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Inside Politics

Candidates reach out across New Hampshire

Democratic campaigns press for votes before Tuesday's primary

Sen. John Kerry shares a laugh with former Boston Bruins player Lyndon Byers after playing hockey during a campaign stop Saturday.
Sen. John Kerry shares a laugh with former Boston Bruins player Lyndon Byers after playing hockey during a campaign stop Saturday.

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Stay with CNN-USA for frequent updates and live coverage of campaign news leading up to Tuesday's New Hampshire presidential primary.
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Tuesday, January 27: New Hampshire primary

Tuesday, February 3: Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina primaries; New Mexico Democratic caucuses; North Dakota caucuses; Virginia Republican caucuses

When is your primary? For key dates in the 2004 election season, see our special America Votes 2004 Election Calendar
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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Making use of their final weekend before Tuesday's primary, Democratic presidential campaigns blanketed New Hampshire on Saturday.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry leads a recent poll, well ahead of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Second place remains a toss-up.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll of 641 likely primary voters found 35 percent of those who responded preferred Kerry, with Dean following at 23 percent. Next came retired Gen. Wesley Clark at 14 percent and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 11 percent. The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The tracking poll was conducted Wednesday through Friday, after Kerry's come-from-behind win in the Iowa caucuses. Dean had led Kerry 32 percent to 17 percent in New Hampshire, according to a tracking poll conducted Saturday through Monday.

Dean has not given up his stand and has returned to the core of his campaign, trekking door-to-door seeking support.

"I'll stand up for what I believe in whether it's popular or not, and I think that is lacking in this country," Dean told a family in Concord. "What you're seeing now, not only on the part of President Bush but on the part of the Democrats as well, is they'll promise you a tax cut and health insurance and lower college tuition and fully funded special education. Look, you can't do that. You couldn't do that in your house. You can't spend money on stuff you don't have."

Walking through ankle-deep snow to a nearby house, Dean smiled and said to his aides, "I know we got some of them, for sure. Whether we got all of them, I don't know. People often don't tell you."

Kerry spoke at a town hall meeting in Concord to a crowded room of supporters.

"When you go to those polling booths on Tuesday and over the course of this weekend, as you work towards this moment, I ask you to think about the great tradition of our party and who we need to be for America," he said. "We need to tell the truth and we need to offer better vision of our future. A realistic one."

"I ask you to think about answers, not anger, about solutions, not slogans," he said, adding that Democrats can beat the Republicans in November's general election. "They may have money, but we have people and ideas. And if we put those together, we're going to win this race."

Later, Kerry -- wearing a University of New Hampshire hockey jersey -- greeted fans and players at a hockey game, then got out on the ice and skated.

Kerry picked up an endorsement Saturday from the environmental group the League of Conservation Voters. It is the earliest endorsement the group has ever given in a primary season.

Edwards went to the Soda Shoppe in Laconia to cast his one term in the Senate as an attribute.

"Do you believe we need real change in Washington and in America? Do you believe that somebody who's been in politics most of their lives or in Washington for decades will bring about that change?"

The crowd enthusiastically responded "No!"

"The truth is, if you do, then there are lots of other good candidates for you. That's not me."

Clark posted a notice on his campaign Web site calling for volunteers to help with the "final push" in New Hampshire.

He spoke to a crowd of potential voters in Concord, where he promised to be an inclusive leader.

Referring to "that other party," he said Republicans often act as though they get their instructions "straight from heaven" and "don't always practice what they preach."

As president, Clark said, he will bring together Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans.

"And we're not even going to ask them to repent," he said.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman skipped the Iowa caucuses to concentrate on New Hampshire but has fallen to the back of the pack.

In a final debate Thursday night in Manchester, the seven remaining Democrats directed their critical remarks not at each other but at President Bush instead. (Full story,'s interactive Election Calendar)

Primaries also will be held February 3 in Arizona, Oklahoma, Delaware, Missouri and South Carolina, along with caucuses in New Mexico and North Dakota.

Other developments

• Dean complained Saturday about the Iowa caucuses and specifically about a memo from the Edwards campaign directing his supporters how to attack Dean in the precinct meetings. "I believe Iowa should be first," Dean said. "But I think they're going to have to change their process to prohibit that kind of behavior inside the caucuses, because if that were to continue, I wouldn't do it again." Edwards' campaign distributed a memo to his campaign captains in Iowa precincts that listed negative things to say about Dean, Kerry and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, who has since dropped out of the race.

• Gephardt has freed his Democratic convention delegates to back another candidate, though the Missouri congressman isn't ready to signal his choice. After a fourth-place showing in the Iowa caucuses, Gephardt quit the race Tuesday, leaving a field of seven candidates. He indicated that he would not endorse any of his rivals before February 3. (Full story)

• The New Hampshire primary will be the "first real test" of a new federal act providing billions of dollars to help states ensure that elections are accurate, honest and accessible, Rep. Steny Hoyer, one of the sponsors of the act, said Friday. Other primaries that follow in February also will showcase provisions in the $3.9 billion law requiring that outdated voting equipment be replaced, statewide voter registration databases be established, voter identification be improved, and provisional ballots be used so qualified voters won't be turned away from polling places. (Full story)

CNN's Carol Cratty, Candy Crowley, Bob Franken, Phil Hirschkorn, Jeff Greenfield, Adam Levine, John Mercurio, Bill Schneider, Deirdre Walsh and Judy Woodruff contributed to this report.

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