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Clark making push in New Hampshire

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is campaigning hard in New Hampshire after bypassing the Iowa caucuses.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is campaigning hard in New Hampshire after bypassing the Iowa caucuses.

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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Having skipped the Iowa caucuses, Wesley Clark is urging supporters to intensify their efforts to win the New Hampshire primary, the first contest in which the retired general will compete.

"What we're going to do today and every day is reach out to the voters of this state," Clark told supporters Tuesday in Manchester.

"I want to call every home. I want you to ring every doorbell. I want you to reach every part in New Hampshire."

The crowd answered, chanting, "We will. We will."

The presidential contender, who is also a former NATO supreme commander, bypassed the Iowa caucuses to concentrate on Tuesday's contest in New Hampshire.

The Democratic battle in New Hampshire has grown more complex with U.S. Sen. John Kerry's strong victory in Iowa. Pundits had expected the Clark campaign to face off against former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, an early favorite in the polls, and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who also skipped Iowa.

In addition to Kerry's unexpected showing, U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina came in second in Iowa, leaving Dean in third place. (Full story)

Kerry's win also dealt a fatal blow to U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt's candidacy. The Missouri congressman dropped out of the race Tuesday after placing fourth in Iowa. (Full story)

On the campaign trail Tuesday, Clark did not mention any candidate by name. But he appeared to take swipes at New Hampshire front-runner Dean by calling on all Democrats to open their records, as he says he's done, and by urging additional tax cuts rather than eliminating those passed under President Bush.

Stepping down as Vermont governor, Dean sealed 145 boxes of official documents. Washington-based group Judicial Watch has asked a court to unseal the documents. Vermont, in its answer to Judicial Watch's complaint, said two of Dean's predecessors also sealed official documents. Dean has said he will leave it up to the court to decide the fate of the records. (Full story)

As for taxes, Clark said he would give all Americans making $100,000 or less a tax cut of about $1,500 a year -- "money to pay for groceries, insurance, fuel for their car," he said.

"I spent most of my adult life making less than $50,000, and only in the last few years did I make up to $100,000," he said. "I know what that money means at the end of the month. It goes a long way."

Clark touted his military service, saying he had the credibility to take on Bush over the Iraq war. He said the conflict is a "war we didn't have to fight."

"We need a candidate who in time of war can stand toe-to-toe with the president of the United States and challenge his leadership of this country," Clark said.

"We need a candidate who can beat George Bush on foreign affairs and domestic affairs. And we need a candidate who can win not just in New Hampshire but in every state."


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