In recent decades, New Hampshire voters have held outsized power in presidential politics by virtue of their first-in-the-nation primary. They savor that power, and the chance it gives them to examine candidates for the White House up close. Independents can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary as they choose.
The first votes were cast Tuesday in New Hampshire following a final campaign blitz as candidates crisscrossed the state and leveled blistering attacks on rivals in a primary that appeared to set the tone for the wild nominating races ahead.
As he worked the room Monday at a popular Manchester eatery, Marco Rubio couldn't escape talk of his rocky debate performance. "Saturday night -- you didn't do too good," an elderly man told the 44-year-old senator. "But I'm still rooting for you."
Speaking to a Rotary Club on Monday that his father once addressed as vice president, Jeb Bush admitted that he had long resisted visiting New Hampshire before he became a presidential candidate to avoid fueling speculation.
Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and co-anchor and managing editor of the "PBS NewsHour." The best-selling author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," Gwen has covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates.