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McCain in Romney's Backyard

One of the few presidential candidates campaigning in New Hampshire on the eve of the Iowa caucuses was Republican John McCain.

The Arizona Senator is leading Massachusetts' former Governor Mitt Romney by 31 to 25 percent in the latest poll of Granite State voters.

McCain has been campaigning hard in Romney's backyard and spent half the day there yesterday. WBUR's Monica Brady-Myerov caught up with him in Derry, in the southern part of New Hampshire.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: John McCain's third stop in NH yesterday was at Mary Ann's, a 50's style diner where the waitresses wear poodle skirts and bobby socks. Just inside the door he greets a World War II Veteran.

JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you sir and thanks for serving, it's wonderful to see you.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: Mary Ann's has seen eight candidates this season and they aren't coming for the egg and bacon sandwich, although Senator McCain does eat one for lunch. Owner Bill Andreoli says they're after the undecided voters.

BILL ANDREOLI: I know every time a candidates comes in I occasionally listen to them talk to some of the people and a lot claiming undecided they haven't heard enough.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: It's these voters that McCain hopes to win the primary. McCain says he's surging in the polls in New Hampshire because of his honesty.

JOHN MCCAIN: We're feeling good but we know there's a lot of attack ads flying but we don't think the people of new Hampshire like that either.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: The people of New Hampshire are being bombarded with ads. McCain says Mitt Romney's portrayal of him as soft on immigration are false. McCain says he's helped by the endorsements of two large papers in NH as well as the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

JOHN MCCAIN: We think that's had an impact in getting people to give us a second look and maybe be a little skeptical about attack ads run by Governor Romney.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: Romney might be getting more scrutiny in the southern part of New Hampshire because it has many transplants from Massachusetts and some here are set in their opinions about the former governor.MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: While waiting to order at Mary Ann's Bob and Ann Michaud, who moved to Derry a couple of years ago, have their minds made up about Romney.

ANN AND BOB MICHAUD: We come from Massachusetts that's why, we were there when he was governor and we weren't happy with him. But I think he didn't do what he should have for mass so I can't see him doing what he should as president. It's like somebody said He used that position to get where he is today. He had an agenda and he's still working on it.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: McCain, who won the New Hampshire primary in 2000, has campaigned early and often in the Granite State and that impresses supporter Dotty Maddox.

DOTTY MADDOX: I followed him the first time thru 8 years ago and he spent a lot of time in NH he was the first time to come up here and talk to the people and really listen. I really appreciate his views and I appreciate all he's done for the country.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: Maddox's friend Wendy Evans pauses over her French toast to think about whether she will vote for McCain or Romney.

WENDY EVANS: I am torn between the two. My husband and I both discussed both candidates, he's independent. I do like the fact that McCain has more experience. My belief is that anyone who was to be president should serve in the military.

MONICA BRADY-MYEROV: John McCain, a Vietnam Veteran, met Wendy Evans and other voters at Mary Ann's in Derry. It was his last stop before flying to Iowa for today's caucuses.

For WBUR I'm Monica Brady-Myerov.

To hear more from voters in Derry, click on the link below to listen to our series "Gateway to the Primary."

This program aired on January 3, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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