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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

New Hampshire Primary Showdown

Aired January 27, 2004 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to New Hampshire, where, today, the first primary votes of the 2004 presidential campaign were cast. Seven Democrats are vying to plant a victory flag in this state that has made candidates and broken them.
But two fellow New Englanders may have the most to win or lose right here in this state. Will John Kerry follow up his Iowa upset with another first-place finish? Can Howard Dean bounce back from his Iowa embarrassment? Tonight, the next chapter of this riveting political story will be written.

It's now 8:00 p.m. here in New Hampshire. The polls have just closed throughout the state. And based on CNN exit polls, we can now report that John Kerry has a small lead over Howard Dean. It's closer than many people had expected. We are waiting for official polling results to come in before projecting any winner in this contest. We are learning, though, it's a very, very close race for third place between John Edwards and Wesley Clark.

Let's take a look at some of the hard numbers, real numbers, we're getting in from those polling stations that were closed over an hour ago. And take a look at this. With about 13 percent of the polls reporting their results, John Kerry shows that lead 38 percent over Howard Dean, 24 percent, with John Edwards at 13 percent, Wesley Clark at 13 percent, Joe Lieberman at 10 percent, and Dennis Kucinich down at 2 percent.

Remember, these are only numbers based on 13 percent of the votes so far officially tabulated.

My colleagues, Judy Woodruff of "INSIDE POLITICS" and our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, they are here to assess what's going on.

Judy, it looks like it could be a long night.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: It could, Wolf. It's 8:00 Eastern time. We can't write a headline yet.

But what we do know is that John Kerry appears to have benefited from the bounce he got in Iowa. He came back in Iowa, surprised us, surprised the pundits and the pollsters, did well there. He's benefiting from that here in New Hampshire, but he's not able to put this away, because Howard Dean, people were writing his political obituary, some of them, a week ago. He is showing some strength here in New Hampshire. He's still in the game.

BLITZER: Jeff? JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Wolf, we might have a race tonight, when this is finally called, to see who gets to be called the comeback kid, John Kerry, who was at 10 points in the polls only about two weeks ago and is now running ahead, or Howard Dean, who people were more or less escorting off the stage after Monday night's loss and concession speech, and has now made it far enough back to be in a close race. So that's what I'm looking for. Who is the comeback kid?

BLITZER: All right, we'll soon find out, presumably. Stand by. Our cameras and correspondents are watching the top candidates.

Kelly Wallace is over at Senator John Kerry's headquarters. Suzanne Malveaux is with the Edwards campaign. Candy Crowley is following Howard Dean. Dan Lothian is with Wesley Clark supporters. And our Jeanne Meserve is over at Joe Lieberman's camp.

Kelly, let's start with you. What's happening where you are?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I just talked to a senior Kerry adviser, who said this.

Back in early December, John Kerry was much as much as 35 points behind Howard Dean, so behind that the headline in "The Boston Herald" was, "It's a Rout." This adviser saying he kept that headline on his desk and said that, if John Kerry wins tonight, even by small digits, it would be significant, the candidate saying himself tonight, as he was stumping attention final hour for votes, saying, if he wins here, it would be one of the biggest turnarounds in political history in a long, long time.

Obviously, the expectations here very high for John Kerry, because he had been leading in the polls all week long. But the message coming from him throughout this evening was, he would take a win even by one point, since this was a campaign that the pundits had really written off just weeks ago.

Aides are already talking about February 3. They say they will be up with ads in all seven states -- back to you, Wolf, now.

BLITZER: That's one week from today. Kelly Wallace, thanks very much.

Candy Crowley is following developments over at Howard Dean's campaign headquarters.

Candy, what are they doing there?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the crowd's beginning to gather, but I can tell you, let the expectations game begin, and they began long before the polls closed, because what the Dean campaign has been putting out is, they will take a second in the single digits. Do they want to win? Yes.

But they believe, if they can come in second within single digits of John Kerry, that it will be the comeback kid or the comeback Dean, whatever you want to call it. They say, look, this calendar is so condensed that to come back this quickly is a real show of power. They also know that they can play in all 50 states -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll get right back to you, Candy. Thanks very much.

Suzanne Malveaux is over at the Edwards campaign headquarters.

Suzanne, tell us what's happening there.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I spoke with the senator just moments ago.

He is watching these numbers come in with his wife, Elizabeth, and his daughter Kate. I asked him, what did he expect for the evening? And he said third place would be a victory, would be a success. I asked him, would it be a problem for his campaign if it shows that the favorability numbers are high, but still the electability numbers are low? He says, no. He started off single digits here. He just wanted to reach the teens.

He also talked about General Wesley Clark, saying that if he came in close to Clark, that that would also be considered a success. Why? Because Clark did not even compete in Iowa and he showed a strong second. And he also says that, in South Carolina, he believes he can win -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux, thanks very much.

Dan Lothian is over at Wesley Clark's campaign headquarters.

Dan, we understand a very, very tight race for third place under way, as we reported, between John Edwards and Wesley Clark. What's happening there?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, that is correct, Wolf.

As you know, he kind of went up and down in the polls. He was up a few weeks ago. Then the polls showed him way behind. The campaign has been saying that they just hope to have a respectable showing tonight, so that they can use this night to jump forward into the next contest. They have already started planning for what they're calling the True Values tour, which will begin tonight in South Carolina.

When I asked the aides if anything would change at all about their campaign strategy, they said they will continue hammering away at the message that he is the candidate who is electable and is the only outsider -- back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Dan Lothian over at Wesley Clark's campaign headquarters.

Jeanne Meserve is over at Joe Lieberman's camp.

Jeanne, what's the mood over there?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I just shared the numbers that we put on the air with a campaign official here.

He maintains that the race for the third-place shot is still a jump ball. This official says: We will go on no matter how Joe Lieberman finishes here. Already, money has been spent in Delaware, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Arizona on advertising. And plans have been made to dispatch some of the staff here to those February 3 states.

Joe Lieberman, ever the optimist, has said all day that he expects to exceed expectations here in New Hampshire. But, Wolf, he's refused to define exactly what those expectations were -- back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jeanne Meserve. We'll be getting back to you throughout this night as well.

