January 3rd, 2008
04:07 PM ET
10 years ago

Granite State gears up for the show

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) ­- With only hours left in the Iowa presidential campaign, New Hampshire is gearing up for its turn in the limelight, and getting ready for the imminent arrival of candidates, campaign staff and journalists.

The first to hit the ground in the Granite State is Sen. John McCain, who landed before voting in Iowa even began. McCain, who has seen a recent surge in state polls, has already spent most of the week stumping here – he’ll watch the caucus returns from aboard his Straight Talk Express campaign bus.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will kick off this new phase of his New Hampshire campaign with a 2 a.m. rally at the Portsmouth airport.

After spending Thursday morning campaigning in New Hampshire, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leaves for Florida, but returns Friday afternoon for a town hall in Salem. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will start off with an afternoon campaign in Henniker. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's Friday schedule is still being hashed out, but he will be back in the state Saturday for the ABC/WMUR presidential debates. Rep. Ron Paul's schedule is still in the works.

On the Democratic side, all the candidates are storming the Granite State in time for breakfast. Sen. Hillary Clinton returns with former President Bill Clinton for an early morning event Friday in Nashua. Sen. Barack Obama begins his Friday in Portsmouth with a morning rally, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson makes a breakfast stop at the Merrimack in Manchester. Sen. Chris Dodd hits the ground early Friday morning, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich has been in the Granite State since December 31. But Sen. John Edwards takes the early-bird prize on the Democratic side Friday, with a 6:15 a.m. campaign stop in Manchester.

They’ll find a race that promises to be nearly as tight as Iowa’s. A Franklin Pierce/University/WBZ poll released yesterday found Clinton and Obama neck-and-neck at 32 and 28 percent, with Edwards in third place with 19 percent. The same poll found Republican John McCain leading Mitt Romney 37 to 31 percent, with Giuliani at 10 percent. The poll was conducted December 27-31 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

The GOP race is even closer in a Suffolk/WHDH poll released today, which finds McCain leading Romney 29 to 25 percent. Huckabee has 12 percent in the survey, and Giuliani has 9 percent. But the same poll finds a far different picture on the Democratic side, with Clinton at 39 percent to Obama’s 23 percent and Edwards’ 17 percent. That poll was conducted January 1-2, and has a margin of error for each party subsample of plus or minus 4.38 percent.

–CNN’s Sareena Dalla and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: New Hampshire • Race to '08 • Uncategorized
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Dave, California

    Romney has the best chance in NH. Romney'08

    January 3, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Connie, Tn.

    Obama all the way!!

    January 3, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    If the 'Champion of the Middle Class', John Edwards, wins in Iowa then you will see another three way race in N.H.

    Go John, Go!

    January 3, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Erica

    Have I found the Fox in the CNN House? A few questions.

    1) Why is Chris Dodd's name not hyperlinked?
    2) How does Edwards getting to NH on Friday beat Kucinich being there for several days?
    3) Can we stop calling Edwards Sen. Edwards since it has been a few years? We don't call Richardson Rep. Amb. Sec. Gov. Richardson.

    January 3, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Ted

    Romney is trying to buy voters and spread untrue rumors about his competitiors – it is a shame that Huckabee took him to the cleaners.... Vote for a real American Hero, McCain!

    January 3, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  6. Kim Thornton

    I like John Edwards. He gets my vote.I live in Ohio.I liked him in 2004 and even more in 2008.He would make a great President.Thanks John Edwards for making me belive in the the great country we live in,and with you leading us we can be a great AMERICA again.

    Kim Thornton

    January 3, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. bill corona

    Although I like Obama, I do not think he is ready for the big job of President.

    Also at the debate they had earlier on stage when they played the National Anthem, He did not put his hand over his heart or say the "Pledge of Legence". That is why as a veteran, I could never vote for him and wonder if he is a true American? It is also distastful to all true Americans when he will not salute the American flag.


    January 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  8. Justin W. Chappell

    Are NH Independent voters now more likely to vote as Republicans supporting John McCain or Democrats supporting Barak Obama?

    January 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  9. ezekiel

    HUCKABEE has arrived! American revolution. The spirit of 1776.

    January 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  10. America Rising

    Edwards was outspent in Iowa by both Obama and Hillary and yet he managed to place right up front with them. What great proof that Americans do not want a bought election process nor the media manipulating the outcome by making people hopeless about believing in their candidate because its portrayed as a 'done deal' before you can get out the door to vote.

    We are passionate about wanting change and are ready to have our voices heard loud and clear. Now that John has proven that you can, in fact, go far with passion and unification of purpose, more people will be able to not only hope for change but realize that it is ours for the making.

    America is ready for change and the time is NOW. As this race progresses America is going to find out that John is substantial in how he is going to implement those changes.

    Yes, he is hopeful but just as importantly - he is prepared!

