The Democratic and Republican presidential fields scattered out of New Hampshire yesterday -- heading south, midwest and for the exit.

Former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt, whose blunt talk about tax increases and spending cuts played better in the news media than the voting booth, will become the first Democratic casualty of the year. He is scheduled to withdraw in Washington today, following a fifth-place finish in Iowa and a sixth-place showing in New Hampshire.

"You've got to get off the stage while the audience is still nodding approval," Babbitt said in an interview here yesterday. Jesse L. Jackson has already pressed for his endorsement, but Babbitt said he will not consider whom or whether to endorse until after the "Super Tuesday" contests on March 8.

Of his generally favorable press notices, he mused: "Those who fear the power of the press will take great reassurance from my performance."

On the Republican side, the leaders, Vice President Bush and Kansas Sen. Robert J. Dole, prepared to take their bitter rivalry south, which former television evangelist Pat Robertson is promoting as his territory. The campaign of former Delaware governor Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV, who finished fourth in New Hampshire and fifth in Iowa, is hinting he may withdraw, perhaps today. {Details, Page A10.}

On the Democratic side, Granite State winner Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis went south for a midday rally in downtown Atlanta, where he stood in front of a huge American flag and declared that it is "absolutely essential to use force against terrorist bases and installations" in countries like Libya that threaten U.S. citizens.

He promised "no concessions, no arms sales" to terrorists -- "no exceptions. Ever. Ever."

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), who followed his Iowa victory with a second-place showing in New Hampshire, headed for South Dakota, scene of the next primary Tuesday. In Sioux Falls, he picked up a long-sought endorsement from Sen. Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.).

Gephardt will concentrate almost exclusively on South Dakota this week, with a saturation statewide television purchase (at the bargain price of $60,000) and six days of campaigning. If he defeats Dukakis there, his campaign hopes to be able to raise $2 million between now and Super Tuesday, where 20 states -- 14 of them in the South -- will vote.

Gephardt finance chairman Terrence McAuliffe said the campaign has a vendor debt of $450,000 and about $150,000 in the bank. It hopes to raise the $2 million from direct mail, telemarketing and more than a dozen fund-raisers, most of which have been set up by Gephardt's colleagues in Congress.

Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), third-place finisher in New Hampshire and second-place finisher in Iowa, flew to Minnesota yesterday, which holds a caucus Tuesday. Simon said yesterday morning he must win in Minnesota or South Dakota that day to press forward in the South.

Simon will concentrate on Minnesota, but he faces a formidable opponent there in Dukakis, who has been running television ads in the state for three weeks and has had scores of paid staffers there since the first of the year. Dukakis is the favorite.

Simon spokesman David Carle said the campaign has a debt of about $500,000 to banks and vendors, has about $200,000 in cash and hopes to raise $150,000 this week in fund-raisers in Chicago and St. Louis. It has raised about $300,000 since the Iowa caucuses.

Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.), who came in fifth in New Hampshire, began picking fights yesterday with almost everyone who wound up ahead of him.

At appearances in Houston; Beaumont, Tex.; Shreveport, La., and Dallas, he declared Super Tuesday the "main event" of the election year. He questioned Gephardt's authenticity, Dukakis' foreign policy expertise and Jackson's ability to govern. He said the others are "carrying more than suitcases with them -- they've packed some political baggage from Iowa and New Hampshire that is out of tune with voters in Super Tuesday states."

Of Gephardt, his chief rival for the party's moderate and conservative voters, he asked, referring to the 1981 Reagan tax cuts, which Gephardt supported: "What day is it? Is he going to be for it or against it this week?" He also said Gephardt had "crafted a completely new image just for television commercials."

Gore said that Dukakis is "out of the mainstream of traditional Democratic policy" because he "said it would be perfectly all right with him for the Soviet Union to create a client state in the Western Hemisphere." Dukakis, in a interview 10 days ago on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," said he would block any effort by the Soviets to establish a military base in the Western Hemisphere but implied he would not take action against the creation of a client state.

Of Jackson, Gore said: "Jackson has not has a single day of government experience of any kind. Let's look at whether or not we want to have somebody who has to have on the job training to be president. . . . It's fine to have a tree shaker, we need them in this country, and God bless him for {speaking out against drugs}. But we need to make some jelly, too." That was a reference to Jackson's refrain that he is a "tree-shaker not a jelly-maker," meaning that he is a leader, not someone who attends to details.

Gore predicted that he will be "one of the two leaders on the morning after Super Tuesday."

Jackson spent the day in Florida, with rallies at Florida State University and Florida A&M. "In New Hampshire, my opponents outspent us 10-to-1," he said. "There is a lot of work to be done."

Dukakis did not directly respond to Gore's gibes, but at a news conference in Atlanta, he sharply challenged a reporter's assertion that Gore has the "toughest" views on military issues.

"I don't think he's the toughest," he said. "I don't think he's the toughest at all."

Dukakis said the Tennessee senator "wants to put $50 billion" into the single-warhead missile, the Midgetman. "I think we ought to put some of those resources into conventional defenses. I don't yield to Al Gore in toughness in any way, shape or manner. We happen to disagree on where our limited resources ought to go."

Dukakis rejected the notion that he is disadvantaged in coming south as a Massachusetts liberal Democrat.

"There is a mythology about the South, as if it were some kind of foreign country," Dukakis said at a news conference. "It's nonsense, utter nonsense." In his speech, he said, "The people in Arkansas and Kentucky aren't voting for a zip code. They're voting for a president."

Marcia Hale, his southern coordinator, told reporters flying south with Dukakis that intensive interviewing of small groups of southern voters found no evidence that his Greek American ethnicity is a problem. John Dukakis, the governor's son and southern regional campaign manager, said, "The more they know him, the less he becomes a label and the more he becomes a leader."

John Dukakis said no decision has been made on the size of the television budget for Super Tuesday, but the campaign has used its abundant financial resources to open 15 offices with more than 60 paid staffers. They are concentrated in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. The acknowledged strategy is to target urban and suburban congressional districts and aim at qualifying for a proportional share of delegates from those districts, rather than statewide victories.

By adding from one to four delegates in each of the targeted districts to the large number of delegates expected from victories in such other Super Tuesday states as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and Washington, the campaign thinks that Dukakis can lead the delegate tally after Super Tuesday.

"We'd like at the end of Super Tuesday to see Dukakis at the top of the tote board," John Dukakis said.

Staff writers David Maraniss, Lloyd Grove, David S. Broder, Morris Thompson and Charles R. Babcock contributed to this report.