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New Hampshire primary results: What they mean for Mitt Romney and Ron Paul

Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday with 39.3 percent of the vote, finishing well ahead of Ron Paul (22.8 percent) and Jon Huntsman (16.9 percent).

Exit polls showed supporters of the former Massachusetts governor valued him for his potential as a challenger to President Obama, which was reflected in Romney’s victory speech, writes The Post’s Karen Tumulty.

“Where Romney’s remarks on the night of the Iowa caucuses were off the cuff, his New Hampshire victory speech — delivered with a teleprompter, shortly after the polls closed — sounded more like an address he envisions giving at the Republican convention.

Romney focused on what he called ‘the disappointing record of a failed president’ rather than the rest of the GOP field.

To the degree he even mentioned his increasingly combative primary opponents, it was as an oblique reference to ‘some desperate Republicans’ who, he said, have joined forces with Obama.”

Dan Balz writes that the victory poises Romney to all-but clinch the nomination with a win in South Carolina on Jan. 21.

“Mitt Romney got virtually everything he needed out of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night. He won a decisive victory that put him in a dominant position to win the Republican presidential nomination, and he will move on to South Carolina with his opposition badly splintered and running out of time to stop him.”

Romney’s efforts to play down his wealth and privileged background while campaigning in New Hampshire may prove an ongoing liability writes Philip Rucker.

“As Romney heads to South Carolina hoping to polish off his rivals after Tuesday’s primary victory, there may be lasting damage from his week of campaigning in New Hampshire. In trying to correct a weakness — some critics have called it inauthenticity — Romney may have only amplified it.”

Some conservative activists oppose Romney winning the GOP nomination and are working on a strategy to prevent him from winning in South Carolina, write Peter Wallsten and Karen Tumulty.

“Many social conservatives worry about his past support for abortion rights (he has since declared himself antiabortion), and some are wary of his Mormon faith. Meanwhile, many tea party activists say Romney’s background in finance and his support for the Wall Street bailout are reasons for skepticism.”

The activists are having a difficult time agreeing on which rival to support to support, however.

“The tension is exacerbated by the deep divisions between two key GOP wings: tea party groups yearning for a pure small-government conservative, and evangelical Christians who want a loyal social conservative.”

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The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Quoted
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

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