It was a balmy, 43 degrees in New Hampshire today, as candidates criss-crossed the state looking for last minute support. There are indications upwards of one-third of voters are either undecided, or planning to vote as independents. By New Hampshire law, independents can vote for either party. Polls open at Midnight Eastern Time, in the tiny town of Dixville Notch, where usually about 20 people cast the first ballots.
Reporters such as me, chased the candidates with the same flurry they pressed for votes!
First stop for me today, a speech by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, (R-MA). He made a noon-time luncheon address at the Nashua Rotary Club.
Romney stressed his career as a successful businessman (which made him a multi-millionaire); his successful running of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and his single term as Governor of a heavily Democratic state.
Rotarians greeted him with the "Hello Song," a Rotary tradition, and a nice slice of political Americana.
Like so many candidates, he views this race as a referendum for "change" in U.S. politics. It has become almost a "mantra" of every campaign after Sen. Barrack Obama (D-IL) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) rode the change bronco to victory in Iowa.
"If ever there time we needed change in Washington, DC it's now. Washington is broke," Romney said. The former Olympic leader promised a gold rush of tax cuts if elected, and criticized rival Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ), as being only 'one-of-two' Senators to vote against President Bush's tax cuts.
Later in Concord, on the steps of the State Capitol building, Sen. McCain responded that his decades in public service, from the U.S. Navy to the Senate, were an asset, not a liability.
"I can lead this nation in difficult times," said McCain, who spent five years as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam. McCain said recent international problems including the Bhutto assassination in Pakistan, and the clash with the Iranian military on Sunday as prime examples. "I know how to handle the Iranians," he said, touting his military and foriegn affairs background.
Polls put McCain and Romney in a near dead-heat. CNN has McCain 32%, Romney 26%, while Fox News Channel has today's poll at McCain 34% Romney 27%. The Rassmussen Poll was even tighter, with McCain at 32% and Romney breathing down his neck like the hot Arizona sun, at 31%.
Wow, Arizona sounds great after this week in Iowa and New Hampshire!
I'll be covering the final rallies for Sen. Hillary Clinton, (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL) tonight, so watch for updates!
I'll be joining Ross McGowan, 'live' from Manchester on Mornings on Two Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:40 am. The I will join Ronn Owens on KGO-AM 810 radio at 9am, Tuesday and Wednesday as well.
(PHOTO Credits: by Mark Curtis c-2008 McCain (Dateline Concord); Romney (Dateline Nashua); Street supporters (Dateline Concord)