A look at key moments in the New Hampshire primary

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10 2012 7:50 p.m. MST

Voters cast ballots in the gym of the Webster School in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Some remarkable moments from Tuesday's New Hampshire primary:

From the front-runner:

"We made history," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told supporters Tuesday evening, setting his sights squarely on President Barack Obama, whose job he wants come November.

"Our president looks across America and says it could be worse. It could be worse? That's not what it means to be an American," Romney said. "What defines us as Americans is we know it will be better — and it must be better."

"The president has run out of ideas," he said. "And now he's running out of excuses."

The role of Washington:

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, finishing second, took to the stage Tuesday night to renew his attacks on the size of government.

"We are dangerous to the status quo of this country," Paul said to his supporters, who frequently interrupted the libertarian-leaning candidate with rousing applause.

"We had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight," said Paul, who has argued for dramatically reducing the federal government and cutting a trillion dollars from its budget.

A missing Perry:

Skipping New Hampshire while taking pot shots from South Carolina — the site of the next primary — Texas Gov. Rick Perry couldn't avoid criticizing Romney's job-creation record while Romney headed the venture-capital firm Bain Capital.

"I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he'd have enough of them to hand out," said Perry, who would place last in the New Hampshire primary among the six leading GOP candidates.

Aiming at Bain:

Newt Gingrich, like Perry, pulled no punches in criticizing Romney's business past, arguing that Tuesday's GOP front-runner will need to hold a press conference to explain the companies that went bankrupt after Bain Capital invested them.

"If you get back $180 million and workers get an unemployment check, I think there are very severe questions to be asked," said the former House speaker, who would finish fourth.

Last words:

At a rally Monday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum drew on the final words of the Declaration of Independence: "We're not asking much. Our founders gave their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor."

"I'm asking you for 24 hours of effort to pull off a huge surprise here in New Hampshire, to give us the boost to show that the momentum is continuing so we can go down to South Carolina," he said.

Finishing second in the Iowa caucuses, Santorum slipped to No. 5 Tuesday night.

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