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Primary Anticipation

By Samantha Hayes & Karin Caifa in Manchester, NH

            It is not a lazy Sunday afternoon in Manchester. On Elm street, the main street through town, car horns are honking, campaign buses try to find parking, and the police have their hands full trying to keep people off the streets.  There is a cadence to this chaos, too.  Its the chanting, and counter chanting of various campaign supporters who have staked out territory on the corners of intersections.         

            "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy" is answered by "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary."  Signs wave, Horns honk. A man dressed as a Revolutionary War patriot walks through the maze of people carrying "vote Ron Paul" posters.

            CNN political producer Karin Caifa and I arrived in Manchester Saturday night and spent Sunday afternoon getting a feel for the town and talking to people who live here.

            "We love having the spotlight on our state" says Jim, a man we met while walking down Elm street looking for one of the candidate's campaign offices.

            I asked Jim what he thought of the results of the Iowa caucuses. "I think you'll see Barack Obama win here, too.  I predict he'll be the next President of the United States."  We notice that Barack Obama supporters are everywhere, especially young ones. Several children out with their parents were dancing on the sidewalks yelling "vote for Obama."

            In some cases, the campaigning is comical! An RV with Rudy Giuliani posters plastered all over it is parked at one intersection. But we notice that its a make-do Giuliani bus. The face of another politician is on either side, probably someone local from another state.

            "You girls wanna come on in?"

            That introduction from the driver of the RV, with an unmistakable New York accent.

            We find out that the group of guys on the bus are volunteering their time to campaign for Giuliani, and the bus belongs to the fella standing on its roof. Apparently his father is running for a New York State Senate seat. Hey, whatever works.

            I asked the young man sitting in the passenger seat how he thought Giuliani might do in the New Hampshire primary.

            "Better than everyone seems to think," he answered quickly.

            He may have a point. Recent polls show Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain in the lead, but a sizable number of voters say they have not made up their minds. That can change everything.  And that's why the campaigns are doing everything they can in the last couple of days, including some of the tactics used in Iowa, to get supporters to the polls.

            If the  energetic feeling on Elm Street is any indication, we would not be surprised by record voter turnout in the Granite State, too.

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