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CNN Coverage of the New Hampshire Primary - 2300 Hour

Aired January 10, 2012 - 23:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: An impressive win for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN election center. We want to welcome the viewers in the United States and around the world.

Let's take a look at the vote valley as it stands right now, 81 percent of the precincts have reported a winner. Mitt Romney has 38 percent. That's very impressive, 71,500. He has 28,000 more votes ahead of Ron Paul who has come in second. The Texas congressman with 23 percent. Jon Huntsman comes in third, the former Utah governor comes in third, 17 percent, 31,886.

There's a battle under way for fourth and fifth. Newt Gingrich right now with 81 percent of precincts reporting slightly ahead of Rick Santorum, both at 10 percent. Rick Perry barely did anything in New Hampshire. He's already in South Carolina getting ready for that.

Let's go to Mitt Romney headquarters right now. Candy Crowley watching what's going. He delivered a pretty powerful speech tonight, a victory speech in New Hampshire, follows his victory albeit by a very, very tight margin in Iowa. But he's so far, Candy, two for two.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He is. And you know, if the Romney people could have scripted this evening, it could not have gone any better for them. He had a good and solid first place, and running a distant second, Ron Paul, really the candidate they feared the least. The man that they don't think will ever be acceptable to the main stream of the Republican Party. Those that they original thought were a threat, way back when in Iowa, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, gone down in the 10 percent. Perry even far less than that at about one percent.

So, this was a bounce they wanted going into South Carolina where they really believe looking at the poll said as we all are, Romney is ahead. They do believe that he has a very good chance of coming out on top in South Carolina. Which is why, Wolf, when you listen to Mitt Romney, he's not really talking about his Republican opponents, he's talking fall talk. He's talking about President Obama.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know that the future of the country is better than eight percent or nine percent unemployment. It is better than $15 trillion in debt. It's better than the misguided policies and broken promises of the last three years. And the failed leadership of one man. The president has run out of ideas, now he's running out of excuses. And tonight -- CROWD: Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!

ROMNEY: -- and tonight, tonight, we're asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.


CROWLEY: And you're right, Wolf. Two wins in a row, first Iowa, and now of course, New Hampshire, but two very different evenings. Iowa was a very, very flat, sort of celebration. Here, there was energy in the room. You could really feel that in terms of the one thing a lot of people thought Mitt Romney was lacking, which was the energy, that he was able to get it here in New Hampshire, and he can use it to steam himself towards South Carolina -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All eyes will be on South Carolina, January 21, the primary there. Candy, thanks very much.

Let's go to John King, taking a closer look at not only how Mitt Romney did it, Ron Paul, those impressive coming in second. Jon Huntsman, third. But this is an important with 38 percent with 81 percent of the precincts reported. That number even could go up?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, JOHN KING LIVE: Could go up a bit, Wolf, because of where the vote is still out, out here in the southern part of the state where as you can see Mitt Romney is doing well.

Let's echo candy's point. This is a very impressive win for Governor Romney. He was polling in high of 30s in the final days. He's going to get at least 38 percent of the vote based on what we see coming in right now. So, he did not slip. When the expectations came, Governor Romney can claim a victory.

Why is this important? Seventy percent of the people in New Hampshire live here. They call it the gold triangle, parchment in the sea coast over the Manchester down to national. Seventy percent of the population right here, close to the Boston media market. A former Massachusetts governor is very well known here. Romney is winning them all.

And if you check in on some of the places, I just want to pop in here, you check here, he's winning most of these by even more than any state-wide. This is his margin of victory, down here, close to Massachusetts.

As you note though, also an impressive site, as Mitt Romney throws in the map for Ron Paul, these in orange, mind if a little paints to you at home, 23 percent. All the other candidates say Ron Paul is not a main stream Republican. Well, he continues to prove he's a factor in the race.

At the moment, the buffer between Mitt Romney and everyone else. Governor Huntsman, Wolf, he began this thinking, Romney would stumble in Iowa. He weakens in New Hampshire, then Huntsman could step in when he says he will fight on. But for the Huntsman campaign, 17 percent is not what they were looking for when they first started.

So, we leave New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is 2-0. We go on to South Carolina. But watch how, this might fills in on the 21st, just a few places I suggest we will keep close eye on. Along the coast here, this is your more establishment Republicans down here and a critical area in this state, I want to change the color as we go, is right up in here.

Now, Mitt Romney goes in with momentum. The question is, governor Huntsman said he's fighting on. There we go, go back to the map. We will make that fix. Not sure why that happened, but Governor Huntsman said he's going to fight on. Let me fix it that way. We're having fun with the ball. Here we go.

Gingrich says he'll fight on. Huntsman says he'll fight on. Perry says He'll fight now. Santorum says he'll fight on. But do you get a repeat of what happened in 2008?

This is mike Huckabee. The evangelical vote up here. John McCain country down here. What Mitt Romney is counting on, the point I was trying to make earlier, is win the establishment of Republican votes. The big change for him is if there is to be a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, they're going to have to win and win big up here. But, Wolf, if you have this crowded field, you have this crowded fields, the question is, does one candidate emerge or does the momentum Romney had give him enough to win again.

