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New Hampshire Primary: CNN Projects Romney Wins

Aired January 10, 2012 - 20:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In most of the state, the polls closed an hour ago.

And CNN projects that Mitt Romney is the winner in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, wins the New Hampshire primary. We make that projection on actual votes that have been tallied as well as exit poll results that we're assessing right now.

But as of all of the information we have gathered with all of the polls in the state of New Hampshire now closed, we project Mitt Romney is the winner.

Let's go to Romney headquarters right now. I suspect they're celebrating behind you, Candy Crowley.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I don't think I need to say too much here. The minute they heard the projection, and even before that, they're streaming into the room now. They clearly were waiting downstairs for the time to come.

The Romney folks have been quite confident going in. They actually think they'll have a very healthy lead. So this is a happy crew tonight. And remember, you know, you will hear again and again, you know, the first Republican candidate to sweep Iowa and New Hampshire. It gives him such steam going into New Hampshire and the fact of the matter is -- going into South Carolina after this.

You'll have to pardon me because I'm hearing myself. When you have Mitt Romney going into South Carolina and his toughest competition is Ron Paul, they'll take that. They will take Ron Paul coming in second and looking like perhaps Jon Huntsman a distant third.

But I know the second and third numbers we haven't really called yet, Wolf. But they are very, very happy here tonight.

BLITZER: They should be after winning Iowa barely but now New Hampshire, 2 for 2 for Mitt Romney.

Candy, stand by for a moment.

We based our projection that Mitt Romney is the winner in New Hampshire. On the official votes that are already been tallied, we looked at various precincts, 11 percent of the official votes are now in. You see the checkmark next to Mitt Romney, we project he is the winner with 11 percent of the precincts officially counted. He's up near 9,000 votes with 36 percent. Ron Paul, 25 percent, 6200 votes. Jon Huntsman, 17 percent, 4200 votes. Newt Gingrich, 11 percent, 2600 votes or so. And 10 percent for Rick Santorum, 2447 votes, and Rick Perry only 1 percent, 167 votes.

Those are the official votes that already have been tallied and put into the system.

I want to share with you right now the exit poll results that we received.

All right. Based on the exit poll results, these are the New Hampshire exit poll results. The waves that were coming in. It looks like 36 percent or so, based on the exit polls, for Mitt Romney, 23 percent for Ron Paul, 18 percent for Jon Huntsman. Those are the top three. The bottom three, Gingrich and Santorum, both 10 percent, Rick Perry, only 1 percent.

Those are the exit results that are coming in that we've already tabulated. We're going to be doing a little bit more assessment on that as they come in. So there is going to be a battle for number two between Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul although it looks like Ron Paul is doing better right now.

There'll also be a battle for number four. Will it be Santorum, will it be Newt Gingrich, what if anything does that mean for South Carolina? We know Rick Perry, he barely spent any time in New Hampshire, he's not doing well at all. So obviously, a lot to dissect right now.

But once again, CNN projects the winner of the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

Erin -- let me walk over to Erin Burnett because she's getting some more information on the exit poll results.

How did Mitt Romney basically, Erin, do?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, this is a -- and you can see it very clearly here. So let me just explain what we're looking at here. When people came out of voting, we asked them their party ID. As you can see, 48 percent Republican, 47 percent independent. Now that independent vote you heard David Gergen talking about it, we're seeing a bit of a split there, not going overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney.

I'm going to show you the Republican vote in a moment. Most important candidate quality, though, can defeat Obama. You see Mitt Romney there, 59 percent of people who think that's the most important thing are going for Mitt Romney. In terms of true conservative, strong moral character, right experience, Romney is winning some of those but moral character going to Ron Paul and true conservative going to Ron Paul.

The reason for Mitt Romney's victory at least at this point, Wolf, seems to be right here when I click on the Republicans -- let me just flick it over here. Mitt Romney, 45 percent of people who identify themselves as Republicans so far in the New Hampshire primary, going for Mitt Romney. Ron Paul a distant second with 15 percent.

And you can see it cascading down from there. But you're seeing the same trend on this as you did in Iowa because you're seeing people who believe that beating Barack Obama is the most important thing. That's where you're seeing the overwhelming Romney vote. Fits in with him being the establishment candidate, Wolf.

John Avlon was just tweeting from Romney headquarters. He saw Meg Whitman, former -- going -- marching up with him to the stage. Of course you got people like Chris Christie stumping for him. So that fits with that narrative.

Back to you.

BLITZER: Electability, very important ingredient.

BURNETT: That's right.

BLITZER: Certainly propelled Mitt Romney to win in New Hampshire.

Soledad O'Brien is in Nashua right now.

They closed the polls down, Soledad, in Nashua. I see them counting the votes right now. What's going on?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and very quiet here in this elementary school gym which is where this has all been happening and this is Ward 3 in Nashua. In fact at 8:00, as soon as it passed over into 8:01, it was quiet, people just started packing things up, and ripping the curtains off of the voting booths and really sort of printing out the final printout that they're going to post in just a few minutes which will tell us exactly how the race went right here.

I want to introduce you to Bill Brady. Bill is a registered Republican.

But what's interesting to me was when you were telling me what the big issue for you in this race was.

