two to one — spending $8.7 million to Mr. McCain’s $4.3 million, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising — Mr. McCain closed the gap in the last days of the campaign here, in part because of his tireless campaigning.
Mike Dennehy, who directed the McCain efforts in the state, estimates that Mr. McCain spoke to some 25,000 people directly.
Exit polls suggested that there was a record turnout, with half a million voters — 280,000 Democrats and 230,000 Republicans.
In the Republican primary, Mr. McCain got 38 percent of voters unaffiliated with either party, and the same proportion of registered Republicans, according to exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for the television networks and The Associated Press. Such undeclared voters made up about a third of voters in the Republican primary.
It was different for the Democrats. Undeclared voters make up a larger share of the voters in the Democratic primary — about 40 percent. Mr. Obama got about 4 in 10 undeclared voters and Mrs. Clinton got about a third of their support. Mrs. Clinton got 45 percent of registered Democrats, and Mr. Obama got a third.