    Go, Johnny, Go!!

    January 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  11. Sandeep

    I really think that Obama is going to win this and then use that to gain the nomination. Also, on the Republican side, I think Giuliani is going to really show up a lot of people on Super Tuesday and take his nomination. With that said, we're going to have the first Black president in history. However, I support Ron Paul and hopefully he can win a state or two and get his message out there.

    January 4, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  12. Leslie Somerville, Seattle, Washington

    Go Hillary 08!!

    January 4, 2008 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  13. Tracey D.

    This is a true story that must be told. It’s about Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and how he has indirectly held a man’s life as hostage since June 2006. This story is about the wrongful conviction of a young military man, whose only crime was being spurned by his young girlfriend. The media refuses to break this story, yet the truth will still be told because of this man's effort to regain his life. This account of the last 15 years of Marcus Clay’s life is profoundly wrong on many levels. It starts with a court case in Arkansas that undoubtedly should have been declared a mistrial. It involves people in high places of local and state government. It involves an ex-Governor who is now running for President. Wayne Dumond, a felon who was released on parole by Governor Huckabee (who then went on to rape and kill two women) ties in with this story. We can even throw in a rock star, Keith Richards, for good measure. Does all this sound too unbelievable? Just keep listening.

    The story begins with a 17-year-old Marcus dating a then 15-year-old girl back in Arkansas in 1992. A falling out between the two young people prompted the girl to acquire the aid of four other girls, and in an act of revenge, the five girls accused Marcus of sexually assaulting them over the course of some time. The girl’s ages ranged from 12-15. But an assault never occurred, and not only that, no physical exam was ever performed on the girls to verify their accusations.

    In fact, during the time that the five girls claim that the assaults occurred, Marcus was in Fort Benning, GA in boot camp and A.I.T.. The trial judge didn’t allow this key information be presented as evidence, which undoubtedly would have exonerated Marcus Clay. The judge had sustained an objection from the prosecutor that since an Army officer was not present to explain the military’s NGB-22 that it shouldn’t be admitted into court. The NGB-22 is a certificate of discharge that would have shown Marcus’ whereabouts during the time periods in question. Marcus is subsequently found guilty and is initially sentenced to life plus 80 years, for 5 counts of rape. There is no statutory rape in Arkansas. Within a year and a half the AR State Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision and remanded back for a new trial. However, the 5 girls now refused to testify because they couldn’t remember their original testimony. The girls, still under age, refused under subpoena from the prosecution to testify in court. The prosecution, with no other recourse, then offered Marcus a plea. They offered him 20 years in state prison if he agreed, but if they had to go back to trial, he would be facing 5 life sentences. Upon his attorney’s advice, telling him he could fight this decision later, Marcus took the plea. Marcus was fearful of a court that had unjustly sentenced him already once, and he was playing it safe by accepting the plea. This is where Marcus’ attorney drops the ball. His attorney never advised Marcus that he had only 90 days from the plea deal to request for a new trial, with better conditions that would prove his innocence. Marcus winds up spending 8 years in state prison until he’s finally released. He still had to serve 5 years of parole.
    This is where Governor Mike Huckabee comes into the picture in 2003. Marcus meets with Huckabee and is promised exoneration by the Governor who is convinced by the evidence that Marcus wasn't even in the state when this alleged crime happened. Huckabee even apologizes four times to Marcus, and tries to console him with standard Christian counseling "everything happens for a reason, we don't always understand why things happen, but it's in God's plan". The exoneration would wipe this conviction off Marcus’ record. But when the time came in 2006 for Huckabee to follow through with his promise to Marcus, now 32, the Governor reneged on his promise. Marcus had just spent the last 15 years of his life paying for a crime he didn't commit, and the Governor, with full knowledge of his innocence, denied the pardon. The reason of course is political. Politics aside, how could anyone do this to another human being?

    During the time from 2003 (when Marcus personally met with Huckabee) until December of 2005, the environment changed in Arkansas regarding pardons and paroles. The Governor was now dealing with a sticky matter involving a convicted felon by the name of Wayne Dumond, who was convicted for raping then Governor Bill Clinton's cousin. Huckabee had personally advocated for Dumond’s parole. But after he had been released, Dumond went on rape and kill 2 women in 2000. The Governor was now leery of his liberal policy of granting paroles as well as pardons. This is understandable, however Huckabee had been warned about Dumond a month prior to Dumond's release. Thirteen new witnesses came forward and claimed Dumond assaulted them also, and they petitioned Huckabee to not release this monster. Yet Huckabee didn’t listen and still paroled Dumond, which eventually led to the death of two women.