BLITZER: Is -- the fact that Newt Gingrich is from neighboring Georgia and is going to spend millions of dollars, presumably, in South Carolina, he needs to get his campaign back on track. And South Carolina is the place for him to do it, if he can.

KING: It could be the place. It could be the place. The question is, with this split - remember Newt Gingrich when he was the candidate surging, was doing quite well in South Carolina. The reason polls have shown Governor Romney in the lead, so what is the question. You'll have a different electorate. A very different electorate.

South Carolina, the darker the color here, the higher percentage of people identified as evangelicals, that more evangelical votes here, Speaker Gingrich is starting an ad questioning governor Romney's record on abortion rights. We will see if he can break through on that.

Another key, a constituency we have talked about a lot, will they be counted in this election, will they emerge as the powerful force of two years ago, the tea part party. Again, the darker the area, the higher the percentage of voters in those places who say I identify with the tea party. Will the tea party in the evangelical somehow coalesce to support one candidate to block Governor Romney that has been the defining question of this campaign. And it may be no more important. It may be as important as ever as we move to state number three. There's a momentum factor. Romney can win Iowa, win New Hampshire,. Win South Carolina. He will go on into Florida with considerable momentum.

BLITZER: Yes. It will be a three for three sweeps which is going to be very, very impressive. Alright, Anderson, let's throw it to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Let's see Mitt Romney's momentum tonight has changed any mind in South Carolina. All night long, we can talk to this caucus group in Charleston. Tom Foreman is down there.

Tom, when I was with you before, a number of people said their minds had been changed tonight or they were moving in a direction tonight based on tonight. We wanted to know who they're moving toward, what candidate?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good point, Anderson. Let me show you that again with this group, all of you have been very patient this evening here at the college of Charleston. Let me ask you all, you came in here tonight, all saying you were undecided. How many of you moved closer to making up your minds tonight?

Look at that, Anderson. Tremendous amount of people here considerably closer when we talked to them tomorrow. And I want to play a little bit of sound here and I want you to watch how the group reacted with their little dial testing devices here being monitored over here by Southern Methodist University. They went through and they listen to what these folks had to say as they turned the dial indicating how they felt about things. Watch how the group reacted to Newt Gingrich.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me put in context where we are. We have an opportunity, I think, to unify the country around a message of jobs, economic growth, and very dramatic programs. The opportunity is to reach out to everybody of every background who would rather have paychecks than food stamps, to convince them what Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s in creating millions of new jobs, what we did when I was speaker in the '90s, in creating millions of new jobs, can be done again.


FOREMAN: All right, all of you who now are leaning heavily toward Newt Gingrich, put your hands up. One, two, three, four, five of you in the group here. Let me ask you something, what did you -- that made you feel better about him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like he had true conservative values. He has innovative ideas and concrete ways to solve some of the problems that we have. That none of the other candidates mentioned. And I feel like he has the best interest of this country in mind, and he's putting that far ahead of his own personal gain.

FOREMAN: Let me ask some of the other candidates, what about Rick Santorum? Show me your hands. How many of you felt you would lean his way after what you heard and saw? One.

OK, how about Jon Huntsman? One. Two maybe. You seems a little hesitant, three maybe. This is like an auction. Three going up there. Very slow process up here. Ron Paul, we talked about here. Show me the Ron Paul support here. One lay desk. This is similar to what we saw tonight. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and you said you're still kind of flirting with some other possibilities, too. This isn't all made up.

How about Jon Huntsman? He's a guy betting a lot on this. Who is leaning his way? Maybe you back there. Maybe one, maybe two. Yes. Here's the thing, Anderson, I want you to think about this, Jon Huntsman thing in just a minute. We'll come back to that because I want you to see the reaction.

But now, look at the room here when I say this, how many of you now feel you're going to go with Mitt Romney? There, I can count you all of here. It's not overwhelming, but it looks like -- you dropped your hands. Put them up so I can see all of you. There's a pretty good number.

Anybody in here Rick Perry? Not a one.

So look, there's nothing scientific about this part of it, Anderson, as you know. But you can see even in this room how people are getting closer to making up their mind. Although, I'll tell you in conversation, many of you still willing to change, not locked down. What about you? Are you locked down or still open?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not locked down yet. But it's between the two. It's either Newt or Ron Paul. They're the most conservative and liberty minded people or candidates.

FOREMAN: Alright, so as you can see, Anderson, people still little up in the air is what they can do here, especially when it comes to folks like Huntsman and some of the folks who aren't necessarily out front right now.

COOPER: What did the dial testing show during then time when Huntsman was speaking, Tom?

FOREMAN: Yes. Take a look at one of the things he did which seemed here, at least we almost, like a misstep. And that he said something that was clearly an applause line, got some tepid applause where he was, but look at the group when he said that.


JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we don't get our act together at home, we will see the end of the American century by 2050, and we're not going to let that happen, are we?


FOREMAN: Yes, so you saw that, Anderson. I want to ask somebody over here about that. One of the things I saw in the group time and time again in the night, Anderson. If you watch the numbers closely, by and large, when the campaigns went negative, when they start talking too much about what was wrong with America, what they didn't like, even when they talked too much about what they didn't like about the Obama administration, you as a group didn't like it much. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just don't like negative advertising in the south especially.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and a lot of it is propaganda. I mean, you can take an ad and cut clips out of a certain section and say anything you want to.

FOREMAN: All right, alright. Well, Anderson, you get a sense of it tonight. It's been a fascinating evening here with all of these folks who have been very, very patient, but have shared a lot of interesting views. And as we said earlier, we're wrapping it up this way again. They all came in saying they haven't made up their minds. Every campaign out there is looking for these people, and tonight, put your hands up again, how many of you are pretty much closer to making up your mind? Big change, and big change stakes here in South Carolina - Anderson.

COOPER: Well, please let them know there how much we appreciate their patience and their participation. It's been fascinating watching their dial testing while the candidates speak. Thanks very much, Tom, for that.

Ron Paul said he's in the best position to stop Mitt Romney. Stand by for an exclusive CNN interview with the number two candidate tonight, Ron Paul. And we're checking reaction to Mitt Romney's win online. We will be right back.


BLITZER: Mitt Romney has gone up to 39 percent. Take a look at this, 85 percent of the precincts now reporting. Mitt Romney has 39 percent of the vote. He has at 81,843, some 34,000 votes ahead of Ron Paul, who has come in second with 23 percent, Jon Huntsman with 17 percent, coming in at third, 35,000 votes. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, they're basically tied for fourth place, 10 percent for Newt Gingrich, 19,986. A little bit less nine percent for Rick Santorum, 19,585, only one percent.

For the Texas governor, Rick Perry, let's go over to Ron Paul's headquarters with Dana Bash's standing by.

Dana, do you still have some Ron Paul supporters over there with you. We heard from what the Texas congressman had to say. You had a chance to speak with him yourself.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And as you can see and hear behind me, they're not letting up here. They'll be here for some time, I think. Very excited about Ron Paul's second place win. As you said, I did have a chance to talk to the congressman, just minutes after we knew for sure he was going to come in second place. I spoke to him exclusively and asked him what that means for the rest of the field.


BASH: Are you now the buffer between Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican candidates?

REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what you want to call it, we're next in line to him. So, I would say we're the only ones really in the race with him. And we'll have to remain to be seen what turns up.


BASH: Now, here, when he spoke, he has said explicitly that he believes that he's nipping at the heels of Mitt Romney. He also really gave a rousing speech, not the kind of speech we generally hear from him, ironically. He generally sounds kind of profess oriole. Here, he sounded very much like a candidate talking about the fact that people call him dangerous. Well, now he's dangerous to the status quo.

He's on his way, probably to sleep right now. But tomorrow, he'll go to South Carolina to have a noon rally and to make it very clear to his supporter and everybody else that he's just beginning. He is not letting up at all and he plans to contend very heavily in South Carolina.

This is have the kind of organization that he had here in New Hampshire and then before, in Iowa there. But he's hoping to get money and get sort of organic organization from the mounts that he gets here. And you can see people are still here, and I should tell you that the bar is still open. Maybe you can tell.

BLITZER: I think those folks are happy. They are Ron Paul supporters. He is less Ron Paul with a lot of really, really ardent supports. Dana, thanks very much.

Anderson, you know, I spoke with Ron Paul myself earlier in the day. He seems to suggest he wasn't going to necessarily invest heavily in Florida. He was going to look into some of the caucus states in February. This impressive second place finish in New Hampshire might force him to reconsider, especially if he could generate a lot of money.

COOPER: Yes. it was also interesting hearing him talking to Dana earlier, not answering his question about what he would tell his supporters to do, who he would tell them to support if in fact he's not the nominee, which is most likely.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's been very, very cagey about that. And really refused, dangled out the possibility if I'm not listened to, you don't listen to me at the convention, if you don't listen to him, inform your platform. I may well break from you.

But I do think it's certainly clear that Ron Paul and the group that he represents has become a force within the Republican Party. Almost a quasi party. And we haven't --

COOPER: And the Republican Party would like to ignore that.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And there's no second choice. You know, it's Ron Paul or nobody else, or maybe Barack Obama, as a person in the focus group said.

GERGEN: And I think it's one of the issues Republicans are going to have to face. We talked about having a fractured field before with all of these candidates. But it's increasingly clear that there may be a fractured party. That you got the tea party that now rose as a movement. Now, you got the Ron Paul movement, whether they can bring all of the people together, that's what I think for Republicans, there is some premium on trying to end this sooner rather than later so Romney has a chance to unite the party. There was something John said tonight which I thought was really important, he said our mission with Mitt Romney is not to excite but to unite. And I did think that, yes, I can see why he wants to do that.

BORGER: It's interesting to me, though, because Ron Paul could decide he wants to take this to the convention.

GERGEN: Absolutely.

BORGER: Ron Paul can take his delegates to the convection, can be a powerful force, can get a powerful speech. And, you know, that's something that has to be considered right now. And it would be very important because he could say, you know what, I want a primetime speech.

GERGEN: And even though he's older, so many of his supporters are young, which suggests they have a future in the party. You have to recognize that.

COOPER: How does it impact the party down the road? A lot to watch for tonight -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A son who is popular senator from Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, who is presumably looking down the road as well. Mr. Ron Paul came in second. Mitt Romney came in first, but Jon Huntsman came in third.

Let's go to CNN's Jim Acosta. He's over at Jon Huntsman headquarters over there. He was pretty happy about a third place finish. And he's saying he's off to South Carolina, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right, Wolf. I have never seen so many people so happy to finish in third place. We're inside Huntsman primary headquarters. That's the podium behind me where we heard Governor Huntsman earlier saying we're on the hunt. We have a ticket to ride to South Carolina.

And despite the third place finish here, I talked to several Huntsman sources, they still see a path to this nomination. They might be kidding themselves, Wolf, but they're very optimistic after tonight. They say, a wounded Romney may not have been stoppable here in New Hampshire, but perhaps in South Carolina, when they take the fight to him down there. Perhaps they can slow him down, down in South Carolina. That's the thinking inside the Huntsman campaign.

I had a chance to talk to the governor exclusively earlier tonight about where his campaign goes from here. That's what he said for the first time, he's going to South Carolina. He is going to continue this campaign. And from the sound of it, he's going to continue to take the fight to Mitt Romney.


ACOSTA: Do you hope you can make the case in South Carolina, the same case you made up here, hold on, it's not over.

HUNTSMAN: Well, the people of South Carolina will be looking for exactly what the people of New Hampshire have been looking for, and that electability. That is somebody who is going to be able to stand for the issues that can carry us to victory ultimately. To be able to address the trust deficit and the economic deficit, not talk about the in the enjoyment of firing people or about pink slips in a way that they'll get tripped up by the DNC and by the Chicago machine that has a billion dollars behind it.


ACOSTA: And the Huntsman campaign said they already have an event set up for Columbia, South Carolina, 3:00 tomorrow afternoon at the University of South Carolina. They're going right after the college students that they were trying to attract here in New Hampshire, Wolf.

And they say they have the resources to compete. I talked to several sources here, including the campaign manager, John Weaver, the once worked for John McCain, he said any talk of this campaign dropping out of the race, any talk of the governor dropping out of the race rhymes with the word bull spit, Wolf. And I should mention that the bar is also open here tonight, they're still partying down in Huntsman headquarters.

BLITZER: I can see they're having a good time over there. Alright, Jim Acosta over at Huntsman headquarters. He is headed off to South Carolina. I think all of us will be heading down to South Carolina, Anderson, pretty soon. It will be an exciting race. Can't wait.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, can Jon Huntsman actually compete in South Carolina? I mean right now, he's very low in the early polling there.

BORGER: I don't think that he has much of a constituency there. I mean, and you know, you saw in the focus group. There didn't seem to be a person who is for Huntsman. He can use some money there, but I just see that the fight is going to be among the other -- the conservatives in the party, the Santorum's and the Perry's and -- to sort of fight for second place there.

GERGEN: Anderson, it was interesting that his dad was there tonight with him as he announced there. And he could finance a PAC that will help him, but I think Jon Huntsman play has to be like a carom shot. He has to allow Newt to spend all of his money.

COOPER: What kind of shot?

GERGEN: Carom.

COOPER: A pool shark. All right.


GERGEN: If Newt spends all of his money and brings Romney down, then it's possible that Huntsman and the chaos in the dust could rises as the alternative than a lot of people.

COOPER: He wasn't able to catch fire in New Hampshire where he devoted a significant amount of time.

BORGER: That's right. And Newt is not really going to make Huntsman rise because people are so sick of negative. I think what happens is there's too much noise and Romney benefits from it.

GERGEN: The best line of the night will have to be Jon Huntsman as we talked to Candy Crowley and he said, Jon Huntsman has been here for six months and he got this number of votes. At this rate, he could catch us in 25 years.


COOPER: All of the GOP candidates are promising to fight on in South Carolina. They say the race is not over. We'll talk more about the strategy head and the battle to stop Romney.

Also the top reasons Romney won tonight. Our exit polls (inaudible). We will be right back.


BLITZER: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been battling for fourth place in New Hampshire. They both got about ten percent, nine or ten percent. Very, very close. I want to go to their headquarters.

Joe Johns is at Newt Gingrich's headquarters. Gary Tuchman is at Rick Santorum's headquarters, both in Manchester.

Joe, first to you, Newt Gingrich gave a pretty rousing speech today, although he -- I suspect he's probably a little disappointed he didn't do better in New Hampshire.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think you're right. I mean, when you think about it, here is a guy who performed pretty poorly in Iowa and now in New Hampshire, and he's still talking about moving on to South Carolina. Their still striking the set in the ballroom in the hotel where he had the speech and his headquarters. And the funny thing about it, I got an e-mail just a while ago from the Gingrich traveling party and they tell me they're already on the plane on the way to South Carolina.

So moving on south at this point. The thing about his speech, I thought, that was really captivating, is that he made it very clear. He's planning to go to South Carolina and fight. So, listen to the sound bite.


GINGRICH: This is step two of a long process. And having both been a historian and been active a long time, you learn certain things. So, let me put in context where we are. We have an opportunity, I think, to unify the country around a message of jobs, economic growth, and very dramatic programs. That after the opportunity is to reach out to everybody of every background who would rather have paychecks than food stamps, to convince them what Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s in creating millions of new jobs, what we did when I was speaker in the 1990s, in creating millions of new jobs, can be done again. This campaign is going to go on to South Carolina.


JOHNS: So they're going to get started in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which is on the North Carolina border tomorrow morning, on to Spartanburg, which is one of those areas where there are a lot of people, we're told, who are very skeptical about Mitt Romney. So, we know where that side at - Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Newt Gingrich has presumably will do better in South Carolina right next to his home state of Georgia. Joe, thanks very much. Pretty empty over there where you are except one guy who doesn't like Mitt Romney very much walking around behind you.

Let's go over to Rick Santorum's headquarter there right now. Gary Tuchman is standing by. He came out of Iowa with a lot of momentum. It didn't really deliver a huge punch in New Hampshire, Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't a great night for Rick Santorum tonight. Right now, the podium is bare. The stage is empty. The ballroom is empty. It was another nick and tuck night for Rick Santorum.

Last week, that was nip and tuck for first place. Today, nip and tuck for fourth place. And that's why, there wasn't a lot of excitement here tonight. A line of rationalization from the Santorum forces, including Rick Santorum himself but much of this is honest and accurate rationalization.

For example, Rick Santorum was saying before New Year's, the polls here in New Hampshire gives him at one or two percent or three percent and that's inaccurate. He ended up with nine or ten percent. So, that is a dramatic improvement. He attributed the momentum from his near victory in Iowa.

He also said he didn't spend very much money here and very much time here. He devoted a lot of money and time to South Carolina and that, too, is accurate. So, Rick Santorum now is on his way to South Carolina to campaign tomorrow. And he said and his people say they're putting most of their eggs in the South Carolina basket -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Gary. Thanks very much. Joe Johns, thanks to you as well.

Let's go over to Erin and Gloria. They're taking a closer look at the numbers right now. And New Hampshire is very different from South Carolina. But what did we see, Erin, in New Hampshire?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUT FRONT: It different from South Carolina and very different than Iowa. We wanted to hone in on two important categories.

First of all, opinion on the tea party movement. We have been talking so much about whether Mitt Romney can win over those tea party voters. Fifty one percent of the people who voted in New Hampshire tonight say that they support the tea party. Let's split this over to Gloria, and you can see that at least in New Hampshire, people who like the tea party go for Mitt Romney.

BORGER: Go for Mitt Romney. And the question, and of course, number two is Ron Paul, which is interesting because it's the fiscal conservatism of Ron Paul that attracts the tea party people. The question, of course, is whether Mitt Romney will be able to keep the number as he heads to South Carolina.

BURNETT: It's now done. And on that note, let's look at a born Christians. There we go. Born again Christian in New Hampshire, those who identified themselves as such, or evangelicals also still went for Mitt Romney. By the way --

BORGER: -- which is interesting, yes.

BURNETT: So different than in Iowa where born again and evangelical Christian anti-party supporters over whelming all went for Santorum.

BORGER: Rick Santorum. Now, Santorum did 23 percent with the born again Christian, so his values message was getting through, but when you think of the evangelicals, 30 percent going for Mitt Romney, a Mormon. The question again has to be whether he can keep it going in South Carolina?

Evangelical leaders are meeting this weekend. They're going to talk about whether they should endorse an anti-Mitt Romney candidate or do something else. That's going to be important to see what they do. But, I guarantee you Romney is going to have a tougher time in South Carolina with tea party and evangelicals.

BURNETT: And it is going to be interesting, one about 1.23 percent of people who voted in New Hampshire, evangelicals, Wolf, is about 60 percent in South Carolina, much like Iowa.

BLITZER: It's getting late in the night but I'm getting a lot of tweets. They want to know, can you do a back handed flip?

BURNETT: Oh, my God.

BLITZER: Ladies and gentlemen. Drum roll. Alright, we did it. Backhanded flip.

BURNETT: That was good. The pressure was on.

BLITZER: First try, Anderson, an impressive flip.

COOPER: So Piers, you talked to Rick Perry earlier today. I mean, a pathetic showing for Rick Perry in New Hampshire as it was in Iowa. You got to wonder, what keeps this guy going?

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: Well, you know, you have to hand him something for the fortitude, and he certainly is very upbeat in the interview. But, as a point of that, you've came fifth seat when you are facing fifth at best in the moment in South Carolina.

