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Democratic Candidates Head To New Hampshire After Tight Iowa Race


Before the Iowa caucus results were even done the Democratic presidential contenders, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, had landed in New Hampshire. They're there for an intense week of campaigning. New Hampshire residents vote Feb. 9. NPR's Tamara Keith is covering the Democratic side of the race and was with Clinton today. She joins us now from Manchester. Hey there, Tamara.


CORNISH: OK, so I'm going to admit, momentum is an overused word in campaigns, but who's claiming that they have it heading into the primary there?

KEITH: Well, of course both of them are. (Laughter) Clinton was in Nashua, N.H., this morning and she told the crowd that she knows what it's like to lose in Iowa and what it's like to win, and she said winning feels better. She and her campaign aides are absolutely emphasizing this win as a win, even though it was by the narrowest of possible margins. Sanders was in Keene, N.H., this afternoon and he said his campaign took on the most powerful political organization in the country.


BERNIE SANDERS: Last night, we came back from a 50-point deficit in the polls.


SANDERS: And last night, we began the political revolution not just in Iowa, not just in New Hampshire, but all over this country.


KEITH: And that said, Sanders told reporters today that he has people back in Iowa looking into the delegate counts. He mentioned some delegates were chosen by the flip of a coin. And he still isn't conceding or declaring victory for that matter. But in terms of New Hampshire, the Iowa results and whatever momentum they bring may not matter much. Sanders has a 20-point lead in the latest New Hampshire polls.

CORNISH: Meanwhile for Clinton - I mean, she can't really, like, not compete in New Hampshire, right? I mean, even if she is down by 20 points.

KEITH: Yeah. I mean, you can't skip New Hampshire, and it's also a state that's been really good to her and her husband over the years. She came from behind and temporarily stopped President Obama's momentum here back in 2008. And if Clinton does lose in New Hampshire, she can discount it because Sanders has home field advantage here since he's from a neighboring state. They've been talking about that for two months already, the Clinton campaign has. But clearly, Clinton is coming to terms with a long primary, and this is something that her campaign has been planning for for a long time. Here's how she described it in Nashua earlier today.


HILLARY CLINTON: Make no mistake. We are in a fight to the finish about whether or not we're going to build on the progress we have made or watch it get ripped away. And New Hampshire's going to have to decide who can go toe-to-toe with the Republicans to make sure they don't wreck us again.

KEITH: But there's a sure sign that Clinton is looking past New Hampshire even if her feet are still on the ground here. Bill Clinton is holding a rally in South Carolina tomorrow. The campaign also just went up with its first television ads. They're featuring former Attorney General Eric Holder talking about voting rights and gun rights. This has clearly targeted the state's African-American Democrats.

CORNISH: And Senator Sanders also has his plans past New Hampshire, too, right?

KEITH: Oh, absolutely. He says he intends to take this race all the way to the convention, and his campaign says that so far in this race, his supporters have given 3.3 million individual campaign contributions. They are enthusiastic and they have a lot more money to give.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Tamara Keith in Manchester, N.H. Tamara, thank you.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.

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