NASHUA — Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton proclaimed her Iowa caucus victory would propel her forward in next week’s New Hampshire primary, where polls show her badly trailing Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.
“I am so thrilled that I come to New Hampshire after winning Iowa,” Clinton told a crowd of hundreds gathered inside of a Nashua Community College gymnasium Tuesday morning. “I have won and I have lost there, and it’s a lot better to win. We’re bringing all that energy, all that excitement, all that determination right to New Hampshire.”
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan addressed the crowd before Clinton took the stage for the rally that started about 40 minutes late to accommodate the line of people still waiting to enter at 11 a.m. To those inside, Hassan said they were “excited to welcome the first woman ever to win the Iowa caucus.”
Miutes after Clinton’s rally ended, the Associated Press declared Clinton the winner of the Iowa caucuses by less than three-tenths of 1 percent. The Iowa Democratic Party declared the contest ‘‘the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history.’’ On Tuesday morning, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said they were ‘‘still assessing’’ whether to ask Iowa’s Democratic Party for a recount.
In the Nashua auditorium, Clinton and her supporters were looking forward to Feb. 9, when voters in New Hampshire will go to the polls in the-first-in-the-nation primary.
“We have one week to go, and we are all going to continue to work as hard as we can to make sure that every Granite Stater understands why we support Hillary Rodham Clinton as our next president of the United States,” Hassan said.
New Hampshire has been known as Clinton Country since 1992, when President Clinton made a comeback in his own presidential bid there. The 42nd president reminded the crowd of his fondness for New Hampshire before extolling not only his wife’s extensive resume but also her virtues as a leader.
“She is the best change-maker I’ve ever known,” he said, noting that they’d met nearly 45 years ago. “The point is, you put her anywhere in any job, and she will find a way to do more good than anybody. So you have to decide, who is on the right side of the issues and who is the right person to make change.”
Shannon Steed of Nashua said her vote was already decided and said she was excited to work for Clinton.
The 39-year-old said she is “hopeful” that Clinton will win New Hampshire but is aware that Sanders has an overwhelming lead in the Granite State. Still she said that that appeal won’t carry beyond New England.
Clinton won New Hampshire by a slim 2-point margin in 2008 but failed to capture the nomination. This time, Steed said, if Clinton doesn’t take the Granite State,” she will still get the rest of the country.”
Linda James and her friend Val Davis drove up from Boston to show their support for Clinton Tuesday morning.
James, 63, said after Monday night’s win in Iowa she was excited yet nervous for what lies ahead in New Hampshire.
“I know it’s very close with Bernie Sanders,” James, 63 said before Tuesday’s rally at Nashua Community College began.
But Clinton speaks to her in ways that Sanders does not, James said. “She stands for all of the things I support – education, women’s rights.”
“Wage equality. Also her experience,” Davis interjected. “And the fact that she has Bill as an adviser.”
Both women agreed that Clinton’s experience would tip the scales in her favor.
The Nashua rally was the only scheduled joint campaign event on Tuesday for the Clintons. The country’s 42nd president will head north to Laconia for an evening rally, while Hillary Clinton will head west to Hampton for a similar event.