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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
New Hampshire Votes
Aired January 8, 2008 - 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: The polls will be closing literally within a matter of seconds. And, once the polls in the state of New Hampshire are closed, we will be able to give you some initial indicators of what's going on in this race.
And, based on these real numbers that we have got so far, plus the exit polls that we're studying very, very closely, CNN can now project that John Edwards -- John Edwards -- the former senator from North Carolina, will come in third place among the Democrats in this race.
Obama and Clinton are fighting right now for first place. That's what we can tell you, based on the projections that we're getting right now. So, you can see, here in New Hampshire, with 30 delegates scheduled to go to the convention, John Edwards, we can project, will come in third place, not -- repeat, not -- a huge surprise.
The real battle in the state of New Hampshire has been, continues to be at this moment between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
And, once again, it's going back and forth with these early precincts reporting. We're continuing to look at the precincts. We're continuing to show you the exit polls that we did throughout the day. And we will bring you the latest information, obviously, as soon as we get all of that.
On the Republican side, once again, McCain slightly ahead of Romney, with only 10 percent of the precincts, 37 percent for McCain, 28 percent for Romney. And, as all of our viewers know by now, in New Hampshire, it was projected to be a major battle between John McCain, who carried this state in 2000, beat George W. Bush then, did not go on to win the Republican nomination, battle between John McCain and Mitt Romney, the former governor of the neighboring state of Massachusetts, who had been doing incredibly well in New Hampshire.
But, in recent weeks, John McCain began to make this comeback, a very dramatic comeback. And he's poised potentially, potentially, to win tonight. But we don't know that right now. We will see as these numbers continue to unfold.
It's a dramatic development here in -- as we watch what's happening in New Hampshire. All of this is unfolding with this backdrop. In Iowa, in Iowa last week, Mike Huckabee surprised a lot of people by winning. In New Hampshire, it's a very different party, Republican Party, a very different base.
And, as a result, as a result, Mike Huckabee right now fighting for third place, based on these early precincts that have reported, but he's promising to fight thoroughly in Michigan -- that's coming up next week -- and in South Carolina the week after.
Remember -- and this is important -- this is a long process. It's going to continue for weeks, presumably at least, at least until February 5. That's Super Tuesday, when more than 20 states will be holding their primaries, including major, big states, like New York, and California, and New Jersey, and Ohio, and Missouri.
And a lot of people are saying, this contest, on the Democratic and the Republican side, will continue to be fought fiercely through February 5. We're going to watch it every single step of the way.
Let's go over to John King. He's looking at the votes closer.
And you have got the numbers, some election map information that you want to share on what's happening in the state of New Hampshire.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First, just looking at the map, as you see any area that has some colors, that means there are some votes coming in.
And this is the Republican primary. As you can see, these are the preliminary votes so far. Each candidate has a color. You will see this throughout the night. Romney is the darker red. McCain is red, Giuliani, orange, and so on. And, so throughout the night -- largely the map is white right now. That means we're not getting any votes.
But just a couple of things to look for. One of the questions on the Democratic side, Wolf, is, will there be a liberal, moderate, to conservative split in the Democratic Party?
So, we want to show you something just to use as a guideline. This is the 2004 -- we will look at the Democratic primary here. This here is Howard Dean. The gray is Howard Dean. You see the left-hand side of the state here, closer to Vermont, where he was governor, but this is the liberal part of New Hampshire along here. That's Howard Dean's vote in gray.
If you look at this, the blue, that's John Kerry. More moderate Democrats went for John Kerry. So, one of the things, as we watch tonight, as we're counting the Clinton-Obama vote, is there a philosophical divide in there Democratic Party? And we can do that in part by laying over the map of the last time there was a competitive race.
Now let's look at the 2004 Republican primary. George W. Bush of course had it all. We're going to clear the screen. He was unopposed. You see, that's him. That's the results coming in. But if you go back to the year 2000, and you can look at the Republican primary, John McCain swept the state. George Bush is the dark red. John McCain won just about everywhere.
Well, we don't expect that to happen tonight, because his opponent is Mitt Romney, who is a former governor of Massachusetts. So, we're going to blow up this a little bit and bring this out. And here's an area we want to watch right down here, southern New Hampshire, in part because that's where most of the people live. Most of the people in southern -- in New Hampshire live here in the south, but also because Mitt Romney was the governor right here.
And Boston TV stations are seen by most of the people across southern New Hampshire. And they know him well. So, if you want to look at one place tonight -- and you can do this online at CNN.com as well as the votes come in -- you might want to look right here -- let's hope I get it right when it comes up. Need to come out of the Telestrator and we will come right in here.
This is Salem. And this is one of the places we were told earlier today, Wolf, where they needed more ballots, a big McCain county. When he ran against Bush in 2000, he won it big. But you want to watch this place tonight, because it is a 30-minute drive from Boston. Many of the people who live in Salem work in Massachusetts. Many of them came originally from Massachusetts.
If John McCain can win Salem again tonight or come close to Mitt Romney in Salem tonight, he most likely is on his way to winning again in the state of New Hampshire. You need to watch that very closely.
Also an indication, if Barack Obama does well, that maybe some of the independents who went McCain last time are going for the Democrats this time -- Wolf.
BLITZER: John, thanks very much.
I want to just remind our viewers also that you can certainly check out CNNPolitics.com at any second -- literally, at any moment. These results are changing all the time. It's a good idea to watch us here on CNN. But, if you have a laptop, you might want to stay on top of it, take a closer look at all the incoming numbers. They're changing county by county literally every few moments. And that's a good place to go, CNNPolitics.com.
I want to turn to Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider. They're looking closely at these exit polls right now.
Soledad, it's a fascinating insight into the minds of these voters.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, absolutely, no question about it.
We really wanted to take a closer look at the people we really want to watch tonight, those who go in as leaders in New Hampshire. So, let's start with the Republican side, McCain and Romney on the Republican side.
Among the McCain voters, what issues matter to them?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First and foremost, we can see over here in this graphic, Iraq is the top issue for McCain voters. He's the one who ardently supports President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq.
Most Republicans support President Bush's Iraq policy, including New Hampshire Republicans, and that was the top issue for McCain voters. But notice the last issue, the least important issue, was illegal immigration. He was the sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform. And Republicans don't like that. That was not very important to them.
Now compare Mitt Romney, his rival.
O'BRIEN: That was my line, completely flipped, in fact, on illegal immigration for Romney.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, illegal immigration, my goodness, 37 percent. That was easily the top issue for Mitt Romney, who has a very tough policy towards illegal immigrants, Iraq and terrorism, somewhat lower. He doesn't have the same national security experience that John McCain was.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the Democrats, leaders in New Hampshire thus far. Among Clinton voters, ideologically, how do they split up?
SCHNEIDER: Well, this shows the party registration -- now, in New Hampshire, we should mention you can vote if you're a registered Democrat in the Democratic primary. And if you're a registered independent, you can also cast a Democratic ballot.
Her votes came overwhelmingly from registered Democrats, 60 percent registered Democrats, 37 percent registered independents voting in the Democratic primary. They sort of become Democrats for the day.
O'BRIEN: It's that independent number that is going to be critical. You have said it time and time again.
Obama, how is he shaping up?
SCHNEIDER: Very different. Look at this.
Among Obama voters in New Hampshire, they were evenly split; 44 percent of them -- only 44 percent of them -- were registered Democrats; 46 percent are registered independents voting in the Democratic primary. So, it's pretty clear his support depends very heavily on independent voters in New Hampshire.
O'BRIEN: In other words, that's what you're watching.
O'BRIEN: All right, Bill, thank you very much.
Wolf, let's send it right back to you.
BLITZER: Fascinating material. And, Bill, just remind our viewers, these are exit polls. They were done after these individuals voted, as opposed to the entrance polls we did last week in Iowa.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. These are exit polls, which means that people were interviewed as they left their polling places. You can't interview people going in. That's against the law. You are interfering with the voters.
So, we interview them as they leave. And they're selected at random. And they're asked -- they're given a two-page questionnaire. They check off of their answers and they are reported back to us. But we have to interview them as we leave, because we can't interfere with people who are about to vote.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Bill and Soledad. You guys aren't going anywhere. We have got a lot of exit poll numbers, real numbers. We're going to be checking back with you throughout the night.
Let's recap what we know right now. These are the official numbers that are already in. With 11 percent of the Republican precincts now reporting, McCain remains ahead with 37 percent, Mitt Romney 28 percent, Mike Huckabee at 12 percent, Rudy Giuliani at 9 percent.
If we want to zero in and take a look at the raw votes that are coming in right now, with 11 percent of the precincts actually reporting, we can do that. We will bring up these numbers, about 7,500 for McCain, 5, 600 for Romney, 2,485 for Huckabee, Giuliani 1,828, Ron Paul 1,729.
It looks like, at least with 11 percent of the vote in, a battle for fourth place between Giuliani and Ron Paul.
Let's walk over and take a look at the Democrats right now. With 12 percent of the precincts reporting among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton remains slightly ahead of Barack Obama, 38 percent to 36 percent. It's a very, very dramatic close race. At least it's shaping up so far between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
We have projected here at CNN that John Edwards will come in third place in New Hampshire. He's got 17 percent of the vote right now, 5 percent for Bill Richardson. Here are the raw numbers with 12 percent of the precincts reporting, 13,572 for Hillary Clinton, 12,913 for Obama, 5,900 or so for John Edwards, 1,500 or so for Bill Richardson, Kucinich and Gravel way, way behind.
CNN's Tom Foreman is watching all of this for us as well. He's at a polling center.
Let me turn to Tom Foreman. There he is.
A lot of excitement. You were telling us they were packed. They needed more ballots. It's all over with now. But what's going on?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's unbelievable out here, Wolf.
I have to say, look, this is the inside of this polling center right now, where they're doing the final paperwork. And this is part of the crowd that made it happen. These are supporters of different people. They're poll workers. They're folks from around the neighborhood.
And they showed up like nobody has ever shown up here before for voting. All of them have said it all day long. The numbers were enormous. They had to bring in extra ballots to try to fill in for all the people who came in to vote here.
They believe -- they don't have a final tally yet. But it's possible that they hit close to 85 percent of the registered voters here taking part, Wolf.
And, as you can hear, they're very, very happy with the showing of their whole neighborhood, even those whose candidates may or may not do that well today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Tom Foreman, you have got a lot of exciting young people behind you. But get used to it. That's probably going to be the case throughout this election.
Tom Foreman watching what's happening at the polling stations.
They are now closed in the state of New Hampshire. They closed only about 12 minutes or so ago. And the precincts are reporting. We're watching all of this very, very closely.
It's now only 12 minutes after 8:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. The polls have closed 12 minutes ago.
We are now ready to make this projection here at CNN. Take a look at this. We can now project, based on the exit polls, based on the real numbers that are coming in, that John McCain wins the New Hampshire primary, a huge comeback for the senator from Arizona.
He won eight years ago. But, tonight, we can now project that John McCain is the Republican winner. A fierce battle he fought with Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, but CNN projects that John McCain is the winner in New Hampshire tonight, didn't do much of a showing in Iowa last week, but, tonight, what a dramatic comeback for John McCain, someone who, only this past summer, a lot of the pundits were suggesting, you know what, it was over for John McCain. He was running out of money. He had problems with his staff.
There were a lot of Republicans complaining about his support for comprehensive immigration reform. Many of them were complaining about his position on the war in Iraq. But take a look at this, how a few months can change everything for John McCain -- John McCain, a big winner, we can project in New Hampshire right now.
