NASHUA, N.H. &
"We need some voters," Republican Mitt Romney declared today, the one sentiment that could be embraced by all the presidential contenders as they raced through a final day of campaigning before the New Hampshire primary.
GOP rival John McCain rolled through a seven-city bus tour, jokingly advising supporters to "vote early and often," while Barack Obama, the new Democratic front-runner told an overflow crowd, "You're the wave and I'm riding it."
Hillary Rodham Clinton, trying to revive her campaign, pledged, "Whatever happens tomorrow, we're going on."
Clinton and Romney suffered defeats in last week's Iowa caucuses and are struggling to avoid a second major loss. McCain is surging on the Republican side, and polls show Obama leading for the Democratic primary here.
Fighting back, Clinton questioned the substance behind the Illinois senator's soaring rhetoric. She said Obama "is a very talented politician" but is not living up to his claim to be a new type of politician.
Interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America," Clinton pointed out that Obama has portrayed himself as being outside the influence of special interests yet picked a New Hampshire lobbyist to co-chair his campaign in the state. She also accused him of changing positions on issues, even though he criticizes other candidates for the same thing.
"All of a sudden you start to ask yourself, Wait a minute. I mean, what is the substance here?" she said. "What, as famously was said years ago, where's the beef? You know, where is the reality?"
Asked on CBS' "The Early Show" whether the Iowa defeat indicated voters were disenchanted with her and wanted to move on, Clinton said, "I feel really good about this whole process, and you know, whatever happens tomorrow, we're going on."
As for Obama, he had an enviable logistical problem. Hundreds of people couldn't get into his speech at the Lebanon Opera House, so he addressed them with a microphone from the steps.
"You guys caught us a little by surprise," he said. "You're the wave and I'm riding it."
Earlier, in Claremont, the long days seemed to be taking a bit of a toll on him &
he flipped one of his signature campaign lines during a rally, saying, "The time for come has change."
He also saw a doctor Sunday about losing his voice. The advice, Obama wryly told the audience in Claremont was "shut up."
Democrat John Edwards, meanwhile, mounted an all-night bus tour of the state, with early morning stops planned for Berlin, Littleton and Claremont, with 10 more events throughout the day and evening. "While everyone else goes to bed tonight," he told a Nashua audience, "I'm going to be out working."
Romney scheduled six events, an end-of-the-day rally and a two-minute television ad, while McCain pushed into what he called "The Mac Is Back" bus tour, flanked by dozens of friends and relatives who turned out for the final New Hampshire push. Optimism mixed with nostalgia as the Arizona senator sought a repeat of his surprise win here during his first White House run eight years ago.
The tight race between McCain and Romney added emphasis to the need to persuade undecided voters and encourage hard-core supporters to turn out Tuesday.
"Tomorrow is the day when we will tell the world that New Hampshire again has chosen the next president of the United States," McCain told a couple of hundred sign-toting supporters.
With his wife, Cindy, and two of their daughters behind him, McCain's tone was a bit wistful at a chilly morning rally on the steps of the Nashua city hall. "There's a lot of nostalgia associated with this morning. We've had a great time," he told said. "My friends, it has been an uplifting and wonderful experience."
Iowa's GOP winner, Mike Huckabee, said he wasn't counting on winning a top spot in New Hampshire's primary Tuesday. "If we come in anywhere in the third and fourth slot, we're going to do great. I'd like to do better than that, but you have people who have had a lot more money spent here," he told CNN.
Romney's first stop was the entrance of BAE Systems North America, where he found reporters and camera crews far outnumbered arriving workers. The former Massachusetts governor largely ignored the crowd, instead talking with Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., about the prior evening's debate.
That prompted Romney to plead, "We need some voters."
Romney planned to air a two-minute television ad Monday evening, portraying Washington as in need of a president with the business and government background and experience that he has.
"It's long past time to bring real change to Washington," he says in the ad. "That's never going to happen if all we do is send the same people back to Washington to sit in different chairs."
Crowds, barbs mark final stage
NASHUA, N.H. &