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After New Hampshire

February 2, 2000 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: Senator John McCain wasted no time getting back on the campaign trail following his victory yesterday in the New Hampshire primary. McCain flew overnight to South Carolina, site of the next big Republican contest, and spoke at an early morning rally.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: My friends, we had a great ride so far. It’s been exhilarating. It’s been uplifting, and a great opportunity to have this one more mission – and I’m calling on all of them – young and old – old geezers out here like me – the young ones and everybody to get going. We can get fired up here. We’ve got a great chance to make history, a great chance. This is a great crusade we embarked on in New Hampshire. We can carry this crusade on through the state of South Carolina and on to victory and in the White House.

KWAME HOLMAN: Final results from New Hampshire showed the Arizona Senator captured 49 percent of the vote, easily defeating Texas Governor George W. Bush. Bush too traveled to South Carolina to resume his campaign. He spoke with reporters on his flight from New Hampshire.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I knew everything wasn’t going to go the way I wanted it to. And last night was certainly– would certainly fall into that category. But today’s a new day, and I am … I’m looking forward to getting down to South Carolina. I’m looking forward to making my case.

REPORTER: Have you talked to anybody on the ground in South Carolina? And do they or do you worry about a bounce for McCain?

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Listen, this’ll be a nice period for him. As you know, I mean the stories will be “wounded Bush” and this that and the other and that’s just inevitable. But it’ll settle out. The campaign will settle out. There’ll be a time when then, you know, the prop wash from the primary will have settled down and people are going to take a good hard look. And yes, our people on the ground welcome the challenge. They are pleased with the opportunity to get after it.

KWAME HOLMAN: The other Republican presidential hopefuls, Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes, and Gary Bauer, finished a distant third, fourth, and fifth respectively in New Hampshire. Despite his worse-than-expected performance, Forbes vowed last night to continue his presidential campaign.

STEVE FORBES: Now I make this appeal to conservatives who may have backed others because of inevitability: I plead with you, please come home.

CROWD: All right (applause).

STEVE FORBES: Make no mistake, this fight has just begun.

CROWD CHANTING: Go, Steve, go!

KWAME HOLMAN: The Democratic winner in New Hampshire, Vice President Al Gore, also scheduled a full day of campaigning, beginning with a stop at New York’s Grand Central Station.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: I’m here in New York. Later today I’ll be in Ohio. This evening I’ll be in Los Angeles, and I’ll be having one of my open meetings in Los Angeles tonight. I’m looking forward to competing coast to coast. It’s a national race. I’m really excited about it.

KWAME HOLMAN: But Gore then abruptly changed his schedule and, instead, went directly to Capitol Hill.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Is there a sufficient second? There appears to be. The clerk will call the role.

KWAME HOLMAN: The Vice President presided over a Senate vote on an abortion-related amendment to a bankruptcy bill in case his vote was needed to break a tie, but Republicans decided not to take issue with the amendment for now, and it passed easily.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: On this vote there are 80 yays, 17 nays -

KWAME HOLMAN: Gore got just a few hours sleep after scoring a 4 percentage point victory over former Senator Bill Bradley. But Bradley called his second-place finish a victory, and today in Hartford, Connecticut, assured supporters he would stay in the race.

BILL BRADLEY: We have the resources, we know what we need to do in health, in education, and gun control. We know what we have to do. What will prevent us from achieving it? Only one thing, and that is politics as usual. (Applause) that is politics as usual. The only thing that will stop us will be politics, Washington-based politics, the gridlock that takes place there, the division, the partisanship. I look out in the country and I say we can do better than this.

KWAME HOLMAN: Even though they’ll continue to campaign and debate, candidates Gore and Bradley don’t have another Democratic contest on their calendar until March. The Republican candidates, however, face tests in eight states over the next four weeks. Delaware holds its Republican presidential primary next Tuesday, February 8, while Hawaii conducts week-long caucuses. Then comes the Republican primary in South Carolina on Saturday the 19th, followed by primaries in Michigan an Arizona on Tuesday the 22nd. U.S. territories in the Pacific and Caribbean hold Republican contests the following before Virginia, North Dakota and Washington State take the turns on Tuesday the 29th. The next decision day for the Democratic candidates isn’t until Tuesday, March 7, when North Dakota, Idaho, and Hawaii hold party caucuses. But those events certainly will be overshadowed by presidential primaries for both parties in 13states, including delegate-rich New York, Ohio, and Carolina.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: It feels a lot warmer here in the state of South Carolina, if you know what I mean.

KWAME HOLMAN: Governor Bush was warmly received today by both the weather and a large crowd at South Carolina’s Bob Jones University. Since Senator McCain chose not to launch a campaign effort in Delaware, South Carolina becomes the next major bend in the road for the two Republican front-runners racing for the White House.