CNN’s Chris Welch reports that as many as 2,000 people crowded into a gym with a capacity of 1,550 to hear Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama Saturday morning in Nashua, New Hampshire. Around 1,000 others were sent to a smaller, overflow gym on-site. (Photo credit: AP)
Related video: 'Obamamania' in New Hampshire
(CNN) – Ron Paul is stealing a page from Mike Huckabee’s winning campaign playbook.
The Republican presidential candidate will be a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Monday night, just hours before New Hampshire’s primary voters head to the polls. The Texas congressman will chat with the late night host about his recent snub from the planned FOX debate in the Granite State, according to spokesman Jesse Benton.
Huckabee appeared on the Tonight Show the day before last Thursday's Iowa caucuses, despite warnings from some that the former Arkansas governor couldn’t afford to take valuable time away from the trail for a taping at the show's Burbank, California studios. Hours after his visit, he won the state’s GOP caucuses.
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - The New Hampshire Republican Party announced Saturday that it was withdrawing as a partner of Sunday’s primary debate on FOX because of the exclusion of two GOP presidential hopefuls.
"The first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary serves a national purpose by giving all candidates an equal opportunity on a level playing field. Only in New Hampshire do lesser known, lesser funded underdogs have a fighting chance to establish themselves as national figures,” New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said in a statement.
“The New Hampshire Republican Party believes Congressmen Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter should be included in the FOX forum on Sunday evening. Our mutual efforts to resolve this difference have failed."
Supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter had complained over the exclusion of both men from Sunday night’s debate, the final faceoff before Tuesday’s primary.
–CNN's Sareena Dalla and Rebecca Sinderbrand
DERRY, New Hampshire (CNN) – Mitt Romney, his back to the wall in New Hampshire, is focusing on his Washington outsider status in an attempt to brush back Sen. John McCain's resurgent campaign here.
"We need new faces and new voices," Romney said at an "Ask Mitt Anything" town hall here, emphasizing his record as a reformer from the private sector.
At the event, Romney unveiled never before seen campaign signage: a large, blue banner reading "Washington is Broken" and a 15-item "To-Do" list that included "Cut the Pork," "Reduce Taxes" and "End Illegal Immigration."
Romney covered familiar ground by hammering McCain on immigration policy and his lack of early support for the Bush tax cuts. But he also challenged the Arizona senator on one of his long-time priorities – cutting pork-barrel spending.
"We have great mavericks and champions who are going to fight the pork, but somehow its always there," Romney said.
John Edwards is hoping to transfer his Iowa momentum to New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: AP)
(CNN) - Democrat John Edwards seemed to suggest Friday Hillary Clinton's third place finish in Iowa may have rendered the New York senator effectively out of the presidential race.
Speaking at an early-morning campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Edwards pointed to entrance polls indicating Iowa voters overwhelmingly listed "change" as the most important attribute they are looking for in a candidate. That means, he added, there are now only "two choices."
"What is clear is that [voters] are not interested in status quo," Edwards said. "They're interested in change. They want to see a candidate of change, and so they now have two choices in making that decision, and this choice is somebody who will fight for the change that makes America what it's capable of being.
Edwards also continued with his campaign’s standard populist pitch in the Granite State, telling Manchester voters, "I am not the candidate of glitz. I am not the candidate of glamor; nor do I claim to be. But what I am - I am the candidate for president of the United States that is the peoples' candidate."
The former senator struck a similar chord at a Nashua event later Friday. And in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Edwards sought to distinguish himself as a fighter for change while rival Barack Obama's approach is more "philosophical" and "academic."
Most current New Hampshire polls were taken before the Iowa caucuses, and show Edwards a distant third behind Clinton and Obama in the state. It remains unclear what effect his second-place showing on Thursday might have among Granite State primary voters.
Meanwhile, Clinton downplayed Friday her third-place showing in Iowa, saying the Hawkeye State was always a difficult one for her to win. She also dismissed Iowa's ultimate effect on determining the party's eventual nominee.
"Iowa does not have best track record in determining who the parties nominate, everybody knows that," she said at an event in Manchester. "You know, New Hampshire is famously independent, it is a place where people want to make up their own minds - they're not interested in what anybody else has decided.
"They want to look us up and down, make that judgment, and I welcome that," She added. "I think that's exactly what the New Hampshire process should be about."
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has laid off campaign staffers, one day after he placed a distant fourth in the Iowa caucuses, a campaign aide confirms to CNN.
“We had an extremely large staff in Iowa, and since we have moved onto New Hampshire we have had some layoffs,” Richardson’s presidential campaign spokesman Tom Reynolds told CNN Friday.
Citing strategic political reasons, Reynolds would not say how many campaign aides were let go. He did say that no senior campaign staffers have been asked to take pay cuts.
“We have the resources we need to be competitive in the early states,” Reynolds said.
It is not unheard of for candidates who are struggling to stay in the race to trim their staffs.
Reynolds said the governor remains focused on winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
“We have a solid ground game in New Hampshire,” Reynolds said. “The smaller field is going to allow Richardson to draw greater contrasts, especially on the war in Iraq, which is going to benefit our campaign.”
–CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
(CNN) – Republican John McCain’s campaign responded to a statement by rival Mitt Romney that there was "no way" the Arizona senator could claim to be a candidate of change by sending reporters a 2002 quote in which he said McCain “has always represented change.”
“There’s no way that Sen. McCain is going to be able to come to New Hampshire and say that he’s the candidate that represents change - that he’ll change Washington. He is Washington,” Romney said on the campaign trail Friday.
Shortly afterwards, the McCain camp circulated comments Romney made when he was running for governor of Massachusetts more than five years ago.
“One of the reasons the people of America honor Sen. McCain and why I'm so proud to have him standing with me today is that he has brought American values to the debate on the issues we care about,” Romney said at the time. “He has always stood for reform and change.”
UPDATE: Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden said Friday afternoon that "Washington has not changed in the right direction during Senator McCain’s long career there.
"The legislation that McCain most expressly advocated—campaign finance reform and immigration reform—were the wrong approaches on both issues. We need more meaningful change brought about by someone with a proven record of actually turning things around."
The Romney campaign also emailed a newspaper account of some of McCain's own 2002 comments, in which he praised then-gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney as an individual with the "honesty and integrity who will make the tough decision based on what's best for the state and not the individual. That's the theme of Mitt Romney's campaign, and if that message gets across he's going to be fine."
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - CNN will again air long-form, uninterrupted coverage of Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail this weekend, the network announced Friday.
The programming will allow the network’s viewers around the nation to learn about the candidates’ plans from the contenders themselves, and to experience the political campaign from the perspective of New Hampshire voters, by airing events in their entirety rather than in sound-bite form.
It will be anchored by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King and other political correspondents in the field, and will air Saturday from 2-6 p.m. EST and Sunday from 1-3 p.m., 4-6 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. EST.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It takes something extraordinary to keep President Bush awake late into the evening, and the exciting Iowa caucuses - which resulted in upstart victories for Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama - were up to the challenge.
"The President watched the returns last night, he stayed up past his usual bedtime I think to wait for the results to be announced," White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters with a smile on Friday morning. "He watched the network coverage of the results coming in. It's something obviously that he's keeping an eye on."
Bush clearly does not want to show favor to any one Republican candidate at this preliminary stage, so Fratto said the President did not place a congratulatory phone call to Huckabee. "I think it's a little bit early to be doing phone calls," he noted.
But in private, the President is expressing admiration about the spirited competition thus far. "The President said that these races are great tests," Fratto said. "You win some and you lose some. And the question is: how do you do in the long run? He thinks it's a good test for anyone who will eventually end up in this job."
"And it's exciting for Americans to pay attention to it - he is," added Fratto. "He understands the range of emotions that candidates go through, both those who don't do as well as they expected to do and those looking forward to do better."
With the Huckabee and Obama victories being widely viewed as votes for change, Fratto was asked if the results should be interpreted as a sign that Americans are expressing fatigue with the President and his administration.
"No, I think it's an election season [and] people are ready for - to get on," Fratto said of the natural transition of power.
"It's good to see change in this job and the way we do it, especially if you put it in to the context of some of the troublesome transitions of power that we see happen in other countries," added Fratto. "We sort of take it for granted the way we do it. We have very competitive, hardly-fought election campaigns and graceful, peaceful transitions of power."
–CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry