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Kerry Wins New Hampshire Primary, Dean Takes Second

By Adam Nagourney

The New York Times -- MANCHESTER, N.H.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts won the Democratic presidential primary here Tuesday, dealing Howard Dean his second big defeat in eight days in states where his campaign had once been confident of victory.

The results completed a distinct turnaround for Kerry, the four-term senator from Massachusetts whose campaign just a month ago had been viewed by even his closest friends as nearly dead.

“Thank you, New Hampshire, for lifting up this campaign and a cause of America that belongs not to the privileged, not to a few but belongs to all Americans, for all of the people,” an exultant Kerry said at a victory rally Tuesday evening.

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Gen. Wesley K. Clark were virtually tied for a distant third place in incomplete returns behind Dean. And Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut trailed in fifth place, with some associates saying that Lieberman was close to folding his campaign.

Dean’s aides, taking a page from presidential candidates from Eugene McCarthy to Bill Clinton, sought even before the polls had closed to portray his second-place showing as a win, noting that it had come just eight days after his third-place showing in Iowa.

And Dean, in an interview on “Larry King Live” on CNN after the polls closed, pronounced himself pleased with his second defeat.

“We came in a solid second, and I think that’s good -- and we recovered from our performance in Iowa,” Dean said. “I’m very pleased.”

He went on to hint at what presumably will be his line of attack on Kerry should this become the two-way race that aides to both men said they are looking for.

“I think the only way to beat George Bush is to have someone from outside Washington come down and do something for working families again,” said Dean, a former governor of Vermont.

And Dean’s campaign announced that he would visit nine cities in states where there are Democratic contests next Tuesday, and noted his huge base of contributors and supporters.

Still, by any measure, the results were a significant setback for Dean, who had all but moved into New Hampshire and Iowa for the past year, in hopes of replicating Jimmy Carter’s strategy by which a little-known governor wins his party’s nomination and becomes president of the United States.

And it presents him with a challenge as the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination moves into a very different phase: From the living rooms and small settings of Iowa and New Hampshire where Dean had excelled to what in effect will be a national primary next Tuesday fought out on the network news and with television commercials.

A survey of New Hampshire voters leaving the polls found that while there was overwhelming opposition to the war in Iraq, that was not a driving issue.

Instead, voters were much more likely to name health care as the issue upon which they based their votes here Tuesday. And among those who opposed the war, Kerry, who voted for the Iraq resolution, had nearly as much support as Dean, who built his once high-flying candidacy upon his opposition to the war.