Hillary Clinton with husband Bill and daughter Chelsea in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Reuters)
Washington, Jan. 9: Hillary Clinton cried her way to victory in her partys primary in New Hampshire last night, dramatically reviving her campaign to be US President next year.
On the Republican side, Senator John McCain, an unabashed supporter of the Iraq war, threw open the partys candidate selection when he defeated the one-time favourite in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney and last weeks winner in Iowa, Mike Huckabee.
Hillary acknowledged this morning that her teary-eyed appearance at a campaign event 24 hours before voting may have coasted her to victory against media projections of a double digit win for her main rival in New Hampshire, Senator Barack Obama.
Asked on morning TV shows if choking up in public and showing her emotions was a turning point in her New Hampshire campaign, Hillary freely acknowledged: I think it could well have been. Not wanting to be left behind, her husband, Bill Clinton, also put some emotion on display after his wifes win, wiping a tear and breaking his voice as he talked about last night.
The former President, a key architect of his wifes success in New Hampshire, is a master of poll campaigns, adept at cashing in on political opportunities. Every woman — and a large number of men — that this correspondent randomly talked to throughout yesterday said the former First Ladys emotional appeal for votes had persuaded them to support her.
Hillary had lost the womens vote in Iowa last week, but she won ten per cent more of their support than Obama in New Hampshire after a display of tears, voting analysis showed.
Earlier at a key debate in the run up to voting, the moderator asked her why she was not likeable. Hillary pretended to be hurt. That really hurts my feelings, she responded. Then she batted her eyelids repeatedly, shook her head coyly and pleaded that she was not really that bad.
Bill Clinton added to the charged final hours before voting when he said of his wife in a comment that was broadcast widely: Im sorry. I cant make her younger, taller, male.
The former President also laboured to tell voters that Obama was inconsistent in his voting in the Senate and was not telling voters the truth about his presumed opposition to the Iraq war. There is no difference in your voting record and Hillarys, Bill Clinton told Obama.
Give me a break! This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I have ever seen.
He has been popular in New Hampshire since his own performance in the state primaries in 1992 and has carefully nurtured that vote bank for his wife anticipating her eventual presidential candidacy.
Undaunted by last nights surprise defeat, Obama turned his attention to a string of primaries ahead. Anyone who thinks they know how voters are going to respond at this point are probably misleading themselves, he said today.
And I think voters are not going to let any candidate take anything for granted. They want to lift the hood, kick the tires. They want us to earn it.
The next primary is in Michigan on January 15. Republicans in South Carolina will vote on January 19 and Democrats on January 26 while Nevada and Florida will have their primaries on January 19 and 29 respectively.
More than 20 states will choose their candidates on Super Tuesday, February 5.
McCain won in the Republican primary over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on a wave of support from independent voters.