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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Primary winner Mitt Romney with his family on stage at his election night event in Manchester Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Supporters cheer at hearing election results at Mitt Romney's election night event in Manchester Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Nashua's Chamber of Commerce director Chris Williams waits at Mitt Romney's election night event in Manchester Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    Primary winner Mitt Romneyis all smiles on stage at his election night event in Manchester Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mitt Romney takes stage, declares victory

MANCHESTER -- Nearly as soon as the polls closed, Mitt Romney was declared the victor of the New Hampshire Primary.

With equal swiftness Romney himself came out to seize New Hampshire as his own.

“Thank you New Hampshire. Tonight we made history,” the former Massachusetts governor triumphantly said at a raucous victory at Southern New Hampshire University.

“This state has always been a very special place for our family. The Granite State moment we have just enjoyed is one we will always remember.”

He quickly directed him aim at President Barack Obama.

“This election is a choice about two very different destinies,” Romney began.

“This President wants to fundamentally transform America, we want to restore Aerica to the founding principles that made this country great.”

The win gives Romney signifiican momentum as nobody has lost the Republican nomination after winning in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Romney called on South Carolina voters to help him wrap up the race in 11 days and tried to cast the fall election campaign against Obama.

“President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial and the last few days have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him,” said Romney as supporters loudly booed their candidate’s critics.

“This is such a mistake for our party and our nation. America already has a leader who divides us.”

And Romney sought to turn Obama’s historic, 2008 “hope and change mantra” against him.

“Today we are faced with a disappointing record of a failed President. The last four years have brought a lot of change but not a lot of hope,” Romney said.

Romney’s victory was comprehensive and total as he won in all corners of the state and piled up big victories in Manchester, Concord, Portsmouth, Somersworth and Lincoln.

According to exit polling, Romney sewed up this impressive win by gobbling up the most of the late deciding voters, those 20 percent or more who made up their minds in the final weekend.

Romney led among self-identified moderates (37 percent), somewhat conservative (45 percent) and even conservatives (30 percent).

Paul did well among single voters, lower-income residents and first-time voters.

“I would say we are the only ones really in the race with him (Romney) and we’ll see how it comes out,” Paul said.

The three-time presidential candidate Paul congratulated Romney but claimed his own win Tuesday.

“He certainly had a clear cut victory but we are nibbling at his heels,” Paul declared.

“We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight.”

And Paul mocked the GOP establishment who labeled his foreign policy opposing US military actions as dangerous.

“I sort of have to chuckle when they describe you and me as being dangerous,” Paul said at his party at the Executive Court Banquet Facility in Manchester.

“That’s one thing they are telling the truth because we are dangerous to the status quo in this country.”

And Paul insisted his attack on federal spending, the Fed and invasion of personal civil liberties will continue to grow.

“Now the irate minority is growing by leaps and bounds, it is going to continue to grow by leaps and bounds and we will restore freedom to this country,” Paul declared at the close of his remarks.

Not so fast, Huntsman said who vowed to take the fight to Romney in South Carolina.

Huntsman told his supporters at the Black Brimmer American Bar & Grill in Manchester that his showing gives him momentum needed for his campaign to head south.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I think we are in the hunt,” Huntsman declared.

“I’d say third place is a ticket to ride.”’

Huntsman said he’ll press his themes of ending US operations in Afghanistan, tackling the nation’s suffocating federal debt and limiting terms for members of Congress.

“They are tired of being divided; they want leadership that will stand up and say first and foremost we need leaders to come together to solve our problems,” Huntsman said.