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New Hampshire Results Open Up Presidential Race in Both Parties


The results from Tuesday's presidential primary in New Hampshire tell the story of two remarkable political comebacks, one by Democrat Hillary Clinton, the other by Republican John McCain. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports on an American presidential race that remains wide open in both major political parties.

The unexpected Clinton victory in New Hampshire sent shockwaves through the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and stunned the pollsters and pundits who had predicted an easy win for Senator Barack Obama.

The immediate impact of Clinton's win is to likely slow the political momentum Obama created with his victory last week in the Iowa caucuses.

The results also set up what could be a lengthy battle for the nomination between Clinton and Obama that could extend at least until February 5, when more than 20 states hold party primaries and caucuses.

Clinton told jubilant supporters in New Hampshire that she is in the fight until the end.

"We came back tonight, because you spoke loudly and clearly. You want this campaign to be about you because there is so much at stake for our country," she said.

Clinton revived her presidential hopes in New Hampshire, after a damaging third place finish in Iowa behind Obama and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Edwards finished a distant third in the New Hampshire vote.

Obama had hoped to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire and claim the mantel of undisputed Democratic frontrunner. Instead, Obama now faces the prospect of a lengthy battle with Clinton in the state-by-state primaries and caucuses that pick the party nominees who will contest the November election.

Obama tried to rally his disappointed supporters, once the results became clear.

"We will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggest; that we are one people; we are one nation and together we will begin the next great chapter in the American story that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea. Yes We can! Thank you New Hampshire!," he said.

If anything, the race for the Republican presidential nomination appears even more uncertain following the New Hampshire results.

Arizona Senator John McCain resurrected his presidential hopes with a convincing victory over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

McCain was all but written off, six month ago, after he dipped in the polls and ran low on campaign funds. However, he says he never doubted his support in New Hampshire.

"I talked to the people of New Hampshire. I reasoned with you. I listened to you. I answered you. Sometimes, I argued with you. But I always told you the truth, as best I can see the truth, and you gave me the great honor of listening. Thank you, New Hampshire," he said.

Romney now takes his presidential hopes to Michigan, the state where he grew up and where his late father, George Romney, was once governor.

"I will fight across this nation, on to Michigan and South Carolina and Florida and Nevada and states after that!," he said.

Romney had hoped to improve on a disappointing second-place finish in last week's Iowa caucuses, behind former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee hopes to boost his presidential hopes in the South Carolina Republican primary on January 19.

"What you helped us continue will be carried right on through, and it will not be long before we are going to be able to secure this nomination and on to the White House and on to leading America. Thank you, folks. God bless you!," he said.

Also waiting in the wings is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani did not put a lot of effort into either the Iowa or New Hampshire contests, hoping instead he can string together some victories in larger states, like Florida later this month and New York and California on February 5.

What seems clear, in the wake of the New Hampshire vote, is that the state-by-state nomination battle in both parties is likely to continue for weeks.

The primaries and caucuses select delegates to the national nominating conventions that will pick the presidential nominees in both parties. The Democrats meet in late August and the Republicans in early September.

The American presidential election will be held November 4.