Coverage of New Hampshire Primary:
9:35PM “It is time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan ladies and gentlemen.’
9:33PM- Huntsman says Americans no longer trust institutions of power or elected officals, calls for congressional term limits.
9:32PM- says economics and education are imperative to America’s future.
9:31PM- says Afghanistan and Iraq ‘are not our nation’s future’.
9:31PM- says Americans ‘ are tired of being divided’.
9:30PM- Huntsman seems to be adopting McCain’s 08 slogan of ‘country first’.
9:29PM- says third place is ‘ a ticket to ride’ I have never heard enthusiasm in Huntsmans’ voice before.
9:29PM- bad pun
9:29PM- Jon Huntsman about to speak.
9:28PM- In NH with 50% of the vote in Romney has 37%, Paul 23%, Huntsman 17%, Gingrich 10%, Santorum 10%, Perry 1%.
9:21PM- With 46% of the vote counted in New Hampshire Romney 37%, Paul 23%, Huntsman 17%, Gingrich 10%, Santorum 10%, Perry 1%.
9:20PM- Mitt Romney first Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.
9:18PM- NY Times John Harwood predicts ‘free for all’ in South Carolina.
9:11PM- Paul just asked the question that it seems both Democrats and Republicans want to be at the heart of the coming election ‘what is the role of government’?
9:08PM- Paul does good job explaining military profiteering vs defense spending.
9:06PM- Now denounces militarism.
9:05PM- For two minutes Paul has been attacking the Federal Reserve system, veering a bit off the topic of campaign.
9:03PM- says supporters are ‘dangerous’ to the status quo.
9:02PM- Paul says his campaign finish is a victory ‘for liberty’.
9:01PM- Paul thanked ‘Union Leader’ for not endorsing him. Jab at Newt Gingrich there.
9:00PM- With 33% of vote counted Romney 37%, Paul 24%, Huntsman 17%, Gingrich 10% Santorum 10%, Perry 1%.
9:00PM- Paul speaking.
8:55PM- NBC News projects Huntsman will come in third in the NH Primary.
8:36PM- Okay two things we know Romney likes, America and firing people!
8:36PM: Romney 2012- down with Europe!
8:35PM- accuses Obama of ‘apologizing for America’.
8:33PM- accuses Obama of appeasment.
8:33pm- and the attacks keep coming.
8:33pm- says Obama puts faith in government, while he puts faith in people.
8:33PM- Obama wants to turn America into European welfare state.
8:32PM- says campaign is about saving the soul of America.
8:31pm- says ‘we are one nation under God’ cue to Christian conservatives.
8:30PM- says desperate Republicans and Obama are joining forces to ‘put capitalism on trial’.
8:30PM- says tonight South Carolina to join him in making 2012 the year that Barack Obama ‘runs out of time’
8:29PM-Says Barack Obama has run out of ideas and excuses.
8:29PM- speaks of economic angst but says ‘Americans known our future is brighter and better than these troubled times’.
8:28PM/ET- Romney says his campaign has rallied millions of Americans in every corner of the country.
8:28PM/ET- Romney cites alot of statistics about crumbling middle class.
8:27PM/ET- Attacks Obama as a ‘failed president’ that the last few years.
8:27PM/ET- Romney trying to appear as a real human being. Ugh!
8:26PM says tonight he and his supporters ‘Made history’.
8:25PM- Romney gets cheers.
8:24PM- Ann Romney offers thanks to New Hampshire Republicans.
8:22pm- Ann and Mitt Romney come onto stage.
8PM- NBC News Projects Mitt Romney will win the New Hampshire Primary
8PM/ET- Polls close
6:19PM/ET- NBC Exit polls on the issues: 60% Economy, 25% Federal Deficit, 6% abortion, 4% healthcare. On qualities they look for in a candidate: 33 % ability to beat Obama, 27 % Right experience, 24 % strong character, 14% True conservative. On ideology- 54% Conservative, 34% moderate, and 12% Liberal.
So, after a week of journalists, political operatives, party activists, campaign surrogates, and Republican Presidential hopefuls barn storming the state, New Hampshire voters are heading to the polls to cast their ballots in the first in the nation primary contest of 2012.
Later tonight, registered voters of all political stripes will inch the process one step closer in deciding which Republican candidate will get their party’s nomination and face off against President Barack Obama in the Fall. The office of New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner estimates that as many as 325,000 voters, with 250,000 voting in the Republican primary and 75,000 in the Democratic primary in which President Obama is all but guaranteed to win, will cast a ballot.
