New Hampshire Primary

January 9, 2012 by staff 

New Hampshire PrimaryNew Hampshire Primary, Romney rivals make final NH appeals: His pledge to stay positive in ashes, New Gingrich challenged front-runner Mitt Romney to account for his record as a corporate takeover artist Monday as Republican presidential hopefuls hustled through a final day of campaigning for the New Hampshire primary, a pivotal test for the rivals bidding to derail the former Massachusetts governor.

The candidates were all but tripping over each other, concentrating their day in the southern half of the state, known for holding town-hall meetings in actual town halls.

One exception, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, campaigned in South Carolina but joined Gingrich from afar in going bluntly after the front-runner’s private-sector credentials.

“I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips ? whether he’d have enough of them to hand out,” Perry told several dozen breakfast patrons in Anderson, S.C. That was a slap at Romney’s recent comment that he worried about getting a pink slip during his executive career.

Perry cited South Carolina companies that downsized under the control of Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney ran, and said it would be an “insult” for Romney to come to the state and ask for voters’ support in easing economic pain.

“He caused it,” Perry said, describing himself as best positioned to untangle the “unholy alliance between Washington and Wall Street.”

Among the half dozen contenders, Jon Huntsman, who needs a strong New Hampshire performance to stay viable in the race, planned perhaps the most frantic pace, with seven stops on his itinerary from Lebanon near the Vermont line to the seacoast.

The former Utah governor visited a Lebanon truck stop and took the phone from an employee behind the counter who was speaking with a milk delivery driver. He said he’s looking for votes wherever he can find them. “I’m the underdog,” he said, a label that applies ? at least in New Hampshire ? to anyone but Romney.

Knocking Romney off his perch Tuesday won’t be easy.

He has spent the better part of two years essentially adopting the state as his own and now holds a comfortable lead in pre-primary polls as his rivals essentially battle for second place. Romney won the Iowa caucuses last week by a scant eight votes over Rick Santorum.

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