And our viewers can, of course, take a look at the official numbers coming in at the bottom of the screen throughout this night.

Let's bring in the senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

You've been looking at the exit polls, Bill, and you've been looking at what's behind these numbers that we're getting.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: And what we're finding, Wolf, is, there are two kinds of voters here in New Hampshire. Frozen and thawed? No, strategic voters and issue voters.

And that explains a lot of what's going on today. Let's take a look at the people who said they were looking for a candidate they could agree with on the issues. They voted for Dean by a small margin over John Kerry. Howard Dean's issue? The war. John Kerry had his issues. It was the economy and health care.

But now take a look at the other voters, who said the most important thing to them wasn't issues. It was defeating President Bush. They were voting to win, strategic voters. There, Kerry built up a big lead, 50 percent, Dean only 18. So what really explains what's going on -- and if Kerry wins, it will explain his victory, narrow or large -- whatever it is, is that a lot of people were looking for a candidate to win.

It was a choice between venting and winning. And that's the race in New Hampshire.

BLITZER: We'll continue to check back with you, Bill. You've been crunching all these numbers from our exit polls.

And just to recap, our exit polls, CNN exit polls, showing right now a small lead for John Kerry, a much-closer-than-expected race, John Kerry just above Howard Dean, but it's obviously way too early to make any projection right now, and also a very close race under way for third place between John Edwards and Wesley Clark.

Throughout this night, we'll be checking in with the inventors of the modern campaign war room. James Carville and Paul Begala became political stars in their own right when they were driving forces behind Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. Now the "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts are in CNN's election war room right here in New Hampshire. They're watching all of this, this primary, in fact, play out.

James, first to you.

Give us your assessment, what these preliminary, preliminary, numbers are showing.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, the preliminary exit polls, as you say, show something close to the actual vote count, which is early. No one knows where it's coming from.

And I think we all need to take a deep breath here. In about an hour, we'll have a good indication of where this thing is. And I think, whatever happens, everybody's going to come up and claim some sort of victory here. I think the important thing to keep in mind is, we've got seven primaries coming up next Tuesday.

I think most people, in fact, all of them, will go down and do that. At some point -- and it's got to be next Tuesday -- in my opinion, somebody's got to start winning primaries other than John Kerry. I mean, we're just going to have -- but we have to wait to see what happens next Tuesday and go on. But just, I think, on behalf of the party, there's a sense that, hey, let everybody have their chance, but once the voters have spoken, then let's move on and get this thing done.

And I think that's the overwhelming opinion. Let's see what happens tonight and then we'll go on and see what happens next Tuesday.

BLITZER: I think it's good advice from James, Paul. Everybody should take a deep breath. It could be a long night for all of us.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Yes, but what's interesting is how hyperventilating the media environment is right now.

Just to put it in perspective, eight weeks ago, John Kerry was behind by 32 points here in New Hampshire. Now it looks like he might even win. Just -- I wrote it down -- just 16 days ago, Kerry was only at 10 percent in the polls here in New Hampshire, a neighboring state. It looks like he might win.

And yet, he may win and the Dean people may claim that they're the real winners because they came back from a more recent problem, their collapse in Iowa. So you'll have a spin war going on tonight. The voters will speak, but they'll be interpreted by the two campaigns. And the two big campaigns here are each going to have their story to tell.

CARVILLE: But, Wolf, the main thing is, it won't be -- because they count these votes pretty fast here.

We're going to know pretty early where this thing is. And I think, after we know who won and what the margin is, we're going to be in a lot better shape to talk about what the real effect of this is. But if it's, as the exit polls show, that John Kerry does go on to win this, then we'll have to see what will happen next Tuesday.

But Dean's people, I'm sure -- obviously, no matter what happens, he and whoever runs third is going to say, gee, I did well, I ran third. We fully expect that. Everybody understands that. That's part of American presidential politics. My point is, at some point here, like starting next Tuesday, somebody else has got to start putting some W's up here.

BLITZER: All right, James and Paul, we're going to be getting back to you in the CNN election war room throughout this night.

Let's take a look now at where the official numbers stand. We'll put it up on the screen. These are official numbers, not exit polls. Take a look at this. With 14 percent of the vote now in, John Kerry remains atop with 38 percent, Howard Dean with 24 percent, John Edwards down at 13 percent, the same 13 percent for Wesley Clark. Joe Lieberman is at 10 percent, Dennis Kucinich trailing with 2 percent.

Jeff Greenfield, what are the big questions in this primary that you're going to be looking at?

GREENFIELD: Well, as we did last week, we're going to try to see, behind the votes, what the voters were saying about who they wanted and why.

I think the first question we've got to be looking at is who lost votes. That is, if you look at the polls -- I'm sorry. Let me begin by saying the late deciders, because the late deciders in New Hampshire traditionally have broken very, very, very, not just late, but very, very decidedly one way or the other. And that may tell us why this race came out the way it did.

Now, the second thing we're going to be looking at is who lost votes, because in that -- in the -- if you look at the polls, a couple of weeks before, you saw Dean and Clark very big. And based on what we're seeing tonight, that may not be the order of finish.

Now, the third question is the Iowa bypass, the Iowa bypass. Clark and Lieberman skipped Iowa. Was that a wise or foolish decision? And, you know, the votes are going to tell us that one.

And, lastly, what we're calling the wine track vs. the beer track. There are two kinds of Democrats in New Hampshire, relatively well off people, highly educated, and the traditional New Hampshire Democrats, the blue-collar industrial workers. Traditionally, they have voted for different candidates in New Hampshire primaries. We're going to see whether that obtains tonight as well. And we have some high-tech help for that one.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: And we'll be enjoying that high-tech help.

This is a very fascinating state, in that there are all sorts of different people who live in New Hampshire. And that's being reflected presumably in the votes. WOODRUFF: That's right, Wolf.

One thing we're looking at tonight -- and Bill Schneider's going to be talking about this -- is not only Democrats, but independents were allowed to vote in the New Hampshire primary. It's a so-called open primary. Next week, the February 3 contest, some of those are open, meaning independents can vote in those as well. Some of them are purely Democrats. So we're going to be looking at how these candidates do just with Democrats to give us maybe some idea of how they will do down the line in states where only Democrats can vote.

And, on the other hand, if independents can, what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses?

BLITZER: And let's just recap for viewers who may just be tuning in.

You see at the bottom of the screen the official numbers that are coming in from the polling precincts around this state. Right now, about 16 percent of the official vote has been assessed, has been tabulated. And John Kerry remains atop, the CNN exit polls showing, though, that he does have a small lead over Howard Dean, but it's much closer than so many of us had expected, a very close race for third place as well.

GREENFIELD: One quick thing, Wolf.

To show you how close this is, John Kerry at 4:00 this afternoon was working the bridge right outside the -- across the Merrimack River, shaking hands with motorists, begging them, urging them to go to the primaries. At 6:00 p.m., he did interviews with seven New Hampshire and Boston stations, trying to get that last-minute vote out, and targeting the working-class neighborhoods in Manchester, that beer track vote, where he thinks he might be doing better than Dean.

BLITZER: All right, let's bring in our CNN political analyst, Carlos Watson.

You're trying to get some preliminary assessment of what's going on in this state. What's your sense?

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think two things really stand out.

First and foremost, just like we saw in the year 2000, where Al Gore was expected to beat Bill Bradley significantly, it ended up becoming a much closer race, separated only by five points. And the ultimate deciding group were women. Bradley and Gore split men pretty evenly, but women went by six points for Gore over Bradley.

The other thing I think that stands out here is that there's been a quiet management shakeup in the Dean camp. In Iowa, they had lots of people coming in from out of state. Here in New Hampshire, it was a locally built organization. And they believe that ultimately will produce results. We'll see. As James said, it's too early to know now. And we've got a whole hour-plus to see. But they think that that can ultimately make a difference and may allowed them the strength what were -- what looked like a double-digit lead at one point.

BLITZER: All right, Carlos, we'll be checking back with you, obviously, throughout the night as well.

Bob Novak is over at John Kerry's campaign headquarters, one of the co-hosts of "CROSSFIRE."

You've been watching these kinds of primaries in this state, Bob, for many, many years. What's your assessment right now?

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": The interesting thing is that, assuming that Governor Dean finishes second, there's going to be a tremendous effort to call him the comeback kid, to say a second- place win is really a most effective win.

That has been done spectacularly in the past. In 1968, for example, Gene McCarthy finished second to President Johnson, got credit for the win. In 1972, McGovern finished second to Muskie, got credit for the win. And most recently, in 1992, Bill Clinton finished second and got credit for the win.

I don't think Dean is going to be able to do that, since he had a 20- to 30-point lead here. Now, if the press and the media say, boy, this is a great comeback, it might be another thing. But the tradition in New Hampshire of trying to turn a second-place win into a first-place perception is very strong.

BLITZER: All right, Bob Novak watching all of this unfold from John Kerry's campaign headquarters.

Once again, a very, very small lead for John Kerry, according to CNN exit polls, over Howard Dean, a very, very close race for third place as well between John Edwards and Wesley Clark.

We're going to take a very short break, much more coverage from New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the New Hampshire primary.

We're getting numbers, increasingly significant numbers, coming in, official numbers. Based on -- look at this -- 17 percent of the vote officially tabulated right now. John Kerry remains atop with 38 percent of the vote, Howard Dean second with 24 percent, John Edwards and Wesley Clark fighting very hard for third place with 13 percent, 10 percent for Joe Lieberman, and 2 percent for Dennis Kucinich.

And based on those numbers, as well as CNN exit poll numbers, CNN is now ready to project a winner in this race, John Kerry, the winner of the New Hampshire primary, based on the exit polls we have, as well as the numbers, with almost 20 percent of the official numbers. We have been told it would be a small lead, but John Kerry the winner of the New Hampshire primary.

Judy Woodruff, not exactly a huge surprise, given his decisive win in Iowa last week.

WOODRUFF: And given the fact that he is the senator from the neighboring state of Massachusetts.

The people of New Hampshire know John Kerry well, Wolf. But it was up until two weeks ago that John Kerry wasn't doing very well in New Hampshire. It took that Iowa win for the people of New Hampshire and some other good decisions they made in the campaign for the people of New Hampshire to take another look at their next-door-neighbor senator.

I will just note one small historical point, though. And that is that, of all the people who have won both Iowa and New Hampshire historically, none of them has gone on to win the presidency. Maybe John Kerry will turn that around.

BLITZER: All right, Jeff Greenfield, a month or two ago...

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: I should say in a contested primary.

BLITZER: In a contested, right.

A month or two ago, John Kerry was not necessarily doing all that well here in New Hampshire. Is it fair to call him the comeback Kerry in New Hampshire?

GREENFIELD: Well, considering, when I visited him about five or six weeks ago, in the national polls, he was running behind Al Sharpton. That's not a good sign for a competitive candidate.

And what he did, with the help of a new campaign staff, made a decision. Go to Iowa, reinvent yourself. And one of the people we're going to be talking about a lot, if these numbers holds up, is former Governor Shaheen, who took control of this campaign, told John Kerry he had to shake up his staff. And, as she did for Gary Hart in '84, as she did for Jimmy Carter in 1980, Governor Shaheen -- she couldn't win a Senate seat in 2002, but she sure may be a king maker in New Hampshire.

The only other thing I would say is that Jimmy Carter sort of won the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire. And maybe he's the only one, so, so much for history. It doesn't teach us anything.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: He came in second

(CROSSTALK) BLITZER: All right, we just want to point out, our last CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup tracking poll did show that John Kerry was ahead.

This was as of yesterday in our tracking poll, with Howard Dean second. But take a look at how far he came up over these past few days since Iowa, coming up rather impressively, from 25 percent, all the way up, as you see right there.

Kelly Wallace is over at John Kerry's campaign headquarters. I assume, Kelly, they're getting very excited over there, if they aren't right now.

WALLACE: Wolf, they are.

