4 Days Until the New Hampshire Primary
It's probably safe to say that none of the NFL Wild Card games on Saturday night feature the eventual Super Bowl Champion (sorry Washington, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville fans)
But on ABC, we can guarantee that the eventual Democratic and Republican nominees will be on stage and participating in two historic back-to-back debates hosted by ABC News, Facebook and ABC affiliate WMUR.
"World News" anchor Charlie Gibson moderates the Republican contest first from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, from 7:00-8:30pm ET. The Democrats take the stage second, from approximately 8:45-10:15pm ET.
The participants for the Republican debate will be:
The participants for the Democratic debate will be:
There are a few phrases that are tossed around like candy when it looks like the campaign is getting nastier – "the gloves are off!" the pundits shout; "down and dirty," scream the headlines.
Get out your umbrella for a rainstorm of clichés over the next four days, with the race this close and each candidate trying to distinguish themselves from their opponents.
With just four days between the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the candidates have little time to waste packing in events, strategy meetings, more events, meet and greets and debate prep.
One candidate needs to keep his O-mentum going – his opponents need to figure out a way to stop it. Another candidate needs to keep reminding voters why they liked him in 2000 (especially in ads with nice music) and another needs to show how 2000 was a long, long time ago and every candidacy has an expiration date.
ABC News' Eloise Harper and Kate Snow report that Hillary Clinton is aiming to re-frame the race for the Democratic nomination and reminded voters today that she, unlike other her opponents, has been fully vetted and can deflect and/or withstand the grenades lobbed at her from the Republicans.
Clinton said at an early morning rally that New Hampshire voters need to take a good look at Barack Obama and they shouldn't just buy into his message of "hope" without considering his policies.
From Harper and Snow: "We need a President who will actually deliver change," Clinton said. "It is critical that we build confidence in our country. We can't have false hopes. We've got to have a person who can walk into the oval office on day one and start doing the hard work that it takes to deliver change. And I believe I'm that person."
During the overnight flight from Iowa to New Hampshire, Clinton campaign officials suggested that it was time to make some "contrasts" with her opponents. "That's code for No More Mrs. Nice Guy," Snow notes. So will Clinton go after Obama and Edwards forcefully in Saturday's debate, to be televised on ABC? The Magic Eight Ball says "likely."
But a convincing win in Iowa meant that Obama went a little bit further in his rhetoric on the stump today in New Hampshire. "If you give me the same chance that Iowa gave me just last night, I truly believe that I will be the President of the United States of America," Obama told a large crowd gathered at Pease Airport.
On the other side of the race, Mitt Romney is hopping on the Obama bandwagon…sort of, reports ABC News' John Berman, Ursula Fahy, and Matt Stuart.