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Scott Galindez: Candidates Making Final Push


Candidates Making Final Push

By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010808A.shtml

On the eve of the today's vote in New Hampshire, all of the candidates held major rallies throughout the state of New Hampshire. Barack Obama was upbeat, predicting victory today.

"There are moments every generation has to make its mark on history. This is our moment; this is our time," he said.

He compared the present to when John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King seized the country's imagination.

In a dig at Hillary Clinton, who has criticized him for raising "false hopes," Obama said, "Does that mean Kennedy would have looked at the moon and said that is too far - can't do that? Should Dr. King have stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said go home; the dream has died?

"There hasn't been a change in this country that didn't start with something - that something people said couldn't be done." This included the revolt against the British, the abolition of slavery and the fight against German fascism, he said.

After a day marked by reports that Clinton became emotional at a campaign event in Portsmouth, she made her closing argument at a health club gymnasium in Manchester. She stayed positive at that event, claiming she was ready to lead. Earlier in the day, she attacked Obama on the war, saying he voted for 300 billion dollars for the war. It was seen as a desperate move, according to Obama strategist David Axelrod. "Barack Obama opposed the war from the beginning while Hillary Clinton voted to give the president the authority to wage war in Iraq. Voting to fund the troops is a far cry from supporting the war" said Axelrod.

The war remained a key issue for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who told supporters at a Dunkin Donuts in Manchester the other candidates are promising things they won't be able to deliver on until the end the war. He said he had the diplomatic experience to get that done.

John Edwards stayed on message, arguing he would fight the corporate special interests in Washington as he has been doing all his life. Edwards also pledged to end the war faster than his main rivals.

Dennis Kucinich chose to go off the media-beaten path on Monday evening to attend a specially-called town hall meeting in Northwood to support local Granite State voters on two issues crucial to citizens throughout New England: ground water contamination and the proposed sale of Verizon services and facilities that residents and union workers say will cause serious harm throughout the region.

According to the polls, Obama's lead in the state has been growing, some polls giving him as much as a 13-point lead. Obama also got good news from national polls that for the first time had him tied or ahead of Clinton.

On the Republican side, the momentum was on John McCain's side. McCain, while criticizing Bush's handling of the war, expressed his support for the surge, in a downtown Manchester rally. "I will bring the troops home with honor" said McCain, who supports continuing occupation.

Mitt Romney is fighting for his political life. Once the front runner here in New Hampshire, he finds himself falling behind McCain. Romney argues he is from outside Washington and is the one best equipped to bring change to Washington.

The next stops for the Democrats are Nevada and South Carolina, before "Super Tuesday" on February 5. The Republicans head to Michigan next week, a state that has been stripped of its convention delegates by the Democrats.

When asked if Clinton could survive losses in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton spokesperson Jay Carson said, "the real test will be Super Tuesday. There is plenty of time for Senator Clinton to turn this thing around; and, remember, Bill Clinton lost in Iowa and finished second in New Hampshire."

Today, Obama started the day at a rally at Dartmouth College and will end with a primary night event in Nashua. The other campaigns are primarily visiting voters at diners, and ending their night with events in Manchester.

*************

Scott Galindez is Truthout's Washington, DC Bureau Chief.

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