You have people in this crowd watching local coverage and starting to clap as they see these returns come in. I was on the phone with a top adviser to Senator Kerry right before CNN called this for John Kerry, this adviser saying the senator is watching the returns with his family and was apparently going to be on his way to this hotel very soon, this adviser talking before, again, CNN calling this race, saying, if John Kerry wins, it would be one of the biggest comebacks in New Hampshire primary history.

That is the message we are getting from advisers here. They are saying that John Kerry was as much as 35 points behind Howard Dean back in December, 17 points behind just about 10 days ago. They say, it is a significant turnaround, even if he wins by a few digits.

And, Wolf, you can hear the crowd clapping right now. They are watching local coverage, which apparently is showing John Kerry as the winner. And you can hear the crowd responding, lots of happiness here right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: No surprise there. I'm sure they're thrilled right now, Kelly Wallace, at John Kerry's campaign headquarters.

Let's bring back Bill Schneider. He's looking at the exit polls.

How did John Kerry win this race, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: One key factor, Wolf, was moderate voters. A lot of the Democrats here were liberal. And the liberal voters in the Democratic Party preferred Howard Dean.

But let's take a look at how moderates voted. They were almost as numerous as liberals. And they preferred John Kerry over Howard Dean by 2-1. Dean did not have much appeal to moderate voters. He insisted that he is a moderate, which he is, for Vermont. But that's like saying George W. Bush is a moderate for Texas.

Second factor in his great victory, well, the top issue. Those who said the issue was the economy and jobs, they preferred John Kerry over Howard Dean, again, by better than 2-1. The economy was a big issue here, because more than 70 percent of the voters thought the national economy was in poor shape. These voters were angry over the economy, and the economy was a clear factor, not the war. That helped Howard Dean. The economy was Kerry's issue -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Bill Schneider, we'll be getting back to you.

And, as our viewers can see at the bottom of their screens, about a quarter of the votes have officially been counted right now, and John Kerry ahead in that official tabulation. CNN has projected, John Kerry will win this contest.

Let's go over to Howard Dean's campaign headquarters.

Candy Crowley is over there. What's the mood over there, Candy?

CROWLEY: Well, so far so good.

This reminds me a little bit of Iowa, the crowd here very upbeat. These are the true believers, Wolf. So, as you can imagine, they will take a second, as will the Dean campaign, as long as it's close, and declare a victory.

Here's the view of the Dean campaign. And that is that they came out of Iowa and took a very heavy hit and, within a week, were able to turn it around and come back to what they hope will be a single-digit loss to John Kerry. So, trust me, they will try very hard to use this as new momentum for the Dean campaign. They're already setting up their schedule, a very heavy-duty schedule, including not just February 3 states, but beyond that.

So, this is a campaign that's looking forward and intends to try to use a second place here as a way to prove that they have momentum and that they've been able to take a knock and get back up again -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Candy, I assume, once Howard Dean does emerge on the stage over there and makes his speech, whatever that speech will be, it will be very carefully thought through, compared to what happened last week in Iowa. But we'll watch. Everyone will be watching Howard Dean extremely carefully tonight.

Let's go over to John Edwards' campaign. Suzanne Malveaux is over there. There's a fierce battle under way for third place between John Edwards and Wesley Clark.

Suzanne, what are they saying where you are?

MALVEAUX: Wolf, it really isn't surprising. They expected it was going to be really close with Clark, but they do bring up the point that Clark did not compete in Iowa and that Edwards did so well in Iowa.

They still feel like they are ahead. Really interesting, these numbers, however, Edwards coming out on top when it comes to favorability at 70 percent. That's a little bit more than Kerry. He basically breaks even with Kerry when it comes to a favorable message, a positive message. That is something that Edwards stressed time and time again. The number to worry about, perhaps, for the Edwards camp is electability. That was only in the teens, relatively low. I asked the senator earlier this evening if he was concerned what this meant for his campaign, to have his favorability rate so high, but electability relatively low.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, they're from right next door. They're expected to dominate in New Hampshire. I would fully expect that. No, what I wanted to do was come from the low to mid single digits, which is where I was 10 days ago, up into the teens. And if we accomplish that, that will be a great result for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So, the Edwards camp is nicknaming this the New Englanders primary. They say, when it comes to the non-New Englanders primary, that Edwards is going to perform much stronger. They're talking about South Carolina, of course. That's where he is leading in the polls, also, Oklahoma, as well as Missouri. They hope that he takes out a strong performance there as well.

But, of course, there are some things to be concerned about, that electability number being one of them. That is something that Edwards has made a point of saying time and time again, that he is from the South. He can get those Southern voters, and that's why he can beat George Bush -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux, over at John Edwards campaign headquarters -- Suzanne, thanks very much.

Let's show our viewers right now where the votes, the actual votes, currently stand. Take a look at this. More than a quarter of the votes, the official votes, are now in, 27 percent of the precincts reporting. John Kerry, whom we have projected the winner, with 39 percent so far, 24 percent for Howard Dean, 13 percent for John Edwards, 12 percent for the retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, 10 percent for Joe Lieberman.

Let's go back to the CNN election war room here. James Carville and Paul Begala are trying to assess what's going on.

We've projected that John Kerry, guys, will win.

James, your thoughts?

CARVILLE: Well, I think, first of all, you project he'll win, and a win is a win.

But, however, I want to make a point here. In American politics, a nine-point win is a pretty substantial margin. A one-point win is not a very substantial margin. So, we have got to be careful, as we sling these terms around as we watch these returns tonight. I have no idea where they're going to finish. But I think, as a rule of thumb, the more that Kerry gets over five, the kind of better it is for him. The less he does under five, then I think Dean has a real credible case to make. I fully expect everybody to go out and say that they did well, and this allows them to go onto the next state. Certainly, Governor Dean's performance warrants that. But it's not to take anything away from Senator Kerry, who looks like he's heading toward a fairly impressive win here in New Hampshire, which would be the second win in two primaries, which is not an inconsequential feat.

BEGALA: Right.

But, so rather than sit and wait for the final results and to see if it's two, three, five, seven, eight, nine, I think you can count on the Kerry campaign is likely to go out and just a big celebration, right? They're going to go out. They're going to do this. They're going to fire off their champagne corks and probably pop a top, you know, and have some fun and suggest to people, or show people, that they're the winner. And don't worry about if it's one point, two points, 12 points.

