CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) - A handful of Democratic presidential hopefuls took to the stage in Concord Saturday to woo the base at the state party convention.
My fellow Democrats, this war must end, this war must end, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said, touching on an issue that routinely brought the roughly 800 party faithful to their feet.
"My great concern about what's happening in Iraq is that as a result of this failed policy we are less secure we are less safe and we are more isolated, we are more vulnerable today," said Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. "We want our troops out."
Biden and Dodd were among five presidential hopefuls to address the convention. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards did not attend and instead sent surrogates.
The presence of the so-called "first tier" candidates, however, was widely felt with a blizzard of signage, supporters and staff buzzing around the sweltering middle school complex where the convention was held.
Noting the absence of the frontrunners, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said he was was dedicated grassroots campaigning that was going to win New Hampshire.
"I am here, grass roots, door-to-door, house-to-house," Richardson said. "I want your support."
Richardson, Dodd and Biden were scheduled to leave New Hampshire this afternoon to attend a Democratic Party dinner in Iowa this evening. They, along with Clinton and Edwards, will be back in time for Sunday night's CNN/WMUR/Union Leader debate.
- CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson