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Clinton, McCain Take<BR/>New Hampshire Primaries

The New York senator takes a bite out of Obama's momentum.
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Updated from 10:43 p.m. EST

In a bid to reclaim her frontrunner status in the chase to be her party's nominee, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated her Illinois counterpart, Barak Obama, in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire.

With 90% of the vote in, media outlets were calling the contest for Clinton with a narrow 39% to 37% lead over Obama, who dealt Clinton a blow by a significant victory in last Thursday's Iowa caucus.

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Former North Carolina senator John Edwards was in third place among Democrats, with 17%.

In the Republican primary, Arizona Sen. John McCain continued his political comeback Tuesday with a victory over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The race was called for McCain with 30% of the votes in and the senator leading 37% to 29%. Hours later, with nearly 89% of the tally reported, McCain had a 37%-to-32% lead.

McCain's supporters chanted "Mac is back! Mac is back!" as he addressed them victoriously in Nashua at 9:10 p.m. EST. "Thank you, New Hampshire," said McCain, "from the bottom of my heart."

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Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the Iowa caucus winner, was third in the GOP balloting, ahead of former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

While Clinton's final victory Tuesday is likely to be narrow, the fact she was even in the New Hampshire race surprised many observers. Following Obama's eight-point victory in Iowa, which was expected to be a dogfight, Clinton was seen as on the ropes in New Hampshire, trailing by double-digit percentages in some polls.

An expected distant loss by Clinton had some pundits speculating she would then virtually sit out upcoming contests in Nevada on Jan. 19 and South Carolina on Jan. 26.

Now, however, the two states rise to "must play" status; a Clinton spokeswoman said on Fox News late Tuesday that the senator would compete in both locales.

For Obama, his momentum takes a hit, and with his supposed strong support in New Hampshire failing to materialize to its fullest, polls in South Carolina showing him with a double-digit lead are called into question.

Indeed, the certainty in both parties' contests for the nomination now seems to come from the bottom rather than the top: For the Democrats, it's now difficult to see all but three viable candidates and Edwards, who vowed Tuesday to stay in the race through the convention, is clearly in need of a victory somewhere soon.

Recent polls have Edwards a distant third in his home state of South Carolina.

McCain's win breathes new, if still uncertain, life into his campaign, while Romney and Huckabee work to narrow the field to each other. Huckabee was leading a recent Rasmussen poll in South Carolina over McCain, with Romney third.

But other candidates, such as Giuliani and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who garnered just 1% of the New Hampshire vote, face an even higher hurdle to continue their campaigns.

This article was written by a staff member of