You know, a win is a win in this business. And this is a big one for a guy who was dead in the water eight weeks ago.

CARVILLE: Yes, it is, but I do -- I do think that we got to just be -- I think we ought to watch this, see how it unfolds. And I think we're going to get them pretty soon. And I think it's going to be an interesting night and it's going to be an interesting next Tuesday, because everyone's going to go on to fight another day here.

BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by.

Tucker Carlson, your colleague from "CROSSFIRE," is over at Howard Dean's campaign headquarters.

Tucker, give us your assessment. We're projecting, as you know, a win for Senator John Kerry.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Yes.

I mean, as I heard someone say about Howard Dean earlier today, it may be all over but the shouting. It still doesn't answer a couple of questions. In order, first, what do you do, presuming that this is the end or the beginning of the end of the Dean movement? And I think it was a movement. I don't think that's an overstatement at all. What do you do with all its members? How do you demobilize the troops?

It's sort of the question you ask after a war. One side loses, but there are still a lot of people still in uniform. And there are thousands upon thousands of Dean volunteers. Where do they go after February 3 or even the first week of March?

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Tucker, let me interrupt you. Let me interrupt you, Tucker. If there's a strong second place for Howard Dean, he's obviously going to continue. He's not giving up by any means.

CARLSON: No, he's not.

But, at the end of next week or a week from now, you know, you're going to have had nine contests. And he's going to, it seems to me, have to say, you know, I won a sizable portion of those contests. Otherwise, it is going to be difficult to continue.

Now, the Dean campaign has a whole list of cities they're hitting, as you know, right after this. So they're moving, after, I think, a day in Burlington. But they're not making claims on any of them. They're not saying, well, we're particularly strong in this state. Even Al Sharpton can say, with some, I think, credibility, I could win 15 percent in South Carolina. The Dean people, at least right now, are hesitant to make any projections of strength in any state.

That's a sign, I think, of weakness. So what do you do with the movement?

BLITZER: Tucker Carlson, stand by. Well, we're going to find out pretty soon what that movement is going to do. Stand by, Tucker.

I want to show our viewers now the latest official numbers coming in, almost 30 percent of the vote now officially counted here in New Hampshire. Take a look at this, 30 percent exactly counted, John Kerry, the senator from Massachusetts with 39 percent, holding on to that impressive lead, Howard Dean with 24 percent, John Edwards with 13 percent, Wesley Clark 12 percent, Joe Lieberman down at 10 percent.

They are not the only candidates. Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton also, Dennis Kucinich got about 2 percent so far, with 30 percent of the vote counted; 0 percent, effectively, 101 votes, hard votes, for the Reverend Al Sharpton. We are expecting to hear from all the candidates tonight. Presumably, we'll be hearing from John Kerry first. Of course, CNN will have coverage of all the candidates once they emerge and make their statements.

Let's go over to the Lieberman campaign headquarters.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is over there.

A fifth-place finish, it looks like it's shaping up. We don't know for sure. It looks like a fifth-place finish for Joe Lieberman. What will that mean, Jeanne?

MESERVE: Well, here, they're saying, no matter what his finish, he's going to go on. They say that he has the money. He's already spent money in many of the February 3 states. And they're going to go ahead.

But let me show you this room. This sort of tells the story. The candidate, Joe Lieberman, is expected here in about half-an-hour's time to speak. And the room is still very sparsely populated here. I'd say there are probably as many members of the media here as there are Joe Lieberman supporters. I spoke to a couple of those supporters who have been out canvassing for him. One of them said, he's tanked.

Another one said that, in her conversation with voters here in New Hampshire, she felt the problem was his stance in support of the war. She said, after Iowa, she talked to any number of Dean supporters who were changing their allegiance. They were looking somewhere to go, but they could not look at Joe Lieberman, because he had supported the president on the war in Iraq.

But, as I said, officials with the campaign saying, no matter what the result here, they are going on after tonight -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Jeanne. Jeanne Meserve is over at the Joe Lieberman campaign headquarters.

Let's go back to Bill Schneider. He's looking at the votes, the numbers behind these votes.

Bill, a lot of our viewers probably won't remember that it was only, what, two, three weeks ago when John Kerry's numbers were not significant in all of the polls here in New Hampshire. But he's clearly won this time around. How did he do it?

SCHNEIDER: Well, let's take a look at when voters made up their minds. A number of -- a lot of voters made up their minds last year. And those who did clearly preferred Dean over John Kerry.

Now, let's take those voters who made up their minds in the last week. This is called doing the Iowa bounce. He won Iowa. Kerry won Iowa. Dean came in third. And you see, Kerry got a big advantage. Then you had a third group. This was one third of the voters here in New Hampshire, who made up their minds in the last three days. What set in? I call it the New Hampshire crankiness factor.

The New Hampshire voters get cranky in the last three days. And they say, wait a minute, we're not going to let Iowa tell us what to do. So, suddenly, Dean bounced up in the polls. And, in the last three days, he and Kerry were evenly matched, which is what's making this vote as close as it is -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Bill Schneider, we'll be getting back to you.

I want to show our viewers a live picture that we have from John Kerry's campaign headquarters. These are live pictures you're seeing. We're told that, momentarily, perhaps in the next five to 10 minutes, John Kerry will come through those doors over there, go up there and address this crowd. John Kerry, we are projecting, will be the winner.

He wants to be first, clearly, in making a statement to his supporters, trying to assess what's going to happen next.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll stand by to hear from all the candidates tonight. They should be coming out fairly soon. The numbers continuing to come in. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN has projected that Senator John Kerry, 60 years old, the junior senator from Massachusetts, will win the New Hampshire primary.

Let's take a look at the latest real votes that we're getting. These are actual votes being counted right now; 33 percent, a third of the votes, have been counted. Look at this, John Kerry the winner with 39 percent, 25 percent for Howard Dean, 13 percent for John Edwards, 12 percent for Wesley Clark. 9 percent for Joe Lieberman, Dennis Kucinich down at 2 percent, the Reverend Al Sharpton clearly not a factor here.

