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US Presidential Candidates Push for Last Minute Votes in New Hampshire


The U.S. presidential candidates are making a furious last minute push for votes the day before the New Hampshire primary. The latest polls show Barack Obama leading the Democratic field of contenders and John McCain leading among Republicans. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone is on the campaign trail in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Obama supporters are confident after two new polls showed their candidate with a double-digit lead over Senator Hillary Clinton.

"Twenty-four hours from now, the people of New Hampshire can stand up and say, it is our turn, it is our turn to bring the change that America so desperately wants, in one day's time," he said.

Clinton supporters are apprehensive about Tuesday's primary vote, but their candidate has vowed to continue her campaign no matter what happens Tuesday.

Clinton is also trying to counter Obama's main argument that he is the one who can bring change to Washington.

"If we are going to be talking about change, then let us talk about change," she said. "Let us talk about who has produced change and let us talk about who is more likely to bring about change."

Obama defeated Clinton in last week's Iowa caucuses, and a victory in New Hampshire would establish the Illinois senator as the clear Democratic frontrunner in the race to be the party's presidential candidate.

Former Senator John Edwards is waging a vigorous campaign in New Hampshire as well after his second place showing in Iowa. But Edwards is lagging behind Obama and Clinton in the polls.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the polls suggest Arizona Senator John McCain may be in the driver's seat in New Hampshire.

With the primary vote less than 24 hours away, McCain began a long, final day of campaigning in New Hampshire with a morning rally in Nashua.

"I am optimistic about the future of this country. I believe I can lead it," he said. "I think it is still a shining city on a hill. And my dear friends, tomorrow is the day when we will tell the world that the state of New Hampshire has again chosen the next President of the United States."

McCain has a narrow lead over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

A McCain victory on Tuesday would cap a remarkable political comeback for the Arizona Republican. Six months ago, McCain was dropping in the polls, running out of money, firing campaign staff, and all but written off by the political experts.

McCain's comeback in New Hampshire has been fueled in part by the affection of voters here who supported him in 2000 when he won the Republican primary but lost the party nomination to Texas Governor George Bush.

Some of those voters turned out at the McCain rally Monday.

"Because he is honest, he is sincere and probably the best choice we have had in the Republican Party in years," one woman said.

"I just think he is the most conscientious, honest guy I have ever known," another voter said. "Great guy, and America needs him."

Mitt Romney is hoping for a comeback in New Hampshire after a disappointing second place finish in Iowa.

Romney argues that McCain has been in Washington too long to be an effective agent of change.

"Washington is fundamentally broken, and one of the reasons I am running for president is that I believe my lifetime of work in the private sector, then the voluntary sector and as governor, has taught me how to bring about fundamental change," he said.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee trails McCain and Romney in New Hampshire. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses last week, but is trailing in the polls along with former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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