Fresh off a 40 vote margin of victory in last week’s Iowa caucus, the narrowest win in the four decade history of the contest, polls as well as establishment support, and the general narrative of the media indicate that former Governor W. Mitt Romney (R-MA), maintains a commanding lead over his primary opponents and will likely leave the Granite state with another win.
Romney has the support of many of the state’s most well-known Republicans, including the state’s recently elected U.S Senator Kelly Ayotte, former Senator Judd Gregg, and ex-Governor and New Hampshire Republican Party heavy weight John Suhnunu. Add in the fact he was Governor in a nearby neighboring state, his high name recognition, and a large reserve of campaign cash; and a Romney win seems all but guaranteed.
But it seems New Hampshire won’t be the easy win that team Romney has anticipated. Following the Iowa Cacuses where a super PAC airing a series of ads in support of Romney and against fellow Republican candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Gingrich has gone on the attack questioning Romney’s conservative credentials and moderate record as Governor of Massachusetts, branding him ‘a liar’ for some of the content in those ads, and raising questions about the layoffs that resulted from the takeover of bussinesses by Bain Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by Romney, to sully his credentials as a job creator who ‘knows how the economy works’.
A super pac affiliated with the Gingrich campaign, has also invested money in a thirty minute ad, consisting of interviews with those who were laid off after Bain took over thier bussinesses.
Romney has also been the victim of some self-inflicted wounds. At a campaign event in New Hampshire, Romney who is widely seen as being divorced from the hardships that working and middle class voters are facing in a time of economic uncertainty, Romney said he often ‘worried about getting a pink slip’ while at Bain Capital’. It was a comment that won him derision from his primary opponents and many in the media alike. Then at another event, while discussing health care, Romney talked about consumers having options and that those dissatisfied should be able to ‘fire’ their insurance company. Romney added, it seems jokingly that ‘I like firing people who can’t provide services to me’. Its a comment that his fellow Republicans jumped on. Supporters say he was taken out of context, but nevertheless is the latest statement in the narritive being shaped by Republicans in the primary and Democrats in the general election, that Romney is more Wall Street than Main Street.
Still a Romney win seems all but assured, so now media attention is turning to who will come in second or third. Last week, Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) was able to go from being mired in single digits with a near empty war chest, to coming with in striking distance of a first place win in Iowa, by marshaling the allegiance of Iowa’s heavily socially conservative evangelical supporters and engaging in traditional retail politics.
In the more secular and moderate terrain of New Hampshire, despite his northeastern roots and plan to reinvigorate the manufacturing sector, Santorum has not seemed to catch on. But given that he has staked much of his efforts in New Hampshire, former U.S Ambassador to China and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is seen as a similar challenger to Romney. Huntsman, who concentrated in New Hampshire while the rest of the field toured Iowa, is seen as making a late surge in New Hampshire, having picked up six points in the last day according to a recent poll, while also getting winning the endorsements of the Boston Globe and the New Hampshire’s most prominent paper the Concord Monitor.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who has garnered the support of a small but fervent core of supporters with his anti-war and strict libertarian views, is seen as having the opportunity to make a decent showing in New Hampshire by railing against the bi-partisan frustration with the governing class.
Last night at midnight in the unincorporated village of Dixville Notch in Northern New Hampshire and the town of Harts location in the center of the state, cast the first offical votes of New Hampshire primary and thus the first ballots of the 2012 primary season.
Under New Hampshire state law, any town or village with less than 100 inhabitants can cast thier votes at the stroke of midnight on primary day. In Dixville Notch, with its population of nine registered voters, Romney and Huntsman emerged with two votes each, Gingrich and Paul with one vote each.
President Obama who is getting no substantial challenge within the Democratic party but whose name is nonetheless on the Democratic ballot with dozens of lesser known names, got three votes.
The Republican who has received the most votes in Dixville Notch since 1968, has gone on to get the Republican nomination.
In Harts Location, the only other community to begin voting at midnight, the 24 registered voters in this town of 38 residents, Romney had a slightly clearer win. Romney taking seven votes, Paul five, four Huntsman, two for Gingrich, and one for Perry. Thirteen people cast thier votes in the Democratic Primary for Barack Obama.