OBAMA V?S. MCCAIN
Barack Obama will win the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, thereby convincing African American voters he's a plausible nominee, which bolsters him in the South Carolina primary and on his way to the Democratic nomination.
John McCain upends Mitt Romney in his neighboring state of New Hampshire, then goes on to Michigan to edge out Romney again. South Carolina sets up a southern showdown between McCain and Mike Huckabee. Looking at Obama on the other side, and citing electability, southern voters decide to go with McCain, which propels him to the Republican nomination.
Those are two possible election scenarios laid out by Democratic strategist Steve McMahon and Republican strategist Mike Murphy on Meet The Press this morning.
But that's getting ahead of ourselves . . . A slew of new New Hampshire polls out today continue to show no bounce for Huckabee, growing support for McCain and momentum for Obama.
MSNBC/McClathy: McCain 32%, Romney 24%, Huckabee 12%, Giuliani 10%
Obama 33%, Clinton 31%, Edwards 17%
Rasmussen: McCain 32%, Romney 30%, Paul 11%, Huckabee 11%
Obama 39%, Clinton 27%, Edwards 18%
Reuters/Zogby: Romney 32%, McCain 31%, Huckabee 12%
Clinton 31%, Obama 30%, Edwards 20%
Two polls show McCain/Obama with the edge; one narrowly favors Romney/Clinton.
NO BOUNCE FOR HUCK
It looks like Mike Huckabee's best chance in New Hampshire will be a third place finish. He hasn't moved in any of the New Hampshire polls since his Iowa win. He did nothing in last night's debate to stand out. And this morning on This Week, Huckabee seemed to get caught in a contradiction over his support for the surge. George Stephanopoulos played a clip in Jan. 2007 showing Huckabee saying he was "not sure" if supported the troop surge in Iraq if the surge has to come from Guard and Reserve troops.
"I've said many times I've supported the surge," Huckabee replied. "My concern is this, we have a very delicate situation developing with our Guard and Reserve troops."
"They were needed for the surge, and what we really need to be doing is building up the regular Army," he added.
Huckabee refused to retract his statement that he supported the surge before Romney, but seemed caught up in a sticky gaffe. "It's clear that I supported it before he did," said Romney later. (Also later, Romney couldn't decide whether he wanted to call McCain's plan amnesty or not.)
"Look I have some verbal gaffes, I think most of us do," Huckabee said.
After consistent grilling from Stephanopoulos, Huckabee also finally acknowledged he thought Congress was right to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case in Florida. "Anything to do to help save a human life, and at least show the importance imperative of valuing life, I think is a good thing," Huckabee said.
On his path to the nomination, Huckabee said a third place finish in New Hampshire would beat expectations. He predicted he would win South Carolina. "I think we'll win in Florida," Huckabee added.