Dana Bash has been covering the McCain campaign.
Let's go to her right now. She's watching all of this unfold -- Dana.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you can imagine, there is tremendous excitement in this room.
This is a room that was on pins and needles. They were sort of teetering on the brink of a revival that would have be remarkable or a comeback that just wasn't. And, clearly right now, they know -- you hear them chanting behind "Mac is back, Mac is back."
That is the chant that we heard along the campaign trail, particularly over the past week, as John McCain has been trying to recapture the magic that he had here in the year 2000, when he did win for first time. Obviously, tonight, it is a win for the second time.
His advisers were certainly optimistic as we got closer to tonight. But they certainly weren't sure, because they understood that everything, everything for John McCain was riding on this win tonight. He certainly did not expect to do this well if we were just looking back, as you were mentioning, six months ago.
Something that is very interesting that Bill Schneider was talking about is the war in Iraq. That was just one of the things that really sunk John McCain's poll numbers, sunk him with the public, because this is something that he had supported. This whole idea of the surge, the whole idea of the surge was really John McCain's baby. It was one of his brainchilds.
And one of his advisers said to me tonight, as soon as President Bush adopted that, it became John McCain's war. And one of the things that really helped him along in this revival is the fact that the surge does appear to be working.
And that is something that John McCain used over and over on the campaign trail as an example of how he's somebody who gets it on the international stage. He gets national security. And it's also the way he, at least in recent days, as the buzzword has been change, the way he's been trying to describe himself, even he's a 71-year-old man, as an agent of change, somebody who's willing to push something that may not be that popular.
So, this is certainly a remarkable resurrection for John McCain. It is certainly not over, but at least it does give him a beginning and the beginning to go on to the next fights. It is going to be a fight once again, Wolf, between John McCain and Mitt Romney, mano a mano, in the very next contest state of Michigan.
It is certainly going to be tough there. That's Mitt Romney's home state, but it's a place that John McCain also won in 200. So, they're going to feel like they have a bounce here. There's no question about it. What happens from there on in, it's anyone's guess. But at least he's in the game now. And that's the excitement you hear behind me -- Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN projecting that John McCain, the big winner in New Hampshire among the Republicans tonight.
I see a microphone, a big flag behind you. I take it at some point later tonight, John McCain will walk over there and will deliver his victory speech in New Hampshire; is that right, Dana?
BASH: Oh, you can bet he is.
I can tell you know that they were already preparing that victory speech earlier today. Right next to me, there is a confetti cannon, a confetti cannon ready to go off, Wolf. I don't know if you remember the images from 2000 when John McCain had his big win here in New Hampshire. There was confetti everywhere. Somebody handed him a Darth Vader stick.
That was something that sort of was one of the images of 2000. So, it's going to be interesting to see how again he tries to recapture that, perhaps replay that here, a lot of superstition tonight just in being in the same place. Perhaps the superstition, from John McCain's point of view, was worth it -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Dana Bash will be there throughout the night.
Dana, thank you very much, very, very enthusiastic supporters for John McCain there.
Probably a very different atmosphere right now at Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters. Let's check it out.
Mary Snow is there watching this.
What are you seeing? What are you hearing?
And just want to remind our viewers that CNN is projecting that John McCain beats Mitt Romney and the other Republicans in New Hampshire tonight.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this ballroom is packed with Romney supporters. As those projections came across the screen, there was no reaction.
This is a one-two punch for Mitt Romney and another setback, after he lost Iowa. Mitt Romney had been the front-runner in both of these states at one time. But he slipped in Iowa to Mike Huckabee. He came here to New Hampshire, having four days. His campaign adapted, trying to change its message, really trying to harp on the fact that he was trying to portray himself as a Washington outsider and trying to portray Senator John McCain as someone who had been in Washington for decades and an insider who could not effect change.
Mitt Romney was optimistic today. Just hours after the polls opened, he said that he felt that he thought he was going to win here tonight. he was optimistic, but he's also determined. And while he has indicated that if he didn't win here tonight, he would still go on, he's putting his hopes on Michigan and then he's going to be going on to South Carolina -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Mary Snow at Romney headquarters, she will be there throughout the night as well.
Let's take a look at the raw numbers that we're getting in. With 12 percent of the precincts in New Hampshire reporting, take a look at this. John McCain, we project, he will win the New Hampshire primary tonight. So far, he's got 37 percent, Mitt Romney 28 percent, Mike Huckabee 12 percent, the winner of the Iowa caucuses, Rudy Giuliani 9 percent.
Big news, big news for John McCain, the winner.
Here's the Democrats right now, based on what we know, very close; 12 percent of the precincts have now reported. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, they are fighting it out. So far, with 12 percent of the precincts reporting, Hillary Clinton with 40 percent, Barack Obama 36 percent. John Edwards, we have projected, will come in third place in New Hampshire, Bill Richardson a distant fourth with only 4 percent.
Let's walk over to Anderson Cooper. He's got the best political team on television ready to tell us what they think about the McCain win tonight.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Obviously, with John McCain, it was not just his position on the war in Iraq early on. It was also his position on immigration which caused him a great deal of trouble.
What is the key to the turnaround for him?
KING: Well, part of the key to the turnaround is, he has a special bond with the people of New Hampshire. And he's one of the most stubborn, persistent men on the planet, whether you like him or don't like him, agreed or disagree with him. And he just hung in there.
Anderson, the Republican Party right now is having a fascinating internal conversation. Mike Huckabee, a man the tax wing of the Republican Party doesn't like -- they think he raised taxes too much in Arkansas. They're not so sure they want to campaign on a national sales tax right now. Many think it might be a good idea eventually to have some sort of big tax reform.
So, there's a lot of opposition to Mike Huckabee on tax and spending issues and people who don't think he can just win in the North, because the Republican Party does -- it has Southern strength, but it has a Northern problem.