Let's go to John Kerry headquarters. I want to show our viewers live pictures of what's going on over there. We're told by Kerry officials, the senator from Massachusetts, the next-door neighbor to New Hampshire, will be walking out any minute now to address his supporters. He's wasting no time whatsoever in coming out to speak to this crowd.

The crowd, Judy Woodruff, clearly enthusiastic already. They see that John Kerry will win.

WOODRUFF: You know, Wolf, just yesterday, John Kerry was rejecting the label front-runner. He said, look, I'm fighting here. I'm just like everybody else. I want to -- I've still got to prove myself.

But he now cannot deny that he is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Having won the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, going forward, everybody in his organization wants to make sure they do everything right to define John Kerry and to lay down their markers going forward. They want to get out and make that claim.

BLITZER: There's a history here, Jeff, to all of this. Who's going to come out and speak to all of us first?

GREENFIELD: As we said, when Bill Clinton showed up in '92 and pronounced himself a victor for coming in second, that took a lot of the edge off Paul Tsongas' victory. They don't want to see that tonight.

Let's just remember, after tonight, we will have allocated 1.5 percent of the delegates. There are 269 at state next week. I don't think we should start writing too many obituaries too soon.

BLITZER: We're not writing any obituaries yet, not us, at least.

Michael Meehan is a spokesman for John Kerry. He's joining us from the Kerry campaign headquarters.

Michael, what are we expecting to hear from Senator Kerry when he emerges momentarily to address this crowd?

MICHAEL MEEHAN, SENIOR ADVISER, JOHN KERRY CAMPAIGN: Well, I think you're going to hear about the fact that people in Iowa and now the people in New Hampshire think that John Kerry is the best man to take on George Bush and beat him.

He's a man who is ready from day one to take over the job as commander in chief, with no on-the-job training. He has got a plan to cut middle-class taxes. He wants a plan to get health care costs under control. People in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Missouri are struggling with the costs of health care. He's been campaigning on that for a year.

He looked New Hampshire voters in the eye. They looked him back in the eye and said, you're the guy that we want to take on George Bush. He's ready to do it on the first day.

BLITZER: Michael, the last time we heard Senator Kerry deliver a victory speech was a week ago or so ago in Iowa. He went on for about 20 minutes or so, gave a strong part of his stump speech as well. Is that what we can expect to hear from him tonight?

MEEHAN: Oh, yes. He looks at every opportunity to talk to voters.

We've got seven states in the next seven days that we're headed out to. We start in Missouri tomorrow. And we're going to campaign nonstop. Yes, John Kerry is going to take this chance to talk about what his plans are to beat George Bush, to win this nomination. He's going to stay on his message of fighting the special interests in Washington. They've been running rampant.

The Republicans control the Congress and the White House. And John Kerry is the man that people in New Hampshire and Iowa say that can beat George Bush and stop special interests from running Washington, D.C. You'll expect to hear that from him momentarily.

BLITZER: Michael, one final question. Why the rush to come out and make this statement, to declare victory, in effect, before all the votes have been counted?

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Hold off, Michael. We're getting some of the preliminary speakers who are coming out to address the crowd.

But go ahead, Michael, and answer that question.

MEEHAN: Well, just as the New Hampshire ended at 8:00 tonight, the campaigns in South Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, they all start in earnest right now.

We don't have a moment to spare. We're going to come down, talk to our supporters here, thank them for being with us. Thick and thin, this group stayed with us. We're very happy. Governor Shaheen led our campaign here in New Hampshire. She's thanking the troops now. We want to move on. And we don't have much time to celebrate, because there's a big job ahead. There's a lot of delegates, as your panel just said, at play.

In the next six weeks, the party is going to pick 71 percent of all the delegates. And we want to get out there and campaign. We're not going to rest until it's over and we've won the most.

BLITZER: All right, Michael Meehan, thanks very much.

As you point out, Governor Jeanne Shaheen, the former governor of New Hampshire, Democrat, the campaign chair for John Kerry speaking to supporters. She's there with her husband. Let's listen in briefly.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: We won Somersworth.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SHAHEEN: We won Rochester.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SHAHEEN: We won Dover!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Jeanne Shaheen speaking to an enthusiastic crowd over at John Kerry's headquarters.

Bill Schneider, what's going through your mind right now as you watch all this unfold?

SCHNEIDER: What's going through my mind is, the race goes on. New Hampshire may not decide a great deal. With Dean doing pretty well and Kerry winning, that race will go on. And then this tight race for third place, we could have at least four candidates going on to next week.

Where are they going? To the South and West, where Kerry and Dean, who finished first and second in this race, have to prove that they can win outside their native New England. What is the outlook for next week? South Carolina, Edwards is the front-runner. Oklahoma, Clark looks like the front-runner there. Missouri, Kerry is doing very well, may have a lot of support from former Gephardt operatives. Joe Lieberman claims he can do well in Delaware.

Is there any place Dean expects to do well? He's got a lot invested in Arizona. We could end up next week, in these big state primaries all over the country, where everybody wins, and the race goes on and on.

BLITZER: Thirty-eight percent of the vote now counted, the actual vote counted. Our viewers can follow at the bottom of the screen as we're getting it, 39 percent, as you can see, for John Kerry.

We're expecting John Kerry to walk on to that stage over at his campaign headquarters very, very soon. We'll, of course, have live coverage of his speech.

Dan Lothian is watching a fierce battle unfold for third place in this contest. He's over at Wesley Clark's campaign headquarters.

Dan, what's happening there?

LOTHIAN: Well, that's right.

In the past few minutes, I've been talking to several of Clark's aides, who tell me that they're encouraged by the numbers that they're seeing, one of them saying -- quote -- "This is a fine day." I asked him if there was some concern about coming in fourth place here, and he said, because this race is so tight, he says, we can live in fourth. We can live certainly with third place.

He pointed out, though, what this shows is that this is going to be a tight race going forward. It won't be decided anytime soon. It will take a while, he said, for all this to be sorted out. Speaking about sorting it out, we are told that Mr. Clark, along with some family members, are in the hotel room watching the numbers coming in. They're waiting for all the numbers to be sorted out before he comes down here and speaks to his supporters. You hear them behind me getting quite excited -- back to you.

