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New Hampshire: Hillary is back with a bang

Last updated on: January 09, 2008 12:56 IST

"I will restore the United States' lost repsect across the globe." That is what a jubilant Hillary Clinton told her supporters after winning the New Hampshire primary. 

"Now, together, let's give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me," Hillary said as she thanked voters in her victory speech while supporters chanted her name.

She vowed to end to the war in Iraq "the right way" and restore her country's "standing, respect and credibility around the world".

Defying opinion polls and political pundits who virtually wrote her off, Hillary has defeated front-runner Barack Obama in a nail-biting Democratic presidential nomination contest to resurrect her campaign to be the first woman president of the United States.

With more than 70 per cent of the precincts counted the former First Lady had come away with 40 per cent of the votes in the presidential primary with Obama coming a close second at 36 per cent. Former Senator John Edwards posted 17 per cent of the vote.

Going into the final day of voting, Hillary, 60, was trailing 46-year-old Obama in double digits in several polls and the speculation in some quarters was that the New York Democrat, who suffered a devastating defeat in Iowa last week, could be forced to throw in the towel if she did not make it in New Hampshire.

If in 1992 her husband and former President Bill Clinton was dubbed the "Comeback Kid", this time around one analyst referred to Clinton as the "Comeback Gal" for the stiff fight to Obama's bid to be the first black President of the US.

Among the several factors that worked in Hillary's favour was the so-called Clinton Machine, one of its major actors being the former President Clinton himself.

If Obama came strong with registered Independents, Hillary is said to have shown a powerful showing among registered Democrats and women. While Obama had the younger voters on his side, the older voters were with her.

The Illinois Senator congratulated Hillary for a "hard-fought victor" but vowed to prevail.

"We are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction... Change is what's happening in America," Obama said and pledged to "finish the job" in Iraq.

"We will end this war in Iraq and bring ourt troops home," he said.

Hillary was strong in big New Hampshire cities like Manchester and Nashua. And for all those voters concerned about the state of the economy, their votes went to  Clinton.

Clinton badly needed a clear victory in New Hampshire to keep the momentum going especially after the Iowa loss. She now faces the challenges of the east, south, the deep south, the mid-west and the West.

Addressing her supporters, Clinton said "... over the last week, I listened to you and, in the process, I found my own voice. I felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and I am so gratified that you responded.

"For all the ups and downs of this campaign, you helped remind everyone that politics isn't a game....

"This victory will serve notice that people across our country know what's really at stake, that we will all be called upon to deliver on the promise of America," Clinton said at the victory rally.

"To deliver on the promise that we'll have the will and the wisdom to end the war in Iraq the right restore America's standing, respect and credibility around the world," she added.

Edwards, the 2004 vice-presidential candidate who came third in New Hampshire, said he was still in the fray.

"Up until now,  about 0.5 percent of Americans have voted; 99 percent-plus have not voted. And those 99 percent deserve to have their voices heard, because we have had too much in America of people's voices not being heard," he said in his speech in New  Hampshire.

"I want to be absolutely clear to all... that I am in this race to the convention, that I intend to be the nominee of my party," Edwards added.





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