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Michigan Is Next: NPR's Steve Inskeep and Mara Liasson

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Michigan Next Battleground for Presidential Race

Election 2008

Michigan Next Battleground for Presidential Race

Michigan Is Next: NPR's Steve Inskeep and Mara Liasson

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The focus for the race for president shifts to Michigan now that the New Hampshire primary — the nation's first — is decided. John McCain and Mitt Romney already are advertising on television in Michigan.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

So that's the survey of the Democratic and Republican fields as reported by NPR's Mara Liasson. And Mara, where do the Republicans go from here?

MARA LIASSON: Well, Mitt Romney and John McCain go to Michigan, where the primary is next Tuesday. They both have history there. Romney grew up in Michigan. His father was the governor. McCain won the Republican primary in Michigan in 2000.

Democrats and independents can vote in that primary, so that could help McCain. Then there's South Carolina four days later, where Huckabee has a very big lead in the polls. Lots of Christian conservative voters there, and that's where he'll be headed.

INSKEEP: We've gotten this deep into this report without mentioning Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.

LIASSON: Well, Rudy Giuliani came in fourth in New Hampshire, in single digits. He left New Hampshire before the results were in last night. He goes straight to what was supposed to be his firewall state of Florida, but where he's now tied in the polls with Huckabee.

So the Republican race is still quite a muddle, and I forgot to mention Fred Thompson. He got one percent last night. He didn't really compete here in New Hampshire, but he's going to make his last stand in South Carolina.

INSKEEP: That's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Democrats are also preparing for fierce competition in South Carolina. It's the first state with a significant black vote. In an interview on MORNING EDITION, Barack Obama says he'll be challenging Hillary Clinton for those voters.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): We are in a strong position to win, as they are. We have put together I think a great campaign. We are seeing enormous numbers of people, first time voters, younger voters, participating in the process, and you know, I'm reaching out not just to the African-American community, but people from all walks of life, saying we can put together a coalition that we haven't seen in a long time to actually a progressive agenda forward.

MONTAGNE: Obama also accused former President Bill Clinton of mischaracterizing his record on a major issue, Iraq. Obama said, quote, we'll be going to have to call him on that.

INSKEEP: If you missed that interview, it's on the front page of our Web site, npr.org.

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