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Romney waits on New Hampshire voters

By Kasie Hunt

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10 2012 1:30 a.m. MST

Protesters interrupt a speech by Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during a campaign stop, Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in Bedford, N..H

Jim Cole, Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney is waiting to see whether months of campaigning will pay off in New Hampshire's GOP presidential primary, which his team has always said is a must-win contest for him.

While his rivals planned visits to polling places Tuesday, Romney had no public events scheduled.

"You're going to make a statement tomorrow. Let's take it to the next state after New Hampshire," Romney told a raucous overflow crowd at a Bedford rally on Monday night. "Give me the boost I need!"

Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, has led in polls here for months — in recent days by 20 percentage points or more. He's been pushing for an overwhelming victory as he looks to South Carolina, a state where the conservative GOP base was uncomfortable with him in 2008, and pushes to wrap up the nomination fight as quickly as possible.

His campaign aides had been most concerned about complacency among supporters, and they launched an intensive get-out-the-vote effort over the weekend, backed by hundreds of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of phone calls.

But Romney's final day of campaigning Monday was marred by comments he made about firing people, leading to attacks from Democrats and his GOP rivals alike. Huntsman and rivals Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all blasted him as being out of touch.

Romney and his rivals are in many ways already looking to the first-in-the-South contest a little more than a week from now. Gingrich allies are spending millions to run ads attacking Romney's time heading Bain Capital, a venture capital investing firm.

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