MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- The newly-minted front-runners arrived in New Hampshire early Friday, hoping to take advantage of momentum created by their wins in Thursday night's Iowa caucuses.
Results out of the Iowa caucuses saw the emergence of two new front-runners -- Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama -- and showed that the message of change resonated with voters in both parties.
The test of whether the front-runners can carry the momentum will come quickly, as the New Hampshire primaries are only five days away on January 8.
Over the past 30 years, winners in Iowa have won the New Hampshire primaries less than half the time.
No other candidate may have gained more momentum than Mike Huckabee, who won the support of 34 percent of Republican caucus-goers. The former Arkansas governor beat Mitt Romney, who came in second with 25 percent and who had been the front-runner in Iowa for months before Huckabee's surge in the polls. Read how the analysts viewed the results »
Huckabee won in Iowa mainly due to the support of evangelical Christians -- he beat Romney by better than 2-to-1 in this voting bloc. The former Baptist preacher attributed his success to a message that combined social conservatism with economic populism. Watch Huckabee discuss his economic, tax proposals. »
"I think it was about the message," Huckabee told CNN on Friday after arriving in New Hampshire at 3:40 a.m. ET. "It's a refreshing thing and I think a lot of people around the America are looking at the race and saying isn't it nice to know that a person can be elected president not because he has more money but because he has more of a message that connects with everyday Americans who are out there struggling to put food on their table and making sure their children have a better life."
But Huckabee will face a challenge turning his success in Iowa into a victory in New Hampshire. Evangelical Christians are less of a factor in the Granite State, and Romney, who has spent millions in advertising in New Hampshire, and John McCain have been in a tight race there.
If Huckabee is to win the nomination, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said he has to broaden his appeal beyond the religious base that fueled his Iowa win.
"He has to appeal to the non-evangelical Republican voters, to those who do not put religion in first place," Schneider said.
Plus, the economically conservative wing of the Republican Party is starting to mobilize against Huckabee.
"Already tonight, Club for Growth [and] economic conservatives are attacking Mike Huckabee saying he's unacceptable for the party," David Gergen, a CNN political analyst, said Thursday night. "So there's going to be a fracas on the Republican side."
Prior to the Iowa caucuses, the Club for Growth, a group that advocates conservative fiscal policies, ran negative ads directed at Huckabee highlighting the time he raised taxes while governor of Arkansas.
Romney told supporters he was not ready to give up fight.
"This is a process which goes on over a long period of time," Romney said in a CNN interview Friday from Portsmouth. "The election's not over yet."
He added, "This is, at this stage, just getting started." Watch Romney say the fight isn't over »
McCain left Iowa before caucus night even began. He was in New Hampshire by Thursday afternoon, trying to get a jump on his rivals.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was hurt by a third-place finish in Iowa. With all of the precincts reporting, Clinton came in with 29 percent, behind Obama, who had the support of 38 percent, and John Edwards, who earned 30 percent. Watch a slideshow of Thursday night's victory speeches »
"The numbers tell us this was a debate between change and experience, and change won," Schneider said.
Fresh from a boisterous victory rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday night, Obama emphasized during a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Friday morning that his campaign was about creating a new style of American politics.
"In four days you can say that the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and the partisanship and the pettiness and the anger that's consumed Washington for so long; to end the political strategy that's about division instead of addition; to build a coalition that stretches between red states and blue states, because that's how we will win in November and that's how we will finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation." Watch Clinton downplay the Iowa results »
Entrance polls showed that the New York senator was the top choice of women over 60, while Obama was strongly preferred by women between the ages of 18 to 59.
But Clinton, working to regain her momentum at an 8 a.m. ET rally in Nashua, New Hampshire, again returned to her message that she is the only candidate with the experience to bring about change. Watch Carl Bernstein call Clinton 'wounded' »
"We need a president who won't just call for change or a president who won't just demand change, but a president who will produce change -- just like I've been doing for 35 years," Clinton said, appearing with her husband, former President Clinton.
Clinton told supporters that there was "a short period of time, but its enough time" to convince voters that she will be "the best president for our country, on day one walking into the Oval Office ... on January 20, 2009, and who will be able to withstand the Republican attack machine to get elected in the first place to go into the White House."
Clinton has said she is running the race as a "marathon." And with tremendous resources and name recognition, she plans to fight through so-called Super Tuesday on February 5, when more than 20 states hold primaries.
Having arrived in Manchester, New Hampshire, just before sunrise Edwards also tried to convince voters he was the best agent for change during an early morning rally there. Watch Edwards rally his New Hampshire supporters »
"What we learned last night is that the status quo is yesterday, that change is tomorrow and tomorrow begins today, right right here in New Hampshire," Edwards told the crowd of 250 to 300, "and what we know is that the corporate power that has a strangle hold on your democracy is not going to give up without a fight.
"And now we have four days, four days in New Hampshire to decide what fighter we're going to send into that arena to be the next president of the United States." E-mail to a friend
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed||Top Searches|