Presidential race heats up

December 27, 2007 8:51:38 AM PST
Just a week to go before voting begins and it's shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested presidential races ever. In Iowa, there are five candidates with a real shot at winning and in New Hampshire, there's an upset in the making.

In Iowa, the Republican side has a two man contest : Mitt Romney versus Mike Huckabee.

"We've committed fully to the Iowa process and I think we've got a good, strong team," says Mitt Romney, (R) Former Massachusetts Governor.

Romney has spent more than $16 million dollars on television ads, many of them attacking Huckabee.

"If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target and we're certainly getting flak," says Mike Huckabee,(R) Former Arkansas Governor.

On the Democratic side, it remains a three-way dead heat. Barack Obama is counting on college students, but four years ago, students didn't show up for Howard Dean.

"I want you to prove them wrong when they say you're not gonna show up," says Obama.

Hillary Clinton is relying on first time women caucus goers.

"We have hundreds and hundreds of women in their 90's who want to caucus for me," says Clinton.

For John Edwards, Iowa is a must win. Today, he released a new television spot called 'Power'.

"I will restore America's moral authority in the world," says Edwards.

ABC News political analyst, Matthew Dowd, thinks it's all on the line in Iowa for Obama as well.

"Hillary can survive a loss. I don't think she can survive two consecutive losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, but she can survive a loss in Iowa. I don't think Barack can," says Dowd.

In New Hampshire, the big story is Mitt Romney's slide and John McCain's surge.

McCain's communication director in 2000 told us today, "once you stop being inevitable, voters tend to take a second look."

And voters are taking a second look at Romney, who was caught in an embarrassing exaggeration about seeing his father marching with Martin Luther King.

Today, the Manchester Union Leader said that Romney "lacks something John McCain has in spades: conviction."

Over the weekend, the Concord Monitor wrote "if a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world will know it. Mitt Romney is such a candidate."

"It's reinforcing, that message that Romney is this slick politician and we can't trust him and he'll say anything and that's not the kind of politician that Republicans in New Hampshire want to elect," says Prof. Melissa Michelson, Ph.D., California State University East Bay.

Two months ago I was in New Hampshire, reporting on Romney's 15-point lead in the polls. Today he leads McCain by just 3 points ? with just seven days to go.


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