BILL BRADY, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: The really key issue was starting with a mature dialogue with the Republican Party about recapturing its soul and about leadership in the 21st century. And I think a lot of people who -- the question is the people who didn't vote tonight that are Republican, who didn't vote tonight who are independents, who are taking a step back and saying, I'm not excited about this.

Congratulations to Governor Romney. Ran a well orchestrated campaign, well mapped out. He deserves to win based on his organization up here in New Hampshire. But has he captured the soul of the Republican Party? Has he captured the soul of the American people? O'BRIEN: And that's kind of the $64,000 question that we'll be talking about, of course, as everyone analyzed Mitt Romney's projected win tonight.

Bill, I thank you for that very much and we'll send it right back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. They're counting the votes in Nashua. Was paying close touch with you, Soledad. Thanks very much.

Let's go over to John King who's looking at the vote coming in. Thirteen percent of the official vote is in. Once again, we've projected Mitt Romney the winner in New Hampshire.

What are you seeing over there?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things to look for. Number one, we're going to see who comes in second place with 13 percent of the vote and Ron Paul at the moment winning there. We'll see if that holds up. It gets increasingly hard, Wolf, for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to argue they're stronger candidates than Mitt Romney if they keep coming in not only behind Governor Mitt Romney but behind Ron Paul as well.

You're seeing the dark red filling in the map. A couple of things are significant. Right here in the capital Concorde, Mitt Romney now with 100 percent of the vote and he wins. This is one of the major population center, he wins with 32 percent of the vote. Gets harder for any other candidates.

One of the reasons we project him the winner of the state is now with Manchester in, Mitt Romney winning, we can project him the winner because of the places with the most votes, Governor Romney is winning.

Romney people know they have something to prove here. This is his home turf. He was stunned here four years ago. So will they make their mark in proving it? Here's one thing to look at. You see Governor Romney winning up here in the central part of the state. Let's go back in time four years ago. The lighter red, that's John McCain. So some of these smaller counties that were McCain country four years ago, turning into Romney country this year.

One other point I want to make is we come back to this year's map, look down here. This is four years ago, look down here, along the Massachusetts border. Nashua and some of these border towns, Salem, Windham, some of the places down there. If you take this up now, come back, we haven't received any of the vote down here.

This is the part of the state where Romney did perform very, very well last time around, four years ago. I was just in touch with his campaign. Maybe they shouldn't be talking like this, but they say when the votes come in here, when the votes come in Bedford, which is just to the west of Manchester, they believe their margin will actually go higher. And that will become, Wolf, the big debate.

Governor Romney is projected as the winner. Now it will be a question of, is he a strong nominee? Was he weakened down his home turf? He won Iowa ugly by eight votes. The margin of his victory, the size of that victory will factor huge in the debate today about how strong he is going into South Carolina.

Now the other big -- the other big debating point will be, who gets this spot right here? Does Governor Huntsman get his turn as the conservative alternative to Romney? Hard to say that when he ran essentially as a moderate in a state like this.

Does Ron Paul prove yet again maybe he can't have the strength to be the ultimate nominee but with the new proportional delegate rules, Ron Paul is making another statement tonight that he is a force in this race to stay, not to be the ultimate nominee, but to have an impact on the debate, perhaps to block others from getting to Governor Romney. And Wolf, ultimately if he can keep raising money and he has a great organization, have enough delegates to be an impact player at the Tampa convention.

BLITZER: You know, it's going to be critical, this number two, number three. If Jon Huntsman comes in number two, that presumably will propel him, encourage him to continue. If he comes in number three and it's a distant number three, maybe not. We'll have to wait and see.

By the way, we're getting ready to hear from Mitt Romney, he's not wasting any time. He's going to be speaking to his supporters in Manchester.

But before we go to him, I want to go to Tom Foreman, who's joining us from the next location in this electoral map that's going. He's in Charleston, South Carolina. He's got a group of voters there that he's going to be talking to.

All right. Tom Foreman, there you are right there. You've got some voters behind you. Tell us what you're going to be doing because we're going to be coming back to you throughout the night for important information looking ahead to South Carolina.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you've hit the nail on the head. This is the next battleground. This is where it all goes right now, to South Carolina. This is where those who are in trouble will reassert that they're not in trouble, get back in the race. This is where Mitt Romney, if he's won up here, as it looks like, he will try to pull further away if he can.

So we want to see what these voters do tonight as they watch the speeches of the candidates. I want to step over here. This gentleman will hold up what he has in his hand here. This box is the same sort of thing that every person here has. By turning this dial back and forth, they can indicate whether they like or dislike what is happening in that speech.

So as Mr. Romney speaks tonight and the other candidates come out and have something to say, that information will come in. They'll be processed by computers. You'll see it on your screen, they'll react. Blue line for the men, pink for the women, showing whether they like or dislike what they're seeing. And that's really going to matter here -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a perception analyzer, that little box I see over there so we're going to get a sense of what they like.

Mitt Romney is getting ready to speak first. He is the winner, we projected, in New Hampshire. So just to recap, Tom. The folks there, they're going to be hearing what Mitt Romney says and they're going to be able to turn that dial. When they like something he says, it goes up, when they don't like it, it goes down. And we're going to do this for all the speeches we hear tonight. Is that right?

