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Democrats Hit Campaign Trail Following New Hampshire Primary - 2004-01-28

The candidates for the Democratic nomination for president are now fanning out across the nation, after Massachusetts Senator John Kerry won a decisive victory in the country's first political primary, in New Hampshire. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean came in second, with a close race for third between retired General Wesley Clark and North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

Senator Kerry is the undisputed front-runner for the Democratic nomination, after winning the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.

The focus now is switching from snow-covered New Hampshire to states in the American South and West.

On February 3 primaries will be held in seven states and the campaign will take on a more national flavor.

Senator Kerry will try to capitalize on his front-runner status and continue to seek Democratic support by criticizing the Bush administration.

"We have a message for the influence peddlers, for the polluters, the big drug companies that get in the way, the big oil and the special interests who now call the White House their home. We're coming," he warned. "You are going and don't let the door hit you on the way out."

The South Carolina primary is likely to focus national media attention on Senator John Edwards, who was born there and represents the adjacent state, North Carolina.

"We are going to take this energy and momentum that we saw in Iowa - this extraordinary energy and momentum that we have seen in New Hampshire - we are going to take it right through February 3," he said.

The style of the 2004 Democratic campaign will change dramatically.

Most of the candidates have been campaigning for months in New Hampshire in a series of intimate settings where the average voter has the chance to meet and speak with each candidate.

Now, the contenders will be crisscrossing the country, staging large rallies and pumping millions of dollars into television advertising, to get their message across.

The candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge President Bush in the November general election.