Two days later -- a day before the nation's first primary in New Hampshire -- Clinton found herself in the Cafe Espresso in Portsmouth with 16 undecided voters, mostly women, warmly and calmly taking questions.
"My question is very personal. How do you do it?" asked Marianne Pernold Young, a freelance photographer from the state. She mentioned Clinton's hair and appearance always looking perfect. "How do you, how do you keep upbeat and so wonderful?"
Clinton responded, jokingly at first but then began to get emotional: "It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country. I just don't want to see us fall backward."
Her voice breaking and tears in her eyes, she said: "You know, this is very personal for me. It's not just political, it's not just public. I see what's happening, and we have to reverse it."
Female voters seemed to respond to that emotion. They came out in droves for her in New Hampshire, surprising even Clinton's own staff.
On Jan. 8, 2008, Clinton won New Hampshire saying she had "found her voice" in the victory. Staffers who had been ready to resign that night suddenly found themselves toasting to victory.
The Democratic battle then turned to South Carolina, where Obama held an advantage but Clinton came in having stolen back the campaign's momentum.
Following her comeback in New Hampshire, Clinton won the uncontested vote in Michigan (Obama was not on the ballot as the Democratic National Committee had stripped the state of its delegates for skipping ahead of other states on the election calendar) and the Nevada caucuses, though in that state Obama emerged with one more delegate at the time.
The next critical contest would be in South Carolina, prominently raising the subject of race in a contest pitting Obama, potentially the first African American nominee, Clinton, the first woman, and Edwards, a son of the south who was born in South Carolina itself, against one another.
Former President Bill Clinton proved more a liability than asset to his wife's campaign when in New Hampshire he declared, "Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," in regard to Obama's portrayal of his record on Iraq.
The former president was making the case that Obama -- just like Sen. Hillary Clinton -- had voted to fund the war since he's been in office and that the two had essentially the same record on the controversial war.
Obama said the former president has taken his campaigning on his wife's behalf too far.
"I understand him wanting to promote his wife's candidacy," Obama told ABC's "Good Morning America" in January. "She's got a record that she can run on. But I think it's important that we try to maintain some -- you know, level of honesty and candor during the course of the campaign. If we don't, then we feed the cynicism that has led so many Americans to be turned off to politics."
Obama blew out Clinton 55 percent to 27 percent in South Carolina. Edwards came in a distant third at 18 percent, prompting him to leave the race before the critical Super Tuesday contests Feb. 5.