FOREMAN: Exactly. And it's going to be in real-time, Wolf. Exactly as they're speaking you will see how those words are landing with this group of voters here. And importantly, I want you to bear in mind. Everybody here will vote Republican but they all said beforehand, they are undecided. These are the voters that every candidate wants to win. Tonight, we'll see if they can -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, they'll have their chance on January 21st, what, about 10 or 11 days from now. They'll actually have a chance to vote.

Tom Foreman over there.

Let's go back to Soledad right now. She's in Nashua at that polling station.

I take it the results are now in, Soledad?

O'BRIEN: The results -- not only are the results in, Wolf, they have now officially posted, this is literally where they put them so anybody who wants to come by to see how the results read. And you see there were 30 people who were running for president here on the Republican side. And we have Mitt Romney -- to go down, Mitt Romney is our winner at the top with 585 votes.

Then after that is Ron Paul with 321. After that, we have Jon Huntsman at 221 votes, Newt Gingrich got 100 votes. He is right over here. And then we have after that, Santorum coming in with 118 votes. A total of 1788 votes that they have now counted and posted officially.

This is the tape that comes out of the tabulator machine that we showed you a little bit earlier. Now for the next couple of hours --

BLITZER: All right. Hold on. Hold on for a moment, Soledad.

Hold on. Jim Acosta has got Jon Huntsman with him right now. I want to go to Jim.

Go ahead, Jim.


Wolf, we are showing you exclusively behind-the-scenes what is going on inside the Huntsman war room. As you can see the governor is right behind me at this very moment. It looks like he may be preparing some remarks for later tonight. He's watching the returns come in.

But keep in mind, I talked to a Huntsman source just a little while ago who said that they're waiting for some returns to come in from some other parts of the state, from the north and the west. They feel like that's where their strongholds are located.

And when those returns come in, that could be the difference that puts them over the top, puts them into second place because a strong second place or even a strong third place showing, according to this campaign, they believe will give them sort of a slingshot into South Carolina.

Earlier this evening on a local radio show, Jon Huntsman was talking to an interview and was basically saying that, look, you have to watch the markets move. Look what happened at Rick Santorum and what he did in Iowa. When Rick Santorum did well in Iowa, that moved the markets in New Hampshire, it moved the markets in South Carolina.

Jon Huntsman wants those markets to move here in New Hampshire. He wants those markets to move down in South Carolina, depending on what he does here in New Hampshire. But of course he has to sell here in New Hampshire tonight, Wolf, and that means of course a strong second place or a strong third place showing according to the Huntsman campaign -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. It looks like he's watching CNN as well. We hope he is watching CNN. I know at some point --

ACOSTA: He is. He's watching it right now. That's correct.

BLITZER: And we'll hear what he has to say. He's got -- I saw his daughters standing behind him and some of the staff, sure his family is there as well.

Glad we got that kind of access, Jim. Do we have any idea at what point do you think he's going to wait for a lot more results before he actually goes out and speaks to his supporters?

ACOSTA: I think he's going to wait for some more results to come in, Wolf. They feel very confident that they can catch Ron Paul in this state. It's not over yet in the minds of Huntsman campaign. They've been watching these returns come in. They feel like the returns that have come in so far this evening have been very heavily favored towards Mitt Romney. They say that the results that will come in later on tonight, a better favor of his campaign and so that why they're in sort of a wait-and-see mode right now.

Obviously, a second place showing would do a lot for this campaign and they're also saying a strong third place showing. They -- I just talked to John Weaver, the campaign manager for this campaign. He said, look, any talk of him jumping out of this race after tonight if he's in third place is just -- and I can't use the word, it rhymes with bull spit, Wolf. But he said look, they're moving on to South Carolina. They feel like they have strong resources down there. And keep in mind, Florida comes after South Carolina, and that's where Mrs. Huntsman, Mary Kay Huntsman, is from. She is from Florida so they feel like they might even have a slight home-field advantage down there. But obviously, this is a pretty exciting night for Governor Huntsman. He's bet it all on this state. This is New Hampshire or bust and that moment has come for him tonight -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's his wife, Mary Kay right behind him, his daughter Lydia over there behind him as well.

All right, Jim Acosta, stand by. We're going to -- await Mitt Romney. He's about to speak to his supporters, we're told. We'll -- of course, take that speech live, you'll hear it, you'll see it, live here from Mitt Romney headquarters.

Let me check in with Candy Crowley. She's over at Romney headquarters. Candy, you have a special guest there with you?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: A familiar face, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu.

So when you looked at the numbers and you've seen kind of the internals, what encourages you most?

FORMER GOV. JOHN SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, first of all, it's a good win for the governor.

CROWLEY: What's the percentage going to be?

SUNUNU: I don't know. The numbers that we have seen are 36, 37. But we have got to see what they are. You can't change them at this stage. Even I can't change them, Crowley -- Candy Crowley.

But the fact is that it's a good win. A large turnout amongst independents, a lot of them voted for Mitt Romney. I think Governor Romney is going into South Carolina strong from here, and the message from the independents means he'd go into the general election quite strong against Obama.

CROWLEY: Look, the rap here is when you talk to people about Romney is he doesn't sort of engender that kind of passion that others have in this race. What does he need to do?