And then you have John McCain, who has bucked the establishment Republican Party forever, doesn't have good relations with the Christian base of the Republican Party. So, the Republican Party is sitting there tonight saying, we have an Iowa winner. We have a New Hampshire winner. Hmm.
And, if you look at the alternatives, it's Rudy Giuliani, who doesn't have good relations with much of the Republican Party. And can Fred Thompson somehow revive himself in South Carolina? Most people think the answer is no.
And the Republican Party is going to have a McCain-Huckabee conversation. Romney will hold on through Michigan. He has to win Michigan. I spoke to a pollster out there earlier tonight who said he has a small lead, Huckabee behind him, but thought McCain would get a bounce. And, remember, McCain won Michigan in 2000.
So, we have a fascinating personality and philosophical tug-of- war going on in the Republican Party.
COOPER: I want to go back to our back row here. We're joined up with Ralph Reed, political strategist, and Bill Bennett as well.
Ralph, what do you make of this? John McCain, what did he do right?
RALPH REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the main thing that he did right was, he focused like a laser beam on New Hampshire, as he did in 2000. He did over 100 town hall meetings. Once his campaign experienced the setbacks that they did at the national level, he went fetal. He went to New Hampshire. He went back to the state that...
COOPER: He went fetal?
REED: He went fetal.
REED: He went to the state that delivered for him eight years ago. And it did so again tonight. And...
COOPER: Can he go on from here? Does he have the organization in Michigan and South Carolina?
REED: Well, Anderson, I think the jury is out on that.
If you look at this vote that we're looking at tonight, about 37 percent of the vote on the Republican side is independent. He won that vote by 11 points. But among the votes that is Republican, among that 61 percent of the vote, he was tied, virtually, with Romney. It was 34 to 33.
This is the same challenge that he had with George W. Bush eight years ago, winning independents 2-1, 3-1. But when you get to those states where the independent vote drops and the Republican vote surges, or where you have closed primaries, that's where it gets tough for him.
COOPER: Yes. It's important for our viewers to realize that, in a lot of these upcoming primaries, independents cannot vote. It's only the Republicans who can vote or the Democrats who can vote in those primaries.
REED: That's true. But, in a lot of states, they will be able to vote.
California will be an open primary.
REED: So, John McCain is sort of a Republican version of Obama tonight, winning the independent vote big, the Republican vote tied.
But the main thing tonight, the Big story is, John McCain is the Lazarus of the Republican Party. He was counted out. They wrote his obituaries. He rose from the dead. And he gets a ticket to the next primary.
COOPER: It's interesting that Ralph mentions him in the same sentence as Barack Obama. David Brooks wrote a column today in "The New York Times" sort of comparing them.
And you go to their rallies and you do find people who are thinking -- some are thinking about voting for Barack Obama, but they may also vote for John McCain. And, yet, on policies, they could not be any farther apart.
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right, but they're both politicians of lift, of conviction. They both ask you to raise yourself up. They lift you up out of yourself.
With Obama, it's about hope, it's about unity. With John McCain, it's about honor, duty, honor, courage, country. The language is amazing, fetal, resurrection, Lazarus.
BENNETT: This is the Eschaton. The Eschaton has arrived.
But, for John McCain, this is a huge, huge evening. He really was counted as dead. And, remember, people said -- every news reporter said, he's tied himself to the surge in Iraq. He sure did. Remember, his motto was, I would rather lose an election than a war.
Well, that war seems to be going better now. And this happens for him in New Hampshire.
Just one footnote to what Ralph said, absolutely right. He now goes into the other states where before he had -- the last time he had trouble with Bush. But there is no Bush now. There is no large, larger-than-life character, if you will. There are three or four other candidates. So, we will see. The next challenge is Michigan. If Romney doesn't do Michigan, then Romney is done, I think.
COOPER: I want to bring Jack Cafferty.
Did voters not buy Mitt Romney's now selling himself as an agent of change, as the guy who can fix a broken Washington? JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know if they didn't buy it or not.
He's flip-flopped on some of the issues along the way, and his opponents, including McCain, have pointed that out unmercifully. He tends to personify, if you will, a little bit more the establishment- type Republican figure.
But make no mistake. Immigration is going to come back to greet John McCain down the campaign trail. He has not run away and hidden from that. And the economy is being ranked right up there now with the Iraq war, even ahead of the Iraq war, as the most important issue in voters' minds.
We're very close, I think, to a recession in this country. And John McCain, if he can beat Romney and Huckabee and Giuliani and Thompson and Ron Paul, then is going to have to deal with the war, which he supports and is going better, and an economy that might be in recession, and an immigration policy that is nonexistent in this country.
And a lot of people are very unforgiving on that issue. So, he has a long row to hoe, as they say.
COOPER: We have got to take a short break.
We're going to be off the air for just a few minutes. CNN.com is not. You can go to CNN.com right now, check out the latest information.
We will be back in just about two minutes right here on CNN. Stay tuned.
BLITZER: Welcome back to the CNN Election Center. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.
We have dramatic numbers coming in, all that coming up.
First, though, we want to remind you that, all night tonight, you will notice a running vote tally aboard at the bottom of your television screens. It will have up-to-the-date New Hampshire votes as they come in. And for those of you watching our coverage in high definition, you will see additional delegate information and graphics on the left and right sides of the picture, just a reminder about that.
Also, go to CNN.com, CNNPolitics.com. You are going to be able to watch all of the numbers coming in. You are going to be able to hone right in and see where these votes are coming from, who's voting where, the exit polls, all that information. Good idea. Watch us here on CNN. Get a laptop at the same time.
Let me show our viewers what we know right now on the Democratic side. With 15 percent of the precincts now reporting, Senator Hillary Clinton still has 40 percent to Barack Obama 36 percent, a tight fight under way for first place in New Hampshire among the Democrats between Clinton and Obama. We can't -- we can't project a winner yet.
We can project that John Edwards will come in third place. He has 17 percent of the votes so far, Bill Richardson with a disappointing 4 percent in fourth place.
Let's take a look at the hard numbers that are coming in among the Democrats. There they are right here, Hillary Clinton with almost 17,400, Barack Obama 15,574, John Edwards 7,300, 1,900 for Bill Richardson, Kucinich and Gravel falling far, for below.
Let's take a look at the Republican side right now. These are the numbers that we have with 14 percent. You see the check mark next to John McCain. CNN has projected that John McCain, the senator from Arizona, is the winner in the Republican primary in New Hampshire, a huge -- a huge comeback for the senator from Arizona, 37 percent of the vote so far among the Republicans, with 14 percent of the precincts reporting. Mitt Romney, 28 percent. Second place so far for him. Huckabee and Giuliani coming in way below at 12 and 9 percent both.
If you want to take a look at the hard numbers among the Republicans, we can show you that what we have so far. So far, Romney, 10,100 - excuse me McCain, 10,100. Romney, 7,747. Huckabee, 3,200. Giuliani 2,500. Ron Paul, 2,200, a little fight going on there for fourth place between Giuliani and Ron Paul with 14 percent of the vote in. Thompson and Hunter way, way down.
Now, let's go over to Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider. They're looking closely at these exit polls. Soledad, it's a fascinating insight into what's going on.
O'BRIEN: Especially looking back. I mean the question now for McCain is of course, why'd he win. Now we were talking yesterday and you say it's going to all depend on who's the McCain voter this time around. Who was the McCain voter this time around?
SCHNEIDER: Well last time in 2000 when he beat George W. Bush, he got huge support from Independents who voted in the Republican primary. Eked out a narrow majority among registered Republicans.
Let's take a look at registered Republicans in this race. There it is. As you can see, McCain has a comfortable margin over Mitt Romney, seven points among registered Republicans. That's the new McCain, the conservative McCain
How did he do among Independents this time? Take a look. This time among Independent voters, voting gin the Republican primary, he won by six points. He did about the same among Independents and Republicans. That's the new McCain. There is no difference anymore between Independents and Republicans. He does OK with both of them.
O'BRIEN: When you analyze what's important to the voters, people who said the issues were more important to them, who do they go with? SCHNEIDER: Romney and this is a bit of a surprise. McCain did not win this campaign on the issues. Here we go. This is those voters, those Republican voters who say the issues were more important. They voted for Mitt Romney, who got the most conservative voters. Who got voters, a lot of them voting for illegal immigration. They went for Romney.
O'BRIEN: The people who said personal quality, most important, they went with McCain, by what margin?
SCHNEIDER: They went with McCain by a pretty big margin here. Personal qualities were cited by a lot of Republican voters. McCain, 47, Romney, 29. What does this show? McCain did not win this election on the issues. In fact, he did not win on ideology. He won it on personal qualities, his personal appeal. Republican voters in New Hampshire know him well.
O'BRIEN: Which is supported by when you look at other questions in that exit poll, who would be the best commander in chief? Who do you think is the strongest leader? He wins those too.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, this was a very personal victory for McCain.
O'BRIEN: Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: I just want to remind our viewers also that when Bill Schneider is not here on CNN, he is going to be on CNNPolitics.com with a running analysis, commentary on what's going on. So all of your fans out there will be able to see you, here and CNNPolitics.com. That's the place to be.
Let's go over to John King. He's got some specifics on what's going on in New Hampshire.
KING: Wolf, this is the map, most of it white. This is the Democratic primary. Most of it white, meaning the results have not come in yet. You do see the difference now. Senator Clinton is the lighter blue. Senator Obama is the darker blue on here. You see here in Manchester, we'll bring that out a little bit, Senator Clinton is winning there at the moment. So she's doing well. Why is that significant? You see the numbers right over here. Senator Clinton is winning in Manchester with 46 percent of the vote so far to 31 percent Obama. They're still counting. That's pretty early results.
But why does that matter? Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire. So if she can carry the larger city, she's on her way to doing well.
Now let's shrink down the map a little bit. We talked a bit earlier - I want to take you back to 2004 to the Democratic primary. And we talked about this at the beginning.
Would there be a split among the Democrats? This is the Howard Dean vote, the gray, this is the John Kerry vote, the blue. Liberal Democrats more moderate to conservative Democrats. Well let's clear that and let's come to where we are right now. And again it is early, but let's look at the Democratic primary for president.
Let's take this back. This is Obama. Remember, this was Dean. Well that's Obama so far. Again too early to call it as a trend. But beginning to see liberals over here for Obama. More moderate to conservative Democrats over here where the Kerry vote was for Clinton.
Very early, again, Wolf, as we see, but right now Senator Clinton is doing well. And the most significant point we want to make, and let's clear this so not to confuse. Bring this out just a little bit. As we watch New Hampshire tonight, we want to watch everywhere. But most of the people live right here. And so this is the most important part to watch. Nashua, one of the larger cities still out. Most of this suburban area, if you will, many of the people have come north from Massachusetts, or who work in northern Massachusetts live here. We're still waiting for a lot of votes in a hotly contested Democratic race in the state right now. Senator Clinton running ahead in our count. But just narrowly ahead, Wolf, a lot of votes to count. Now back over to Anderson.
COOPER: I'm with Gloria Borger, CNN senior political analyst. You've been watching McCain as he sort of morphs on the campaign trail over the last several months.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's been so interesting because just six months ago, Anderson, we had all of the headlines last July. He had $250,000 in the bank when he was the establishment candidate. He had to fire half of his staff. And the question on the campaign trial was can a souffle rise twice?
In McCain's case tonight, he just proved that it could. And what he has done is he was the establishment candidate. That didn't work for him. So after July when he was broke and he had to fire most of his staff, he said I'm going to go back to being McCain. I'm going to go back to New Hampshire and work the town halls and be who I am. And I'm going to become the maverick Republican again. Well this is a year for mavericks. In case you didn't notice, all we're talking about is change. So that worked for him.
COOPER: He also seemed to be having fun at times on the campaign trail.
BORGER: Totally, enjoying himself tremendously -- particularly -- I went out with him occasionally -- particularly if he seemed to be picking up in the polls.
As John said earlier, the issue of immigration has really dogged him. But now that he's a maverick, he's also done something else that's really interesting. As he heads into South Carolina, he does have a lot of that establishment support that he didn't have in the year 2000. That's how George W. Bush beat him in South Carolina and now that establishment may serve the maverick well as he heads down south.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYIST: Well I think that's a very important point about the Republican Party -- the establishment. The establishment candidate almost always wins the Republican nomination. Look at the Republican nominees have been in the past 40 years. Bush, Dole, Bush Senior, Reagan, Ford, Nixon. These were all of the leading candidates, the most famous Republican, going into the primaries. McCain fits that pattern. He's no longer the outsider. He's no longer a maverick. Though, he acts like one on the campaign trail.
COOPER: A lot of people in the Republican Party would disagree, who don't like what McCain has done to the Republican Party.
TOOBIN: He doesn't -- a lot of the Republican Party doesn't like him. But he's still the most famous Republican in the country. He's the Republican the day after the 2004 election that people looked for, the most likely candidate to win -- to be the party standard bearer in 2008. And the favorite almost always wins in the Republican Party.
BORGER: And he's going to make the case that while he's been in Washington, he's been the outsider in Washington. Lots of Republicans in Washington don't like McCain because he's gotten rid of their corporate jets and he's going to make the case that he's the best person to take on Barack Obama should Barack Obama be the nominee. Because while he served in Washington, he's always been outside of the club.
COOPER: We're looking at numbers now, Clinton, 40 percent. Barack Obama, 36 percent - 16 reporting.
Donna Brazile, anything -- if Hillary Clinton comes close to Barack Obama, even if she comes in second, she in her camp are going to portray that as a victory.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, there's no question. Just a few months ago, she was the frontrunner in New Hampshire. New Hampshire voters give their own stamp of approval. Senator Clinton has layers of support across the state. I'm not surprised this race is close and it may go down to the bitter end.
COOPER: What happens if she comes in second? I mean there's a lot of talk about a complete retooling of the campaign. A lot of names being thrown around.
BRAZILE: It depends on the margin. If it's a close second, clearly she will claim the victory. Perhaps the second comeback kid in of this race.
But if it's a real blowout, there's no question that she has to relaunch her campaign. Get a new message, put in a new fresh team. Thank her supporters and basically getting ready for the long haul that the states that will come down the road on February 5 and beyond.
COOPER: I talked to Mitt Romney yesterday. He insists he's in it for the long haul. What happens to him with the second-place finish?
BENNETT: Well he's got enough money for the long haul. But he's got to win somewhere. Michigan I think is his most important place. Now Michigan operates in a kind of open primary. So without the Democrats playing there, I believe anybody can register and vote in the state. So you might see a lot of people going for McCain, Independents, even some Democrats. So that's a problem for Romney. He's really got to win there. Doesn't look like he can win in South Carolina. So even though he's got the money, he's got to win. Remember early on, the predictions were that Romney would win both Iowa and New Hampshire and he's won neither.
COOPER: South Carolina was not kind to McCain before. Is it a different situation now?
BENNETT: I'm not sure it is. Ralph and I were just looking at the numbers on conservative identification with McCain. It's still not strong. I see what Jeff is saying about establishment candidate. But it's not clear that McCain is in the way that George Bush was. And there are these issues where conservatives are very upset with McCain. So he's certainly alive. But we can't presume him to be the winner of the whole thing. He's got a long way to go. Jack said this immigration thing -- it's not a huge issue in New Hampshire. But it is a huge issue in a lot of states and it's going to bite him.
COOPER: Rudy Giuliani, a while back, he was talking about trying to win in some of these early contests now. Now he's saying oh, he's written it off. But he did spend a fair amount of time in New Hampshire. He spent a fair amount of money. I think he spent the third most of any Republican candidate. He spent anywhere from 30 to 40 days there. His campaign -- was it a mistake to write it off at the point that he did?
REED: Well, I don't know. And I don't know that anybody knows at this early juncture. What we do know is this. He spent $3 million. He campaigned in New Hampshire more than he did anywhere else. And he's not doing well tonight.
COOPER: He's fighting it out with Ron Paul.
REED: Right, but the good news for anybody who still wants to be president on the Republican side of the ball is that you've had two different winners in two different primaries. You now go to Michigan where Romney should be strong. You then go to South Carolina where tonight, Anderson, you're looking at the percentage of the vote in the Republican primary that is self-identified conservative tonight is 54 percent and McCain is losing that. That number is going to go to 70 to 75 maybe 77 percent in South Carolina. The liberal portion, which is 12 percent tonight, will drop 4 or 5 percent and the moderate portion will drop.
So everywhere we go, the electorate is changing. So every one of these candidates can say, hey if I can just hang on for another week or another 10 days, I might have a shot. We've never seen anything like this since the rise of the primary in the '60S.
COOPER: Mike Huckabee certainly looking forward to South Carolina, with a lot of Evangelical voters. We'll talk about that. Let's go back to Wolf right now.
BLITZER: Anderson, thanks very much for that.
I just want to remind our viewers that Romney did win -- did win one contest in the past weekend in Wyoming. The caucuses in Wyoming not much of a win. But certainly the people of Wyoming think it was a win for Romney in Wyoming. We have also learned just now that Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have actually made a phone call to John McCain to congratulate him on his win tonight in the New Hampshire primary. That just happening shortly, just a little while ago.
And we're standing by -- we're going to be hearing from all of these candidates. They're going to be addressing the supporters in New Hampshire tonight.
Once they do that, you're going to want to hear what they have to say on the Republican side and on the Democratic side.
Let's reset what we know right now first with the Democrats. 19 percent, almost 20 percent - 19 percent of the precincts have now reported and it's staying consistent so far. Hillary Clinton, atop with 40 percent. Barack Obama, 36 percent. John Edwards, we project he will be in third place and he is so far with 19 percent of the precincts - 17 percent. Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, only 4 percent.
On the Republican site, you see the check mark. That means that CNN has projected that John McCain is the winner in New Hampshire tonight. So far, 17 percent of the precincts reporting. He's got 38 percent to 28 percent for Romney, 12 percent for Huckabee, 9 percent for Giuliani. Now 18 percent of the precincts have reported similar numbers right there.
A big win for John McCain. And that's happening right now in New Hampshire. The phone calls are coming in. We're going to be hearing from John McCain, hearing from all of the candidates. On the Democratic side, we can't project a winner yet. We'll see what's happening. Right now, it's a battle under way between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Abbi Tatton is watching all of this online. And CNNPolitics.com, Abbi, is clearly the place to be to get the inside story.
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: And this is what you're going to get there right now, Wolf. We've got our cameras trained on the campaign headquarters around the state right now. You're looking at pictures live from the Mike Huckabee campaign headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. Just a few moments ago, we heard from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani congratulating the winners. That one is just finished.
But let me take you to this one here. This where we just heard huge cheers go up from the John McCain headquarters, a very excited crowd right now on this live stream that you can watch along on CNNPolitics.com. And that's not the only place they're celebrating.
Take a look at John McCain's Web site. All ready "John McCain Wins New Hampshire Primary" on his Web site. Looks like they were ready to go with that graphic. But we've still got the results coming in at CNNPolitics.com. And this is where you're going to find them, the full results as they trickle in. We've got them town-by-town. And you can follow along as we're discussing them on the show. This is where they're coming in online, CNNPolitics.com, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's the place to be, as I said before. Good idea. Watch us on CNN. At the same time, have a laptop, you can get the inside story on what's going on. We're standing by to hear from all of the candidates. That's coming up. Let's take a quick break. Much more on the New Hampshire primary. From the CNN Election Center, we'll be right back.
BLITZER: Mitt Romney is speaking to his supporters right now. He's about to come in second in New Hampshire tonight. Let's listen in.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And, of course, there's Bruce -- thank you, Bruce, our campaign manager. Where's Jim Merrill? Come on up here, Jim Merrill. Get up here, Jim. And you all know my sweetheart, Ann, all of my family who are here with us.
It's been quite an experience for us, I'll tell you. We thought we knew New Hampshire, but now we really know New Hampshire. With almost 250 events that we've done across this state, we've learned why it is that New Hampshire is the first primary of the nation. There's a reason for it.
The people in this great state really get to know the candidates, ask them questions, learn about their heart and their character. People in New Hampshire open their hearts and their homes to us. And for that, we will always be grateful. Thank you so much, New Hampshire.
All of those events as we listened to so many people across the state, we hear time and time against a similar message and that is people are frustrated. They're concerned about the future of our country, particularly our leadership in Washington. They feel that Washington is broken. And they've heard time and again promises that have not been fulfilled by Washington. They heard Washington say they're going to stop illegal immigration. But they haven't. They've heard Washington say that they're going to get us off of our dependence on foreign oil, but they haven't. They heard Washington say they're going to get people insured that don't have health insurance, but they haven't. They heard Washington say they're going to improve our schools and make them the best in the world -- but they haven't. They've heard Washington say they're going to protect our jobs and make sure that the jobs we have are the best in the world, but they haven't done that. They've heard Washington say they're going to balance the budget, but they haven't done that. They heard Washington say that they're going to make life easier on the middle class and reduce the burdens on the middle class, but they haven't.
You finally got it, didn't you? And I believe that it's time to send somebody to Washington who will actually get the job done. Thanks, you guys. I don't -- I don't think it is going to get done by Washington insiders that sending insiders back to Washington just to change different chairs. That's not going to get the job done. I think you'll have to have somebody from outside Washington who has proven that he can get the job done in one setting after another.
And as you know, I had the privilege of working in the private sector for 25 years and helped with a number of people to make businesses stronger. Not every time successful. I learned from the successes and the failures and then went off to the Olympics and again with a great team of people, helped to make that successful.
And then in the position of governor of Massachusetts, got the chance to make that state more successful. Did something no one thought would be possible. We did get health care on track for all of our citizens in our state. Balanced the budget all four years, rebuilt our rainy day fund.
I've been able to get the job done. And I don't care who gets the credit. Republican or Democrat, I got no scores to settle. I don't worry about who's going to be the hero and who's not going be. I want to make sure that the America that this family inherits and your family inherits is an America that remains strong and the hope of the Earth. This is the greatest nation, Earth.
This -- this is the greatest nation on Earth, not just because of our beautiful landscape, but because of the American people and the heart and character of the American people and the things they believe. The fact that Americans believe in hard work. The fact that Americans love opportunity and they love it above dependence on government. The fact that Americans are willing to take risks for the future and sacrifice for their families, that we are a family-oriented people. The fact that by in large, Americans believe in God. And even those who don't believe in God believe in something bigger than themselves. The fact that Americans are patriotic.
I will strengthen America as your president. When I come back here next November, I will fight across this nation, onto Michigan and South Carolina and Florida and Nevada and states after that.
I'll fight to be back here in November, in those states and in others, but I'll also fight to make sure we strengthen our great country by strengthening our families and our homes where our kids learn those American values by strengthening our economy. Look, if people wonder what direction America is going to head if they choose a Democratic leader like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, all they have to do is look at a state like Michigan which has had Democratic leadership, where taxes have been going up and jobs have been going out. And where the industries are struggling.
We want to make sure that we strengthen our economy and finally where we strengthen our military to make sure we're safe here and abroad. I will strengthen America. I will stand up for values we believe in. And I'll make sure that America is as it has always been, the hope of the Earth. Thank you so much. Thank you. BLITZER: So there he is, Mitt Romney coming in second tonight in New Hampshire. He came in second in Iowa. Disappointment for the former governor of Massachusetts. He hoped to win in Iowa. He hoped to win in New Hampshire. He thought that would propel him to the Republican presidential nomination. He is by no means giving up. He's saying he's going on to Michigan right now. His father George Romney was the governor of Michigan. He was born in Michigan. And from there, on to South Carolina.
More contests coming up. We're standing by also to hear from Mike Huckabee. He's expected to speak at his campaign headquarters shortly as well as Mitt -- as well as John McCain, the winner of the New Hampshire primary tonight.
Once they start speaking, the winner of the Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee; the winner of the New Hampshire primary, John McCain, we're going to go there live.
You see, they're supporters at McCain headquarters and Huckabee headquarters getting ready to receive their respective candidates. Let's walk over to Anderson Cooper once again with the best political team on television.
COOPER: And we're watching not only this race, the Republican race, but also the Democratic race, where it looks like a very close race at this point between Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. A, John King, does it surprise you and what are you hearing about where these numbers are coming from?
KING: It surprises you in the sense that most of the polls, including ours in the final days, showed a lead on the Obama side of as much as 10 points, eight to 10 points. So many people at home are probably saying, wait, if you know the Republican leader, how do you not know the Democratic winner?
Well, the results are coming in and we need to wait for them, obviously. As we showed you earlier on the board, she's winning in Manchester. That is the largest city. That counts more quickly. So she has the lead there.
What do we watch for now? The city of Concord where she was initially behind. I'm told Obama has pulled a little ahead in Concord. It's a liberal city, two small colleges there. He does well in college towns or he should do well.
And then essentially imagine a horseshoe around southern New Hampshire. Obama needs to do well from the seacoast across the southern New Hampshire where the Independents area and then up back up to left New Hampshire with the liberals were, we showed you before. Most of those results are not in yet. But if you're in the Clinton campaign, you're saying you know what? Let's count the votes.
ANDERSON: We're going to put the Democratic numbers up on the big board in just a moment. Gloria Borger, you've been talking to a lot of people on your BlackBerry. BORGER: O just got off the phone with somebody who's been doing the ground operation for Hillary Clinton. And he said look, we had a great ground foundation, we're holding our own. If we had a couple more days here, maybe we could pull it out. They're just not sure. The one thing they're looking at is if the electorate skews older, then that's going to be good for Hillary Clinton. So they're really watching the number of older voters.
COOPER: On the big board right now, 40 percent, Hillary Clinton, 35 percent, Barack Obama, 26 percent places reporting. Clinton looking at the raw numbers, 26,000, Barack Obama, 22,000. Not insignificant at this point.
KING: No, it's not insignificant at all -- 26 percent of the vote is obviously a core of the vote. That means real votes are coming in. So forget about any polling that we had before the elections. Let's count the vote.
But you have to be careful. Different places count at different speeds. And we have to wait for the votes to come in. But certainly -- if the margins stay anything like this, even if Obama pulls ahead and it's close, the Clinton campaign will say we were down 10 points. Obviously when she changed her message in the final days, it helped them. They will take a moral victory from that, even a close second. Most people will tell you that her husband came in second there 16 years ago and that propelled him to be the comeback kid. Most think she needs to win.
COOPER: We were listening to Mitt Romney and a lot of you were saying he's become more personal over the entire campaign but in particular in recent days. Certainly the same can be said for Hillary Clinton, the incident just yesterday with her tearing up at one point.
BORGER: Right and if you look at the numbers tonight, 17 percent of the voters in New Hampshire said they actually decided today -- those voters split between Obama and Clinton. But in the last couple of days, she's been an easier candidate to like.
TOOBIN: I'm not prepared to concede that there are Americans who decide based on who cries. I'm sorry, I just don't think that is quite possible. But she did reveal --
COOPER: Technically, I don't think it was a cry, by the way.
TOOBIN: Tearing up, perhaps. But the Clintons have been in New Hampshire as Bill Clinton said until the last dog dies. And people like them there. Although, I have to say, I am as baffled as anyone. I mean these polls were not close going in to today. And look at these numbers.
COOPER: We're looking now also at Mike Huckabee who is coming out. We're going to bring you obviously his address live. John King?
KING: Just a point, candidates win elections. Not always the ground operations. But in close elections, your ground operation and who's running it does matter. And the people who are working with Hillary Clinton in the state of New Hampshire right now are the people who work with John Kerry in 2004 when they turned it around. So having good people, smart people who know the state helps if it is close. It won't help if it's a blowout. But it does help if it's close.
COOPER: Wolf Blitzer certainly one thing we'll be watching a lot of over the next several hours, this race between Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama.
BLITZER: We can't project a winner yet because it is close. But we can project that John Edwards will come in third. A disappointment for John Edwards, no doubt.
These are live pictures you're seeing from Mike Huckabee's campaign headquarters. He's about to speak. In fact, let's listen in to the former governor of Arkansas, the winner of the Iowa caucuses.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I want to tell you something, I love you guys. Thank you very much. I have a great, great friend who is highly decorated marine from Vietnam. He made a statement once. He said, "I've never lost at anything I've done." He said, "Sometimes the game ended before I got finished playing."
Tonight I was able to call Governor Romney, Senator McCain and congratulate them on finishing ahead of us.
But ladies and gentlemen, a few weeks ago, we were way back in not so even sixth place. And nobody thought that we would even be one of the contenders in New Hampshire.
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