BLITZER: Dan Lothian over at Wesley Clark's campaign headquarters -- Dan, thanks very much.

Based on our CNN analysis of actual votes already counted, our exit polls, we can now report that John Kerry is likely to win this race by about 10 percent, a spread of about 10 percent, a win over Howard Dean, a significant spread.

Let's go back to Kerry headquarters. Kelly Wallace is over there.

Any indication when we will hear from the senator, Kelly?

WALLACE: Wolf, our understanding, moments from now, we will hear from John Kerry. His advisers were telling us earlier in the night that they would have him come out early if he did win this race to get him out there, get him in front of the cameras because, after he speaks here, we are told he is going to do a round of interviews with stations in those February 3 states, his campaign already looking ahead to those contests one week from now.

One word you're likely to hear from Senator Kerry tonight, comeback. All his advisers we've been talking to keep saying, it is one of the biggest comebacks in New Hampshire history. In fact, they say they looked back. And they said, back in 1984, Gary Hart was significantly behind Walter Mondale and ended up turning it around. But they said he had three weeks to it around then. They say that Senator Kerry here turned it around in just about a week and a half. So look for the senator himself to call himself comeback Kerry once again and try and push on ahead to those contests one week from today, Wolf.

BLITZER: Kelly Wallace over at John Kerry's campaign headquarters.

As she says, momentarily, we're expecting to hear from the senator from Massachusetts deliver a speech and declare, of course, that he has won. We are projecting that he will win.

I want to be precise. We are basing our analysis on a 10 percent spread, an analysis of the actual vote that has now been counted. And it's getting close to 50 percent of the actual vote. We are projecting John Kerry will win by about 10 percent.

Donna Brazile knows this business very, very well.

You ran Al Gore's campaign four years ago. What do you make of what we're seeing tonight?

DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, look, I think the John Kerry campaign was fabulous today.

Look, they understood that they had to win, they had to win big. And when they thought the race was closing, they went back out there, redoubled their efforts. They ran a very tough, disciplined, error- free campaign, and now you see the results. This is an incredible team that John Kerry has put together.

BLITZER: Smart politics for him to get out right away, make his speech, so, in effect, he can get out Dodge, get out of the state before the snow comes, and take his campaign elsewhere?

BRAZILE: Well, look, I think that's a smart move to begin talking to the voters in those next seven states.

We're entering a new phase of the campaign with multiple primaries, multiple caucuses. And John Kerry understands that he has to reestablish himself in those states. He spent a lot of time and a lot of money in Iowa and New Hampshire in the last two weeks. It's time that he get back on the ground in New Mexico and those other states.

BLITZER: How did he do it? Because, two, three, four weeks ago, as you well know, he was way behind here.

BRAZILE: It was an incremental, step-by-step process. The candidate himself, I believe, found his voice and was able to articulate a real strong vision, combining his bio, along with a strong message of electable, that he can beat Bush, and that he was ready to take the job from day one.

The second thing, I believe that the Kerry campaign, while the Dean and Gephardt campaign was fighting each other, they just ran their game plan. And look at the results. They've won practically every region of this state.

BLITZER: And he's got a pretty strong team of advisers helping him right now, John Kerry.

BRAZILE: Well, congratulations.

BLITZER: You know all those guys.

BRAZILE: They're my former colleagues.

BLITZER: Most of them worked for you four years ago. Donna, we'll be getting back to you.

BLITZER: I want to remind our viewers, we're standing by to hear from John Kerry.

Judy, he's going to be coming out momentarily to address his supporters over at John Kerry campaign headquarters. You see these live pictures that we're showing our viewers. And that's the door -- actually, the curtain from which he will emerge to go up on that stage. We're expecting it to happen. Of course, we'll stand by to have live coverage of that.

The money factor here, I know you've been looking, Judy, at how much these candidates have been spending over the past week, two weeks. The numbers are pretty significant.

WOODRUFF: Well, they are.

And, again, you can't underestimate here how much Howard Dean poured into New Hampshire after he had a poor showing in Iowa. He spent, by our count, over $1.1 million just in the past week on television ads. He's been all over the air. So, again, neighboring state governor of Vermont putting that kind of money in here, and, again, his campaign is going to try to say tonight, you know, that we came back. We were in a -- some people were writing us off. We've come back.

I think you've got to look at the effort they made and say, you know, 24 or 20 -- we don't know what the number is going to be, Wolf, but I think you can ask, why not better than that?

BLITZER: Let's take a look at some numbers.

We've got some fund-raising estimates that we've put together based on FEC reports, campaign estimates. Take a look at these numbers that have been raised so far, $42.5 million by Howard Dean, John Kerry with almost $30 million, but a nice chunk of that, as our viewers will remember, coming from his own pocket, John Edwards, $20 million, Wesley Clark, $16.5 million, Jeff.

GREENFIELD: And, remember, John Kerry has not put a single ad up in the February 3 states, which you can't say about Clark, Dean, Edwards, even Lieberman. They're going on in all seven states tomorrow. And the interesting thing to see will be, what happens with the news of this New Hampshire victory in our age of instant communication? I think it's pretty fair to say, because we've already seen this in some polls, that John Kerry will be competitive or ahead in many of those February 3 states before he's spent a dime of any advertising money.

WOODRUFF: I think the polls that we see coming in to today, Wolf, are going to be scrambled and you're going to see a whole new ball game, in effect, after tonight.

BLITZER: All right, Judy, let's take a look at the numbers that we actually have actual votes, real votes, coming in now, being counted.

Take a look at this. With 42 percent -- getting close to that 50 percent mark -- 42 percent of the actual vote in, 39 percent for John Kerry, 26 percent for Howard Dean, 13 percent for John Edwards, 12 percent, slightly behind, for retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, 9 percent for Joe Lieberman, Dennis Kucinich down at 1 percent. These numbers haven't changed significantly.

Bill Schneider, we're projecting that the spread will be about 10 percent. What does that mean, about 10 percent?

SCHNEIDER: Wolf, that's an interesting figure.

When I asked people before this evening, what does Kerry have to win by to get a bounce? They said, well, if it's less than 10 percent, he won't get much bounce. If it's more than 10 percent, he'll probably get a bounce. Hey, it's 10 percent. Well, the name of this game is bounce. He's got to get some momentum coming out of New Hampshire, so he looks like a big winner.

And then, in one week, he may be able to submerge other candidates in all those states where he hasn't campaigned big time, Missouri, South Carolina, Arizona. He's put some money in there. But he only has a week to do it. He's got to depend on momentum, on bounce, coming out of this. Will it be big? I can guarantee you, all the other candidates are going to come out tonight and claim, they can get some bounce, too. Wasn't that what Howard Dean was trying to do last week with that speech that he gave, that strange concession speech?

He was trying to get some bounce out of a very poor finish in Iowa.

BLITZER: All right, Bill, stand by. We'll be getting back to you.

And I want to remind our viewers, you're looking at these live pictures of John Kerry's campaign headquarters here in New Hampshire. We're told the senator from Massachusetts will emerge very, very soon to speak to his supporters, in fact, to speak to all of us about his win. Also, we're refining a bit further our analysis. And we can now report that John Kerry will win by at least, at least 10 percent of the vote, maybe, maybe more.

Let's go back to the CNN election war room. James Carville and Paul Begala are over there.

At least 10 percent, James. That's a pretty significant win.

CARVILLE: Yes. I mean, I think the other candidates have to be careful. I mean, people are watching this. They know who won. So, if you come out there and you say, well, actually, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? It shows me losing my 10 points, but I actually won. I think you have to be careful.

And I think -- I hope that Senator Kerry, I think he can talk some about the fact that he won this, but it's a chance for him also to talk about the message he wants to take to these next states. I completely agree with everybody that this is not an eliminating victory, but it's a pretty doggone impressive victory.

And coming on the heels of Iowa, I think it's a pretty impressive victory for John Kerry. We have got seven more states to go next Tuesday. I think this puppy is going to get wrapped up here in a couple weeks. But 10 percent or more, that's a win in American politics.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: When you say a couple weeks, James, do you mean specifically two weeks or a few weeks?

CARVILLE: I would say two weeks, we're going to have a pretty good indication who the nominee of the Democratic Party is.

Look, Jerry Brown ran against Bill Clinton into the convention. So I think some people are going to stick around for a little while, yes. But I think, in two weeks, we're going to have a pretty doggone good idea of who the nominee of the party is.

BLITZER: Paul, you agree with that?

BEGALA: I do.

And I have talked to some people who are running the Dean campaign to sort of get their side of this, their spin of this. And they're not crazy. They're not trying to say, oh, it's a win. What they're saying is, look, this means Kerry is definitely the front- runner, right? They want to put the monkey on his back. They say, second, look at the gap between Dean and the rest of the field, which is substantial.

So they say, third, it's a John Kerry vs. Howard Dean race, and we like those odds. We move forward. So they haven't drunk the Kool- Aid there. They are keeping their wits about them. They have run a very smart campaign so far. They have come up very short in the first two contests, but at least they don't sound like they're nuts over there. They're making a good case that their candidacy goes on, which it does.

BLITZER: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: If it's at least 10 points, this is a big win in American politics. Ten points is -- that's not a close race, OK? That's a win. That's a significant win.

BLITZER: All right, James and Paul, stand by. The picture we're showing our viewers, the John Kerry campaign headquarters.

I want to bring in Larry King. Larry is going to have special interviews throughout this night.

Larry, we're standing by for the next hour. Tell our viewers what they can expect from you.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Well, we're going to hear from Senator John Kerry. He's going to speak there and then he's going to speak with us, or maybe speak with us and then speak there.

And we're going to hear from Governor Dean and Senator Edwards and Senator Lieberman. The general is not doing interviews tonight, we're told. And Wolf is going to be with us as well in just about two minutes, along with former Senator Bob Dole, former Senate majority leader, and Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer with "The Washington Post." That's our regular team, Woodward and Blitzer and Dole, plus candidates all.

That's about two minutes ahead, Wolf. We'll see you in a couple minutes.

BLITZER: Thanks, Larry.

Our viewers are standing by for that, a very special "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up at the top of the hour, also, another "LARRY KING LIVE" at midnight Eastern, two live "LARRY KING"S here on CNN tonight.

Judy, as we await for John Kerry to emerge from this curtain that we're seeing over there at John Kerry campaign headquarters, I want to put one number, the "Newsweek" poll from last weekend, which showed that, in a hypothetical contest right now, among registered voters across the United States, look at this. Within the statistical margin of error, 3 percent, but, look, John Kerry right now would beat George W. Bush. It's a very, very close contest.

It raises the issue of electability. A lot of Democrats want a candidate who can be competitive with an incumbent Republican president.

WOODRUFF: No question, Wolf. Whether that poll is more than just a snapshot, we don't know. But, absolutely, here in New Hampshire, you didn't hear much discussion of issues, of policy, substance. This was a campaign about, who do we like the most and who do we think can be elected president? Who can beat George W. Bush?

And when -- I think Bill Schneider mentioned this a minute ago. When you ask people, which of these candidates can beat -- 50 percent of those who wanted somebody to beat George W. Bush went for John Kerry. I think only about 15 percent went for Howard Dean. So that mattered, I think, enormously.

BLITZER: Jeff, these Democrats want someone that can beat the president.

GREENFIELD: It's an extraordinary primary campaign, even at the beginning, to see a party that so often is split on major issues like war and peace and race apparently, apparently, at least at this point, saying, no, the most important thing for us is November. That is very unusual.

Somebody once said, when the Democrats form a firing squad, they form a circle. It doesn't seem to be happening so far among voters this time.

BLITZER: All right, Jeff and Judy, stand by.

We're going to be here obviously throughout the night. This going to be an interesting night. We're going to continue the watch John Kerry campaign headquarters. You're seeing these live pictures. We expect the senator, the junior senator from Massachusetts, to emerge shortly, speak to his supporters.

CNN, of course, will have live coverage.

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