SUNUNU: I actually don't think he needs to do anything. I don't think excite is the right word. I think unite is the right word. And this is a man who will unite the party after he wins the nomination.

CROWLEY: And your predictions here for No. 2 -- and who would -- who would the Romney campaign most like to go in with No. 2 here?

BLITZER: I want Candy to hold on for a second because we have got Jim Acosta with Governor Huntsman joining us live. Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I'm joined now by Governor Jon Huntsman. And I wanted to ask you about expectations tonight. Obviously, there is a lot of talk about expectations, what happens next, you know, after what happens here tonight. Let me ask you, is second place basically your threshold tonight?

FORMER GOV. JON HUNTSMAN (R-UT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think you have got to conclude that there are a few tickets out of New Hampshire. We're now in solid third. Who knows beyond that. But I'd have to tell you, I think there are at least three tickets out of New Hampshire. So as we look at the numbers now, we're in a strong, confident position, and all eyes are going to be south on South Carolina from here.

ACOSTA: I know you feel in the last 24 hours that Governor Romney, there were some weaknesses that emerged in his campaign, with some of the comments that he made, and you seized on some of those comments, and basically described him as unelectable because of some of those comments. Do you hope that perhaps you can make the case down in South Carolina, the same case that you made up here, that hold on, folks, this thing's not over yet?

HUNTSMAN: Well, the people of South Carolina will be looking for exactly what the people of New Hampshire have been looking for, and that's electability. That's somebody who's going to be able to stand for the issues that are going to carry us to victory, ultimately. Be able to address the trust deficit and the economic deficit, not talk about the enjoyment of firing people or about pink slips in a way that they will get tripped up by, by the DNC and by the Chicago machine that has a billion dollars behind it.

ACOSTA: And if he says I was taken out of context, I didn't mean to talk about firing all kinds of people, he was just talking about insurance companies?

HUNTSMAN: Well, we understand. I think his campaign also took something out of context recently. That happens in politics. The fact of the matter is--

ACOSTA: You're talking about the Obama, the very first Romney campaign ad that took--

HUNTSMAN: Right, right.

ACOSTA: -- President Obama out of context?


ACOSTA: That's what you're talking about.

HUNTSMAN: You have got a billion dollars with the Chicago political machine that's going to focus, laser-like, on the nominee. And we need to make sure that we've got a messenger, whoever that happens to be, who can take it all the way to the end in ways that really does build trust among the American people.

ACOSTA: So you said three tickets out of New Hampshire. That means tonight, if you are in third place, we wake up tomorrow morning, we don't get an e-mail in our inbox that says Jon Huntsman is out of this race? You're in this race?

HUNTSMAN: Where we stand right now is a solid, comfortable, confident position. And we go south from here.

ACOSTA: All right. Governor Jon Huntsman, thanks very much. Wolf, I'll send it back to you. Good to see you, too, sir, and good luck tonight.

HUNTSMAN: And thanks to Wolf.

ACOSTA: And Governor Huntsman just said thanks to Wolf as well. So we'll send it back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much and thank the governor. He made news just now. He confirmed that even if he comes in third, if it's a solid third, it looks like it will at least be a solid third, he is be going to South Carolina. He will not be dropping out of the race. So we got news here.

Jim Acosta reporting for us from Governor Huntsman's headquarters over there.

Candy Crowley is over at Mitt Romney's headquarters. And Candy, I interrupted you when you were speaking to John Sununu. I don't know if he's still with you, the former New Hampshire governor, the former White House chief of staff, the former CNN "Crossfire" co-host -- I could go on and on and on. But we're waiting to hear from Mitt Romney. He's getting ready to speak. But go ahead and tell John Sununu, if he didn't hear, that Jon Huntsman has just told CNN he's in this race, he is going to South Carolina, even if he comes in third.

CROWLEY: Well, he did in fact hear, Wolf, that Jon Huntsman is going to go to South Carolina. That's his intention tonight.

It seems to me that that is a different kind of a threat to Mitt Romney, because he does kind of fish in the same pond of voters that Romney does. How big of a threat is Jon Huntsman?

SUNUNU: Jon Huntsman spent six months in New Hampshire. If you put a campaign strategy based on that, it will take him 25 years to do all 50 states. I don't think Jon Huntsman is any kind of a threat to Mitt Romney.

CROWLEY: None at all. Who do you most worry about then? Anybody?

SUNUNU: We worry about them all collectively. The fact is, is that the governor has to start his next campaign in South Carolina, as soon as he's ready, which I think will be tomorrow, and he has to be prepared to do it one step at a time, the way he did it here. He's running against the field constantly, not against one candidate.

CROWLEY: Sure. But the field is divided. So he takes his portion and they're all kind of, you know, going around to the other--

SUNUNU: But Candy, he's not targeting one or the other with a message. He's going out there and running -- putting the Romney message out and responding to the attacks he gets from them individually.

CROWLEY: From here on, does it become damaging if people stay in, even if it seems as though the train is out of the station?

SUNUNU: Look, we've had one election. I mean, this is the only primary. The other was a caucus. So it's not unusual for people to stay in through two or three.

