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US Democratic Candidates Spend Final Day Chasing New Hampshire Votes - 2004-01-26

The seven candidates seeking the U.S. Democratic nomination for president crisscrossed New Hampshire in a frenzy of campaign activity on the eve of the nation's first primary.

Polls continue to show Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is leading his rivals for the Democratic nomination with former Vermont Governor Howard Dean in second place.

On the day before the election Governor Dean slammed Senator Kerry for voting for the U.S. congressional resolution authorizing the war on Iraq. "Where was John Kerry when George Bush was giving out all this misinformation about Saddam having something to do with al-Qaida he was voting in favor of the war and it turned out all the reasons the president gave us were not true. Foreign policy expertise depends on patience and judgment. I question Senator Kerry's judgment," he said.

Senator Kerry did not criticize his opponents by name, urging his supporters to get out the vote so he can take on President Bush in the November general election. "Some people are counting hours. I am not counting hours. What I'm counting is the importance of our mobilizing and coming together in order to make clear that tomorrow in New Hampshire we mark the beginning of the end of the Bush presidency," he said.

Retired General Wesley Clark took his campaign to all 10 counties in New Hampshire.

In Manchester he walked through downtown talking to voters and expressing confidence about the election. "We are doing great. So good to see you. Thank you. We are just making the rounds up and down Main Street. You never know what is going to happen," he said.

Polls say North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who came in second in last week's Iowa caucuses, is challenging General Clark as well as Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman for a possible third-place finish.

In the past the polls here have been wrong and New Hampshire voters are known for promoting underdogs and surprising political analysts on election night.

Polls show a significant number of voters are still undecided.

The candidates that finish at or near the top of the field are expected to improve their chances in primaries scheduled next week in South Carolina and six other states.