What Does N.H. Mean For The Rest Of The Pack?
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
NPR's Greg Allen is also in Manchester and he reports on what New Hampshire means for three other Republicans, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: While the other candidates were campaigning in Iowa, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was here in the granite state. Today, he was in Pittsfield at Globe Manufacturing, a 150-year-old company that makes firefighter suits. He stopped to chat with one of the workers, Paul Bisque(ph), who was wearing a Harley-Davidson hat. Huntsman owns a Harley and asked Bisque what color is yours?
JON HUNTSMAN: What color?
PAUL BISQUE: Silver.
HUNTSMAN: Mine's black with steel pipes.
BISQUE: I had a black one until I totaled it.
ALLEN: Huntsman has held some 150 events in New Hampshire over the past month and what does he have to show for it? Polling numbers in the single digits behind Romney, Paul and Gingrich. But now, Huntsman told Globe employees in the plant's cafeteria, the race begins in earnest.
HUNTSMAN: You all have a chance to change the world. Let me tell you, as an outsider, you're the window through which everybody else gets to assess and analyze the people running for the highest office in the land.
ALLEN: That's also a role Iowa plays in the presidential process and Huntsman wasn't part of it. But despite Romney's win there, Huntsman says the race is still wide open.
HUNTSMAN: And essentially, you've got 75 percent of the party, at least as stated by Iowa, that is still looking for an alternative, still looking for an alternative. And I say that means there's a whole lot of blue sky for the rest of us in the race and this is anything but settled.
NEWT GINGRICH: Welcome to New Hampshire.
ALLEN: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich started early today in Concord, holding the first of a series of scheduled town meetings. Gingrich says he'll work hard over the next week to differentiate himself from Romney, the person Gingrich holds most responsible for the negative attack ads that knocked him in Iowa from first place to also-ran status. When asked by a reporter today why he didn't congratulate Romney on his Iowa win, Gingrich only raised his eyebrows.
GINGRICH: I find it amazing the news media continues to say he's the most electable Republican when he can't even break out in his own party and I don't think he's going to. He'll do fairly well here. This is one of his three best states. But the fact is that Governor Romney, in the end, has a very limited appeal in a conservative party.
ALLEN: Gingrich comes to New Hampshire with little money and no plans announced yet for any television ads, but he's likely to be a lively presence in the two upcoming presidential debates and he's likely to be gunning for Romney. Gingrich says he expects to pick up new supporters now that there's one fewer conservative in the race.
GINGRICH: And I think that Bachmann's folks will probably end up being split largely between Santorum and me. And almost none of them will go to Romney because he just doesn't fit. He doesn't fit culturally. He doesn't fit ideologically with the people who found Michele Bachmann to be attractive.
ALLEN: And what about Ron Paul? After a strong third place finish in Iowa, the unconventional candidate will not even be here until Friday. At Ron Paul headquarters in Concord, about a dozen staff and a dozen more volunteers were busy today working the phones, putting out yard signs, the things they've been doing for weeks. Field organizer Brian Early said as far as he's concerned, Iowa really doesn't change much.
BRIAN EARLY: We always knew that if we, you know, if we just did our work, what we do, you know, very - come in and just do as much work as we can every day that we would slowly increase in the polls in a nice sort of sustained fashion. And that's - you know, we came away with that, so we're very pleased with how the campaign's turned out so far.
ALLEN: With a week 'til the New Hampshire primary, Romney holds a substantial lead in the polls, but as Iowa showed in this primary season, a lot can happen in a week. Greg Allen, NPR News, Manchester, New Hampshire.
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