What is going to make this hard is all the debates, because, frankly, you can stay in this race as long as you keep enough money to buy a ticket to the next debate and show up. Actually, the media is going to have to start showing some discipline and putting a tougher set of criteria on who's allowed to be in or out of the debate, or even have these guys ride the train all the way to June.

CROWLEY: Well, but you wouldn't object to that if your guy is strong. Doesn't it -- everybody says, oh, it makes it so much stronger if we can go to June.

SUNUNU: It just makes things more complicated.

CROWLEY: You don't want complication. I think we're hearing perhaps a count. I am going to throw it back to you, Wolf, but I think we're very near. Thanks so much, Governor Sununu, appreciate it.

BLITZER: All right, Candy, thanks very much. We're going to hear Mitt Romney speak in a moment. But right now, we're ready to make another projection.

CNN projects that Ron Paul, Ron Paul is -- will come in second place in New Hampshire. CNN projecting the Texas congressman will come in second right behind Mitt Romney. CNN also ready to project that Jon Huntsman will come in third in New Hampshire. Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, the former U.S. ambassador to China, will come in third.

You see over there what's going on in Mitt Romney's headquarters. That's Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney, I guess she's getting ready to introduce, introduce her husband. You see the sons, the Romney sons, standing right behind her.

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: There are so many friends here.

BLITZER: And by the way, at the bottom of the screen, you're going to see our focus group in South Carolina from Charleston, Tom Foreman's group of undecided Republicans in South Carolina. They're going to be using their meters to tell us what they like, what they don't like, as Mitt Romney speaks. You'll see that little squiggly line go up and down. In the meantime, let's listen in to Ann Romney.

A. ROMNEY: I just don't know where he went. Senator Judd Gregg.


A. ROMNEY: Congressman Charlie Bass.


A. ROMNEY: They have spoken for us and they have fought for us across the state.

Thank you also, Mayor Ted Gatsis, Senate President Peter Bragdon, Jennifer Horn, and to the many state legislators and councilors who endorsed our campaign and have been tireless workers on our behalf.

One state senator deserves special mention, Jeb Bradley. He's out there somewhere.


A. ROMNEY: He has fired up audiences for us everywhere we go. Thanks to Ray Burton, Doug and Stella Stamon, Scott Hilliard, who have been there for us from the very beginning. We're grateful to the people who lead our campaign in New Hampshire. Jim Merrill.


A. ROMNEY: Jason McBride and Tom Wrath. And a special thanks out to the thousands of volunteers who have devoted countless hours to our cause. Finally, we want to thank the people of New Hampshire.


A. ROMNEY: They are the active part of this Democratic process. The ones we met by knocking on doors, visiting towns and cities throughout this great state, and who turned out to meet Mitt and me at one of our many events.

And now guess what I want to do?


A. ROMNEY: I want to introduce the man who we all believe should be the next president of the United States. Mitt Romney.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, we made history.



ROMNEY: This state has always been a very special place for our family. Ann and I have made a home here. We filled it with great memories of our children and our grandchildren. The Granite state moment we've just enjoyed is one we will always remember. And I have my five sons behind me and our daughters-in-law and grandkids somewhere around here. Where are they? They're right behind us. It's great to have family here. You know, tonight, we celebrate, tomorrow, we go back to work.



ROMNEY: We do remember when Barack Obama came to New Hampshire four years ago. He promised to bring people together, he promised to change the broken system in Washington, he promised to improve our nation.

Those were the days of lofty promises made by a hopeful candidate. Today, we're faced with a disappointing record of a failed president.


ROMNEY: The last three years have held a lot of change but they haven't offered much hope. The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work or have stopped looking. The median income in America has dropped 10 percent in the last four years and soldiers returning home from the frontlines are waiting now in unemployment lines.

Our debt is too high. And opportunities are too few. And this president wakes up every morning, looks kind of across America and is proud to announce, it could be worse.


ROMNEY: It could be worse? That is not what it means to be an American, it could be worse. Of course not.


ROMNEY: What defines us as Americans is our unwavering conviction that we know it must be better and it will be better.


ROMNEY: That conviction -- that conviction guides our campaign. It's rallied millions of Americans in every corner of this country to our cause. Over the last six months, I have listened to anxious voices in town halls and town meetings, visited with students and soldiers, in break rooms and living rooms. I've heard stories of families getting by on less, of carefully planned retirements, now replaced with jobs at minimum wage.

But even now, amidst the worst recovery since the Great Depression, I've rarely heard any speech of hopelessness. Americans know that our future is brighter and better than these troubled times. We --


ROMNEY: We still believe. We still -- we still believe in the hope, the promise and the dream of America. We still believe in that shining city on the hill. We know that the future of this country is better than 8 or 9 percent unemployment. It's better than $15 trillion in debt. It's better than the misguided policies and broken promises of the last three years and the failed leadership of one man. The president has run out of ideas. Now he's running out of excuses.


And tonight, tonight, we're asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time!

President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we've seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our party and for our nation.

The country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We have to offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we're lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success.

In difficult times we can't abandon the core values that define us as a unique nation. We are one nation under God. Make no mistake in this campaign I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom, clear and unapologetic defense, and we are going to win with that message.

But you know that our campaign is about more than replacing the president. It's about saving the soul of America. This election is a choice between two very different destinies. President Obama wants to fundamentally transform America.

We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great. He wants to turn America into a European style social welfare state. We want to insure we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.

This president takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe. We look to the cities and towns across America for our inspiration. This president puts his faith in government. We put our faith in the American people.

This president is making the federal government bigger, burdensome and bloated. I will make the federal government simpler, smaller and smarter. He raised the national debt. I will cut, cap and balance the federal budget. He has enacted --

This president has enacted job killing regulations. I'll eliminate them. He lost our AAA credit rating, I'll restore that. He passed Obama-care, I'll repeal it.

And when it comes to the economy, my highest priority as president will be worrying about your job, not about saving my own. Internationally, internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America's role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must and will lead the future. He doesn't see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would ever think of challenging it.

He criticizes our friends like Israel. I will always stand with our friends. He apologizes for America. And I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the earth. Our plans - our plans to protect freedom and opportunity and our blueprint is the constitution of the United States.

Now, the path I lay out is not one paved with ever increasing government checks and cradle to grave assurances government will always be the solution. If this election is a bidding war for those who can promise the most benefits, then I'm not your president.

You already have that president. If you want to make this election about restoring American greatness, then I hope you'll join us. If you believe that the disappointments of the last three years are a detour, not a destiny, then I'm asking for your vote.

I'm asking each of you to remember how special it is to be an American. I want you to remember what it was like to be hopeful and excited about the future, not to dread each new headline. I want you to remember when you spent more time dreaming about where to send your kids to college than wondering how to make it to the next paycheck.

I want you to remember when you weren't afraid to look at your retirement saves or the price at the pump. I want you to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are, not the worst of what Europe has become.

That America is still out there. We still believe in that America. We still believe -- we believe. We believe. We still believe in the America that is the land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom.

We believe in the America that challenges each of us to be better and bigger than ourselves. This election, let's go on to fight for the America we love because we believe in America. Thank you so much. God bless America. Thanks, guys, you're the best!

BLITZER: Mitt Romney with his wife, Ann, and his sons, we see four of them up there. Five were there just a little while ago. He is obviously very, very happy, delivering his speech.

We're getting ready to hear from Ron Paul. He has come in second in New Hampshire. We project that. We have a lot coming up. We will continue with the focus group, what they like and didn't like.

The focus group from Charleston, South Carolina. That's the next big test coming up January 21st. We'll hear Ron Paul and the other candidates when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: You just heard from Mitt Romney, the winner of the New Hampshire primary. You're about to hear from the man who has come in second, Ron Paul, the Texas congressman.

Dana bash is over at Ron Paul headquarters. Dana, I know he's getting ready to speak to the crowd will be enthusiastic there. I take it you just had a chance to speak with Ron Paul?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Just as we were learning for sure that Ron Paul did come in second here in New Hampshire, which is obviously a big win for him. We had a chance to speak exclusively to the candidate a few minutes ago.


BASH: What do you think has changed?

RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people. The people's attitudes have changed and my message got out. The country is in worse shape.

I've talked about financial problems in this country for 30 years. They realized that some of the things I said came about and also warning people about the foreign policy and endless wars and how that affects our economy.

So the people have come around to being concerned about the spending. I think that they look closely at the need to cut spending. I was the only one that offered cutting spending. So I think it is a very, very popular message and I think the interest will continue to grow.

BASH: Are you now the buffer between Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican candidates?

PAUL: I don't know what you want to call it, but I know that we're next in line to him. So I would say that we're the only ones really in the race with him. It will remain to be seen what turns up.

BASH: Now you have said all along here in New Hampshire that you're going to see how well you do here and that will determine how much money you think you can raise and then how much further you can go and what your strategy will be. What does this kind of finish tell you about what that strategy could be?

PAUL: Come to the rally and I'll bet you will see a lot of enthusiasm, which will give me a lot of encouragement because when the supporters get enthusiastic, they usually go ahead and they start another money bomb. So I think we'll be able to raise more money because of this, but you know, our main thoughts are going into South Carolina tomorrow.

BASH: One last quick question, I know you said repeatedly that you have no interest in running as a third party candidate. But as you know, some of your supporters do have an interest in that. If we get down the road and it turns out someone else is the nominee, will you encourage your supporters to get behind that Republican nominee?

PAUL: I think last time you asked I said it was 138 times. This is 139, it's the same answer, same old answer.

BASH: This is a little bit different question.

PAUL: Well, I have no plans to do that. We're running a tight race and we are going to see what happens.

BASH: Thank you very much. Thank you for talking to us. I appreciate it.


BASH: And I can tell you something else, Wolf, about his supporters, we're here with a roomful of them. As you can imagine, they're extremely excited.

There are people who have been working for a very long time for Ron Paul to bring him up from that 8 percent that he got four years ago to this point where he is right now.

He made very clear that he believes this is now a two man race, but there's a long way to go.

BLITZER: Certainly is, correct me if I am wrong, mostly young people behind you, right?

BASH: It is a lot of young people. They, of course, make up a big portion of Ron Paul supporters. They have since Iowa and they probably will in the future.

But there actually is a pretty good mix in the crowd here. There are some others people who we talked to here who have been Democrats until recently. They switched over in order to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary.

BLITZER: Youngest people supporting the oldest person running for the Republican presidential nomination, 76-year-old Ron Paul, congratulations to him finishing number two.

Jon Huntsman finishing number three. There's a battle underway right now for four and five, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Those were the two biggest concerns that Mitt Romney had.

We are going to hear Ron Paul. We'll hear all the candidates. Stay with us. Our coverage continues.


COOPER: We're looking at Ron Paul headquarters. We're anticipating the candidate who we projected to come in second in the New Hampshire primaries, going to be speaking any moment.

We obviously going to bring that to you live. But first, John King is here in the wall. What are you looking at right now? KING: But why is he coming in second. Ron Paul, you just mentioned. You see the orange. The orange is Ron Paul. He's winning in a lot of smaller communities up here. He's winning out this way, Dartmouth College is here in handover.

He's winning here, a disappointment for Jon Huntsman, he's the lighter purple here, two counties so far, 28 percent of the vote in. Why is Mitt Romney winning and Anderson, I make a projection now that I think Mitt Romney's margin will actually go up.

This is what they call the golden triangle in the state of New Hampshire, Fort (inaudible) national that's 70 percent of the population lives down here. We're waiting for the vote along the Massachusetts border. It's the Boston TV market.

This is where you expect Romney to do best and a lot of the vote is still out. So his percentage actually could go up if he keeps the margin that he's getting from these other places as we go on.

So the question that is, where do we go from here? I want to show you something. I want to bring up some demographics. The election when we move on to South Carolina is a very different electorate than we will have here in the state of New Hampshire.

Number one, Evangelical voters, the darker the area, the higher percentage of Evangelical voters, which tells you in New Hampshire, we have hardly any. Remember how light that is.

Tea Party support, Tea Party strength relatively light. The darker the color, the higher percentage of Tea Party support. A bit here in the North Country, the mountains up this way, smaller towns a bit here.

Let's go forward to the state of South Carolina. You can tell even by looking right here, darker areas. This is the Tea Party strength. A lot of Tea Party strength up here, decent Tea Party strength out here, a different electorate for Mitt Romney if he can continue.

He won Iowa. He's won New Hampshire. If he can win three in a row, he becomes almost unstoppable. What about Evangelicals? Look at this here, right up in here, down in here, a high Evangelical population. Let me draw a line for you.

This area of the state right here, let's watch and see what Mitt Romney can do because if you turn this off, Mike Huckabee country. This up here, Mike Huckabee country, you expect Mitt Romney -- this is John McCain. Mitt Romney is exercising some ghosts.

He won Iowa. He won New Hampshire, two big disappointments four years ago, can he exercise the ghost of South Carolina when you get here, only 15 percent. McCain won along the coast of moderate Republicans.

This has to be Romney's base in South Carolina. This is the biggest test, all these conservatives saying he can't unite the party. He can't bring us together. He can't get excitement. The turnout we would need to beat Barack Obama.

The test for Mitt Romney, this is Huckabee country, the bible belt of South Carolina. This will be huge and from there, Anderson, after that we move down to the state of Florida. This is the state of Florida from four years ago, this ended the deal right here.

John McCain came out of South Carolina as the presumptive nominee. This was the e exclamation point when he won the state of Florida. If you look right now, I just want to show you one other thing if I can, TV ad count right now, the Romney campaign has known this all along.

The pro-Romney pack has been spending down here, see the big red circles, the pro-Romney PAC saying that's our firewall, just in case there's a South Carolina disappointment, let's move it to Florida.

COOPER: The Gingrich campaign or the Gingrich "Super PAC" have done a big ad buy in South Carolina but, really, Romney and his "Super PAC" owns the ad market right now in Florida.

KING: In Florida, they do. The other campaigns have to go state by state. Romney has the resources. He can jump ahead a few states and essentially built a protective firewall try to get ahead of the game.

As soon as Gingrich shot up at the polls, if you think back a month or six weeks ago, Gingrich shut up. The Romney "Super PAC" kicked in, in Florida to knock Gingrich down.

This is the ad spending here in South Carolina. So far, you see a lot of Rick Perry here. This is without a doubt Rick Perry's last stance in the state of South Carolina.

But again, if you just look at history, Romney has done tonight what no Republican has done, won Iowa and New Hampshire back to back. Only incumbent presidents have done that. If he racks it three in a row, a lot of people at home saying, delegates, delegates, hard to stop momentum, Anderson.

COOPER: And invisible night for Rick Perry has 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, although Ron Paul, you know, he's not necessarily a conventional candidate, he may stay in, even if others drop out. We're watching. He's done very well.

Right now, let's take a look at the votes. These are official votes, 28 percent of the precincts have now reported. You see Mitt Romney the winner, we projected he's the winner with 36 percent, 18,800 votes. Ron Paul, 24 percent, 12,700.

Jon Huntsman we project will come in third, 17 percent, 8,698. There is a battle underway for fourth place between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Both with 10 percent right now. Newt Gingrich slightly ahead, 5,371 to 5,284. Those were the two candidates Mitt Romney fear the most going into South Carolina. They're battling for fourth and fifth place. Rick Perry only 399 votes, 1 percent.

Erin and Gloria are taking us inside these numbers right now. What else are we seeing?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, well, interesting here to look at the polls. We want to try to give a sense of why you're seeing one, two and three come out the way they are, Wolf.

This is a neat thing on our flick wall. We can look at the winner by category by face. So I picked an area that can give you a chance to look at number two, Ron Paul. Ron Paul did, as you might expect, well with unmarried voters, well with lower income voters and well with new voters, ever voted in a GOP primary, yes went for Mitt Romney and no, went for Ron Paul.

What I want to highlight with Gloria though is that even where you see Ron Paul's face as the leader, it was often very tight between him and Mitt Romney. Look at this in terms of people that made between $30,000 and $50,000.

Gloria, yes, it went to Ron Paul, but I would call this a dead heat with Mitt Romney.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it is a dead heat. You would assume that Ron Paul would do very well with these folks as well as younger voters because they're college students.

College students don't make a lot of money and they're single as you point out over there. So that's why Ron Paul would do well. What's interesting though is that Mitt Romney had such a romp tonight, everybody normally sees him as the candidate of the wealthy, right?

Well, in the state of New Hampshire, maybe not. I mean, yes, he was beaten by Ron Paul, that's not a good thing. But look what he did compared to Huntsman and Santorum, who is the closest thing to a populist in the Republican race.

BURNETT: Come over here, Gloria, because I want to show you and everyone else another thing. When you look at income, I want everyone to see here, as I scroll across, to see the wealthier, not only did Mitt Romney win, but his margin of victory was even greater.

But let me just show you this. These are all -- the point here is, everybody, your head should spin a little bit, what I want to show you is this winners tonight. As you can see, when I scroll down no matter what category. The category is not important. What's important here is Mitt Romney's face. This is a sweep in almost every category.

BORGER: Let me point out, even in categories like very conservative on fiscal issues, very conservative on social issues, very even Evangelicals, even Tea Party voters, Mitt Romney beat Rick Santorum, who's arguably presenting himself as the most conservative on social issues, someone who can appeal to the Tea Party, and at least, in the state of New Hampshire, we should say, unlike any other state, Mitt Romney won with the most conservative folks who were voting.

BURNETT: That's right. As we get ready for Ron Paul to speak, Wolf, I just want to note -- we'll talk later about Jon huntsman who you saw in pink.

But you saw him do well with people registered Democrat, people who approved of the Obama administration and people who opposed the Tea Party. So we're going to break that down a little bit more later, but that's where you saw the numbers. Back to you.

BLITZER: All right, guys, thanks very much. Ron Paul is getting ready to speak. He's came in second in New Hampshire. We're going to hear his remarks live.

At the bottom of the screen, you see that squiggly line, we have a focus group Republicans -- undecided Republicans in Charleston, South Carolina, the next test. We'll see how they react to what they hear from Ron Paul. Stay with us. Our coverage continues.


BLITZER: We're waiting to hear from Ron Paul, the Texas congressman. He's come in second in New Hampshire. We heard from Mitt Romney. He gave his speech, his victory speech in New Hampshire.

Ron Paul coming in a strong second, getting ready to move on. At some point, we'll hear from Jon Huntsman and the other Republican candidates. While we await Ron Paul, Shannon Travis is joining us from Manchester.

Shannon, what's going on over there? I take it there may be a tiny little snafu?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is. Underscore the word, tiny little snafu. What's happening here in ward one, in Manchester is the number of ballots that delivered here to this ward is not actually equaling up to the number of ballots that they've counted.

A few minutes ago, there was a discrepancy of five ballots. Right now, we're told it's down to two. You will observe, they're basically recounting all of the ballots, hand counting just to show you how precise and painstaking this process has to be, the numbers have to equal up.

Now it may be a discrepancy on the city clerk's end that the number of ballots they thought they sent isn't actually the number they sent to this ward. So basically, these workers here, they've been here since 6:00 a.m. this morning.

You, of course, know that the polls close at 7:00. I'm being told they've been here since 5:00 a.m. polls open at 6:00 a.m. and the workers are, of course, tired, as they're reminding me right now. But this is a process, democracy in action and it has to be precise -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You have to do it the right way. I applaud these people to do it the right way. I almost expect them to hold them up and look for a hanging chad or something. But as you say, this are just a tiny little vote, Shannon, and if just one or two votes, certainly not going to make any difference.

Unlike in Iowa, where we know, eight votes, four votes going the other way could have made a huge difference in Iowa in New Hampshire. It's not happening right now. We'll stay in touch with you.

Shannon, thanks for taking us behind the scenes. Anderson, we're getting ready to hear from Ron Paul. We'll take his remarks live. Our focus group in Charleston, South Carolina. We'll assess what they're hearing, but let me check in with you.

COOPER: Yes, we were obviously listening very closely to Mitt Romney's speech. You made the point he wanted to come out early no matter what the numbers end up being just to get his message out there as quickly as possible.

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right, this is a campaign that doesn't leave much to chance even from the three guys, the three sons having white on the same shirt to the wife having white and signs being white.

This was nothing -- you can do it by design. The speech was much different than Iowa. He can't do extemporaneous stuff. He cannot call an audible. It was well crafted.

COOPER: It was a very different speech we heard from Iowa. We will talk about that. Ron Paul is at the podium now. Let's listen in.

RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you very much. I really don't have to introduce my wife. I think you know my wife, Kara.