Romney clinches New Hampshire, Paul strong second
No sweat for Mitt Romney. He picked up a second win, making history as the first non-incumbent to take both Iowa and New Hampshire.
But he has yet to unite a very splintered Republican party.
Romney told crowds at his victory party in Manchester, New Hampshire, "Tonight we made history!"
Minutes after the polls closed, Romney was named winner in the Granite State and immediately turned his focus on who he hopes is his next opponent, President Barack Obama.
Romney told supporters, "The last three years have held a lot of change, but they haven't offered much hope."
In a solid second place: Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who called to congratulate Romney.
Paul said at his watch party, "(Romney) certainly had a clear cut victory, but we're nibbling at his heels!"
Political analysts say Romney couldn't have asked for a better finish since Paul leans more Libertarian than Republican.
Paul told supporters, "We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight!"
No surprise for the top two spots, but it was a breakout performance for Jon Huntsman who managed to pick up the bronze.
Huntsman proclaimed, "I'd say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen!"
Dead last in New Hampshire, Governor Rick Perry issued this statement from South Carolina:
"Tonight's results in New Hampshire show the race for 'conservative alternative' to Mitt Romney remains wide open. I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we've been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome. I believe being the only non-establishment outsider in the race, the proven fiscal and social conservative and proven job creator will win the day in South Carolina. South Carolina is the next stop. I have a head start here, and it's friendly territory for a Texas governor and veteran with solid outsider credentials, the nation's best record of job creation, and solid fiscal, social and Tea Party conservatism."
With two notches in his belt, Romney's forging ahead.
He told a cheering crowd, "Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work."
This win in New Hampshire is huge for Romney.
This stamp of approval should help tremendously with fundraising and he'll need a sizable war chest if he does indeed go up against President Barack Obama in November.
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