What was interesting I thought in the interview was his point of attack against Mitt Romney. Because it may be where they are go at him. They will be where the Gingrich PAC money goes, certainly where Rick Perry is going to get. Let's watch a little clip from this interview. You'll see what he called Mitt Romney.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a real difference between a venture capitalist and a vulture capitalist. And venture capitalists are good. They go in, they inject their capital. They create jobs. Bain capital on the other hand, it appears to me, are vulture capitalists all too often. And I don't confuse for a minute that Barack Obama and his team wouldn't attack Mitt Romney on that during a general election if he makes it that way.

So, if nothing else we're doing Mitt a favor by exposing him early on so that he can either figure out how to defend that or more importantly and better from my perspective, he's not the nominee to begin with.


MORGAN: More of the interview with Rick Perry after midnight. And after the dark has seen tonight, interesting perspective there. I mean, calling him a vulture capitalist is clearly going to talk his record in Bain. What I haven't seen yet is a full breakdown of Mitt Romney's time at Bain that shows how many jobs he created and how many he got rid of. That is a fascinating statistics because if you can prove he was a force for good and job creation that is good for Romney. If you can prove that a lot of people lost his jobs because of him, he may qualify as a vulture capitalist.

COOPER: Right. Mitt Romney's figures have kind been all over the place, a little bit on that. And when in fact check, don't really hold up to the facts. But a lot of information is private and the Wall Street journal did a close look at it. But it's hard to get actual numbers on that.

Peter Hamby is also standing by in South Carolina. It was interesting, Peter, to hear Rick Perry in Piers' interview tonight, continuing go after Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist. That message that attack, which was tried in New Hampshire certainly didn't seemed work among voter in New Hampshire. Do you think it will work in South Carolina?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, in New Hampshire, it didn't come up until the last few days, honestly. Perry is a kind got a head start is really brought only Romney on this. I do think although it's unusual to attack someone's business credential in the Republican primary, it's somewhat potent first, you know, because the state unemployment rate here has almost 10 percent. There have been a lot of manufacturing jobs, textile jobs that have gone overseas. People are sensitive to that.

But also, it plays into a bigger narrative about Romney being sort out of touch. And frankly, I have spent so much time here over the years. The questions about Mitt Romney are not about his Mormonism. It's more about his northern pedigree, his sort of squishiness on some social issues. And just that he can't really connect with people.

So, you know, once these TV ads start to hit from Newt's super PAC, which is going up tomorrow here, you know we could see that message start to resonate. Again, it's sort of curious argument within the Republican primary. And it's actually surprising that we still haven't seen a Romney care ad dropped on Mitt Romney. But, you know, we'll see if this works in the next few weeks -- Anderson.

MORGAN: Peter, its Piers here. I had Jack Welch on my show who was incredibly vociferous in his support of Romney, calling him the best candidate he's seen to run for president in his lifetime and began to laud his record, and his wife, she said he worked out being for Mitt Romney. She said the same thing. That actually his record there could be a vote winner. Rather than a vote loser, and he certainly thought the rhetoric from Romney today, beginning to try to turn it around into a positive, saying that actually, I did a very good job at bane. I created jobs. That's what I could do for America. Could he turn it into an advantage, do you think?

HAMBY: I absolutely think so. You know, Piers, a lot of caricatures about South Carolina, painted as a hive of evangelicals and good old boys. You know, it's a different state in Iowa. It's a broad cross section of Republicans, up in Greenville and Spartanburg, where we got from the conservatives up state that you guys have been talking about. Where there are all those evangelicals.

There's also a ton of international businesses there. A strong chamber of commerce crowd, lot of business folks along the coast in the Charlotte Suburb in northern part of the state. So, it could be a really strong message for Romney. I think he has good arguments to make here, Piers.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We are following a New Hampshire ballots after their cast, we are going to you behind the scenes with the balloting. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: We're back with the latest numbers, 91 percent of the precincts have now reported. Thirty nine percent for Mitt Romney. He has gone a little bit, 90,429 votes. He is almost 38,000 votes ahead of number two, Ron Paul with 23 percent, 52,562. Jon Huntsman comes in third, with 17 percent, 38,650. Newt Gingrich building up a slight lead over Rick Santorum for fourth, 10 percent, 21,612 to 21,426 for Rick Santorum with nine percent. Rick Perry, only one percent.

All night, while we have been on TV and politicians have been talking, poll workers across New Hampshire have been very busy certifying ballots and making sure that the primary is completely legal, official. Our political reporter Shannon Travis shows us democracy in action at Manchester as he followed the ballot from the voting booth to its final resting place.


SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We may be hearing candidate speeches and results, but this process is far from over. We are basically following along with the ballots as they are leaving ward one here at the Webster elementary school in Manchester. We're going to follow along with them and find out and show you exactly where they're going for the final resting spot.

This coverage is special because this basically shows you how democracy works, how the ballot you cast at the ballot booth, how they're actually processed, where they go, have - we've been showing you all night how they're being counted, being secured, and now we're going to show you how they're being secured over at city hall.

They're loading up the car now, putting the ballots inside. You noticed that a lot of the boxes have seals on them. They have to deliver these ballots to the city clerk's office, the same exact amount they received from the clerk's office previously.

We're doing about 30 miles an hour. Diane and Paul are steadily just moving along so that we can get the ballots down to city hall.

So we're here, watching, as Diane and Paul unload the ballots. They have arrived at the drop-off point at city hall. It's right in the middle of downtown Manchester. It looks like a count, boxes of one, two, three, four, five, six boxes of ballots, and a few boxes of paperwork, some binders, some administrative things they also have to drop off, obviously, for voting procedures, and they're going to now hand this off, as you can see, an armed guard here, maybe not armed but definitely a security guard who is taking possession of the ballots as they go inside city hall here.

It's a fascinating look at what actually happens when people cast their ballots. This is a very critical piece of this process because these ballots now have to be certified. They have to be checked in, all of that. The numbers that we have been hearing so far are the projections, the unofficial. But these ballots will be very key to certifying, to making it all official that Mitt Romney in fact came in number one, Ron Paul in fact came in number two, and Jon Huntsman in fact came in number three. The ballots are coming off the elevator here, and the next place, the next home for them is the vault in city hall.

A rare sighting of the inside of the vault at a city, a municipality like this that houses not only ballots but a lot of other vital records. But, you are basically getting a glimpse inside, a rare glimpse inside of how these ballots are preserved for a while. There's a federal retention law that New Hampshire mirrors that saves these ballots for 22 months and basically, because they are paper ballots, they're destroyed. So, this is where they'll live for 22 months.


BLITZER: Shannon Travis reporting for us from Manchester, New Hampshire. I love the fact they're still doing it the old fashioned way.

Alright ladies, New Hampshire basically history right now. All eyes very soon, if not immediately on South Carolina. And Mitt Romney, Erin, tell us what we're seeing looking ahead.

BURNETT: May be you can I get a few hours of sleep before all eyes firmly on South Carolina, but we're talking about the importance of the evangelical vote in South Carolina, 60 percent of voters that were identifying themselves as such. What we have done here is load the data from 2008. At that now obviously, Mitt Romney, advantage/disadvantage in having run by then, we'll see. But religious beliefs of candidate matter, great deal, or somewhat. I want to blow that up and just give everyone a chance to see how this went. Oh, no. Hold on, come over here, Gloria.

BORGER: Here we go.

BURNETT: Let's do it here.

BORGER: That's alright. Good. It's fine.

BURNETT: Fine, we can fix it. Here we go. OK, so 2008, great deal or somewhat those voters went overwhelmingly for Mike Huckabee, 40 percent then McCain, Fred Thompson. Mitt Romney, only 11 percent.

BORGER: Mitt Romney is only 11 percent. I think this time in South Carolina, you're going to see that Romney probably does a little bit better. And what the other candidates are hoping for, particularly the Rick Santorum's and Perry's, what they want is to get that Huckabee vote for themselves.

BURNETT: Gloria and I, were also talking, Anderson, as we send it back to you, about how the awareness perhaps, of the Mormon faith has increased over the last four years. Mitt Romney has a known quantity. You have seen a lot of ad on bus and television about being a Mormon, and then perhaps that has contributed to more acceptances or more understanding of the Mormon faith.

BORGER: We will see. There will still be a lot of skepticism.

BURNETT: Alright, Anderson.

COOPER: Thanks very much. We're here with Brooke at the social media wall. What have you been following in the last hour or so? BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: I can't take you inside a vault. I think Travis --

COOPER: I know. I know.

BALDWIN: Right? He kind gets to golden hour.

COOPER: Not since Al Capone's vault have I been so excited.

BALDWIN: And I disappoint you. I'm so sorry.

COOPER: It's alright.

BALDWIN: Here's what I can show for you. So, we have been looking, obviously, we have been tracking twitter all night. And you see the Gingrich social drop. Of all the different candidates who given all their different speeches tonight, right, the one candidate who actually did worse when it comes to sort of perception and resonance on twitter is the former speaker of the house. Take a look at the numbers.

First off, he gave the speech on 10:00 Eastern time. And so, right around that time, more or less 50/50 positive negative perception of Gingrich. That's photographic and you can see the green and red change quite a bit. So, majority negative and he's the only candidate, he's the only candidate we can find. One other fun factoid, I know it's about midnight and you guys were here until --

COOPER: 3:30.

BALDWIN: 3:30.

COOPER: Not that I was counting.

BALDWIN: it's like 3:34 is when I left CNN, last week, because it went so long, when we looked at the number of tweets from say, the beginning of caucus day in Iowa until the very end when you finally projected by the eight votes Mitt Romney, that actually was half the amount of tweets from today, and we're still not even in the a.m.

COOPER: Interesting. Brooke, appreciate it.

Let's go to some of our analysts and contributors have been monitoring events. Not making late dinner reservations. What have you been looking at in the last hour?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was banking on that story.

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Numbers. Last election, 2008, John McCain got 37.8 percent of New Hampshire. Barack Obama, 36.6 percent in his primary. Hillary Clinton, 39 percent. Romney looks like he's between 39 percent and 40 percent.

Here is the other thing flashing forward. The month of February for Republicans, there's one, two, three, four, five, six contests for delegates who will get selected. Mitt Romney probably has an inside lead on five of them. Three of them were states of how significant won the populations. One is Maine, New England, Michigan, where of course he grew up. Advantage Romney in all of the early states.

COOPER: Do you think it's still possible tomorrow morning when folks wake up that there may be an e-mail, a press release that one of the candidates has dropped out?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, if Rick Perry didn't drop out, they'll try to see it through. I think the race -- I have always thought this race is Romney. He is the only person in the field who has a chance of being a nominee. I have thought that for some time now and completely convinced of it now.

But you know, sometimes the guys, it takes a while to come to the realization that you're out of this. I mean, just watching Huntsman getting beat by 23 percent, the hardest thing in the world to do is act like you're happy on election night when you're really not. I mean, and we all do it.


COOPER: I have been told that CNN is estimating turnover at 236,000 which is actually 6,000 more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not terribly bad, but I agree with both Ari and James on the passion and the intensity. You don't want to repeat 2008, and we would see more people out if we didn't have -- Mitt Romney has been endorsed by Jimmy Carter and John McCain for crying out loud. I mean, it's McCain, 2008, all over.

COOPER: Carter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Although Carter said that he - not Carter, sorry. Carter said he saying nice things about Romney. McCain had endorsed Romney. Cater had said nice things about Romney. He said he was glad to see him win. So I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe they go way back.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Republicans have been dismissing the whole Bain ad by saying we shouldn't do these types of things. I think it's a powerful ad in a climate where you have blue collar workers who are not happy at all about companies coming in, using a debt, slashing and burning, firing people, and then making off with lots of cash.

It's no shock Republicans are saying this is the last thing we want to see, but the push back, even bill is writing about this, when you go so far as to say we're so happy to be about capitalism and we're so tied to it, that they're re-enforcing it's the party of a lot of rich folks. I think Gingrich has messed up the argument when he could have been more effective making the argument we need to be concerned about the little guys who have been played off from these jobs. I think what he's done has been bad. But I think it's still a strong argument that could help President Obama to survive (inaudible).

CARVILLE: You know, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated, and I think the reports of this enhanced Republican enthusiasm have been exaggerated. That enthusiasm is probably matching Democrats right now, but that's about it. As Lori points out, this is all subject to change, mid-January, we have to go until early November here. But there's not much evidence of this really enhanced Republican enthusiasm that you saw in November 2010, which was quite evident.

FLEISCHER: I don't disagree with that. What is going to rally Republican. It's not love of Mitt Romney because Mitt Romney lapsed it a long. And besides everybody has plan b. It's beating Barack Obama. That's what gets Republicans' blood flowing. That's what it gets excited.

COOPER: That's what folks in South Carolina want more than all in GOP voters. They were mapping out the New Hampshire results and looking for clues about the battle ahead in South Carolina. Stand by for a special Piers Morgan Tonight at the top of the hour.


BLITZER: Very impressive win for Mitt Romney tonight. Look at this, John, 39 percent. He could wind up may be with 40 percent, still eight percent of the precincts unreported.

KING: So, give credit with what credit is due. It is his home turf, that's what his rivals will say but Mitt Romney did g what he had to do, win and win convincingly in state of New Hampshire. He did it by winning down here with 70 percent of the population, least in the bottom corner, Mitt Romney running up big numbers.

The question is where do we go from here? Well, in the calendar, we go right here in South Carolina, and his is critically important. Mitt Romney, now an overwhelmingly front-runner, but a crowded field. Does that benefit him? Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Santorum, all say they would be a stronger nominee. Most say, they are more conservative alternative.

Can Governor Romney win it here? It's a state that often decides the election. So then, South Carolina on the 21st, we close out the month in Florida, obviously, no candidate up there yet. I'm going to bring us back to the 2008 map because we're going to go into yet another swing state. Iowa is a swing state. New Hampshire is a swing state. There's a huge swing state. Mitt Romney at the moment advertising here. He believes if he begins win South Carolina, will he -- can seal the deal here?

If the race goes on, where do we go? Well, we go to Nevada. I'll come back in 2012. We will blank this so not to confused people. Romney leading in Nevada right now. We'll see how the race goes. And the race also in the next month would be in Arizona, a big primary there, a state where John McCain of course carried it four years ago. The Democrats think they might make a play there and, Wolf, also on the map ahead, when we get into February, the state of Michigan. Remember George Romney, the former governor, Mitt Romney has this state, not quite Massachusetts to him, but another big one on the calendar where he feels quite confident. If you look at the map right now, you have to think, somebody better get him quickly. They have to stop Romney.

BLITZER: In New Hampshire, nobody drops out. We'll see what happened after South Carolina, and we're getting ready for all of that. Exciting night in New Hampshire, and Mitt Romney an impressive win, Ron Paul is second, coming in second. Jon Huntsman, third.

This has been our pleasure reporting but Piers Morgan picks up our coverage right now.