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Clinton Beats Obama in New Hampshire

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NASHUA, New Hampshire (AFP) - Hillary Clinton flew into the political fight of her life Friday, hours after crashing to a decisive defeat to Democratic foe Barack Obama in the first White House nominating clash.

Ordained Baptist minister Mike Huckabee meanwhile led the Republican influx into New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday's primary contests, hoping to turn his come-from-nowhere victory in Thursday's Iowa caucuses into a national surge.

Obama, basking in the spoils of a sensational debut victory in Iowa in his historic bid to become America's first black president, also landed in New Hampshire, seeking to inflict another sickening blow on the former first lady.

"We are choosing hope over fear. We're choosing unity over division and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America," Obama, who is rallying a grass-roots demand for change, said late Thursday.

The Illinois senator drew 38 percent of his party's votes in the caucuses, while Clinton slipped into third place on 29 percent, a point behind 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards.

Clinton is seeking the kind of boost in New Hampshire that revived husband Bill Clinton's White House dreams in 1992, and led him to dub himself the "Comeback Kid."

She insisted she was "optimistic" and keen to get on with a national campaign, as aides predicted a "marathon" battle for the Democratic nomination.

"We have always planned to run a national campaign all the way through the early contests," said Clinton, who was due to hold an early morning rally with her husband, who remains highly popular here.

Shellshocked Clinton aides insisted that the former first lady, on her own historic quest, trying to become America's first woman president, would bounce back.

"This is one of 27 contests," Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe told reporters. "Hillary Clinton will be the nominee."

Aides said Clinton had rallied top staff after her dispiriting defeat, but the reverse will spark speculation of a change of tactics or even a shakeup in the command structure of her campaign.

An average of New Hampshire polls by RealClearPolitics had Clinton with 34 percent to Obama's 27 percent and Edwards' 18. It has McCain at 31.3 percent on average, Romney at 28.8 percent, Giuliani at 10 and Huckabee at 9.5.

Huckabee drubbed his top rival in the race, Mitt Romney, 34 percent to 25 percent, capturing the votes of the "Christian Right," and casting doubt on the former Massachusetts governor's national viability.

His win was also good news for Senator John McCain, who earned a virtual tie for a respectable third place, considering he did very little campaigning in Iowa.

The Vietnam war hero and Arizona senator stole away to New Hampshire before the Iowa results were even reported, and is expected to do well in a state he won 2000, before he fell to George W. Bush.

"We will win," he told reporters, with no doubt in his voice. "I'm very confident that we can.

Obama's triumph vindicated the 46-year-old senator's message of hope and political change, and repudiated Clinton's message that only she has the experience and political dexterity to bring about change.

"They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high," Obama said. "Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope."

Democratic senators Christopher Dodd and Joseph Biden were the party's two big casualties, both dropping out of the race after their poor caucus showings.

Huckabee, like Obama, benefited from a populist wave of anger at Washington politics.

"It starts here in Iowa, but it doesn't end here. It goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue one year from now," he said, citing the address of the White House.

The result further splinters the Republican field, with other leading candidates like former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani lying in wait in bigger states further on in the nominating process.

After New Hampshire, a series of other primary battles lead to February 5, when more than 20 states vote.

IN BAHASA

NASHUA, New Hampshire - Senator Hillary Clinton dipastikan menjadi pemenang dalam pemilihan pendahuluan kandidat presiden AS dari kubu Demokrat di Negara Bagian New Hampshire.

Sebagaimana ditayangkan stasiun televisi CNN, Hillary meraih 39% suara dari sekitar 270 ribu pemilih. Mantan ibu negara itu berhasil mengalahkan saingan utamanya, Senator Barack Obama, yang hanya terpaut 3% suara. Raihan suara mereka memang mendominasi New Hampshire mengingat John Edwards cuma sanggup menangguk 17% suara.

Hasil tersebut memupus harapan pihak Obama untuk mencatat kemenangan kedua kalinya secara beruntun setelah di Iowa menang mutlak.

Sementara itu, John McCain tampil sebagai pemenang dari kubu Republik. Raihan suaranya yang mencapai 37%, menyisihkan perolehan Mitt Romney (32%) dan kampiun kaukus Iowa, Mike Huckabee (11%). (Jer/OL-2)

 

 

 

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source : AFP, media-indonesia

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