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Democrats Shift Focus to New Hampshire - 2004-01-20


Following an unexpected caucus victory for Senator John Kerry in Iowa, the Democratic presidential candidates shift their focus to the second test of this election year, in New Hampshire.

The Democratic presidential contenders have moved from Iowa to New Hampshire, for a whirlwind week of campaigning before that state's primary.

Senator John Kerry placed first in Iowa caucuses Monday - with 38 percent of the vote. Polls taken before then do not put him in the lead in New Hampshire. But Senator Kerry told campaign supporters in New Hampshire Tuesday he is hoping to build on his Iowa victory.

"While I may be the underdog in [New Hampshire], I have [not] yet begun to fight and show the full measure of what we will do in this state," he said.

Another candidate, Senator John Edwards, told NBC's Today show he thought his second place finish in Iowa - with 32 percent of the vote - was "extraordinary."

"I see this enormous momentum and movement and surge going across the country," he said. "And I think anything is possible, but I agoing to work my heart out right here in New Hampshire."

Vermont governor Howard Dean came to Iowa the front-runner, but left in third place, with only 18 percent of the vote. On the Today show, Governor Dean blamed his poor showing on attacks from the other candidates.

"I was the front-runner, and I took a lot of incoming flak from just about everybody that had any flak to throw," he said. "It was a tough campaign, but at least I got a ticket out of Iowa, into New Hampshire, and that is the important part."

The Iowa event marked the start of the U.S. presidential election season, which culminates in polls in November to elect the American president.

For the Democrats, the contest soon goes national. Following the New Hampshire primary, the bulk of states hold their caucuses and primaries in February and March. The Democratic candidates must go through these state selection processes to try to garner enough support from delegates for their party's national presidential nomination.

For the Republicans, President Bush is running unopposed for re-election.

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