    So when the time came for Marcus Clay to get his deserved exoneration from Governor Huckabee, Marcus was sacrificed on the political alter by Huckabee. It didn't matter that Marcus had letters of support from the Lieutenant Governor, a US Senator, and a Congressman, all Confirming Marcus' innocence in writing. Including Mike Huckabee’s current Director of Research Joe carter of his National Campaign, who in a recorded phone conversation admitted twice he was innocent. That Huckabee himself had his Military liaison investigate Marcus' innocence and put that into writing as well. When the time came to do the right thing, Huckabee backed down and yielded to his political aspirations. Huckabee had tightened up on the pardon process, however; Marcus had met the standard of proof of innocence that was required. He fully met the stipulation and standards for a pardon. Yet the Governor reneged on his promise. He couldn’t afford any more negative publicity involving paroles or pardons. Perhaps Mike Huckabee was already looking to a Presidential run in 2008. Whatever the reason, Huckabee made a conscious decision, reneging on his promise, with full knowledge of his innocence that amounted to playing "God" with this man's life.

    Yet, when it comes to celebrity however, Governor Huckabee was more sympathetic. In the 1970’s rock star Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was arrested in Arkansas for speeding and carrying an 8-inch knife. In 2006, the same year Huckabee denied that Marcus a pardon, the Stones rolled into town for a concert. The Governor was elated that one of his favorite groups was in town. On stage during the concert in Little Rock, in front of the entire crowd, Richards asked Governor Huckabee for a pardon for his 1970’s misdemeanor.

    The Governor agreed! The very next day after the concert, Huckabee personally filed the necessary paperwork for Richards’ pardon. Talk about sympathy for the Devil! Marcus just wants his life back. He wants to return to the military. This all could have been over for him in June 2006. He should have been granted his pardon, with exoneration. But that didn't happen for Marcus, who is just an ordinary person. Huckabee himself pointed out in Rolling Stone Magazine, that if Marcus "played guitar like Keith Richards he would have gotten his exoneration as well". Obviously the Governor is shallow and I believe Huckabee is. But the fact remains that to Mike Huckabee, someone’s life is fair game to joke about, and this callousness is the reason why Marcus' time in his political purgatory has been unnecessarily prolonged.

    There is only one person that can help Marcus now. That person is the new Governor, Mike Beebe. There’s history between the new Governor and the old Governor, and they don't get along very well. When leaving office at the end of 2006, Huckabee had all the computer hard drives in his administration destroyed. The computers were paid for out of the people’s taxes. They were still useful when they were given the order to be destroyed. This left incoming Governor Beebe in a bind, and short of cash, he had to take $350K from Arkansas' Emergency Relief Fund to buy new computers. But annihilating perfectly good computers, instead of just wiping the hard drives clean 7 times, is NOT standard procedure in AR or anywhere else. We may never learn the sensitive information that was on those computers. But whatever it was that Huckabee was hiding, he apparently couldn't afford to take even the remotest chance of anyone ever finding out.

    Due to the history between the two Governors, Beebe wants no part of Huckabee's legacy as Governor in AR. In a way, who can blame him? When you step into a pigpen, you’ll get soiled. But is this any reason to allow Marcus and his family to suffer even one more day than they have to? So instead of taking the bull by the horns, and doing everything possible to bring his ordeal to a quick end, Beebe office has directed Marcus to re-file for a new pardon. But this process takes a lot of time, and while he waits, Marcus is at a stalemate, waiting to regain his life.

    The situation right now is that Marcus is waiting for his next review before the board, which he was already recommended for a pardon the first time. If the board approves this pardon, it will then go before Governor Beebe for the final, at which time he can approve, not approve, or take no action. But the earliest that Marcus should be granted a pardon is still months away, and that’s only if it is approved by the new Governor. The legal system is churning along, spinning its wheels, thanks to Mike Huckabee reneging on his promise 2 years ago.

    But the worst travesty is not the taxpayers money being wasted by bureaucrats who show no desire to get creative, the worst tragedy occurs on a daily basis as lived out by Marcus Clay. Every day he has to live through the public torment and associated embarrassment of being labeled a "Sex Offender".

    Every day that he doesn’t have his pardon means that it’s another day he can’t find work, because every potential employer who learns turns him away about his record. Every day that goes by with this brand on his forehead, is another day that his marriage will suffer because of it. Marcus can't even take his own daughter to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party. Marcus may technically be a "free man" because he’s out of prison. Yet he still carries the chains of injustice around his ankles, because he’s being held hostage by a corrupt and uncompromising legal system, which civil servants have used to serve themselves, and not the public interest.

