McCain Asks N.H. Voters For One More Comeback

Republican presidential hopeful John Mccain rallied supporters in New Hampshire yesterday.

WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness was there.

Supporters filled the hockey stadium at St. Anselm College in Manchester. Shirtless dudes lined up side by side with the letters spelling "MAVERICK" painted on their chests. They led the cheers for Senator John McCain.

MCCAIN: Thank you, thank you. My friends, I can't tell you how happy I am to be back in the great state of New Hampshire.

McCain has a special relationship with New Hampshire. The state helped nominate him in two presidential primaries. Just 10 months ago, when political watchers considered McCain's campaign dead, he made his comeback in this state.

MCCAIN: I love you, I love New Hampshire. I know I can count on you again to come from behind, and take a victory and bring it all the way to Washington DC. My friends I'm asking you to come out and get out the vote.

Polls again place McCain behind, this time by eight to ten percentage points. The Republican has recently scaled back spending in New Hampshire, and he referred to himself yesterday as the "underdog" in this election.

MCCAIN: My opponent's looking pretty confident these days, he's got another one of those stadium spectacles in the works. But acting like the election is over, it wont let him take away your chance to have the final say in this election.

McCain focused the rest of his speech on Senator Barack Obama's tax policy, slamming Obama on his desire to redistribute wealth, and McCain promised to take an "axe, cleaver and scalpel" to the federal budget.

After the rally, supporters scooped up campaign signs and waited for buses to get home.

MERRELL: We came because we feel as though John McCain really knows what the heck to do when he gets there.

Marry Merrell is a registered nurse in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

MERRELL: You know, I mean I'd love to vote for the first black president. I think that would be great if he were somebody who knows what he's doing. And liked America. And his wife liked America.

Merrell doesn't give much credence to polls, since they're reported by what she calls the liberal media. But, she says if the polls are right, and New Hampshire voters prefer the Democrat in the race, she thinks there's still time to turn that around.

MERRELL: The Red Sox have come from behind a bunch of times. A lot of people have come from behind because they've deserved it, they've worked for it.

Michael and Kelley Teunessen from Gilmonton, New Hampshire say they don't believe the polls either, but still worry about Obama, and his fundraising.

KELLY TEUNESSEN: You got a guy who's got $150 million in the bank in one month versus a guy who's got, what, $40 million. Let's face it, that's a 4-1 advantage for the guy to get his message out. To be honest, my husband and I don't have a lot of money but we have given money because of the underdog status that he has.

The Teunessen's plan to go door -to-door to help McCain, since they believe he still has a chance to win New Hampshire.

And that might be good for other Republicans on the state ballot , according to Andy Smith at the University of New Hampshire.

SMITH: One of the biggest problems that Republicans are having here in New Hampshire and other parts of the country is that if people think McCain won't win ---they'll be less likely to turn out on election day. They'll be less likely to argue about politics with their neighbors, less likely to wear signs, bumper stickers.

Smith says the race in New Hampshire is Obama's to lose, and it looks like Obama isn't taking any chances. Senator Hillary Clinton will visit New Hampshire next week on his behalf.

This program aired on October 22, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.


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