    What's it going to take to get this story out? The Marcus Clay story is so rooted in corruption and scandal that heads would surely have to roll when indeed it gets out Since Governor Huckabee is the key element in this story, and this story would hurt his presidential campaign, is this why Marcus' story is not being told? Will Governor Beebe finally step in to rectify this abomination, this miscarriage of justice? Will this horrifically sad story of Marcus Clay finally be heard? Or will the story, on a national level, be buried in a cesspool of politics that are merely an extension of a corrupt government on the local level? The time has come for this nation to respond to this injustice, to come to the aid of Marcus Clay, for it is not just Marcus Clay that we must rise up and fight for, it is for our very selves. This can happen to anyone……

    I have copies of all forementioned letters and the phone conversation

    January 4, 2008 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  14. Doris Murphy

    McCain is long past due on running. The man is tired, very lackluster, and has made some stupid political decision in 2007.

    Will Rogers once wrote about traveling across McCain's homestate-The trip across Arizona is just one oasis after another. You can just throw anything out and it will grow there.

    McCain is trying to do the same with his mixed bag of policies. He is throwing his mixed-minded plans out to frigid New Hampshire voters, hoping that their support for him will grow.

    It won't. New Hampshire is no Arizona. NH voters gave McCain the chance in 2000 and he lost the race and went on to become the political effigy for the Bush administration. Bad bad move, buckaroo.

    January 4, 2008 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  15. Nancy NH

    Its sad to see obama has to use his skin color, BECUASE OF HIS LACK OF SUBSTANCE...hes just an oprah product..It was very close in IOWA, he didnt run away with the voted as he predicted. appears young voters as younfg as 17 whowont be voting anywhere else or in the general election. Obama got to play there with oprah, now he will be under scrutney and all will see this guys NO SUBSTANCE...JOKE!

    Clinton still 44% to obama 22% Nationally!!..its tike for Obamatrash to start, ther playboy will get his 5 minutes of attention very very soon, allot of good information coming out about him and Michelle....Finally!


    January 4, 2008 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  16. Mike, PA

    Vote RON PAUL

    January 4, 2008 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  17. HILLARY 2008

    NH is allot smarter than IOWANS, they will not be fooled by tv talk show host like owans were this round the country is sadly laughing at IOWANS today!

    Now the race if for educated adults thats where obama losses!

    January 4, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  18. de

    I'd switch to a republican before I voted for Obama.... he is too young and not even experienced to handle a fragile USA. Go EDWARDS OR HILIARY!!!

    January 4, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  19. Helen

    I will vote for any republican over obama.when is the news media going to start treating he like others?

    January 4, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  20. J Guerra

    Let us step back a moment and review a brief analysis of the Hillary trouncing in Iowa.

    • Obama 35% of the woman vote vs Hillary’s 30%
    • Obama 57% of the under 30 vote
    • Hillary most time in Iowa than any other candidate, and emerges THIRD

    Did not Mark Penn’s mastery of polling foresee this?

    Weren’t research based communication strategies designed from those polls to overcome this?

    I would assume that the Hillary campaign is going to earnestly endeavor toreformat itself to reinvigorate support from the young and women. Force the candidate of change angle. But is appearing on a stage with Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright the best first step in that effort?

    Contrast that to Obama, a natural born orator, young, carrying well the image of a proud and happy family man whenever he is surrounded by his wife and daughters.

    Be honest, which image do you think is going to continue drawing support from women and the under 30 demographic?

    Will the Hillary campaign have to fall back purely on her “experience” for its sustenance?

    All that I can say is that it will be most interesting to watch what happens with the Hillary campaign the next few weeks.

    January 4, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. David

    Hey Leslie Somerville,

    Do you have some other sources? I did a google search for "Marcus Clay" HUckabee, "Marcus Clay" Arkansas, and a number of other combinations and couldn't find much of anything. Certainly in this electronic age you would think I could find something to back up your story. Let us know. I thinkmost of us want to keep an open mind on what you're saying.

    January 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. Geh

    Well, McCain is not the man. McCain, you truely are a work. Being a Vietnam Vet myself you can't imagine how much respect I had for your service and the hardships you endured for all of us. But, I just can't imagine your take on the Iraq War. You of all people know that it was because of the lack of backing by the politicians that the military's hands were tied that the Vietnam War was dragged on and on and on and eventually came to the conclusion that it did. Why you (especially you) and others in government did not learned from the past and get behind Bush to "win" is beyond me. If you had of, it would be a thing in the past already. I for one will not vote for you, just because of this one fact, you and all your buddies in government are brain dead. You have not learned from the past and because of this you have allowed and promoted Iraq to become another Vietnam drawn out affair. It is because of you that I and most others have lost all faith in Bush. I want a President who will get the backing of all other elected officials during his administration, if you can't first follow, then how the hell can you lead.

    Huckabee talks good, but I'm afraid he just won't be able to implement his ideas, again because of the type of people we have in our government. In fact, it beats the heck out of me how anyone can do anything as president with the idiots we seem to put in office to help him run the country.

    That being said though, I think Romney makes the most sence this time around.


    January 5, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. matt

    i hope to god people will realize that every canidate on both sides will ruin our nation. Our only hope for freedom is Ron Paul.

    February 4, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |